by Francis Rous
Experimental Discoveries of the heavenly Marriage between a Soul and her Savior.
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
A reason of this work.
If any man fearful of waste do ask, To what end serveth this labor? I answer, To the main end, God's glory by man's edification. And to this I think it conduceth many ways.
First, by the fitness of it to all times and seasons, either of prosperity or adversity.
For if the times be joyful, this subject brings the best joy with it, and enables us to rejoice with them: Yea it rectifies, amends, and exalts our joys; for upon an earthly it sets a crown of heavenly joy. And indeed without this joy, we may say to joy, Thou art mad, and to laughter, What is it that thou doest?
But if the times prove sad and dangerous, by pestilence, famine, sword, or other calamities, this Doctrine brings strong consolation, even stronger than all sorrows and discomforts. For our Communion with Christ is a fastening of the soul to a mighty and impregnable Rock that makes her steadfast, even against the gates of hell. By this Communion we are made Temples of the holy Ghost, the very Comforter himself; and by him there is a Sanctuary made within us, into which the soul may fly for rest, safety and comfort amid all fears and dangers: For into this Sanctuary the Avenger may not enter. There is a chamber within us, and a bed of love in that chamber, wherein Christ meets and rests with the soul, and the force of friends, or men, either dares not or cannot break in, to disturb the rest of Christ with the soul, nor of the soul with Christ. It is an undeniable Axiom, We are more than conquerors through him that loveth us. An omnipotent lover gives an excessively conquering, and unconquerable safety. And for this safety of us and our joy, we have also the immediate word of the lover himself; I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy shall none take from you. No wonder then if the Disciple beloved of this Lover do tell us, that writing of this communion, he writes, that our joy may be full: for in this communion stands the fullness of joy, both for soundness, measure, and safety.
And surely with these last times of the world it hath too great a fitness; For it hath been foretold that in these times the love of many should wax cold: and what fitter remedy is there for love when it hath taken cold, then to kindle a fire to it; even that spiritual fire, which issueth from the spirit that baptizeth with fire?
A second advancement to edification is this, that that it presents to the view of the world some bunches of grapes brought from the land of promise, to show that this land is not a mere imagination, but some have seen it, and have brought away parcels, pledges and earnests of it. In these appears a world, above the world, a love that passeth human love, a peace that passeth natural understanding, a joy unspeakable and glorious, a taste of the chief and sovereign good.
Neither doth the benefit of it rest only in the conviction of the understanding, but, thirdly, it goes on to the will and affections. It warms and draws them, and by them the whole man to partake of the same pledges, and by the encouragement of these pledges to go on laboriously and constantly to the possession of the whole. And that as by a borrowed sight men are provoked to come to tasting so by their own tasting, they may come to a sight of their own, which only tasting can teach them: But withal that by these foretastes they may be led on to that fullness, wherewith the soul shall eternally be satisfied.
Fourthly, it may provoke others of this Nation to bring forth more boxes of this precious ointment, even of that mystical love which droppeth down from the Head Christ Jesus, into the souls of the Saints, living here below. For so the house of God shall be filled with the savor of his ointments, and we know, that because of the savor of his ointments, the Virgins love him. And loving him, they cry, Draw me, and I will run after thee: So the more savor of this ointment, the more love of Christ, & the more love, the more running after Christ. But if the number of those who have written on this subject, of mystical and experimental Divinity, be told, I think this work will not be found supernumerary.
Table of Contents
The the Bride, the Lamb's Wife
CHAPTER I. The soul seeketh a Husband, and finds him.
CHAPTER II. The soul hath but one husband at once.
CHAPTER III. The happiness of the soul in her second Marriage.
CHAPTER IV. The heavenly marriage is happy not only in the pleasures, but in the labors of love.
CHAPTER V. The Spouses estate in desertions though seemingly miserable, is indeed profitable.
CHAPTER VI The uses and advantages which the soul may make of the visitations of her husband
CHAPTER VII. The signs, and marks of the true and right visitations of the heavenly Bridegroom.
CHAPTER VIII. A Corollary of counsels and directions, to those that are entered into the estate of this blessed Marriage.
CHAPTER IX. A Song of Loves.