Sermon 762. The Relationship of Marriage
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Turn, O backsliding children, says the Lord; for I am married unto you."- Jeremiah 3:14.
THESE are dainty words-a grateful sedative for a troubled conscience. Such singular comfort is fitted to cheer the soul andput the brightest hue on all her prospects. The person to whom it is addressed has an eminently happy position. Satan willbe very busy with you, Believer in Christ, tonight! He will say, "What right have you to believe that God is married to you?"He will remind you of your imperfections and of the coldness of your love, and perhaps of the backsliding state of your heart.He will say, "What? With all this about you can you be presumptuous enough to claim union with the Son of God? Can you ventureto hope that there will be any marriage between you and the Holy One?"
He will tell you as though he were an advocate for holiness that it is not possible that such a one as you can feel yourselfto be, can really be a partaker of so choice and special a privilege as being married unto the Lord! Let this suffice foran answer to all such suggestions-the text is found addressed not to Christians in a flourishing state of heart. It is notsaid to Believers upon Mount Tabor, transfigured with Christ. It is not addressed to a spouse all chaste and fair, sittingunder the banner of love, feasting with her lord! It is addressed to those who are called "backsliding children."
God speaks to His Church in her lowest and most abject estate and though He does not fail to rebuke her sin, to lament it,and to make her lament it, too, yet still in such an estate He says to her, "I am married unto you." Oh, it is Divine Gracethat He should be married to any of us! But it is Grace at its highest pitch-it is the ocean of Grace at its flood-tide thatHe should speak thus of "backsliding children!"
That He should speak in notes of love of any of the fallen race of Adam is "passing strange-'tis wonderful." But that He shouldselect those who have behaved treacherously toward Him, who have turned their backs on Him and not their faces-who have playedHim false, although, nevertheless, His own-and say unto them, "I am married unto You"-this is loving kindness beyond anythingwe could desire or think!
Hear, O Heaven, and admire, O earth! Let every understanding heart break forth into singing, yes, let every humble mind blessand praise the condescension of the Most High! Cheer up, poor drooping hearts! Here is sweet encouragement for some of youwho are depressed, and disconsolate, and sit alone to draw living waters out of this well. Do not let the noise of the archerskeep you back from the place of the drawing of water. Be not afraid lest you should be cursed while you are anticipating theblessing! If you do but trust in Jesus, if you have but a vital interest in the once humbled, now exalted Lord, come withholy boldness to the text and whatever comfort there is here, receive it and rejoice in it!
To this end let us attentively consider the relationship which is here spoken of and diligently enquire how far we are experimentallyacquainted with it.
I. IN CONSIDERING THE RELATIONSHIP WHICH IS HERE SPOKEN OF, you will observe that the affinity of marriage, though exceedinglynear kin, is not one of birth. Marriage is not a relationship of original relationship. It is contracted between two personswho may, during the early part of their lives, have been entire strangers to one another. They may scarcely have looked eachother in the face except during the few months that preceded their nuptials. The families may have had no previous acquaintance.They may have lived afar off as the very antipodes.
One may have been opulent and in possession of vast domains, and the other may have been indigent, and reduced to straitenedcircumstances. Genealogies do not regulate it. Disparities do not hinder it. The connection is not of natural birth but ofvoluntary contract or covenant. Such is the relationship which exists between the Believer and his God. Whatever relationthere was originally between God and man, it was stamped out and extinguished by the Fall. We were aliens, strangers, andforeigners far off from God by wicked works. We had, before, no relation to the Most High. We were banished from His Presenceas traitors to His Throne, as condemned criminals who had revolted against His power.
Between our souls and God there could be no communion. He is light and we are dark. He is holiness and we are sin. He is Heavenand we are far more akin to Hell. In Him there is consummate greatness and we are puny insignificance. He fills all worldswith His strength, and as for us-we are the creatures of a day who know nothing-and who are crushed before the moth. The gulfbetween God and a sinner is something terrible to contemplate. There is a vast difference between God and the creature evenwhen the creature is pure, but between God and the fallen creature-oh, where is he that shall measure the infinite leaguesof distance?
Where was there a means of ever bridging so terrible a chasm except the Lord Jesus had found it in His own Person and in Hisown passion? How could we have ever perceived the infinite design unless it had been revealed to us as an accomplished factby which He has reconciled us and brought us into communion with Himself that we should be married unto Him?
Now, Christian, just contemplate what you were, and the degraded family to which you belonged that you may magnify the richesof His Grace who espoused you in your low estate and has so bound Himself with all the pledges of a husband that He says,"I am married unto you." What were you? That is a black catalog of foul transgressors which the Apostle gives in the firstEpistle to the Corinthians (6:9, 11). I forbear a recital of the filthy vices-at the end of which he says, "But you are washed,but you are sanctified."
In those crimes he enumerates, many of us had a share, no, all of us! What was our father and our father's house? What wasour aim? What was our practice? What were our desires? What were our tendencies? They were earthly, downward, Hell-ward! Wewere at a distance from God and we loved that distance well. But the Lord Jesus took upon Himself our nature-upon Him theLord did lay the iniquity of all His people. And why? Not merely to save us from the wrath to come, but that we, being liftedup out of our degradation by virtue of His Atonement, and being sanctified and made meet by the power of the Spirit, shouldhave a relationship established between us and God which was not formed by nature, but which has been achieved and consummatedby astounding Grace!
Unto the Lord let us give thanks this night as we remember the hole of the pit from where we were dug and call to mind thefact that now we are united to Him in ties of blood and bonds of love! Marriage union the result of choice! Any exceptionsto this rule that might be pleaded are void in reason because they arise from folly and transgression-there ought to be noexception. It is scarcely a true marriage at all where there has not been a choice on each side. But certainly if the Lordour God is married unto us, and we are married unto God, the choice is mutual.
The first choice is with God. That choice was made, we believe, before the foundation of the world-
"Long before the sun's refulgent ray Primeval shades of darkness drove, They on His sacred bosom lay, Loved with an everlastinglove." God never began to love His people. It were impossible for the spiritual mind to entertain so unworthy a thought. Hesaw them in the glass of His decrees. He foresaw them, with His eyes of Prescience, in the mass of creatureship all fallenand ruined. But yet He beheld them and pitied and loved them, elected them and set them apart. "They shall be Mine," saysthe Lord.
Here we are all agreed. And we ought to be all agreed upon the second point, namely, that we also have chosen our God. Brethren,no man is saved against his will! If any man should say that he was saved against his will it would be a proof that he wasnot saved at all! Reluctance or indifference betrays an entire alienation of all the affections of the heart. If the willis still set against God then the whole man is proven to be at enmity with Him. By our nature we did not choose God-by ournature we kicked against His Law and turned aside from His dominion.
But is it not written, "My people shall be willing in the day of My power"? Do you understand how, without any violation ofyour free agency, God has used proper arguments and motives so as to influence your understanding? Through our understandingour will is convinced and our souls are spontaneously drawn. Then we throw down the weapons of our rebellion, and humble ourselvesat the footstool of the Most High. And then we do freely choose that which we once wickedly abhorred! Do you, Christian, atthis very hour, choose Christ with all your heart to be your Lord and Savior?
If it could be put to you over again, to make an election whether you should love the world or love Christ, would you notsay, "Oh, my Beloved is better to me than 10,000 worlds! He fixes all my love, engrosses all my passion. I give
myself up to Him most freely. He bought me with a great price. He won me with His great love. He enraptured me with His unspeakablecharms so I give myself up to Him"? Here is a mutual choice!
I wish that some of our friends would forbear to make such a stand against the doctrine of God's choosing us. If they willbut read Scripture with an unprejudiced mind I am quite sure they will find it there. It always seems inexplicable to me thatthose who claim free will so very boldly for man, should not also allow some free will to God! I suppose my Brethren wouldnot like to have to be married to somebody whom they had not chosen, and why should Jesus Christ not have the right to chooseHis own bride? Why should He not set His love where He wills, and have the right to exercise, according to His own Sovereignmind, that bestowment of His heart and hands which none could by any means deserve? This know, that He will have His own choicewhether we impugn the doctrine or not! He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and He will have compassion on whom Hewill have compassion.
At the same time I wish that those friends who believe this Truth of God would receive the other, which is quite as true.We do choose Christ in return and that without any violation of our free agency. Some people cannot see two truths at onetime. They cannot understand that God has made all the Truths of God to be double. Truth is many sided. While Divine Predestinationis true, Human Responsibility is also true! While it is true that Christ chooses us, it is also true that the unrenewed mindwill not choose Him-"You will not come unto Me, that you might have life."
This is the sin and the condemnation of man, that "light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light,because their deeds were evil." Settle it, however, in your minds that when God says, "I am married unto you," it impliesthat there is a blessed choice on both sides-and so it is a true marriage.
Our third reflection is that marriage is cemented by mutual love. Where there is not this mutual affection it deserves notthe name of marriage. The dark shadow of a blessing they cannot realize must be a heavy load for either heart to bear-butwhere there is true and genuine love, it is the sweetest and happiest mode of living. It is one of the blessings of Paradisewhich has been preserved to us after the Fall. Without love wedded life must be a very "purgatory" above ground. In the solemncontract, which has brought our souls this night to God, the marriage is sustained, cemented, strengthened, and made delightfulby mutual love.
Need I talk to you of the love of God? It is a theme we are scarcely competent to talk of. You need to sit down and weep aboutit for very joy-joy which fills the heart and makes the eyes overflow-but well near chains the tongue, for it is a deep, profound,and inexpressible. "He loved me, and gave Himself for me." "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us.""As the Father has loved Me, even so have I loved you." Oh, the love of God-it would surpass the powers of an angel to setit forth.
Sure, sure, it shall be the blest employment of eternity's long ages for us to comprehend it. And perhaps, when myriad's ofages have rolled over our happy souls, we shall still be as much struck with wonder with it as we were at first! The marveldoes not diminish on inspection-familiarity cannot make it common. The nearer we approach, the deeper our awe. It will beas great a surprise that God should love such cold, such faithless, such unworthy beings as ourselves, at the end of 10,000years as it was at first-perhaps more so! The more thoroughly we shall know ourselves, the more fully we shall understandthe good of the Lord, and thus will our wonder grow and swell.
Even in Heaven we shall be lost in surprise and admiration at the love of God to us! The rapture will augment the reverencewe feel. Well, but, beloved Brothers and Sisters, I trust we also love Him in return! Do you never feel one soft affectionrising after another as you muse on the Christ of God? When you sometimes listen to a sermon in which the Savior's dear affectionto you is set forth, do you not feel the tears wet your cheeks? Does not your heart swell sometimes as if it were unable tohold your emotions? Is there not a "joy unspeakable and full of glory" that comes over you? Can you not say?-
"Jesus, I love Your charming name, 'Tis music to my ears. Gladly would I sound it out so loud That earth and Hea ven shouldhear." I hope you do not need to sing tonight-
"'Tis a point I long to know,"
but, I trust, that in the solemn silence of your souls you can say, "You know that I love You," grieved that the questionshould be asked, but still ready to answer, with Peter, "Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You."
Now, it is impossible for you to love God without the strong conclusive evidence that God loves you. I once knew a good womanwho was the subject of many doubts and when I got to the bottom of her doubt, it was this-she knew she loved Christ, but shewas afraid He did not love her! "Oh," I said, "that is a doubt that will never trouble me! Never, by any possibility, becauseI am sure of this-that the heart is so corrupt, naturally, that love to God never did get there without God's putting it there."
You may rest quite certain that if you love God, it is a fruit and not a root. It is the fruit of God's love to you and didnot get there by the force of any goodness in you. You may conclude, with absolute certainty that God loves you if you loveGod. There never was any difficulty on His part. It always was on your part, and now that the difficulty is gone from you,none whatever remains. O let our hearts rejoice and be filled with great delight because the Savior has loved us and givenHimself for us. So let us realize the truth of the text, "I am married unto you."
My fourth observation is that this marriage necessitates certain mutual relations. I cannot say "duties," for the word seemsout of place on either side. How can I speak of the great God making pledges of faithfulness? And yet with reverence, letme word it so, for in any vocabulary I have hardly words to set it forth. When God becomes a Husband, He undertakes to doa husband's part. When He says, "Your Maker is your Husband," you may rest assured that He does not take the relationshipwithout assuming (well, I must say it) all the responsibilities which belong to that condition! It is the part of God to nourish,to cherish, to shield, to protect, to bless those with whom He condescends, in infinite mercy, to enter into union.
When the Lord Jesus Christ became the Husband of His Church, He felt that He was under an engagement to us, and inasmuch asthere were debts incurred, He paid them-
"Yes, said the Son, with her I'll go,
Through all the depths of sin and woe.
And on the Cross will even dare
The bitter pains of death to bear." He never shrunk from the doing of any of those loving works which belong to the husbandof his chosen spouse. He exalted the word "husband," and made it to be more full of meaning than it had ever been before,so that the Apostle could see it glittering in a new light and could say, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ alsoloved the Church, and gave Himself for it."
Oh yes, dear Friends, there is a responsibility arising out of this relationship, and He of whom we speak has not departedfrom it! You know He has not. And now, what upon our side? The wife has to reverence her husband, and to be subject unto himin all things. That is precisely our position towards Him who has married us. Let His will be our will. Let His wish be ourLaw. Let us not need to be flogged to service, but let us say-
"'Tis love that makes our willing feet In swift obedience move."
O Christian, if the Master condescends to say, "I am married unto you," you will not any longer ask, "What is my duty?" butyou will say, "What can I do for You?" The loving wife does not say, "What is my duty?" and stand coldly questioning how farshe should go, and how little she may do-but all that she can do for him who is her husband she will do-and everything thatshe can think of, everything she can devote herself to in striving to please him in all things she will most certainly doand perform. And you and I will do the same if we have realized our union with Christ!
O Beloved, do not grow sentimental and waste your energies in driveling fancies as some have done. Speak you of a wife?-wherethe family is large, the work is heavy and the responsibility great. I could gladly remind you here, did time permit, of thewords of King Lemuel and the prophecy that his mother taught him. Bear with me, at least, while I admonish you to such a one,that the heart of your husband may safely trust in you. Let it be your care to give meat to your household. Lay your handsto the spindle. Suffer not your industry to fail. Eat not the bread of idleness.
Stretch out your hand to the poor and reach forth both your hands to the needy. Open your mouth with wisdom and in your tonguebe the law of kindness. Yes, and consider this with yourself, that in your regard for all the duties of your station, youare fulfilling your bounden obligations to your Lord. Short words, but mighty, matchless deeds have told how Jesus loved us!Be it ours to carve our song of love to Him on the hearts of some tender nurslings who are cast in our way and committed toour care.
that the life I now live in the flesh, by faith in the Son of God, might become a poem and a grateful response to Him thatloved me, and gave Himself for me. I hope we do know, then, that when God says, "I am married unto you," it necessitates mutualrelations.
Fifthly, it also involves mutual confidences. How shall we call that a marriage where the husband and wife are still two persons,maintaining individuality as if it were a scrupulous condition of the contract? That is utterly foreign to the Divine idea!In a true marriage the husband and wife become one. Therefore their joys and their cares, their hopes and their labors, theirsorrows and their pleasures rise and blend together in one stream. Brothers and Sisters, the Lord our God has said it, "Thesecret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His Covenant."
"Judas says unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself unto us, and not unto the world?" Therewas the secret because there is a union between Christ and His people which there is not between Christ and the world! Howjoyously do the words sound-they have a silvery ring in them-"Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows notwhat his lord does. But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you."Christ keeps nothing back from you!
Remember another word of His-"If it were not so, I would have told you." Oh, how delightful! He says, "I go to prepare a placefor you." He tells them that He is going to prepare a place for them, and then He says, "If it were not so, I would have toldyou-I keep no secrets back from you-you are near Me, My flesh and My bones. I left My Father's house in glory that I mightbecome one with you, and manifest Myself to you. And I keep back nothing from you, but reveal My very heart and My very soulto you."
Now, Christian, just look-you stand in the relation of a spouse, and you must tell your very heart out to Christ. No, do notgo and tell it to your neighbors, nor your friends, for, somehow or other, the most sympathizing heart cannot enter into allour griefs. There is a grief which the stranger cannot intermeddle with-but there never was a pang into which Christ couldnot enter. Make a Confidant of the Lord Jesus-tell Him all! You are married unto Him! Play the part of a wife who keeps nosecrets back, no trials back, no joys back-tell them all to Him!
1 was in a house yesterday where there was a little child, and it was said to me, "He is such a funny child." I asked in whatway, and the mother said, "Well, if he tumbles down and hurts himself in the kitchen, he will always go upstairs crying andtell somebody, and then he comes down and says, "I told somebody." And if he is upstairs he goes down and tells somebody,and when he comes back it is always, "I told somebody," and he does not cry any more." Ah, well, I thought, we must tell somebody!It is human nature to want to have sympathy. But if we would always go to Jesus and tell Him all and there leave it, we mightoften dismiss the burden and be refreshed with a grateful song. Let us do so, and go with all our joys and all our troublesunto Him who says, "I am married unto you."
I know the devil will say, "Why, you must not tell the Lord your present trouble-it is too insignificant-and besides, youknow you did wrong and brought it upon yourself." Well, but you would tell your husband, would you not? And will you not tellyour Lord? You could not tell a master, but you can tell a husband. Oh, do not go back into the old legal state of callingChrist Baali, but call Him Ishi-"My man, my husband"-and put that confidence in Him which is expected that the wife shouldplace in a husband who dearly loves her.
We must go on to a sixth point. This marriage implies fellowship in all its relations. Whatever a husband possesses becomeshis wife's. She cannot be poor if he is rich, and what little she has, whatever it may be, comes to him. If she is in debt,her debts become his. When Jesus Christ took His people, He gave them all He had. There is nothing which Christ has whichHe has not given to us. It is noteworthy that He has given His Church His own name! "Where?" you ask. Well, there are twopassages in Jeremiah that most remarkably illustrate this (23:6 and 33:16). In the one it says, "This is the name wherebyHe shall be called," and in the other, "This is the name wherewith she shall be called." In both, the name is identical. "JehovahTsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness."
What? "She shall be called"? Yes, as though He said, "She shall take My name," and with the name, of course, the entire openacknowledgment of His interest in her and her interest in Him. As such she is partaker of all His glory-if He is a king, sheis a queen-if He is in Heaven, "He has raised us up together, and made us to sit in heavenly places with Him." If He is heavenly,she also shall bear the image of the heavenly. If He is immortal, so shall she be. And if He is at the right hand of the Father,so shall she be also highly exalted with Him.
Now, it is saying but very little when I add, that, therefore, whatever we have, belongs to Him-oh, it is so little, so verylittle, but one wishes it were more. "O that Christ were not so glorious as He is," I have sometimes thought! It was halfa wicked wish, but I meant it well, that I might help to glorify Him. O that He were still poor that one might ask Him toa feast! O that He were still in this world that one could break the alabaster box of ointment and pour it on His head! ButYou are so great, most blessed Master, that we can do nothing to increase You! You are so high, we cannot exalt You! You areso happy, that we cannot bless You!
Yet, what am I saying? It is all a mistake! He is still here! He calls every one of His people "Members of His body." Andif you wish to enrich Him, help the poor! If you want to feed Him, feed the hungry. They that bind garments about the nakedput vestures upon the Lord Himself. "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, you have doneit unto Me." I hope we can sing without falsehood that verse of Dr. Watts'-
"And if I might make some reserve,
And duty did not call,
I love my God with zeal so great,
That I could give Him all."
A seventh observation and then I shall refrain from dwelling longer on this point. The very crown of marriage is mutual delightand complacency. The wife of a Persian nobleman, having gone to a feast which was given by the great Darius, was asked byher husband whether she did not think that Darius was the finest man in the world. No, she said, she did not think so. Shenever saw anyone in the world who was comparable to her husband.
And doubtless that is just the opinion which a husband forms of his wife and a wife of her husband where the marriage is suchas it should be. Now, certainly Christ sets a very high store upon us. I remember turning over that passage in Solomon's Song,looking at it and wondering how it could be true-believing it, and yet not being able to comprehend it-where Christ says,"You are all fair, My Love. There is no spot in you!" Oh, what eyes He must have! We say that love is blind-but that cannotbe true in Christ's case-for He sees all things!
Why, this is how it is-He sees Himself in us! He does not see us as we are, but in His infinite Grace He sees us as we areto be, as Kent sings-
"Not as she stood in Adam's Fall,
When sin and ruin covered all.
But as she'll stand another day,
Brighter than sun's meridian ray." The sculptor says he can see a bust in a block of marble and that all he has to do is tochip away the extra marble and let the bust appear. So Christ can see a perfect being in every one of us if we are His people!And what He is doing with us day by day is taking off the warts, making us to be like Himself. He can see us as we shall oneday be before the Throne of God in Heaven, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
Ah, Beloved, He sets great store by us! His delights are with the sons of men! He loves to hear our praise and to listen toour prayer. The songs of His people are His sweet perfume, and communion with His people is like the beds of spices, the bedsof lilies where He feeds. And as for us who are His people, I am sure we can say that there is no delight which can equalcommunion with Christ! We have tried other delights-shame upon us! We have tried some of them, but after having done so, wefind that there is nothing like our Lord, "Vanity of vanity, all is vanity," says the preacher! But when we come to Christ,we find no vanity there! We can truly say-
"Where can such sweetness be
As I have tasted in Your love,
As I have found in You?"
The Christian's heart is like Noah's dove-it flies over the wide waste and cannot rest the sole of its feet until it comesback to Christ. He is the true Noah who puts out His hand and takes in the weary dove and gives it rest. There is no peacethe whole world over but with Christ-
"There's no such thing as pleasure here,
My Jesus is my All
As You do shine or disappear,
My pleasures rise or fall."
Thus much, by way, as it were, of skimming the surface of this delightful word, "I am married unto you."
II. Two or three sentences only upon the second point. How FAR DO YOU AND I EXPERIMENTALLY UNDERSTAND THIS? I am afraid someof you think me half crazy tonight. You are saying, "Well, I do not comprehend this. What is the man talking about? God marriedto us! Christ married to us! I do not understand it!" God have mercy upon you, my poor Hearer, and bring you to know it! Butlet me tell you, if you did but know it, there is a secret here that would make you a thousand times more happy than all thejoys of the world can ever make you.
You remind me of the cock in the fable who found a diamond on the dunghill, and as he turned it over, he said, "I would ratherhave found a grain of barley." That was according to his nature. And so with you. This precious pearl of union to God willseem to be nothing to you-a little worldly pleasure will be more to your taste. One could weep to think there should be suchignorance of true joy and true delight! Oh, blind eyes that cannot see beauty in the Savior! Oh, stone-cold hearts that cansee no loveliness in Him!
Jesus! They are drunk! They are mad who cannot love You! It is a strange infatuation of the sons of men to think that theycan do without You, that they can see any light apart from You, You Sun of Righteousness, or anything like beauty in all thegardens of the world apart from You, you Rose of Sharon, you Lily of the Valley! O that they knew You!-
"A thousand sorrows pierce my soul, To think that all are not Your own." Do I address any tonight, who, while they pretendto be religious people, hold loosely by their allegiance to the Lord? There are many such, and we occasionally meet with themhere. They cannot appease their conscience without some show of profession, so they join with us as hearers and spectatorsin the solemn assembly!
But they never unite with the Church because they have not devotedly yielded up their hearts to Christ. Ask them the reasonand their answer sounds modest, and yet the reserve it implies is anything but chaste. Do you tell us that you are afraidyou should not walk consistently? Would it not be more true to admit that your relationship with the world, your service ofmammon, your ordinary pastimes, and your occasional revelries, harmless as you try to persuade yourselves they are, if viewedin the light of marriage to Christ must be accounted as very shame? So far as the principles of Christianity are concernedyou endorse them with your private creed, and you are "Protestant" enough to prefer the most evangelical doctrines. But thereserve in your conduct is a clear index to a most fatal reserve in your character.
You might admit God to be the supreme, but not the exclusive Lord of your heart. You would give the Lord's altar more honorthan any other altar, but still you would not remove the high places which desecrate the land. Your opinion is that thereis no god in all the earth but the God of Israel, yet your practice is to bow down in the house of Rimmon. You wish to haveall the promises of God vouchsafed to you, but you decidedly object to make any vows in His sanctuary. It is to such as youthat these delicate appeals are most distasteful, "Turn, O backsliding children, says the Lord; for I am married unto you."Nothing in your experience responds to this. You stand aloof as if you were grieved. I must warn you, therefore, that Godcan be your God only in these bonds of Covenant Union.
But, Christian, I speak to you. Surely you know something about this, that God is married to you? If you do, can you not saywith me, "Yes, and He has been a very faithful Husband to me"? Now, there is no one of you who can object to that! Thus farHe has been very faithful to you and what have you been to Him? How kind and tender has He been! How faithful, how generous,how sympathizing! In your every affliction He has been afflicted, and the angel of His Presence has saved you. Just in yourextremity He has come to your rescue.
He has carried you through every difficulty, even until now. Oh, you can speak well of Him, can you not? And as for His love-Christian,as for His love-what do you think of that? Is it not Heaven on earth to you? Do you not reckon it to be-
"Heaven above To see His face, To taste His love"?
Well, then, speak well of Him, speak well of Him! Make this world hear His praise! Ring that silver bell in the deaf earsof this generation! Make them know that your Beloved is the fairest of the fair and compel them to enquire, "O you fairestamong women, what is your Beloved more than another beloved?"
As for you who do not know Him, I should like to ask you this question, and you answer it for yourselves. Do you want to bemarried to Christ? Do you wish to have Him? Oh, then there will be no difficulties in the way of the match! If your heartgoes after Christ, He will have you. If, when you get home to your bedside, you say to Him, "Dear Savior, here is my heart.Take it, wash it, save me," He will hear you! Whoever you may be He will not refuse you. Oh He seeks you, He seeks you! Andwhen you seek Him, that is a sure sign that He has found you!
Though you may not have found Him, yet He has found you already. The wedding ring is ready. Faith is the golden ring whichis the token of the marriage bond. Trust the Savior! Trust Him! Have done with trusting to your good works. Have done withdepending upon your merits. Take His works, His merits, and rest alone upon Him, for now does He say unto you, "I will betrothyou unto Me forever. Yes, I will betroth you unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies.I will even betroth you unto Me in faithfulness-and you shall know the Lord." So may He do unto every one of you, and mayChrist's name be glorified forever. Amen.