The Rock of Wisdom; An Explanation of the Sacred Scriptures/The Covenant of Two Friends - Wikisource, the free online library

THE COVENANT OF TWO FRIENDS.

Beloved friends and brethren in Christ, we have now come together to make a covenant with God; and O, that you both may remember it until death, for the wise man said, that in the multitude of counsel there is safety, and together we stand, but if divided we are sure to fall. But justice is that great standard of righteousness which will enable us to comply with all that is good, and will support us all in the civil society of men in time, and in the end crown us eternally in the kingdom of our God.

The time, appointed for the great covenant of matrimony having arrived, the minister saying unto them:

Dearly beloved, we are now met here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate instituted by God in the time of man's innocence, signifying unto us the mystical union that is between Christ and his church, which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended by St. Paul, to be honorable among all men, and therefore, is not by any, to be despised or taken in hand unadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God, into which holy estate these two persons present, come now to be joined together in matrimony, therefore, if any of you can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let him or her, now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

The minister speaking to the persons that are to be married.

I now require and charge you both, as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment why you may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, you do now confess it, for be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together, otherwise than God's word doth allow, and they are not joined together by the word of God, neither is their matrimony lawful.

Then if there is no impediment, the minister says unto the man:

Mr.——— wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife—to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony ? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor her, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others and keep thee only unto her so long as ye both shall live? The man shalt answer "I will."

The minister then says unto the woman:

M.——— wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband—to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, serve him, honor him, love him and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live. The woman shall answer "I will."

Now the man with his right hand, takes the woman by her right hand, and they say after the minister Mr.——— will you take M. to be thy wedded wife, to have, to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for riches, for poorness, in sickness and in health, to love her, and to cherish her until death doth part us, according to God's holy ordinance; and here unto the answer I plight thee my faith?

The minister then says unto the woman:

M.——— will you take Mr.——— to be thy wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for riches, for poorness, in sickness and in health, to love him, to cherish him, and to obey him, until death doth separate you, according to God's holy ordinance; and hereunto this answer, I give thee my faith.

Math. 19: 6. "What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder, and forasmuch as Mr.——— and M.——— have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and hereto have pledged their faith unto each other, and declared the same by joining their hands, I pronounce that they are man and wife, together in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

The Prayer.—O thou eternal God, the great Creator, the maker of heaven and earth, we are now assembled together in thy great name; O, wilt thou answer our prayers, thou most holy and glorious Lord God; the great builder of the universe, the great giver of all good gifts and graces, thou hast promised that where two or three are gathered together in thy name, thou wilt be in the midst of them and that to bless. Now, Lord, we are assembled, and now we most humbly beseech thee to bless us in all our undertakings, that we may know thee in truth and serve thee aright, and that all our actions may tend to thy glory and to our advancement in knowledge and virtue, for we beseech thee, O Lord God, to bless this our present assembling, for thou art the great preserver of all mankind; and now, Father of mercy, we pray thee to bless these, thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy name; O may they, as Isaac and Rebecca, live faithfully together, so that they may surely keep the vow and covenant between them made, and ever remain in perfect love and in peace together, according to thy holy laws, and may they ever remember the obligation they have taken toward each other. Now, O Lord, we acknowledge thy power, thy wisdom and thy goodness unto us, and now we implore thy blessing; for this great end, we pray thee; gracious God, to eudue thy servants with a competence of thy most holy Spirit, that they may be enabled to walk in the light of thy countenance, and when the trials of our probationary state are over, be admitted into the great temple not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens. Amen.

I now wind up my simple address in these words. I counsel you all to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, by standing on the rock Christ Jesus.

And now to the ladies and gentlemen of distinguished talents. You all will please to excuse all the imperfections in this work, and take the will for the deed, for my object is, only to try to save souls, by pointing them to the blood of Christ; and I say, behold the way to God, how pleasant it is! Ps. 133. For I have some things in my view, and that is the great day of eternity, and we as the ministers of God, ought to view it with the greatest care in time, while we are preaching his everlasting word to the people. I am so inadequate to give counsel to the public, but my soul is at stake, and if I be a watchman indeed, when I see the sword of the Lord coming upon the people, I will, indeed, blow the trumpet, to warn you all as a faithful man of God. Ezek. 33: 1, 5, 7, 8. Then come and take the counsel of a friend and a brother, indeed. And now to all the churches and friends in Christ. O remember that great sentence passed by Christ himself; none but the pure in heart shall see God in the kingdom. You must remember there is six steps to the throne; if so, here is my heart and hand in friendship. To all the pious ministers of the gospel. O remember that ministers and hearers must stand before God in the great day at his tribunal, therefore, let us act wisely and preach the word in its purity, without distinction, for justice is the true standard and boundary of righteousness which will enable us to render to every man his just clue in time, for tin's kind of virtue will also enable us to comply with all that is good, and will support us in time, with union and brotherly love, and if so, we stand together, but if divided we are sure to tall and great will be the fall, but in the multitude of counsel there is safety. And now my dear readers, when you view these lines which have been penned by me, remember me in your prayers, that we all may fight the good fight of faith, and in the end we may reach that region where everlasting pleasures flow, throughout the wide arches of heaven, where all the royal companions are stationed forever.

Beloved reader, farewell; please to excuse the length, of this scrawl: matters have flowed in a pace and you see how my pen has run on. And if my continually coming does not weary thee, in a few days you may look out again: till then peace and truth be with thee. So pray and sing these hymns with grace in your hearts, for we are informed that this is the highest note in heaven.