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Son 2:1 I [am] the rose of Sharon, [and] the lily of the valleys.
Ver. 1. I am the rose of Sharon. ] The Greek renders it, "the flower of the field," that grows without man’s labour, having heaven for its father, earth for its mother. So had Christ, "made of a woman," "manifested in the flesh," without father as man, without mother as God. Hebrews 7:3 ; Heb 9:11 The tabernacle of Christ’s human nature - so called because therein "the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily" Col 2:9 - was "not made with hands"; that is, not by man’s help; it was "not of this building," by the power of nature. But as matter in the beginning of time was taken from man to make a woman, so matter in the fulness of time was taken from woman to make the man Christ Jesus. And as Eve was a true woman without woman, so Christ was a true man without man. He is called filius hominis, but it is only of the feminine gender. He is the "flower of the field," as here; the "stone cut out without hands"; Dan 2:45 the phoenix that hath no parents; the pearl that is not made through any earthly copulation, but is begotten of the dew of heaven. For as pearls are bred in shell fishes of a celestial humour, so was Christ, by heavenly influence, in the Virgin’s womb. But let us weigh the words as they are commonly rendered. Sharon was a most fruitful place, situated under the hill Lebanon, 1Ch 27:29 coupled with Carmel for excellence, Isa 35:2 not more afield than a fold for flocks. Isa 65:10 To a rose, that queen of flowers, here growing doth the Lord Christ fitly compare himself. This flower delights in shadowy places - and thence borroweth its name a in the original; it is orient of hue, cold of complexion, but passing redolent, and of comfortable condition. Such a flower is Jesus, saith an expositor b here, most delighted in temperate places, for hue white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousand; a cooler to the conscience, but passing savoury, and comfortable to the distressed patient.
And the lily of the valleys. ] Or, "Low places," which are most fat and fertile. Christ is both rose and lily, which two put together make a gallant show, and beautify the bosoms of those that bear them; but nothing like as Christ doth those that have him dwelling in their hearts by faith. These flowers do soon fade, and lose both beauty and sweetness; but so doth not Christ or his comforts. Tam recens mihi nunc Christus est, ac si hac hora fudisset sanguinem, saith Luther, Christ is as fresh to me now as if he had shed his blood this very hour. He purposely compareth himself to a vine, to a door, to bread, and many other excellent and necessary creatures, everywhere obvious, that therein (as in so many optic glasses) we may see him, and be transformed into him. For this it is also that he here commends himself, not out of arrogance or vain affectation of popular applause, but for our sakes doubtless, that we may take notice of his excellencies, and love him in sincerity. The spouse also praiseth herself sometimes, not out of pride of her parts, but to show her thankfulness to Christ, from whom she had them.
a Habaste eth.
Son 2:2 As the lily among thorns, so [is] my love among the daughters.
Ver. 2. As the lily among the thorns. ] The lily is white, pure, and pleasant, having six leaves (and thence its name a in Hebrew), and seven golden-coloured grains within it. The 45th Psalm (of like argument with this song) is dedicated to him that excelleth upon Shoshannim, or upon this six-leaved flower, the lily. Moreover, the chief city of Persia was called Shushan, from the multitude of lilies growing there. b Here Alexander found fifty thousand talents of gold; the very stones of it are said to have been joined together with gold. c The Church is far richer, and fuller of beauty and bravery, but beset with thorns, such as Abimelech was; a right bramble indeed, that grew in the base hedge row of a concubine, and scratched and drew blood to purpose. Wicked men are called briers, Mic 7:4 thorns twisted and folded, Nah 1:10 that hurt the earth and those that handle them. Indeed, they cannot "be taken with hands," but the "man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear." But God shall "thrust them all away," scil., into hell, and "they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place." 2Sa 23:6-7 In the mean space, "who will set the briers and thorns against me in battle?" saith the Lord Christ, being jealous for his spouse with a great jealousy Zec 1:14 - who dare do it? "I would march against them, I would burn them together." Isa 27:4 Sin or Sinai, a thorny place in the desert, where it rained down quails and manna from heaven, was a type of the Church flourishing in the midst of her enemies, "like a lily among thorns."
So is my love among the daughters, ] i.e., False sisters, quae dicuntur spinae propter malignitatem morum; dicuntur filiae, propter communionem sacramentorum, saith Augustine; d these are called thorns for the malignity of their manners, and daughters for their profession and outward privileges. These prick, sting, and nettle the Church; they cannot but do their nature, till God take an order with them, till he "bind them in bundles, and cast them into the furnace." Mat 13:40 But as the lily is fresh and beautiful, and looks pleasantly (even that wild lily that we call woodbine) though among thorns; so should we amidst trouble. God hedgeth us about with these briers, that he may keep us within compass; he pricks us with these thorns, that he may let out our ill humours. O felices tribulos tribulationum! e O happy thorns of tribulation, that open a vein for sin to gush out at! "Be not weary, my son, of God’s correction," saith Solomon. Pro 3:11 Ne eius castigationes ut spinas quasdam existimes tibi molestas, so Kabvenaki renders and expounds that text. Feel not God’s corrections troublesome to thee, as thorns in thine eyes, or prickles in thy sides. Especially since, as Gideon, by thrashing those churls of Succoth with thorns and briers of the wilderness, "taught" them better behaviour; Jdg 8:16 so God deals by his people. His house of correction is his school of instruction. Psa 94:12 See my Love Tokens, p. 144, 145, &c. God sets these thorns, as he did those four horns Zec 1:18-21 to afflict his people which way soever they fled. Howbeit, when they had pushed them to the Lord, there were four carpenters set a-work to cut them short enough for ever doing any further hurt. Zec 1:19-21
c Cassidor., lib. vii. var. eph 15.
d Aug., Epist. 48.
Son 2:3 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.
Ver. 3. As the apple tree among the trees, &c. ] Among wild trees, moss begrown trees, trees that bring not forth food for men, but mast for hogs. Such is every natural man. Rom 11:24 "Ephraim is an empty vine, he beareth fruit to himself," Hos 10:1 paltry hedge fruit. Oaks bring forth apples, such as they are, and acorns. But what saith our Saviour; John 15:2 , "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away"; and "without me ye can do nothing." Joh 15:5 That is a true saying (though Spiera the expositor censures it for a cruel sentence), Omnis vita infidelium peccatum est, et nihil bonum sine summo bono, a The whole life of an unbeliever is sin, neither is there anything good without Christ the chiefest good. Here he is fitly compared by the Church to an "apple tree," which yields both shade and food to the weary and hungry traveller, furnisheth him with whatsoever heart can wish or need require. Christ is cornucopia, a universal good, all-sufficient and satisfactory, proportionable, and every way fitting to our necessities. It is not with Christ as with Isaac, that had but one blessing, for "in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom," Col 2:3 and whatsoever worth. So that, as a friend of Cyrus in Xenophon, being asked where his treasure was, answered, οπου Kυρος φιλος , where Cyrus is my friend; so may a Christian better answer to the like question, σπου Kυριος φιλος , where the Lord Christ is my friend; for as sine Deo omnis copia est egestas, without Christ all plenty is scarcity, so with him there can be no want of anything that is good. "In the fulness of his sufficiency he is in want, "saith Job of a wicked man. Contrariwise the godly, in the fulness of his want, is in an all-sufficiency; because he is in Christ, who hath filled παντα εν πασι Col 3:11 - the neuter gender, not only all the hearts of his people, but all things; he hath filled up that emptiness that was before in the creature, and made it satisfactory.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight. ] Heb., I delighted and sat down. The Church, being scorched with troubles without and terrors within, ran to Christ for shelter, and found singular comfort. Psa 91:1 Isa 25:4 Tua praesentia, Domine Laurentio ipsam craticulam dulcem fecit, saith an ancient. Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, being a long time prisoner under Charles V, was demanded what upheld him all that time? Respondit, divinas martyrum consolationes se sensisse, he answered, that Christ came in to him with such cordials as kept up his spirits above belief. There be divine comforts that are felt by the suffering saints that others taste not of, nor themselves neither at other times. When the child is sick, out come the preserves and deserts; never sits he so much on his mother’s lap and in her bosom as then.
And his fruit was sweet to my taste, ] i.e., His word and promises, which I rolled as sugar under my tongue, and sucked therehence more sweetness than Samson did from his honeycomb. Psalms 19:10 ; Psa 119:103 Jer 15:16 Luther said he would not live in paradise if he might without the Word, at cum verbo etiam in inferno facile est vivere, saith he, b but with the Word he could live even in hell itself. True it is that those that have not the spouse’s palate find no such sweetness in Christ or his promises. Most men are so full gorged with the devil’s dainties, so surfeited with sin’s deserts, that they find no more relish in the good Word of God than in the white of an egg, or in a dry chip. These feed upon that now that they must, without repentance, digest in hell; c there will be bitterness in the end. Whereas they that, by sucking those full strutting breasts of consolation, the promises, have "tasted and seen how good the Lord Christ is," as their souls are satisfied with fat things, full of marrow, with the very best of the best, Isa 25:6 so he shall make them to "drink abundantly of the river of his pleasures," Psa 36:8 he shall take them into his wine cellar and fill them with gladness.
a Aug. De Vera Innocen., cap. 56.
b Oper. Lat., tom. iv.
c Multi in terris manducant quod apud inferos digerunt. - Aug.
Son 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love.
Ver. 4. He brought me to the banqueting house. ] Heb., To the house of wine, where he giveth me that which is better than apple drink, as Song of Solomon 2:3 . As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 2Co 1:5 The lower that ebb the higher this tide, as is to be seen in the martyrs, who went as merrily to die as ever they did to dine; sang in the flames, and felt no more pain than if they had lain upon beds of roses. This their persecutors counted stupidity and vainglory; but they knew not the power of the Spirit and the force of faith. As Mr Philpot told scoffing Morgan, who, coming to confer with him, asked him, "How know you that you have the Spirit of God?" Mr Philpot answered, "By the faith of Christ which is in me." "Ah! by faith," quoth Morgan: "do ye so? I think it is the spirit of the buttery which your fellows have had that have been burned before you, who were drunk the night before they went to their death, and I think went drunk unto it." Whereunto Philpot replied, "It appears, by your communication, that you are better acquainted with the spirit of the buttery than of God. Methinks you are liker a scoffer in a play than a reasonable doctor to instruct one. Thou hast the spirit of illusion and sophistry, which is not able to countervail the spirit of truth. Thou art but an ass in the things of God, &c. God shall surely rain fire and brimstone upon such scorners of his word and blasphemers of his people as thou art." a The like censure was passed upon Nicholas Burton, martyr, in Spain, who, because he went cheerfully to the stake, and embraced death with all gladness and patience, his tormentors and enemies said that the devil had his soul before he came to the fire, and therefore his sense of feeling was past. b These carnal creatures meddle not with the true Christian’s joy, neither know they the privy armour of proof, the joy of faith, that he hath as an aes triplex about his heart, making him insuperable, and "more than a conqueror." Rom 8:37 True grace hath a fortifying, comforting virtue which the world knows not of; like as true gold comforts and strengthens the heart that alchemy gold doth not. And as a man that by good fare, and plenty of the best wines, hath his bones filled with marrow and his veins with good blood, and a fresh spring of spirits, can endure to go with less clothes than another, because he is well lined within, so it is with a heart that by oft feasting with Christ in his ordinances, and by much reading and ruminating upon the Scriptures, called here the banqueting house or wine cellar, as most are of the opinion, hath got a great deal of joy and peace, such a one will go through troubles and make nothing of them - yea, though outward comforts utterly fail. Hab 3:17-18
And his banner over me was love. ] As a standard erected, as a banner displayed, so was the "love of Christ shed abroad in her heart by the Holy Ghost," Rom 5:15 who had also, as a fruit of his love, set up a standard in her against strong temptations and corruptions, Isa 59:19 and thereby assured her of his special presence; like as where the colours are, there is the captain - where the standard, there the king. The wicked also have their banners of lust, covetousness, ambition, malice, under which they fight, as the dragon and his viperous brood, Rev 12:7 against Christ and his people; but they may read their destiny, Isaiah 8:9-10 , "Associate yourselves, O ye people!" stand to your arms, repair to your colours, yet "ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces." "Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought, &c., for God is with us"; Immanuel is our general and how many do you reckon him for? as Antigonus once said to his soldiers that feared their enemy’s numbers. Surely "if Christ be for us," and he is never from us, Mat 28:20 but as Xerxes was wont to do, he pitcheth his tent and sets up his standard in the midst of his people, as once in the wilderness, "who can be against us?" Rom 8:31 And though many be, yet "no weapon that is formed against the Church shall prosper"; how should it, since she hath such a champion as Christ, who is in love with her, and will take her part, fight her quarrel? "and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." Isa 54:17 As the eclipsed moon, by keeping her motion, wades out of the shadow and recovers her splendour, so it shall be with the spouse - yea, she shall be able to answer those that reproach and cast dirt upon her for her keeping close to Christ’s colours and suffering hardship for him, as the Emperor Adrian did the poet Florus, who sat on an ale bench and sang,
“ Nolo ego Caesar esse
Ambulare per Britannos
Rigidas pati pruinas, &c. ”
I do not wish to be Caesar,
To walk through the Britians
To endure the rigours of hoar frost,
The witty emperor replied upon him, as soon as he heard of it -
“ Nolo ego Florus esse
Ambulate per tabernas;
Latitare per popinas,
Pulices pati rotundos. ” c
I do not wish to be Florus
To walk through taverns;
To lie low through the bistro,
To endure round flees.
a Acts and Mon., fol. 1653.
b Ibid., 1866.
c Melanchthon in Chron. Carion.
Son 2:5 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I [am] sick of love.
Ver. 5. Stay me with flagons. ] Not with cups or bowls only, but with flagons, larger measures of that wine that was set before her in Christ’s wine house. "Comfort me with apples," such as fall from Christ’s apple tree, spoken of in the former verse, the precious mellifluous promises, which are sweet, like the apples of the garden of Eden, as the Chaldee here hath it. ‘Bolster me up’ with these; for I am even sinking and swooning with an excess of love, with an exuberance of spiritual joy in God my Saviour, such as I can hardly stand under. Stay me therefore, saith she to the ministers, those pillars to "support the weak," Gal 2:10 and to "comfort the feeble minded." 1Th 5:14 "Stay me, or sustain me, with flagons, comfort me with apples." Solinus a tells of some near the river Ganges that live odore pomorum sylvestrium, by the smell b of forest apples, which is somewhat strange.
For I am sick of love. ] Surprised with a love qualm, as an honest virgin may be, meeting her love unawares, enjoying him in the fulness of joy, and fearing the loss of his company for a long season. This is timor amicalis, which Lombard c thus describeth, Ne offendamus quem diligimus, et ne ab eo separemur, The fear of love is, lest we should offend him whom our soul loveth, and so cause him to withdraw. Hic timor transit in charitatem, saith Gregory, This fear passeth into love, and overwhelms the spirit sometimes. This was it that made Jacob, when he saw nothing but visions of love and mercy, cry out, "How dreadful is this place!" This made that mixture of passions in those good women, that, coming to look for Christ, departed from the grave "with fear and great joy." From this cause it was that Bernard, for a certain time after his conversion, remained as it were deprived of his senses by the excessive consolations he had from God. d Cyprian e writes to his friend Donatus, that before his conversion he thought it impossible to find such raptures and ravishments as now he did in a Christian course. He begins his epistle thus, Accipe quod sentitur antequam discitur, &c.; Augustine f saith the like of himself. What inconceivable and unutterable ecstacies of joy, then, may we well think there is in heaven, where the Lord Christ perpetually, and without intermission, manifesteth the most glorious and visible signs of his presence and seals of his love! He pours forth all plenteous demonstrations of his goodness to his saints, and gives them eyes to see it, minds to conceive it; and then fills them with exceeding fulness of love to him again, so that they swim in pleasure, and are even overwhelmed with joy - a joy too big to enter into them, they must "enter into it." Mat 25:21 Oh pray! pray with that great apostle that had been in heaven, and seen that which eye never saw, that "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, you may know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18 ; Eph 3:19 A glory fitter to be believed than possible to be discoursed. g "An exceeding excessive eternal weight of glory." 2Co 4:17 Such a weight, as if the body were not upheld by the power of God, it were impossible but it should faint under it. How ready are our spirits to expire here, when any extraordinary unexpected comfort befalls us! The Church is "sick of love." Jacob’s heart fainted when he heard of Joseph’s life and honour in Egypt. The Queen of Sheba was astonished at Solomon’s wisdom and magnificence, so that she had no spirit more in her. Viscount Lisley, in Henry VIII’s time, died for joy of an unexpected pardon. What then may we think of those in heaven? And should not we hasten in our affections to that happy place? Oh do but think, saith one, though it far pass the reach of any mortal thought, what an infinite, inexplicable happiness it will be, to look for ever upon the glorious body of Christ, shining with incomprehensible beauty, far above the brightest cherub, and to consider that even every vein of that blessed body bled to bring thee to heaven! Think of it, I say, and then exhale thyself in continual sallies, as it were, of most earnest desires "to be dissolved [ αναλυσαι ], and to be with Christ, which is far the better." Php 1:23 As in the meanwhile, let thy soul sweetly converse with him in all his holy ordinances, but especially at his holy table, where he saith unto thee, as once to Thomas, "Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing." Let thy soul also there reciprocate and say, "My Lord and my God!" "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and in earth, none in comparison of thee." Psa 73:25 "Rabboni," "Come quickly."
a Poly. Hist., cap. 56.
b Smelling salts are applied to the nostrils of those who faint.
c Lomb. Sent., lib. iii. distinc. 34. Vide August. Epist., 121, ad Honorat.
d Gosr. in Vita Bern.
e Epist., lib. i.
f Confess, lib. vi. cap. 22.
g Verbis exprimi non potest, experimento opus est. - Chrys.
Son 2:6 His left hand [is] under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
Ver. 6. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. ] As if she should have said, I called unto you, my friends, to relieve and raise me, falling into a spiritual swoon; but behold the "consolation that is in Christ, the comfort of love, the fellowship of the Spirit, the bowels and mercies of my dear husband": Php 2:1-2 he hath fulfilled my joy, he hath prevented your help, or at least he hath wrought together with the means, and made it successful. You have stayed me with flagons, but he hath "restored my soul": Psa 23:2 you have bolstered me up with apples, but when that would not do, he hath put "his left hand under my head," as a pillow to rest upon, and "with his right hand he hath embraced me," as a loving husband cherisheth his sick wife, and doth give her all the help he can. Eph 5:29 The whole virtue and power of the ministry cometh from Christ. They do their worthy endeavour to stay and underprop our faith: but that notwithstanding we shall soon fall to the ground, if Christ put not to both his hands to keep us up. We stand in need of whole Christ; and having him to support us, we cannot fall finally, because fall we never so low, we shall arise, "for the Lord puts under his hand"; Psa 37:24 his goodness is lower than we can fall; he circleth his saints with amiable embracements, and none can pull them out of his hands. Jacob undergird Rachel till she died upon him, "died on his hand." Gen 48:7 The good Shunammite held her son till he died on her lap. But the love sick Church, "whether she lives or dies, she is the Lord’s"; Rom 14:8 and whoso liveth and believeth on him cannot die eternally. But when Christ himself died, though soul and body were sundered for a season, yet neither of them were sundered from the Godhead whereunto they were personally united; so is it here: death may separate soul and body, but cannot separate either of them from Christ. And as "Christ being raised from the dead, dies no more," Rom 6:9 so neither doth any one that is "risen with him." Col 3:1 Christ may as easily die at the right hand of his heavenly Father as in the heart of a true believer.
Son 2:7 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.
Ver. 7. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem. ] A vehement obtestation, or rather an adjuration, I charge you, and that by an oath, taken from the manner of country speech. For in this whole chapter the allegory is so set, as if the feast or meeting were made and represented in a country house or village. These daughters of Jerusalem, therefore, the particular congregations, and all faithful men and women, as Luk 23:28 are straitly charged, and as it were in conscience bound by the Church, the "Mother of us all," Gal 4:26 not to disease or offend, much or little, her well beloved spouse that "resteth in her love," Zep 3:17 and "taketh pleasure in the prosperity of his servants," Psa 35:27 "until he please" - that is, not at all: for he is not a God that taketh pleasure in wickedness, Psa 5:4 his holy Spirit is grieved by it. Eph 4:30 Or, "until he please"; that is, till he waken of his own accord. Be not over hasty with him for help, but hold out faith and patience; let him take his own time, "for he is a God of judgment, and waiteth to be gracious." Isa 30:18 If through impatience and unbelief you set him a day, or send for him by a post, he will first chide you before he chide the waves that afflict you, as he dealt by his disciples that wakened him ere he was willing. Mar 4:37-40 Those that are suddenly roused out of a deep and sweet sleep are apt to be angry with those that have done it. Great heed must be taken by ourselves, and God’s charge laid upon others, that nothing be "spoken or done amiss against the God of heaven." Dan 3:29 "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god." Psa 16:4 "The Lord shall trouble thee, thou troubler of Israel." Jos 7:25 "Do ye provoke the Lord to wrath? are ye stronger than he?" 1Co 10:22 Will ye needs try a fall with him? Psa 18:26 "Hath ever any yet waxed fierce against God and prospered?" Job 9:4 Surely, as Ulysses’s companions told him, when he would needs provoke Polydamas, so may we say much more to those that incense the Lord to displeasure,
“ Sχετλιε τιπτ εθελεις ερεθιζεμεν αγριον ανδρα .”
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb 10:31 Had men the feet of roes and hinds of the field, they could not outrun his wrath; witness Jonah. Or if they could, yet the roes and hinds, those loving creatures, Pro 5:19 would be swift witnesses against them for their baseness and disloyalty, since they do such things as those poor creatures would not. See Deu 30:19 Isaiah 1:2 . Be thou instructed therefore, O Jerusalem, lest Christ’s soul be disjointed from thee, lest, as well as he loves thee now, "he make thee desolate, a land not inhabited." Jer 6:8 Let him be that love of thine, as she here emphatically calls him, that taketh up thy whole heart, soul, and strength, with a love, not only of desire, but of complacency, with a God-like love. True it is that we cannot, neither are we bound to love God, in quantum est diligibilis, so much as he is loveable, for so God only can love himself; but we must love nihil supra, aeque, or ntra, nothing more, or so well, or against God. Other persons we may love with his allowance, but it must be in him, and for him, as our friends in the Lord, our foes for the Lord. Other things we may also love, but no otherwise than as they convey love to us from Christ, and may be means of drawing up our affections unto Christ. This true love will keep us from doing anything wilfully that may disease or displease him; it will also constrain the daughters of Jerusalem to "abide with the roes and with the hinds of the field," so some read this text, as Rachel did by her father’s herds, to glorify Christ in some honest and lawful vocation, and not to vex him by idleness and unprofitableness, since, as punishment hath an impulsive, so love hath a compulsive faculty. 2Co 5:14
Son 2:8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
Ver. 8. The voice of my beloved! behold! ] An abrupt passage, proceeding from a pang of love, whereof she was even sick, and now lay languishing, as it were, at Hope’s Hospital, lingering and listening, hankering and hearkening after her beloved. Of the ear we use to say that it is first awake in a morning. Call one that is asleep by his name, and he will soon hear and start up. Christ "calls all his sheep by their name," Joh 10:3 and they "know his voice," Joh 10:4 so well are they versed in his Word, and so habitually are their senses exercised, Heb 5:14 yea, they know his pace. For -
Behold he cometh, ] viz., To "make his abode with me," according to his promise; Joh 14:23 to fulfil with his hand what he had spoken with his mouth, as Solomon phraseth it in his prayer. 1Ki 8:15 Christ sends his voice as another John Baptist, a forerunner, and this no sooner sounds in the ear, and sinks into the heart, than himself is at hand to speak comfort to the conscience. Psa 51:8 He thinks long of the time till it were done, as the mother’s breast aches when it is time the child had suck.
He comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. ] Look how the jealous eagle, when she flieth highest of all from her nest, and seems to seat herself among the clouds, yet still she casts an eye to her nest where are her young ones; and if she see any come near to offend, presently she speeds to their help and rescue. So doth the Lord Christ deal by his beloved spouse. Neither mountains nor hills shall hinder his coming; neither the sins of his people nor the world’s opposition. As for the former, Christ blots out the "thick cloud," as well as the "cloud"; Isa 44:22 that is, enormities as well as infirmities. He casts all the sins of his saints into the bottom of the sea, which can as easily cover mountains as mole hills. And for the second, "Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey," meaning, than all the Church’s enemies, called, for their ravenousness, mountains of lions and leopards. Son 4:8 The stout hearted are spoiled, &c. Psa 76:4-5 And "who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain." Zec 4:7 And whereas man’s soul hath naturally many mountains of pride and profaneness in it - "there is that leviathan, and creeping things innumerable," Psa 104:26 as the Psalmist saith of the sea - and for his body there is not a vein in it that would not swell to the height of the highest hill to make resistance to the work of grace; every such "mountain and hill is made low before the Lord Christ"; Isa 40:4 and "every high thing cast down that exalts itself against the knowledge of God." 2Co 10:5 He coaxes with authority, and reigns over all impediments.
Son 2:9 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.
Ver. 9. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart, ] viz., For sweetness and swiftness, as in the former verse. His help seems long, because we are short. In the opportunity of time he will not be wanting to those that wait for him. The lion seems to leave her young ones till they have almost killed themselves with roaring and howling; but at last she relieves them; and hereby they become the more courageous. God seems to forget his people sometimes, but it is that they may the better remember themselves, and remind him. He seems, as here to have taken a long journey, and to be at a great distance from them, whenas indeed he is as near us as once he was to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection; but she was so bleared she could not see him. If he at any time absent himself for trial of our faith and love to him, and to let us know how ill we can be without him, yet he is no further off than behind some wall or screen. Or if he get out of doors from us, yet he looks in at the window, to see how we take it, and soon after shows himself through the lattice, that we may not altogether despond or despair of his return. Yea, he flourisheth or blossometh a through the lattices, like some flower or fruit tree that, growing under or near unto a window, sends in a sweet scent into the room, or perhaps some pleasant branches, to teach that Christ cometh not to his without profit and comfort to their souls.
a מציץ , Apparuit instar floris exorientis.
Son 2:10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Ver. 10. My beloved spake, and said. ] Heb., Answered and said. She had sighed out, belike, some such request unto her beloved as David did, Psa 90:13 "Return, O Lord, how long!" Lovers’ hours are full of eternity. He replieth, Even now, my love; behold, here I am for thy help. "Now will I rise, now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself." Isa 33:10 Rise thou, therefore, out of the ashes wherewith thou hast been covered, Lam 3:16 and come away to a better condition. Or, rise out of sin, wherein by nature thou sittest. Luk 1:79 "Stand up from the dead," come away to Christ, and he "shall give thee light." Eph 5:14 "Come, for the master calleth," as they said to blind Bartimeus. Mar 10:49 "Come, for it is high time to come, since now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." "The night is far spent, the day is at hand." Rom 13:11-12 "The winter is past, the flowers appear." Up, therefore, and come with me to my country house, as it were to take the pleasure of the spring tide. In heaven there is a perpetual spring; and here the saints have handsel of heaven, those "firstfruits of the Spirit," even as many as are "holy brethren, partakers of this heavenly calling." Heb 3:1
Son 2:11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over [and] gone;
Ver. 11. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. ] In winter the clouds commonly "return after the rain." Ecc 12:2 A shower or two doth not clear the air; but though it rain much, yet the sky is still overcast with clouds; and as one shower is unburdened another is brewed. Lo, such is the doleful and dismal condition of such as are not effectually called by Christ. Omnis illis dies hybernus est, it is ever winter with them; no spring of grace, no sunshine of sound comfort. It is with such as it was with Paul and his fellow sailors, when, "as neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on them, all hope that they shall be saved was then taken away." Act 27:20 All the hope is that God, who by his all-quickening voice "raiseth the dead, and calleth things that are not as if they were," Rom 4:17 that calleth those "his people that were not his people, and her beloved which was not beloved." Gen 9:25 Together with his voice, there goeth forth a "power," as Luk 5:17 as when he bade Lazarus come forth, he made him rise and come away; so here. Of carnal, Christ makes us a people created again; Psa 102:18 Eph 2:10 of a wild ass colt he makes a man, Job 11:12 and of a hollow person (as empty and void of heart as the hollow of a tree is of substance) he makes a solid Christian, fit to be set in the heavenly building. This is as great a work as the making of a world with a word. God "plants the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, that he may say to Zion, Thou art my people." Isa 51:16 Hence Christ is called "the beginning of the creation of God." Rev 3:14 And the apostle in Rom 5:10 argues from vocation to glorification as the lesser.
Son 2:12 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;
Ver. 12. The flowers appear on the earth. ] Here we have a most dainty description of the spring or prime time - prin-temps, as the French call it - far surpassing that of Horace and the rest of the poets, who yet have shown themselves very witty that way. For the sense; by "flowers" (made rather to smell than to feed upon) are understood, saith an interpreter, the firstfruits of the Spirit, whereby the elect give a pleasant smell; and therein lieth sweetness of speech, and words going before works, even as flowers before fruits. For the which cause, as the apostle exhorteth that our speech be gracious always, "ministering edification to the hearer," Col 4:6 so the prophet calls it a "pure language," which the Lord will give to as many as love him, as are called according to his purpose. Zep 3:9
The time of the singing of birds is come. ] Hic autem garritus avium plurimum facit ad veris commendationem, this chirping of birds makes much to the spring’s commendation, saith Genebrard. How melodiously sing the ministers of the gospel, while they are unto God’s people as "a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice." Eze 33:32 It is mel in ore, moles in aure, to the elect, as it was to Augustine, who, coming to hear Ambrose, had his ears tickled, his heart touched; so had that unlearned Corinthian, 1Co 14:25 and the whole city of Samaria, wherein there was "great joy" at the receiving of the gospel. Act 8:8 "Behold we bring you good tidings of great joy to all people," Luk 2:10 said those angels to the shepherds that sang Christ into the world, and from whom the preaching of the gospel was afterwards taken and given to the ministers, whose proper office it is "to publish peace, to bring good tidings of good." "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing." Isa 52:7-8 If they do otherwise to any, if they sing doleful accents to guilty persons, if the voice of these gospel birds be to such, like that of Abijah to Jeroboam’s wife, "I am sent to thee with heavy tidings," 1Ki 14:6 they may thank themselves. To fall out with the minister is as great folly, as if some fond people should accuse the herald or the trumpet as the cause of their war; or as if some ignorant peasant, when he sees his fowls bathing in his pond, should cry out of them as the causes of foul weather. What do faithful ministers do more - what can they do less, if they will be true to their souls? - than tax men’s sins, foretell their judgments? This when they do, it is diversely taken. Ravenous and unclean birds, like the ravens of Arabia, screech horribly, scratch terribly. Turtles and doves a (whose voice is here said to be heard in the land when other birds are sweetly singing) come in with a mournful tone, mixed with a groaning sadness (whence also the turtle hath its name, scil., a sono quem edit, per onomatopaeiam ), and may well serve to set forth the unutterable groans of gracious spirits grieving for their sins, mourning bitterly Zec 12:10 over Christ crucified before their eyes, Gal 3:1 and evidently set forth by their faithful ministers (so that they need no other crucifix to draw tears from them) "tabering upon their breasts with the voice of doves," Nah 2:7 yea, smiting upon their breasts, with the penitent publican, and saying, or rather sighing, out each for himself, "Lord be merciful to me a sinner." And here affert solatium lugentibus suspiriorum societas. b It is a heavenly hearing when a church full of good people, wrought upon by their godly preachers, send up a volley of sighs to God; and as "hinds by calving," so they by weeping "cast out their sorrows," Job 39:3 such as show their hearts to be as so many Hadadrimmons. Augustine c persuades a preacher so long to insist upon some needful point, until by the groans and looks of his hearers he perceive that they understand it, and are affected with it. Such hearers Paul had at Athens, that wept as he did; Act 20:37 but this is but few men’s happiness. Turtle doves are rare birds in our land.
a See Ezekiel 7:16 . Isidor.
c Aug. in Psa. x.
Son 2:13 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.
Ver. 13. The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes, &c. ] These two trees put forth their fruits first, when other trees for the most part put forth first flowers, and then fruits a in their season. Pliny b numbers the fig tree among the trees of quick nature. And our Saviour Luk 21:29-30 makes the shooting forth of the fig tree to be a sign of summer’s approaching. When himself came hungry to that fig tree, Mat 21:19 he thought to have found something on it more than leaves only; for though the time of figs was not yet (that is, of ripe figs, Mar 11:13 ), yet grossuli, green figs, at least, he looked for, those untimely figs that she casteth when she is shaken by a mighty wind; Rev 6:13 his hunger would have made somewhat of them. It was at Bethphage (that house of green figs, as the word c signifieth), or near unto it, that he cursed this barren fig tree, Mark 11:1 ; Mar 11:13 and therefore cursed it, because it answered not his expectation. It behoves us, therefore, not only to make a flourish of goodly words, with Naphtali, but to be fruitful boughs, with Joseph, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. Php 1:11 Joseph is a fruitful bough, Gen 49:22 that is, of the vine, saith the Chaldee paraphrast there. But it may be Jacob meant it of the Egyptian fig tree, whereof Solinus reporteth that it beareth fruit seven times a year. d Pull off one fig, and another presently puts forth. e Now, if the fig tree slack not her duty, but laboureth quickly to bring forth her firstfruit, that so again and again she may be more fruitful, how much more should we hasten the fruits of holiness, break off our sins, and be abrupt in our repentance, Dan 4:27 cut the cart ropes of vanity, and cast away the deeds of darkness, Rom 13:12 bring forth fruits meet for repentance, parallel to it and tantamount, such as were to be seen in the penitent thief that suffered with our Saviour? Aaron’s rod was not sooner changed from a withered stick into a flourishing tree, than he was from a barren malefactor into a fruitful professor; for see what a deal of fruit he bears in an instant; he confesseth his own sin, rebuketh his companion, giveth a good testimony unto Christ, and prays that Christ would remember him when he came into his kingdom. This encouragement, among many others we have, that Christ will bless our very buds f Isa 44:3 - see the Geneva translation. He will taste of our green figs, of our tender grapes, which, if not yet of a good taste, yet because they give a good smell, as this text hath it, they are well resented. Christ, when he comes into his garden, takes all he finds well aworth. He "gathereth his myrrh with his spice; he eats not only of his honey, but of his honeycomb; and drinks not only of his wine, but of his milk." Son 5:1
a Post flores fructus. After thye flowers, the fruit.
b Lib. xvii. cap. 13.
c פג , grossus. Hinc ficus, et fig. Hinc puto Bethphage dictum quasi locum grossorum. - Mercer.
d Uno anno septies fructus sufficit.
e Unde pomum decerpseris alterum protuberat.
f Una minutula. - R. David.
Son 2:14 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.
Ver. 14. Oh, my dove! that art in the clefts of the rock. ] The dove is meek, mournful, simple, sociable, fearful, beautiful, faithful to her mate, fruitful, neat, so is the Church. And because the dove is sought after by birds of prey, therefore she builds in strong and steep places, in clefts of rocks, in the sides of "the hole’s mouth," as Jeremiah hath it. Jer 48:28 The Church also is forced many times to "flee into the wilderness," Rev 12:6 into the further parts of the world, and hide itself in corners, to avoid persecution. So many, so mighty, and so malicious are the Church’s enemies, that she dare scarce peep out or appear abroad with the dove, but she is in danger to become hawk’smeat. Hence Hilary saith of the primitive Christians, that they were not to be sought in tectis et exteriori pompa, in palaces and outward pomp, but rather in deserts and in mountains, and "in dens and caves of the earth," as the apostle also hath it. Heb 11:38 Concerning the Christian congregation in Queen Mary’s time, saith Mr Foxe, a there were sometimes forty, sometimes a hundred, sometimes two hundred came together, as they could, in some private place in London, for mutual edification. They are utterly out, therefore, that hold that the true Church must be evermore glorious and conspicuous for her outward splendour. She is soon like the moon in her eclipse, which appeareth dark towards the earth, but is bright and radiant in that part which looks toward heaven. The Papists would have this moon always in the full. However if she show but little light to us, or be eclipsed, they will not yield she is the moon. And yet (except it be in the eclipse) astronomers demonstrate that the moon hath at all times as much light as in the full. But oftentimes a great part of the bright side is turned to heaven, and a lesser part to the earth. And so the Church is ever conspicuous to God’s eye, though it appear not always to ours.
In the secret places of the stairs. ] Whither thou art retired, as for security, so for secrecy, that thou mayest the more freely, and without suspicion of hypocrisy, pour out thy heart before me, and seek my protection. Or, where thou liest close out of modesty, or conscious of infirmity, not daring to show thy face.
Shew me thy face. ] Or, Let me see thy countenance; leave none of thy particular congregations or members behind thee, but present yourselves before the Lord. "Come boldly to the throne of grace," Heb 4:16 in "full assurance of faith." Heb 10:22 Quid enim per faciem nisi fidem qua a Deo cognoscimur, saith Gregory upon this text. What can we understand by the face but faith, since by it we are known of God, and "without it, it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God" - that shows his face before the "King, eternal, immortal, invisible," &c., 1Ti 1:17 must come in his best - "must believe that he is" - scil., optimus maximus, and more particularly - "that he is a rewarder of all that diligently seek him," Heb 11:6 that seek him out, as the Greek b hath it, viz., that fetch him out of his retiring room, as the Syrophenisse, by the force of her faith did, Mar 7:24-30 and as the spouse here would never give him over till she had recovered him out of the country, and drawn from him this sweetest invitation to go along with him, and incitation to make bold with him.
Let me hear thy voice. ] In holy exercises, preaching, prayer, conference, &c. See here how the Lord Christ woos attendance, solicits suitors. "The Father seeketh such to worship him." Joh 4:24 "Hitherto ye have asked me nothing," saith the Son; nothing to what you might have done, and should do well to do hereafter. "Ask that your joy may be full." Joh 16:24 Pray that ye may joy; "draw waters with joy out of this well spring of salvation." Ply the throne of grace; follow your work close. It was more troublesome to Severus the emperor - to Christ you may be sure it is - to be asked nothing of his courtiers, than to grant them much. "Ask, and you shall have," saith Christ. And is he not worthily miserable that will not make himself happy by asking?
Sweet is thy voice. ] Because uttered by "the Spirit of grace and supplication," whose very breath prayer is, and without whom prayer is no better than a "sounding brass or tinkling cymbal."
And thy countenance is comely, ] scil., By reason of the image of God repaired in thee, clearly shining in thy heart and life. This renders thee comely indeed, so that I am the better to see thy face, and to hear thy voice. To lovers nothing can be more pleasing than mutual converse and conference.
a Acts and Mon., fol. 1881.
b τοις εκζητουσιν .
Son 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines [have] tender grapes.
Ver. 15. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, ] i.e., The heretics and schismatics. For as fox cubs will be foxes one day, and of little will become great; so schismatics, if not timely taken, will turn heretics. Whence it is that the apostle, in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 , having said, "I hear that there be divisions, or schisms, among you," he presently subjoins, "For there must be also heresies among you," God having so foreappointed and foretold it, "that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." Now these heretics and schismatics are fitly called foxes, both here and Ezekiel 13:4 . Herod is also called a fox, Luk 13:32 as being a sect master, Mat 22:16 and as it is thought, to still the noise of his conscience, a Sadducee - first, For their craft; secondly, For their cruelty. Foxes are famous for their craftiness, even to a proverb - ‘As subtle as a fox’ -
“ Astutam vapido servans sub pectore vulpem. ” - Persius
They are passing cunning to deceive those that hunt them, feigning themselves simple when there is nothing more subtle, and looking pitifully when taken in a snare, but it is only that they may get out; there is no trusting to their looks, for Vulpes pellem murat; non naturam, saith the proverb, The fox may alter his countenance, but not his condition. And for cruelty, besides the harm foxes do among lambs and fowls - for, lacking meat, they feign themselves dead, and so the birds, hasting down as to a carcase, volucres rapiunt et devorant, saith Isidore, a they seize upon the birds and devour them - they are noted here to mar the vineyards, Vulpes vitibus maxime nocivae, saith one. And for grapes, the fox loves them exceedingly - yea, though they be but tender and unripe. Hence the Latins call him Legulus, a gatherer - namely, of grapes; and we ironcally say of a man, the fox loves no grapes, he will not eat them, but it is because he cannot get them; howbeit, by his leering one may know he loves them. Heretics and schismatics are therefore to be taken by the vinedressers - that is, detected, refuted, and if need be, "delivered up to Satan," 1Ti 1:20 by the ministers, chased out of the vineyard, and pursued to death, if incorrigible, by the magistrate, as Jehu dealt by the Baalites, and after him Josiah. The sword is put into their hands for such a purpose, Rom 13:4 and our Saviour with a civil whip expelled those Church foxes, the money merchants, giving therein a taste of that civil authority which he naturally derived from David, as one observeth. The apostles, being convented before civil authority about matters of religion, never pleaded, You have no power to meddle with us in these things that belong to Jesus Christ. No; their plea was only the justness of their cause, their obedience to God, &c. This heretics can never make good. Well they may pretend that they suffer for righteousness sake, and style themselves, as the Swenckfeldians did, the confessors of the glory of Christ! Well they may cry out, as that heretic Dioscorus did in the Council of Chalcedon, ‘I am cast out with the fathers, I defend the doctrine of the fathers, I transgress them not in any point! Well they may seem to be ambitious of wearing a Tyburn tippet, as Campian, and cry out with Gentilis, the Anti-trinitarian, that he suffered death for the glory of the most high God! b "He that hateth dissembleth with his lips," saith Solomon of such subtle foxes, "and layeth up deceit within him. When he speaketh fair believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart." Pro 26:24-25 Heretics are notably cunning and no less cruel, as the Arians and Donatists were of old, the Papists, Socinians, and others of the same brand to this day. These "foxes have holes"; Mat 8:20 they cunningly creep, or shoot themselves into houses by their pithanology and counterfeit humility, they "lead captive silly women," 2Ti 3:6 and by them their husbands; they take them prisoners, as the word signifies, and then make prize of them; 2Pe 2:3 they bring them into bondage and devour them, as St Paul saith of those deceitful workers, the foxes of his time; 2 Corinthians 11:13 ; 2Co 11:20 they fraudulently foist in false doctrines, 2Pe 2:1 heresies of perdition, and so corrupt the vineyard as the master of the vineyard complains, Jer 12:10 "shipwreck the faith," 1Ti 1:19 "subvert whole houses," Tit 1:11 and are therefore to be taken, or clubbed down as pests and common mischiefs to mankind - to the younger sort especially, those tender grapes which they chiefly covet and catch at. And here, in hunting of these cruel crafties, that counsel would be taken that Saul gave the Ziphites concerning an innocent man that deserved it not: "Go, I pray you, prepare ye and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there, for it is told me that he dealeth very subtlely. See, therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself." 1Sa 23:22-23
a Isidor. Etym., lib, xii. 1.
b Se pro gloria Altissimi Dei pati.
Son 2:16 My beloved [is] mine, and I [am] his: he feedeth among the lilies.
Ver. 16. My beloved is mine, and I am his. ] Hitherto the Church hath related Christ’s words to herself and others. Now she shuts up the whole discourse with praise of Christ here, and prayer to him in Song of Solomon 2:17 . In praising him, she preacheth her own blessedness in that spiritual union, that mystical marriage that is between them, "My beloved is mine," &c. - q.d., I am sure he is mine, and I can boldly speak it. Many lay claim to him which have no share in him; they deeply affirm of him, but have no manner of right to him; their faith is but fancy, their confidence presumption; they are like that madman of Athens that claimed every rich ship that came to shore, whereas he had no part in any; or Haman, who hearing that the king would honour a man, concluded, but falsely, that himself was the man; like idolatrous Micah, they conceit that God will bless them for the Levite’s sake, Jdg 17:13 which was no such matter; and like Sisera, they dream of a kingdom, whereas Jael’s nail is nearer their temples than a crown. The condition of such self-soothers and self-seekers is nothing different from his, that, dreaming upon a steep place of some great happiness befallen him, starts suddenly for joy, and falling down with the start, breaks his neck at the bottom. The true believer is upon a far better ground; his faith is "unfeigned," his hope is "unfailable." He "knows whom he hath trusted," he "knows and believes the love that God hath to him"; 1Jn 4:16 he hath gotten a full grip of Christ, and is sure that "neither death nor life, &c., shall separate him from Christ." He hath comprehended him, or "rather is comprehended of him." Php 3:12 Christ hath laid hold on him by his Spirit, and he hath laid hold on Christ by faith, the property whereof is to put on close to Christ, and Christ to him; yea, to unite us to Christ, so that "he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit"; 1Co 6:17 as truly one as those members are one body which have the same soul, or as man and wife are one flesh; as they two are one matrimonial flesh, so Christ and his people are one mystical Christ. 1Co 12:12 Well, therefore, may the Church here glorify Christ, and glory in her own happiness by him, saying, "My beloved is mine," and I am sure of it, and cannot be deceived, for "I am his"; all that I am is his - I have made a total resignation of my whole self unto him, and have put him in full possession of all. "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Gal 2:20 Christ is all-sufficient to me, and I am altogether his. His is as a covenant of mercy, mine of obedience, wherein I do as it were by indenture, with highest estimations, most vigorous affections, and utmost endeavours, bestow myself upon him, and I accept of whole Christ in all his offices and efficacies.
He feedeth among the lilies. ] Before she was to seek, and goes to Christ to be resolved where he fed. Son 1:7 Now, after more intimate communion with him, she is able to resolve herself and others where he feeds his flock - viz., "among the lilies"; that is, in sweet and soft pastures, Psa 23:2 in those "mountains of spices," Son 8:14 those "beauties of holiness," the glorious ordinances wherein Christ feeds his people, and feasts them daily and daintily, pleasantly and plentifully, with the best of the best, "fat things full of marrow, wines on the lees well refined," Isa 25:6 to the gladdening of their hearts and greatening of their faith, so that they "grow up as the lilies," Hos 14:5 as the "calves of the stall," Mal 4:2 "as the willows by the water-courses." Isa 44:4 And as lilies are not more beautiful than fertile, Una radiae quinquagenos saepe emittente bulbos, a yea, the dropping of the lily will cause and beget more lilies; so the lily white saints will be working upon others, and bringing them to Christ, as Andrew did Peter, and Philip, Nathaniel. John 1:41 ; Joh 1:45 True goodness is generative; charity is no churl.
Son 2:17 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.
Ver. 17. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away. ] Until that day dawn, a that last and glorious day, when Christ the Sun of righteousness shall appear, and chase away the shadows of sin and misery wherewith I am here benighted.
Turn about, my beloved. ] And though thou leave me for a time, as "thou art a God that hidest thyself," Isa 45:15 yet never forsake me, but let thine heart be ever upon me, and thine hand ready to help at a dead lift.
Yea, be thou like a roe or a young hart. ] Come sweetly and seasonably to my relief and succour. To set thee a time were to set the sun by my dial. But when thine own time is come, then "come, Lord Jesus, come quickly," be as nimble as a roe or young hart upon the mountains of Bether, called elsewhere "Bithron," beyond Jordan, 2Sa 2:29 which mountains were much hunted by hunters. Mountains of division, some render it, and one b descants thus: The spouse of Christ in that heavenly marriage song calleth him a young hart on the mountains of division. Tell me, then, whither will you go for truth, if you will allow no truth but where there is no division?
a Umbra terrae noctem facit. The shadow of earth makes the night. - Isidor. Etym., lib. v. cap. 13.
b Dr Hall Epist., v. dec. 3.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Song of Solomon 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany