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CHRIST the best Hufband: Or an earnest Invitation to Young Women to come and fee CHRIST.
Preached to a Society of Young Women, in
PSALM: xlv. 10, 11.
Hearken, O Daughter, and confider, and incline thine Ear: Forget alfo thine own People, and thy Father's Houfe: So fhall the King greatly defire thy Beauty ; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him.
HIS pfalm is called the fong of loves, the most pure and spiritual, the most dear and delightful loves; namely, thofe which are between CHRIST the beloved, and his church, which is his fpoufe; wherein is fet forth, firft, the LORD JESUS CHRIST in regard of his majefty, power, and divinity, his truth, meekness and equity: And then the spouse is set forth in regard of her ornaments, companions, attendants and posterity; and both in regard of their comelinefs and beauty. After the description of CHRIST, an invitation to his efpoufals, is given the children of men, called by the name of daughter; and therefore, particularly applicable unto you, my dear fifters, as being the daughters of men, yet not so as excluding the fons of men.
I fhall now, therefore, confider the words, as spoken to you in particular, and containing this doctrine;
That the LORD JESUS CHRIST doth invite the daughters men to be his spouse; and is exceeding defirous of their beauty; who, forgetting their people and father's house, de
hearken, confider and incline to his invitation, and join themfelves to him in this relation.
I fhall fhew,
"I. How CHRIST doth efpoufe himfelf unto the children, but, more especially, unto the daughters of men.
The LORD JESUS CHRIST, doth efpoufe himself unto the children of men, in this world, but the public folemnization of the marriage, is reserved until the laft day; when his spouse fhall be brought forth to him, in white robes, and a raiment of perfect righteoufnefs, more rich and curious, my dear fifters, than any of your needle-work; and the marriage feast will be kept in his Father's house, in heaven, where they shall be received into the nearest and clofeft embraces of his love. The marriage knot is tied here, in which are included four things:
First, Mutual Choice,
Secondly, Mutual Affection.
Thirdly, Mutual Union.
Fourthly, Mutual Obligation.
First, My dear fifters, there is a mutual choice, which is not only in CHRIST, as Mediator, but also by CHRIST as the eternal Son of GOD, yea, GOD himfelf; notwithstanding all that the polite Arians and Socinians fay to the contrary. The LORD JESUS CHRIST, my dear fifters, doth chuse you merely by his free grace; it is freely of his own mercy, that he brings you into the marriage covenant: You, who have fo grievously offended him, yet, the LORD JESUS CHRIST hath chofen you; you did not, you would not have chosen him; but when once, my dear fifters, he hath chofen you, then, and not till then, you make choice of him for your Lord and Hufband.
The LORD JESUS CHRIST when he firft comes to you, finds you full of fin and pollution; you are deformed, defiled, enslaved, poòr, miferable and wretched, very defpicable and loathfome, by reafon of fin; and he maketh choice of you, not because of your holiness, nor of your beauty, nor of your being qualified for them; no, the LORD JESUS CHRIST puts those qualifications upon you, as may make you meet for his embrace; and you are drawn to make choice of this LORD JESUS CHRIST because he first chofe you.
Secondly, In this efpoufal of your's, my dear fifters, there is a mutual affection; this doth accompany the choice.' Your hearts are drawn out after CHRIST; your fouls pant and long for him; you cannot be at reft until you are engaged to this JESUS: You are ready to cry out continually, none but CHRIST, none but CHRIST: this is the language of your hearts, if you are truly fenfible of your need of him, The more acquaintance you have of this LORD JESUS, the more pleafed you are with your choice, and the more your affections are drawn towards him. And where can you place your affections better than upon that JESUS who fhed his blood for your fakes? Surely he deferves both your loves and affections: Go on, go on, my dear fifters, that your affections may grow tronger and stronger.
Thirdly, There is not only mutual choice, and mutual affection, but likewise mutual Union: And here doth the mar riage lie chiefly, in this union; CHRIST and fouls are contracted, and the knot is tied fo fast, that neither men on earth, how great foever they be, nor devils in hell, though they fhould combine all their wrath and rage together, ftill they cannot diffolve, they cannot untie it; no, my dear fifters, it is indiffolvable, for the union is, by the fpirit, on CHRIST'S part, and by faith on your's: By the fpirit, CHRIST doth lay hold on you; and by faith, you do lay hold on him; and thus the match is made; CHRIST becomes your's, his perfon, portion, and all his benefits are your's; and you become CHRIST'S, your perfons, your hearts, and all that you have is refigned up unto him; and O that they may be so more and more.
Fourthly, There is a mutual Obligation between CHRIST and his spouse. CHRIST obliges himfelf to love you here; he will hot, indeed he never will leave you, he will protect you from the malice of the Pharifees of this generation, he will provide for you in all difficulties; he will live with you here, and at laft he will take you to himfelf, to live with him for ever, And you are engaged to him to be loving, loyal, faithful, obedient; and you are to stick clofe to him as long as you live; and then you will find yourfelves to be married to the beft advantage, both for foul and body, for time and for eternity..
à II. CHRIST doth invite all of you to be his spouse.
And it is on this account that he fends forth his minifters to preach. It is this, that makes me thus come among you; that you would accept of this invitation, to which, in the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, I do call and intreat you to take him, on his own terms. He calls all of you, my fiers, whether elder or younger, whether married or unmarried, of higher degree, or of the meaneft quality, the poorest fervants, yea, the rabble of this world, as the world calls you, who are willing to be efpoused unto the LORD JESUS CHRIST. I fay, the poor are as welcome to be CHRIST's fpoufe as those that are rich. He regardeth not the rich, more than the poor: he chofe a mean virgin, efpoufed to a carpenter, to be his mother; and he chufeth and calleth all fuch to be his fpoufe; then be not difcouraged at your being defpifed in the world; for if you are but loved by CHRIST, and efpoufed to him, it will be an over-fufficiency for all the trouble that you have met with here,
III. Those who would be efpoufed unto CHRIST, muft hearken, confider, and incline to his invitation, and forget even their father's house.
Such as would be efpoufed unto CHRIST muft hearken. "Hearken, O daughter." Many amongft you, my fifters, ftop their cars against the calls of the gofpel; they fhut their ears like the deaf adder, which will not hearken unto the voice of the charmer, though he charm never so wifely. You will not hearken unto the invitations of CHRIST; you can hearken unto the vanities, of the world, and be delighted with the efpoufals of the world, but never think, or are delighted with the efpoufals of CHRIST.
It was by the ear, that the temptation of fin was received by the first man, when he departed from Gop; and by the ear, the invitation to be CHRIST's fpoufe muft be received, before the heart will be opened to receive JESUS CHRIST in this conjugal relation.
If you would, my dear fifters, be efpoufed to CHRIST, you muft confider CHRIST's invitation. It is not a flight or bare hearing of CHRIST's invitation, which will be of any fervice
to you, or make up the match between CHRIST and your fouls; no, you must receive CHRIST in the heart; you must confider the thing itself, the advantages of it, the difference between CHRIST's invitations and the devil's temptations, of any of the world's proffers.
Those who would be efpoufed to CHRIST, must be inclined to accept of CHRIST's invitation. « Hearken, O daughter, confider and incline thine ear." This is to incline your hearts! You must confent with you wills; there must be a compliance to the motion of CHRIST, and you must have defires after CHRIST, and then your hearts will fay, LORD, let us be thy fpoufe, and be thou our beloved.'
You must likewife forget your father's houfe. O daughter, and confider, and forget thy father's house." You are not here to caft off all affections unto natural relations, but you must forget all relations, fo as to be ready to forego all their favour, when it ftandeth in competition with that of the LORD JESUS CHRIST; and do not let your carnal friends and relations hinder you from clofing with, and efpoufing the LORD JESUS. I earnestly befeech you to füffer the lofs of any thing, rather than to lose his favours; you must indeed forget your own people, that is, you must forget all your evil customs which you have learned in your father's houfe, and forfake all your vain converfation, your reading of plays, novels, or romances; and you must keep from learning to fing the fongs of the drunkard; for CHRIST, if you are his fpoufe, hath redeemed you.
Such of you, my dear fifters, as are espoused to the LORD JESUS CHRIST are very beautiful. I do not mean in refpect of your bodies; you may have lefs of external comeliness than others, in refpect of your bodies, but as to your fouls you will exceed in beauty, not fo much in the eyes of man, as in the eyes of GOD; fuch have the most beautiful image of GoD tamped upon them; none in the world, befide them, have the leaft fpark of fpiritual beauty. Such as are not married to CHRIST, are unregenerated, they are not born again, nor brought from fin unto God, which must be done before you be efpoused to CHRIST.
And the LORD JESUS CHRIST defireth to fee this beauty in his fpoufe, for he cries out, "O my dove, thou art in the E 3