Thomas Smyth.

Complete works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D online

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sonality of each of these little ones. Would we again have
brought before us in living character the most winning irresisti-
ble proofs of that heart of fatherly love by which God in Christ
is reconciling the world unto Himself, not willing that any
should perish but that all should come unto Him, drawn to love
and trust in Him by every motive of grateful affection — ^behold
it in all His dispensations and ways of dealing with these tender
dew drops of humanity.

Why else should God have ordained that we should all come
into this world in the condition of little children, but that His
own delights are with these children of men — that He finds
pleasure in their gentle and innocent loveliness, and looks on
with admiration as these flowers expand their leaves, unfold
their beauties, and exhale their fragrance? Why else should
God have endowed each one of these little ones with those won-
derful instincts by which they find at once rest, nurture, and
quiet happiness, upon their mother's bosom? Why else should
God prepare for each of these little ones a home whose atmos-
phere is love — ^where every thing has been provided for the
reception of the little stranger, and where all matters are
arranged so as to secure its comfort and well-being? Why
else should God awaken, for every occasion requiring it, in each
maternal bosom, a new-bom affection which welcomes each
little one to her home and heart with all its cares and responsi-
bilities and manifold trials — ^an affection which knows no weari-
ness, which gladly welcomes every self-denying and self-sacrific-
ing service, which laughs at impossibilities, which is stronger
than death, and which lives in the life and love of the little one?
Why else sihould God encircle them with His arm of mercy,
underneath His wings of love, and by such a special providence
as has given rise to the universal observation that "heaven lies
about us in our infancy ?" Why else should the great Teacher
sent from God to revesJ to us His nature and His heart, so often
and with such tender emphasis discourse to us of these little
ones — telling us that "in heaven their angels do always behold
the face of their Father;" that "it is not their Father's good
pleasure that one of these little ones should perish ;" and that
"it would be better for a man never to have been bom than to
have offendtd one of these little ones?" Why does the Saviour
so severely rebuke even His own disciples when they would

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have hindered mothers, carrying their little ones in their arms,
from approaching unto Him? Why, on the same occasion, does
He advance towards these mothers, and, taking their little ones
in His arms, bless them, and declare that of such as tliese His
own Church both on earth and in heaven is in a large measure
composed ? Why, again, should he so often as it would appear,
have placed a little child in the presence of His disciples, that He
might thus teach them, in the most impressive and unmistaka-
ble manner, the nature of God's sovereign and gracious love in
the great salvation, and the only proper and possible way in
which this unspeakable gift of grace and mercy may become
ours ; but that children live as recipients of all parental blessing,
which they can reciprocate only by their loving gratitude.

Again I ask. Why but that He may reveal to usHis loving and
blessed Fatherhood in Christ Jesus and the ineffable enjoyment
of social communion existing between the Father, the Son, and
Holy Ghost, should God bring himself down to us, so appro-
priately to this threefold baptism in His threefold gift of Him-
self to us sinful, guilty, and perishing sinners ? God the Father
so loving us as to give His only and well beloved Son for our
redemption; God the Son so loved us as to give Himself for
us ; and God the Holy Ghost, the loving Spirit, so loving us in
the incomprehensrble mystery of His condescending grace, as to
work in our hearts the experience and en.J03mient of His so
great salvation.

And once more, Why does God attract and unite to himself
in triple bonds, these threefold united parents with their three-
fold offspring by all that is alluring in his nature, in their
nature, and in the nature and necessities of these children, by
presenting Himself in His threefold gift of Himself, under the
form of that everlasting covenant now to be sacramentally
sealed and ratified, which is ordered in all things and sure,
which is all our salvation and all that we can desire ?

Does He not in this manner adapt Himself to our human
capacities and feelings, declaring to each of you parents that He
will be a God to you — giving Himself to you in daily hope and
fellowship, inspiring your hearts with all prayer for the spirit-
ual wel^being of these children, looking unto Him with holy
confidence for that wisdom and grace which shall enable you to
bring them up in His nurture and admonition as His children by
covenant-adoption ? And does He not declare also to each of
these children, "I will be a God to you, giving unto you in
present possession, a right of property to all the blessings of

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my salvation, and giving to each of you a joyful hope, that
through the faith, example, and teaching of these )rour parents,
I will early satisfy you with a right of actual possession and
enjoyment of them, that you may rejoice and be glad all your
days, hearing my voice in the early morning and saying unto
me, *My Grod, my Father, wilt thou not from this time be the
Grod and guide of my youth ?* "

And what does God require, I would now ask of each of you,
the united parents of these children, but that you realize in all
believing faith and loving confidence your present blessed atti-
tude before Him? Profoundly recognize the solemnity and
importance of this transaction. You are now in the presence
of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. You have
brought with you, in your arms of faith and hope, your three-
fold children to your Triune Jehovah who brought them into
existence, and has since, through manifold dangers, preserved
them. You have heard what God the Lord has spoken imto
you. You have again received, by a fresh bestowment. His
threefold gift of Himself to you and to your children. You
have also now beheld God impress the seal of His holy sacra-
ment upon these children according to His threefold offer of
mercy, sprinkling them with water, and in this way receiving
them visibly into the arms of His visible Church and fold on
earth. Draw, then, nigh unto Him in faith, nothing doubting,
nothing fearing. Only believe all these things He has promised
you, and offered and bestowed upon you and upon them. As
you have received these threefold precious children from your
Triune covenant God, present them in your arms of faith again
to Him, that He may bless you to rear them for His own serv-
ice and glory. As they have been given to you for a season, and
if "need be'* only for a little season, so give them hade to God,
in this covenant of love, to be His — His supremely and His for
ever. As you and your children are equally helpless and
dependent for all spiritual light and health and blessing on
Him, cast yourselves and your children upon His mercy, that
He may bestow upon you large and abtmdant blessings — ^that
He may make and keep you all as His children ; enable you to
live, while you live, as meek followers of your Lord and
Saviour ; uphold and preserve you through all the dangers and
temptations of life ; and at last present you faultless before the
presence of His triune glory, saying, in humble, adoring rap-
ture, "Here, Lord, are we, and the children thou hast given us.**

84— Vol. DC.

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Solemnization of Matrimony,




CHAUtMtON, 9. C.


docum AND Bumsm.


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The ceremony of marriage is a religious act; but the same act is in
most christian nations made, likewise, to serve as the form of a civil con-
tract; and civil privileges and penalties are made to depend on it. And
out of this tmion no very serious evil perhaps has arisen, to detract from
the advantages of the arrangement. [Hind's Rise of Christianity, vol. ii,
p. 227.

The wen spring of all natural delight arises from the need man has of
his fellow-man, by which he is led to seek from others those things wherein
the excellency of his kind doth most consist. In marriage this communion
takes place more perfectly and fully than in any other mode. ISet
Hooker's BccL Polity, B. i, S 10, and Coleridge,

God has restored it to a portion of the dignity which it had from His
institution in Paradise, dignified it in the Patriarchs, set forth an example
of it in "Abraham His friend ;" and in the pure blessings of Isaac, made
its mutual love a similitude of that which He bears to His Church, and of
her reverence to Him, her Head and Saviour ; hallowed it yet more, in that
His Son was bom of the seed of David, according to the flesh ; He takes us
by the hand and hallows our union by the blessings of His Church ; so that
what man might have feared to approach, is, when "enterprised reverently,
discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God," a continual image
and representation of things Holy and Divine. — B, Irving.

On the law and doctrine of marriage, see Matt, xix, 2-12. Gen- ii, 18-25.
Heb. xiii, 14. 1 Cor. ch. vii.


N. B. — In taking their position, the man should stand on the right hand
and the woman on the left.

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The Company, With the Parties, Being Assembled, the Min-
ister Shall Say,

We are gathered together, my friends and brethren, that
in the presence and before the altar of God, we may, according
to God's ordinance, unite these persons in the indissoluble
bonds of wedlock. I require therefore, and charge all and
each of you now present, that if you know of any impediment
why they may not be thus lawfully joined together in matri-
mony, you do now make it known, or ever after hold your

No Objection Being Offered, the Minister Shall Then Make
the Follozving Address.

When God had created man, and would crown him with the
chief est earthly blessing. He gave him marriage; which was
instituted in Paradise, — ^in the time of man's undepraved inno-
cency, — ^when God created woman by His miraculous power,
— so that humanity previously one was divided, and yet, so as
by this holy bond, to be again rendered one.t

Thus was man constituted the head, protector, guardian, and
friend of woman, whom he was bound to love even as his own
flesh : and thus was woman given to man by his all bounteous
Creator, to consummate his felicity, and to be his helper, com-
panion, and the perennial fountain of sweet and pure delight.

Marriage was honoured by our Saviour — who came to
restore corrupt nature from the ruin of the fall, — ^by His pres-
ence and the working of His first miracle. Thus was thfe
endearing relation hallowed by the beginning of miracles, as
well in the time of this new creation as in that of man's origi-
nal formation.

Marriage is thus made honorable in all. It is consecrated
by God's peculiar favour and blessing. And since by this

*0r this — ^which should hinder this pair — ^this man and this woman from
being united in the holy matrimony as in the presence of the great God — ^I
charge you speak.

tA unity in duality.

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sacred union, they who were aforetime twain become, in the
language of Scripture, "one flesh ;" and should cleave one to
another, forsaking all beside ; and since it is not, by any, to be
engaged in unadvisedly or Kghtly, but advisedly and in the fear
of God; therefore should it be formed as in God's presence,
and the hymenial torch be lighted at His altar.

You are now therefore to become one. One in all your
temporal interests and possessions, and in the eye of the law.
One in every event of life, whether prosperous or adverse; one
in every condition, whether of sickness or health. One should
you be in all your affections and desires, your hopes and your
fears, your joys and your sorrows — ^walking together as fel-
low-travellers ; helping one another as co-workers ; living with
each other, as heirs together of the same immortal destiny;
that you may thus become partakers of the same inheritance
of glory.

And may the blessing of God the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit, rest upon and abide with you wherever you be.

The Minister Having Then Requested the Parties to Join
Their Hands, Will Solemnly Ask Each of Them,

Do you, who now hold each other by the hand, promise and
covenant in the presence of God, and of these witnesses here
assembled, that you will be to each other — you, a loving, faith-
ful and affectionate husband, — ^and you a loving, faithful and
dutiful wife; — and that you will love, comfort, and honor
each one the other, in health and in sickness — ^in prosperity
and adversity — and forsaking all beside, keep thee only to
each other, so long as 3rou both shall live ?

When a Ring is Used Either of the Following Forms May Be


And as a sign and seal of this your freely and solenmly
taken vow, you have given, and you now receive, and will ever
wear, this ring. Or this:

In testimony that you, M. and N., do advisedly and sol-
emnly ratify all that hath been declared and promised by you,
do thou M. acknowledge and endow this woman as thy wife,
by deliverir^ unto her a ring in token of thy faith; and do

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thou N. in Hke manner receive the samci as a pledge of his
faiA and as a witness of thy vow9?*

The Minister Shall Then Address the Parties Severally,


Do you A. B. thus promise?
Do you C. D. thus promise?

The Parties Having Each Signified Their Assent, the Min-
ister Shall Proceed to Say,

Forasmuch, then, as no obstacle exists, and you have now
consented together in holy wedlock, and having witnessed the
same before this company, I do now pronounce you to be man
and wife, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost; and whom God hath joined together, let no man put

The Minister Shall Then Say, Let Us Pray.

Almighty and most merciful God, our heavenly Father!
We worship and adore thee, as the Creator, Preserver, and
Benefactor of mankind, who in the beginning didst form man
after thine own image, that he might glorify and enjoy thee
for ever.

We bless thee that while in wisdom thou didst create and
plentifully endow him with all bodily and ^iritual gifts, thou
didst in marvellous kindness consult and promise for his
earthly comfort and felicity, in the institution of marrij^.

Still more would we magnify and bless thy great mercy, that
even in our present fallen and corrupt estate, wherein we
deserve only anger and rebuke, thou still continuest to us, as a
remnant of our lost and forfeited inheritance, the joys of con-
nubial and domestic life.

Most blessed Saviour, who dddst deign while Immanual,
God with us, to grace a marriage feast ; we would implore the
condescension of thy gracious presence on this occasion. Look
down in the plentitude of thy grace and goodness upon this
bridal pair, who have now, in plighted faith, made an absolute
disposal of themselves, the one to the other in love, according
to their own appointment. Crown their union with thy rich

^From the Liturgy of the French Protestant Church.

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favour. Bless their nuptial bands, and make them firm and
abiding even unto life's end Bless them in their persons.
Bless them in their substance. Bless them in thier souls.
Bless them in health and in sickness, in prosperity and adver-
sity, in life and in death. And after death bless them with a
happy reun'c«i in that heavenly home, where there shall be no
more parting, neither sickness, sorrow, or death, and where all
tears shall be wiped away from every eye.

And for all these, they mercies, we would now and ever
praise thee, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to whom be glory
and honour, both now and for evermore. Amen.


The Following Address May Be Used, in Place of That Given
in the Preceding Form.

The relation of marriage which we are now about to con-
stitute in the presence of God, and with the invocation of the
Divine blessing, was established by God soon after the crea-
tion, during the state of man's innocence, in the earthly para-
dise. For the first benefit God gave to man was a society,
and that society was a marriage. It was sanctioned by laws,
and consecrated by a blessing; therefore Grod said, for this
purpose shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave
unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.

The covenant of wedlock, which is the very bond of life,
under whose united and consecrated canopy all the health and
prosperity of the rising generation doth grow, solemnly recog-
nizes the relations of the two great divisions of the hiunan
kind, and ratifies and confirms them by the laws of God and
man; requiring on the part of man righteous, loving, and
affectionate government; on the part of woman, duty and
loving obedience in the Lord; and on the part of both, com-
munity of goods, interests, and affections.

Marriage is, therefore, between one man and one woman,
as it was from the beginning, when Grod created them male
and female — one man and one woman, that there mig^t be one
husband and one wife.

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As it was thus ordained by God for the mutual help of hus-
band and wife, this sacred obligaticm should be formed at the
altar of piety. It should have infused into it the sweetness of
affection, and be hallowed with the unction of grace; that it
may prove itself to be the bond whereby you shall be bound, in
love and communion, in holy concord, in loving offices, in every
growing and endearing regard, the one to the other. Thus
shall it be found in God, the completion of your being and the
foimtain of joy, the solace in all earthly sorrows — the best
state of preparation for the future, and for the full enjoyment
of the blessedness of Christ — ^the restorer of our corrupt
nature, who honored the nuptial rites with His presence and
first miracle.

What God hath deemed it no degradation of His majesty to
institute — what our Lord Jesus Christ sanctified with His
presence — what the Holy Apostles pronoimced to be honour-
able in all, and dignified by their own participation of it — do
you, who are now to be united together, honour and approve
in the truth, faithfulness, and oneness of a united heart, and
an undivided affection one toward another. And may the
blessing of that heavenly parent who ordained it — of that
Divine Redeemer who re-appointed it — and of the ever blessed
Spirit, the source of all grace and comfort, rest upon you and
abide with you forever. Amen,

Huguenot Marriage Service.

The following is a copy of the nuptial celebrations practised
by the Huguenots of France, as drawn up by the immortal
Calvin. A translation of it, with a few omissions, may, per-
haps, be acceptable.

At the conclusion of the general prayer on the Lord's day,
the officiating Minister having taken his station at the com-
munion table, and the candidates for the yoke have taken
theirs, he begins —

"The Great God! our Father who is in Heaven, having
created man in His own image, a similitude for Himself, and
gave him dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowls of
the air, and the fishes of the sea, is declared to have said

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within himself, 'It is not good for man to be alone/ and there*
fore proceeded to pr^>are 'an help-mate for him,' "

[Here the two accounts of the creation of woman was read.
Gen. i. and ii.]

"'Therefore/ continues the sacred historian, 'must a man
leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife,' and
to her only. The husband must love his wife, as Jesus loved
the church, for which He laid down His Kfe — that is unto

"In like manner, must the wife cleave unto the husband, and
love him and abide with him in all holiness and gentleness, till
death shall part them.

"FrcMn the solemnization of this ordinance, instituted by
God, the husband is no longer his own ; he is consecrated to his
wife: he is hers ; in like manner, the wife is no longer her own ;
she is sacred to her husband; she is his! Nor may either of
them violate the sancity they owe to each other. Ye are tem-
ples of the living God; and if any one pollute those sanctu-
aries, him will God destroy : what God hath conjoined, may no
one disjoin.

[Here I Cor. vii. is read, which certainly might be as well
read at home.]

This over, the Minister proceeded:

"You A. and you B. are aware that the solemn contract into
which you are about to enter, is the ordinance of God. Are
you prepared to live together as the Most High requires, in
holy bonds ; in the sacred wedlock which God appointed, and
Jesus honoured by His first miracle?

"As you evidently indicate by BpptaLring, as you do appear
before this holy congregation, to await His assent, is it your
fixed intention so to live with each other?

"A. It is! "B. It is!

"Looking around on the congregation, I call, says the Min-
ister, on every one here present who witnesses what we do; I
call on you, I entreat you, I beseech you speak now — recollect
yourselves and say — ^Is there any impediment which should
hinder this pair ; this man and this woman from being united
in holy matrimony, as in the presence of the Great God? I
charge you speak.

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"Since there exists no obstacle to it,

"You, A. avow before God, and His holy congregation, that
yoti have chosen this B. to be your wife! You pledge your-
self to watch over, to love her, to cherish her, as a faithful and
affectionate husband ought to watch over, love, and cherish,
the wife of his bosom ; to love with her in hallowed sanctity,
constant and true to her to the last ; according to the ordinance
of God and the gospel !

"A. I pledge myself so to do!

"You B. vow before God, and His holy congregation, that
you have chosen this A, for your husband! You pledge your-
self to him — ^to be his help-mate; to serve and obey him in
love; to be constant and true to him in every thing, as an
affectionate wife ought to be, according to the ordinance of
God and the gospel !

"B. I pledge myself so to do.

"Then, the Lord! the Lord God! confirms your hallowed
purpose; and in His name be it accompHs4ied ; the Lord, the
Lord God, who hath called you in His grace and mercy to His
holy estate, pour out his Holy Spirit upon you, that you may
serve Him in unity and honour with one accord.


"Receive the instructions above read — pronounced by Jesus
— recorded by His evangelists, and know, andi be sure, that as
the Most High has joined your hands, He will require it of
you that you keep your pieces, and live together in affection,
in holiness, in peace, in unity, condescending to each other,
faithful to each other, true to each other, as God hath com-

"Let us pray with one heart and with one soul.

"O Thou! All-powerful, All-wise, All-good, who from
the beginning, didst foresee that it could not be good for man
to be alone, and therefore did prepare a meet help-mate for
him, and command that the two should no longer be two, but
one ; we humbly pray, we devoutly beseech thee, that as thou
hast been pleased to call these thy servants, to the holy state of
nuptial union, thou wouldst also be pleased, in thy grace and
mercy, to bestow upon them the rich effusions of thy favour ;
that in true and holy love, in fidelity not to be shaken; in

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mutual tenderness and sympathy, they may live; — subduing
every evil propensity, in constant kindness and correctness,
edifying each other, blessing each other, blessed by thee, as
were the patriarchs of old, blessings to the community; that,
nurtured and admonished in the Lord, their children may rise

Online LibraryThomas SmythComplete works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D → online text (page 51 of 68)