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.
I shall offer a few marks whereby we may know whether or not we be married unto this glorious Husband; and they may be drawn from the consideration of the antecedents, the constituents, and the consequents of this marriage.
Try by the antecedents to the marriage-contract. Before ever Christ did contract with thee, didst thou observe him courting thy soul before this contract? Here is a courting. Now did Christ court you.
1. Did he court you by the austerity of the law, as with fire and sword? Did he court you by such a word as that, Thou art a cursed wretch: for, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them?” Gal. 2:16. Did he court you by such a word as that, Cursed is every one that doth the work of the Lord negligently? Did he court you thus, by the spirit of bondage, with the terrors of God, as clothed with vengeance, telling thee thou art an heir of hell and wrath, a child of the devil? Did he court thee so as thou wast surrounded with fear and trouble?
2. Did he court thee as by the austerity of the law; so by the sweetness of the gospel, when he saw thee cast down, when he saw thee a poor heavy laden sinner, like to be crushed under thy weights? Did he then court you with such a word as that, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matt. 11:28; or with such a word as that, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come to the waters; he that hath no money, come; buy wine and milk, without money and without price,” Isa. 55:1. “Flee to your strongholds, ye prisoners of hope.” Did he thus court you with the gospel-offer?
3. Did he court you by his love-letters? This is another antecedent of the contract. Got you ever a love-letter sent from Christ out of heaven? But you will say, What is the love-letter? Even the Bible: “Search the Scriptures, these are they that testify of men” John 5:39. Here there are the declarations of the love of Christ to thy soul: here there are love-promises in these letters, that shall be yours. There is a love-covenant in these letters. Have you read and pondered them? And can you say that Christ spake them into your heart? If it be a text that was preached upon, or if it be a single word, O Christ drop that into my heart! And I think it will go with me to my death-bed, it came with such life and power. In a word, Got you any gifts before the marriage-contract, such as the, gift of true conviction, such as the gift of heart-contrition, the gift of real humiliation, the gift of self-denial, the gift of faith? These are given, some before, some at the contract?