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BIBLE

ILLUSTRATIONS.

THE SONG OF SOLOMON.

This book of the Canticles is a spiritual Epithalamium, sung in parts, betwixt the heavenly Bridegroom and the Bride. The matter of it is most spiritual and weighty, the style of it rapturous and lofty; the intimate union and communion of Christ and the Church is elegantly illustrated in an allegory of marriage; but nothing is found here light or obscene. ''Tis a crystal stream of pure spiritual love, gliding sweetly betwixt two pleasant banks-Christ and the Church.Flavel.

THE song of songs which is Solomon's. Let him kiss me with

CHAP. I. 1THE

the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. 3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. * Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers : we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee. “I am black, but comely, 0 ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

V. 6. The religion of the present chief, and in reality its only main day is too much of a public nature, spring,—the heart; for there can be and the religion of the heart is not no right action, none that is acceptable sufficiently cultivated, not even so much to God, but that which proceeds from so as it has been at some former periods. a heart under the actual influence of It is not meant that any one is or can His grace. We have been too unmind. be too actively engaged in the promo- ful of the precept, •Keep thy heart tion of the cause of Christ; but in the with all diligence, for out of it are the constant call for action, action which issues of life;' and, if we have not has been made by the various enter- already done so, we shall ere long be prises of the day, we have been led to joining in the mournful lamentation feel too much as if all religion consisted of the Spouse, They made me the in action, and have thus neglected its keeper of the vineyards, but mine own VOL. IV.

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vineyard have I not kept.'-Anon. with as severely as any other men.

Remember, brethren, a holy calling We cannot think to be saved by our never saved any man, without a holy clergy, or to come off with a legit ut heart. If our tongues only be sancti- clericus, when there is wanting the fied, our whole man must be damned. credidit, et vixit ut Christianus. • We and our people,' says Mr. Baxter, Oh! let the keepers of the vineyards *must be judged by the same Gospel, look to and keep their own vineyard. and stand at the same bar, and be We have a heaven to win or lose as well sentenced on the same terms, and dealt as others.—Flavel.

7 Tell me, 0 thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as. one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents. 'I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. 10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels. thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver. While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

V. 12. Ordinances of worship are thoughts come in, and turn the table, God's table,—the sacrifices under the as it were, upside down! They spill the Law are called God's food. When the spikenard which thou shouldest pour saint is praying, the King of Heaven forth; and how ill may thy God take sits at His table. The dishes served it, that thou lookest no better to the up are the graces of His spirit in the door of thy heart !--Gurnall. saint; but how often wandering

13 A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of En-gedi. 15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes. 16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.

A ransomed soul is precious to the when tempted, assaulted, afflicted, and Saviour, even when it appears very mourning under the hiding of God's. worthless to itself; and Christ loves it countenance.-Anon.

17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

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CHAP. II.

I AM the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

Solomon, a most penetrating judge of human nature, knowing how highly mankind is charmed with the fine qualities of flowers, has figured out the blessed Jesus, that .fairest among ten thousand,' by these lovely representatives. He styles Him the Rose of Sharon,' and the • Lily of the valleys:' like the first, full of delights and com

municable graces; like the last, exalted in majesty, and complete in beauty. In this sacred pastoral, he ranges the creation, borrows its most finished forms, and dips his pencil in its choicest dyes, to present us with a sketch of the amiableness of His Person.Hervey.

There is no such beauty and sweet

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ness in the world, to the eye of a Or, if the lily He assume, believer, as there is in Christ:

The valleys bless the rich perfume. Is He a rose? not Sharon yields

Watts. Such fragrancy in all her fields :

2 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. 3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. “Stay me with tlagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. "I am sick of love.'-—

Why the stern brow deceitful Why should I blush to own I love? 'Tis love that rules the realms above.

When I am languishing with love? Why should I blush to say to all, Is it a weakness thus to dwell That virtue holds my heart in thrall ? On passion that I dare not tell ? Why should I seek the thickest

Such weakness I would ever proveshade,

'Tis painful, though'tis sweet, to love. Lest love's dear secret be betray'd ?

H. K. White. • His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. I charge you, Oye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. 'My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. 10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

V. 10-13. After the rains cease, in the hand sealed up. But comfort will the parts here referred to, the corn return, the birds shall sing again, and soon arrives at maturity, and the har- the flowers appear; arise! therefore, vest commences, which continues till poor drooping soul, and come away about the middle of June. It is im- with thy Beloved.-M. Henry. possible to describe the rich fragrance If I were to choose when to go a of an eastern climate at this season of long journey, to wit, whether I would the year, and before the excessive heat go it in the dead of winter or in the comes on. The air is filled with odours pleasant spring; though, if it were a of plants, and flowers, and trees, which profitable journey, as that of coming to the breeze wafts about in most deli- Christ is, I would choose to go it through cious freshness.-Carpenter.

fire and water before I would be willA child of God, under doubts and ing to lose the benefit:-Still I say, if I fears, is like the earth in winter; its might choose the time, I would choose nights long; its days dark, good affec- to go it in the pleasant spring, because tions chilled, nothing done, nothing got, the way would be more delightsome,

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the days longer and warmer, the nights uses to encourage His beloved to come shorter and not so cold. This is the to Him.—Bunyan. very argument which Christ Jesus here

40 my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. 15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

V. 15. Believers are as vines, weak risings of sin are like these little but useful plants. Let them beware foxes; sins that seem little often prove of what will injure them. The first dangerous.-M. Henry.

16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

While the lily furnishes no accept- richest pasture. So Solomon evidently able food for flocks and herds, it seems indicates, when again using the figure, by the shade of its high broad leaves to he speaks of the young roes which retain the moisture, and so it nourishes feed among the lilies,' (ch. iv. 5; vi. 3 ; herbage wherever it grows. The place Hosea xiv. 5).—Dr. H. Bonar. of lilies would thus be the place of the

17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

CHAP. III. DY night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought

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city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. 3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye

him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. 5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. 6 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant ? ? Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night. 'King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. 10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem. 11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with

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