The Spouse perceiving the intention of the Bridegroom to make her a partaker of His ignominy, is sadly fearful; and is now as much dejected at her threatened disgrace as she was before bold and courageous in accepting the cross. There are many who are content to bear the cross; but there is scarcely a single one that is willing to bear its infamy.
The soul is apprehensive of two things, when her possible ignominy is presented; one, that she may be reinvested with what she has lately thrown aside, to wit, self and her natural defects; the other, lest she should become defiled in the affections of the creature. I have put off my coat, says she, self, my faults, and all the residue of the old Adam that was in me; how can I put it on again? And yet I cannot conceive of anything else that can cause my humiliation and confusion; for as to the contempt put upon me by the creature, without my having caused it by my own fault, it is a pleasure and a glory to me, trusting that it will glorify my God and render me more acceptable in His sight. I have washed and purifed my affections, so that there is nothing in me that is not wholly devoted to my Well-beloved, how shall I again defile them by commerce with the creature?
Ah, poor blinded one! what wouldst thou ward off? The Bridegroom only desired to try thy fidelity and see if thou wert in truth ready to do all His will. He was despised and rejected of men (Isa. liii.), esteemed stricken, smitten of God and afflicted, and was numbered with the transgressors, He who was innocence itself; and thou, who art so loaded with guilt, yet canst not bear to be reproached with it! Ah! wilt thou not suffer severely for thy resistance?