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and to you,
lieveth in the Son of God, hath everlasting life.” Thus, you see what a glorious, honourable, and excellent person our Kinsman, the Avenger of our blood, is, who offers to be married to you. O sirs, who would not match with him, who would not reckon it their greatest honour to be brought under a marriage-relation to him?
Mot. 3. To encourage your consent to marry your Kinsman, the Avenger of your blood, consider what he will do for you,
marry, him; he will “ restore to you what he took not away," and will do that for you
which the law could not do, and which the whole world of angels and men could not but do, but himself only.
1st, He will restore the beautiful image of God upon you which was defaced through the contagious poison of the old serpent. Thou art become black like hell by lying among the devil's pots, of an Ethiopian hue; but if thou wilt marry thy Kinsman, he will make you beautiful through his own comeliness, the beauty of the Lord thy God will be put upon thee, so that thou shalt be like the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and thy feathers with yellow gold.”
2dly, If thou wilt marry thy Kinsman and Avenger, O sinner, he will restore thy title to the lost and mortgaged inheritance. Thou lost thy title that moment thy father Adam eat of the forbidden fruit, and by his sin thou art become an heir of hell and wrath ; but by consenting to this better Husband, thy claim and title to the inheritance shall be set upon a better footing than it was at first; for thou shalt be “an heir of God, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.” You kņow the wife by marriage is interested in her husband's estate; so here.
3dly, As the foundation of thy title to the inheritance, he will restore to thee a perfect law of righteousness, by which thou shalt be put in case to look all accusers and accusations in the face. Thou lost thy righteousness in the first Adam, but in Christ, thy Kinsman, thou comest to be clothed with the righteousness of God. Adam's righteousness was his clothing and ornament, and so soon as ever he lost it, he and all his posterity became naked; but thy Kinsman will array thee “with the garments of salvation, and with the robes of righteousness;" Christ gives his bride her marriage-robe, she has not a rag of her own to cover her nakedness.
4thly, Marry thy Kinsman, and he will clear all thy debts thou owest to the law and justice of God; for the power of pardon is in his hand : 6 1, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
5thly, He will heal all thy diseases and wounds. Thou art naturally “ lying in thy blood,” like the man that fell into his
enemies' hands between Jerusalem and Jericho ; but if thou wilt take thy Kinsman for thy husband, he will heal all thy diseases; for his name is JEHOVAH Rophi, and at length he will present thee to his father “ without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing."
6thly, Marry thy Kinsman, and he will manage all thy concerns for thee, whether in heaven above, or in the earth beneath. Hast thou any business at the high court above? Thy Kinsman will manage that; for he is “our Advocate with the Father.” Hast thou any affairs on earth with which thou art perplexed and entangled ?: Thy Kinsman will manage these also for thee; for he has said, that "all things shall work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose;" and he bids bis
spouse cast all her care upon him. 7thly, Marry your Kinsman, and he will provide you a large jointure. Although the spouse of Christ contract nothing with him but debt, yet such is his liberal love to her, that he provides her in a whole kingdom: “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." He provides her in a jointure-house, where he and she shall dwell for ever:' “go to prepare a place for you: In my Father's house are many mansions.” In a word, he makes over himself and his whole fulness, which is piore than hea. ven and earth, and the fulness of both. O shall not all this prevail with you to join hands with your Kinsman, the Avenger of your blood. Mot. 4. By way of motive, will you consider that the
purpose of marriage, on the part of this glorious Kinsman, is intimated and proclaimed. We who are ministers, as friends of the Bridegroom, proclaim it as with sound of trumpet upon the house-tops, in the tops of the high places of Zion. Be it known to all men, that the Son of God, the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, is content to be wedded and married to every one of the posterity of Adam, that has a mind to join hands with him. O sirs, will you counteract the marriage after proclamation ?
Mot. 5. Consider, that the contract is drawn, I mean the contract of the new and better covenant; yea more, the Bridegroom of souls, the kind Immanuel, he has in his own and his Father's pame signed the contract with his precious blood, for his blood is the blood of the covenant ; and by the shedding of his blood, he has a confirmed the covenant with many;" yea, he has superadded his oath, that you might have “ two immutable things" to build your faith upon. And, moreover, the contract of marriage is already attested by the “ three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word,
and the Spirit,” who all give their joint testimony to the bargain.
Mot. 6. Consider, that this contract of the new covenant of grace and promise is endorsed to you, to let you know, it
, is no vicious intromission for you to put your hand to it in a way of believing: “ To you is the word of this salvation sent: The promise is unto you, and to your seed, and to all that are afar off.” The promise is left to you, and we that are ministers are sent to open the contents of it; to tell you its freedom, of its fulness, of its comely order and stability, and to lay it in broad band before you, requiring you to subscribe with the hand of faith, saying, “ I am the Lord's.”
Mot. 7. Consider, that you have so far given your consent already to this glorious Kinsman, that he should be your Husband, and
spouse and bride, that you cannot retract without perjury and adultery. When a woman has given her hand to a man before witnesses, and said with her mouth, that she takes such a man for her husband, promising to be faithful to him unto death; we reckon that woman married in the sight of the world; and it is not lawful for her to dispose of herself to another man, without being guilty of perjury in breaking the marriage-oath; and if she join herself to another, she is an adulteress. Well, sirs, thus far is the bare gain gone between Christ and every one of you (I pray you consider it, for this is a matter of the greatest moment,) you are already married to Christ. You have consented to be, his, and not another's, in baptism, you was then dedicated and devoted to him; and have you not many times made open profession of the name of Christ ? Do you not all own him as your Saviour, as your “ Prophet, Priest, and King," before the world? Have you not been at a communion-table? Are you not called Christians after him, as a woman is called by the name of her husband? Well, do not all these make marriage between him and you? Are you after all this at liberty to follow other lords and lovers? I own indeed, that, many, many multitudes in the visible church, go all these lengths, who yet are never married to him in their hearts, and who are joined to their idols inwardly. But whether you said it with your hearts or not, you have before the world professed, that he, and he only, shall be your Lord, and that “ other lords shall not have dominion over" you; and if your heart did not go along with your profession, you are rank hypocrites. But your professed consent makes marriage before the world, so that you stand bound by the oath of God, to be for him and not for another; and if you go after other lovers, and prostitute your souls to them, you play the harlot, as the Lord says to Israel, Jer. iii, 1. And
we find this professed and declared consent to Christ, is called marriage with the Lord in scripture, Jer. iii. 14; and urged by the Lord as an argument for their return to him; “ Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you."-And upon this ground, their idolatry and other sins fall under the charge of spiritual fornication and adultery, ver. 2: “ Thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms, and with thy wickedness.” Thus you see, that there is already a marriage-relation between Christ and you, and you cannot retract without whoredom and adultery. And, seeing you have already signed the contract of the covenant professedly before the world, why will you not sign it with your heart also, by which a man “ believeth unto righteousness?" If you do not, you deal deceitfully with God, and “cursed is the man that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully."
Mot. 8. Consider how mightily the heart of our glorious Kinsman, and Avenger of blood, is set upon a match between you. So much was his heart set upon it, that the very thoughts of it were matter of rejoicing to him before the world was made; he “ rejoiced from eternity in the habitable parts of the earth,” that is, in these parts of the earth where he saw he would get a bride. to himself among the posterity of Adam. His heart was so much upon this match, that he came, "travelling in the greatness of his strength," in order to rescue and deliver his bride; when he saw her lying with the chains of hell upon her, he flees, as upon the wings of the wind, for her relief
, crying, The day of rengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. So much is his heart set upon this match, that he is the most earnest suitor to you that ever was; he invites, he beseeches, he entreats, and obtests sinners to give the consent of the heart, as well as the mouth; and when sinners refuse to give the consent of their hearts to bim as their Husband, his
heart is like to burst within him: “ My bowels are turned within me, and my repentings are kindled together."
Mot. 9. This is all the reward that he seeks of you for his hard and sore travail, in spending the blood of his heart for the satisfying of justice, and in avenging your quarrel upon the powers of hell, namely, that you give the consent of your
. souls to be his, and not another's. O let him see the travail of his soul, that he may be satisfied.
Mot. 10. All parties are pleased, if you be but content. Our Kinsman's Father is pleased; he first proposed the match to his own Son, in “ the council of peace;" and he also proposes it to us in the word; he sends forth his servants, inviting all to the marriage-supper of the King's Son, saying,
Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fat
lings are killed, and all things are ready: come upto the marriage:” so that God the Father is pleased with the match. Our Kinsman Christ, the glorious Messiah, is pleased, and so well pleased, that, when a sinner gives his consent to marry, him, he reckons it his coronation-day, and “the day of the gladness of his heart," Cant. iii. 11 : The friends of the Bridegroom are pleased, all faithful ministers are pleased, for they travail in birth till you consent to marry this creditable Kinsman of ours. Fellow virgins, all true believers are pleased, and rejoice when Christ gets a new bride. In a word, the whole family of the church' militant and triumphant rejoice when a sinner is betrothed unto the Son of God. Now, seeing all parties concerned are pleased with the bargain, shall there be any more hinderance in it?,
Here we stand ready, in his name, to answer all imaginable objections that unbelief may offer against your marrying the Avenger of your blood.
Object. 1. The distance is so great between him and me, that I cannot think he will ever look on me; I am unworthy of any body's notice, much more of his, who is the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Answ. Since he does not stand upon the inequality of the match, do not you make an objection of it; for the odds lie on his side. Again, the greater the inequality be, the more is the glory of free grace manifested, and that is his plot, that grace may reign, and not merit. And then remember it is God's ordinary way, to pass by the great, rich, honourable, and to pitch upon the base, foolish, things of the world, “ that no flesh may glory in his presence."
Object. 2. I am black and ugly, and deformed, will he ever join hands with me, whose " countenance is as Lebanon ?" Answ. He never took
of Adam's race to him in such a relation because they were beautiful, but because he designed to make them beautiful " through his comeliness.” But, oh! my sins are of a deep, dye., Answ. This shall be no stop, Is. i. 18: “ Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Object. 3. I am a dead sinner, will ever the Lord of life match with me? Answ. Hear himself answering the objection, Is. Iv. 3:.- Hear, and your soul shall live.” Give thy consent to him by faith, and though thou wert dead, yet shalt thou live.
Object. 4. I do not know if ever the Bridegroom loved me, or designed that I should be his bride. Answ. If a man should propose and promise marriage to a woman, and she