Song of Solomon 1

** This book is a Divine allegory, which represents the love

between Christ and his church of true believers, under figures

taken from the relation and affection that subsist between a

bridegroom and his espoused bride; an emblem often employed in

Scripture, as describing the nearest, firmest, and most sure

relation: see #Ps 45; Isa 54:5,6; 62:5; Jer 2:2; 3:1|; also in

Ezekiel, Hosea, and by our Lord himself, #Mt 9:15; 25:1|: see

also #Re 21:2,9; Eph 5:27|. There is no character in the church

of Christ, and no situation in which the believer is placed, but

what may be traced in this book, as humble inquirers will find,

on comparing it with other Scriptures, by the assistance of God

the Holy Spirit, in answer to their supplications. Much,

however, of the language has been misunderstood by expositors

and translators. The difference between the customs and manners

of Europe, and those of the East, must especially be kept in

view. The little acquaintance with eastern customs possessed by

most of our early expositors and translators, has in many cases

prevented a correct rendering. Also, the changes in our own

language, during the last two or three centuries, affect the

manner in which some expressions are viewed, and they must not

be judged by modern notions. But the great outlines, rightly

interpreted, fully accord with the affections and experience of

the sincere Christian.

* The title. (1) The church confesses her deformity. (2-6) The

church beseeches Christ to lead her to the resting-place of his

people. (7,8) Christ's commendation of the church, Her esteem

for Him. (9-17)

1 This is "the Song of songs," excellent above any others, for

it is wholly taken up with describing the excellences of Christ,

and the love between him and his redeemed people.
2-6 The church, or rather the believer, speaks here in the

character of the spouse of the King, the Messiah. The kisses of

his mouth mean those assurances of pardon with which believers

are favoured, filling them with peace and joy in believing, and

causing them to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Gracious souls take most pleasure in loving Christ, and being

loved of him. Christ's love is more valuable and desirable than

the best this world can give. The name of Christ is not now like

ointment sealed up, but like ointment poured forth; which

denotes the freeness and fulness of the setting forth of his

grace by the gospel. Those whom he has redeemed and sanctified,

are here the virgins that love Jesus Christ, and follow him

whithersoever he goes, #Re 14:4|. They entreat him to draw them

by the quickening influences of his Spirit. The more clearly we

discern Christ's glory, the more sensible shall we be that we

are unable to follow him suitably, and at the same time be more

desirous of doing it. Observe the speedy answer given to this

prayer. Those who wait at Wisdom's gate, shall be led into truth

and comfort. And being brought into this chamber, our griefs

will vanish. We have no joy but in Christ, and for this we are

indebted to him. We will remember to give thanks for thy love;

it shall make more lasting impressions upon us than any thing in

this world. Nor is any love acceptable to Christ but love in

sincerity, #Eph 6:24|. The daughters of Jerusalem may mean

professors not yet established in the faith. The spouse was

black as the tents of the wandering Arabs, but comely as the

magnificent curtains in the palaces of Solomon. The believer is

black, as being defiled and sinful by nature, but comely, as

renewed by Divine grace to the holy image of God. He is still

deformed with remains of sin, but comely as accepted in Christ.

He is often base and contemptible in the esteem of men, but

excellent in the sight of God. The blackness was owing to the

hard usage that had been suffered. The children of the church,

her mother, but not of God, her Father, were angry with her.

They had made her suffer hardships, which caused her to neglect

the care of her soul. Thus, under the emblem of a poor female,

made the chosen partner of a prince, we are led to consider the

circumstances in which the love of Christ is accustomed to find

its objects. They were wretched slaves of sin, in toil, or in

sorrow, weary and heavy laden, but how great the change when the

love of Christ is manifested to their souls!
7,8 Observe the title given to Christ, O Thou whom my soul

loveth. Those that do so, may come to him boldly, and may humbly

plead with him. Is it with God's people a noon-time of outward

troubles, inward conflicts? Christ has rest for them. Those

whose souls love Jesus Christ, earnestly desire to share in the

privileges of his flock. Turning aside from Christ is what

gracious souls dread more than anything else. God is ready to

answer prayer. Follow the track, ask for the good old way,

observe the footsteps of the flock, look what has been the

practice of godly people. Sit under the direction of good

ministers; beside the tents of the under shepherds. Bring thy

charge with thee, they shall all be welcome. It will be the

earnest desire and prayer of the Christian, that God would so

direct him in his worldly business, and so order his situation

and employment, that he may have his Lord and Saviour always

before him.
9-17 The Bridegroom gives high praises of his spouse. In the

sight of Christ believers are the excellent of the earth, fitted

to be instruments for promoting his glory. The spiritual gifts

and graces which Christ bestows on every true believer, are

described by the ornaments then in use, ver. #10,11|. The graces

of the saints are many, but there is dependence upon each other.

He who is the Author, will be the Finisher of the good work. The

grace received from Christ's fulness, springs forth into lively

exercises of faith, affection, and gratitude. Yet Christ, not

his gifts, is most precious to them. The word translated

"camphire," signifies "atonement or propitiation." Christ is

dear to all believers, because he is the propitiation for their

sins. No pretender must have his place in the soul. They

resolved to lodge him in their hearts all the night; during the

continuance of the troubles of life. Christ takes delight in the

good work which his grace has wrought on the souls of believers.

This should engage all who are made holy, to be very thankful

for that grace which has made those fair, who by nature were

deformed. The spouse (the believer) has a humble, modest eye,

discovering simplicity and godly sincerity; eyes enlightened and

guided by the Holy Spirit, that blessed Dove. The church

expresses her value for Christ. Thou art the great Original, but

I am but a faint and imperfect copy. Many are fair to look at,

yet their temper renders them unpleasant: but Christ is fair,

yet pleasant. The believer, ver. #16|, speaks with praise of

those holy ordinances in which true believers have fellowship

with Christ. Whether the believer is in the courts of the Lord,

or in retirement; whether following his daily labours, or

confined on the bed of sickness, or even in a dungeon, a sense

of the Divine presence will turn the place into a paradise. Thus

the soul, daily having fellowship with the Father, the Son, and

the Holy Spirit, enjoys a lively hope of an incorruptible,

undefiled, and unfading inheritance above.
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