Meditations on Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon 7:11-13; 8:1-14
" Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields; let us lodge in the villages; let us get up early into the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranate bud forth; there will I give thee my loves." The Bride now addresses the Bridegroom, in the full communion, and happy enjoyment of His love. Observe the change in the tone and character of her address. It is far beyond anything we have heard from her before. And she speaks only of those things which she knows to be well-pleasing to Him. There is oneness of mind and heart. Her faith has attained to the measure of His thoughts and affections concerning herself. Thus it was with David in the Valley of Elah. His faith rose to the height of God's thoughts and affections concerning His people Israel; and so reckoned on Him. This is the true ground of communion. In Christ the believer has it fully and perfectly displayed now, and such should be the character of his communion—oneness of mind and heart with Christ.
The love of Jesus to us-ward, is not in word only, but in full, perfect manifestation. His work is finished. And, moreover, we have, according to the promise in John 14, the Holy Ghost in us, as individuals, (1 Cor. 6:1919What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19).) and with us, as the assembly of God. (1 Cor. 3:16, 1716Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:16‑17).) And is not He the witness, seal, and revealer to our souls of the love of Jesus, and our oneness with Him? Why then should the tone and character of our communion be lower than the whole will of Christ concerning us? But it may be that we grieve the Holy Spirit by our unbelief, our worldliness, and the untenderness of our ways; and so lose that character of communion with Christ, which an ungrieved Spirit alone can give. Oh! watch and pray, my soul, that thou mayest live, walk, and worship, in the light and power of a present, ungrieved Holy Spirit.
The expression, " Let us go forth into the fields; let us lodge in the villages," &c., seems to intimate that the blessings and glories of the millennium are extending beyond the limits of Israel. The fields and the villages are outside the city. Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, as forming the earthly center of Messiah's glory, will, no doubt, first be filled therewith. But from this center it will spread forth on the right hand and on the left, until the whole earth be filled with His glory. But the peculiar sweetness and blessedness of the truth before us is—that the Jews are associated with their Messiah in this wide spreading glory. They are formed for each other; and they, together, spread, witness, enjoy, and delight in all the blessings of the earth. This seems perfectly clear from the words of the Spouse, " Come, my beloved, let us go forth—let us lodge—let us get up early—let us see if the vine flourish," &c. They visit and survey, in happy fellowship, the varied, and wide-extending fields of millennial glory. Then she adds, with a confidingness of heart that is thoroughly at home in His presence, " There will I give thee my loves." Her heart is overflowing. There is now, as it were, an excess of love. Hence she uses the plural, " loves." Exceeding, abundant, excellent love. Our love can never be too fervent, or too abundant, when Christ is the object.
The Church, I need not say, and all saints that are raised with her, shall, ere this, be glorified with Christ in the Jerusalem above. For it is the purpose of God to gather together all things in heaven and earth under one Head, Christ. He will hold under His power, both the heavenly and earthly departments of His kingdom. Then they will be joined together, as by Jacob's ladder. The glory of the heavenly saints will be visible to those on earth, and indeed to all the world. " That the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
(John 17:2323I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23).) And in reference to the New Jerusalem it is said, "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it." Rev, 21: 24.
" The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, Ο my beloved.'" The happy Spouse now finds that there is in her heart for the Son of David, an abundance of precious fruits; such as love, gratitude, praise, and devotion. Indeed, all manner of precious fruits, new and old. There is much depth and beauty in the closing sentence of her address, " Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved." An entirely new character of feelings have been awakened in her soul for the Lord Himself. Such as she has never had, and never could have for anyone else. Her heart, so long desolate and barren, is now filled and fruitful with her own Messiah's love. He has created affections peculiar to Himself—affections which have been laid up, as it were, during the whole period of her wanderings, and kept for the Lord alone. " Which I have laid up for thee, Ο my beloved"
Chapter 8. " Ο that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised. I would lead thee and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.'" These verses evidently take us back and not forward, as to the position and experience of the Bride. We parted with her, at the close of chapter 7., amidst the ripening scenes of the latter-day glory, and in happy companionship with her Beloved. They were together. The dark night of her sorrow was past, with all its painful experience; and the happy day of her glory had come with all its untold blessedness. But here we are led back to the very foundation of all the exercises through which she has passed in reaching this point; namely, the ardent desire of her heart for unhindered, unrestrained communion with Messiah, the King. She desires the full liberty of kindred affection. "Ο that thou wert as my brother!" This answers to the commencement of the book: " Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine."
The eighth chapter, as has been said, stands by itself, and recapitulates the principles of the whole book. Looking at it in this light, we will do little more than point out what we believe to be the path of the Spirit in this con-eluding chapter of our beautiful Song of Songs.
The deep desires of the spouse, as here expressed by the Spirit of prophecy, are at once, and fully satisfied. She desires full possession of Christ; and to have the opportunity of causing Him to drink of the spiced wine of her pomegranates. Now she knows, that once He drank the bitter cup of God's wrath for her sins; and she longs to present to Him a cup of choice wine, which her gratitude and devotedness have mingled for Him alone. Like the returning prodigal, she is immediately embraced, and rests in the arms of her Beloved. The daughters of Jerusalem are again charged not to stir, or awake the loved one while she is enjoying His love. " His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me. I charge you, Ο daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love until he please." She is next seen as " coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved." She is moving on—journeying towards the sunny hills of Canaan, in dependence on Her Beloved, and under the shadow of His wings, Egypt and the wilderness are left behind.
The Bridegroom now reminds the Bride of the source of all her blessing, " I raised thee up under the apple tree." The " apple tree " is the emblem of Christ Himself. " As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons." Her divine life, and every blessing connected with it, she derives from Christ. " I raised thee up under the apple tree "—quickened,—blest, with all earthly blessings in a glorious land, under Christ. It is never said that the Christian has life and blessing under Christ, but with Him. This important truth marks the difference between Jewish and Christian blessing. Both, of course, derive their life and blessing from Him. But it is said of Christians that they are quickened together with Christ—raised up together—and seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:5, 65Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:5‑6).) Israel, as such, belongs to the earth; we, as Christians, belong to the " heavenly places." Before conversion, we belong to earth; after it, we belong to heaven. There, our names are written, and there we are now seated in Christ.
The Bridegroom further reminds His spouse of her relation to the nation of Israel. " There thy mother brought thee forth; there she brought thee forth that bare thee." The remnant of the nation in whose heart grace works, becomes the Bride of the great King. She represents, more especially, the remnant of Judah, who will be at Jerusalem before the remnant of Ephraim, or the ten tribes are gathered in; but, in principle, she represents the whole nation of Israel. And as Christ Himself sprang from the tribe of Judah, the Spirit of God evidently sanctions the use of relative titles, and the expression of affections belonging to them.
A feeling of sadness and sorrow passes over the mind, when we think that those for whose faith and encouragement these relationships are owned, and these beautiful scenes described, are still in the depths and darkness of a terrible unbelief. The veil is still on the heart of Israel. But the way of love, so beautifully described in these Canticles, shall, erelong, become the truthful expression of their experience. But, meanwhile, the Christian has the benefit of this wondrous revelation of hearts and feelings; the Song of Songs having a blessed, moral application to us.
The quickened remnant—Bride of Messiah in His Solomon character—now desires to be as a seal upon His heart according to a love that passeth knowledge. " Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm; for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it; if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned." (See vol. v., pp. 232, 233.) Where shall we find love like this? Only in the heart of Jesus. What takes such a hold as death? What keeps it like the grave? What so unsparing as the vehement flame? There is nothing to compare with love. Were a man to offer the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be despised. Many waters cannot quench it; the floods cannot drown it. When love and death met in fearful conflict on the cross, love triumphed, and death was forever vanquished.
The "seal" on the " heart" and the "arm," may refer to the breastplate and shoulder pieces, as worn by the high priest. The names of the twelve tribes were engraven on precious stones, " like the engravings of a signet," and worn on the heart, (type of affection) and on the shoulder (type of strength) of the high priest, before the Lord. So shall the happy spouse, ere long, be as a seal on the loving heart and powerful arm of her blessed Lord, as her great High Priest, after the order of Melchizedec.
" We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day she shall be spoken for t If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver; and if she be a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar." Ephraim, or the long lost ten tribes, are referred to, we doubt not, by the " little sister." Their captivity had taken place before the birth of Christ; so that they know nothing of the exercises through which Judah, or the two tribes, have passed with reference to the birth, death, resurrection, and return of the Messiah. Nevertheless they come into the enjoyment of the blessed results of His first coming in grace, and of His second coming in glory. And they are instructed, built up, and established in the doctrine of Christ, by their more highly favored sister Judah. "I am a wall," she says, " and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favor." She is strong in the Lord, richly furnished, and in full favor with the King. God's Israel is restored! There are twelve tribes united, in the Israel of God; not ten and two divided.
" Ο pray—intensely pray,
Build up Jerusalem, and God will hear
Petitions He has prompted: God will hear,
And from her desolations cause to rise
A wall conspicuous—her growing strength,
Her shining palaces, will teach the world,
hat God is faithful, and His promise sure."
" Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; even^ one for the fruit thereof was to briny a thousand pieces of silver." " Baal-hamon," signifies—Lord of a multitude; and evidently refers to the multitude of nations—the whole earth, which now form the vast vineyard of the Lord of Glory. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein." (Psalm 24) The millennium has come! The glory of the Lord fills the earth—all hearts rejoice—Jesus reigns; a suitable return is now made to Him by the keepers of the vineyard. Everything is now under the eye of Christ, and according to the principles of His government. But from the vineyard of the Bride, she would have the whole of its fruits to go to King Solomon, save a portion for those who have the charge thereof. " My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, Ο Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred." All shall share in the spoils of the fruitful, peaceful, joyful, millennial earth. But Christ is Lord of all.
He now addresses, for the last time in these songs of love, His fair, and highly favored spouse. " Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it." He invites her praise. She is to give the key note to the companions—to the whole earth. Then shall all peoples, tribes, and tongues, catch the flying joy, and roll the rapturous hosannas, "from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." Creation is filled with joy and gladness, and its loud, long anthems of praise and thanksgiving, greet the ear of its glorious King. " Cause ME to hear it."
" Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices" Our lovely song is ended. Its last note is rich and full. The loving spouse fervently desires her Lord's speedy return. She entreats that He may come without delay. The deep affections of her soul for Jesus are manifested by the intensity of her desire for His glorious appearing. Oh! that all our hearts might be united together, as the heart of one man, to join in the deep, earnest, fervent prayer of the spouse, that He may come quickly to our longing hearts—that He may come for the rapture of the Church, the glory of Israel, and The blessing of the whole earth.
Having often been refreshed by quotations from " Metrical Meditations, on the sacred Book of Canticles," we add the closing lines of the poem, with grateful thanks to the author.
One echoing response, and all is still!
One loving answer from the sacred harp
Of waiting Zion to that kind command -
Make haste! Come quickly! Ο beloved Lord!
Like the young roe that moveth rapidly,
That tarrieth not for man—like agile hart
That springs to sight as with a single bound,
On the spies mountains be thy glory seen,