"Open is the starry hall;
Hear you! 'tis the Bridegroom's call!
Holy virgins, one and all,
Ready stand,
For the heavenly festival
Is at hand!

"Come at last the nuptial day;
Tears forever passed away—
Fled the prison-house—the clay,
And the thrall; Christ forever your sure stay,
And your all!"

"Blessed are those who are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb."—Rev. 19:9.

Under a new and beautiful symbol, we are called to behold Jesus as the Heavenly Bridegroom, seated at His own marriage-feast, summoning His glorified guests around Him!—the true Solomon, "crowned in the day of His espousals, and the day of the gladness of His heart!" (Song of Sol. 3:11.) "Alone," says a writer, "in the depths of eternity stood Christ and His Church before the altar of that divine espousal; none was witness but the Father and the Holy Spirit when the vow was plighted, and the contract sealed," (Butler.)

But all Heaven is now to be spectator of the gladsome consummation. The bridal-day has come! He has "sent His angels with a great sound of a trumpet to gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other," and lo! a multitude which no man can number, "all-glorious within, their clothing of wrought gold," are seen passing through the gates of the city "with gladness and rejoicing," on their way to the King's palace! The Bride for six thousand weary years has been calling for her Lord to "Come!" The voice of the Beloved has at last been heard; the King has "brought her into His banqueting-house, and His banner over her is love!" (Song of Sol. 2:4.)

In that scene of festive joy, behold—

(1.) Jesus Glorified.
"He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied."
Oh, what a moment of joy will that be to the Church's Divine Head, when all His blood-bought people (not one of the sealed myriads missing) shall be assembled with Him to share His bliss—"betrothed unto Him forever;" "presented a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing!" If "Wisdom" rejoiced in the mere anticipation of redemption—if even then His "delights were with the sons of men" dwelling in "the habitable parts of the earth," (Prov. 8:31,) what will the rejoicing be, when the vast undertaking is all completed, and the trophies of His grace are seated by His side! What a new and more glorious meaning will be given to His words of intercession on earth: "All yours are mine, and mine are yours, and I am glorified in them!" (John 17:10.) It is their glory and joy in which much of His own mediatorial happiness will consist. As "the Master," He girds Himself at the marriage-feast, and "comes forth to serve them," (Luke 12:37.) He has them in view in His every thought of Heaven: "I go to prepare a place for you, …that where I am, there you may be also"—"I shall drink no more of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom," (John 14:2, 3; Matt. 26:29.)

(2.) Behold the Church glorified.
to the Master's immediate presence, not to eat of the crumbs falling from His table, but of the children's bread; to see His face; to participate in His triumph; and with faith changed into sight, and hope into full fruition, to exclaim, "My Beloved is mine, and I am his!" (Song of Sol. 2:16.)

Seated at the wedding-feast! What nearness and intimacy of fellowship is here indicated! Even on earth, the believer's most blissful hours are those spent in intimate communion with his Lord. How the pain and weariness of the sickbed are alleviated—how the pang of the crushing bereavement has been mitigated, by that Presence and Name which puts music and joy into the saddest heart! What will it be in glory, with no sin to mar our communion, and no sorrow to dim our eye—the consummated union and communion of everlasting love! Truly, the glorified guests will be able to say to their heavenly Lord, as was said in His hearing at a marriage-feast on earth, "You have kept the best wine until now!" (John 2:10.)

On that coronation-day of the Church triumphant, angels will listen with amazement, as each ransomed one tells the story of blended grace and faithfulness—principalities and powers will stoop to hear the Church's perpetual new song, the keynote of which will be, "the manifold wisdom of God!" (Eph. 3:10.) It will not be with the disciples in heaven as with the disciples below. When they got a momentary glimpse of their Lord's glory on Tabor, we read, "They feared as they entered the cloud," (Luke 9:34.) Perfect love will then cast out fear. It is no stranger—no inaccessible, awe-inspiring Being who is to gather them around Him. It will indeed be a day of Kingly espousals. On His head there will be "many crowns." The Bride will "enter the King's palace," (Ps. 45:15.) It will be a regal—a coronation anthem that will be sung by the lips of the hundred and forty four thousand, "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent REIGNS," (Rev. 19:6.)

But it is also called the "marriage-supper of the Lamb;"—"that same Jesus" who in His person is so well known to us on earth—whose character and life are so beautifully and truthfully portrayed in what we may call His four inspired biographies, that we seem to feel as if we knew Him—knew Him intimately—had seen Him—had sat with Him on Tiberias' shores, and talked with Him at Jacob's well, and wept with Him at the Bethany grave! We enjoy to be with those who have been kind to us; who so kind as "the MAN Christ Jesus!" what fellowship so blissful as with the all-glorious One, who has loved us with a love, in comparison with which the most endearing earthly friendship is coldness itself! How joyous when He shall meet us at the threshold of glory, and conduct us to the coronation-hall, to receive our crowns, and to become guests at His table!

(3.) Behold here a holy and happy meeting between guest and guest.}
The improper estrangements of the present will there be unknown forever. Cold looks, and averted faces, and distant and uncordial recognitions, will be all at an end. The guests will only wonder they could have allowed petty differences to have sundered them so long and so strangely below. Like their beloved Lord, they will become like one another. Many a Christian on earth, we believe, is nearer in heart and love and sympathy to a brother Christian, than the conventional distinctions—the Shibboleth of sect and party—will permit him to avow. In Heaven there will be no such reserve. The slumbering harmonies of the heart will then break forth, without one jarring note.

Let me delight often to carry my eye onward to the celebration of these espousals—to draw aside the world's scenes of painted glory, and to get a sight of "the invisible"—the great Sabbath of eternity inaugurated by this nuptial festival, where every redeemed Vessel, like the earthly types at Cana, are "filled to the brim;" Jesus, who went forth from His eternal throne as the weeping "Man of sorrows," now come again with rejoicing, to bring all His ransomed sheaves with Him! (Ps. 126:6.)

"Will you not," says Baxter, "be almost ready to draw back, and say, 'What! I, Lord? I, the unworthy neglecter of Your grace, dis-esteemer of Your blood, and slighter of Your love, may I have this glory? I am utterly unworthy to be called a son.' But Love will have it so. Therefore you must enter into His joy."

"The watchers on the mountain
Proclaim the Bridegroom near;
Go, meet Him as He comes,
With hallelujahs clear.

"The marriage-feast is waiting,
The gates wide open stand;
Up! up! you heirs of glory,
The Bridegroom is at hand.