For thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood anymore, For thine Maker is thy husband. Isa. 54:4, 5.
If this marriage be made up betwixt Christ and thee, then thou hast put away all lovers besides Christ; the right hand will be cut off, the right eye put out; you will be divorced from all other husbands, particularly from the law; ye must be dead to the law, that ye may be married to another husband, even to Christ. But you will say, What is it to be dead to the law? I answer, It is not to lay it aside as the rule of obedience; for the law shall still be the rule and standard of the believer’s obedience, life, and conversation but to be dead to the law, is to be sensible that the law cannot save us. It is to disclaim all hopes of being justified by the law, or by our works or obedience to it. I see Christ, the glorious husband, hath brought in an everlasting righteousness, answering the law fully: this is the garment I must put on, and cast off my filthy rags.
Hast thou given a cordial consent upon the contract-day? Can you say you were enabled to take him, as the Psalmist, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, thou art my Lord;” and thou art my God, my head, my husband? Have you given a rational consent to it? Yea, a super-rational and supernatural consent? A deliberate, chaste, solemn, unconditional consent? Did you say it with faith, that he was yours, and shall be so forever? It is true, persons may be matched to Christ who cannot condescend on the precise time: the Spirit may work many times some way that we cannot know; yet it is his ordinary way with his bride, after many tossings, to break in with ravishing, conquering sweetness, to draw forth her soul to a solemn remarkable closing with him, and consenting to him. Have you then been engaged to make over yourself to the bridegroom, by an unreserved resignation of yourself to him, that you will not only take him wholly, and for ever, for holiness and happiness, for light and life, for grace and glory, but also make over yourself to him, soul and body, whatever you are, whatever you have been? Are you one with him? Have you one spirit with him? “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” 1 Cor. 4:17.
Can you say, that upon the marriage-day, you got a marriage-gift from the bridegroom? Among the Jews, the bridegroom was to give a marriage-gift to his bride: Now, what gift did you receive on this marriage-day? Can you say, indeed I got the wedding garment; he clothed me with his righteousness, which he span out of his own bowels, weaved with his own hands, and, dyed with his own blood; and thus all my guilt is covered, the curse is done away? This is indeed what few get; yet some have been, and are able to say, I am delivered from the wrath to come; and there is no condemnation to me; and on such a time I got also an ornament of the graces with the spirit, which I wear as jewels, that is to say, faith, love, obedience, patience, humility; and I got the promise of an hundred-fold here, and I am expecting more gifts yet, before the marriage be consummated I am expecting more assurance, I live in the hope of glory; I expect a sealed pardon of all my sins, and I look to get the earnest of the spirit, and more every day. Ralph Erskine