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at the same time, united in the higher and holier bonds of Christian love. Never to arrange, by their own choice and act, to spend a life of unsanctified enjoyment on earth, with one, with whom they cannot hope to spend an eternity of hallowed happiness in heaven.
Yes! children of God, I would conjure you to remember, that to be happy, your marriage must be hallowed by your Heavenly Father's approving smile; that whatever may be dispensed with, the blessing of God on your union is altogether indispensable, if you desire it to prove a fountain of heartfelt happiness, and we have seen, in our former meditation, that His blessing can neither be hoped nor asked for, on a union between His children and the children of the world,-between a converted and an un. converted character,--a servant of Christ and a servant of Satan. Ever keep it firmly fixed in your conviction and memory, that if you would have your wedded love made meet to sustain the high and holy office assigned to such love in Scripture, even to image the Redeemer's love for His own Church ; and your wedded life made meet to image the harmony and happiness of heaven; one thing is indispensably necessary, namely, thai, as on that memorable occasion in Cana of Galilee, Jesus should be in. vited to the marriage, to honour it by His presence, and hallow it by His blessing. You must have no Scriptural reason to fear, that, if He were consulted, He would forbid the banns; or that, not being joined together as God's Word doth allow, you are not joined together by the approbation of God.
The Saviour's presence must be earnestly sought by the prayer of faith, and safely ensured by the warrant of His Word.
You must be satisfied, on Scriptural grounds, that in all the mingled authority and affection of your Almighty Guardian, Guide, and Friend, -Jesus, in His spiritual presence, attends on that 'solemn occasion, to give you to each other; to ratify, by His approbation, the irrevocable contract into which you are about to enter; to sanctify, by His own gracious smile, the prospect of earthly happiness that is opening before you; to breathe, with His own gracious voice, the benediction, which, once pronounced by His lips, will make your union blessed indeed. So that you may be privileged to hope, that the pillar of His presence, which has guided you to the sanctuary, and rested over you while kneeling there, will go before you on your way to your new home, to rest, during the entire of your pilgrimage here below, on your earthly tabernacle, brightening all your joys, and even all your sorrows, with its pure and holy radiance, the light, defence, and glory of your wedded home.
If Jesus be thus invited to the marriage, He will work, in a spiritual sense, a miracle, of which that which He wrought in Cana of Galilee was a significant emblem. He will turn common creature-comforts into precious covenantmercies. He will change the comparatively insipid and unsatisfying water of earthly affection and enjoyment into the rich cordial wine of Christian love and happiness, to which the touch of his spirit will impart a celestial flavour, inexpressibly sweet to the taste, and refreshing to the soul. For, oh! is not the happiness which flows from that wedded love which a Saviour's smile consecrates, and that wedded union of Christian hearts on earth, which is an emblem and earnest of their eternal union in heaven, as much superior, in the sweetness of its flavour, and the invigorating, gladdening, and refreshing qualities which it possesses, to the happiness which the most ardent and endeared attachment of the children of the world can supply, as the strongest and richest wine is superior to water.
Were I, then, addressing a bridal pair, on the morning of their marriage, which had been thus honoured and hallowed by a Saviour's presence and benediction, there are two rules, for the guidance of their wedded life, which, with all the deep and tender love of a Christian pastor, or friend, I would impress on their most serious consideration.
First. Resolve to make the Saviour's glory the first, dearest, and constant aim and object of your wedded life; and to use all the influence which wedded Sve will give you over each other, and your new relationship will give you in society, for the advancement of this object.
I will not waste a moment's time in labouring to prove, that the Lord Jesus Christ deserves this at your hands. A single believing glance at Gethsemane or Calvary, hell or heaven, must be abundantly sufficient to convince you, that, even if your own happiness did not persuade you, His love entitles Him to this entire, unreserved consecra. tion of yourselves, all your influence, acquirements, time, and talents, to the promotion of His glory. Need I remind you, that, if He, in love, gave up His life for your calvation, you should, in gratitude, give up your life to His service. Resolve, then, this morning, in humble reliance on Divine grace, in the spirit of Joshua,~“Let others choose as they may, whom they will serve; but as for us, and our house, we will serve the Lord.”
Imitate the example of the patriarch, Abraham, who, whenever he pitched his tent, in his eartbly pilgrimage, “ there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.” Even thus let your house be, from the very first, a house of prayer, temple of the living God, having, as it were, inscribed on all its chambers, “ holiness unto the Lord,"-on its walls, salvation, and on its gates, praise.
There erect an altar unto the Lord, round which your household shall be assembled daily, to bear, at your mouth, from the oracles of God, the words of eternal life; and from which the morning and evening sacrifice, of supplication and thanksgiving, shall uninterruptedly ascend before the throne on high.
As Jesus was invited to your marriage, to hallow the ceremony by His benediction, even so must He be invited to your home, to take up'his abode there; and by the manifestations of His presence, and the smiles of His love, to make it to you both as the gate of heaven.
He must preside, as it were, over all the arrangements of
your domestic establishment. In all your plans, ask yourselves the question,"Is it thus our dear Master would wish us to regulate this point? Is it thus we can most effectually advance His interests ?"
In all the details of your domestic expenditure, your furniture, dress, and entertainments, seek not to be conformed to the fashionable standard, of doing all for the approbation of the world, but the Scriptural standard, of doing all to the glory of God.
Within the ballowed walls of that house, which Jesus, has honoured as the habitation of His Spirit, resolve that there shall be no parties where He is not welcome, as the first and most honoured guest,no society in which He is. not wished, or cannot be asked to take the foremost place, -20 amusements, calculated or contrived to shut Him out from your hearts, as if you deemed Him “ap intruder on your joys," or wished to be bappy, in forgetfulness, or independence, of Him,-po reading or conversation which
you would not wish Him to hear, because you feared that He would listen to it with an angry frown,-in a word, no plans unregulated by His approbation, -no pursuits unhallowed by His blessing, pleasures unsanctified by His smile! , ! Willemse
The second rule for the guidance of your wedded life, that I would suggest, is, habitually to strive, in all things, to make it subservient to your spiritual welfare, by promoting communion with, and conformity to Christ. Ever keep in mind that to promote this communion and conformity, was one chief desiga of its Divine Author; in the appointment of marriage, which was sanctioned by Him, not surely for the annihilation, but the advancement of the highest possible attainments in Christian holiness.
Remember that, -Blessed alone are the pure in heart, for they, and they only, shall see a God of purity, so as to rejoice in the beatific vision, with fullness of joy.
Never, for one moment, forget that this purity of heart, as well as lips and life, is alike required in every child of God, whatever be their condition or circumstances, -high or low, young or old, married or unmarried.
Regard the contract into which you have this morning entered, in that sacred and solemn character, with which our Scriptural Church bas invested it, in that most beautiful service, which breathes such a chastened spirit of sober and sanctified gladness, so happily attempered between unhallowed levity, and unseasonable gloom.
Remember, what she has reminded you of so solemnly, that “matrimony is an honourable estate, instituted of God, in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto 'us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church, which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with His presence, and first miracle that He wrought in Cana of Galilee;" and seek habitually to maintain and manifest such a spirit, in all your sweet counsel and converse together, as if the sublime benediction of our Church, which sbe breathed over you, while koeeling at the sacred spot where you pledged your marriage vows, were continually sounding in your ears; and you beard a voice from heaven echoing hers, as she exclaimed "God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you! The Lord, mercifully, with his favour, look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together in this life, and holy love,
that, in the world to come, ye may have life everlasting !"
Yes, children of God, boly love; such love as is meet to image the Redeemer's love for His bride, the Church : and if His love for His Ohurch is to be the model and standard of yours, must not yours be indeed a holy love? Oh! with what mingled purity and tenderness, sanctity and sweetness, and, above all, with what a deep-devoted solicitude for each other's eternal welfare, must your wedded love be invested, if it is to be modelled after Christ's love to His Church.
i 18 Christian husband, are you to love your wife, even as Christ loved the Church What, then, was the great proof which Christ gave of His love for the Church ? “He gave Himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and present it to Himself a glorious Church, not hav. ing spot or wrinkle, or any such ibing ; but that it should be holy, and without blemish!"
Oh! tben, if in the Spirit of such love, to manifest your affection for your beloved bride, what fond, wbat ceaseless exertions must you use to promote ber sanctification, that she may be presented before Christ, arrayed, at once, in the robes of his imputed righteousness, and imparted holiness, as far as is attainable on earth, without spot or stain of sin,
How unwearied must be your endeavours to protect and provide for, lo guard and guide, to counsel and comfort her; to supply her every want, to anticipate her every wish, to sustain ber every weakness, to sootb her every grief; and by all the endearing ministrations of the most watchful and faithful love, to minister to her welfare, and promote her happiness, temporal and eternal. Can your
love be less than this, if it is to bear any resemblance to the Redeemer's love for His blood-bought Church?
Christian wife, are you to regard your husband, with such, sentiments as the Church should cherish towards Christ? 33: Then what a cheerful subjection should you shew to
his authority, what a willing obedience to his commards. Wbat a rejoicing readiness to make any sacrifices, or submit to any sufferings, by which his interests can be ad. vanced. What a trembling solicitude to guard against even the appearance of any thing, in your character, con. versation, or conduct, which could bring ibe slightest dis. credit on his pame; awaken in bis breast one passing pang