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holy affections and endearments have sprung up. If you are husbands, need we refer you to the wife of your bosom for almost every comfort you enjoy ? If you are wives, need we remind you of that strong and powerful protector you have against the troubles and snares of the world ? if they come upon you, there he is to soothe, to guard, and to cheer if you are children, need we bring to your recollection the parent's love, and care, and anxiety for your present and future welfare? Yet none of these ties of humanity would have been experienced, had not God in his wisdom and goodness instituted marriage. But we will not fatigue your attention, exhausted, we fear, by the length of this discourse, by dwelling longer, at present, upon this important subject. We propose to continue it the next opportunity we have of addressing you, and we feel confident that its paramount interest will secure your attendance. We shall then be afforded the opportunity of alluding to it with reference to the office contained in the Book of Common Prayer.

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SERMON XXII.

GENESIS ii. 18.

“ And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should

be alone ; I will make him an help meet for him.”

WHEN we last discoursed upon marriage, we trust that we satisfactorily proved, that it was of divine institution, and evinced the necessity of not divorcing the blessing of God from a covenant of so important a character. We shall now proceed to examine the form of matrimony as contained in the Book of Common Prayer,—which be it remembered, was composed, or rather compiled, by the Martyrs and other learned divines, according to the rules of Scripture, and the use of the primitive Church, and which received the sanction of rightful authority. Upon several occasions it was examined and altered by the like authority, and every day's experience convinces us that it is, after the Scriptures, the greatest treasure we possess.

In examining the Form of Solemnization of Matrimony contained in this precious volume, it shall be our endeavour to point out the Scriptural foundation on which every part of the ceremony rests, so as not to leave the least room for reasonable objection.

When the parties present themselves before the altar of God for the purpose of being united in holy wedlock, the man is placed upon the right hand, and the woman upon the left, because, as some pretend, the rib out of which the woman was formed was taken from the left side of Adam ; but according to others, and perhaps more properly, the practice should be attributed to the man, as the head of the wife, claiming the more honourable place. T'he service is commenced with the General Exhortation, which is appointed to be read, with the view of impressing upon the mind, the solemnity of the ceremony, and of intimating that the contract about to be entered into, although not a sacrament, as the Romish Church vainly insists, is, nevertheless, of a divine origin. The whole of this exhortation you will find to be founded upon the Scriptures. . Next cometh the Charge, by which the parties are called upon, in the most solemn manner, to declare, if there be any impediment, why they should not be joined together; and the Scriptures fully specify the nature of any such impediment. The priest then requires their mutual consent, even as we find that Rebekah's friends asked her consent, before they sent her away to Isaac.

And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou

go

with this man ? and she said, I will go 1. When the questions are put to the party, the duty of each is clearly signified, and by that simple answer, “I will,” is contained an implicit pledge to obey, as far as human nature will admit, the injunc

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tions contained therein. But see how the questions themselves are founded upon Scripture. “ Wilt thou,” says the priest to the man, “have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony ? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour her, and keep her in sickness and in health ; and forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?” The man in the first place engages to love his wife.

« Wilt thou love her ?” Now, is it not a command of St. Paul that we love our wives ? “ Husbands," says he, “ love your wives, even as Christ also loved his Church !.” Again it is asked, “ Wilt thou comfort her ?” which St. Paul in other words expresses by cherishing. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even

as the Lord the Church ?. Again, “ Wilt thou honour her ?” St. Peter expressly declares, that we are to honour our wives. “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving

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1

Eph. v. 25.

2 Ibid. v. 29.

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