The subject which the first chapter contained is the same as is continueth through this: indeed there is none other through the whole book of the Song, the mutual love of Christ, and his church. Jesus commends his spouse, and the spouse commends her Beloved.
Song of Solomon 2:1
I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
There is a lovely obscurity which runs through the whole of this Song, more or less, which prevents us from determining, upon many occasions, who is the speaker, Christ or his church. I call it a lovely obscurity, because, as the point is undetermined, the awakened soul may consider the several expressions wheresoever this obscurity prevails, as in the person of both, and, thereby derive a double sweetness from them: and I hope that I do not err when I say, that perhaps the Holy Ghost might be graciously pleased so to leave the words, on purpose that the soul of the faithful might occasionally apply them to both; and, under his teaching, find a blessedness as referring to both. Thus in the verse now before us, in the first reading, it should seem that the words are the words of the church; for how can we expect to find the Son of God comparing himself to similitudes so very low and familiar as the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the vallies. But yet, when we consider to what a wonderful degree of humiliation the Lord of life and glory came down, we may suppose, without violence to the figure, that Christ thus expressed himself as this verse sets forth. Jewish writers for the most part, have accepted them as the language of the church; and many among Christians have been of the same opinion. Reader! let you and I see whether they are not very delightful if applied to both. And first of Christ; the rose of Sharon, as a figure of Christ, may be supposed to refer to his human nature. Adam, the first man, is so called from red earth; and the rose, in its beauty and redness, can be no unapt representation of him who is fairer than the children of man, into whose lips grace is poured, and whom Jehovah hath blessed forever, And from the fruitfulness of Sharon, it is probable that the roses grew there in the greatest beauty and loveliness, and were of a superior quality: neither do I think it an improbable circumstance, that Christ, in this view of himself, had an eye both to the sweet savor of his merits, and the incense of his righteousness, with which all heaven is perfumed; and thereby efficacy and acceptance is given to the poor polluted prayers and offerings of his people; the offering of his precious blood corresponding to the redness of the rose, and his righteousness set forth under the image of the whiteness of the lily. Let the Reader, if he be a real lover of Jesus, and enamored with his Person, blood, and righteousness; let him determine whether the sweetest rose hath a fragrancy equal to the order of Christ's oblation; or the loveliness of the lily, comparable to the purity of Jesus's holiness? I must not overlook what some have thought, when accepting these words as the words of Jesus, that they intimate by the rose of Sharon, that Christ declared himself to be the flower of the field: for some translate the passage. And they conceive this not only because it is planted, watered, and brought forth without human art or human labour, as Christ was in his human nature wholly by God; but also because a flower of the field, like his gospel is open to all: Whosoever will, that is, whomsoever the Holy Ghost makes willing in the day of Christ's power, Let him come, and take of the water of life freely; without money and without price. Certainly these things open to our meditation sweet views of Jesus; but if the words of the rose of Sharon are thus beautifully considered as referring to the person of Christ, and spoken by him, we shall find an equally sweet allusion in the latter part of the verse, in which he compares himself to the lily of the vallies: for here, the unequalled whiteness of the lily may well he supposed to resemble the purity of Christ's human nature; and the valley where this humble modest flower delights to grow, sets forth the gracious humiliation of our Jesus, in the assumption of our nature. Of him indeed it may be, and must be truly said, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. And hence in both, the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley, we may find these, and perhaps many other very pleasing similitudes concerning the Person and character of our dear Lord to lead to him. But if the obscurity I just now remarked, hath rendered it difficult to ascertain with certainty, whether the words belong to Christ or the church, let us now consider them with reference to the latter: - and here it is certain we cannot err, if it be supposed the church used such language from her union and interest in Christ. She may truly call herself all that is beautiful, and fragrant like the sweetest flowers, from the comeliness that Christ hath put on her. In his eye, he saith himself, she hath no spot. Song of Solomon 4:7; Ephesians 5:27. And from the many qualities of his grace in her heart, she may consider herself complete in him. But though by way of setting forth the glories of her Lord, and as she had before said, I am black, but comely; Song of Solomon 1:5. she still felt her own original worthlessness, while taking delight in what she was in Jesus; yet, I confess, I am inclined rather to accept this first verse as the words of the Lord Jesus, thus recommending himself to the notice, love, and acceptance of his people. Isaiah 65:1.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
But whatever obscurity is found in the former verse to whom the words belong, there can be none here. Evidently Jesus is here speaking of his church, and by a comparison with all others to point out her superiority; and in his grace, and love, he hath done it in a most gracious and blessed manner. And observe how the Lord expresseth himself: He calleth his church what he calleth himself, a lily: as if to express the oneness between them: and not only the oneness and union, but interest; for it is this which gives all the beauty and loveliness to the church, her conformity and likeness to Jesus: and by this she is distinguished among all others; for as the loveliness of the lily is made to appear more striking, when beheld in the midst of thorns; so the church of Christ and every individual believer, is found most graceful in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom they shine as lights in the world. Pause, Reader, before this verse be dismissed, and remark with me, the love and tenderness of Jesus for his church. Though she dwelleth among briars and thorns, yet is she in his eye the lily still. She hears his name - she is owned as his love, and Jesus regards her with an eye of delight, and will never leave her, until he comes to remove her from the thorns and briars of this world's wilderness to the garner of his paradise which is above.
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.
These are the words of the church, and very expressive they are, of her affection to her Lord. It should seem, as if conscious of her own undeservings, when hearing herself so spoken of and praised by Jesus, that she interrupts him to tell of his excellency and loveliness, as the sole cause of every grace which induced loveliness in her. Probably the apple tree in those warm countries was vastly superior to these in our colder climates; and this, indeed, historians tell us it was: for in loftiness, fruitfulness, and beauty, this tree surpassed all others. Now Jesus is all this and infinitely more, in the eyes of his people. Jesus, in our nature, is far above all angels, and principalities, and powers; probably these are the sons the church speaks of, and we know, that when Jesus as God-man Mediator is brought into our world under this exalted character, as the first begotten, Jehovah said, Let all the angels of God worship him. And though in his human nature he is said to have been made a little lower than the angels: yet in that nature, united to the Godhead, he is crowned with glory and honour. And how preferable, then, must Jesus be in the eye of the church, compared to that of the highest angels, or the best of men? None of them could redeem the church. None of them make agreement with God for her. I stay not to enter into a larger view of the beauty of the comparison between the graces of Christ, and the qualities of the apple-tree. It is sufficient to our purpose to observe, that for beauty, usefulness, grace in its appearance, and the fruitfulness of the apple-tree beyond all the trees of the wood, Jesus in his person; offices, and character, may be supposed to be by this similitude strikingly represented. Jesus is indeed himself the Tree of life in the midst of the garden; and so lovely, and so prolific in all blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, that he is unceasingly blessed. He beareth twelve manner of fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:2. But the church doth not stop with commending Christ's Person; she goeth on in the same verse to tell of her enjoyment of him. Reader, mark with me, that in those two grand points the whole of a believer's joy in the present life, yea, and in a future, is made up. To know Christ, and to enjoy him; to accept him as the Father's gift, and to make use of him according to the Father's will. And the church in this verse tells us how she did it. I sat down (says she) under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. This opens a beautiful view of Christ, and of the believer also; when, under the blessed influences of grace, a full use and enjoyment of Christ is made by him. The Lord Jesus is not only a refuge to protect, but the whole of sustenance and food. Like a rich, luxuriant, and prolific tree, which affords not only shelter to the traveller from the heat, but fruit to live upon; so Christ is made of God to his people, both life, and light, and strength, and supply; Wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. The prophet gives a blessed account of the Lord in similar representations; Isaiah 25:4-5. and so again, Isaiah 32:2. And when the souls of his people have found Christ, and known Christ under these characters, then they can, and do set to their seal, that God is true; for they then dwell under his shadow, and revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. Hosea 14:7. And when then is it that the church, or any individual of the church, find Christ all these, and may be said to sit down under him, and live upon him? No doubt, when from a sense of a want of Christ, the soul betakes herself to Him; and having discovered him to be a full, present, suitable, and all-sufficient Saviour, she sits down as one determined to rise up no more. There is such a fulness, such a blessedness, and such an immediate grace and kindness in him to bestow of his mercy, that the poor soul finds a complacency and delight, and will neither go further in quest of any other Saviour, or accept of any other. That precious child of God that hath so seen Christ as fully to trust in him, and delight in him, hath adopted, and entered into the enjoyment of that sweet scripture, Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but thou art the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalms 73:25-26.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Various have been the opinions of pious men, what is meant by this banqueting house of Jesus. Some have supposed it to mean the scriptures, which are indeed full of wine on the lees, and of marrow, for the perpetual feast of God's people. Others have conjectured, that it is meant to convey by the expression, the gospel of Christ, which is much the same amount. And others have formed an opinion that it refers to the several ordinances of Christ's church, which also open stores of rich banqueting. And others have conceived, that it implies the covenant of grace, which, of consequence, includes all the rest. And perhaps, as this is most comprehensive of blessings, we may very safely accept this sense of the passage. But, what I particularly beg the Reader to remark with me, that under which sense soever the banqueting house of Jesus be accepted, it is Christ, and Christ himself alone, that it is here said to bring the church into it. Sweet and blessed thought this to the believer! No man, says Jesus, can come to me, except my Father who hath sent me draw him. John 6:41. No Man says Jesus, cometh unto the Father but by me. John 14:6. It is the spirit which quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. John 6:63. Oh! how thrice blessed is it to behold all the Persons of the Godhead engaged in one and the same act, to bring souls unto Christ! And how truly delightful is it to the souls of the faithful, when, from the quickening, enlightening, leading, and strengthening influences of the Holy Ghost, a soul finds himself savingly brought to and acquainted with Jesus? The banner of love, was perhaps meant to intimate the warfare and conflict in a life of grace. Jesus's name and love, are unfurled over the believing soul; but though in him we have peace, in the world we must have tribulation. John 16:33; Isaiah 11:12. And yet perhaps in an higher sense than this of the battles of his people, the banner over the church in her Lord's banqueting house, might be meant to set forth the victory which he hath obtained over death, hell, and the grave, in the blessings of which conquests the church hath her part: and hence in the after part of this song, the church is described to all her foes as terrible as an army with banners. Song of Solomon 6:4; Son_6:10. Reader! let us each ask his own heart, hath Jesus indeed brought us into his banqueting house? Can we at this moment look up and behold his banner over us! If so, we may and must indeed read his love in letters of blood; for so hath Jesus marked his love to all his redeemed.
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
There is a great degree of earnestness in these expressions, which evidently shows the mind of the church to be going forth, upon the Person of her Lord with much warmth of regard. Whenever we meet with such vehemency of language, it certainly is intended to convey, that faith, and grace, and love, are in most devout exercise. See Psalms 63:1-8. Reader! I fear that we, who live in these cold languishing days of Zion, can hardly have a conception what is meant by these passionate cries of the church. It is to be deeply regretted that we do not: but yet it is possible, and the instance here set forth as fully proves, that, when devout souls get to Christ's banqueting house, such rich discoveries of his love in the glories of his Person, and such amazing grace displayed in all his redemption-offices, there may be such an overwhelming power of love coming over the soul, as to induce that kind of sickness as requires the arms of Jesus to keep from fainting. If the queen of the south swooned, and had no more spirit in her at the display of Solomon's wisdom; (1 Kings 10:5.) what may be supposed to take place on the soul of the redeemed, when at anytime Jesus, breaks forth in the blessed manifestations of his grace, and love, and favor! The flaggons and the apple the church requests to be stayed with, are, no doubt, figurative of spiritual comforts; as if she had said, Lord, while thou art thus gracious, oh! give me every suited grace for support that I may go forth in love and praise, while thou art coming forth in such rich displays of goodness and favor.
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
I do not apprehend by those different expressions of left hand supports, and right hand embraces, that it is meant to convey anything of one being inferior to the other: but rather from both the hands and arms of Jesus to imply that all that Christ is, he is for his people. In him it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, and this fulness is for his redeemed, in such degrees and proportions as his glory and their necessities render needful. Hence he hath comfort for the afflicted, and strength for the weak. He is the bread of life, and the water of life to all. The babes in Christ shall have the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby: and the young men and fathers shall have their spiritual senses both exercised and supported with the stronger food of the same bountiful Lord. All shall be taken care of, and all supplied, for Christ is all in all to his people.
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.
It appears from what is said in this verse, that the church was so delighted with being stayed with flaggons and apples in the arms of Christ, that she was jealous of being disturbed from a situation so very blessed and desirable; and therefore, she here gives a charge, even to the nearest and dearest connections, even believers with herself, not to interrupt her communion with Jesus, by even their spiritual communion with her. This is a beautiful and most interesting view of the church, and opens to a truly regenerated soul large scope for meditation. However blessed it is for the saints of God to be often talking one to another of the great things of salvation; and, no doubt, upon such occasions, Jesus himself is with them, (Malachi 3:16; Matthew 18:20; Luke 24:15) yet it is still infinitely more blessed to have sweet communion with Jesus alone. Matthew 14:23; Genesis 45:1. Reader, I hope you know somewhat of this blessed life. It is sweet; it is gracious and delightful to take communion with the faithful, and to tell anyone and everyone what the Lord hath done for our souls. But, what an infinitely more blessed enjoyment is it to turn aside from the whole earth, and tell Jesus himself what passeth in our souls concerning him. And moreover, by this secret and private fellowship with Jesus, we find more real solid and substantial testimony in our own minds in one short hour's conversation, than much longer meetings in the society even of the faithful. There may be, and perhaps there often is, much talking of Jesus, where there is but little walking with Jesus: but no soul can retire alone to seek enjoyment with Christ, unless the heart be drawn to Christ. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed. Amos 3:3. Reader! pause over this and satisfy your own heart on this grand point, before you dismiss it.
The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
I conceive that at this verse is the beginning of a new subject. Probably some short space might take place between this and the former. The Church appears to be in great delight in hearing the voice of Jesus. And indeed, when Christ speaks in the word, and by the word, there is such a sweetness, power, efficacy, and grace accompanying it, that it cannot but delight the soul of a believer. It is observable, that the church knew whose voice it was. She could and did distinguish it from all others. So Jesus hath marked his people. His sheep know his voice and follow him, a stranger will they not follow. John 10:3-14. And it is further observable, that the church heard Christ's voice, before she said she beheld his person. A sweet thought ariseth from hence. Jesus may be out of the believer's sight; but yet the believer can discern him in his word, from its power and gracious influences. Reader! it is a privilege which none but God the Holy Ghost bestows, to know how to discern the voice of Jesus, from the errors of the present day. David hath left upon record a blessed testimony to this great truth. I shall never forget thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me. Psalms 119:93. The church calls upon others to behold him with her. He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. Old Testament saints were always by faith upon the lookout for his promised advent. He that should come, was the well-known character by which the Lord was in all ages expected. So that the church is here speaking of his approach in the general acceptation of it, in respect to his first coming in substance of our flesh. But over and above this general view of Jesus, no doubt the church had an eye also to his private and personal manifestation. Mountains and hills; yea, even the mountains of sin, and the hills of unbelief in our nature, shall not obstruct his sweet visits to his people; for his love and grace will cause him to leap over all. Reader! think for your encouragement, and let the thought bear both your mind and mine up in the blessedness of it, that as no discouragements kept Jesus back from coming for the salvation of his redeemed, so nothing shall arise to keep him hack from fully accomplishing their deliverance. All the mountains of divine wrath against sin, and all the terrors of a broken law falling like hills upon the mind and conscience; yea, and all the hidings of his Father's countenance for a season, could not restrain the Lord from coming to satisfy God's justice, and to ransom his captives. So neither now shall anything separate his people from his love, though their rebellion and slights of him are so very strong in testimony of their unworthiness. Jesus doth come, and will come speedily; as in his first appearance in our flesh, so in all the after visits of his grace and Holy Spirit; and, ere long, finally, and fully to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. 2 Thessalonians 1:10.
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.
The former part of this verse is but a continuance of the former; in which the coming of Christ, as the Church's beloved, is compared to the swiftness and loveliness of a roe or young hart. By which, no doubt, is intended, to convey the promptness with which Jesus flies to the relief and joy of all his redeemed. It shall come to pass before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24. But it seems a very sweet addition to these features of Christ, what is said in the latter part of this verse, that Jesus standeth behind the wall, looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice. Our nature, that is our corrupt part of it, the body of flesh, of sin, and death, becomes, no doubt, a thick wall of separation. In ordinances and the several means of grace; believers get sweet glimpses of Jesus. And he, when those ordinances are refreshing by the Holy Ghost, may be said to look in upon his people. But, after all, every view of Jesus is but partial and imperfect; and he that seeth most of Christ seeth but as through a glass darkly. Yea, Jesus himself having enshrined the Godhead in a veil of flesh, is seen but behind the wall of our nature. Reader, the slightest views of Jesus are blessed, the smallest manifestations he is pleased to make of himself are gracious to the soul. Shall I venture to ask, Have you seen the king in his beauty? Hath he looked in upon you through the windows and lattices of his love, and mercy, and favour?
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; (12) 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.
These verses hold forth so endearing a view of the grace and condescension of the Lord Jesus, as must argue a very cold heart, not to feel a warmth of affection in them; Jesus is represented as calling upon his church to arise and come forth with him, and he calls her beloved, his love, his fair one; intimating the tenderest and most affectionate regard for her, and to show her at the same time what confidence she might put in him. Never, surely, was there any love like the love of Jesus. He so loved his church, as to give himself for it; to die for it, and now to be everlastingly interceding for it. Behold the love of God which passeth knowledge. The persuasions Christ adopts to prevail upon the church to arise up and follow him, are very endearing also. The winter past and the rain gone, the singing of birds being come, and the flowers appearing on the earth, with the voice of the turtle being heard in the land; these are all highly beautiful in point of figure; It was a long dark winter indeed, in which our nature lay before the coming of Christ; darkness had covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Both Jew and Gentile lay under it before the Son of righteousness arose with healing in his wings. And what it was to the nations of the earth at large, so is it to every son and daughter of Adam, before that Christ by the manifestation of his grace makes day-light in the soul. And Reader, as it was, and is, in the first awakenings of grace; So in the many wintry seasons in the after-stages of the believer, Who but Christ causes the spring to bud forth, and the flowers to appear? Who giveth the green figs, or the tender grape? Precious Lord! in every state, and in every stage, thou, and thou alone art the life and light of thy people. The voice of the turtle, the dove, the well known emblem of the Holy Ghost, is indeed heard in the land, when the soul is led to Christ: and then all those sweet effects follow, to induce the church to come away to Jesus, who alone makes a dispensation from nature to grace; converts sinners, comforts saints, and becomes a sure pledge of the complete renovation of all things, when the earth shall give up her dead, and the winter of desolated circumstances shall be folded up and lost, in an eternal spring; where Jesus hath wiped away all tears from of all faces, and taken away forever the rebuke of his people. Isaiah 25:6-8.
O 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.
Here are several very grand parts in this verse. Jesus here calls his beloved by a new name, that of the dove, perhaps from several causes. The dove is considered the most harmless of creatures. Hence Jesus enjoined his disciples to be harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16. And as the dove is harmless, so is it a beautiful creature in its plumage, exceedingly social also and attached in its affection, but timid to an excess. Now on all these accounts there should seem a great aptness in the Lord's comparison of his church to the dove, For what so weak as a poor believer, so fearful, so apprehensive, and full of doubting? What so lovely or beautiful as a soul washed in the blood of Christ, and made comely in his righteousness? And who so attached as the believer when brought into the privilege of an union with Christ? The clefts of the rock have been thought by some the enclosed and eternally secured purposes of God in Christ, the rock of ages. And if so, the secretness of it may be well understood in allusion to the other expression, of the stairs. It must be confessed, that as Jehovah hath from everlasting ordered all things according to the counsel of his own will; there seems a great propriety in this view. And Jesus calling to his dove in this sense seems to be as if he had said, O thou beautiful, but timid and fearful creature, thou art in the clefts of the rock, eternally secured in me; as in my side pierced by the soldier's spear; there I have placed thee, and there from everlasting thou art secret. I do not presume to decide upon a point of such sublimity; but I conceive that there is no impropriety in the thought. And under this idea was not Moses the man of God, somewhat typical of this, when the Lord God in passing-by and making his glory to appear before him in the mount put him in the cleft of the rock? Exodus 33:22. The next thing to be considered in this verse is, what Christ said to the church. Jesus had called her his dove; and had said where she was; he now bids her to let him see her countenance, and hear her voice, and adds as a reason that the former was sweet, and the latter comely. If it be supposed that the church was mourning like a dove, when Jesus thus calls her, it should seem to imply, that the cries and mournings of his people for sin are noticed, and come up with acceptance before him. And the blushing countenance of the penitent is what the Lord regards. A beautiful view we have of it in Ezra 9:5-15. And in the prophet's account of Ephraim, Jeremiah 31:18-20. Reader! it is truly comfortable and encouraging to God's people, to consider, that however vile and refuse they may be esteemed by the world, yet, in the eyes of Jesus they are lovely. Oh! Lord Jesus! to be countenanced by thee, to be noticed by my Lord, how preferable to all the honours and distinctions of men!
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
It should seem that Christ is in this verse giving direction to his servants, perhaps the pastors in his church, to be on the lookout for the enemy, who, like a fox is insidious, sly, and crafty, deceiving Christ's church: And to show the subtleness of the foe, even the little foxes are to be taken. The smallest heresy in the church, the least sin if allowed to have hold in the heart, will prove of fatal consequence. They spoil the tender vine, that is, they wound the peace and comfort of young believers. And Jesus hath an especial eye to the lambs of his fold. Dear Lord! give grace to all thy faithful servants in thy church, to have a constant regard to this precept. Oh! for the Lord's constant grace to be imparted to all that minister in holy things, and for his strength to be perfected in their weakness. Give them, Lord, more of thy tender mind and will, that they may lay themselves out for greater usefulness, and take the foxes, the little ones of craft, and subtilty, and design; those foes which from their apparent smallness too often escape unnoticed, and yet commit greater evil. And oh! may they in imitation of their divine Lord, not only feed the flock of Christ in the whole body of believers, but carry the lambs of the fold in their arms, and gently lead those that are with young.
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
Here is a short verse, but as comprehensive a one as almost any in the Bible. I need not observe that these are the words of the church, in which she asserts and seems to enjoy the blessedness of it, the mutual property which Christ and herself hath in each other. Perhaps the words might be read, and which would rather make them stronger; My beloved is to me, and I am to him. For then it might be asked, what is Christ to you, and what are you to him? The answer is, Everything: more in it than words can express. Christ is mine, saith the church, for God my Father hath given him to me. Jesus himself hath so loved me as to give himself for me: and the Holy Ghost hath confirmed it by quickening me and uniting me to him forever. For he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit. And I am his from the same causes. For Jesus hath purchased me by his blood. And God the Father gave the church to Jesus that he should give eternal life to it from everlasting. And God the Spirit hath made me his, by the conquests of his grace upon my heart. Hence, Christ is mine, and I am his. And this my beloved feedeth among the lilies. Jesus had before declared that his beloved was in his view as a lily among thorns; and here he is said to feed among them. By which we may suppose is, meant that his eye is always upon them, and he is perpetually manifesting himself to them by his grace. He feeds or takes delight in those exercises of theirs in grace, which he himself hath first given to them. Thus Jesus testifies his complacency and delight in them.
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.
The church in this verse is looking to her beloved with great confidence and joy, that he will be to her all she needs, for the support of her faith in him, and dependence upon him; until the gospel-day shall fully break in upon the church at large, and Jesus will appear in the open display of himself both to Jew and Gentile. This was the longing expectation of the Old Testament Saints, when the law of ceremonies, and types, and shadows of good things to come should be done away and lost in the substance. Hence, we read in the opening of the Evangelists of those who departed not night and day from the temple, waiting for the consolation of Israel. Luke 2:37. And what is the cry of the soul now Christ is come, and all the Jewish ordinances as the shades of night are done away, but for Jesus to be like the roe or the hart for swiftness, in flying to his people's need in seasons of darkness and temptation, upon the mountains of Bether? And is not the holy expectation of the soul going out also, for the last coming of Jesus, when he will finally appear to gather his people to himself in glory? Surely the cry of each believing heart is, Come, Lord Jesus come quickly. Amen.
BLESSED Lord Jesus, while reading this chapter of thy love, do thou, I beseech thee, gracious Lord, lead out my heart, and the heart of every Reader of it on whom thy grace hath shined, to behold thy loveliness in all the several parts of it, which so beautifully holds thee forth to thy church. Methinks I hear my beloved say as to the church of old I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the vallies. To which my soul replies, Yes! thou dear Lord! thou art indeed in thy bloody vesture, and thy spotless humanity, red as the rose, and whiter than the lily. And oh! how infinitely precious in both, beholding thee as I do through these similitudes in thy blood and righteousness, as the sure tokens of thy great redemption. And if thy church, Lord, is as the lily among thorns, is it not from thee that she derives all her beauty while living in the midst of a sinful world, the children of whom by nature in their best performances, are but as a briar, and the most upright as thorn hedge. But thou, Lord, art the chiefest among ten thousand sons, as the apple-tree transcends the trees of the forest. And oh! for grace, dear Lord, like the dumb, to sit down under thy shadow with increasing rapture and delight, and to eat freely and fully of all the precious fruits of thy great salvation. Do thou, blessed Spirit, by thy sweet influences both provide the food and give the appetite, and cause me to enjoy all the good things in the everlasting covenant of God my Father, purchased by the blood of Jesus, and brought home to my soul by thy divine power. And, as for thy banqueting house, my rich bountiful Lord, I know that thou wilt bring me there, and spread thy banner of love over me there. I do know it, Lord, that thou wilt do this for me, and a thousand other blessed things of thy love; for never should I have known thee or thy house, much less delighted in it, or desired to have been brought into it, unless thou hadst first shown it to me, and opened for me a new and living way in thy blood. Reader! I break off for a moment from addressing my Lord, to ask you whether such views, and such desires of Christ are in your heart also?
But, Lord, I turn to thee again, and in the language of the church, would beg of thee to stay me with flaggons, and comfort me with apples, even the enjoyment of all thy rich covenant-promises, manifestations, and the unceasing communion of thyself to my soul; for without thee I am sick and sorrowful. And, Lord, the more thou givest, the more I need; the more of thee I know, the more I desire to know; for in thee alone I find comfort. Embrace my soul, O Lord, and let all my stay and support be in thee!
Ye daughters of Jerusalem! I mean all ye that love my Lord, (for one church is my beloved's and his Jerusalem, which is above, is the mother of us all); I charge you as I charge myself, let nothing be said or done to wound or disturb our Lord. Let us seek together his grace, his Spirit, his manifestations; and by everything that is interesting, as the roes or hinds of the field, let us be very cautious of grieving his Holy Spirit. Hark! do you not hear Jesus speak? Yes! it is his well-known voice; and he cometh to us notwithstanding all our sins, like mountains and hills, which might obstruct, for he is, and he will be Jesus. He looketh in upon us through the windows of ordinances, and, ere long, when this wall of our mortality is taken down, we shall see him as he is, and dwell with him forever!
But I leave the church to listen to my Lord, inviting me to come forth to him in this spring-season of grace. Yea, Lord, I will rise, for the voice of the Holy Ghost, like the voice of the turtle after the winter, of life, is heard in mine heart. Yea, I would follow thee whithersoever thou goest; and, as like the dove, thou hast sheltered me, and hidden me in the clefts of thy pierced side, and desirest to hear my voice and behold my countenance, thou shalt hear, Lord, my voice betimes in the morning; early will I direct my prayer unto thee, and I will look up: and do thou, Lord, take away the foxes of the desert; yea, even both the greater and the lesser hindrances to my soul, which, in the tender buildings of grace by thy bringing forth in me, my sins and corruptions joined with the temptations of sin, too often nip, and would destroy. Haste, Lord, to me, and to my rescue, for I am thine, and thou art mine. Make all intervening shadows flee away, and be thou to my poor soul as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany