« PreviousContinue »
the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.
among the lilies.
CHAP. IV. BEHOL EHOLD, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou
hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. 2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. 3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of pomegranate within thy locks. 4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. - Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed
6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankin
? Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. 8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. 10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. 12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, "Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. 18 Awake, 0 north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk : eat, o friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, o beloved. I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled : for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have
put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them ?
V. 2–3. There is a great difference She had given way to a lazy distemper, between the decay of a sincere soul, was laid upon her bed of sloth, and and that of a hypocrite. The sincere how hard it is to raise her! Her Be. soul does not decline, as the hypocrite loved is at the door, beseeching her by does, out of an inward dislike of the all the means of love, which might ways of God. He sleeps,' it may be, bring to her remembrance the near but his heart waketh;' that is, he is relation between them; • My sister, not pleased with his present declining my love, my dove, open to Me;' and state, but heartily wishes he were out yet she riseth not. He tells her, . His of it; as one that hath a great desire locks are filled with the drops of the to rise and be at his work, his heart is night;' yet she stirs not. What is awake, but he is not able at present to the matter? Her coat was off, and shake off that sleep which binds him she is loth to put it on; she had given down. If the case be thus with thee, way to her sloth, and now she knows reader, thou art no hypocrite.-Gur- not how to shake it off; she could have nall.
been glad to have had the company of It is very hard work, and a very her Beloved, if Himself would have awkward business, to recover the ac- opened the door; and He desired as tivity of grace when once lost, and to much hers, if she would rise to let Him revive a duty in disuse; I have in; and on these terms they part.put off my coat,' saith the Spouse. Ibid.
* My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. “I rose up to open
beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
By thy watchfulness, Christian, thou we be with them, and perceive they shalt invite such company in unto thee, grow sieepy, we think it is time to leave as will make the time short and sweet; them to their pillow; and, verily, and that is thy precious Saviour, whose Christ doth so too. Christ withdraws sweet communication and discourse, from the Spouse, till she be better about the things of thy Father's king- awake, as a fitter time for her to receive dom, will prevent thy grudging the His loves. Put the sweetest wine into ease which sleepy Christians get, with a sleepy man's hand, and you are likely the loss of such a heavenly entertain. to have it spilled; yea, put a purse of ment as thou enjoyest. Who had not, gold into his hand, and the man will that loves his soul better than his hardly remember in the morning body, rather have David's song, than what you gave him over night. Thus David's sleep in the night? And who in the sleepy state of a soul, both had not rather have Christ's comfort- the Christian loseth the benefit, and ing presence with a waking soul, than Christ the praise of His mercy, and His absence with a sleepy, slothful one? therefore Christ will stay to give out It is the watchful soul that Christ de- His choice favours, till the soul is lights to be with, and open His heart more wakeful, that He may both do to. We do not choose that for the the creature good, and His creature time of giving our friends a visit, when speak well of Him for it.-Gurnall. they are asleep in their beds; nay, if
7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote
me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. $ I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, 0 thou fairest among women ? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? 19 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
My Beloved is white and ruddy,' sheet by faith, and say, “Lo! this is saith the Spouse;-ruddy in death, He of whom the Church said, “My Beand by bloodshed; white by innocence loved is white and ruddy:' His ruddiand the purity of that blood.—Leigh- ness is now gone, and a death-pallor ton.
hath prevailed over all His body, but Come and see, believing souls ! look still He is as lovely as ever-yea, altoapon the dead Jesus in His winding gether lovely.'—Flavel.
11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly sent. 13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. 14 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. 15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
V. 16. • He is altogether lovely.'— sensibility, the calmest judgment and When we have borrowed metaphors the keenest feelings, co-existed withfrom every creature that hath any ex- out disturbing one another; in whom «cellency or lovely property in it, till magnanimity was not tinctured with we have stript the whole creation bare pride; in whom humility was never of all its ornaments, and clothed Christ meanness; whose charity was never with all this glory; when we have even consumed by the fierce fire of zeal, nor worn out our tongues in ascribing an honest zeal damped by the excess praises to Him, alas! we have done of charity; whose pity for the wretchnext to nothing, when all this is done! ed never mitigated abhorrence of vice, -Flavel.
nor the sternest regard for the majesty What a heathen said of moral virtue, of Truth diminished the most touching we may much more say of Christ, that compassion for human frailty; in a were He to be seen with mortal eyes, word, in whom greatness and lowliness He would compel love and admiration courage and fortitude, zeal and pafrom all men, for He is altogether tience, incorruptible truth and more lovely.'-Ibid.
than human gentleness, and a thouThe world never saw but one cha- sand opposite virtues more, were Diracter in whom all the varieties of in- vinely attempered; uniting the varitellectual and moral greatness centred ; ous rays of moral excellence in one blending in that Divine and ravishing glorious emanation of wisdom and of harmony which may be termed the love. That character was Jesus Christ, music of the soul. There never was in whom dwelt, indeed, all the fulness but one who reconciled the extremes of the Godhead; and whose humanity of universal excellence; in whom the was but a veil through which streamed vastest intellect and the tenderest in softened radiance, the otherwise in
sufferable effulgence of Deity. Any merely human character approximates towards perfection, just as he approaches or recedes from this greatexample.—Henry Rogers.
Never was there a character at the same time so magnificent and unlaboured; so conscious of greatness and so upostentatiously simple; so full of inspiration to the good, and so free from terror, so replete with encouragement to the outcast penitent. In His character met the whole constellation of the virtues, each one made brighter by contrast: but one overpowering sentiment softened and subjected them all to itself; one all-pervading law gave unity and harmony to His most opposite actions; interpreting all His words and looks; preventing Him, even in the most critical situations, from being at variance with Himself, or falling below His professed object;—and that sentiment, that law, was love.-Dr. J. Harris.
The character of Jesus Christ stands alone. Art has admired the unparalleled picture; infidelity has pronounced it perfect; poetry has declared it unapproachable; romance has proclaimed it inimitable; philosophy has bent before it; faith has adored in its presence; demons have trembled to look upon it; angels have sung enraptured
strains regarding it; and God has summoned the attention of all worlds to it, as the Pattern of perfection.—Dr. Leask.
But how is it to be accounted for, that men, who seem enamoured with the beauty of virtue, should turn from it with perfect disgust, and even persecute it with rancour, when it appears in the most genuine colours ?-Milner'.
Enthusiastic imaginations and flights of unscriptural fancy we disapprove; we bitterly lament them, while we would treat them with candour wherever we have the pain of observing them; and we regard them as exceedingly remote from, and most prejudicial to the pure, spiritual, inward, and operative Religion of the Gospel: but we believe also that our Lord Jesus Christ is a fit and necessary object of love, in the estimation of every holy intellect; not in the way of carnal reveries, or pictures on the imagination, or visionary representations of a beautiful person and a smiling countenance-deplorable delusions and pretences, which have occasioned unspeakable injury to the cause of Religion,—but on account of His Divine glory, His moral amiableness, His perfection of holiness and benignity.—Dr. J. P. Smith.
whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds. of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.. * Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Turn
me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead. Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is: not one barren among them. ? As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks. There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and
blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. 10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners ?
V. 9-10. When unity and peace is in the face of a man, while he lives; wanting, there can be no great matters but if he once become a carcase, the enterprised—we cannot do much for fowls of the air and the beasts of the God, nor much for one another. field, and even the very worms of the When the devil would hinder the earth, dare prey upon him. So it is. bringing to pass of good in nations with the Church. When it is dead, and churches, He divides their coun- when Religion is become a mere piece sels. The devil has not to learn that of empty, spiritless formality, this maxim he hath taught the Machiavel- makes it look but just like other parts lians of the world-Divide et impera, of the world; they will say of it,
divide and rule.' It is a united • What are they better than we?' force that is formidable. Hence the The religion of Christians, if you look Spouse is said to be but one, and the only to the external formalities of it, only one of her mother (v. 9). Here- hath not so much of a superiority, upon it is said of her (v. 10) .that but that it will be a disregarded thing she is terrible as an army with ban- with them who can easily distinguish ners. What can a divided army do, between vivid religion and dead. But or a disordered army that have lost when the Spirit of the living God their banners, or, for fear or shame, puts forth itself in discernible effects, thrown them away? In like manner, and such as carry an awful aspect with what can Christians do for Christ, and them to the common reason of men, the enlarging of His dominions in the Religion then grows a venerable thing; world, in bringing men from darkness and the very purpose of opposition to light, while themselves are divided and hostility is checked and counterand disordered ?-Bunyan.
manded, and even quite laid aside.There is an awful majesty that sits Howe.
11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. 12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Ammi-nadib.
The Spouse affirms that, ere she this manner, exciting acts of faith, was aware, her soul made her as the
love, and complacency in God, are evi-chariots of Amminadib. It so fell out, dences of much strength and prevathat when she had no thoughts, no lency of it in the soul. And thus, design or purpose, for attendance on also, is it with indwelling sin; ere communion with Christ, that she was the soul is aware, without any provo-surprised into a readiness and willing. cation or temptation, when it knows. ness unto it. So it will be with them not, it is cast into a vain and foolish that love Him in sincerity. Their frame. Sin produceth its figmentsown souls, without previous designs or secretly in the heart, and prevents the: outward occasions, will frequently en- mind's consideration of what it is gage them in holy thoughts of Him; about.-Ibid. which is the most eminent character Sometimes, I have touches which I. of a truly spiritual Christian.-Dr. would give the world might last, but, Owen.
in an hour, they are gone!-Venn. The frequent actings of grace in
13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.