Page images
[graphic][merged small]

THE BLESSING OF THE CHURCH ON l of their plan. Having been too much clated MARRIAGE.

with their prospects, having fondly terminated Almighty God, who at the beginning did

their hopes in each other, and forgotten their create our first parents, Adam and Eve, and

immediate dependence on the Almighty, they did sanctify and join them together in mar

have not enjoyed that blessing from above riage, pour upon you the riches of His grace,

which is necessary to secure the permanent sanctify and bless you ; that ye may please

happiness of the matrimonial state. Him both in body and soul, and live together

Mr. Addison, and some other writers, have in holy love unto your lives' end. Amen.

occasionally treated of many little impropriMarriage Service.

eties which married persons are apt to commit. Their instructions upon these heads

are worthy of notice in their proper place ; MARRIAGE CONSIDERED RELIGIOUSLY.

but none of them that I have seen go to the

bottom of the subject. The great impropriety, We may often observe, that a sincere and the first cause of every other miscarriage, mutual affection at the beginning is not suffi is our unhappy propensity to propose a rest cient to procure a continuance of happiness and satisfaction merely in the creature. So to married persons. And this happens, not far as we attempt this, the Lord, either in from the want of amiable qualities on either mercy or in judgment, will assuredly disapside, nor through any imprudence which the point us. He will multiply the sorrows of most intimate friends of the parties can ob- those who thus presume to seek after another serve; but from an error in the foundation god; for He is jealous of His glory, and will not give it to our idols. It is the Holy Scrip- desires, and when we have sown the wind, to ture alone which furnishes us with rules or reap the whirlwind ? motives sufficient to direct and animate us in. And as it is necessary to begin this great the various relations of life ; especially in design in submission to the will of God, so this, which is of all others the most honour- ! it must also be conducted, with respect to able, the most intimate, and the most impor- the end, in subordination to His glory. We tant. It is the most honourable, as instituted cannot, consistently with our Christian proby God himself, and appointed as an emblem fession, either entreat or expect a blessing of the love and indissoluble union between upon such of our designs as may terminate Christ and His Church ; in which respect the solely in ourselves. So far as we can, upon Apostle scruples not to call it a great mystery. the closest consideration, foresee the circumIt is the most intimate, because it is expressly stances and engagements which our new ordained to supersede all other relations and relation may bring us into, it behoves us to connections ; "for this cause shall a man resolve (by Divine assistance), that we will leave his father and mother, and cleave to act in them as those who are not their own, his wife ; and they two shall be one flesh.” but “ bought with a price." And it is by far the most important, as The due observance of these two points having a necessary influence, either good or will necessarily lead to a third, namely, to bad, upon every future action and circum make choice of such a partner for life as we stance of our lives.

have good reason to believe is under the It would not be an easy task to point out same principles; and not to be so misled by and illustrate the nature, rise, and improve any plausible appearances as to unite ourment of that peculiar sympathy of soul selves with any person in whom these prinwhich takes place in those whose hearts as ciples have not in some measure taken well as hands are joined in marriage ; which place. A want of care in this matter has so far resembles the joy of a good con filled many a pious heart with anguish science that it is hard to represent it to those through all the remaining years of life. When who have not felt it, and next to impossible a truly religious person marries one who to describe it but from experience. Conjugal has no relish for spiritual things, that indi. affection, wherever it appears, exhibits the vidual is taking up a heavy burden which fairest prospect of human happiness; though can never be laid aside. How greatly must too often it is like a beautiful edifice raised the worship of God in the closet, and in the upon an insufficient foundation. But when family, be interrupted or distracted in such a it is formed and cherished under the influence case! How must the improvement of chilof true religion, it is firm and lasting.

dren and domestics be hindered, and the I write now for those, whose temper or cir force of good example lessened! How must cumstances inclining them to a married life, the Christian husband be wounded in his have yet their choice to make. Few persons, soul, when, deeply impressed with the love warm in the pursuit of their own inclinations, of God shed abroad in his heart, he would and relying on the sufficiency of their own fain look upon a beloved wife as the sharer judgments, will be either pleased or profited of his joys > by my remarks; but those who are truly

“Sure is the knot that true religion ties; serious and considerate will perhaps discover

And love that's rightly grounded never dies." their expediency. At all events, the following rules are of the utmost importance in this Or when, under distress or temptation, he matter :

needs or carnestly desires the assistance of Whoever would hope for comfort in the her counsel and prayers ; but, in either case, marriage relation must, in the first place, | can meet with no return but coldness, surprise, humbly submit himself and his designs and misapprehension ! entirely to the disposal of the Almighty, and How must it add to his grief in a time of earnestly seek the direction of His wisdom trouble, and damp his pleasures in brighter and providence. We have a promise that if | hours, to reflect on the dangerous situation we acknowledge God in all our ways He will of one whose interest is dearer to him than direct our paths ; but if we reject His offer, his own life! If divine providence takes her and choose for ourselves, what have we to from him in such estate, how deep and bitter expect, but to be filled with vicious or vain | must be his mourning! How hard will he find it to silence the bodings of his heart, THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE. and to resign her into the hands of that God

From Jesus Christ and His Spirit, marriage to whom, as he fiars, she lived and died

and home received a new sanction and a new a stranger! If he should be called first from her, with

position in the whole world. In spite of all what anguish must it perhaps fill his dying

the fancies, and perversions, and exaggerahours, to think that their present parting is too

tions of later times, the institution of Chrislikely to be an eternal separation ; and that

tian marriage and the blessings of a Christian he leaves her in the midst of the snares and

home are such as have indeed been worthy calamities of an evil world, without an in

of the “beginning of miracles” in Cana of

Galilee. They are the bulwarks of nations terest in those precious promises which, he

and churches; they are the salt of human knows, are alone able to support her! An

life; they are the proper sphere of every union of affection which either obviates or

human soul. A happy marriage is a new softens all other trials will in this case greatly heighten and aggravate the distress.

beginning of life ; a new starting-point for

happiness and usefulness : it is the great opThe more tenderly they love, the more sensibly they must grieve each other while

portunity, once for all, to leave the past, with

all its follies and faults and errors, far, far together, and the more awful and overwhelming their situation will become.

behind us, for ever, and to press forward How different is the experience of those

with new hopes, new courage, and new

strength into the future which opens before who are united in grace as well as in affection!

us. A happy home is the best likeness of How are their pleasures heightened, and their necessary trials alleviated, by the sense of

heaven ; a home where husband and wife, their Redeemer's love, while their prayers

father and mother, brother and sister, child are enlivened and their praises multiplied

and parent, each in their several ways, help

each the other forwards in their difficult upon each other's account. The one who may depart first can with faith and comfort

course as no other human being can; for commit the survivor to the gracious protec

none else has the same opportunities, none

else so know the character of any other; tion of their Heavenly Father. The one who may remain longest here has the unspeakable

none else has such an interest at stake in the satisfaction of knowing that the dear com

welfare and the fame, the grace and the panion is safely arrived at the haven of eter

goodness, of any one else, as of those who nal rest, and that a few revolving years will

are bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; re-unite them in a state of unchangeable

in whose happiness and glory we ourselves

become happy and glorious; in whose misery happiness, beyond the power of death, sin, or sorrow, for ever!


we become miserable ; by whose selfishness, weakness, and worldliness we are dragged

down to earth ; by whose purity, and nobleSPRING-Time with ONE LOVE.

ness, and strength, we are raised up, almost Two hearts together, that began

against our will, to duty, to heaven, and to Their spring-time with one love, and that | God.

Dean Stanley. have need Of mutual pity and forgiveness, sweet To grant or be received. Wordsworth.


Two persons who have chosen cach other I WILL.

out of all the species, with a design to be Autumn brought an hour

cach other's mutual comfort and entertainFor Eustace, when I heard his decp “I will,"

ment, have, in that action, bound themselves Breathed, like the covenant of a god, to hold

to be good-humoured, affable, discreet, forFrom thence through all the worlds.

giving, patient, and joyful, with respect to Tennyson.

each other's frailties and perfections, to the

end of their natural lives. Addison. Thrice and four times blest are those whom

Sacred wedlock joineth twain ; Live in perfect love, contented,

Marriage is honourable in all. Never murmur nor complain. Callow. |

St. Paul.


And so she moved under the bridal veil, O Thou, whose merciful decree
Which made the paleness of her cheek more Hath knit our hearts in bonds of love,

Our sure defence and safeguard be,
And deepend the faint crimson of her mouth, Whate'er our wedded lot may prove.
And darken'd her dark locks, as moonlight

Without Thy blessing love is vain
And of the gold and jewels glittering there The varied ills of life to bear;
She scarce felt conscious; but the weary glare But when bestow'd, few griefs remain
Lay like a chaos of unwelcome light,

Beyond affection's healing care.
V'exing the sense with gorgeous undelight.
A moonbeam in the shadow of a cloud

Avert from us the spirit's chill,
Was less heavenly fair-her face was bow'd, Each wandering thought and fickle mood;
And, as she pass'd, the diamonds in her hair Mould every feeling to Thy will,
Were mirror'd in the polish'd marble stair Incline our hearts to every good.
Which led from the cathedral to the street;
And, even as she went, her light fair feet Implanting deep that perfect trust,
Erased these images.

l'irgil. Of love's rich soil the flower most dear;

Turn all our promised joys to dust,

But leave that root unwither'd here.
Fair art thou as the morning, my young bride! Blend with our love that gentleness
Her freshness is about thee; like a river

Which turns each angry word aside,
To the sea gliding, with sweet murmur ever Which stifles wrath with tenderness,
Thou sportest; and, wherever thou dost glide,

and wherever thou dost glide. And melts away the frost of pride. Humanity a lovelier aspect wears.

Fair art thou as the morning of that land Nor let unkindness ever reach,
Where Tuscan breezes in his youth have Nor harsh, unfeeling thoughts impair

The tenderness of years; but teach
Thy grandsire oft. Thou hast not many tears,

Our hearts to bear and to forbear.
Save such as pity from the heart will wring;
And then there is a smile in thy distress!

Be ours a unity of mind,
Meeker thou art than lily of the spring,

A unity of sweetest love, Yet is thy nature full of nobleness,

A unity of faith entwined And gentle ways, that soothe and raise me so,

With the dear hope of joys above.
That henceforth I no worldly sorrow know.

We know that in our hearts there lies,
Edward Moxon.

With all their love, the germ of change ;

The world can break the holiest ties, MARRIAGE THE HOLIEST ORDINANCE

A breath the tenderest thoughts estrange. OF GOD.

Marriage is with us We pray, O God! that grief like this The holiest ordinance of God, whereon

Our earthly course may never see ; The bliss or bane of human life depends: 'We'd make our love a lasting bliss, Love must be won by love, and heart to heart, By resting all its hopes on Thee ! Link'd in mysterious sympathy, before

Kenny Meadows. We pledge the marriage vow, Southey.

This was the day, the cager wish'd-for day,
My greedy soul had treasured up so long,
And in contracting fancy half possess'd,
To blot out every blacker hour of life,
And pay with double interest of joys
Courtship's dull toils, and Expectation's pangs.


Thought ye your iron hands of pride
Could break the knot that love had tied ?
No:-let the eagle change bis plume,
The leaf its hue, the flower its bloom ;
But ties around this heart were spun
That could not, would not, be undone! •


« PreviousContinue »