Before we are actually married or united to [Jesus] by faith or… before we assuredly can say, that ‘our Maker is our husband’, we must be made willing people in the day of God’s power, we must be sweetly and effectually persuaded by the Holy Spirit of God, that the glorious Emmanuel is willing to accept of us just as we are and also that we are willing to accept of him upon his own terms, yea, upon any terms.
And when once it comes to this, the spiritual marriage goes on apace and there is but one thing lacking to make it complete. And what is that? An actual union. This is absolutely necessary in every lawful marriage among men. There must be a joining of hands before witnesses, ere they can be deemed lawfully joined together. Some men indeed of corrupt minds, are apt to look upon this as a needless ceremony and think it sufficient to be married, as they term it, in the sight of God. But whence men get such divinity, I know not. I am positive, not from the Bible. For we there read that even at the first marriage in paradise, there was something of outward solemnity. God himself (if I may speak) being there the priest. For we are told, Gen. 2:22 that, after God had made the woman, ‘he brought her unto the man.’ And indeed, to lay aside all manner of outward ceremony in marriage, would be to turn the world into a den of brute beasts. Men would then take or forsake as many wives as they pleased and we should soon sink into as bad and brutal a state as those nations are amongst whom such practices are allowed and who are utterly destitute of the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.