PREACHED AT A MARRIAGE.
Hosea ii. 19.
And I will marry thee unto me for ever.
The word which is the hinge upon which all this text turns, is erash, and erash signifies not only a betrothing, as our later translation hath it, but a marriage; and so is it used by David, Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I married*; and so our former translation had it, and so we accept it, and so shall handle it, / will marry thee unto me for ever.
The first marriage that was made, God made, and he made it in paradise: and of that marriage I have had the like occasion as
1 2 Sam. iii. 14.
this to speak before, iu the presence of many honourable persons in this company. The last marriage which shall be made, God shall make too, and in paradise too; in the kingdom of heaven: and at that marriage, I hope in him that shall make it, to meet, not some, but all this company. The marriage in this text hath relation to both those marriages: it is itself the spiritual and mystical marriage of Christ Jesus to the church, and to every marriageable soul in the church: and it hath a retrospect, it looks back to the first marriage; for to that the first word carries us, because from thence God takes his metaphor, and comparison, Sponsabo, I will marry; and then it hath a prospect to the last marriage, for to that we are carried in the last word, in wternum, I will marry thee unto me for ever. Be pleased therefore to give me leave in this exercise, to shift the scene thrice, and to present to your religious considerations three objects, three subjects: first, a secular marriage in paradise; secondly, a spiritual marriage in the church; and thirdly, an eternal marriage in heaven. And in each of these three we shall present three circumstances; first the persons, me and tibi, I will marry thee; and then the action, sponsabo, I will marry thee; and lastly the term, in wternum, I will marry thee to me for ever.
In the first acceptation then, in the first, the secular marriage in paradise, the persons were Adam and Eve: ever since they are he and she, man and woman: at first, by reason of necessity, without any such limitation, as now: and now without any other limitation, than such as are expressed in the law of God: as the apostles say in the first general council, We lay nothing upon you but things necessary*, so we call nothing necessary but that which is commanded by God. If in heaven I may have the place of a man that hath performed the commandments of God, I will not change with him that thinks he hath done more than the commaudments of God enjoined him. The rule of marriage for degrees and distance in blood, is the law of God; but for conditions of men, there is no rule given at all. When God had made Adam and Eve in paradise, God did not place Adam in a monastery on one side, and Eve in a nunnery on the other, and so a river between them. They that built walls and cloisters to
frustrate God's institution of marriage, advance the doctrine of devils in forbidding marriage8. The devil hath advantages enough against us, in bringing men and women together: it was a strange and super-devilish invention, to give him a new advantage against us, by keeping men and women asunder, by forbidding marriage. Between the heresy of the Nicolaitans, that induced a community of women, any might take any; and the heresy of the Tatians that forbad all, none might take any, was a fair latitude. Between the opinion of the Manichean heretics, that thought women to be made by the devil, and your Collyridian heretics that sacrificed to a woman, as to God, there is a fair distance. Between the denying of them souls, which St. Ambrose is charged to have done, and giving them such souls, as that they may be priests, as your Peputian heretics did, is a fair way for a moderate man to walk in. To make them gods is ungodly, and to make them devils is devilish; to make them mistresses is unmanly, and to make them servants is ignoble; to make them as God made them, wives, is godly and manly too. When in your Roman church they dissolved marriage in natural kindred, in degrees where God forbids it not, when they dissolve marriage upon spiritual kindred, because my grandfather christened that woman's father; when they dissolve marriage upon legal kindred, because my grandfather adopted that woman's father: they separate those whom God hath joined so, as to give leave to join in lawful marriage. When men have made vows to abstain from marriage, I would they would be content to try a little longer than they do, whether they could keep that vow or no: and when men have consecrated themselves to the service of God in his church, I would they would be content to try a little farther than they do, whether they could abstain or no: but to dissolve marriage made after such a vow, or after orders, is still to separate those whom God hath not separated. The persons are he and she, man and woman; they must be so much; he must be a man, she must be a woman; and they must be no more; not a brother and a sister, not an uncle and a neice ; adduxit ad eam, was the cause between Adam and Eve; God brought them together; God will not bring me a precontracted person, he will not
3 1 Tim. iv. 3.
have me defraud another; nor God will not bring me a misbelieving, a superstitious person, he will not have me drawn from himself: but let them be persons that God hath made, man and woman, and persons that God hath brought together, that is, not put asunder by any law of his, and all such persons are capable of this first, this secular marriage.
In which our second consideration is the action, sponsabo; where the active is a kind of passive, / will marry thee, is, / will be married unto thee, for we marry not ourselves. They are somewhat hard driven in the Roman church, when making marriage a sacrament, and being pressed by us with this question, If it be a sacrament, who administers it, who is the priest? They are fain to answer, the bridegroom and the bride, he and she are the priest in that sacrament4. As marriage is a civil contract, it must be done so in public, as that it may have the testimony of men; as marriage is a religious contract, it must be so done, as that it may have the benediction of the priest: in a marriage without testimony of men they cannot claim any benefit by the law; in a marriage without the benediction of the priest they cannot claim any benefit of the church: for how matrimonially soever such persons as have married themselves may pretend to love, and live together, yet all that love, and all that life is but a regulated adultery, it is not marriage.
Now this institution of marriage had three objects: first, In ustionem, it was given for a remedy against burning; and then, In prolem, for propagation, for children; and lastly, In adjutorium, for mutual help. As we consider it the first way, In ustionem, every heating is not a burning; every natural concupiscence does not require a marriage; nay every flaming is not a burning; though a man continue under the flame of carnal temptation, as long as St. Paul did, yet it needs not come presently to a Sponsabo, I will marry. God gave St. Paul other physic, Gratia mea sufficit, Grace to stand under that temptation; and St. Paul gave himself other physic, Contundo corpus, Convenient disciplines to tame his body. These will keep a man from burning; for Uri est desideriis vinci, desideriapati, illustris est, et perfects; To be overcome by our concupiscences, that is to
* Bellar de Matrimo. 1. i. c. 6.
burn, but to quench the fire by religious ways, that is a noble, that is a perfect work. When God at the first institution of marriage had this first use of marriage in his contemplation, that it should be a remedy against burning, God gave man the remedy, before he had the disease; for marriage was instituted in the state of innocency, when there was no inordinateness in the affections of man, and so no burning. But as God created rhubarb in the world, whose quality is to purge choler, before there was any choler to purge, so God according to his abundant forwardness to do us good, created a remedy before the disease, which he foresaw coming, was come upon us. Let him then that takes a wife in this first and lowest sense, in medicinam, but as his physic, yet make her his cordial physic, take her to his heart, and fill his heart with her, let her dwell there, and dwell there alone, and so they will be mutual antidotes and preservatives one to another, against all foreign temptations. And with this blessing, bless thou, O Lord, these whom thou hast brought hither for this blessing: make all the days of their life like this day unto them: and as thy mercies are new every morning, make them so to one another; and if they may not die together, sustain thou the survivor of them in that sad hour with this comfort, That he that died for them both, will bring them together again in hiseverlastingness.
The second use of marriage was In prolificationem, For children: and therefore as St. Augustine puts the case, To contract before, that they will have no children, makes it no marriage but an adultery: to deny themselves to another, is as much against marriage as to give themselves to another. To hinder it by physic, or any other practice; nay to hinder it so far, as by a deliberate wish, or prayer against children, consists not well with this second use of marriage. And yet in this second use, we do not so much consider generation as regeneration; not so much procreation as education, nor propagation as transportation of children. For this world might be filled full enough of children, though there were no marriage; but heaven could not be filled, nor the places of the fallen angels supplied, without that care of children's religious education, which from parents in lawful marriage they are likeliest to receive. How infinite, and how miserable a circle of sin do we make, if as we sinned in our parent's loins before we were born, so we sin in our children's actions when we are dead, by having given them, either example, or liberty of sinning. We have a fearful commination from God upon a good man, upon Eli, for his not restraining the licentiousness of his sons; / will do a thing in Israel, says God there, at which every mans ears that hears it shall tingle': and it was executed, Eli fell down and broke his neck. We have also a consolation to women for children, She shall be saved in child-bearing, says the apostle7; but as Chrysostom and others of the ancients observe and interpret that place (which interpretation arises out of the very letter) it is, si permanserint, not if she, but if they, if the children continue in faith, in charity, in holiness, and sobriety: the salvation of the parents hath so much relation to the children's goodness, as that if they be ill by the parent's example, or indulgence, the parents are as guilty as the children. Art thou afraid thy child should be stung with a snake, and wilt thou let him play with the old serpent, in opening himself to all temptations? Art thou afraid to let him walk in an ill air, and art thou content to let him stand in that pestilent air that is made of nothing but oaths, and execrations of blasphemous mouths round about him? It is St. Chrysostom's complaint, Perditionem magno pretio emunt; salutem nec dono accipere volunt; We pay dear for our children's damnation, by paying at first for all their childish vanities, and then for their sinful insolences at any rate; and we might have them saved, and ourselves to the bargain, (which were a frugal way, and a debt well hedged in) for much less than ours, and their damnation stands us in. If you have a desire, says that blessed father, to leave them certainly rich, Deum iis relinque debitorem, Do some such thing for God's service, as you may leave God in their debt. He cannot break; his estate is inexhaustible; he will not break promise, nor break day; He will show mercy unto thousands in them that love him and keep his commandments. And here also may another shower of his benedictions fall upon them whom he hath prepared and presented here; Let the wife be as a fruitful vine, and their children like olive-plants*: to thy glory, let the parents express the love of parents, and the children, to thy glory, the obedience of children,
till they both lose that secular name of parents and children, and meet all alike, in one new name, all saints in thy kingdom, and fellow-servants there.
The third and last use in this institution of secular marriage, was, In adjutorium, For mutual help. There is no state, no man in any state, that needs not the help of others. Subjects need kings, and if kings do not need their subjects, they need alliances abroad, and they need counsel at home. Even in Paradise, where the earth produced all things for life without labour, and the beasts submitted themselves to man, so that he had no outward enemy; and in the state of innocency in Paradise, where in man, all the affections submitted themselves to reason, so that he had no inward enemy, yet God in this abundant Paradise, and in this secure innocency of Paradise, even in the survey of his own work, saw, that though all that he had made was good, yet he had not made all good; he found thus much defect in his own work, that man lacked a helper. Every body needs the help of others; and every good body does give some kind of help to others. Even into the ark itself, where God blessed them all with a powerful and an immediate protection, God admitted only such as were fitted to help one another, couples. In the ark, which was the type of our best condition in this life, there was not a single person. Christ saved once one thief at the last gasp, to show that there may be late repentances; but in the ark he saved none but married persons, to show, that he eases himself in making them helpers to one another. And therefore when we come to the Posui Deum adjutorium meum, To rely upon God primarily for our help, God comes to the Faciam tibi adjutorium, I will make thee a help like thyself: not always like in complexion, nor like in years, nor like in fortune, nor like in birth, but like in mind, like in disposition, like in the love of God, and of one another or else there is no helper. It was no kind of help that David's wife gave him, when she spoke by way of counsel, but in truth, in scorn and derision, to draw him from a religious act, as the dancing before the ark, at that time was: it is no help for any respect, to slacken the husband in his religion. It was but a poor help that Nabal's wife was fain to give him by telling David, Alas my husband is but a fool, like his name, and what will you look for at a fooFs hand? It is the worst help of all to raise a husband by dejecting herself, to help her husband forward in this world, by forfeiting sinfully, and dishonourably, her own interest in the next. The husband is the helper in the nature of a foundation, to sustain and uphold all; the wife in the nature of the roof, to cover imperfections and weaknesses: the husband in the nature of the head from whom all the sinews flow; the wife in the nature of the hands into which those sinews flow, and enable them to do their offices. The husband helps as legs to her, she moves by his motion; the wife helps as a staff to him, he moves the better by her assistance. And let this mutual help be a part of our present benediction too; in all the ways of fortune let his industry help her, and in all the crosses of fortune let her patience help him; and in all emergent occasions and dangers spiritual, or temporal, 0 God make speed to save them, 0 Lord, make haste to help them.
We have spoken of the persons, man and woman, him and her; and of the action, first as it is physic, but cordial physic; and then for children, but children to be made the children of God; and lastly for help, but true help and mutual help; there remains yet in this secular marriage, the term, how long, for ever, / will marry thee for ever. Now though there be properly no eternity in this secular marriage, nor in anything in this world, (for eternity is that only which never had beginning, nor ever shall have end) yet we may consider a kind of eternity, a kind of circle without beginning, without end, even in this secular marriage: for first, marriage should have no beginning before marriage; no half-marriage, no lending away of the mind, in conditional precontracts before, no lending away of the body in unchaste wantonness before. The body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; and when two bodies, by marriage are to be made one temple, the wife is not as the chancel, reserved and shut up, and the man as the walks below, indifferent and at liberty for every passenger. God in his temple looks for first-fruits from both; that so on both sides, marriage should have such a degree of eternity, as to have had no beginning of marriage before marriage. It should have this degree of eternity too, this quality of a circle to have no interruption, no breaking in the way by unjust suspicions and jealousies. Where there is Spiritus immunditii, as St. Paul calls it, A spirit of uncleanness, there will necessarily be Spiritus selotypiw, as Moses calls it, A spirit of jealousy. But to raise the devil in the power of the devil, to call up one spirit by another spirit, by the spirit of jealousy and suspicion, to induce the spirit of uncleanness where it was not, if a man conjure up a devil so, God knows who shall conjure it down again. As jealousy is a care and not a suspicion, God is not ashamed to protest of himself that he is a jealous God. God commands that no idolatry be committed, Thou shalt not bow down to a graven image3; and before he accuses any man to have bowed down to a graven image, before any idolatry was committed, he tells them that he is a jealous God; God is jealous before there is any harm done. And God presents it as a curse, when he says, My jealousy shall depart f rom thee, and I will be quiet, and no more angry1*; that is, I will leave thee to thyself, and take no more care of thee. Jealousy that implies care, and honour, and counsel, and tenderness, is rooted in God, for God is a jealous God, and his servants are jealous servants, as St. Paul professes of himself, / am jealous over you with a godly jealousy11. But jealousy that implies diffidence and suspicion, and accusation, is rooted in the devil, for he is the accuser of the brethren.
So then, this secular marriage should be in wternum, eternal, for ever, as to have no beginning before, and so too, as to have no jealous interruption by the way; for it is so eternal, as that it can have no end in this life: those whom God hath joined, no man, no devil, can separate so, as that it shall not remain a marriage so far, as that if those separated persons will live together again, yet they shall not be new married; so far, certainly, the band of marriage continues still. The devil makes no marriages; he may have a hand in drawing conveyances; in the temporal conditions there may be practice, but the marriage is made by God in heaven. The devil can break no marriages neither, though he can by sin break off all the good uses, and take away all the comforts of marriage. I pronounce not now whether adultery dissolves marriage or no; it is St. Augustine's wisdom to say, Where the Scripture is silent, let me be silent too: and I may go
9 Exod. xx. 5. ,0 Ezek. xvi. 42. 11 2 Cor. xi. 2.
lower than he, and say, Where the church is silent, let me be silent too; and our church is so far silent in this, as that it hath not said, That adultery dissolves marriage. Perchance then it is not the death of marriage, but surely it is a deadly wound. We have authors in the Roman church that think fornicationem n0n vagam, that such an incontinent life as is limited to one certain person, is no deadly sin. But there is none even amongst them that diminish the crime of adultery. Habere quasi non haberes, is Christ's council, To have a wife as though thou hadst none, that is, continency, and temperance, and forbearance and abstinency upon some occasions: but non habere quasi haberes, is not so; not to have a wife, and yet have her, to have her that is another's, that is the devil's counsel. That salutation of the angel to the blessed Virgin Mary, Blessed art thou amongst women, we may make even this interpretation, not only this she was blessed amongst women, that is, above women, but that she was benedicta, blessed amongst women, that all women blest her, that no woman had occasion to curse her: and this is the eternity of this secular marriage as far as this world admits any eternity; that it should have no beginning before, no interruption of jealousy in the way, no such approach towards dissolution, as that incontinency in all opinions, and in all churches is agreed to be. And here also without any scruple of fear, or of suspicion of the contrary, there is place for this benediction, upon this couple; build, O Lord, upon thine own foundations, in these two, and establish thy former graces with future; that no person ever complain of either of them, nor either of them of one another, and so he and she are married in wternum for ever.
We are now come in our order proposed at first, to our second part, for all is said that I intended of the secular marriage. And of this second, the spiritual marriage, much needs not to be said: there is another priest that contracts that, another preacher that celebrates that, the Spirit of God to our spirit. And for the third marriage, the eternal marriage, it is a boldness to speak anything of a thing so inexpressible as the joys of heaven; it is a diminution of them to go about to heighten them; it is a shadowing of them to go about to lay any colours or light upon them. But yet your patience may perchance last to a word of each of these three circumstances, the persons, the action, the term, both in this spiritual, and in the eternal marriage.
First then, as in the former part, the secular marriage, for the persons there, we considered first Adam and Eve, and after every man and woman, and this couple in particular; so in this spiritual marriage we consider first Christ and his church, for the persons, and more particularly Christ and my soul. And can these persons meet? in such a distance, and in such a disparagement can these persons meet? the Son of God and the son of man? When I consider Christ to be germen Jehovw, the bud and blossom, the fruit and offspring of Jehovah, Jehovah himself, and myself, before he took me in hand, to be, not a potter's vessel of earth, but that earth of which the potter might make a vessel if he would, and break it if he would when he had made it: when I consider Christ to have been from before all beginnings, and to be still the image of the Father, the same stamp upon the same metal, and myself a piece of rusty copper, in which those lines of the image of God which were imprinted in me in my creation are defaced and worn, and washed and burned, and ground away, by my many, and many, and many sins: when I consider Christ in his circle, in glory with his Father, before he came into this world, establishing a glorious church when he was in this world, and glorifying that church with that glory which himself had before, when he went out of this world; and then consider myself in my circle, I came into this world washed in my own tears, and either out of compunction for myself or compassion for others, I pass through this world as through a valley of tears, where tears settle and swell, and when I pass out of this world I leave their eyes whose hands close mine, full of tears too, can these persons, this image of God, this God himself, this glorious God, and this vessel of earth, this earth itself, this inglorious worm of the earth, meet without disparagement?
They do meet and make a marriage; because I am not a body only, but a body and soul, there is a marriage, and Christ marries me. As by the law a man might marry a captive woman in the wars, if he shaved her head, and pared her nails, and changed her clothes": so my Saviour having fought for my soul, fought
15 Deut. xxi. 12.
to blood, to death, to the death of the cross for her, having studied my soul so much, as to write all those epistles which are in the New Testament to my soul, having presented my soul with his own picture, that I can see his face in all his temporal blessings, having shaved her head in abating her pride, and pared her nails in contracting her greedy desires, and changed her clothes not to fashion herself after this world, my soul being thus fitted by himself, Christ Jesus hath married my soul, married her to all the three intendments mentioned in the secular marriage; first, in ustionem, against burning; that whether I burn myself in the fires of temptation, by exposing myself to occasions of temptation, or be reserved to be burned by others in the fires of persecution and martyrdom, whether the fires of ambition, or envy, or lust, or the everlasting fires of hell offer at me in an apprehension of the judgments of God, yet as the Spirit of God shall wipe all tears from mine eyes, so the tears of Christ Jesus shall extinguish all fires in my heart, and so it is a marriage, in ustionem, a remedy against burning.
It is so too, in prolificationem, for children; first, Vw soli, woe unto that single soul that is not married to Christ; that is not come into the way of having issue, by him, that is not incorporated in the Christian church, and in the true church, but is yet in the wilderness of idolatry amongst the Gentiles, or in the labyrinth of superstition amongst the papists, vw soli, woe unto that single man that is not married unto Christ in the sacraments of the church; and vw sterili, woe unto them that are barren after this spiritual marriage, for that is a great curse in the prophet Jeremy, Scribe virum istum sterilem, Write this man childless13, that implied all calamities upon him; and as soon as Christ had laid that curse upon the fig-tree, Let no fruit grow upon thee for everx*, presently the whole tree withered; no fruit, no leaves neither, nor body left. To be incorporated in the body of Christ Jesus, and bring forth no fruits worthy of that profession, is a woeful state too. Vw soli, woe unto the Gentiles not married unto Christ; and vw sterili, woe unto inconsiderate Christians, that think not upon their calling, that conceive not by Christ; but there is a voe prwgnanti toowoe unto them
13 Jer. xsii. 30. 4 Matt. xxi. 19. 15 Matt. xxiv. 10.
that are with child, and are never delivered; that have good conceptions, religious dispositions, holy desires to the advancement of God's truth, but for some collateral respects dare not utter them, nor bring them to their birth, to any effect. The purpose of his marriage to us, is to have children by us: and this is his abundant and his present fecundity, that working now, by me in you, in one instant he hath children in me, and grand-children by me. He hath married me, in ustionem, and in prolem, against burning, and for children; but can he have any use of me, in adjutorium, for a helper? Surely, if I be able to feed him, and clothe him, and harbour him, (and Christ would not condemn men at the last day for not doing these, if man could not do them) I am able to help him too. Great persons can help him over sea, convey the name of Christ where it hath not been preached yet; and they can help him home again; restore his name, and his truth where superstition with violence hath disseised him: and they can help him at home, defend his truth there against all machinations to displant and dispossess him. Great men can help him thus; and every man can help him to a better place in his own heart, and his own actions, than he hath had there; and to be so helped in me, and helped by me, to have his glory thereby advanced, Christ hath married my soul: and he hath married it in wternum, for ever; which is the third and last circumstance in this spiritual, as it was in the secular marriage.
And here the wternum is enlarged; in the secular marriage it was an eternity considered only in this life; but this eternity is not begun in this world, but from all eternity in the Book of Life, in God's eternal decree for my election, there Christ was married to my soul. Christ was never in minority, never under years; there was never any time when he was not as ancient as the ancient of days, as old as his Father. But when my soul was in a strange minority, infinite millions of millions of generations, before my soul was a soul, did Christ marry my soul in his eternal decree. So it was eternal, it had no beginning. Neither doth he interrupt this by giving me any occasion of jealousy by the way, but loves my soul as though there were no other soul, and would have done and suffered all that he did for me alone, if there had been no name but mine in the Book of Life. And as he hath married me to him, in wternum, for ever, before all beginnings, and in wternum, for ever, without any interruptions, so I know, that whom he loves he loves to the end, and that he hath given me, not a presumptuous impossibility, but a modest infallibility, that no sin of mine shall divorce or separate me from him; for, that which ends the secular marriage, ends not the spiritual: not death, for my death does not take me from that husband, but that husband being by his Father preferred to higher titles, and greater glory in another state, I do but go by death where he is become a king, to have my part in that glory, and in those additions which he hath received there. And this hath led us to our third and last marriage, our eternal marriage in the triumphant church.
And in this third marriage, the persons are, the Lamb and my soul; The marriage of the Lamb is come, and blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lambu, says St. John, speaking of our state in the general resurrection. That Lamb that was brought to the slaughter and opened not his mouthu, and I who have opened my mouth and poured out imprecations and curses upon men, and execrations and blasphemies against God upon every occasion; that Lamb who was slain from the beginning, and was slain by him who was a murderer from the beginning; that Lamb which took away the sins of the world, and I who brought more sins into the world, than any sacrifice but the blood of this Lamb could take away: this Lamb and I (these are the persons) shall meet and marry; there is the action.
This is not a clandestine marriage, not the private seal of Christ in the obsignation of his Spirit; and yet such a clandestine marriage is a good marriage: nor it is not such a parish marriage, as when Christ married me to himself at my baptism, in a church here; and yet that marriage of a Christian soul to Christ in that sacrament is a blessed marriage: but this is a marriage in that great and glorious congregation, where all my sins shall be laid open to the eyes of all the world, where all the blessed virgins shall see all my uncleanness, and all the martyrs see all my tergiversations, and all the confessors see all my double
16 Rev. xix. 7, 9- 17 Isaiah Liii. 7
dealings in God's cause; where Abraham shall see my faithlessness in God's promises; and Job my impatience in God's corrections; and Lazarus my hardness of heart in distributing God's blessings to the poor; and those virgins, and martyrs, and confessors, and Abraham, and Job, and Lazarus, and all that congregation, shall look upon the Lamb and upon me, and upon one another, as though they would all forbid those banns, and say to one another, Will this Lamb have anything to do with this soul I and yet there and then this Lamb shall marry me, in wternum, for ever, which is our last circumstance.
It is not well done to call it a circumstance, for the eternity is a great part of the essence of that marriage. Consider then how poor and needy a thing, all the riches of this world, how flat and tasteless a thing, all the pleasures of this world, how pallid, and faint, and dilute a thing, all the honours of this world are, when the very treasure, and joy, and glory of heaven itself were imperfect, if it were not eternal, and my marriage shall be too, in wternum, for ever.
The angels were not married so; they incurred an irreparable divorce from God, and are separated for ever, and I shall be married to him, in wternum, for ever. The angels fell in love, when there was no object presented, before anything was created; when there was nothing but God and themselves, they fell in love with themselves, and neglected God, and so fell in wternum, for ever. I shall see all the beauty, and all the glory of all the saints of God, and love them all, and know that the Lamb loves them too, without jealousy, on his part, or theirs, or mine, and so be married in wternum, for ever, without interruption, or diminution, or change of affections. I shall see the sun black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon become as blood, and the stars fall as a fig-tree casts her untimely figs, and the heavens rolled up together as a scroll18. I shall see a divorce between princes and their prerogatives, between nature and all her elements, between the spheres, and all their intelligences; between matter itself, and all her forms, and my marriage shall be, in wternum, for ever. I shall see an end of faith, nothing to be believed that I do not know; and an end of hope, nothing to be wished that I
do not enjoy, but no end of that love in which I am married to the Lamb for ever. Yea, I shall see an end of some of the offices of the Lamb himself; Christ himself shall be no longer a mediator, an intercessor, an advocate, and yet shall continue a husband to my soul for ever. Where I shall be rich enough without jointure, for my husband cannot die; and wise enough without experience, for no new thing can happen there; and healthy enough without physic, for no sickness can enter; and (which is by much the highest of all) safe enough without grace, for no temptation that needs particular grace, can attempt me. There, where the angels, which cannot die, could not live, this very body which cannot choose but die, shall live, and live as long as that God of life that made it. Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord, that in thy light we may see light: illustrate our understandings, kindle our affections, pour oil to our zeal, that we may come to the marriage of this Lamb, and that this Lamb may come quickly to this marriage: and in the mean time bless these thy servants, with making this secular marriage a type of the spiritual, and the spiritual an earnest of that eternal, which they and we, by thy mercy, shall have in the kingdom which thy Son our Saviour hath purchased with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. To whom, &c.