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other by similarity of mind and disposition and affections-very few there are, who contemplate the marriage state without occasional anticipations of anxiety as to the added cares and responsibilities which in the common ordering of God's providence must attend it. But the minds of those most sensitive to this anxious view of human life, are at once encouraged by the considerations to which the Marriage Service at its very commencement leads them. They are reminded of its high original. "Marriage,”—that estate into which the man and the woman are now about to enter—is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency. And is there a care which a sense of God's superintending providence cannot lighten? is there a fear, which an assurance of his present help may not remove? Is there a joy, which the light of his countenance does not sanctify and brighten? When the mind is thus impressed with the salutary conviction that marriage is therefore a religious ordinance, and to be entered upon with a holy reverence towards God, every low unworthy thought is removed; their hearts turn to Him; and their fervent prayer is, that the blessings they trust now to gain, may abide with them even to their lives' end. To impress the occasion with a still deeper solemnity, we are also reminded, that under the comparison of the marriage state" is signified unto us the mystical union which is betwixt Christ and his Church"-He, the bridegroom; the Church, the bride'. A view this of the ordinance

1 The parable is narrated with a clear reference to the festive character, which according to the worldly means of the parties, was wont to grace Jewish marriages; and whilst it intimates in no mere slight and shadowy manner the sanctity of marriage itself, more than

of marriage, which invests it with a high and heavenly character; stamping it at once a religious as well as a civil contract; and evincing the uniform care of our Church in training her sons to heed the Apostolic injunction, that they "do all to the glory of God," and with a reference eventually to promote his honour. Thus the service in the course of this address proceeds to warn us of the new responsibilities to which we may expect to be called, when as parents it will be our's to "bring up children in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name:" holding forth thus a salutary intimation that we hereby pledge ourselves to a fulfilment, before our God, of those coming duties, in which we trust to have his blessing. Yet no austerity mingles with this holy feeling. That marriage is to be held also an occasion of joy, we learn not only from the general tenor of Scripture, but from the memorable instance recorded of our blessed Lord, who Himself worked a miracle to brighten the hour of joy at a marriage feast, where "Jesus and his disciples, and his mother," were among the guests. Did not his very presence more than sanction the display of festive hospitality which marked the occasion? Did it not sanctify the feast? Did it not, with sufficient clearness and force, though by inference, leave this instructive lesson, that at the ordinance itself, Jesus would ever be spiritually present, if invited thereto -so to speak, the sanctions of his gospel never be wanting at the marriage of his disciples? Indeed these very facts-that marriage was ordained of God; that reference to the ordinance is used by Jesus Christ justifies a Christian nation, in not severing a religious from the civil view of the ordinance.

Himself, to illustrate the spiritual unity which is betwixt Him and his Church; and that He adorned and beautified that estate with his presence, and by miracle -these facts throw around the ordinance of marriage a holy authority, which the Church would, with all a mother's love, impress deeply on the hearts of her children; not less for their consolation, than for their instruction. The close of the address reminds each party in a very affecting manner, that as together they are entering life upon their own responsibility,-the one no longer to look for a father's guidance, and support, and counsel; the other no longer to find safety and protection from a mother's sheltering wing-so each must remember that the holy estate of marriage was ordained "for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other in prosperity and adversity." Note the wise firmness and honesty with which our Church, whilst she holds the occasion to be one of festive joy duly regulated, paints the future, as experience will show it, mingled with sorrow as with joy; marked alternately with adversity and prosperity; calling from loving hearts sympathy in sorrow, as well as participation in joy. Thus effeetually does she lend her ready aid to cement that sacred bond of society, which heaven at man's first creation ordained, and the sanctity and happiness of which our blessed Lord Himself, when He dwelt among his creatures, enforced and blessed'. Never has it been disregarded by nations or individuals without ruin to their welfare and their peace. Suppose it broken, where are the ties of relationship? Brother, sister, kindred-what is to unite them in love and

1 Matt. xix. 4-6.

peace? How can the pure lineage of families be preserved? How are the dreadful results of doubt and indifference to be avoided? Whereas a due observance of it, whilst it promotes purity of heart, prompts to every high and generous feeling, and expands every noble sentiment in the individual, is one of the surest pledges for social honour. Not only do the closer ties of near relationship and the tender affections of kindred, spring directly from this source; but the various charities of the heart which in their exercise tend to meliorate human life; and which, though quiet in their operation, are continually operative for the good of social order, domestic peace, and individual happiness; all these, as they pervade the frame of society, emanate more or less directly, from the salutary, though reflected, influence of the marriage bond. Besides, how often-such is the sad truth when man is viewed only as a fallen creature-how often, but for the sanctity thus investing marriage, would the bond, entered into from haste or passion, be broken by caprice; and the mother in her weakness, and the child in its helplessness, be thrown for support on the casual bounty of a world to which they are strangers? Does society owe nothing to an ordinance which thus solemnly compels individuals to provide for their own-forbidding to neglect, on any plea, wife or children; enlisting conscience on the side of the weak and helpless; holding every man to the obligation he has fixed upon himself in the sight of the Almighty; and allowing to none, that caprices of temper, or differences in tastes, or, if it so happen, change of fortune and circumstances, can be ground for neglecting duties to

which they were severally pledged at the altar of their God-sacredly and irrevocably!

To the individuals themselves, the sanctity of the marriage bond bears extended blessing-even the blessing of Him who ordained it. Happy they, whose dispositions and views so harmonize, that no jarring disturbs their concord, but having the same enjoyments as they have the same interests, pass through life loving and well loved :" "dwelling together in holy love unto their life's end." Or even where there may not be complete similarity of disposition, still their holy vow reminds them to bear and forbear; each to yield something of their own will for the other's sake; neither of them being "bitter" against the other; but both of them forbearing in love, "that their prayers be not hindered." Specially must they abate nothing of that affection which they felt when their marriage vow passed between them, and which, if cherished as unto God, who witnessed the dedication of it, will by Him be blessed to the preservation of peace and comfort even to the end; and the hearts thus united here in mutual love, in the sight of God, and delighting to serve Him together in this world, may then look to their reunion in the world of spirits; there to serve Him together for ever.

Others too there are, whose hearts find in the sanctity of the marriage vow, a peace which the world could never give-hearts which amid all the joy which does and ought to brighten the occasion, often sink with sadness: a sadness not less deep because concealed. Parents must love the society of children, who from birth have been their delight and solace;

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