"And I will betroth you unto me forever; yes, I will betroth you unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies." Hosea 2:19
Communion with Christ begins below, in our time state. It is here that the mystery of the marriage union is first made known; here the espousals entered into; here the first kiss of betrothed love given. The 'celebration of the marriage' is to come; but the original betrothal in heaven and the spiritual espousals on earth make Christ and the Church eternally one. As then the husband, when he becomes united to his wife in marriage ties, engages thereby to love her, cherish her, feed her, clothe her, count her interests his interests, her honor his honor, and her happiness his happiness, so the blessed Jesus, when in the councils of eternity, he betrothed the Church to himself, undertook to be to her and do for her everything that should be for her happiness and honor, perfection and glory. His own words are, "I will betroth you unto me forever; yes, I will betroth you unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth you unto me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord." And again, "For your Maker is your husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called." "For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
There must be union before communion, marriage before possession, membership before abiding in Christ and he in us, a being in the vine before a branch issuing from the stem. It is the Spirit that quickens us to feel our need of him; to seek all our supplies in him and from him; to believe in him unto everlasting life, and thus live a life of faith upon him. By his secret teachings, inward touches, gracious smiles, soft whispers, sweet promises, and more especially by manifestations of his glorious Person, finished work, atoning blood, justifying righteousness, agonizing sufferings and dying love, he draws the heart up to himself. He thus wins our affections, and setting himself before our eyes as "the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely," draws out that love and affection towards himself which puts the world under our feet. All religion flows from his Spirit and grace, presence and power. He is our sun, and without him all is darkness; he is our life, and without him all is death; he is the beginner and finisher of our faith, the substance of our hope, and the object of our love.