A Glorious Espousal.

A Brief ESSAY, To Illustrate and Prosecute the MARRIAGE, Wherein Our Great SAVIOUR offers to Espouse unto Himself the Children of Men. And thereupon to Recommend from that GRAND PATTERN a Good CARRIAGE in the Married Life Among them.

An ESSAY Proper and Useful in the Hands of those who Travel on the Noble Design of Espousing the Souls of Men unto their SAVIOUR. But more Particularly and Seaso­nably to be presented, where a MARRIAGE is upon a Celebration.

BOSTON: Printed by S. KNEELAND, for B. GRAY, and J. EDWARDS, at their Shops on the North and South side of the Town-House in King-Street. 1719.

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THE Best Espousal.

JEREMIAH III. 14.I Marry my self unto you.

AND is this thy Voice, O Our SAVIOUR? A most won­derful Word! What? The Great GOD who formed all Things; [...] Omnipotent GOD, speak such a Word, unto Frail Creatures, that are the Works of His Hands! I Marry my self unto you. The Most High Possessor of Heaven and [Page 2] Earth, speak such a Word unto Poor Creatures, who have nothing but what He gives unto them! I Marry my self unto you. The most Holy One, who is of purer Eyes than to behold Evil, speak such a Word, unto Vile Creatures, which are all gone aside and all together become filthy! I Marry my self unto you. O Won­derful! O Wonderful! But so it is. O Lord GOD, Thou art that GOD, and thy Words are True, and thou hast promised this Goodness unto all that are willing to become the Objects of it!

Great is the Honour which the Glori­ous GOD has put upon the Married State. He Honoured it, when He Appointed it in Paradise, and made it an Institution for our First Parents, while they were yet in their sinless Integrity. He Honoured it, by doing at it the First of those Mi­racles, wherein His Divinity shone forth under the Eclipse of His Humanity. He has Honoured it, in the Desirable Effects of it, and the Glories of Mankind, which it has produced in Successive Generati­ons. On such Accounts Marriage is Ho­nourable in all. But we have no small Addition to the Accounts on which it is [Page 3] so, In that our GOD has made a Marri­age to be the Figure, by which He will have to be livelily described unto us, the marvellous Relation, and Affection, which He bears unto His Chosen People.

Israel, Backsliden from GOD, is advised and Exhorted unto a Repentance: which being obtained, they shall be re­turned from their Dispersion among the Nations; tho' there should be but One to be found in a City, or Two in a Tribe dispersed among the Nations, yet they shall be brought back unto their Anci­ent Sears, and God will shew wonders to the dead. The COVENANT be­tween the Glorious God, and His Back­sliding People, is brought as an Argu­ment for the Repentance that is called for. And the Nature, the Import, of the COVENANT is declared. It is a Covenant of Marriage; I Marry my self unto you saith the Lord. It is thus Active­ly, to be expressed, I Marry my self, ra­ther than I am Married. Indeed the Ar­gument here used, is urged with a Com­passion scarce to be found among the Hard-hearted Children of Men. Adulter­ous violations of the Covenant between [Page 4] the Married, especially, if Repeated, if de­fended, if long persisted in; These render all Accomodations between them forever hopeless. An Everlasting Divorce is all that can be hoped for. The word Return, is never heard any more. But, my Thoughts are not your Thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. Our compassionate God says unto a People in Covenant with him; Thou hast plaid the Harlot with many Lovers, yet Return a­gain unto me. And the Marriage that has been so horribly Violated, is made the Argument for this Return. Our God will yet own the Marriage; and go on with all the Testimonies of Love that can be a­greeable to a Marriage; and all former offences will be forgiven and forgotten, and be as if they had never been at all. How Unchangeable the Love of our God! Because I change not, Therefore says our God, O Sinners, you are not consumed. A Goodness, at which, O Sinful Children of Men, how can we but be astonished! But with our Astonishments, how much is a Repenting Soul, having such a Mar­riage in view, to be encouraged! Well, who is the Lord that says, I Marry myself [Page 5] unto you? Truly 'Tis the Lord whose Name is JEHOVAH. Now the Son of GOD, who is the God that is the Fa­ther, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; but who becomes Incarnate in our Jesus: This is He whose Name is JEHOVAH. We have all the evidence which the O­racles of our God can give us, That the God of Israel, in the Old Testament is the same that appears in the Character of the Redeemer, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh, in the New. It is our Glorious CHRIST, who says, I Marry my self unto you.

My Doctrine that is to drop as the Rain upon you, will be this.

Our Great SAVIOUR, The Great GOD our SAVIOUR, bringing His People into a Covenant of Grace, does most graciously MARRY Himself unto them.

It is to distil as the small rain upon the tender Herb. And therefore it shall be broken into some Heart-melting Propo­sitions.

I. It is to His CHURCH in the World, the People whom He calls out of the [Page 6] World, into His Covenant, that our SA­VIOUR says, I Marry my self unto you. 'Tis the Church, that has this Dignity put upon it; Rev. XXI. 9. The Wise to the Lamb of GOD. Of the Church does our SAVI­OUR say, 'Tis the dearly Beloved of my Soul.

The Church Universal is to be first of all considered, as thus Married unto the Son of GOD. Even that whole Body of People, who come into the Hands of our SAVIOUR, that so they may glorify God, and enjoy Him forever. There is a COVE­NANT, which GOD our SAVIOUR has made with His Eternal FATHER, con­cerning a people, which he has chosen, to be the Vessels of mercy in Glory forever. In this Covenant of Redemption, GOD our SAVIOUR has engaged, That He will recover this His People out of the Ruins, which by their departure from God they are fallen into; That He will there­fore make Expiation for their offences, by the Sacrifice of Himself, and so recon­cile them unto God: And that He will then put the Fear of God into their hearts, and shew them the path of Life, and Quic­ken them to live unto God, and at last [Page 7] raise them from the dead unto Everlast­ing Life. In every Age, and in every Place, the Almighty Spirit of God, finds out these Elect, and makes them willing, that GOD their SAVIOUR should ac­complish these His Engagements for them; willing to be Sav'd, and Led, and Rul'd by this mighty SAVIOUR. The method of Grace, which the Covenant of Redemption has laid out, for our Salva­tion by a Glorious CHRIST, is brought unto us, in the Gospel of our Salvation, as a Covenant of Grace, which we are to come into. The Gospel is the Covenant of God; it brings to us a Covenant of Grace. By being made willing to have our Saviour do for us, what He has pro­mised His Father to do for His People, and be concerned for us, as our Peace-ma­ker, our Instructor, and our Governour; we come into His Covenant. The People brought into this Covenant is the Church of God. Now, unto this whole People does our dear Saviour say, I Marry my self unto you.

There is one whole Book of our BI­BLE that appears written on purpose to Represent and Celebrate, this Heavenly [Page 8] mystery. Tis the Book which we call, The CANTICLES. In that Song of Songs, written by Solomon, there is introduced a Prince, who has upon him some Re­semblance of David, the admired Father of Solomon; but yet it is in the Quality and Apparel of an High-priest that this Prince is here exhibited. And this Illus­trious Person here Marries Himself unto a Lady, with many mutual Endearments. Tis our SAVIOUR, who is the Bridegroom; 'Tis the Church which is the Bride, in this Dramatic Poem. The Emblem thus prosecuted by Solomon, is but an Enlarge­ment upon what he had learn'd from the Forty fifth Psalm, which his Father Da­vid had composed for him. From hence it is that the Jews have their curious Traditions, of the Marriage between Ti­pheret and Malcuth; between the Beauty and the Kingdom, that is to say, between the Messiah and the People that submit unto Him. We have now and then occur­ring in our Sacred Pages, the Marriage of an Hero, which is attended with cir­cumstances, that lead us to think, on our Saviour saying to His People, I Mar­ry my self unto you. The Condition of [Page 9] things between our Saviour, and the Peo­ple of His Covenant, is the Original from whence the Marriage allow'd and or­dain'd, and common among the children of Men, is Copied. But the most notable Copy taken from that Original, was the Marriage of our First Parents, in the Gar­den of God. Of that marriage, our Apo­stle speaking, presently adds; Eph. V. 32. This is a great Mystery; but I speak of Christ and the Church.

The Inchoation of this Marriage, is in this World. The Elect of God coming to say, I am the Lords, and Avouching a Glo­rious CHRIST for their God and Saviour, the Grand Affair of the Marriage is car­ried on. 'Tis come to a Contraction. But the consummation of the Marriage is in the World to come. 'Twill be at the Second Coming of our Saviour, that there will be that voice heard, as the voice of many waters, and the voice of mighty Thun­derings; Rev. XIX. 7. Let us be glad & rejoyce, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife has made herself ready. Then, then, twill be that our Saviour will present it unto Himself a Glorious Church, not having any thing that will [Page 10] be distasteful unto Him▪ Then, then 'twill be, that our Saviour will call her Heph­zibah and Beulah, because He will De­light in His Church, and it shall be Mar­ried unto Him: yea, as a Bridegroom re­joyceth over the Bride, so shall thy God Rejoyce over thee.

But as an Appendix, to this Contemp­lation, it is to be added; That a parti­cular Church, is also to be considered, as Married unto the SON of GOD. A par­ticular Church, or a Company of whom our Saviour says, Gather my Saints toge­ther unto me, those that have made a Cove­nant with me by Sacrifice: Even to such a company combined in the Evangelical Church-State, our Saviour says, I Marry my self unto you. Of such a Church, He who gathered it, said, 2 Cor. XI. 2. I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a Chaste Virgin, to CHRIST.

O Church of the Lord; Remember thy Marriage unto thy Saviour. Do nothing to grieve Him; Do not Incur His Frowns; Do not provoke Him to withdraw from thee. Be faithful in His Covenant. Observe His Institutions, with a due [Page 11] Loyalty and Purity; preserve them from Violations. Be mindful of that Charge; Psal. XLV. 11. He is thy Lord, and Worship thou Him. Thy Title shall be, An Elect Lady; yea, Thou shalt be a Kings Daughter, if thou Hearken to such Ad­monitions of GOD.

II. To every Individual Person, coming into the Church of the Living GOD, and Laying hold on His Covenant, our SAVI­OUR also says, I Marry my self unto thee. As it is in the Metaphor of a Temple. The Church in general is a Temple of GOD. And every Individual Believer is also a Living Temple; An Habitation of GOD thro' the Spirit. It is the same in the Metaphor of a Marriage. Our SAVI­OUR does Marry Himself unto the Church in general. But He does also Marry Him­self to every Individual Believer, and say to every Soul that receives Him as a SAVIOUR, what we have, Cant. IV. 8, 9. Come with me, my Spouse. Thou hast ra­vished my Heart, my Sister, my Spouse. O Sollicited Soul, When thou comest into the Church of GOD, and heartily sayst, I am willing to be Listed among the People who look for Blessedness under the Conduct [Page 12] of the LORD, who is to break the Head of the Serpent; From this Moment thy SAVIOUR Marries Himself unto thee. When thou comest into the Covenant of GOD, and heartily sayst, I am willing that GOD manifest in the Flesh of my JESUS, may produce Good Terms with Heaven for me, and may fulfil in me all the Good Pleasure of His Goodness; From this Moment thy SAVIOUR Marries Himself unto thee. It may now be said, Isai. LIV. 5. Thy Maker is thy Husband.

I am now directed and arrived unto the Management of the most Important Action, that it is possible for any among the Children of Men to be concerned in.

A Minister of the Gospel is called; Joh. III. 29. A Friend of the Bridegroom. The chief Scope, the main Work of our Ministry is, To Wooe, Oh! may we have the Wisdom and Success, to Win, the Souls of our People, for an Espousal to our only SAVIOUR. The Motion is to be now made; And, O our Dear People. Despise it not, Reject it not, Neglect not so Great Salvation. Hearken to a Friend of the Bridegroom now arguing with you. Hearken to me, that GOD may hearken to [Page 13] you another Day. Yea, Hearken, O Daugh­ter, in a fair way to be made a Daughter of GOD, and Consider, and Incline thine Ear; Forget also the Amusements of a vain World, which have kept thee at a Distance from Him who is to be thy Lord, forever to be Adored. We read of a famous Transaction; The Steward comes, and, Gen. XXIV. 35, 49, 58. He said, The Lord hath blessed my Master greatly, and he is become great; and unto his son he hath given all that he hath:—And now, if ye will deal kindly and truly with my Master, Tell me.—And they called Re­beckah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this Man? And she said, I will go. Let us now in like manner go on with our proceedings. I bring you this Ad­vice; ‘The Blessed GOD has a SON, unto whom He hath given all that He hath: He is Lord of all. It is now pro­pounded unto Thee, O Poor Soul, whe­ther thou art Willing to give thy self unto Him; Willing to have Him take Possession of thee; Willing that He should Supply thee, Instruct thee, Govern thee; & render thee Fruitful unto GOD. And now, wilt thou treat thy SAVI­OUR [Page 14] well; or Deal kindly and truly with thy self? Say, Wilt thou go, and Live with thy SAVIOUR, and Live upon Him, and Live unto Him?’ Upon thy Hearty speaking of this One Word, I will go; or, I will be the Lords!—the Point is gain'd; and thy Triumphant Song may be that; Cant. II. 16. My Beloved is mine, and I am His.

But there must be more particularity used, that we may have a distinct view of the Mystical Marriage, which is now Prosecuting; I hope, I may say, Celebra­ting, and that you may come into it.

O Our Evangelized People, Your Great SAVIOUR does make to every Soul among you, the Proposal, O Gracious and Marvellous Proposal! of an Espousal un­to Him. Your SAVIOUR is this Day fulfilling that Word; Hos. II. 16. At that Day, saith the Lord, thou shalt call me, Ishi; That is to say, My Husband. That ONE WORD heartily spoken, will assure you of His being so.

There is to be a Regular Proceedure in the Marriage. Wherefore,

First; There is the Fathers Consent in the Matter. GOD the FATHER has [Page 15] given His Consent unto it, that Thy SA­VIOUR should Marry Himself unto thee. It is a Match of the Fathers making. We read, Mat. XXII. 2. A King made a Mar­riage for His Son. 'Tis the Marriage of thy SAVIOUR, unto Thee, O thou Soul now under Invitations unto thy SAVI­OUR. Of our SAVIOUR we find it said, Unto us a Son is given; His Name shall be called, Wonderful. GOD the Father has given His own Son, to be Married unto thee; A Thing that is Wonderful! He is Thy Father too; Tho' thou hast Re­belled against Him; wandred from Him. Return, O Prodigal, Return unto thy Fa­ther. Then does He also give thee unto thy SAVIOUR. Thou wilt be found One of those, of whom thy SAVIOUR says, Joh. XVII. 9. Those whom Thou hast given me. And that thou mayst be Mar­ried unto thy SAVIOUR, 'tis a Thing which our Heavenly Father does devise means to bring it about. The GOD who retains the Right of a Father over thee, and has thee at His Disposal, does Coun­tenance, Encourage, Command, thy Mar­riage unto thy SAVIOUR. None come unto the Son, except the Father draw them.

[Page 16] Secondly, Thy SAVIOUR does Offer to be unto Thee, all that the Best Hus­band in the World can be; All that can be expected from a SAVIOVR Espous'd unto thee. What thy SAVIOUR does in the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed GOD speak unto thee, is This; I would Marry my self unto thee. How amply 'tis Ex­pressed! Hos. II. 19, 20. I will Espouse thee unto me for ever, yea, I will Espouse thee unto me, in Justice and in Judgment, and in Kindness, and in Mercies. I will even Espouse thee unto me in Faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.

But wilt thou more Particularly pon­der on the Heart-breaking Tenders of thy SAVIOUR, who is now Espousing of thee! Oh! Hearken to them; And at the very Moment when thy SAVIOUR Tenders Himself with His Blessings to thee, reply unto Him; O my SAVIOUR, I Accept thee; Be thou unto me, such a SAVIOUR. The Thing admits of no De­liberation.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it: ‘Shall I make thee One with me; so much One with me, that in my Fulfilling of all Righteousness, and in my Rising from the [Page 17] Dead, and in my Sitting in the Heavenly Places, and in my Receiving the Promises of GOD for the Righteous, Thou shalt be considered as with me in the doing of it.’ This is according to what we read of the Believer; Rom. XVI. 7. He is in CHRIST.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I bring thee to have my Father for thy Father? This is according to what He speaks to the Believer; Joh. XX. 17. I ascend unto my Father and your Father.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I invest thee with my Unsearchable Riches? Bring thee to be a Joynt-Heir with me, and Inherit all things! This is according to what He speaks to the Believer; Prov. VIII. 18. With me are durable Riches.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I Feed thee? Yea, Feast thee with Meat indeed, with Drink indeed; With the Food of Angels? This is according to what we read of the Believer;’ Rev. VII. 17. The Lamb shall feed them, & shall lead them unto living fountains of Waters.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I Cloath thee with the Garments of Praise? Defend thee with a Durable Cloathing, [Page 18] and Adorn thee with a Covering of spangled Robes, which are inlaid with Golds This is according to what we read of the Believer; Rev. XIX. 8. Granted, to be array'd in fine Linnen, clean & white; the fine Linnen of the Righteousness of the Saints.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I Instruct thee, Direct thee, Advise thee, and help thee always to know the Things of thy Peace? This is according to what He speaks to the Believer; Psal. XXXII. 8. I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine Eye.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I be a Shield unto thee, and shelter thee from every thing that may threaten to injure thee?’ This is according to what He speaks to the Believer; Zech. II. 8. He that toucheth you, toucheth the Apple of mine Eye.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I dwell with thee, and make thee sensi­ble that I am near unto thee; and by the influences of my Grace render thee Fruitful unto GOD; Zealous of Good Works, and Fruitful in them?’ This is according to what He speaks to the Belie­ver; [Page 19] Hos. XIV. 8. From me is thy fruit found.

Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; Shall I mul­tiply the Expressions of my Love unto thee? ‘Shall I give thee to find that I have meant unto Good, all that occurs in my Dispensations towards thee? Shall I Comfort thee under all thy Sor­rows with speaking of those Good Words unto thee, which will gladden an Heart s [...]ouping with heaviness? This is accor­ding to what He speaks to the Believer; Jer. XXXI. 3. I have loved thee with an Everlasting Love: Therefore with Loving kindness have I drawn thee.

Once more; Thy SAVIOUR Offers it; ‘Shall I bring thee into my Fathers House, and the King bring thee into His Chambers, and then fill thee with Joy Unspeakable and full of Glory, from wondrous, endless, inconceivable de­monstrations of my Love unto thee; and shall I give thee to enjoy all the Spi­ritual Blessings of the Heavenly Places? This is according to what He speaks to the Believer; Joh. XIV. 2. In my Fathers House there are many Mansions. I go to prepare a Place for you.

O most Heart-melting Proposal! How [Page 20] Vicious, How Obdurate must be the Heart, which will not hearken to it! The Heart which will not comply, like an Abigail, when an Espousal unto a Da­vid was proposed unto her; Let me be Received among the Servants of my Lord!

This brings on the Finishing Stroke.

Thirdly. Upon ONE WORD Hear­tily spoken in Compliance with the Offers of thy SAVIOUR, the Best Husband in the World is become Thine; Thy Espousal to thy SAVIOUR, is become Unquestio­nable. Thy SAVIOUR saying, I would Marry my self unto thee; Let thy Heart now speak that ONE WORD unto Him, Do it, O my SAVIOUR! 'Tis done imme­diately. The Echo's of Devotion to the proffers of the Espousal, will settle the matter. We find such Echo's of Devo­tion; in Psal. XXXVII. 8. Seek ye my Face: On hearing this my Heart did speak to thee; Thy Face, O Thou ETERNAL God, Thy Face now I will seek. Verily, GOD is not only Sought, but also Found, by an Heart making such an Answer as that ONE WORD unto the Demands of Piety. Thy SAVIOUR offering to be Thine, and to make Thee His Own, Let [Page 21] thy Heart answer this ONE WORD unto Him, O my SAVIOUR, Be Thou unto me all that thou dost offer to be: Thou hast now found Him, and art sure of Him.

That ONE WORD, the Hearty speak­ing whereof, will Espouse thee to thy SAVIOUR, and secure thy Eternal hap­piness; I will set before my Hearers the Dispositions which it is to be spoke withal.

And, First; Shall not thy Mind be struck and fill'd with Admiration at the Grace of thy SAVIOUR; That ever such an One should say, I would Marry my self unto thee! The Handmaid of the Lord said; Luk. I. 43. Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me! But how much more mayst thou say, Whence is this to me, that my Lord and SAVIOUR should Espouse Himself to me! Who, Oh! Who is the LORD, that would Espouse Himself unto thee? A LORD, who is Lord of Lords, and Lord of all! The LORD of Hosts; and One who has All Power in Heaven and Earth given unto Him! A LORD, who is King of Kings, and the King of Glory! A LORD, who is Worshipped by all the [Page 22] Angels, and who Humbles Himself to be­hold the Things in the Heavens; What then, to Espouse Himself unto sorry things upon Earth? Yea, a LORD who is Equal with GOD, and very GOD; No less than the Being who is Over all, GOD Blessed forever. For such an One to say unto us, I would Marry my self unto thee! O Peerless Goodness! O Matchless Mercy! O Unparallel'd Condescension! But, then, who art Thou, O Despicable Crea­ture, who art Thou, That ever this Glo­rious LORD should Espouse thee unto Him? A sorry, silly, sinful Creature! For such a Monarch to Marry such a Beg­gar; One so wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked! For One so Beautiful in all Perfections, to Marry one full of such loathsome Infirmities, and shocking Deformities! For Him to see thee cast out unto the Loathing of thy Person, and yet now be the Time of His Love unto thee! Oh! When and where can we find a Parallel! Soul, Admire the Grace of thy SAVIOUR. With the Transports of an Admiring Soul, Cry out, O my SA­VIOUR, That ever Thou shouldest Espouse unto thy self, a foolish and a filthy Creature, [Page 23] worthy of nothing but the utmost Abhorrence, and a Condemnation to a Devouring Fire, to Everlasting Burnings! I am amazed! I am amazed!

Secondly; Tho' the Hearty speaking of ONE WORD, will Espouse thee to thy SAVIOUR, yet sensibly feel, yet sen­sibly own, thy self unable to speak that One Word, until thy SAVIOUR shall please to enable thee. The Faith, by which we come into an Espousal to our SAVIOVR, has this very truly affirmed of it, It is the Gift of GOD. Soul, If thou wouldst have it given thee, the way is to count it so. Wouldst thou be Espoused unto thy SAVIOUR? Thy SAVIOUR must then hear that cry from thee, Cant. I. 4. O Do Thou draw me. In the Day when thy SAVIOUR does Espouse thee, He must also Quicken thee. Thou art lying Dead in Trespasses and Sins, putri­fying in thy Sepulchre, when thy SA­VIOUR says, I would Marry my self unto thee. Until He do Himself bring thee into the Life of GOD, and speak a Word of Life into thee, thou art not fit for His Embraces. What canst thou do till He Quicken thee? The first Effect of thy [Page 24] Quickenning from Him, will be, thy being made willing to be Espoused unto Him. Such is thy Corruption, such is thy Ma­lignity, such is the Enmity of thy Car­nal Mind against thy SAVIOUR, & such an Aversion hast thou for an Espousal unto Him, that tho' the speaking of ONE WORD would bring it about, yet thou wilt never speak it, until He bring thee to it, until He help thee to it. Lydia was not Espoused unto her SAVIOUR, until, The Lord opened the Heart of Ly­dia. Prostrate in the Dust, cry from thence unto thy SAVIOUR; O my SAVIOUR, subdue my Will; give a New Heart unto me; Let it be a Day of thy Power with me, that shall make me willing to be Thine. I perish, I perish, if thou art not stronger than I, & if thou do not prevail over me.

Lastly. A Word of CONSENT unto the Espousal propounded by thy SAVI­OUR; 'Tis the Hearty speaking of that ONE WORD, that is now waited for, now urged for. Of them, whom our SAVIOUR does Espouse unto Himself, there is this Account; Psal. CX. 3. They are a Willing People. Now ONE WORD that shall really declare thee to be One [Page 25] of that Willing People; upon the Propo­sal of thy SAVIOUR, this ONE WORD, I am Willing; This will determine all. O Soul Wooed by thy SAVIOUR, Utter that ONE WORD, Luk. I. 38. Behold the Handmaid of the Lord; Be it unto me according to thy Word. That ONE WORD, will possess thee of the Best Thing that Heaven can give unto thee!

Thy SAVIOUR has designs of Good upon thee. ONE WORD giving the Consent of thy Soul, unto these Designs, does Espouse thee to Him. It was the Song; Isai. 26. 12. O Lord, Thou hast wrought all our Works in us, and for us. Thy SA­VIOUR does propound; Shall I do in thee and for thee, all the works that must be done, to bring thee into Peace with GOD, and help thee to live unto Him? Heartily speak that ONE WORD, O my SAVI­OUR, Do all thy Works about me! Thou art now Espous'd unto Him. Thy SA­VIOUR is made Wisdom and Righteousness and Holiness, and Redemption, to those to whom He is Espoused. Heartily speak that ONE WORD; O my SAVIOUR, Be Thou all of this unto me! Thou art now brought into the Espousal. Thy SAVI­OUR [Page 26] prepares and strengthens to do the will of GOD, those to whom He is Espoused, working in them that which is well-pleasing in the sight of GOD. Heartily speak that ONE WORD, O my SAVIOUR, Do thou for me all of this! Thou art now brought into the Espousal.

But then thy Resignation of thy self unto thy SAVIOUR must accompany it. In ONE WORD Resign thy self unto Him: Resolve to be His; Engage to be For Him and not for another. Thy SAVI­OUR, willing to be Thine, does also propound This; Art thou willing to be Mine? And now let that ONE WORD heartily come from thee; Psal. CXIX. 94. Lord, I am Thine, save me. The Point is gained. Yea, but in this Act of Resig­nation there must and will be nothing less than thy very All included. Resign thy Spirit unto Him, and say, O my SA­VIOUR, I desire that all the Faculties of my Soul may be filled with thee, and used for thee. Resign thy Body unto Him, and say, O my SAVIOUR, I desire that my Earthly Tabernacle may be a Temple for thee, and all the Organs of it, the Instru­ments of thy Righteousness. Resign to [Page 27] Him all thy Possessions, all thy Capacities▪ and say, O my SAVIOUR, I desire that all my Talents may be ever imployed according to thy Direction, and for the service of thy Kingdom. All this is in that ONE WORD, Lord, I am Thine. But Remember, Thou art as well to Renounce as to Receive. Taking thy SAVIOUR for thy Espoused Lord, all other Lords and Lovers are to be shaken off: All Creatures to be aban­doned. No more must any Creatures be to thee, what is to be found in a Glori­ous CHRIST alone: And the Tempta­tions of Satan must be no longer hear­kened unto. Thy Soul must now say, Lord, Other Lords, even the Flesh, & the World, and the Devil, have had a dominion over me; But now Thou only shalt be my Lord and my God. Thy Language must be that; Hos. XIV. 8. What have I any more to do with Idols?. This ONE WORD has tied the Indissoluble Knot. Thou art without any more ado Espoused unto thy SAVIOUR.

Finally; Thy SAVIOUR makes His Demand upon thee, Prov. XXIII. 26. Give me thy Heart. Speak now that ONE WORD, O my SAVIOUR, I Give my Heart [Page 28] unto thee. Upon this ONE WORD, there will come the Great Voice out of the Tem­ple of Heaven from the Throne, like that which is to come on another occasion, Saying, It is done! It is done! Thou art the Soul, of which I may say, Rejoyce over her, O ye Heavens, for the Good that is done unto her. Thou art the Soul, to which there is heard that Word from the Heavens, Arise, and shine, for thy Light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee!

There was once a Marriage proposed, wherein the Person concerned, had it said of him, Ruth. III. 18. The man will not be at rest, until he have finished the thing this Day. The Mystical Marriage now proposed should have such a Dispatch given to it. Oh! Be not at Rest, but on this very Day let the Thing be Finished. Here, Here, if ever, Happy is the Wooing that is not long a doing! To forward the matter, Oh! that these EXPOSTULA­TIONS may have their Efficacy!

Expost. I. The SAVIOUR who so kindly stoups as to say, I Marry my self unto you; Is He not a SAVIOUR infinitely worthy to be Adored and Embraced! Infinitely [Page 29] worthy to be with a Soul full of Loves, & Wonders, and Praises, accepted of? What can there be Desirable in any Person, which you cannot see in the Glorious Person, that now does be speak your Espousal to Him? Is He not Fairer than the Children of Men; Yea, Altogether Lovely! Are there not all Treasures of Wisdom & Knowledge in Him? Is He not the Heir of all Things? Can any thing be so Good as this Lamb of GOD! Oh! How Great is His Goodness, and how Great is His Beauty! Is He not a Great Kings, whose Name is Venerable? Is He not gone into Heaven, where He is on the Right Hand of GOD, Angels being made subject unto Him! And is there any Number of His Armies? Is He not the SON of GOD; and the Creator whom an Eternal Power and Godhead must be ascribed unto? Has He not with a Condescension forever to be marvelled a [...] already Married Himself un­to our Nature? Verily He took not on Him the Nature of Angels; But He has taken our Nature, when He took the Man JESUS, to be One Person with Himself. And Oh! the L [...]ve by which He has Commended Him­self unto us, in that while we were Sinners He has died for us! Ah! Perishing Soul; [Page 30] Has thy SAVIOUR so Loved thee, as to Give Himself for thee; And wilt thou not so Love Him, as to Give Thy self to Him? Has the Love of thy SAVIOUR to Thee been Strong as Death; made Him willing to Dye for thee? And hast thou not so much Love to Him, as will make thee wil­ling to Live with Him? How, How canst thou Resist the Overtures that such a Glo­rious Lord makes for thy Espousal to Him!

Expost. II. Will it not be a Joy unto the Heart of your SAVIOUR, to see you Es­poused unto Him? Of Solomon we read, Cant. III. 11. He was Crowned, (A Crown on the Head of the Bridegroom, was of Old one of the Matrimonial Ceremonies,) in the Day of his Espousals, & in the Day of the Gladness of his Heart. Soul, May this be the Day of thy Espousal to thy SAVIOUR, 'twil be the Day of the Gladness of His Heart. Oh! The Satisfaction with which thy SA­VIOUR will say upon it! Now do I see the Travail of my Soul, and what my Blood has purchased! Now do I see another added unto the Children of GOD, & unto the Num­ber of them that shall be saved! Now is my Father Glorified, & I have one Object more for me to do Good unto; the Good in the doing [Page 31] whereof my Delight is Infinite! And now, will not thy Heart have a Share in the Gladness! Oh! Give thy self unto thy SAVIOUR, This Hour! This Hour! 'Twill be the Best Hour that ever thou saw! The Hour, that will bring thee into a State, that will see a Succession of none but Good Things for Eternal Ages.

Expost. III. Can you Comprehend the Blessedness, which your Espousal, to your SAVIOUR will bring you to? No; 'Tis Incomprehensible. O Soul Espoused unto thy SAVIOUR, How Enriched art thou in the Enjoyment of a SAVIOUR, who Lives for ever, and Whose Dominion is an Everlasting Dominion, and who does ac­cording to His Will, in the Army of Hea­ven, & among the Inhabitants of the Earth! A SAVIOUR to whom are due those Doxologies; Thine, O Lord, is the Greatness, and the Power, & the Glory; For all that is in Heaven, & in the Earth, is Thine: Both Ri­ches & Honour come of thee, & thou Reign­est over all! Art thou not now Espoused unto a SAVIOUR, with whom thou wilt have that Portion; 2 Pet. I. 4. Exceeding Great & Precious Promises? 'Tis a SAVI­OUR who will be a Sun & Shield for [Page 32] those that are Espoused unto Him; will give Grace, and give Glory to them, and withhold no Good Thing from those to whom He has Espoused Himself. If the LORD Himself be Thine, what need of any more to fix thee in the most assured, the most Finished Blessedness? An All suffi­cient GOD is He, whom thou art Espous'd unto: And thou mayst sing at that rate; The LORD is my Portion; I have a goodly Heritage! Truly, Thou art Espous'd unto a SAVIOUR, who is Able to Do for thee, far beyond all that thou canst Ask or Think. But having Espoused Himself unto thee, will He not be as Willing as He is Able to do for thee! Oh! What will He do for thee! What will He do! All Words are swallowed up. What He will do? 'Tis Unutterable! 'Tis Unutterable! Oh! What Marvellous Loving Kindness will He show thee, in the Strong City that He will bring thee to!

Expost. IV. Upon your Espousal to your SAVIOUR, what Exultations, what Ac­clamations will there be among the An­gels of GOD? If it be as we read, Luk. XV. 10. There is Joy in the presence of the Angels of GOD, over one Sinner that Re­penteth: [Page 33] Be sure, the Espousal of a Soul unto GOD, must produce a Joy among His Angels. 'Tis the Repenting Sinner, that is Espoused by our SAVIOUR. The Angels of GOD are Spectators of what is done for the Espousal of a Soul unto their Lord; and the Witnesses of the Transaction that is carried on. O Soul Espoused unto thy SAVIOUR, Thou art a Spectacle to Angels. And, Oh! What a Gladsome Spectacle! Upon the view of thy Closure with thy SAVIOUR, the Morning-Stars will sing together, & the Sons of GOD will shout for Joy. An Epithalamium will be heard among them, of that Importance, Glory to GOD in the Highest; for the Good Will now passing between Him, & the Children of Men!

And, O Thou Spouse of the Almighty KING, How ready will the bright Angels be, to act in Ministrations for such an Heir of Salvation! Always on the Wing to do thee Good Offices! With what Alacrity will they attend thee, Befriend thee, Carry thee in both Hands like tender Nurses, and be thy Guardians? Will such a Thought as this, do nothing with thee? How much wilt thou then deserve to be a Prey to Devils? Yea, Thou shalt become a Prey [Page 34] to the Terrible Ones; a Lawful Captive to them.

Expost. V. Is there no Danger in the Delay of such a Matter, as your Espousal to your SAVIOUR? Your SAVIOUR does insist upon a speedy Answer, a present Ans­wer; He is upon those Terms with you; Heb. III. 7. To Day if ye will hear His Voice. O Soul under the Invitations of a SAVI­OUR; 'Tis insisted on, Wilt thou NOW, this very Day, come into an Espousal to thy SAVIOUR? Yea, Dost thou at this Moment, I say, At this Moment! Give thy self up unto thy SAVIOUR, and say, O my SAVIOUR, Take Possession of me! Cer­tainly, There is nothing more Uncertain to thee, than the Time of thy Departure out of this World. Thou mayst say, I know not the Day of my Death. But if the Dark Day come upon thee, before thou art Es­poused unto thy SAVIOUR, how forlorn, how undone art thou! How canst thou escape those Hands, which it will be a fearful thing to fall into? Or, suppose thou mayst yet have Goods laid up here for many Years; To put off a Compliance with a SAVIOUR, who does Beseech thee to be Espoused unto Him, and be Recon­ciled [Page 35] unto GOD, will not this Dilatory tri­fling in a Thing of such Concernment, Grieve and Vex His Holy Spirit, & provoke Him to Depart from you? But, Oh! Wo unto them, if I depart from them, saith the Lord! There will be nothing done to purpose, in thy Espousal to thy SAVIOUR; but thou wilt be Damn'd unto Eternal Blindness and Hardness; and go on under a Spirit of Slumber, unto a Damnation that Slumbers not.

Expost. VI. If you will not give a Right and a Fit Answer to the Motion which your SAVIOUR makes of your Espousal to Him, I Pray, think on some Answer to an Awful Question, with which I am now to come upon you; An Awful Question, which indeed all the Angels in Heaven can give no Answer to! Tis that Awful Question, Heb. II. 3. How shall we escape, if we neglect so Great Salvation? I must say unto you; See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For, if you Refuse an Espousal unto a SAVIOUR, who does now sollicit for it, what can you expect, when He shall be Revealed from Heaven, with His mighty Angels, in Flaming Fire, to take Ven­geance on them that obey not His Gospel? [Page 36] Yea, If you Refuse and Rebel, you shall be devoured, by that Fiery Indignation of GOD which is to Devour His Adversaries; The Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it For you to think on the inexpressible Glories, whereto our SAVIOUR will then ad­vance those whom He has Espoused unto Himself; and feel your selves banished into intollerable Torments, with the De­vils to whom you would now rather give your selves than to your SAVIOUR: But then to think, My seasonable speaking of ONE WORD would have saved me from all of this! Oh! The Regret, Oh! The Re­morse, Oh! the Unsufferable Anguish, that your F [...]rsaken Souls must be thrown into! Oh! Think; What shall I do, when the SAVIOUR whom I now refuse, riseth up and cometh down, and when the GOD whose Visits of Love I now refuse, does Visit in His Wrath, What shall I answer Him?

Expost. VII. O Our YOUNG PEOPLE, Can it be Too soon, for you to come into an Espousal unto our SAVIOUR? Too soon for you to become United unto Him, who sends this Message unto you, I Love them that Love me, & they that seek me Early shall find me? Our SAVIOUR said unto [Page 37] some; Jer. II. 2. I remember thee, the kind­ness of thy Youth, the Love of thine Espou­sals. Oh! That our YOUNG PEOPLE may be prevailed withal, in their Youth, to have a Kindness for their SAVIOUR, and be drawn by His Love into an Espou­sal unto Him! Child, Thy SAVIOUR puts it unto thee; Art thou willing to be mine? Reply to Him, Lord, I am Thine! O make me willing to be Thine! Thy SA­VIOUR will say upon it, O my Dove, I hear thy Voice, & sweet is thy Voice unto me!

A very Prudent Constitution once made in the Low Countries, That none should be Married, until they could recite all the Answers in the Catechism used in the Chur­ches there, produced as Well-Catechized a People as ever was in the World. Oh! How well would it be for Thousands of Souls, if they would order it for Them­selves, Never to Marry any one until they are first Espoused unto their SAVIOUR!

Such of you as are not yet Married un­to a Neighbour; yea, Such of you as are not of the Age for Marriage; How Wise­ly, How Jus [...]ly, How Reasonably would it be done of you, to take up this Purpose; I will be first Married unto my SAVIOUR, [Page 38] before I will allow any other Marriage to be talked of! It may be, if you so S [...]ught first the Kingdom of GOD, you might have Other Things added unto you, in better Circum­stances. This then is the Demand with which I come unto you; Jer. 3. 4. Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, Thou art the Guide of my Youth? In becom­ing thy Husband, O Soul, He becomes the Guide of thy Youth. With a Consenting Soul, Now Oh! make Him so!

I have done.

And now, a Soul come into an Espousal with a Lovely SAVIOUR, most certainly will above all things desire & study to Please Him. O Soul Espoused unto the SON of GOD, By this Mark, Thou shalt know that thou art so; Know that thou art passed from Death to Life. There will nothing in this World so powerfully deter thee from every thing that the Light of GOD in thee shall condemn as an Evil thing, as this, My SAVIOUR will be offended at it! Nothing will be unto thee such a powerful incentive & perswasive to Patient continuance in all well-doing, as this, My SAVIOUR will be gratify'd with it!

Yea, The Espousal will oblige thee, to [Page 39] press after the most Consummate Union with thy SAVIOUR, and thou wilt never be at ease in thy mind, until thou art entirely ONE with thy SAVIOUR; ONE in Will, ONE in Aim, ONE in Interest; un­til thou feel the Blood of thy SAVIOUR warming thee into a Resemblance of His Holiness in all manner of Conversation, and running warm in thy Veins; until thy SAVIOUR become All in All unto thee, and thou being Dead with Him, and unto every thing but Him, HE ONLY shall be thy Life; the Strength of thy Heart, and thy P [...]rtion for ever.

Oh! May such Glorious Attainments, be more aspir'd unto!


BUT it will be a very proper Thing to make an Improvement of the ESPOUSAL between our SAVIOUR and His People, for the Direction of Persons in the Mar­ried State, what should be their Carriage towards one another in it.

When the Gracious ENDS for which the Married State is Instituted, have c [...]me into an Enumeration, the Servants of GOD have demanded a Room for this; To be [Page 40] a Lively Exhibition of the Union between our SAVIOUR and His People. It is im­possible for Married Persons, more com­pendiously and more effectually to con­sult their own Welfare, & make their Yoke easy & pleasant unto them, than by per­petual endeavours to Exhibit what passes between a Glorious CHRIST, & the Church, whereof He says, I Marry my self unto it.

And indeed, the Crime of Adultery [I have seen an Horrible Thing, saith the Lord!] has in this thing a very singular Aggra­vation. As it is the blackest and vilest Injustice that can be committed, and a most Flagrant Perjury violating a most solemn Oath of GOD; So it is an abomi­nable Breach upon that Conformity to the Union between our SAVIOUR and His People, where of Marriage is Ordained for an Exhibition. Shall not I visit for such Things, saith the Lord, & shall not my Soul he avenged on the Married, who do such Things? Indeed, tho' some Countries make it Capital, yet for the most part, An Evil & Adulterous Generation so prevails, that the Crime rarely meets with any due Punishment among the Children of Men, But GOD will not let this wickedness [Page 41] of them who forget the Hand joyned in Hand, go unpunished. 'Tis marvellous to see, how Adultery is punished by the more immediate Providence of a Holy and a Righteous GOD, who of all the secret Wickedness, I know it, & am a Witness of it, saith the Lord! The Criminals are pursued in their Estate. A Fire, one can scarce imagine, How, does Consume their Increase. They are followed with one strange Impoverishment after another upon them. They are punished in their Offspring. The Hope of their Family is cut off by praemature Mortality; or Lives to consume their Eyes & grieve their Hearts. They are punished, with a wounding disho­nour on their Name, & a Reproach that is never to be wiped away. Into what a Bed of Tribulation, does the LORD, who says of such Things, I hate them! by'nd by throw these Malefactors! Their Hearts are first prodigiously Hardened; but afterwards they fall into Terrors of GOD. Anon, with & from the Impure Flames that were ever glowing in them here, they go down to Eternal Burnings. Behold the Justice of Heaven in all of this. The Affront given to a Glorious CHRIST, in the Crime, is [Page 42] enough to procure all of this; Great Plagues and of long continuance.

The Principal Direction for a Good Car­riage in the Married State is that; Eph. V. 24, 25. As the Church is subject unto CHRIST, so let Wives be unto their own Husbands, in every Thing. Husbands, Love your Wives even as CHRIST also has loved the Church. I do not stay upon the Obser­vation, That the Duty of the Wife is here, as elsewhere prescribed before that of the Husband; Because there may be more of Difficulty in Her Duty than in His; And, Because His cheerful doing of His Duty, will very much depend upon Her doing of Hers. But this I observe; The most Comprehensive prescription that can be given, for the Duties of the Married State, is in this One Word; Conform to what passes between the Blessed JESUS, & His Espoused People. Of Enoch we read, He walked with GOD, and he begat Sons and Daughters. The Married, who continually Think, What passes between my SAVIOUR, and the Church, which having Loved as His own He Loves unto the End?—These Walk with GOD in their Marriage, and thro their Pilgrimage. Here, Here is an [Page 43] admirable sense of Marrying in the Lord; Even to Marry with an Eye unto what passes between the LORD, & His Beloved; and Regulate the whole Conduct of the Married Life, with an Imitation of it. And where is the Wit, that can soar high enough, Ad Enarrandam Faelicitatem hu­jus Matrimonii; to tell, what an Happy Pair it is that is United in such a Marriage!

Many Counsils have been given, and should be taken for a good Carriage in the Married State; but this is the chief of them all, and they are all most curi­ously Summ'd up in this, and the Work is cut short in Righteousness with it. My Friends, Consider how your SAVIOUR treats His Church; consider how the Church treats her SAVIOUR; and Conform unto it; Oh! Treat one another accordingly.

Having left with you this ONE Admo­nition of the Lord, I need say no more; It will be enough if I consign the work of applying it, over to another Preacher, which is always attending upon you. CONSCIENCE hearken'd unto, will do the rest. CONSCIENCE, Do thine Office.

Let the HUSBAND often consider; ‘How does my SAVIOUR Love His Church, [Page 44] and Receive it, and Value it, as the pre­cious Gift of His Father to Him!’

With what a Favourable Eye doth my SAVIOUR Look on His Church, & what a Fellowship with Him does He bring her to!

What Gifts does my SAVIOUR pre­sent His Church withal; Above all Giv­ing Himself unto her!

Is not He always Doing something or other to Testify His Love unto her? Yea, what is there that He is not willing to Do for her? He has even Dy'd for her.

How kindly does my SAVIOUR speak unto His Church! Good words, Comforta­ble words!

How careful is my SAVIOUR, to provide for His Church, all that may be needful and useful for her!

How full of Compassion is my SAVI­OUR to His Church, in all the Distresses that come upon her!

How notably does my SAVIOUR ap­pear to plead the cause of His Church, when Harms are like to be done unto her!

What means does my SAVIOUR use for His Church, that she may have the knowledge which may be for her Advan­tage, and her Ornament?

If my SAVIOUR see any Thing in His [Page 45] Church, that it were to be wish'd were otherwise, how wisely, how kindly with what Suitable Remedies does He pursue the Healing of it? And how does His Love cover a multitude of Sins?

Above all, How much does my SAVI­OUR make it His Concern, that His Church may be full of God; Filled with all the Fulness of God?

Now, go do likewise.

Let the WIFE often consider.

How does the CHURCH Love her SAVIOUR! None in all the World so dear unto her!

How lothe is the CHURCH to Be or to Do any thing that may be grievous, to her SAVIOUR? How griev'd if any thing in her have been so?

But, Oh! the Pleasure that she takes in every thing that gratifies Him!

How ready is the CHURCH, to com­ply with the will of her SAVIOUR? De­lighting to do thy will, O God!

What Contentment has the CHURCH, with whatever Condition her SAVI­OUR does order for her?

How tender is the CHURCH of what belongs unto her SAVIOUR? what her tenderness for all that He sets a value on!

[Page 46] In-fine; If the CHURCH has enter­tained any Jealousie, about the Love that her SAVIOUR bears unto her, & said, My God has forgotten me; how ready is she anon to see her error in it!

Now go do likewise.

A Marriage carried on, with such a Regard unto the Second Adam in it; what a Rare Course is herein taken, to abate, and prevent, much of the Curse, which every Marriage in this World, is likely to be more or less Encumbred & Embittered withal! What a Rare Course is taken, that instead of cause to have it said, It is Good that a Man should not touch a Marriage, it shall still hold Good, It is not Good for Man to be alone!

What a rare course is taken that the Marriage may have all the Gracious Ends of it answered! Yea, What Mira­cles will be wrought in and for a Mar­riage which thus has the presence of our JESUS at it! By such PIETY, My Friends, you will also prepare your selves for that Higher State in which they Marry not, nor are given in Marriage, but are Equal to the Angels of GOD.

Jer. XXXI. 32.‘I was an Husband unto them, saith the Lord.’

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