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me for ever, yea I will betroth thee unto me in righ-
, and in mercies, I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness. And it is the main design of the ministry of the gospel to prevail with men to give up themselves unto the Lord Christ, as he reveals his kindness in this engagement. Hence Paul tells the
Corinthians, 2 Epist. xi. 2. that he had espoused ✓ them unto one Husband, that he might present them
as a chaste virgin unto Christ. This he had prevailed upon them for, by the preaching of the gofpel, that they should give up themselves as a virgin, unto him who had betrothed them to himself, as an Husband.
And this is a relation wherein the Lord Jesus is exceedingly delighted; and inviteth others to behold him in this his glory, Cant. iii. 11. Go forth, faith he, o ye daughters of Jerusalem, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the day of his espousals,tand in the day of the gladness of his heart. He calls forth the daughters of Jerusalem, all sorts of professors to consider him in the condition of betrothing and espousing his church unto himfelf; moreover, he tells them that they shall find on him two things eminently upon this account. 1. Honour, it is the day of his coronation, and his spouse is the crown, wherewith he is crowned. For as Christ is a Di. adem of beauty, and a Crown of glory unto Sion, Isa. xxviii. 5. So Sion also is a diadem, and a crown unto him, I fa. Ixii. 3. Christ makes this relation with his faints to be his glory and his honour. light. The day of his espousals, of taking poor finful fouls into his bosom, is the day of the gladness of his heart. John was but the friend of the Bridegroom, that stood and heard his voice, when he was taking his bride unto himself, and he rejoiced greatly, John iii. 29. how much more then must be the joy and gladness of the Bridegroom himself, even that which is expressed, Zeph. iii. 14. He reo joiceth with joy, be joys with singing,
It is the gladness of the heart of Christ, the joy of his soul, to take poor finners into this relation with himself. He rejoiced in the thoughts of it from eternity, Prov. viii
. 31. And always expresseth the greatest willingness to undergo the hard talk ice quired thereunto, Plal. xl. 7, 8. Heb. x. 7, 8. yea he was pained as a woman in travail, until he had accomplished it, Luke xii. 15. because he loved his church he gave himself for it, Eph. v. 26. defpifing the jhame, and enduring the cross
, Heb. xiii
. 2. that he might enjoy his bride; that he might be for her, and she for him, and not for another, Hof. iii. 3. This is his joy, when he is thus crowned by his mother. It is believers that are mother, and brother of this Solo:non, Matth. xii. 49, 50. "They crown him in the day of his espousals,giving themfelves to him, and becoming his glory, 2 Cor.
Thus he sets out his whole communion with his church under this allusion, and that most frequently. The time of his taking the church unto himself, is the day of his marriage, and the church is his bride, his wife, Rev. xix. 7, 8. The entertainm nt he makes for his faints, is a wedding supper, Marth. xxii.
The graces of his church, are the ornaments of his queen, Pfal. xlv. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, And the fellow ship he hath with his faints, is as that which those who are mutually beloved in a conjugal relation do hold, Cant. i. Hence Paul in de
scribing these two, makes sudden and insensible transitions from one to the other, Epb. chap. v. from ver. 22. unto ver. 32. concluding the whole with an application unto Christ and the church.
It is now to be enquired in the next place, how it is that we hold communion with the person of Christ, in respect of conjugal relations and affections, and wherein this doth consist. Now herein there are some things that are common unto Christ and the saints, and some things that are peculiar to each of them, as the nature of this relation doth require. The whole may be reduced unto these two heads.
1. A mutual resignation of themselves one to the other.
2. Mutual consequential conjugal affections.
1. There is a mutual resignation or making over of their persons one to another. This is the first act of communion, as to the personal grace of Chrilt. Christ makes himself over to the soul to be his, as to all the love, care, and tenderness of an Husband; and the soul gives up itself wholly unto the Lord Christ, to be his, as to all loving, tender obedience. And herein is the main of Christ and the faiņts é.. spousals. This in the prophet is set out under a parable of himself and an harlot, Hof. iii. 3. Thou Jhalt abide for me, faith he unto her, thou shalt not be for another, and I will be for thee. Poor harlot, faith the Lord Christ, I have bought thee! unto myself with the price of mine own blood, and now this is that which we will consent unto, I will be for thee, and thou shalt be for me, and not for a-, nother.
1. Christ gives himself to the soul with all his excellencies, righteousness, preciousness, graces and
eminencies, to be irs Saviour, Head, and Husband, for ever to dwell with it, in this holy relation. He looks upon the souls of his saints, likes them well, counts them fair, and beautiful, because he hath made them so, Cant. i. 15. Behold thou art fair my companion; behold thou art fair, thou hat doves eyes. Let others think what they please, Christ redoubles it that the souls of his saints are very beautiful, even perfect through his comeliness which he puts upon them, Ezek. xv. 14. Behold thou art fair, thou art fair, particularly that their spiritual light is very excellent and glorious, , like the eyes of a dove, tender, discerning, clear and shining. Therefore he adds that pathetical with of the enjoyment of this spouse, chap. ii. 14. O my dove, faith he, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me bear thy voice, let me see thy countenance, for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Do not hide thyself as one that flies to the clefts of the rocks, be not dejected as one that hides herself behind the stairs, and is afraid to coine forth to the company that enquires for her. Let not thy spirit be cast down at the weakness of thy supplications, let me yet hear thy sighs and groans, thy breathings and pantings to me, they are very sweet, very delightful; and thy spiritual countenance, thy appearance in heavenly things, is comely and delightful unto me. Neither doth he leave her thus, but, chap. iv. 8. presseth her hard to a close communication with him in this conjugal bond. Come with me from Lebanon, my Spouse, with me from Lebanon, look from the top of Amana, from : h: top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lyons dens, and the mountains of the leopards. Thou art in a wandring condition, as the Israelites of old, among lyons and
leopards, sins and troubles, come from thence unto me, and I will give thee refreshment, Matth. si. 27. Upon this invitation the spoufe boldly concludes, chap. vii. 10. that the desire of Christ is towards her; that he doth indeed love her, and aim at taking her unto this fellowship with himfelf. So in carrying on this union, Christ freely bestoweth himself upon the foul. Precious and excellent as he is, he becometh ours. He makes himself to be so, and with him, all his graces. Hence faith the spouse my beloved is mine : in all that he is, he is mine. Because he is righteousnefs, Isa. xlv. 24,2 5. he is the Lord our righteousness, Jer. xxiii. 6. Becaufe he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, he is made unto us wisdom, dc. i Cor. i. 30. Thus the branch of the Lord is beautiful and glorious, and the
fruit of the earth is excellent, and comely to them that are escaped of Israel, Isa. iv. 2. This is the first thing on the part of Christ, the free donation and bestowing of himself upon us to be our Christ, our beloved, as all ihe ends and purposes of love, mercy, grace, and glory, whereunto in his mediation he is designed, in a marriage covenant, never to be broken. This is the sum of what is intended. The Lord Jesus Christ fitted and prepared by the accomplishment and furniture of his person as Mediator, and the large purchase of grace and glory which he ha h made, to be an Husband to his faints, his church; tenders himself in the promises of the gospel to them in all his defireablei ess, convinces them of his good will towards them, and his all-sufficiency for a fupply of their want an lupon their consent to accept of hiin, which is all he requires or expects