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come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. ** Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." "Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?" said the dear disciples (Luke xxiv. 32). And what, instrumentally, sustained the apostle, when "neither sun nor stars in many days appeared," and he knew that all the horrors of shipwreck awaited him, and those who sailed with him?—The timely promise of a faithful God. "There stood by me this night (said he, Acts xxvii. 23-6) the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Cæsar; and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me." When, then, beloved, shall we want the dear assurances of his love and faithfulness?-When we get home to glory, and see him "no longer through a glass darkly, but face to face?" Oh, no; but now, amid the toils and troubles of the way. Now, when the world scoffs, Satan roars, and our own base hearts suggest a thousand cruel thoughts about our Heavenly Friend.

Be not, therefore, afraid of investigating the ground-work of thy confidence, poor troubled soul! Unlock again thy cabinet, and see therein recorded this blessed assurance, "I will betroth thee unto me for ever [oh, that wonderful for ever, it wants an eternity to think about it]; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies: I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord" (Hosea ii. 19, 20).

Let us, then, contemplate the marriage-union in the following threefold view:


1. We have already dwelt a little on Relationship, or covenant union. The mind of the Holy Ghost upon this subject is given by the apostle in his epistle to the Ephesians: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: (now mark) he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: (observe again) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."

Beloved, did Adam, as it were, rush into the transgression with open arms? Did the drawings of union and the promptings of love outweigh every other consideration, however solemn and important; and was he determined thereby to brave all consequences? [We beseech you, reader, carefully to weigh the subject.] Was he resolved that his darling Eve should not stand alone, but that he would share the evil, be it what it might? In it we have but an imperfect figure of the love of Christ. Adam could have but a faint idea of the nature or extent of the ruin in

which he should be involved; but Christ, the second Adam, was familiar with it in all its bearings. Nothing could possibly be hidden from him ; he knew full well the consequences; nor did those consequences in the least degree dismay him. If his bride had sunk into the lowest ignominy and disgrace, down into those depths of ignominy and disgrace he must descend to raise her. She could not be lost-her safety must not in the least be hazarded. She was his, and wherever she was, or whatever she was, thence she must be fetched! Yes, if the apostle's testimony be true, that "for this cause"-because they are betrothed, and members of each other-"a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife," in what an infinitely higher and more glorious sense did it behove the Lord Jesus Christ to leave the bosom of the eternal Father to seek out his betrothed; and having done so, mark, beloved, the blessed results even here in the wilderness condition. "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord [the day when I have allured her, and brought her into the wilderness], that thou shalt call me Ishi [that is, my husband], and shalt call me no more Baali" [that is, my lord].

Reader, what think you of the mercy? If he is "not ashamed to call them brethren" (Heb. ii. 11), neither is he ashamed to acknowledge the dear union of husband and wife. And do observe, for your comfort, when and where this relationship is referred to. Not in glory, where Satan shall have been for ever silenced, and sin never more felt nor feared, but in the wilderness, when exposed to all its trials, and temptations, and tribulations., Oh, how blessed, then, for the Church to know that he is her Husband now-as much so as he ever will be; and as fond of her, and as favourable towards her, and as deeply interested in her. From the very dawn of grace in the soul this interest is wondrously show in (see Luke xv. 4-7), "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance." Reader, his eye is very specially upon, and his heart most deeply interested in, you, and all such as you, if from day to day you are feeling the burden of sin, the buffettings of the adversary, and the continuous struggles of a depraved heart. And nothing will ever cause you so to hate the one, or abominate the other, as the precious sense that his gracious eye is upon you, and his loving heart interested in you. May he make it your rich mercy now, under these very exercises, to put in your claim of relationship; and to urge it as the very ground why he should come forth to your relief. Not for any merit of yours-nor for any prayers, or promises, or penances, but simply because of his covenant engagements to undertake your cause, and that as the fruit of covenant relationship. And be it your privilege, in all your approaches to his footstool, to preface your every plea with his own word, "For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

II.-Responsibility. Many persons there are who seem terror-struck

at the idea of creature responsibility being removed. So wedded are they to the idea, and so fearful lest a contrary notion should lead to the most disastrous consequences, that they vainly imagine nothing short of a deep sense of responsibility can ensure consistency of life, walk, and conversation. Verily, in a sense, they are correct; but in a very different sense to that which they entertain. The responsibility which they advocate originates in dread and slavish fear; that for which we contend is based upon love. The former may produce certain fruits; but, unacceptable, because wrongly grounded; the obedience flowing from the latter is the effect of gratitude. The one has a certain knowledge of the need of salvation, but would pay for it; the other has found salvation without money and without price, and would praise for it; and paying and praising are two very different things. We will illustrate the subject by the following anecdote :-Young Christians are somewhat like young soldiers. They get weary of " parade," and would like a little practice. They would change the sound of fife and drum into that of musketry and the cannon's roar. We somewhere heard or read of a gentleman who once fell into this spirit. He had tasted salvation-sweets, and wanted to test them. He thought of an expedient; and so, not content with praying for trouble, as many in the infancy of grace do, he was resolved to seek it; and, we had nearly said, he was about the first child that did not cut his fingers in trying to carve for himself. Our young readers will not, therefore, dare presume upon his case. Accordingly, he set out from his house, resolving that the first woman he met, if possible, he would marry, and thus ensure himself trouble and a test. A dangerous experiment, indeed! That first person was among the degraded and despised of her sex. He proposed; they were married; and, on the first Sunday morning after their union, he addressed her in the following terms:-"My practice on these days is to attend the house of God, and to be found thus and thus occupied. You, I suppose, will prefer a very different place, and choose very different people, and very different practices." No, no," was her reply, with much feeling and emphasis, "I dare not repay your kindness so. You took compassion upon me; you rescued me from ruin, you raised me from disgrace, and now let me show my gratitude by walking in your steps. Where you go I will go, and what you wish that will I strive to be."


Reader, this is the sort of responsibility (or obligation) for which we argue -a kind of holy weight and sense of gratitude upon the heart and mind, which speaks thus:-" I was an hungered, and he gave me meat-yes, even his flesh to eat; I was thirsty, and he gave me his blood to drink; I was a stranger, and he took me to his bosom; naked, and he clothed me with his spotless righteousness, the garments of salvation; I was sick, and he (the great and good Physician) visited me, to heal my wounds and cure my malady; I was in prison, and he came unto me; he paid my debts, and set me, a hapless prisoner, free! And shall I not love him? shall I not praise and adore him? shall I not strive, in all I think, and say, and do, to magnify his great and holy name? Yes, assuredly I will."

"Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so Divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Christ is responsible for his Church. All the consequences which sin

entailed upon her, He, by virtue of surety-engagements, took upon himself. So to speak, Christ and the Church changed places. He took her place, and she His. Whatever she was, or had done, or would do, he became accountable for. Let the wife prior to marriage have been ever so deeply in debt, does not her husband by marriage become responsible? Assuredly. Precisely was this the case with the Lord Christ. And does not the creditor sue the husband, though not one fraction of the debt was contracted by him personally? Undoubtedly. Nor does Divine justice ever sue the sinner who, by precious faith, hath put his cause into the hands of Christ. That very fact of appealing to Christ, proves interest in-interest in proves relationship-and relationship proves responsibility. And every sinner whose heart and conscience have been appealed to for payment of debts, and who under a sense of absolute bankruptcy, has referred to Christ for settlement, has by that one act not only honoured Christ, but proved the two-fold work of the Spirit, in convincing of sin, and revealing Christ. There is that perfect unanimity between the will of the Father, the work of the Son, and the teaching of the Holy Ghost, that the very leading of the mind to thoughts of Christ, and desires after an interest in Him, prove not only the promptings of the Spirit in that soul, but also its gift by the Father to Christ, and the suretyship engagements of Christ on its behalf. Were it otherwise, there would not be a unity in the Trinity. the Trinity. As to a feeling knowledge that Christ has paid his debt, and that he is, as a consequence, discharged, this is another and distinct link in the chain of salvation; but with this he shall assuredly be familiar. And do remember, beloved, that responsibility, in the primary sense, cannot be upon both Christ and the Church at one time. If it be upon the Church, then she is undone, and that for ever; if it be upon Christ, then it is derogatory both to his wisdom and power to affirm that it is, or any portion of it, upon the Church.

Lastly, and briefly. Right. Now, be the position of the wife previous to marriage ever so degraded, by that marriage she is at once raised in the scale of society. Her husband, as it were, shares with her his position and privileges; and, in proportion as his friendship and interest are valued by a third party, will that party not only avoid everything like an unpleasant reference to the humiliating nature of his choice, but by an involuntary effort endeavour personally to estimate that choice. This may, or may not be, a matter of mere worldly policy; but in Divine realities the case takes an infinitely higher and more glorious stand. The Church was degraded and destitute; but Christ has raised her to his throne. He hath washed her in his blood, hath clothed her in his righteousness, and she stands in him pure, even as he is pure," without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." With Christ it is a matter of perfect indifference what the world may think or say, of his Bride; in his eyes she is loveliness itself "Thou art all fair, my love," is his language, "there is no spot in thee" (Sol. Song iv. 7). "Hearken, oh daughter, and consider, and incline thy ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty, for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.' "The king's daughter is all-glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought they shall enter into the king's palace" (Ps. xlv. 10, 11,

13-15). This is the Church's standing; these her privileges. All that Jesus is and has, He has made over to her by right and title. She may be passing through a wilderness, and consequently exposed to its difficulties and its dangers; but, though inconvenienced she may be, injured she cannot be. The covenant promises of that covenant Personage unto whom she is allied in ties of love, and blood, and grace, insure her all needful protection, all suitable provision, and in the issue inconceivable and everlasting glory.


Bonmahon, Ireland,
July 3, 1849.


"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."-Rom. xiii. 8-10.

If there can be a foretaste of heaven upon earth, it is most assuredly experienced in Christian love-that pure feeling which arises from the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost; the love of Christ constraining the hearts to unite, irrespective of all outward circumstances, all outward differences, all outward appearances; Christ being the object from whom emanate the rays of divine love, which, striking on the spiritual principle of the renewed man, causes that heavenly union which loves purely for Christ's sake. The natural eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, nor the heart conceived, what God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them, by his Spirit, to those who are born of the Spirit. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him." To love purely for Christ's sake divests the soul of all fleshly feelings; and the more the work of Christ is appreciated, the need of a Saviour felt, the love of Jesus experienced, the more will this pure love to his manifested members be felt, forbearing one with another, and forgiving one another; viewing the flesh as frail mortality, and the soul as eternally loved by Jesus, however humble or unsightly the outward appearance may be (1 Cor. xii. 22-24). God is love, and whosoever is born of God, must have the law of love in the heart.


Christ gave a new commandment to his disciples, "That ye love one another;" and the disciple who had such holy familiarity with his Lord, tells us that love to the brethren is a test of having passed from death unto life (1 John iii. 14). Peter, who was one of the disciples privileged to be on the mount with their Lord, and beheld his glory as far as mortal eyes could do, and heard the voice, in his hasty zeal, not knowing what he said," thought it good to remain on the mount and make three tabernacles; but a cloud overshadowed them, and the voice proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son, hear him;" and Jesus was found alone. Moses and Elias were gone, law and prophecy were completed in Jesus. Now hear him. Moses was a taskmaster under the eternal God of infinite holiness and irreversible justice; a servant who dared not remit a tithe of his Master's requirements; one set over the visible Church until

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