Skip to content

Free Commentary, Solomon’s Song of Songs, by Jonathan Edwards

In his original preface, John Dod wrote that this book is ‘so full of heavenly treasure, and such lively expressions of the invaluable riches of the love of Christ’ that it serves ‘to kindle in the heart all heavenly affections unto Jesus Christ.’

I combined all notes from mostly Yale.edu , Blank Bible notes and anywhere the Song or canticles showed up and put them here all together for the first time a commentary on the Song of Songs as Jonathan Edwards saw it!!  I believe Edwards’ typical and allegorical view caused him to miss the use of the Song as a marriage manual.  Just because I posted all this isn’t because I approve of it all as a proper exegesis.  I pray you chew on the meat with much delight and spit out the bones!  There are 5 sections to this blog post and they are split up as follows.

  1. Nearly a full Commentary on The Song of Songs, By Jonathan Edwards!!!.
  2. Overall Statements about Solomon’s Song of Songs
  3. PSALM 45 Blank Bible Notes
  4. Psalm 72
  5. Then some references to other sermons

1.  Jonathan Edwards Commentary on Solmon’s Song of Songs

The name or title that is given to this song, viz. the Song of Songs, confirms it to be more than a mere human song, and that these things that are the subject of it are above [the] terrene or temporal. We read [in] 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon’s songs were a thousand and five, but this one song of his which is inserted in the canon of the Scripture is distinguished from all the rest by the name of the Song of Songs, or the most excellent of his songs, or more than all his other songs: as the subject of it is transcendency of a more sublime and excellent nature than the rest, treating of the divine love, union, and communion of the most glorious lovers, Christ and his spiritual spouse, of which a marriage union and conjugal love (which, perhaps, many of the rest of his songs treated of) is but a shadow.

Jonathan_Edwards.jpg

Canticles 1:1

His whole notes on the Song being no common love Song.

Solomon’s Song of Songs 1:1

Solomon’s Song. The name by which Solomon calls this song confirms me in it that it is more than an ordinary love song, and that it was designed for a divine song, and of divine authority; for we read, 1 Kings 4:32, that Solomon’s “songs were a thousand and five.” This he calls the “song of songs” 1:1, that is, the most excellent of all his songs, which it seems very probable to me to be upon that account, because it was a song of the most excellent subject, treating of the love, union, and communion between Christ and his spouse, of which marriage and conjugal love was but a shadow. These are the most excellent lovers, and their love the most excellent love.

He rejected the suggestion that Canticles was “an ordinary love song” by treating the affection between the biblical lovers as a “shadow” of the “love, union, and communion”between Christ and the church (No. 147) and by linking typologically the spouse in the Song of Solomon and the “tents of Kedar” (Canticles 1:5) with the church (No. 458)

Mr. Henry, in the introduction to his Exposition of this book, says, It appears that this book was “taken in a spiritual sense by the Jewish church, for whose use it was first composed, as appears by the Chaldee Paraphrase, and the most ancient Jewish expositors.” In the same place he says, “In our belief, both of the divine extraction and spiritual exposition of this book, we are confirmed by the ancient, constant, and concurring testimony, both of the church of the Jews, to whom were committed the oracles of God, and who never made any doubt of the authority of this book, and of the Christian church, which happily succeeds them in that trust and honor.

(So we see here that the basis by which an allegorical interpretation is because the Jewish Church took it that way in order for it to be canonized.  Meaning if you only took the Song for being only physical then what is it doing in the Bible?  All the Bible is profitable for teaching in righteousness, correcting and rebuking.  The idea is that without an allegorical interpretation then their is no spiritual use for it.  Taken under the sun, then the whole Song is meaningless.)

The book of Solomon’s Song. The figures of speech used in this book, many of them are very agreeable to those used in Isaiah 5:1–7. Besides Christ’s being there called “my beloved,” compare with that fifth of Isaiah the following parts of this song: Canticles 1:6; Canticles 2:12–13, Canticles 2:15; Canticles 4:12–16; Canticles 5:1; Canticles 6:2–3, Canticles 6:11; Canticles 7:12–13; Canticles 8:11–13. Particularly compare Canticles 1:13–14; Canticles 2:2, Canticles 2:16; Canticles 4:13–14; Canticles 5:1; Canticles 6:2–3; Canticles 7:7–8, with Isaiah 5:7. Also compare these and other places in Solomon’s Song with Isaiah 35:1–2, Isaiah 55:13, Isaiah 41:19, Isaiah 60:21, Isaiah 61:3, Numbers 24:6, Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8, Ezekiel 47:12, Psalms 80:8–15, Isaiah 27:2–3.

See Jeremiah 12:7.5

See “Notes,” no. 231 See notes on Ephesians 5:18. See no. 336

As it was a common thing in these ancient times to have mystical speeches and parables, so it seems to have been a common thing to have mystical songs. See note on Canticles 2:10–11. See the evidence there is that the Psalms 45 is no common love song or epithalamium. “Miscellanies,” no. 1067, §46.8 See “Scripture,” no. 436.9 The ancient Jews about Christ’s time “believed that the book of Canticles was chiefly composed for the Messiah.” See Basnage’s History of the Jews, p. 367.

Setting of the times of peace

In short, the public good here mentioned is a settled, the calamity is an unsettled, state of the public affairs. While public affairs are in an unsettled posture, they are continually liable to be shifting and altering; and this is a great calamity to a land. But when the public state is settled and prolonged, and remains unshaken and undisturbed, this is a great blessing to any people.

Superlative nature of title, “Song of Songs”

Again, this misery is called “the blackness of darkness.” Jude 1:13, “To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Darkness in the Scripture very commonly is put to signify misery. Therefore the blackness of darkness signifies perfect misery, the most extreme degree of it. It seems as if the Apostle wanted an expression to signify how great the darkness was, and so he called [it] the blackness of darkness. ‘Tis a Hebrew way of expression: the Song of Songs is the most excellent song, and so the darkness of darkness is the greatest darkness in the world.

The superlative title confirms it to be a Song above all others.  the song of songs Confirms it that it is a more than Ordinary Love song and that it was designed for a divine song and is of divine Authority for we Read 1. Kings 4. 32 that solomons songs were a thousand & five . this he Calls the song of songs that is the most excellent of all his songs which it seems very Probable to be upon that Account because it was a song upon the most excellent subject treating of the Love Union & Communion between X & his spouse of which marriage & congugal love were but a shadow these were the most excellent lovers & this Love the most excellent love & therefore this song the most excellent song or the song of songs. In the words Read we have the spouse or Church expressing her Earnest wish and Longing desire after a more near Relation and Greater advantages of Communion with her X her beloved .

10 Reasons why the Song of Song is superlative or stands above all the others.

 

Song of Solomon 1:2

Christ and his church, as the bridegroom and bride, rejoice in each others’ love. Wine is spoken of, Psalms 104:15, as that “which maketh glad man’s heart”: but the church of Christ is spoken of as rejoicing in the love of Christ as that which is more pleasant and refreshing than wine Canticles 1:4, “The king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee: we will remember thy love more than wine.” So on the other hand, Christ speaks of the church’s love as far better to him than wine, Canticles 4:10, “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine!”

 

Song of Songs 1:3

Your name is like perfume poured out.”

The Apostle seems to make a distinction between mere speculative knowledge of the things of religion, and spiritual knowledge, in calling that “the form of knowledge, and of the truth”; Romans 2:20, “which has the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law.” The latter is often represented by relishing, smelling, or tasting

Spiritual understanding consists; viz. that it consists in a sense of the heart, of the supreme beauty and sweetness of the holiness or moral perfection of divine things, together with all that discerning and knowledge of things of religion, that depends upon, and flows from such a sense. Spiritual understanding consists primarily in a sense of heart of that spiritual beauty.

the happiness of a life of such love, heavenly love, holy and humble and divine love; love to God, and love to Christ, and love to saints for God’s and Christ’s sake, and the enjoyment of the fruits of God’s love, holy communion with God and Christ and with holy persons. This is what they have a relish for. They feel within them such a nature that such a happiness suits their disposition and relish and appetite above all others; not only above what they have, but above all that they can conceive they might have. The world does not afford anything like it. They have chosen this before any other. Their souls go out after it more than any other, and their hearts are more in pursuit of it than any other. They have chosen it freely, not merely because they have met with such sorrow, and are in such low and afflicted circumstances, that they do not expect much from the world. But their hearts are so captivated by this good that they choose it for its own sake beyond all worldly good, if they had ever so much of it, and could enjoy it ever so long. Canticles 1:2, “Thy love is better than wine.”

988. TRINITY. That the beauty and loveliness of Christ consists in being anointed with the Holy Ghost appears by Canticles 1:3, “Because of the savor of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love thee.”


The love of God as it flows forth ad extra is wholly determined and directed by divine wisdom, so that those only are the objects of it that divine wisdom chooses. So that the creation of the world is to gratify divine love as that is exercised by divine wisdom. But Christ is divine wisdom, so that the world is made to gratify divine love as exercised by Christ, or to gratify the love that is in Christ’s heart, or to provide a spouse for Christ— those creatures which wisdom chooses for the object of divine love as Christ’s elect spouse, and especially those elect creatures that wisdom chiefly pitches upon and makes the end of the rest.

TRINITY.  The righteousness of Christ, the thing given in justification, is in some respect the Holy Spirit in Christ, the expressions and fruits of his influence and actings in him.

TRINITY. In the sun peculiarly divine beauty manifested to men and to all creatures with peculiar advantage, and by how it appears in the Godhead itself, vid. sermon on the excellency of Christ, “His name is as ointment poured forth” [Canticles 1:3]


for to the elect, or those that are saved, ’tis a sweet savor, as well as to God; ’tis a savor of life. We are to them a savor of a living Redeemer.” They believe him to be a risen and glorified Savior. They receive him as one risen from the dead, and now reigning in life, and exalted to give life to others. So the church, in Canticles 1:3, speaks of Christ’s name as “ointment poured forth.”


Canticles 1:3.

“Thy name is as ointment poured forth.”
It was a custom among the Jews to anoint themselves with oil, whereby they made their faces shine, which used to be esteemed a considerable adornment. We read [in] Psalms 104:15 that the use of oil was to make the face to shine. There was also another end of it: they were want to perfume their oil and make it very odoriferous, and anoint themselves with it so that wherever they went  they might be encompassed with a fragrancy. They used a great deal of art in perfuming their ointments. But of all ointments that were amongst them, the holy anointing oil was the sweetest and had the most excellent fragrancy. This was compounded by God’s art, and not man’s. ‘Tis to this oil that the grace of charity is compared in the Psalms 133; with this oil there was none to be anointed but sacred officers that were eminent types of Jesus Christ. We read of the composition of it [in] Exodus 30:23–25: Take unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin; and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary. It shall be an holy anointing oil.

This holy anointing oil signified the Holy Ghost. The priests were anointed with this oil to signify Christ’s being anointed with the Holy Ghost, and the spices and fragrancy of the ointment signified the graces of the spirit of God. Therefore, when it is said in this verse, “because of the savor of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth,” it intends “because of thy graces and excellencies.” Spiritual grace and excellency is often compared in this song to the same spices that the holy anointing oil was compounded [of], especially in the thirteenth and fourteenth verses of the fourth chapter.
‘Tis because of those, that is, because of his excellency, that his name is as ointment poured forth. That is, he was so excellent a person that the very mentioning of his name, or the knowledge of his attributes, beholding the beauties he maketh of himself, filled the heart with delight as the pouring out of a sweet ointment. Especially the holy anointing oil caused a sweet fragrancy, [and] the ointment, when pouring out, was under the best advantages to send forth its savor.

In comparison with this detailed exegesis, the Boston version is fluent, elegant, and discursive:

Canticles 1:3

Thy name is as ointment poured forth.
The name or title that is given to this song, viz. the Song of Songs, confirms it to be more than a mere human song, and that these things that are the subject of it are above [the] terrene or temporal. We read [in] 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon’s songs were a thousand and five, but this one song of his which is inserted in the canon of the Scripture is distinguished from all the rest by the name of the Song of Songs, or the most excellent of his songs, or more than all his other songs: as the subject of it is transcendency of a more sublime and excellent nature than the rest, treating of the divine love, union, and communion of the most glorious lovers, Christ and his spiritual spouse, of which a marriage union and conjugal love (which, perhaps, many of the rest of his songs treated of) is but a shadow.

The song begins with the spouse’s expressing her sense of the excellency of Christ, her longing desires after him and delight in him. His excellency and her compliance in him is beautifully and livelily set forth in that expression that I have chosen now to insist on: Thy name is as ointment poured forth. Such was her sense of his loveliness, and so great was her delight in him, that she loved his very name. It was precious to her; the very mentioning of it was to her like the pouring forth of some fragrant ointment.
Perfumed ointment was a thing very much used among the Israelites of old, both to common and sacred purposes. It was made use of by divine direction as a suitable type of the graces of the holy spirit. There was an holy anointing oil, appointed of God for this purpose, that was of an extraordinary fragrancy, being compounded by divine art, that any were forbidden to imitate upon pain of being cut off from among his people.

Possibly, special respect may be had to this holy ointment in the text. The excellencies of Jesus Christ are often in that song compared to the very same spices with which that holy oil was perfumed, and the name of Christ may most fitly [be] compared to this most precious and holy ointment that was appointed on purpose to represent that grace that he is full of and is the fountain of.
The name of Christ is compared to ointment poured forth because then it is under the greatest advantage to send forth its odors. The name of Christ filled the soul of the spouse with delight as the holy anointing oil, when poured forth, filled the sanctuary with its fragrancy.

The broader frame of reference, encompassing the entire song rather than a single image from it; the more discursive speculation on the relationship between Christ and the redeemed, and the more sustained exposition—after the manner of an essayist as much as that of an expositor—all contribute to make the Boston version a more effective literary performance. The thesis is essentially the same, and the thematic essentials of the Northampton sermon have been worked into the mold of the second sermon, but the materials obviously have been recast and shaped to new ends. As the sermons develop to their respective conclusions, the differences between them increase until the true differentiation of ends becomes evident in the subheads of the two Applications. Whereas the Northampton version is one long, passionate Exhortation in the Application, the Boston version’s Use is more like an “aid to reflection”: “The use that I would make of what has been said is to move and persuade to an acceptance of the gracious offer that Christ makes of himself to us.” In Northampton, Edwards preached as an evangelical pastor, herding his flock to heaven; in Boston, he preached as a collegial instructor presenting his understanding of a portion of the Word for the consideration of fellow-inquirers. A subtle alteration in the Doctrine of the Boston version points up the difference.
Northampton version: “That Christ Jesus is a person transcendently excellent and desirable.”
Boston version: “That Jesus Christ is a person transcendently excellent and lovely.


79. Cant. 1:3(a). “Christ Jesus is a person transcendently excellent and desirable.”

Cant. 1:3(b). “That Jesus Christ is a person transcendently excellent and lovely.” June 1733. Boston. Octavo. Published in McMullen, ed., The Blessing of God, 163-79.

Canticles 1:4.

And there are other seasons of special communion of the saints with Christ, wherein Christ doth in an especial manner rejoice over his saints, and as their bridegroom brings them into his chambers, that they also may be glad and rejoice in him (Canticles 1:4).

And how abundantly is love to Christ represented as the character of the people that has an interest in Christ, and is the true church of Christ, in the book of Canticles—particularly, it is said, [in] Canticles 1:4, “The upright love thee.” But how abundantly evident is it from the Scripture that none but the upright are in a state of salvation.

But the time wherein this mutual rejoicing of Christ and his saints will be in its perfection, is the time of the saints’ glorification with Christ in heaven.


This verse affords7 two good arguments that this song is no human love song. 1. Because the first person singular and plural are here used promiscuously. “Draw me, we will run after thee. The king hath brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in thee; we will remember thy love more than wine.” If this was intended for the language of an earthly lover or sweetheart, how comes she to speak of herself thus in the plural number? ‘Tis evident ’tis because more than one person is signified, and respect is plainly had to the virgins mentioned in the last clause of the preceding verse, “the virgins love thee.” ‘Tis the nature of earthly love to dislike a rival, and to be averse to plurality. But she speaks of the virgins’ loving her loved,8 and having enjoyed his love, with manifest approbation and delight. So in the beginning of the Canticles 6, when the daughters of Jerusalem desire to seek the beloved of the spouse that they may enjoy him with her, she don’t disapprove of, but forwards it by directing them, according to their desire, where they may find him. See also Canticles 3:10–11. And by using the singular and plural thus promiscuously, ’tis evident that the spouse that is speaking, though one spouse, yet is more persons than one. 2. The last clause, “The upright love thee.” (1) It shows that this song is not a profane but an holy love song. Why should a lascivious lover take notice of this with such delight and pleasure, that the upright loved her beloved? The same word9 is used all over the Old Testament to signify the saints. Therefore it might have been translated, “the saints,” or “the sincerely godly love thee.” (2) When it is said in the last clause of this verse, “the upright love,” ’tis natural to suppose the same to be meant as in the last clause of the preceding verse, “the virgins love thee,” and so, that the virgins are the saints, who are spiritual virgins, and that ’tis the saints that were intended by the plural pronoun “we” in the verse. And how well does this agree with what we suppose, viz. that this song is intended as a song of love between Christ and the church, or the assembly of the saints.


“Draw me; we will run after thee.” The meaning don’t seem to be, “Draw me, and then we will run after thee.” But when the spouse says, “we will run after thee,” her request seems to be answered, as appears, because in the next words she says, “the king has brought me into his chambers.” She had no sooner made this request, but as ever she was aware, her soul “made her like the chariots of Amminadib” [Canticles 6:12].1


That in Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” in the original is, “The love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us”; so that the same representation is made of the manner of communicating it that is made from time to time to signify the manner of communicating the Spirit of God himself, and the same expression used to signify it. The love of God is not poured out into our hearts in any propriety any other way than as the Holy Spirit, which is the love of God, is poured out into our hearts; and it seems to be intimated that it is this way that the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the words annexed, “by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.”

HOLY GHOST. Those two texts illustrate one the other: Canticles 1:4, “We will remember thy love more than wine”; and that, Ephesians 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine; but be ye filled with the Spirit.”

That knowledge or understanding in God which we must conceive of as first, is his knowledge of everything possible. That love which must be this knowledge is what we must conceive of as belonging to the essence of the Godhead in its first subsistence. Then comes a reflex act of knowledge, his viewing himself and knowing himself, and so knowing his own

458. Canticles 1:5.

“As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” That the spouse in this song is compared to a tent, and to the curtains of the tabernacle and temple, is an evidence that this song is no ordinary love song, and that by the spouse is not meant any particular woman, but a society, even that holy society, the church of God. ‘Tis common in the writings of the Old Testament to represent7 the church of God by a tent or tents, and an house and temple, but never a particular person. See Isaiah 54:2, Zechariah 12:7, Isaiah 33:20, Lamentations 2:4, Lamentations 2:6, Isaiah 1:8. And the tabernacle and temple were known types of the church, and the curtains of both had palm trees embroidered on them, which are abundantly made use of to represent the church. The church of God is called an “house” in places too many to be mentioned. The church used to be called “the temple of the Lord,” as appears by Jeremiah 7:4. The church is represented by the temple, as is evident by Zechariah 4:2–9.

Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God,” with innumerable other prophecies of the calling of the Gentiles. She was an Egyptian, and Solomon made an affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt; agreeable to Psalms 87:4, “I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me.” Psalms 68:31, “Princes shall come out of Egypt.” Isaiah 19:18–25, “In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan… and there shall be an altar unto the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt… And the Lord shall be known unto Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord… and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.… The Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people.” Pharaoh’s daughter, being an Egyptian, was of a swarthy complexion, agreeable to Canticles 1:5, “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.”

And something spiritual in that prophecy, Psalms 45, is called “needlework,” the name of the work of the hangings and garments of the sanctuary (Exodus 26:36, and Exodus 27:16, and Exodus 36:37, and Exodus 38:18, and Exodus 28:39 and Exodus 39:29). The garments of the church of the Messiah are spoken under the same representation as the curtains of the tabernacle and beautiful garments of the high priest. (See also Canticles 1:5.) Something in the Messiah’s kingdom is called by the name of the outward ornaments of the temple (Isaiah 60:13)

Canticles 1:5–6

“I am black.” Denoting her outward meanness, obscurity, and affliction, often denoted by darkness or blackness in Scripture. So Christ was without form or comeliness. This meanness and affliction is in great measure owing to the contempt and hard usage of false churches and false professors, which appears very much in their keeping them under and in a state of servitude to serve their temporal interests, and to maintain their worship. Thus the Protestants in popish countries are obliged to help maintain the Romish church, and the Dissenters in England are forced to pay tithes to the Church of England, and among those of the same profession, true Christians are commonly kept under and obliged to serve false professors.4

“As the tents of Kedar,” etc. Externally, in outward form, and by my worldly circumstances, like “the tents of Kedar,” black, coarse, and homely, but inwardly and spiritually glorious and beautiful, like the pure, rich, embroidered curtains of Solomon, either in his palace, or temple, or royal pavilion. Like Moses’ tabernacle, whose outward covering was badgers’ skins, but its inward curtains fine linen, and blue, purple, and scarlet.5

Canticles 1:5

“As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” Kedar was a place where shepherds used to seat their tents and feed their flock, a noted place for shepherds, as you may see. Isaiah 60:7, “All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered unto thee.” And Jeremiah 49:28–29, “Concerning Kedar.… Their tents and their flocks; they shall take to themselves their curtains.” The people of Kedar, it seems, used to dwell in tents, in movable habitations, and lived by feeding of sheep. And therefore the church is very fitly represented by these. It’s agreeable to many other representations in Scripture where God’s people are called his sheep, his flock, and Christ and his ministers shepherds. And the church is also compared to a tabernacle or tents; it’s fitly compared to movable tents, for here we are pilgrims and strangers, and have no abiding place. These are the shepherds’ tents referred to in the Jeremiah 49:8

 

Canticles 1:6

The sunbeams are several times made use of in Scripture to represent God’s wrath. The pillar of cloud defended the children of Israel from the sunbeams in that parched wilderness [Exodus 13:21], where they beat with great vehemence, which represented Christ’s defending his church from the wrath of God. The same defense of God’s people from the fruits of God’s displeasure is spoken of under a like similitude, Isaiah 4:6, “And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge.” Isaiah 25:4–5, “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength [to] the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place, even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.” These terrible ones are those that God made use of as instruments of his displeasure. And Isaiah 32:2, “A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest: as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” And Psalms 121:5, “The Lord is thy shade, on thy right hand.” Canticles 1:6–7, “Look not upon me because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me” (i.e. I have suffered the fruits of God’s displeasure; as it is said in 1 Peter 4:17, “judgment begins at the house of God”). “My mother’s children were angry with me, they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept. Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, and where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon” (i.e. where thou givest them rest and protection from the heat, when the sunbeams are vehement). Revelation 7:16, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” Isaiah 49:10, “They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them.

 

Canticles 1:7

David by occupation was a shepherd, and afterwards was made a shepherd to God’s Israel. Psalms 78:70–71, “He chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.” This is agreeable to many prophecies of the Messiah, who is often spoken of in them as the shepherd of God’s people, and therein is expressly compared to David. Isaiah 40:11, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.” Isaiah 49:9–10, “They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, by the springs of water shall he guide them.” Jeremiah 23:4–5, “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them… I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” Ezekiel 34:23, “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and shall be their shepherd.” Ezekiel 37:24, “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd.” Canticles 1:7, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.”

He leads them by his example, which may especially be called “going before them.” He goes himself in the way in which he would have them to go, and they go after him in the same way.

He goes before them as a shepherd to provide for them. The shepherd goes with the flock to feed the flock, to lead them to their pasture. So doth Christ with respect to believers: [the] John 10:9, “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Psalms 23:1–2, “He leads me in green pastures.”

He as a shepherd goes before them to lead them to their refreshment and rest, as the shepherd leads his flock to water and to a cool shadow, as to their resting place. Psalms 23:1–3, “The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.” Canticles 1:7, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, and where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.”

  1. We may observe what is here declared concerning believers with respect to Christ, “the sheep follow him,” which is also very comprehensive. Hereby is signified their acquaintance with [him]. When they see him, they follow him as one that they know. ‘Tis said, “The sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”………

3  Psalms 23:1–2. “The Lord is my shepherd.… He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the waters of rest,” as it is in the original.3 Ezekiel 34:12–15, “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock, so will I seek out my sheep.… They shall lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture they shall feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34:25, “They shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.” Jeremiah 50:6, “My people hath been lost sheep. Their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.” Canticles 1:7, “Where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.” And God’s leading the children of Israel out of Egypt towards the promised rest is represented as the act of a shepherd. Psalms 78:52, “But made his own people go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.” And Psalms 77:20, “Thou leadest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Isaiah 63:11–12, “Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought ’em up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock?… That led them by the right hand of Moses?” Isaiah 63:14, “The Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest; so didst thou lead thy people.” Jeremiah 31:2, “The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.” Here it is represented that it is not too late for God’s flock to hear the voice of their shepherd in order to entering into God’s rest, which implies another rest yet remaining for God’s flock,4 yea, when in that full possession of Canaan, which David had brought them to, having subdued all the remaining of the old heathen inhabitants, and all their enemies round about, that used to disquiet them.

Canticles 1:8.

“Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock.”

God is wont to be found in these ways; God is wont to command life forevermore upon the mountains of Zion; Christ walks in the midst of his golden candlesticks, and there you may find him. These are the golden pipes by which grace, as precious oil, is conveyed into the soul; these are the breasts of holy and heavenly consolation. See Canticles 1:7–8, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon; for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”  (  I don’t understand how Edwards could get this so wrong.   Either he is right and Im stupid or Edwards was happily blinded and no one challenged him on his view)

Christ has chosen believers to be a peculiar people to himself, to be his portion and special treasure. And so have they chosen Christ [to] be their portion and peculiar treasure. He is their chosen happiness. This is the treasure hid in the field, which a true Christian finds, and goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. True Christians are Christ’s chosen disciples. He is their chosen Redeemer and Lord. They choose him above all others to be their Savior, above their own righteousness or any fleshly arm.

Christ hath chosen the soul of the believer to be his spouse and spiritual bride. The soul of the believer mutually chooses Christ to be his best and nearest friend, and of free choice and inclination gives up itself to be espoused unto Christ.

That is the language of Christ to the souls of true Christians. Canticles 1:8 (and also Canticles 5:9 and Canticles 6:1), “O thou fairest among women.” And that is the language of the believer’s soul concerning Christ. Psalms 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the sons of men.” And Canticles 5:10, “My beloved is the chiefest among ten thousand.”

Second. In mutual love. The heart of Christ and the true Christian are united in love: “I love them that love me.” Christ is first in love to them, for Christ has loved them with an everlasting love


There have been some instances of this glorious work amongst us of late, as we have reason to hope. Let it stir you up to get in the like blessed and happy state and condition that they are got into. Let it encourage you to seek it. God is carrying on that work, and he has poured out his converting grace round about you. There is the more hope that you may obtain a share of it. You see that ’tis a thing attainable. The same grace and the same Savior that was sufficient for them, is sufficient for you also. It is as sufficient for you as it was for them. There is encouragement that you may find Christ in the same way that they have found him. Therefore wait upon God in those ordinances and in those duties, for you see that he has blessed them for the conversion of others. If you would find him, go in the footsteps of the flock, Canticles 1:8.

 

Canticles 1:9

“I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.”] The horses draw the chariot of the king; so the church as it were draws the chariot of Christ. Christ rides as it were on a chariot of salvation, on the chariot of the word of truth. The word runs and is glorified, and thereby Christ is conveyed; but the church draws this chariot, especially the ministers of the gospel. The church is the pillar and ground of truth. Ministers bring Christ to men, and carry him through the world, and make manifest the savor of his name; and herein they are like the angels who are spoken of as Christ’s chariots. The horses that drew the chariots of the king of Egypt were beautiful, strong, and swift, for Egypt was famed above any country for its excellent horses; and Pharaoh had the best in the country to draw his chariots. It was a “company of horses” that drew Pharaoh’s chariots united together; so is the church, and so are true ministers of the gospel. Christ proceeds in the course of things in his providence, and especially in his church towards his end that he aims at, and will in the consummation of things arrive to, as a prince proceeds in a chariot towards his royal city, palace, and throne. See notes on Ezekiel’s wheels. And he is pleased to make his disciples the instruments of this his progress.

Kings were wont to go forth to war with chariots and horses. So believers, and especially ministers, are like Christ’s horses to draw his chariots in war. Zechariah 10:3, “And hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.” Oftentimes the church is represented as his army, as in this song Christ compares her to a “company of two armies” [Canticles 6:13]. So Revelation 19. They are represented as the armies of heaven, following him on white horses Revelation 19:14]. The church in this song is said to be “terrible as an army with banners” [Canticles 6:4]. And in Canticles 4:4, her neck is said to be “like the tower of David builded for an armory, wherein there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” And Canticles 7:4, the same is represented by a “tower of ivory,” and her nose as the “tower of Lebanon.” And Canticles 8:10, she is compared to a wall, and her breasts to towers.

Corol. Such kind of comparisons as these are a great argument that this song is no human love song. These things agree with the typical representations of the church in the congregation of Israel that went out of Egypt, who went up harnessed, and were encamped in the wilderness, always as an army with banners marshaled in military order.


The congregation in the wilderness were in the form of an army, and an army with banners. So the church of the Messiah is often represented as an army. They are represented as being called forth to war and engaged in battle, gloriously conquering and triumphing, in places innumerable, and spoken of as being God’s “goodly horse in the battle” [Zechariah 10:3]; and as “a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots” [Canticles 1:9]; and being made as “the sword of a mighty man” [Zechariah 9:13]; and being gathered to an ensign (Isaiah 11:10, Isaiah 11:12) and standard (Isaiah 49:22 and Isaiah 59:19 and Isaiah 62:10); and having a banner given them (Psalms 60:4); and setting up their banners in God’s name (Psalms 20:5), and being terrible as an army with banners (Canticles 6:4, Canticles 6:10).

Kings were wont to go forth to war with chariots and horses. So believers, and especially ministers, are like Christ’s horses to draw his chariots in war. Zechariah 10:3, “And hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.” Oftentimes the church is represented as his army, as in this song Christ compares her to a “company of two armies” [Canticles 6:13]. So Revelation 19. They are represented as the armies of heaven, following him on white horses Revelation 19:14]. The church in this song is said to be “terrible as an army with banners” [Canticles 6:4]. And in Canticles 4:4, her neck is said to be “like the tower of David builded for an armory, wherein there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” And Canticles 7:4, the same is represented by a “tower of ivory,” and her nose as the “tower of Lebanon.” And Canticles 8:10, she is compared to a wall, and her breasts to towers.

Canticles 1:10

Canticles 1:11

Canticles 1:12. “My spikenard.”] The spikenard of the perfumed ointment with which she was anointed to fit her for the company of her beloved. See Mark 14:3, Matthew 26:6, John 12 at the beginning, and Luke 7 at the latter end.

 

Canticles 1:14

Not only do these things make it reasonable to suppose that the Jews understood that the Messiah was to be their high priest, who was to take away the guilt of sin and make a true complete atonement; but it appears to be so in fact, by what was observed before out of Philo, of his being the Mediator, the advocate and true high priest that procures an amnesty or act of oblivion for sins (pp. 382, 385, 389). And Grotius observes (De Veritate, Bk. 5, §15) that it is “a common thing among the Jews to call the Messiah, Ish Copher, i.e. The Appeaser.” To that purpose he cites the Chaldee Paraphrast on Canticles 1:14.

XI. The saints in Israel understood that the way that the Messiah was to make a proper and true atonement for sin, and make an end of it, was by his own suffering and by offering up himself a sacrifice for sin. The following things determine me to suppose this:

Canticles 1:15. “Doves’ eyes.”] SSS.7

“Doves”  (if you say dove means love then how is a dove a symbol of love and is that a lively illustration and does it fit the context?)

That such manner of virtue as has been spoken of is the very nature of the Christian spirit, or the Spirit that worketh in Christ and in his members, and the distinguishing nature of it, is evident by this, that the dove is the very symbol or emblem, chosen of God, to represent it. Those things are fittest emblems of other things, which do best represent that which is most distinguishing in their nature. The Spirit that descended on Christ, when he was anointed of the Father, descended on him like a dove. The dove is a noted emblem of meekness, harmlessness, peace and love. But the same Spirit that descended on the Head of the church, descends to the members. “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts” (Galatians 4:6). “And if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). There is but one Spirit to the whole mystical body, head and members (I Corinthians 6:17, Ephesians 4:4). Christ breathes his own Spirit on his disciples (John 20:22). As Christ was anointed with the Holy Ghost, descending on him like a dove, so Christians also “have an anointing from the Holy One” (I John 2:20, 27). And they are anointed with the same oil; ’tis the same “precious ointment on the head, that goes down to the skirts of the garments”: and on both it is a spirit of peace and love; Psalms 133:1–2, “Behold how good, and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The oil on Aaron’s garments, had the same sweet and inimitable odor, with that on his head; the smell of the same sweet spices. Christian affections, and a Christian behavior, is but the flowing out of the savor of Christ’s sweet ointments. Because the church has a dovelike temper and disposition, therefore it is said of her that she has doves’ eyes, Canticles 1:15. “Behold thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair: thou hast doves’ eyes.” And ch. 4:1, “Behold thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair: thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks.” The same that is said of Christ, ch. 5:12, “His eyes are as the eyes of doves.” And the church is frequently compared to a dove in Scripture, Canticles 2:14. “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock.” Ch. 5:2, “Open to me my love, my dove.” And ch. 6:9, “My dove, my undefiled, is but one.” Psalms 68:13, “Ye shall be


The third and last office of the Holy Spirit is to comfort and delight the souls of God’s people. And thus one of his names is the Comforter, and thus we have the phrase of “joy in the Holy Ghost.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6 “Having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”

Romans 14:17, “The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Acts 9:31, “Walking in the fear of the Lord, and comfort of the Holy Ghost.” But how well doth this agree with the Holy Ghost being God’s joy and delight. Acts 13:52, “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost,” meaning, as I suppose, that they were filled with spiritual joy.

  1. This is confirmed by the symbol of the Holy Ghost, viz. a dove, which is the emblem of love, or a lover, and is so used in Scripture, and especially often so in Solomon’s Song. Canticles 1:15, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes,” i.e. eyes of love; and again, Canticles 4:1, the same words; and Canticles 5:12, “His eyes are as the eyes of doves”; and Canticles 5:2, “My love, my dove”; Canticles 2:14; and Canticles 6:9. And this I believe to be the reason that the dove alone of all birds (except the sparrow in the single case of the leprosy) was appointed to be offered in sacrifice: because of its innocency, and because it is the emblem of love,4 love being the most acceptable sacrifice to God. It was under this similitude that the Holy Ghost descended from the Father on Christ at his baptism, signifying the infinite love of the Father to the Son, who is the true David, or beloved, as we said before. The same was signified by what was exhibited to the eye, in the appearance there was of the Holy Ghost descending from the Father to the Son in the shape of a dove, as was signified by what was exhibited to the ear in the voice there was at the same time, viz. “This is my well beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” [Matthew 3:17].

In the beginning of Genesis it is said, “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The word translated “moved” in the original is מְרַחֶפֶה, which, as Buxtorf and Grotius observe, properly signifies the brooding of a dove upon her eggs. See Buxtorf on the radix רָחַפ, and Grotius’ Truth of the Christian Religion, Bk. 1, sec. 16, notes, where Grotius also observes that meracheth also signifies love. See my notes on Genesis 1:2. See Synopsis on Leviticus 1:14

1:15

Hence the Scripture symbol of the Holy Ghost is a dove, which is the emblem of love, and so was continually accounted (as is well known) in the heathen world, and is so made use of by their poets and mythologists; which probably arose partly from the nature and manner of the bird, and probably in part from the tradition of the story of Noah’s dove, that came with a message of peace and love after such terrible manifestations of God’s wrath in the time of the deluge. This bird is also made use of as an emblem of love in the Holy Scriptures: as it was on that message of peace and love that God sent it to Noah, when it came with an olive leaf in its mouth; and often in Solomon’s Song: Canticles 1:15, “Thou hast doves’ eyes”; Canticles 5:12, “His eyes are as the eyes of doves”; Canticles 5:2, “Open to me, my love, my dove”; and in other places in that Song.

Canticles 1:16

“Also our bed is green.”] Which represents two things. 1. The pleasantness of it, green being the emblem of love and joy. 2. The fruitfulness of it. From this bed springs the offspring of Christ and his church, which do spring up as the grass and willows by the water courses, as is said elsewhere.

“Green.”

Canticles 2:1

That Sharon was a very pleasant, delightful place is manifest by Isaiah 33:9 and Isaiah 35:2.

“Lily of the valleys.” As those lilies crown the valleys or low places, so Christ is the crown, ornament, and beauty of the humble and lowly.

  1. 1 Kings 7:15–22. Concerning the brazen pillars, Jachin and Boaz. These pillars were set in the porch of the temple, or at the entry into the temple, which was a type of heaven, to show how strongly the entrance of God’s elect and covenant people into heaven is secured by God’s immutable establishment and almighty power, and also how certain [they] there shall be when once they are entered, and that their happiness, which is supported by these pillars, shall be as perpetual and immovable as the pillars, as Revelation 3:12. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” Jachin, “he shall establish,” signifies both God’s decree and promise; for they, by the covenant of redemption, become the same. God’s decree of election is in Christ an eternal promise and oath, and the promise made in time is but an expression of that for the dependence and comfort of the saints. ‘Tis as it were a temporal decree. A promise is but an expression of a purpose; ’tis that in words that a purpose is in heart. The chapiters were made of lilies and pomegranates, the lilies especially denoting the honor, glory, and beauty of the saints. Lilies and flowers are used for a representation of honor, glory, and beauty in Scripture. Isaiah 28:1, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys,” etc. Canticles 2:1–2, “I am the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” The pomegranate signifies the sweet fruit they shall bring forth and enjoy, the fruit of holiness that they shall bring forth, and the fruits of happiness, or that pleasure and satisfaction they shall enjoy. These spiritual fruits are often compared to pomegranates in Solomon’s Song, and more frequently than to any other sort of fruit, as Canticles 4:3, Canticles 4:13, and Canticles 6:7, Canticles 6:11, and Canticles 7:12, and Canticles 8:2.

 

….that he should be a child, and yet be he whose name is Counselor, and the mighty God; and well may his name, in whom such things are conjoined, be called Wonderful.

By reason of the same wonderful conjunction, Christ is represented by a great variety of sensible things, that are on some account excellent. Thus in some places he is called a sun, as Malachi 4:2; in others a star, Numbers 24:17. And he is especially represented by the morning star, as being that which excels all other stars in brightness, and is the forerunner of the day (Revelation 22:16). And as in our text, he is compared to a lion, in one verse, and a lamb in the next, so sometimes he is compared to a roe or a young hart, another creature most diverse from a lion. So in some places he is called a rock, in others he is compared to a pearl: in some places he is called a man of war, and the captain of our salvation, in other places he is represented as a bridegroom. In the Canticles 2:1, he is compared to a rose and lily, that are sweet and beautiful flowers; in the next verse but one, he is compared to a tree, bearing sweet fruit. In Isaiah 53:2, he is called a root out of a dry ground; but elsewhere, instead of that, he is called the tree of life, that grows (not in a dry or barren ground, but) “in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).


Everything that is lovely in God is in him, and everything that is or can be lovely in any man is in him: for he is man as well as God, and he is the holiest, meekest, most humble, and everyway the most excellent man that ever was.

He is the delight of heaven. There is nothing in heaven, that glorious world, that is brighter and more amiable and lovely than Christ. And this darling of heaven, by becoming man, became as a plant or flower springing out of the earth; and he is the most lovely flower that ever was seen in this world. Canticles 2:1— there ’tis said of Christ, “I am the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys.”

Second. There is more good to be enjoyed in him than in everything or all things in this world. He is not only an amiable, but an all-sufficient good. There is enough in him to answer all our wants and satisfy all our desires.

Canticles 2:2.

“As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.”] I.e. so is Christ’s true church among false churches, or in the midst of the false church. So are true believers among false professors, they that are born after the spirit among those that are born after the flesh, who persecute them and are like thorns to them. Men of bitter persecuting spirits are compared to thorns. Micah 7:4, “The best of them is a briar; the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge.”

ROSES ON THORNS. Thorns, [a] type of trouble, difficulty, etc. Genesis 3:18. That the earth naturally produces in such abundance a noxious and useless growth, signifies how natural sinful and pernicious affections and actions are to the inhabitants of the world, and how naturally trouble everywhere arises in the world in its present fallen state, and full it is of affliction and vexation. See 2 Samuel 23:6, Canticles 2:2, Isaiah 33:12, Isaiah 55:13, Jeremiah 4:3 and Jeremiah 12:13, Ezekiel 28:24, Micah 7:4, Matthew 13:7, Ezekiel 2:6, Hebrews 6:8

Canticles 2:3. “Under his shadow with great delight.”] SSS.1

The believer has also a complacence in Christ: he has complacence in the person of Christ, and hath complacence in his offices. He approves of him as a Redeemer. His soul acquiesces in the way of salvation by him, as a sweet, and excellent, and suitable way: it loves the way of true grace by Christ and by his righteousness, and is well-pleased in it, that Christ should have all the glory of his salvation. He takes full contentment in Christ as a Savior. Having found Christ, he desires no other: having found the fountain, he sits down by it: having found Christ, his hungry and thirsty soul is satisfied in him. His burdened soul is eased in him: his fearful soul is confident: his weary soul is at rest. Canticles 2:3, “I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” So hath Christ rest and contentment in believers. He says of Zion, i.e. the church, “This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psalms 132:14).

Christ and the true Christian have desires after each other. Canticles 7:10, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me.” And the desire of the Christian’s soul is after Christ. Canticles 3:1–2, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets and broad ways. I will seek him whom my soul loveth.” The true Christian has an admiration of Jesus Christ; he admires his excellencies. Isaiah 63:1, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?” And so Christ is represented as admiring the excellency and beauty of the chur Canticles 6:10, “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?”

Christ and the believer do glory in each other. The believer glories in Christ. Canticles 5:16, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend.” Canticles 6:3, “I am [my] beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” Christ glories in his people: he looks on them as his armor and his crown. Isaiah 62:3, “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Zechariah 9:16, “And they shall be as the stones of a crown”.

Our trusting in God and Christ is often expressed by our trusting in his shadow, and under the shadow of his wings, and the like (Psalms 17:8 and Psalms 36:7 and Psalms 57:1 and Psalms 63:7 and Psalms 91:1; Canticles 2:3; Isaiah 4:6 and Isaiah 25:4). Here see Ruth 2:12 compared with Ruth 1:16. See no. [131]. See no. [138]


he has procured for them, and made over to them, the spirit of grace and true holiness, which has a natural tendency to the peace and quietness of their souls. It has such a tendency as it implies a discovery and relish of a suitable and sufficient good: it brings a person into a view of divine beauty, and to a relish of that good which is a man’s proper happiness, and so brings the soul to its true center. The soul by this means is brought to rest, and ceases from restlessly inquiring, as others do, who will show us any good; and wandering to and fro like lost sheep, seeking rest and finding none.6 The soul hath found him who is “as the apple tree among the trees of the wood,” and sits down “under his shadow with great delight” [Canticles 2:3]; and thus is that saying of Christ fulfilled, John 4:13–14, “He that drinketh of this water [shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting

“‘Tis unreasonable for those that enjoy the light of God’s word to defer coming to some full and positive determination with themselves, whether they will thoroughly comply with the work and business God requires of ’em or no.” Apr. 1746.816.Canticles 2:3(b). “Prop. I. There is this difference between Jesus Christ and all others that men are wont to trust in for salvation, that he is as a fruitful tree and they are barren ones.”


God will be as a cool shadow and as a river of water to refresh you. Isaiah 32:2, “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” The spouse tells us, Christ was to her as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, and that she sat down under his shadow with great delight, Canticles 2:3; Isaiah 25:4, “thou hast been a shadow from the heat.” This which is a consuming fire to the ungodly, in [the] new Jerusalem is a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, and the tree of life that gives its sweet refreshing shadow on its banks [Revelations 22:1-2].


283.Cant. 2:3(a). “The true believer hath rest in Christ.” May 1733.816.

Cant. 2:3(b). “Prop. I. There is this difference between Jesus Christ and all others that men are wont to trust in for salvation, that he is as a fruitful tree and they are barren ones.” Apr. 1746.

2:4

2:5

2:6

 

Canticles 2:5, 5:8. 

Scripture often makes use of bodily effects, to express the strength of holy and spiritual affections; such as trembling Psalms 119:120; Ezra 9:4; Isaiah 66:2, 5; Habakkuk 3:16. groaning, being sick, crying out, panting, and fainting. Psalms 84:2Romans 8:26.

2:6

Canticles 2:7

  1. Canticles 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.” In the Canticles 2:2 of this chapter is represented the church in her state of persecution. In the Canticles 2:3, Canticles 2:4, Canticles 2:5, and Canticles 2:6 verses is represented the comforts and supports Christ gives her in this state of hers. In this verse is represented her duty in patience, meekness, and love to her enemies, and humble and patient waiting for Christ’s deliverance in Christ’s time, while she is in this state of suffering. In the five following verses is represented Christ’s coming to her deliverance, to put an end to the suffering state of the church, and introduce its prosperous and glorious day. In this Canticles 2:7, it is strictly charged upon all professing Christians, that they should not stir up nor awake Christ till he please, i.e. that they should not take any indirect courses for their own deliverance, while the church is in her afflicted state, and Christ seems to neglect her, as though he were asleep; but that they should patiently wait on him till his time should come, when he would awake for the deliverance of his church. He that believeth shall not make haste; they that take indirect courses to hasten their own deliverance, by rising up against authority, and resisting their persecutors, are guilty of tempting Christ, and not waiting till his time comes, but going about to stir him up, and force deliverance before his own time. They are charged by the roes and hinds of the field, who are of a gentle and harmless nature, are not beasts of prey, don’t devour one another, don’t fight with their enemies but fly from them, and are of a pleasant loving nature (Proverbs 5:19). So Christians should flee when persecuted, and should not be of a fierce nature to resist and fight, but should be of a gentle and loving nature, and wait for Christ’s awaking.

The same charge is repeated in the Canticles 3:5. There, in that chapter in the Canticles 3:1, is represented the fruitless seeking of the church in her slothful, slumbering, dark state that precedes the glorious day of the Christian church. And then is represented her seeking him more earnestly when more awakened (Canticles 3:2), and then the introduction of her state of light and comfort by that extraordinary preaching of the word of God, which will be by the ministers of the gospel. And then in the Canticles 3:5 is the church to wait patiently for Christ’s appearance, without using undue indirect means to obtain comfort before his time comes. And then in the following verses is more fully represented the happy state of the church, after Christ has awaked, and come out of the wilderness where he had hid himself. The like charge we have again, Canticles 8:4, which in a like sense also agrees well with the context.

Canticles 2:9

“My beloved is like a roe or a young hart.”] These words should properly have been added to the foregoing verse.

“Behold, he standeth behind our wall; he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice.” “Such was the state of the old testament church while it was in expectation of the coming of the Messiah. The ceremonial law is called a ‘wall of partition’ (Ephesians 2:14), a ‘vail’ (2 Corinthians 3:13), but Christ stood behind that wall. They had him near them; they had him with them, though they could not see him clearly. He that was the substance was not far off from the shadows (Colossians 2:17). They saw him looking through the windows of the ceremonial institutions, and blossoming through those lattices.… And such is our present state in comparison with what it will be at Christ’s second coming. We now see him through a glass darkly. The body is a wall between us and him, through the windows of which we now and then get a sight of him, but not face to face, as we hope to see him shortly. In the sacraments Christ is near us, but it is behind the wall of external signs; through these lattices he manifests himself to us, but we shall shortly see him as he is.” (Thus Henry.)2 It might be added that such is the present state of the Christian church in comparison of what it will be after the time comes of the church’s promised light, prosperity, and glory on earth, that time eminently signified in the verses here immediately following, represented as a happy spring when the flowers shall appear on the earth, etc. See SSS.3

2:10-12

Such a time as this, seems to be intended in Canticles 2:10–13. “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 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; 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.”

[Prop.] II. When God gives a people such a privilege and happiness, ’tis greatly to be desired that God would continue the tokens of his presence and mercy amongst them, and no more depart from them. Indeed God is greatly to be praised for even granting such mercy to a people, though it be for never so short a time. But yet ’tis a melancholy thing, after God has thus appeared amongst a people, and given such blessed tokens of his presence and favor, to have him withdraw and hide his face from [them].

Canticles 2:11–12

A time of outpouring of the Spirit of God, reviving religion, and producing the pleasant appearances of it, in new converts, is in Scripture compared to this very thing, viz. the spring season, when the benign influences of the heavens, cause the blossoms to put forth


Amos 5:8, Ecclesiastes 1:7); so God’s people, in being carried into captivity, are represented as carried out of their own place by the wind (Hosea 4:19; Isaiah 57:13 and Isaiah 64:6; Ezekiel 5:2). The waters of these streams, during the winter, were by the frost bound fast as with chains (Job 38:29–31 and Job 37:10), and held as it were in captivity in a strange land, and hindered from returning to their own land whither they desired to return. So while God’s people are in captivity, it is a time of affliction and as it were a winter season with them. Canticles 2:11, When the sun returns in the spring, his benign beams sets the waters of these streams at liberty from the bonds of winter; and they return to the sea from whence they come (Ecclesiastes 1:7). So when the church’s God and Redeemer at the appointed time returns and visits his people in their bondage, his light and favor puts an end to their winter, looses their bonds, puts an end to their captivity, and gives them a merciful return to their own land (Canticles 2:10–13, Jeremiah 29:10, Luke 1:68), and leaves1 the place of their captivity empty and void of them.2 The comparison need not be so much wondered at, as out of the way and farfetched, if it be considered that their great rains, which occasioned these streams, came sensibly from off the sea, which gave occasion to the prophet to say, Amos 5:8, He “calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out on the face of the earth.” See also Amos 9:6; Ecclesiastes 1:7; 1 Kings 18:44–45.

2:13

  1. Mark 11:13. “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon. And when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet” By “the time of figs” here seems to be meant the fig harvest, or the time of the ingathering of figs, as the author of the reply to Woolston with great probability supposes, agreeable to the manner of expression in Matthew 21:34,…..and then the fig tree began to put forth green figs, agreeable to Canticles 2:13. And therefore, unless the text is to be interpreted in this sense, but only the contrary, that in the words “the time of fruit is not yet” is signified that not the barrenness of the tree, but only that the proper time wherein figs used to be ripe was not yet come, was the reason why Christ did not find eatable figs on the tree. It never would have been expressed, as ’tis here, that he found “nothing but leaves,” but rather that he found “nothing but green figs”; for undoubtedly by what has been observed, there must be green figs on all fig trees that were not barren long before this time

 

Canticles 2:14

Having remained long in obscurity, being driven into secret corners and hiding places by thine enemies, being banished from among men, not appearing in palaces and public places, but dwelling in the wilderness “in the clefts of the rocks” and caves of the mountains, and when in cities and houses hiding thyself in the most secret corners. The church also in low state hides itself from Christ in fearfulness and unbelief, like Adam that hid himself from God among the trees, being of little faith and too much fear by reason of her deformity and nakedness. “Scripture,” no. 444.5

The glorious reign of Solomon is introduced on the earnest petitions and pleadings of Bathsheba with his father (1 Kings 1:15–21). So the prophecies often represent that the glorious peace and prosperity of the Messiah’s reign shall be given in answer to the earnest and importunate prayers of the churEzekiel 36:37, “I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them” (Jeremiah 29:11–14, Canticles 2:14, Zechariah 12:10).

Bathesheba pleads the king’s promise and covenant. So the church is often represented as waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises with respect to the benefits of the Messiah’s kingdom (Genesis 49:18; Isaiah 8:17, and Isaiah 30:18, and Isaiah 40:31 and Isaiah 49:23; Zephaniah 3:8; Isaiah 25:9 and Isaiah 26:8 and Isaiah 64:4).

Solomon came to the crown after the people had set up a false heir, one that pretended to be the heir of David’s crown, and for a while seemed as though they would carry all afore ’em. This is agreeable to the prophecies of the Messiah, who represent that his kingdom shall be set up on the ruins of that of others who should exalt themselves and assume the dominion. Ezekiel 17:24, “I the Lord have brought down the high tree, and exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.” Ezekiel 21:26, “Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, abase him that is high.” Psalms 2:2–6, “The kings of the earth set themselves, the rulers take counsel together, saying, Let us break their bands, and cast away their cords from us.… Yet have I set my king on my holy hill of Zion.” Psalms 118:22, “The stone which the builders refused, the same is become the head of the corner.” And particularly this is agreeable to what the prophet Daniel says of the reign of Antichrist that shall precede the glorious day of the Messiah’s reign, who shall set up himself in the room of the Most High, as lawgiver in his room, shall think to change times and laws, whose reign shall continue till the Messiah comes to overthrow it by setting up his glorious kingdom.

“My dove!”  Referring to Matthew Poole’s commentary on this verse. Go Here.

Canticles 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.” There is probably respect here to the rock of Mt. Zion, on which Solomon’s house was built, or of the mountain of the temple, and to the stairs by which they ascended that high rock to go up to Solomon’s palace (see Nehemiah 3:15, and Nehemiah 12:37), or the stairs by which they ascended through the various courts into the temple. It comes much to the same thing, whether we suppose the rocks and stairs referred to, to be of the mountain of Solomon’s palace or temple, for both were typical of the same thing; and both mountains seemed to have been called by the same name, “Mt. Zion.” The church in her low state, before that glorious spring spoken of in the foregoing verses, is not admitted to such high privileges, and such nearness to God, and intimacy with him as she shall be afterwards, is kept at a greater distance not only by God’s providence, but through her own darkness and unbelief, and remains of a legal spirit whereby she falls more under the terrors of God’s majesty manifested at Mt. Sinai, under that legal dispensation through which Moses, when God passed by, hid himself in the clefts of the rock. Her love to the spiritual Solomon causes her to remain near his house, about the mountain on which his palace stands, watching at his gates, and waiting at the posts of his doors, and by the stairs by which he ascends to his house, but yet hides herself as ashamed, and afraid, and unworthy to appear before him, like the woman that came behind Christ, to touch the hem of his garment [Matthew 9:20]. She has not yet obtained that glorious privilege spoken of, Psalms 45:14–15 and Revelation 19:7–8, which she shall be admitted to in the glorious day approaching, when she shall enter into the king’s palace. She remains now waiting at the foot of the stairs that go up to the house, as Jacob lay at the foot of the ladder, at the place of which he said, “This is the house of God; this is the gate of heaven” [Genesis 28:17]. And there she hides herself in the secret places of the stairs, but then she shall be made joyfully to ascend, and with boldness and open face to go to the king in his palace.


And lastly, Christ and his church, as the bridegroom and bride, rejoice in conversing with each other. The words of Christ by which he converses with his church, are most sweet to her; and therefore she says of him, Canticles 5:16, “His mouth is most sweet.” And on the other hand, he says of her, Canticles 2:14, “Let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice.” And Canticles 4:11, “Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under thy tongue.”

Canticles 2:15.

Foxes are remarkable types of devils and other enemies of the church of God. See Mr. Hellenbroek’s sermon on Canticles 2:15, pp. 4 to 12. See also note on Canticles 2:15

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”] Which represent either, first, the sins that spoil the graces of the saints in their present infant state, in which their graces are like tender grapes easily damnified. These sins that spoil the graces are represented by foxes, because [of] their sly deceitful manner in which they insinuate themselves, and “little foxes” because the sins that are intended are not what are called gross sins, but other sins which the saints are more incident to. Or, secondly, they represent sly deceivers who don’t appear as open and declared enemies to the church, nor their wickedness so great as to be plain and manifest, and tends at first sight to shock the minds of the saints, which sly deceivers do corrupt and spoil young and tender converts in a time of great revival of religion, for such a time is spoken of in the context. Hereby also is signified that Christ would have sin and error nipped in the bud, which though at first they are like young foxes, yet even then they spoil the vines, and if let alone will soon grow great.  Such foxes, to destroy young and tender grapes, were the false prophets and seducers in the Apostle’s days, whom the Apostle calls deceitful workers, who crept into houses and led “captive silly women,” etc. [2 Timothy 3:6]. See Galatians 3:1, Titus 1:10–11, 1 Timothy 4:1–2, 2 Corinthians 11:13, Ephesians 4:14, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Timothy 3:6, Matthew 7:15, Revelation 2:2. See further the parallel between foxes and seducing heretics, in Mr. Hellenbroek’s sermon on this verse, from p. 4 to p. 12.8 False prophets are compared to foxes. Ezekiel 13:4, “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.”

Note 171. Concerning the blossoming and ripening of fruits and other things of that nature. The first puttings forth of the tree in order to fruit make a great show and are pleasant to the eye, but the fruit then is very small and tender. Afterwards, when there is less show, the fruit is increased. So it often is at first conversion: there are flowing affections, passionate joys, that are the flower that soon falls off, etc. The fruit when young is very tender, easily hurt with frost, or heat, or vermin, or anything that touches it. So it is with young converts. Canticles 2:15, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”


Judges 15:4–5.] Foxes represent heretics and heretical doctrines (See note on Canticles 2:15, and also Mr. Hellenbroek’s sermon on that text, pp. 4 ff.). Christ will destroy the food and support of the enemies of his church by showing the inconsistency of false doctrines, by bringing them and comparing one with another to show that they can have no union, but have as it were a firebrand between. Then the great number of foxes represents the multitude of heresies that infect the church. Foxes also represent the crafty enemies of the church in general. Christ will destroy the food of the Philistines by setting the enemies of the church at variance one with another by causing them, against their wills, to counterwork each other, as he set the builders of Babel at variance, and as he often made the enemies of his people to kill one another, and so delivered Israel, as the Midianites before Gideon and other instances

2:16

How, then, would you have reason to rejoice if you should find Jesus Christ. How would you then find “the oil of joy for mourning and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness” [Isaiah 61:3].

If you find Christ, this glorious star, this excellent heavenly jewel, will be yours. He will be your own, your Savior, your Lord, your portion. Then may you say, as in Canticles 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” O how rich and happy will you be then! What will all the riches of kings be in comparison of yours? If you find this, what can you desire more? Would you desire a better treasure than the most precious jewel to be found anywhere, not only in this lower world but in the highest heavens itself?

  1. Cant. 2:16. “They that can say of Christ, ‘My beloved is mine and I am his,’ have great reason humbly to glory in such a privilege.”

“There can be no safety for the children of men, whatever their present circumstances may seem to be, as long as they go on in wickedness.” Jan. 1748. “Fast on occasion of the burning of the courthouse.”889.Matthew 21:31. “Self-righteousness is one of the greatest banes of the souls of men.” Jan. 1748.890.Canticles 2:16. “They that can say of Christ, ‘My beloved is mine and I am his,’ have great reason humbly to glory in such a privilege.” Feb. 1748.891.Ephesians 6:4. “1. That parents should bring up their children in Christianity…”


…as great and glorious as he is, yet he, with all his dignity and glory is hers; all is wholly given to her, to be fully possessed and enjoyed by her, to the utmost degree that she is capable of. Therefore we have her so often saying in the language of exultation and triumph, “My beloved is mine, and I am his,” in the book of Canticles, Canticles 2:16, and Canticles 6:3 and Canticles 7:10.

Canticles 3:1.

Second branch of this exhortation, to exhort those that have the presence of God to the second thing mentioned {in the doctrine}, viz. earnestly seek God. Thus you that have found Christ should hold Christ fast and not let him go. As the spouse says, Canticles 3 at the beginning, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth.”


Hungering and thirsting after spiritual good. Psalms 84:1–3, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, even the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altar, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.” Psalms 130:6, “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say more than they that watch for the morning.” Psalms 143:6–7, “My soul thirsteth after thee, as [a] thirsty land.” Canticles 3:1–2, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city

Song 3:1-2, 5:8

So holy desire, exercised in longings, hungerings and thirstings after God and holiness, is often mentioned in Scripture as an important part of true religion.

“By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth. I sought him, but I found him not.”] This represents the church’s seeking Christ (God’s people’s seeking his gracious returns to his church, and his presence in it), when the church is in a low state, and when it is a dark time as to the interest in the world. Though at such times God’s saints have a true love to Christ, and they do sincerely seek him, yet they seek him as it were on their beds in a dull, and a comparatively slothful and sleepy manner. But before Christ remarkably returns to his church, she must be more in earnest. She must arise off from her bed, and “go about the city,” etc. Canticles 3:2].

Canticles 3:2

“In the streets, and in the broad ways.”] I.e. in the use of public ordinances and means of grace.

3:3

They that have the care of a city in time of war, and especially at a time when the city is encompassed by enemies that lay siege to it, are wont, if faithful, to maintain incessant vigilance to defend it. The watchmen of the city in such a case had need to watch strictly, for they have the care of the lives of men. Ministers are from time to time represented in Scripture as the watchmen that have the care of the city of God; as Canticles 3:3 and Canticles 5:7; Isaiah 52:8 and Isaiah 62:6, and in other places. These watchmen han’t only the care of the lives of men’s bodies, but of their souls, which are infinitely more precious. ‘Tis expected of them that they should behave themselves as those that both kept and built the city of Jerusalem, in Nehemiah’s time, while they were continually observed by malicious and subtle enemies, that diligently sought by all means to circumvent them, and to destroy the city and people; who with one hand wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon; holding spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared; and had a trumpet always at hand to sound, to give warning of any appearing danger, and did not put off their clothes, nor lay up their weapons, day nor night, Nehemiah 4, from the Nehemiah 4:16–23.

Song of Solomon 3:4

That the application of faith may be without the application of assurance. The application of faith we must have.… God offered pardon and life to you, and you must consent to accept it; and that Christ may be yours, and you his, to the end propounded in the gospel, you must choose him and depend upon him as the only Mediator, resolving to venture your souls and all your hopes upon him. You are not Christians without it. But it may be all this while you do not know that he doth or will own you, because the sincerity of faith and love is doubtful to you.
Second [Obs.]. The one is necessary, the other comfortable. The one is necessary, which application is expressed diversely in Scripture. Sometimes by receiving Christ (John 1:12). We receive him to be a Lord to us and a Savior to us. ‘Tis also expressed by apprehending Christ (Philippians 3:2). The words of the spouse do explain this, Canticles 3:4, “I held him, and would not let him go.” Again, this application is expressed by putting on the Lord Jesus. Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” So John 6:56, it is expressed by eating of his flesh and drinking his blood.

Canticles 3:4.] It cost the spouse much to find her beloved, but when she found him she held him so much the faster. So it is with the saints. The longer it is before they find Christ, the more pains, and care, and self-denial it costs them, the more choice they will be of their privilege when they have found Christ, and the more careful not to let him go.

Solomon’s Song of Songs 3:5

Refer to 2:7, 3:5, 8:4

and or here.

Canticles 3:6

“Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?”] This represents the abundance of merit with which Christ came out of his passion and state of humiliation. In coming out of his state of humiliation, he as it were came out of a dreadful wilderness; and he came forth like great cloud of incense, for then he had finished his purchase. He arose and ascended from this humiliation like a great cloud of incense up to heaven, perfumed with all manner of sweet spices, for when he had finished his passion, he entered into the holiest of all with his own blood, with the incense of his abundant merits, as the high priest of old entered into the holy of holies with a cloud of incense. We read, Ezek.  Canticles 8:11, of “a thick cloud of incense” going up. And another thing that is probably meant by it is Christ’s coming forth out of his humiliation in the glory of his divinity. The glory of the divinity is represented by the cloud of glory. While in his humiliation his divinity was veiled; but when he [was] exalted, he reassumed the glory he had with the Father before the world was.

We find this question, “Who is this?” often asked in Scripture on occasion of Christ’s coming forth out in his merits, triumph, and glory after his sufferings and conflicts with his enemies. See note on Psalms 24:7–10, no. 308 

The righteous will be joyfully conducted, probably by the angels, to Christ Jesus. Their joy will as it were give them wings to carry ’em thither. They will with ecstasies and rapture of delight meet their friend and Savior, and come into his presence and stand at his right hand.

Canticles 3:9–10

“King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.”] This probably represents the same thing with Jacob’s ladder, and the way by which Solomon went up to the house of the Lord, which the queen of Sheba admired so much, even the way of salvation. The chariot was made “of the wood of Lebanon,” very durable, for the covenant by Christ is “an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure” [2 Samuel 23:5]. The “pillars thereof of silver,” a precious metal, and the whitest and brightest of all metals, representing the righteousness of Christ, which in the affair of our salvation is as it were the pillars that support the building, and which is precious, and perfectly pure, and bright. The “bottom thereof of gold,” representing Christ’s divinity and the infinite dignity of his person, which [is] the precious foundation of everything that belongs to the salvation of Christ, the foundation on which stands the infinite merit and sufficiency of his righteousness. The stones for the foundations of the temple were costly stones, and the foundation that God lays in Zion is spoken of as a precious stone (Isaiah 28:16). The same was represented by the golden altar of incense. The gold was the foundation on which the incense (representing Christ’s righteousness) was offered, and whence it ascended up to God. See note on Canticles 5:11. The covering of the chariot was “of purple,” representing the sufferings and propitiation of Christ by which believers are sheltered from the winds and storms of God’s wrath. The same was represented by the covering of the tabernacle made of ram skins (the skins of rams offered in sacrifices dyed red). This covering rested on the silver pillars and the foundation of gold. So the sufficiency of Christ’s sufferings depends on his innocency and the perfection of his righteousness performed in his going through his sufferings, and on the infinite dignity of his person. The “midst thereof was paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.” ‘Tis said that the bottom thereof was gold. Christ’s divinity and infinite dignity is the foundation of that redemption that Christ wrought out, and yet the pavement is said to be love to “the daughters of Jerusalem.” In some respects, free and sovereign grace, and eternal electing love to those that were to be believers, is the foundation of redemption. ‘Tis the foundation of everything belonging to it, as for them, directed for them, and prepared for them, and applied to them. Everything that was contrived and done for the redemption and salvation of believers, and every benefit they have by it, is wholly and perfectly from the free, eternal, distinguishing love and infinite grace of Christ towards them. We read of God’s “chariots of salvation” (Habakkuk 3:8). See SSS on these two verses.1

Canticles 3:10–11.]

That “the daughters of Jerusalem and Zion” are so often mentioned in this song as much concerned in what is said of the excellency and love of the bridegroom is an argument that the song is divine, or the bridegroom is Christ, because God’s people, the members of the visible church, are so often elsewhere called the daughter or “daughters of Jerusalem and Zion.”

3:11

The church is Christ’s mother, types.

This earnest, incessant preaching of ministers shall be in the first place to the visible church of God, that is represented in the Old Testament both as the wife and mother of Christ. She is represented as his mother. Micah 4:10, “Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail”; with the next chapter, Micah 4:2–3, “Thou Bethlehem Ephratah… out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel… Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth.” Isaiah 9:6, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Canticles 3:11, “Behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him.”

Canticles 3:11.

“The crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, in the day of the gladness of his heart.”] Here, first, the bridegroom was crowned in token of his possession of and dominion over the bride. The church of Christ sets the crown upon Christ’s head in the day of his espousals to his bride, i.e. in the conversion of the soul. Christ is crowned as king by God the Father, and not only so, but also by the church, his mother. Crowning a king was a ceremony equivalent to anointing, but Christ is anointed not only by God, but also by his church. See notes on Ezekiel 19:1, Ezekiel 19:5; Daniel 9:25; and Mark 14:3. The soul of a believer, when converted, does set the crown on Christ’s head in these two respects. 1. In willingly and joyfully ascribing to him the glory and honor of his dominion over all things, with their whole heart concurring with God the Father in setting the crown upon him, acknowledging that he is worthy of the glory above all others, doing as the four and twenty elders do who cast down their crowns at his feet (Revelation 4:10), and saying as they do (Revelation 5:12) “with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,” etc. And 2. In choosing of him, and willingly submitting to him as their king by giving up their hearts to Christ, devoting themselves to him, becoming his willing people, setting Christ upon the throne of the heart, and with their own hands and with a joyful heart putting the crown on his head there, giving him the possession of the heart, setting him in the highest place above all other lords or lovers. The church sets the crown upon Christ’s head in the day of her espousals with him, in the same manner as when a people in elective kingdoms choose a king. They set the crown on his head, thenceforward honoring and obeying him as their sovereign.

But, secondly, the crown that was put upon the bridegroom in the day of his espousals was rather a crown of joy, of gladness, for crowns were used not only to betoken honor and dignity, but joy. Hence we read from time to time of a crown of joy and rejoicing. And though here by king Solomon’s mother and bride both is meant the church, yet it seems as if there should be some distinction in this affair in the espousals of Christ’s spiritual bride between the mother that crowns him with joy, and the bride over whom he rejoices. Therefore by his mother here seems especially to be meant the church as holding forth the word of Christ, and administering the ordinances of Christ, whereby souls are converted, and brought forth, and brought to an union and spiritual marriage with Christ. And therefore the ministers of the gospel seem especially to be intended by his mother, for they travail in birth with souls till Christ be formed in them (Galatians 4:19). When the church is spoken of under the character of a mother, the instructing part of the church is thereby especially intended. See Canticles 8:2. See note on 1 Corinthians 15:42, especially towards the latter end of the note. See Hosea 4:4–8, especially note on Hosea 4:5. See also 1 Thessalonians 2:7.


For he is the head of the glorified body, and the sight of the eyes that are in the head are for the information of the whole body. And what he enjoys they enjoy. They are with him in his honor and advancement. They are with him in his pleasures; they are with him in his enjoyment of the Father’s love, the love wherewith the Father loves him is in them, and he in them [John 17:22]. They are with him in the joy of his success on earth. They are with him in his joy at the conversion of one sinner. The good shepherd, “when he has found the sheep that was lost, he calls together his friends and neighbors saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost” (Luke 15:5–6). And they are with him in his joy at the conversion of nations and the world. The day of Christ’s espousals is the day of the gladness of his heart (Canticles 3:11). The day of the marriage of the Lamb is the day of Christ’s rejoicing. Isaiah 62:5, Zephaniah 3:17. So it is the day of the gladness and rejoicing of the hearts of saints in heaven. See Revelation 19:1–9. When he rides forth in this world, girding his sword on his thigh, in his glory and majesty to battle against Antichrist and other enemies, they are represented as riding forth in glory with him, Revelation 19:14, and in his triumph they triumph. They appear on Mt. Zion with him with palms in their hands [Revelation 7:9], and as Satan is bruised under his feet [Romans 16:20], he is bruised under their feet. The saints therefore have no more done with the state of the church and kingdom on earth, because they have left this world and have ascended into heaven, than Christ himself had, when he left the earth and ascended into heaven; who was so far from having done with the prosperity of his church and kingdom here, as to any immediate concern in these things by reason of his ascension, that he ascended to that very end, that he might be more concerned, that he might receive the glory and reward of the enlargement and prosperity of his church and conquest of his enemies here, that he might reign in this kingdom, and be under the best advantages for it, and might have the fullest enjoyment of the glory of it, as much as a king ascends a throne in order to reign over his people, and receive the honor and glory of his dominion over them.

Christ rejoices over his saints as the bridegroom over the bride at all times: but there are some seasons wherein he doth so more especially. Such a season is the time of the soul’s conversion; when the good shepherd finds his lost sheep, then he brings it home rejoicing, and calls together his friends and neighbors saying, “Rejoice with me.” The day of a sinner’s conversion is the day of Christ’s espousals; and so eminently the day of his rejoicing; Sol. Canticles 3:11, “Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.” And ’tis oftentimes remarkably the day of the saints’ rejoicing in Christ: for then God turns again the captivity of his elect people, and as it were, fills their mouth with laughter, and their tongue with singing; as in Psalms 126, at the beginning. We read of the jailor, that when he was converted, “he rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house” (Acts 16:34).

Canticles 4:1

“Thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Mt. Gilead.”] The hair is the fruit of the body, and probably here represents fruit in practice, as it does in the law of the leprosy [Leviticus 13]. The hair of the head is the fruit of the head. The head of the spouse may probably represent the elders of the church, so that by her hair being “as a flock of goats appearing from Mount Gilead” may be meant4 ministers and elders being especially as a city set on an hill, that is in open view, and can be seen at a distance, so that their good works appear. They are ensamples to the flock. They adorn the doctrine of Christ in the eye of the world. A fruitful hill appears differently from a barren one, even at a distance, by the flocks that appear feeding upon it.

Hair also in Scripture is made use of to represent thoughts, understanding, meditations, or the fruits of these meditations. So this may represent the living fruits of ministers’ studies.

Canticles 4:2.

“Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.”] This may probably represent the church’s ministers and teachers, who are in this mystical body as the teeth in the natural body. They first take the food of the body, which is the word of God, and by their studies they prepare it for the nourishment of the body, as the teeth do our natural food by chewing it. These are represented by sheep to show that ministers should be harmless and gentle, imitating their Lord and Master in those virtues, agreeable to the rules in the epistles to Timothy and Titus, not like the clergy of the Church of Rome, haughty, voracious, and cruel, more like wolves than sheep. They should be real sheep, and not wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They are said to be like a “flock” of sheep. For ministers should act in concert as coworkers and fellow helpers, as the teeth in the body natural, and should often meet together in council, should be congregated as a flock to assist one another in promoting the public good of the church. They are said to be as a flock of “shorn” sheep, for so it is in the original,6 to represent that faithful ministers don’t fleece their people to clothe themselves, but rather yield their own fleeces to clothe their people. They spend and are spent for the good of their souls. They “every one bear twins,” etc., to represent their fruitfulness and success.

“Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, that came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.”] “Ministers are the teeth of the church that, as nurses, chew the meat for the babes in Christ. (The Chaldee Paraphrase applies it to the priests and Levites, who fed upon the sacrifices.)… These are compared to a flock of sheep. Christ calls his disciples and ministers a ‘little flock’ [Luke 12:32].” Henry.8 They are “even shorn.” Faithful ministers, instead of fleecing the flocks they have the care of for themselves, yield their fleece to the flock. They are willing to spend and be spent for them. They are as sheep that come up from the washing when about to be shorn. So ministers had need to be pure themselves in order to yield pure spiritual clothing to their people. “Whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren amongst them.” Fruitful ministers are not wont to be barren ministers.

Canticles 4:3.

“Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet.”] “Scripture,” no. 486

  1. Canticles 4:3. “Thy lips are as like a thread of scarlet.” There is probably a special respect to the speech of the saints in prayer, which is dyed in the blood of Christ, and by this means becomes pleasant, and acceptable, and of an attractive influence, like a scarlet cord, to draw down blessings. The prayers of saints are lovely and prevalent only through the incense of Christ’s merits.

 

Something in the kingdom of the Messiah is spoken of in the prophecies under the name of pomegranates, which were represented in the work of the tabernacle and temple (Canticles 4:3, Canticles 4:13, and Canticles 6:7, Canticles 6:11, and Canticles 7:12 and Canticles 8:2)

Canticles 4:4.

4:4-4:5

“Thy neck is like the tower of David.”] “Scripture,” no.487

487. Canticles 4:4. “Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” This probably represents faith, for it is that by which the church is united to her head, for Christ is her head. Or if we look at ministers as a subordinate head, yet they are so no otherwise than as they represent Christ, and act as his ministers. And the same that is the union of believers to Christ is their union to ministers, and in receiving them, they receive him. ‘Tis by the same faith whereby they receive Christ and obey his word, that they receive and obey the instructions of ministers, for their instructions are no other than the word of Christ by them. Faith is the church’s life, and strength, and constant support, and supply, as the neck is to the body. Faith is the church’s shield (Ephesians 6:16); it is the church’s armory, furnishing her with shields, because it provides them out of Christ’s fullness, which is contained in the promises. 

Canticles 4:5

“Thy two breasts are like two young roes.”] “Scripture,” no. 488

  1. Canticles 4:5. “Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.” “Like two young roes,” i.e. fair, loving, and pleasant (see Proverbs 5:19). Roes “which feed among the lilies,” not in a wilderness, but in a good pasture, or a pleasant garden, fair and flourishing. And by their having the white unspotted lilies for their nourishment may also represent her chastity and purity, that her breasts are not defiled by an impure love. By the church’s breasts are meant means of grace. See Canticles 8:1, Canticles 8:8, and Isaiah 66:11, [and] 1 Peter 2:2. These two breasts may signify the same with the two olive trees with the two golden pipes emptying “the golden oil out of themselves,” and the two anointed ones (Zechariah 4:3, Zechariah 4:11–12, Zechariah 4:14), and the two witnesses in Revelation, and the two testaments, and two sacraments. Another thing meant is Love. (See No. 495.) The two breasts are love to God and love to men.

 

 

Canticles 4:6

“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense.”] I.e. I will get me to heaven “till the day break,” i.e. till the morning of the day comes of my glorious kingdom and my church’s light and joy, either at the commencement of the church’s glory on earth, when Christ will descend from heaven to the earth spiritually, or the resurrection day, the morning of the eternal day of the church’s consummate glory, when Christ will descend in his human nature. See Canticles 8:14.

Canticles 4:8.

  1. Canticles 4:8. “Christ calls and invites souls that are under the most dark and dismal circumstances to look to him.”

“Come with me from Lebanon.”] No. 228

  1. Solomon’s Canticles 4:8. “Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.” This call and invitation of Jesus Christ may be looked upon as directed either to her that is already actually the spouse of Christ, or her that is7 called and invited to be his spouse, that is already his spouse no otherwise than in his gracious election. So the Gentiles are called a “sister” in the last chapter of this song, even before they were in a church estate, before she had any breasts [Canticles 8:8]. So in the Isaiah 43, where respect is had to the calling of the Gentiles, God calls those his sons and daughters that were so as yet only in his decree of election. Isaiah 43:6, “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

The state that persons, while at a distance from Christ, are in is a wilderness, a state of sin; and this world is a wilderness. Christ here invites his spouse away from sin and the world. Lebanon was the pleasant and delightful part of the wilderness with tall pleasant cedars. Hermon and “the lions’ dens,” etc., is theterrible part of it. Christ earnestly invites us to come to him, away from the honors and pleasures of the sinful state. And this is the way to be delivered from dangers and dreadful things that belong to this state, and to be delivered from persecutors and all the enemies and afflictions of this world. SSS.6

“lions and leopards”  fit objects of danger.

. David slew a lion and bear and delivered a lamb out of their mouths. So the enemies of the Messiah and his people are in the prophecies compared to a lion

the most wild and barbarous nations, Tabor and Hermon, that were noted haunts of wild beasts ( Psalms 87:12 , compared with Canticles 4:8, Psalms 42:6 and Hosea 5:1); and the nations of Arabia and Ethiopia in very many places (see “Fulfillment of Prophecies of Messiah”

The remarkable agreement between what we are told of Daniel, and Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, and what is said in the prophecies of the Messiah and his people, is such as naturally leads us to suppose the former a designed type of the latter. Compare Daniel 3 and Daniel 6 with Isaiah 48:10 and Isaiah 43:2, and Psalms 22:20–21 and Psalms 35:17, Canticles 4:8.

Lebanon, Amana, Shenir, and Hermon were certain noted mountains in the wilderness, in the confines of the land of Canaan, that were wild and uninhabited. Hence the wonderful work of God in turning barbarous and heathenish countries to Christianity is compared to the turning such a wild forest as Lebanon into a fruitful field. Isaiah 29:17, “Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?” They were mountains that were haunts of wild beasts, and probably some of them at least very much frequented by lions and leopards, those most fierce and terrible of wild beasts. They were places where lions had their dens, and either these or some other noted mountains in the wilderness were so frequented by leopards, that they were called “the mountains of the leopards.” ‘Tis from such places as these that the spouse, or she that is invited to be the spouse, is invited to look to Jesus Christ, where she was without the limits of the pleasant land of Canaan, wandering and lost in a howling wilderness, where she was in continual danger of being devoured, and falling a prey to these terrible creatures. Christ graciously calls and invites her to look to him from the tops of these desolate mountains towards the land of Canaan, and towards the holy city Jerusalem where he dwelt, though far off. Yea, to come with him, for Christ is come into this wilderness to seek and save her that is lost, to come and leave those horrid places, and come and dwell with him in the pleasant land, yea, in the city Jerusalem, that is the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth. Yea, though the lions had actually seized her and carried her into their dens, there to be a feast for them, yet Christ calls and encourages her to look to him from the lions’ dens.

David represents his praying to God in a state of exile and in distressing circumstances by his remembering God from the land of the Hermonites (Psalms 42:6). Christ saves souls out of the dens of lions, as he did Daniel [Daniel 6], and out of the mouths of wild beasts, as David did the lamb from the mouth of the lion and the bear [1 Samuel 17:34–36]. He invites sinners that are naturally under the dominion of Satan, that roaring lion that goes about, “seeking whom he may devour” [1 Peter 5:8], and invites saints under the greatest darkness, and distresses, and temptations, and buffetings of Satan to look to him.

“The just shall live by faith” [Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11]. So Psalms 22:26 and Psalms 70:4. And so Amos 5:4, “For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live”; and Amos 5:6, “Seek the Lord, and ye shall live”; and Amos 5:8, “Seek him that made the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning.” Canticles 4:8, “Look from the top of Amana.” Isaiah 17:7–8, “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.” Isaiah 45:22, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Jonah 2:4, “I will look again towards thine holy temple.”

  1. Cant. 4:8. “Christ calls and invites souls that are under the most dark and dismal circumstances to look to him.”

An example of a more integral discussion of a citation from Poole occurs in Edwards’ comments on Canticles 4:8 where he draws on Poole’s christological interpretation of the Song of Solomon in which Christ “invites his spouse away from sin and the world,” symbolized by the wilderness, to a “pleasant and delightful” abode (pp. 620–21)

The place where David and his men went was the wilderness (2 Samuel 15:28). So David in the Psalms 42, which probably was penned on this occasion, speaks of himself as an exile in the wilderness of Mt. Hermon, a place noted for beasts of prey. (See Canticles 4:8, “Look from Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.”) So the church is represented as flying away into the wilderness to reside there during the reign of Antichrist (Revelation 12:14).

Canticles 4:9.

“My sister, my spouse.”] No. 336

  1. Canticles. ‘Tis one argument that the BOOK OF CANTICLES is no common love song, that the bridegroom or lover there spoken of so often calls his beloved, “my sister, my spouse.” This well agrees with Christ’s relation to believers, who is become our brother and near kinsman by taking upon him our nature, and is our brother, and the son of our mother by his incarnation, as thereby he became a son of the church, and used the ordinances appointed in it, and so has sucked the breasts of our mother [Canticles 8:1]; and we are become his brethren also by the adoption of his Father. But this appellation would not well suit a common spouse among the Jews, who were so strictly forbidden to marry any that were near of kin to them, and particularly to marry a sister. Leviticus 18:9, “The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or the daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.” ‘Tis neither likely that the Jews would marry such in Solomon’s time, nor that it would be the custom to compare their spouses to such, especially that they would insist so much on such an appellation, as though it was an amiable thing, and a thing to be thought of and mentioned with delight and pleasure, to have a spouse that was a sister, when God’s law taught them to dread and abhor the thoughts of it.

“One of thine eyes.” No. 435.

  1. Canticles 4:9. “Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.” What that one chain of the spouse’s neck is, that does so peculiarly ravish the heart of Christ, we may learn by Psalms 45:10–11. “Forget thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty.” The thing here recommended to the spouse, in order to the king’s greatly desiring or being ravished with her beauty, is poverty of spirit. That this peculiarly delights and attracts the heart of Christ is agreeable to many scriptures. 1 Peter 3:3–4, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold, and putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” This is in a peculiar manner a sweet savor to God (Psalms 51:17). This in a peculiar manner draws the eye of God (Isaiah 60:2), and attracts his presence (Isaiah 57:15, and Psalms 34:18). Or perhaps it may be the eye of faith that includes poverty of spirit and love; these graces, being exercised in faith, are peculiarly acceptable. Faith derives beauty from Christ’s righteousness, by which all mixture of deformity is hid.

Such is Christ’s love to a true Christian that he is jealous for his good and welfare, and nothing will soever provoke him than to see any injure him. Matthew 18:6, “If any offend one of these little ones.” And such is the spirit of a Christian towards Christ [that] he is jealous for his glory. He has a spirit of zeal for the glory of his Redeemer, and nothing will more grieve and offend him than to see him dishonored and his interest suffering. Christ and the soul of the true Christian have a mutual complacence in each other, and hath delight in the believer. Isaiah 62:5, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth [over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee].” Christ is exceedingly well-pleased and takes sweet delight in the graces and virtues of the Christian, in that beauty and loveliness which he hath put upon him. Canticles 4:9, “Thou hast ravished my heart.”


Christ loves the true Christian with a love of benevolence from love to him. He seeks and promises his deliverance from eternal misery and from all evil, and his enjoyment of a most exceeding and eternal glory and happiness. Such is Christ’s love to the Christian that nothing is esteemed too good, too great an happiness or honor to be bestowed, or too much to do or to suffer to procure it. The Christian is in his nature of the same spirit and disposition towards Christ. His love to Christ causes him earnestly to define his honor and glory, and to seek that more than all his temporal interests, profits, or pleasures.


That such an act should be made so much of, is worthy to be inquired into. And there are these two reasons may be given of it:

First. Because it was a testimony of sincere gracious respect she had to Christ in her heart. Christ takes great notice of a little true religion. If there be but so much as a cup of cold water given in love to Christ, it shall in [no] case lose its reward.

This act of the woman’s was not worthy in itself to be made so much of, but in the eye of the grace of Christ it was a great thing: for he saw the love that she did it from. And the graces of the saints are exceeding precious in his eyes, for his heart is ravished with [them]. Canticles 4:9, “Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.”


Christ and his church, like the bridegroom and bride, rejoice in each other, as in those that are the objects of each others’ most tender and ardent love. The love of Christ to his church is altogether unparalleled: the height and depth and length and breadth of it pass knowledge: for he loved the church, and gave himself for it; and his love to her proved stronger than death. And on the other hand, she loves him with a supreme affection: nothing stands in competition with him in her heart: she loves him with all her heart: her whole soul is offered up to him in the flame of love. And Christ rejoices and has sweet rest and delight in his love to the church; Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty: he will save: he will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love: he will joy over thee with singing.” So the church in the exercises of her love to Christ, rejoices with unspeakable joy; 1 Peter 1:7–8, “Jesus Christ: whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.”

Christ and his church rejoice in each others’ beauty. The church rejoices in Christ’s divine beauty and glory. She as it were sweetly solaces herself in the light of the glory of the Sun of Righteousness; and the saints say one to another, as in Isaiah 2:5, “O house of Jacob, come ye, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” The perfections and virtues of Christ are as a perfumed ointment to the church, that make his very name to be to her as ointment poured forth; Canticles 1:3, “Because of the savor of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love thee.” And Christ delights and rejoices in the beauty of the church, the beauty which he hath put upon her: her Christian graces are “ornaments of great price in his sight” (1 Peter 3:4). And he is spoken of as “greatly desiring her beauty” (Psalms 45:11). Yea he himself speaks of his heart as ravished with her beauty; Canticles 4:9, “Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.

4:10

And grace or divine love in the soul is naturally represented by a sweet perfumed ointment. For as that is sweet and has an excellent savor, so has the grace of God, and it brings an excellent savor and sweetness in the soul.

The Spirit of God, or the author of grace in the soul, was of old typified by a perfumed ointment, as by the holy anointing oil that was used in the tabernacle and temple. Exodus 37:29, “And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.” This was a type of the Spirit of God as given in his gracious influences on the heart. So Christ compares the graces of his spouse to sweet perfumed ointments. Cant. Canticles 4:10, “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!” As Mary’s ointment was very precious and costly, so is that grace that is in the heart of a saint. It is a most precious thing and very costly. It cost a great price. All the silver and gold in the world would not have purchased it. It cost Christ’s precious blood. Mary poured her sweet ointment upon Christ; so does the grace that is in the heart of a saint, when in exercise, flow out to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is anointed by the church as Jacob anointed the pillar, and as all Israel anointed David.

 

Canticles 4:12

  1. Exodus 15:27. “And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they encamped there by the waters.” These “twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees” are a representation of the church. The twelve wells of water answer to the twelve tribes, twelve patriarchs, twelve heads of the tribes, and twelve apostles. They signify the church itself, and then they answer to the twelve tribes. The church is compared to a fountain or spring of water (Canticles 4:12). The hearts of believers are like wells of living water, the water being the grace of the Spirit. Or they signify the ministry of the church, and so they answer to the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles. The twelve patriarchs were the fathers and fountains of Israel, according to the flesh; the twelve apostles and gospel ministers are the fathers of Israel spiritually. Through the twelve apostles, Christ delivered his pure doctrine to the world..

First. In some respects God makes a separation between the saints and the rest of the world. He calls ’em out, as it were, from among [the others], causes ’em to stand at a distance. He separates ’em, as it were, by a wall by which they are enclosed, as an husbandman that tills a field or garden in the wilderness walls it in. Canticles 4:12, “a garden enclosed” separates ’em by a wall of defense, as the mountains are round about Jerusalem. “Salvation will God appoint for walls and for bulwarks” [Isaiah 26:1], as it was with Israel in Egypt in the land of Goshen.

Song 4:13-14

This holy anointing oil signified the Holy Ghost. The priests were anointed with this oil to signify Christ’s being anointed with the Holy Ghost, and the spices and fragrancy of the ointment signified the graces of the spirit of God. Therefore, when it is said in this verse, “because of the savor of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth,” it intends “because of thy graces and excellencies.” Spiritual grace and excellency is often compared in this song to the same spices that the holy anointing oil was compounded [of], especially in the thirteenth and fourteenth verses of the fourth chapter

Song 4:16

When the spouse prays for the effusion of the Holy Spirit, and the coming of Christ, by granting the tokens of his spiritual presence in his church, saying ( Canticles 4:16), “Awake, O north wind


The Spirit of God is represented as giving life to the body and infusing the living soul into it in a resurrection, or restoration to life: Ezekiel 37:9–10, there called “wind” and “breath.” But the same word in the original which signifies “wind” and “breath” signifies “spirit.” And the Spirit of God is often in Scripture expressly compared to wind, as in John 3:8, Acts 2:2, Canticles 4:16. If it be the work of the Spirit of God to give understanding to the soul of man, we may well argue from that that ’tis the work of the Spirit of God to give that rational, intelligent thing the soul, and that the faculty of understanding, as well as the habit, is from him. But giving understanding to the heart is spoken of as the work of the Spirit of God. Job 32:8, “there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding.” Compare Job 35:11 and Job 38:36, Proverbs 2:6, Daniel 2:21.

Canticles 5:1.

“Drink abundantly, O beloved.”] Ephesians 5:18 note.

117Cant. 5:1. “Persons need not and ought not to set any bounds to their spiritual and gracious appetites.”

I will heal your backslidings: behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God,” i.e., the backsliding children shall say, “Behold, we come unto thee,” etc. And in Canticles 4:16, and Canticles 5:1. “Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

Again, we may further argue from the misery of the damned: as God will have no manner of regard to the welfare of the damned, will have no pity, no merciful care, least they should be too miserable. They will be perfectly lost and thrown away by God as to any manner of care for their good, or defence from any degree of misery. There will be no merciful restraint to God’s wrath; so, on the contrary, with respect to the saints, there will be no happiness too much for them. God wont begrutch anything as too good for them. There will be no restraint to his love, no restraint to their enjoyment of himself; nothing will be too full, too inward and intimate for them to be admitted to, but Christ will say to his saints, as in Canticles 5:1, “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, be drunken, O beloved.”

This is agreeable to what is revealed of the blessedness of the church in the Psalms 21, and in the book of Solomon’s Song. That song in all parts of it is an abundant revelation of such a nearness, and intimacy of union and communion, and fullness of enjoyment, as we have been speaking of; and particularly such expressions in it as, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth”; “the king hath brought me into his chambers,” i.e. the chambers of a bridegroom; “come let us go forth into the villages, and there will I give thee my love”; “a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts”; also, “our bed is green”; “Solomon made a bed of the wood of Lebanon,” etc. [Canticles 1:1, Canticles 1:4; Canticles 7:11–12; Canticles 1:13, Canticles 1:16; Canticles 3:9]. And also the Psalms 45; and innumerable other places of Scripture that compare the union and communion that is between Christ and his church to that which is between a bridegroom and bride.

Corol. 1. HUMILIATION. Hence we may see a reason why HUMILIATION should be required in order to a title to these benefits, and why such abundant care has been exercised in all God’s dispensations with fallen man to make provision for man’s humiliation, and self-diffidence, and self-emptiness; why ’tis so ordered and contrived that it should not be by our own righteousness, but altogether by the righteousness of another, viz. that there might be the more effectual provision to keep the creature humble, and in the place of a creature, in such exceeding exaltation, and that the honor of God’s majesty and exaltation above the creature might in all be maintained; and how needful is it to believe those truths; and how far those DOCTRINES are FUNDAMENTAL or important that tend to this; and how much they militate against the design and drift of God in the contrivance for our redemption that maintain contrary doctrines.

Corol. 2. Hence we may learn that a believer has more [liberty] to be free and bold in access to Christ, than to any other person in heaven or earth. The papists WORSHIP ANGELS and SAINTS as intercessors between Christ and them, because they say it is too much boldness to go to Christ without some [one] to intercede for them. But we have far more to embolden and encourage us to go freely and immediately to Christ, than we can have to any of the angels. The angels are none of them so near to us as Christ is; we han’t that propriety in them. Yea, we have a great deal more to encourage and invite us to freedom of access to and communion with Christ, than with our fellow worms; there is not the thousandth part of that to draw us to freedom and nearness towards them, as there is towards Christ. Yea, though Christ is much above us, yet he is nearer to us than the saints themselves, for our nearness to them is by him; our relation to them is through him.


Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me.” But “friends of Christ” is the common appellation in Scripture given to all the people of Christ that have an interest in him; Luke 12:4, “I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” These are the people that Christ died for, and [they] have interest in the salvation procured by his death; John 15:13–14, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Canticles 5:1, “Eat, O friends.” But surely they are not true friends of Christ who have no love to him.


When the saints shall see Christ’s glory and exaltation in heaven, it will indeed possess their hearts with the greater admiration and adoring respect, but will not awe them into any separation, but will serve only to heighten their surprise and joy, when they find Christ condescending to admit them to such intimate access, and so freely and fully communicating himself to them.

So that if we choose Christ for our friend and portion, we shall hereafter be so received to him, that there shall be nothing to hinder the fullest enjoyment of him, to the satisfying the utmost cravings of our souls. We may take our full swing at gratifying our spiritual appetite after these holy pleasures. Christ will then say, as in Canticles 5:1, “Eat, O friends. Drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved.” And this shall be our entertainment to all eternity! There shall never be any end of this happiness, or anything to interrupt our enjoyment of it, or in the least to molest us in it!

Second. By your being united to Christ, you will have a more glorious union with and enjoyment of, God the Father, than otherwise could be. For hereby the saints’ relation to God becomes much nearer; they are the children of God in an higher manner, than otherwise could be. For being members of God’s own natural Son, they are in a sort partakers of his relation to the Father: they are not only sons of God by regeneration, but by a kind of communion in the sonship of the eternal Son. This seems to be intended, Galatians 4:4–6, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” The church is the daughter of God, not only as he hath begotten her by his word and spirit, but as she is the spouse of his eternal Son.

So we being members of the Son, are partakers in our measure, of the Father’s love to the Son, and complacence in him. John 17:23, “I in them, and thou in me.…Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” And John 17:26, “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them.” And John 16:27, “The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” So we shall, according to our capacities, be partakers of the Son’s enjoyment of God, and have his joy fulfilled in ourselves (John 17:13). And by this means, we shall come to an immensely higher, more intimate, and full enjoyment of God, than otherwise could have been. For there is doubtless an infinite intimacy between the Father and the Son; which is expressed by his being in the bosom of the Father. And saints being in him, shall, in their measure and manner, partake with him in it, and of the blessedness of it.


The good that is promised them is of the highest kind. ‘Tis a mansion, an inheritance in heaven, the highest and the most glorious part of the creation, {the most glorious} palace {in heaven} that God hath built. And then the happiness that is promised them is the full enjoyment of God, without restraint, in the boldness and nearness of excess, in the cold draughts they take. Canticles 5:1, “Eat, O friend; yea, drink; yea, be drunken.” If the greatest good that God gives them even in himself, what can God give more than himself? He gives himself with all his attributes, power {glory, dominion, and majesty}. And he gives himself in the highest possible enjoyment {to his people}, as much as they can desire, or are capable of. {And he gives himself to} fully satisfy {their happiness}. For giving himself, he gives all things. 1 Corinthians 3:21–22, “All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.”

[He gives us the] highest honor, “[and hath made us] kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6). [We shall] reign with Christ in the same kingdom. [We shall] sit down in his throne (Revelation 3:21), [and] judge the world with him (1 Corinthians 6, at the beginning).

The happiness they shall reign [in] is eternal, [the] length of days forever.

III. And lastly, to give the reason why it is so. And no other reason can be given of it than that God’s goodness is without bounds. It can’t be resolved into anything in us, {nor into} anything in any of our fellow creatures. We are to seek for the ground of this only in the heart of God.


Application

If you would not expose yourself to be led aside by the devil, don’t affect to go beyond the rule. [Don’t affect to go] beyond the present state. [Don’t affect] utterly to root out and abolish all natural affections. [Don’t affect] to pray no more for near relations than others. [They go beyond the rule who] neglect to take care of their families to spend all their time in religion.

7. Don’t spend much time in disputing about religious offenders. ‘Tis none of your business to go about to regulate disorders. Take heed that while you blame others for invading the office of a minister, you don’t invade it yourself. I desire you would come to me and talk with me. I claim it as what belongs to me to regulate.

8. Let nothing that is said against high transports discourage the highest degree of a spiritual sense. Be filled as full as you will. Let the effect on your bodies be what they [will]. Ephesians 5:18, “be not drunk with wine.” Canticles 5:1, “eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink [abundantly].”

  1. Help one another in religious conversation. How beautiful [it is] to see a company talking together of [the] things of the glory of Christ. When you meet together accidentally, if your spirits are solemnized by religious conversation, [then] sing praises.

Christ and his church rejoice in communion with each other, as in being united in their happiness, and having fellowship, and a joint participation in each others’ good: as the bridegroom and bride rejoice together at the wedding feast, and as thenceforward they are joint partakers of each others’ comforts and joys: Revelation 3:20, “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and sup with him, and he with me.” The church has fellowship with Christ in his own happiness, and his divine entertainments; his joy is fulfilled in her, John 15:11 and John 17:13. She sees light in his light; and she is made to drink at the river of his own pleasures, Psalms 36:8–9. And Christ brings her to eat and drink at his own table, to take her fill of his own entertainments; Canticles 5:1, “Eat O friends, drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved.” And he, on the other hand, has fellowship with her; he feasts with her; her joys are his; and he rejoices in that entertainment that she provides for him. So Christ is said to feed among the lilies, Canticles 2:16. And Canticles 7:13, she speaks of “all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which she had laid up for him”; and says to him, Canticles 4:16, “Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruit”: and he makes answer in the next verse, “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb, with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk.”

Canticles 5:2.

“I sleep, but my heart waketh.”] It may be well explained by those words of Christ to his disciples, Matthew 26:41, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He suffered great poverty so that he had not “where to lay his head,” Matthew 8:20, and commonly used to lodge abroad in the open air for want of a shelter to betake himself to, as you will see is manifestif you compare the following places together which I shall but name to you: even Matthew 8:20, and John 18:1–2, and Luke 21:37, and Luke 22:39. So that what is spoken of Christ in Canticles 5:2, “My head is [filled] with dew and my locks [with the drops of the night]” was literally ‹fulfilled›. And through his poverty he doubtless was often pinched with hunger and cold. His mother and natural relations were poor and not able to help him. And Christ was maintained by the charity of some of his disciples while he lived. So we read in Luke 8, at beginning, of certain women that followed him and “ministered to him of their substance.”

( I tend to think this above understand is off,  Edwards comes at the text already believing everything is talking about Jesus and not Solomon the type and argue to the greater anti-type.  Which is what the types were for.  Edwards reads being poor into the text.  The mind thinks of Christ, he was poor, so I wonder if in the Song Christ is poor?, so the mind thinks of texts that could be interpreted that way like Song 5:2.  The idea is that the husband is outside and wants to be with his wife.  And she is not as ready and willing to experience closer intimacy when he does)

Second. Consider how earnestly Jesus Christ invites you to come to him and trust in him: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have mingled.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” “All ye that are weary and heavy laden, come unto me and I will give you rest.” “He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any hear my voice, let him open the door, and I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.” “My head is wet with the dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.”  These statements, frequently rather free renderings of the biblical originals, are drawn from the following places: Isaiah 55:1, Proverbs 9:4–5, John 7:37, Matthew 11:28, John 6:37, Revelation 3:20, Canticles 5:2, Revelation 22:17, respectively.

5:2 and 6:9

  1. Luke 1:35. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” The Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, was a type of two things. She was a type of the church, that is often in Scripture represented as Christ’s mother, that travails in pain with him and brings him forth. She brings him forth in the hearts of believers, and especially those that are ministers in the church, who (as the Apostle said he did) do “travail in birth” with souls [Galatians 4:19]; and he, being brought forth, appears and lives in their lives. The church is also represented as a chaste pure virgin [2 Corinthians 11:2]; she is often called his “undefiled” in Canticles. As she brings Christ forth, so she nourishes Christ, or grace, in the hearts of the saints at the breasts of ordinances, and those means of grace that are maintained in the church. She affords the sincere milk of the word, which believers, as newborn babes, are nourished and do grow by.

5:3

  1. Canticles 5:3–6. “‘Tis a frequent thing that the saints miss of sweet communion with Christ for want of a little self-denial.

5:5

5:6

Hungering and thirsting after spiritual good. Psalms 84:1–3, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, even the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altar, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.” Psalms 130:6, “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say more than they that watch for the morning.” Psalms 143:6–7, “My soul thirsteth after thee, as [a] thirsty land.” Canticles 3:1–2, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and [in] the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth.” Canticles 5:6, Canticles 5:8, “I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.… I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him that I am sick of love.” Isaiah 26:8–9, “The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul I have desired thee in the night; with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.” Revelation 21:6, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

5:8

The spouse of Christ in the foregoing chapter gives an account how that Christ knocked at her door and called to her to let him in, but that she refused parenthetical. Afterwards she repented and rose to open to him, but he was gone. In the text is represented how she sought him but could not find him, and how she called him, but he gave her no answer Canticles 5:6. And then she charges the daughters of Jerusalem, “If ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love” Canticles5:8.

Canticles 5:10.

“White and ruddy” (or red).] His whiteness represents his infinite holiness and perfect righteousness. His being red represents the great sufferings and extreme trials under which his righteous and most excellent virtue was manifested. It may also signify his incarnation. The word is אָדוֹם, a word of the same derivation as Adam, man.


They that find Christ, find him who is the chiefest of ten thousand, altogether lovely [Canticles 5:10]. They find one with a loveliness altogether new, such as they never saw anything like it before. They find a pearl of great price, a jewel that is exceeding precious. The brightness with which it sparkles is precious and sweet. The brightness of the sun is but darkness to it, and therefore it fills the soul with exceeding gladness.

II. They find Christ exceeding ready to receive them. Though he be so glorious and excellent a person, yet they find him ready to receive such poor, worthless, hateful creatures as they are, which was unexpected to ’em.


Job 33:23.] By the “messenger” and “interpreter” here Mr. Boston understands Christ, who is “the messenger of the covenant of peace, the great interpreter of God’s counsels of love to sinners, ‘one among a thousand’ [Ecclesiastes 7:28], ‘one chosen out of the people’ (Psalms 89:19), ‘the chief among ten thousands'” [Canticles 5:10]. The word translated “interpreter” might have been rendered “orator” or “an eloquent person,” and this especially as the word is here brought in well agrees with Isaiah 50:4–6. He “hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” “To show unto man his uprightness,” Mr. Boston interprets of Christ’s showing unto man his righteousness. The word here translated “uprightness” is very much of the same signification with that which is commonly translated “righteousness.” Christ’s work is to show his righteousness, and so to comfort the sinner after the sinner is convinced of sin and humbled, as he is here represented.

Canticles 5:10, 16

The first foundation of the delight a true saint has in God, is his own perfection; and the first foundation of the delight he has in Christ, is his own beauty; he appears in himself “the chief among ten thousand,” and “altogether lovely”

Canticles 5:11.

“His locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”] Christ’s perfect age is set forth, Revelation 1:14, by his hair’s being “white like wool, as white as snow,” or perfectly white. And here his perfect youth is set forth by his hair’s being “black as a raven,” or perfectly black. Christ hath both perfect age and perfect youth, the perfect bloom and vigor of youth through eternity, or an everlasting youth. He was properly represented with that which signified his age in Revelation 1, where he appears in the quality of a ruler and judge, the great Alpha and Omega Canticles 5:8]. Here when he is spoken of as a bridegroom, he is most properly represented with that which signifies the perfection of youth. See SSS.1

“His head is as the most fine gold.” This probably represents Christ’s divine nature. The head of Christ is God, says the Apostle. Gold seems to have been made use of to signify Christ’s divinity or divine dignity before. Canticles 3:10, see note. See SSS on Canticles 3:1.2


The following reasons may be given why children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world:

I. He is more lovely in himself. He is one that is greater and higher than all the kings of the earth, has more honor and majesty than they, and yet he is innately good and full of mercy and love.

There is no love so great and so wonderful as that which is in the heart of Christ. He is one that delights in mercy; he is ready to pity those that [are] in suffering and sorrowful circumstances; one that delights in the happiness of his creatures. The love and grace that Christ has manifested does as much exceed all that which is in this world7 as the sun is brighter than a candle. Parents are often full of kindness towards their children, but that is no kindness like Jesus Christ’s.

And he is an infinitely holy One. He is God’s holy child, so holy and pure that the heavens are not pure in his sight, so that he is fairer than the sons of men, as the Psalmist says (Psalms 45:2). Canticles 5:10, “The chiefest among ten thousand,” “altogether lovely” [v. Canticles 5:16]. Because of his glorious excellency, he is compared to the sun, that is the brightest of all things that we behold with our bodily [eyes]. ‘Tis he that is called “the Sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2).

Canticles 5:12.]

“Rivers of water,” when spoken of mystically, and concerning things holy and divine in Scripture, are perhaps universally put for the Holy Spirit, its influences and fruits. This expression therefore denotes Christ’s receiving the Spirit not by measure, and thence divining infinite holiness, and sweet love, and grace as it were appearing in his eyes, which “are as the eyes of a dove,” pure and loving.

SSS.3

Canticles 5:13.

“His lips are like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.”] Here in the description of Christ’s lips, as of several other parts of his body, is signified the mixture of holiness and grace that there is in Christ. His lips’ being as lilies represents the purity and holiness of his gospel, not in the least countenancing or encouraging sin; and their “dropping sweet smelling myrrh” represents the grace of Christ to sinners manifested in the gospel.

Canticles 5:14.

“His belly is as bright ivory,” etc.] See “Scripture,” no. 489.4

“His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” The word5 translated “belly” signifies bowels, and the same word is so translated, Canticles 5:4. And so it signifies Christ’s mercy and love. The glory of Christ’s grace and love consists in two things. 1. That his mercy is perfectly pure and holy, represented by his bowels being “as bright ivory.” 2. By its being so gentle and so great, seeking such great benefits, so high a happiness for the beloved, on this account his belly is represented as “overlaid with sapphires,” a precious stone of the color of the sky, one of the mildest of the colors, and the color of the heavens, representing Christ’s mercy being exceeding sweet, mild, and gentle, and that it is so great it seeks nothing less than heavenly glory and blessedness for the beloved. See “Scripture,” no. 489

And see SSS.“His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl.” “Great men had their hands adorned with gold rings set with precious stones. But in the church’s eye, Christ’s hands themselves were as gold rings set with precious stones. All the instances of his power, the works of his hands, all the performances of his providence and grace, are all rich, and pure, and precious as gold.” (Henry.)8 By Chambers’ account, the beryl is like the crystal, but only partakes of a green color. Crystal may properly represent purity and holiness, and green, divine grace and beauty, giving life and joy, as the beams of the sun in the spring, covering the earth with a vivid joyful green. Holiness and grace are wonderfully connected in Christ’s works, in the work of redemption, in all parts of it.9

  1. Canticles 5:14. “His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” The word is the same in the original, which in Canticles 5:4 is rendered “bowels,” and wherever it [is] attributed to God, it is translated “bowels,” as Isaiah 63:15 and Jeremiah 31:20. His belly, with regard to his bowels, or his affection, is said to be like “bright ivory overlaid with sapphires,” representing the justice and mercy which are both so perfectly exercised and manifested in him in the work of redemption The bright, or pure white, ivory represents his perfect justice. Solomon’s throne of justice was ivory [1 Kings 10:18], which substance was chosen to be the matter of his throne in all probability, because it fitly represented justice, as the throne of Christ at the day of judgment Revelation 20:11, is represented as “a great white throne.” His belly was “overlaid with sapphires,” being a precious stone of a beautiful azure, or sky blue, the softest of all the colors, to represent mercy. Thus the throne of God had the appearance of sapphire (Ezekiel 1:26), to signify that he sat on a throne of grace. See note in “Blank Bible.”

Song of Songs 5:15.

“His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.”] Signifying the mixture of majesty and grace. Lebanon was a great mountain, which mountains are an appearance in nature that exhibits great majesty. The cedars of Lebanon, also being so very great and high, had a majesty in their appearance. But by their being so fair and flourishing, of so beautiful a green, they exhibited an amiable image of that divine grace which is mild and gentle, and gives life and joy.

“His legs are as pillars of marble, set on sockets of fine gold.” Gold seems in this book pretty often to be used to represent Christ’s divinity, or the infinite dignity of his person. See notes on Canticles 2:10 and Canticles 5:11. Christ, in the office of our mediation, and in the character of our prophet, priest, king, spiritual husband of the church, etc., stands on the foundation of his divinity, and his infinite dignity and sufficiency consisting therein. ‘Tis by his standing on this that he stands so strong. Or these “sockets of fine gold,” which are the foundation on which his feet stand, may represent the preciousness and perfect excellency of the ground of the divine proceedings in his providence. It may be observed that in all that is divine, the foundation is represented as peculiarly precious. The foundation of the temple was of precious stones. So the foundations of the New Jerusalem and its streets, the ground on which the inhabitants went, were precious stones and pure gold. In the bridegroom’s chariot (Canticles 3:9), “the bottom thereof was of gold” Canticles 3:10]. See also Isaiah 54:11 and Isaiah 28:16. All that belongs to, or can properly be called, the foundation of the divine proceedings in his providence, especially the proceedings of Christ as our Savior in the work of redemption,

— 624 –whether those perfections or divine dispositions that move him or dispose him to do what he does, or the chief motives and supreme end, is perfectly pure and infinitely excellent.

5:16

Christ is altogether lovely in the eyes of a Christian. There is nothing in Christ, no attribute or qualification, but that he is lovely to him on the account of it. Not only his goodness and grace, but his justice and sovereignty is lovely to the Christian. Canticles 5:16, “He is altogether lovely.” So also the Christian may be said to be wholly lovely in the eyes of Christ; for though there be much remaining deformity, yet ’tis as it were hidden from the eyes of Christ, that he sees it not. He doth not behold iniquity in Jacob, nor see [perverseness in Israel] (Numbers 23:21). And therefore Christ says to his church, Canticles 4:7, “Behold, thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”

6:1

  1. Canticles 6:1. “When some are converted this should stir up others to be converted also.”

 

Canticles 6:2.

The church is Christ’s garden. See Canticles 4:12–16. The “beds of spices” are particular churches or congregations of saints included in the church universal.

Canticles 6:4. “As an army with banners.”] A well regulated army, or an army of regular forces.

Canticles 6:9.

“Her mother.”] Note on Psalms 116:16.

Let it be considered that the church on earth is the same society with those saints who are praising God in heaven. There is not one church of Christ in heaven, and another here upon earth. Though the one be sometimes called the church triumphant, and the other the church militant, yet they are not indeed two churches. By the church triumphant, is meant the triumphant part of the church; and by the church militant, the militant part of it: for there is but one universal or Catholic church. Canticles 6″9. “My dove, my undefiled, is but one.” Christ has not two mystical bodies. 1 Corinthian 12:12. “The body is one, and hath many members.” The glorious assembly and the saints on earth make but one family. Ephesians 3:15. “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Though some are in heaven, and some on earth, in very different circumstances, yet they are all united: for there is but one body, and one spirit, and one Lord Jesus Christ. One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in all

Canticles 6:10.

  1. Canticles 6:10. “First, I would show how the saints are said to look forth as the morning. I. They are lightsome.… 1. They receive light.… 2. They shine forth by reflecting that light.”

“‘Fair as the moon,’ the lesser and changeable light, in her sanctification. ‘Clear as the sun,’ the greater and invariable luminary, in her justification. The inherent holiness of believers being imperfect, and subject to many inequalities; while their imputed obedience is every way complete, and constantly like itself.” Hervey’s Meditations, vol. 2, p. 93.2 See note on Joshua 5:1–9.


Joshua 5:1–9.] “A mighty show, no doubt, the numerous camp of Israel made in the plains of Jericho where they now had pitched their tents. Who can count the dust of Jacob? That which had long been the church in the wilderness is now come up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved, and ‘looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners’ [Canticles 6:10]. How terrible she was in the eyes of her enemies, we are told, Canticles 6:1. How fair and clear she was made in the eyes of her friends, we are told in the following verses, by rolling away the reproach of Egypt.” (Henry.) See Canticles 6:10 and Canticles 8:5.

Canticles 6:13.

  1. Canticles 6:13. “What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies,” or “the company of Mahanaim.”  The two armies that are the company of Mahanaim are the church of God in earth and in heaven, the company of Jacob and the company of the angels (see Genesis 32:2), the church militant and the church triumphant; for both these armies make one spouse of Jesus Christ.

Observe what evils they will expose themselves to.

I. Reasons.

First. Christ’s people are his army, and he may well highly resent it if, when he in a remarkable manner leads the way, they won’t follow him to the battle. Christ is often spoken of in Scripture as the Lord of hosts or armies, the Lord mighty in battle and the captain of the salvation of his people. Thus when he appeared to Joshua. And his people are his soldiers;

“O Shulamite,” etc.] The word is from the same root as Salem and Solomon, and is the same name as Solomon, only in the feminine gender, and signifies “peaceable.” Here is observable the wonderful conjunction of the name “peaceable” with a comparison representing her ready for and valiant in war, she being compared to a “company of two armies.” See also Canticles 6:10.

See no. 85.4 This comparing the Shulamite to “the company of two armies,” or Mahanaim, where the host of angels, having met with Jacob’s company, made one company of two armies [Genesis 32], is a clear proof that the lovers that are the subject of this song are no earthly lovers, and that this is a mystical song. See note on Canticles 6:4.5

This victory was obtained by a female. So the war under the Messiah against God’s enemies is spoken of as maintained by the church, and the glorious victory obtained over them by her, who is spoken [of] almost everywhere in the prophecies as a woman or female, and is represented sometimes as such in prophecies of her battle and victory over her enemies. Micah 4:13, “Arise, thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people.” , “What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.” Canticles 1:9, “I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.” Canticles 6:4, “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.” Canticles 6:10, “Who is she that

This battle was fought when David and his friends were come to Mahanaim, which word signifies two armies, and was the place where the army or host of angels met him to encourage and defend when the host of Esau, his false, persecuting, and murderous brother was coming against him, thirsting for his blood. David’s company was truly the company of Mahanaim, as the church of Christ is called, Canticles 6:13. And that battle, which this company had with Absalom and his followers, was the more fit representation of the great and last battle of Christ and his church with Antichrist and his followers, in which “the armies which were in heaven” are represented as following Christ (Revelation 19:14), and which is said to be fought at Armageddon, or at the mountain of Megiddo, where the battle of Deborah and Barak with Sisera and his host was fought, wherein it is said that “the stars in their courses,” or the glorious angels and hosts of heaven, “fought against Sisera” [Judges 5:20]

Canticles 7:1.

“How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter,” etc.] See “Scripture,” no. 490.

  1. Canticles 7:1. “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter!” This is to signify the amiableness of her conversation, and that her conversation is not naturally amiable, but that this beauty of conversation is put upon her. And another thing implied is that she was prepared for travel, as the people in Egypt were to have their shoes on their feet (Exodus 12:11). So the Apostle directs that Christians should have their “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15), i.e. a preparation for travel, according to the gospel, and by the gospel of peace. See note on the place.

To the same scope is what follows. “The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman” [Canticles 7:1]. The joints, the knees, and hips are especially the seat and means of motion in walking. When it is said, “The joints of thy thighs are the work of the hands of a cunning workman,” this may be explained by that of the Apostle, Ephesians 2:10. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath foreordained that we should walk in them” The whole body of the church is fitly joined together “by joints and bands” [Colossians 2:14]. The joints are kept firm and fit for their proper motion and operation by mutual charity, holy love, and union, and communion of saints. See SSS.

Canticles 7:2.

“Thy navel is like,” etc.] See “Scripture,” no. 491.7

  1. Canticles 7:2. “Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor.” The navel, according to the ancient notion they had of things, was the seat of health. Proverbs 3:8, “It shall be health to thy navel.” Job 40:16, “His force is in the navel of his belly.” So that the thing which is here most probably represented is the spiritual health of the church. Her navel is compared to a goblet “which wanteth not liquor,” i.e. full of wine, that enlivening, invigorating liquor. The word signifies mixture, or temperament, or wine mixed or tempered, that is, wine that is so prepared as to make it the most agreeable and wholesome.1 See Proverbs 23:30, and Proverbs 9:2. Probably the same may be meant that is called “spiced wine,” in Canticles 8:2. See SSS.

“Thy belly is like a heap of wheat.” No. 327.

So it is in the true saints; their good profession and their good fruit, do constantly accompany one another: the fruit they bring forth in life, evermore answers the pleasant sound of their profession. Again, the very same thing is represented by Christ, in his description of his spouse, Canticles 7:2, “Thy belly is like a heap of wheat, set about with lilies.” Here again are beautiful flowers, and good fruit, accompanying one another. The lilies were fair and beautiful flowers, and the wheat was good fruit.

  1. Solomon’s Canticles 7:2.5 “Thy belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies.” I.e. thy womb is very fruitful. The good fruit brought forth by thee may, for abundance, be compared to the multitude of grains of corn in an heap of wheat; and the fruits of thy womb are as food to thy husband, as wheat, and are pleasant and delightful like beautiful lilies. Romans 7:4, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married unto another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto God.” Here the Apostle evidently compares the good fruits Christians bring forth by their spiritual marriage to Christ, to the fruit of the womb that is brought forth by a woman’s marriage to an husband.

Canticles 7:4.

“Thine eyes are like the fishpools in Heshbon,” etc.] See “Scripture,” no. 492.9

  1. Canticles 7:4. “Thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim.” It seems there were two or more noted fishpools near to the city Heshbon, the chief city in the country of Moab, by one of the gates of that city, called the gate of Bath-rabbim, i.e. the gate of “the house of the multitude,” probably so called because at that gate was an house for the resort of the multitudes, that resorted I those pools for the sake of the water of the pools, and fish which were caught there, and to wash themselves there.  And perhaps those pools might be remarkable for the clearness of the water, and their fitness to exhibit a true and distinct image of the multitudes that resorted thither, wherein men might see themselves as they were, and might see the spots and filth which they would wash off, and wherein was a true representation of other things. So that the thing signified by the eyes of the spouse may be the spiritual knowledge and understanding of the church, by which she has a true knowledge of her filth and her own pollutions, and also a true representation or idea of other things. And also hereby may be signified the benevolence and bountifulness of the eyes of a true saint, so that they as it were yield meat and drink to a multitude, as it is probable those fishpools did (Proverbs 22:9)
  2. Canticles 7:4. “Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh towards Damascus.” The tower of Lebanon looking towards Damascus was probably some tower built in Lebanon on the frontier next to the kingdom of Damascus, to watch over that country, and for the defense of Israel from its inhabitants. By the accounts which history give of Damascus, it was a magnificent city, and an exceeding pleasant, delightful place, like a mere garden of pleasure. And therefore it is called “the city of praise and joy” (Jeremiah 49:25), and in Amos 1:5 is called Beth-eden, or “the house of Eden.” Men of carnal minds would prefer the land to the land of Israel, that God calls the pleasant land and the glory of all lands. Naaman the Syrian condemned the waters of Israel in comparison of Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus [2 Kings 5:12]. And it seems their religion and worship was exceeding pompous, tending much to please a vain carnal mind, that savors the things of men more than the things of God. King Ahaz was greatly taken with the curious fashion and workmanship of the altar he saw there, and he sent to Urijah the priest a pattern of it, that he might make one like it in the courts of God’s house, and chose rather to offer his sacrifices on this new altar than on the altar of the Lord (2 Kings 16:10 ff.).

The nose is the organ of smelling. Therefore here the church is commended for her spiritual scent, which was a good defense to her from corrupt doctrines and false ways of worship of men’s invention, however specious, and fair, and tending much more to please a carnal taste than the true religion of Jesus Christ. Pomp, and magnificence, and the curious inventions of men, and the things which men’s wisdom teaches, please men of corrupt mind; but a true saint, through a spiritual taste or scent, nauseates those things, and is defended from them.

This spiritual scent is the best defense from those things that would corrupt her mind from the simplicity that is in Christ. See SSS.

“The tower of Lebanon.” “Scripture,” no. 493.1

Canticles 7:5.

“Thine head,” etc.] See “Scripture,” no. 494.2

  1. Canticles 7:5. “Thine head upon thee is like Carmel (or ‘crimson,’ it is in the margin), and the hair of thine head like purple.” If by “head” here be understood the eldership of the church, then her head is compared to Carmel, probably because Carmel was a very fruitful hill, and an high hill whose fruits were seen at a distance, as Christ compares his disciples to a city set on an hill, whose works could not be hid [Matthew 5:14]. (See note on Canticles 4:1.) The hair is the fruit of the head, and may represent both the doctrine and conversation of faithful ministers who know nothing and savor of nothing, either in their doctrine or life, but Jesus Christ and him crucified; and so their preaching and walk is as it were colored with his blood. And this also may be signified by it, that the holy doctrine and conversation of ministers are a princely ornament to them, purple being the color of the robes of princes.

But perhaps by the head of the spouse here may be meant the doctrine which she holds, the doctrine of the gospel, which is represented as a glorious crown on her head, in Revelation 12:1. This may be compared to Carmel, that fruitful hill, because ’tis the doctrine that is according to godliness, or to crimson, because Jesus Christ and him crucified, or Christ’s shedding his blood, is the sum and substance of it.

 

“The king is held in the galleries.” The word3 translated “galleries” signifies “walks.” The word rendered “held” is “bound.” By these walks or galleries where Christ is held, or as it were bound, is meant his house, in which God is said to walk (Leviticus 26:12, 2 Corinthians 6:16). Christ is held in these walks as his fixed abode by his delight in his church (Psalms 132:13–14).5

7:6

7:7

  1. Canticles 7:7.

“And thy breasts to clusters of grapes.” By her breasts here most probably is intended the grace of love, or spiritual complacence, affection to her husband and her children. The bosom is put for love. So Christ is said to be “in the bosom of the Father” [John 1:18]. This agrees with that in Proverbs 5:19, “Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished always with her love.” Christ’s love is compared to wine (Canticles 1:2), and so is the love of the spouse. Canticles 4:10, “How much better is thy love than wine!” And here her breasts are compared to “clusters of grapes.” See No. 488.

7:7-8

The twelve fountains of water and the threescore and ten palm trees that were in Elim (Exodus 15:27) were manifestly types of the twelve patriarchs, the fathers of the tribes, and the threescore and ten elders of the congregation. The paternity of a family, tribe or nation, in the language of the Old Testament, is called a “fountain.” Deuteronomy 33:28, “Israel shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine.” Psalms 68:26, “Bless the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.” Isaiah 48:1, “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah.” And the church of God is often represented in Scripture by a palm tree or palm trees (Psalms 92:12, Canticles 7:7–8). And therefore fitly were the elders or representatives of the church compared to palm trees. God’s people often [are] compared to trees (Isaiah 61:3 and Isaiah 60:21 and elsewhere)

The seventy palm trees signify the church, which is compared to a palm tree (Canticles 7:7–8). Deborah, the type of the church, dwelt under the palm tree [Judges 4:5]. Believers are compared to palm trees. 1 Kings 6:29, “And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims, and palm trees,” which represented saints and angels. The number seventy answers to the seventy elders, which were representatives of the whole congregation of Israel, and are called the congregation (Numbers 31:12; Joshua 20:6), or church, which is a word of the same signification.

‘Tis probable the palm trees grew so about these twelve fountains, that their roots were watered and received nourishment from them.

 

Canticles 7:7.

Note that the palm tree is a very tall tree, by the account which Atlas Geographus gives of it.6

See further in Wilson’s Christian Dictionary.7

Chambers in his dictionary says that the Phoenicians called the palm tree “Phoenix” because, though burnt to the ground, it rose again “fairer than ever.” See under the word “Phoenix.”8 It was very straight. See Jeremiah 5:10.

“Thy breasts to clusters of grapes.” See “Scripture,” no. 495.9

— 626 —

Canticles 7:8.

“The smell of thy nose like apples.”] “Scripture,” no. 496.1

  1. Canticles 7:8. “And the smell of thy nose like apples.” As by the roof of the mouth in the next verse is not simply [intended] the roof of the mouth itself, as though that were exceeding pleasant to the bridegroom, that being a part of the body that is hidden, but thereby is probably meant the speech which comes from the mouth; so here, by the nose, is not meant the nose itself, but the breath. So the bridegroom would hereby signify that the smell of her breath was sweet, her vitals and inwards being sound, and pure, and sweet, being made so by the food she eat, viz. apples, the food she, from time to time, desires to be refreshed with, it being the fruit that he yields, who is as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, whose fruit was sweet to her taste. Persons’ breath commonly smells of the food which they eat; thus the breath of the spouse is represented as smelling like apples.

“Beathe”

I felt then a great satisfaction as to my good estate. But that did not content me. I had vehement longings of soul after God and Christ, and after more holiness; wherewith my heart seemed to be full, and ready to break: which often brought to my mind, the words of the Psalmist, Psalms 119:28, “My soul breaketh for the longing it hath.” I often felt a mourning and lamenting in my heart, that I had not turned to God sooner, that I might have had more time to grow in grace. My mind was greatly fixed on divine things; I was almost perpetually in the contemplation of them. Spent most of my time in thinking of divine things, year after year. And used to spend abundance of my time, in walking alone in the woods, and solitary places, for meditation, soliloquy and prayer, and converse with God. And it was always my manner, at such times, to sing forth my contemplations. And was almost constantly in ejaculatory prayer, wherever I was. Prayer seemed to be natural to me; as the breath, by which the inward burnings of my heart had vent.

Canticles 7:9.]

‘Tis the wine “that goes down (or is swallowed) sweetly,” as being most pleasant and refreshing. See this whole verse explained, “Scripture,” no. 497.2

  1. Canticles 7:9. “And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.” By the “roof of the mouth” is here probably meant her discourse, which is like excellent wine that goes sweetly down, and so refreshes and enlivens other saints (whom here Christ calls his beloved), that it causes those of them that are asleep, and in the dullest frame, to speak. It enlivens their hearts and tongues in divine things.”

7:11

And lastly, the true saints may be said to be a people that dwell alone in that they are disposed in their religion to be very much in retirement: inclined to depart from the world, shut the world out, shut themselves [off] from the noise and observation of the world—not like the religion of the Pharisees [with its] affected noise and show. [Although] religious conversation ought to be upheld, [it] ought not all to consist in declaring experiences.

True saints love retirement: as it was with Isaac [and] as it was with Christ, [who chose retirement] rather than even [being] with his own disciples. Joys in secret.  Song in the night.

Canticles 7:11, “Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields.”

When sorrow for sin or grief and concern for others [preoccupies us], ’tis alone as well as in company. Jeremiah 13:17, “My soul shall weep in secret places.” Mr. Shepard says, “No wind to fill their sails in the chamber.

7:13

  1. Canticles 7:13. “Prop I. The precious fruits that are found in the saints are pleasant and entertaining to Jesus Christ. Prop II. ‘Tis much to be desired that there should be found in those that are godly gracious fruits of all sorts. Prop III. ‘Tis very desirable that there should be those exercises and fruits of grace in the souls of the saints that are new as well as old for the entertainment of Christ.”

Canticles 8:1.]

118Cant. 8:1. “The incarnation of Jesus Christ was a thing greatly longed for by the church.”

Canticles 8:1. “O 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.” Which wish of the church is now accomplished by Christ’s incarnation. The Son of God, who is infinitely higher than we, is come down unto us in our nature, and has familiarized himself to us.

Another thing intended is Christ’s being ingrafted into the church of Christ, which was by his uniting himself with believers in his incarnation, whereby he became a member of the church, a branch of the church, a son of this mother, and a brother of believers, agreeable to the church’s wish. Canticles 8:1, “O that thou were as my brother that sucked the breasts of my mother.”

He has taken on him the human nature; he is of the human race, and is our brother, and he is a child of the church. He has sucked the breasts of our mother [Canticles 8:1]. He is one [of] the holy nation, the spiritual seed of Abraham; and he is also of the Israelitish nation. He took on him the seed of Abraham in a literal sense. In the following verse is mentioned the consequence of Christ’s approaching to God as his people’s surety, viz. their covenant interest in God: “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

The divine nature has that infinite majesty and greatness, whereby ’tis impossible that we should immediately approach to that, and converse with that intimacy as we might do one that is in our own nature. Job wished for a near approach to God, but his complaint was that his mean nature did not allow of so near an approach to God as he desired. God’s majesty was too great for him (Job 9:32–35). But now we han’t this to keep us from the utmost nearness of access, and intimacy of communion, with Christ; for to remove this obstacle wholly out of the way, Christ has come down and taken upon him our nature. He is, as Elihu tells Job he was, according to his wish: he is a man as we are, he also is formed out of the clay [Job 33:6]. This the church anciently wished for, before it came to pass, to that end, that she might have greater opportunity of near access and intimacy of communion. Canticles 8:1, “O that thou wert 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.” Christ, descending so low in uniting himself to our nature, tends to invite and encourage us to ascend to the most intimate converse with him, and encourages us that we shall be accepted and not despised therein. For we have this to consider of, that let us be never so bold in this kind of ascending, for Christ to allow us and accept us in it won’t be a greater humbling himself than to take upon him our nature. Christ was made flesh, and dwelt among us in a nature infinitely below his original nature, for this end, that we might have as it were the full possession and enjoyment of him. Again it shows how much God designed to communicate himself to men, that he so communicated himself to the first and chief of elect men, the elder brother and the head and representative of the rest, even so that this man should be the same person with one of the persons of the Trinity……..

4 They that live a life of true religion and virtue, they live a life of love to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a most dear friendship between him and them. Their souls are espoused to Christ, their hearts are knit to him, and their love has an infinitely more beautiful and lovely object than that of earthly lovers. And their love is not despised, but accepted of Christ; they may freely have access to Christ at all times to express their love. Canticles 8:1, “O that thou wert 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.” As those that walk in the ways of religion and virtue do love this glorious person, so they are loved by him. This divine love is always mutual: there is love on both sides.

5 And would you choose, not only, that the infinite greatness and majesty of your friend should be as it were mollified and sweetened with condescension and grace; but would you also desire to have your friend in your own nature, that he might be brought nearer to you? Would you choose a friend far above you, and yet as it were upon a level with you too? (Though it be taking with men to have a near and dear friend of superior dignity, yet there is also an inclination in them to have their friend a sharer with them in circumstances.) Thus is Christ. Though he be the great God, yet he has as it were brought himself down to be upon a level with you, so as to become man as you are, that he might not only be your lord, but your brother, and that he might be the more fit to be a companion for such a worm of the dust. This is one end of Christ’s taking upon him man’s nature, that his people might be under advantages for a more familiar converse with him, than the infinite distance of the divine nature would allow of. And upon this account the church longed for Christ’s incarnation. Canticles 8:1, “O thou that wert 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.” One design of God in the gospel, is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided respect, that he may engross our regard every way, that whatever natural inclination there is in our souls, he may be the center of it; that God may be all in all. But there is an inclination in the creature, not only to the adoration of a lord and sovereign, but to complacence in someone as a friend, to love and delight in someone that may be conversed with as a companion. And virtue and holiness don’t destroy or weaken this inclination of our nature. But so hath God contrived in the affair of our redemption, that a divine person may be the object even of this inclination of our nature. And in order hereto, such an one is come down to us, and has taken our nature, and is become one of us, and calls himself our friend, brother, and companion. Psalms 122:8, “For my brethren and companions’ sake, will I now say, Peace be within thee.”

6 This was that which was the object of David’s greatest and most earnest desire and expectation, and the main spring of his comfort and joy; as he declares, it was all his salvation and all his desire. Christ tells his disciples, Matthew 13:17, that many prophets and kings and righteous men had desired to see those things which they saw, and had not seen them, and to hear those things which they heard, and had not heard them; Luke 10:24. This is represented as the great object of the desires of the church under the old testament. Canticles 8:1, “O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother!” etc. Adam seems to have taken great notice of the first prophecy made of the salvation of the Messiah as the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent’s head, and to have laid fast hold of it, by his changing his wife’s name upon it and calling of it “Eve,” or “Life,” because she is the mother of all living [Genesis 3:20]. The saints that were in Israel at the time of Christ’s coming are characterized by this, that they were those that waited “for the consolation of Israel,” and “looked for redemption in Jerusalem,” and “waited for the kingdom of God” (Mark 15:43, Luke 2:25, Luke 2:38)

…..Matthew 13:17, that many prophets and kings and righteous men had desired to see those things which they saw, and had not seen them, and to hear those thing which they heard, and had not heard them”; Luke 10:24. This is represented as the great object of the desires of the church under the old testament. Canticles 8:1, “O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother!” etc. Adam seems to have taken great notice of the first prophecy made of the salvation of the Messiah as the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent’s head, and to have laid fast hold of it, by his changing his wife’s name upon it and calling of it “Eve,” or “Life,” because she is the mother of all living.


Canticles 8:2.

“Into my mother’s house, who would instruct me.”] See note on Canticles 3:11, at latter end.

Canticles 8:4.] See no. 395.4

 

Canticles 8:5. “Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness, leaning,” etc.] See note on Joshua 5:1–9. The several things said in this verse are plainly of a mystical signification, and consequently this song a mystical song.

“I raised thee up.” The word5 signifies to awake, or cause to rise. We may note from hence that under the same means by which the saints are brought forth or regenerated, they are also renewed and raised up from a low state when fallen into sleepiness and sloth, darkness and sorrow. This “apple tree” probably signifies that “tree of life” (Revelation 22:2), “which bare twelve manner of fruits,” the doctrine of the twelve apostles, “the leaves of which tree were for the healing of the nations.” See also Ezekiel 47:12. Under this tree the church shall have a spiritual resurrection from its low state.6

Canticles 8:6. “Upon thine heart.”] The love of Christ must be fixed in our hearts unchangeably. “As a seal on thine arm.” And must appear in our steadfast and persevering practice and works of righteousness. We must constantly and perseveringly love him with all our hearts, and with all our strength.

8:3

Canticles 8:5, “Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness, leaningon her beloved?” Isaiah 48:2, “Yet they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves on the God of Israel.” Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding.” Isaiah 26:3, “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.

8:5

It is an argument that INSPIRATION AND MIRACLES

are not to be restored in order to the healing of the nations of their idolatry, superstitions and other corruptions and prejudices against Christianity, that it is said, Revelation 22:2, the nations shall be healed by the “leaves of the tree” of life that bears “twelve manner [of] fruits,” signifying the gospel as delivered in the doctrine of the twelve apostles. The leaves of that tree which bears these twelve manner of fruits are the leaves of our Bibles, especially of the New [Testament] delivered to the church of God by the apostles, or under their direction, and confirmed by them. ‘Tis under this same tree the church is to be raised up and have that spiritual resurrection which she shall have after the fall of Antichrist, which we read of, Revelation 20. Here see note on Canticles 8:5. See forward, No. 1230.

Song 8:6

Proverbs 27:4. “Before envy.”] It had better have been translated, “jealousy.” The word is the very same which Solomon makes use of, Canticles 8:6. “Jealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals thereof are as coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.”


But yet thus is the great God commonly treated by men: Christendom is full of treacherous professors that make vows and live in the breach of them, that from time to time promise strict obedience to God and to devote their lives to his service, but live for the most part a careless and wicked life. Omission of known duties…How common is it for men, when they are distressed, [they] will make vows…. How highly do men resent falseness in the marriage covenant. “Jealousy is the rage of a man,” is “cruel as the grave,” and yet […] Jeremiah 3:20, “As a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”

Solomon’s Song of Songs 8:7

849. Cant. 8:7. “The love of true saints to Jesus Christ is such that nothing can extinguish or overcome [it].”

“One principal means that the devil makes use of to persuade men to sin, is to persuade ’em that they shall escape punishment.” Dec. 1746.849.Canticles 8:7. “The love of true saints to Jesus Christ is such that nothing can extinguish or overcome [it].”

Canticles 8:8.

“A little sister.”] I.e. a younger sister, by a Hebraism.

 

Canticles 8:8–9.

“We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts.… If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver,” etc.] By a young woman’s having no breasts seems to be a phrase to express her not having come to such maturity as to be marriageable. And the thing intended here is that there [are] elect persons and an elect church not yet brought, not formed and fitted by divine grace, for espousals with Christ. And by what is said in the Canticles 8:9, we are taught that the special gifts of grace in the elect, when they are accommodated to the gifts of nature, everyone in this respect has his own proper gift, the gift that is suitable to his nature, and station, and circumstances in the world, or the station, use, office, and business God intends him for. By “breasts” here seems to [be] signified graces of the Spirit. See SSS.7

Canticles 8:8–12.] Who can doubt whether these four verses are of mystical signification, and that therefore this song is designed as a mystical song, and not a mere human love song? What should lead earthly lovers, in singing of each other’s beauty and love, to take notice of such things as these? If we suppose the song to be mystical, and that ’tis concerning Christ and his church, a good account can be given of these passages, a very natural interpretation analogous to other scriptures. By the “little sister” we may suppose is meant the same as the younger brother in the parable of the prodigal, and by Solomon’s “vineyard” the same with Christ’s vineyard so often spoken of in Scripture, and by the “keepers” the same with the keeper of the vineyard and laborers in the harvest in Christ’s parable, who partake of the fruit of their labors with Christ. See John 4:36.

Canticles 8:10.

“I am a wall, and my breasts like towers; then was I in his eyes as one that found favor.”] The wall next to the foundation is the strongest part of the building or city. ‘Tis that which immediately rests on the foundation, whereby it is strong. Therefore when the spouse says, She is “a wall,” ’tis as much as to say, I rest on Christ, am built on him, and am strong in the Lord. The defense of the wall, and its strength against the enemy, were the towers that were built upon it, as the shield was the defense of the soldier. Therefore the towers on the wall especially represent faith. As the spouse’s neck, by which the body is joined to the head, is represented as a tower, Canticles 4:4 (See note in loc.), therefore when she says, “My breasts are like towers,” it signifies that the church of Christ

— 628 –lives by faith in Christ, and that it is in the exercises of faith that her graces exert themselves, are manifested, maintained, and bring forth their fruit, by which means it is that the church is accepted of God, is amiable in his sight for Christ’s sake in whom she believes, and her graces sweet and delightful in his eyes.

Canticles 8:11.] SSS.8

8:11-2

The Messiah is called by the name of Solomon (Canticles 3:7, Canticles 3:11, ch.  Canticles 8:11–12). So the Messiah’s great forerunner is called by the name of Elijah (Malachi 4), which argues that Elijah was a type of him. The Messiah is called by the name of Zerubbabel. Haggai 2:23, “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtial, saith the Lord, and I will make thee a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.”

 

Canticles 8:12.] SSS.9

Canticles 8:14.

Christ says, Canticles 4:6, that he will get him “to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense, till the day break, and the shadows flee away”; that is, that he would leave this world, and ascend into heaven, till the morning of the joyful and glorious resurrection. Here in these words with which this song is finished, “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like unto a roe or a young hart on the mountains of spices,” the spouse prays that Christ would quickly descend from thence, in like manner as [the] book of Revelation is concluded with these words, “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 22:20].

8:14

In his commentary on Canticles, or the Song of Solomon, Edwards joined the long line of expositors who have addressed the question of the nature of this song. He left no ambiguity in his answer. It is “no common love song or epithalamium,” a judgment he also rendered about Psalms 45 (p. 608). On the contrary, he asserted, Canticles is “a song of love between Christ and the church, or the assembly of the saints” who are “spiritual virgins” (p. 610). Edwards marshaled the variety of comparisons in the text as evidence against the notion that Canticles is a human love song. Comparing the church to a company of horses, for example, fits with Christ’s being conveyed on a chariot of truth drawn by the church, especially by “the ministers of the gospel” (p. 611). Christ’s love is “as the lily among thorns,” or as the “true church among false churches,” for persecutors are compared to thorns (p. 613).

No commentator on Canticles can escape discussing the anatomy of the loved one. Edwards took on the task with relish. The hair of the beloved he identified as “the fruit of the head” by which in Scripture is represented “thoughts, understanding, meditations, or the fruits of these meditations.” So the hair “may represent the living fruits of ministers’ studies” (p. 619). The beloved’s teeth, Edwards suggested, may represent the “ministers and teachers” of the church who prepare the food, “the word of God,” by their studies “for the nourishment of the body,” as teeth chew “natural food” (p. 619). By “breasts,” in a mystical text, Edwards signified the “graces of the spirit” (p. 627). These graces are “sweet and delightful” in Christ’s eyes (p. 628). Edwards linked the closing verse of Canticles with the concluding words of the book of Revelation. In both cases the cry sounds somewhat similar: “Make haste, my beloved” (Canticles 8:14), and “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20) (p. 628). He found the poet’s plea a fitting conclusion to this mystical song, for Canticles ends on a passionate note of hope for the arrival of the beloved.

There may be debate regarding the proper category for Edwards’ approach to the interpretation of the richly evocative, poetic texts in the Wisdom Literature. At times his judgments appear to move beyond typology to allegory. His pursuit of spiritual meaning in the texts knew no bounds. In that respect there can be no debate about the creative imagination he brought to the interpretive task.9 But these same documents that invited spiritual application to the lives of his parishioners spoke directly

The name or title that is given to this song, viz. the Song of Songs, confirms it to be more than a mere human song, and that these things that are the subject of it are above [the] terrene or temporal. We read [in] 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon’s songs were a thousand and five, but this one song of his which is inserted in the canon of the Scripture is distinguished from all the rest by the name of the Song of Songs, or the most excellent of his songs, or more than all his other songs: as the subject of it is transcendency of a more sublime and excellent nature than the rest, treating of the divine love, union, and communion of the most glorious lovers, Christ and his spiritual spouse, of which a marriage union and conjugal love (which, perhaps, many of the rest of his songs treated of) is but a shadow.

In his commentary on Canticles, or the Song of Solomon, Edwards joined the long line of expositors who have addressed the question of the nature of this song. He left no ambiguity in his answer. It is “no common love song or epithalamium,” a judgment he also rendered about Psalms 45 (p. 608). On the contrary, he asserted, Canticles is “a song of love between Christ and the church, or the assembly of the saints” who are “spiritual virgins” (p. 610).  Edwards marshaled the variety of comparisons in the text as evidence against the notion that Canticles is a human love song. Comparing the church to a company of horses, for example, fits with Christ’s being conveyed on a chariot of truth drawn by the church, especially by “the ministers of the gospel” (p. 611). Christ’s love is “as the lily among thorns,” or as the “true church among false churches,” for persecutors are compared to thorns (p. 613).

No commentator on Canticles can escape discussing the anatomy of the loved one. Edwards took on the task with relish. The hair of the beloved he identified as “the fruit of the head” by which in Scripture is represented “thoughts, understanding, meditations, or the fruits of these meditations.” So the hair “may represent the living fruits of ministers’ studies” (p. 619). The beloved’s teeth, Edwards suggested, may represent the “ministers and teachers” of the church who prepare the food, “the word of God,” by their studies “for the nourishment of the body,” as teeth chew “natural food” (p. 619). By “breasts,” in a mystical text, Edwards signified the “graces of the spirit” (p. 627). These graces are “sweet and delightful” in Christ’s eyes (p. 628). Edwards linked the closing verse of Canticles with the concluding words of the book of Revelation. In both cases the cry sounds somewhat similar: “Make haste, my beloved” (Canticles 8:14), and “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20) (p. 628). He found the poet’s plea a fitting conclusion to this mystical song, for Canticles ends on a passionate note of hope for the arrival of the beloved.

There may be debate regarding the proper category for Edwards’ approach to the interpretation of the richly evocative, poetic texts in the Wisdom Literature. At times his judgments appear to move beyond typology to allegory. His pursuit of spiritual meaning in the texts knew no bounds. In that respect there can be no debate about the creative imagination he brought to the interpretive task.9 But these same documents that invited spiritual application to the lives of his parishioners spoke directly

 

The Emotions Edwards would get when contemplation truth in the Song.

From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him. I had an inward, sweet sense of these things, that at times came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged, to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ; and the beauty and excellency of his person, and the lovely way of salvation, by free grace in him. I found no books so delightful to me, as those that treated of these subjects. Those words (Song of Solomon 2:1) used to be abundantly with me: “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” The words seemed to me, sweetly to represent, the loveliness and beauty of Jesus Christ. And the whole book of Canticles used to be pleasant to me; and I used to be much in reading it, about that time. And found, from time to time, an inward sweetness, that used, as it were, to carry me away in my contemplations; in what I know not how to express otherwise, than by a calm, sweet abstraction of soul from all the concerns off] this world; and a kind of vision, or fixed ideas and imaginations, of being alone in the mountains, or some solitary wilderness, far from all mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and wrapt and swallowed up in God. The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden as it were, kindle up a sweet burning in my heart; an ardor of my soul, that I know not how to express.

Not long after I first began to experience these things, I gave an account to my father, of some things that had passed in my mind. I was pretty much affected by the discourse we had together. And when the discourse was ended, I walked abroad alone, in a solitary place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation. And as I was walking there, and looked up on the sky and clouds; there came into my mind, a sweet sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God, that I know not how to express. I seemed to see them both in a sweet conjunction: majesty and meekness joined together: it was a sweet and gentle, and holy majesty; and also a majestic meekness; an awful sweetness; a high, and great, and holy gentleness.

After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and had more of that inward sweetness. The appearance of everything was altered: there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost everything.

God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the daytime, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the meantime, singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce anything, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightning. Formerly, nothing had been so terrible to me. I used to be a person uncommonly terrified with thunder: and it used to strike me with terror, when I saw a thunderstorm rising. But now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God at the first appearance of a thunderstorm. And used to take the opportunity at such times, to fix myself to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God’s thunder: which often times was exceeding entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. And while I viewed, used to spend my time, as it always seemed natural to me, to sing or chant forth my meditations; to speak my thoughts in soliloquies, and speak with a singing voice…….

Edwards goes sweetly on and on click here

To represent the excellency of the bridegroom’s place of abode, in Psalms 45:8, the excellent materials that his palace is made of are mentioned.

Tis represented as made of ivory. In like manner, as the excellent materials of his palace are spoken of, Canticles 1:17, “The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir,” as elsewhere, the materials of his chariot are mentioned, viz. “the wood of Lebanon,” gold, silver, and purple (Canticles 3:9–10).

‘Tis objected by some against Solomon’s Song, that some expressions seem to have reference to the conjugal embraces of the bridegroom. But perhaps there is nothing more directly supporting this than the Psalms 45:14, Psalms 45:15, and Psalms 45:16 verses of the Psalms 45, where seems to be a plain reference to the manner in Israel in which the bride at night used to be led into the bridegroom’s bed chamber, her bridesmaids attending her, in the Psalms 45:14 and Psalms 45:15verses; and then, immediately in the next verse, are we told of the happy fruit of the intercourse in the offspring which they have, “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.”

‘Tis supposed by many to be very liable to a bad construction that the beauty of the various parts of the body of the spouse is mentioned and described in Solomon’s Song. But perhaps these are no more liable to a bad construction than the Psalms 45:13, where there is mention of the beauty of the bride’s clothes, and her being “glorious within,” where setting aside the allegory, or mystical meaning of the song, what is most naturally understood as the most direct meaning would seem to be, that she had not only glorious clothing, but was yet more glorious in the parts of her body within her clothing, that were hid by her clothing.

Edwards Random notes 147, 231, 336, 436, 460 on the Song

  1. Solomon’s Song. The name by which Solomon calls this song confirms me in it that it is more than an ordinary love song, and that it was designed for a divine song, and of divine authority; for we read, 1 Kings 4:32, that Solomon’s “songs were a thousand and five.” This he calls the “song of songs” [Canticles 1:1], that is, the most excellent of all his songs, which it seems very probable to me to be upon that account, because it was a song of the most excellent subject, treating of the love, union, and communion between Christ and his spouse, of which marriage and conjugal love was but a shadow. These are the most excellent lovers, and their love the most excellent love.

Mr. Henry, in the introduction to his Exposition of this book, says, It appears that this book was “taken in a spiritual sense by the Jewish church, for whose use it was first composed, as appears by the Chaldee Paraphrase, and the most ancient Jewish expositors.” In the same place he says, “In our belief, both of the divine extraction and spiritual exposition of this book, we are confirmed by the ancient, constant, and concurring testimony, both of the church of the Jews, to whom were committed the oracles of God, and who never made any doubt of the authority of this book, and of the Christian church, which happily succeeds them in that trust and honor.

  1. The Book of Solomon’s Song. The divinity of this song is confirmed from the allusions there seem to be in the New Testament to things herein contained; and particularly Christ, in John 4:10–14, speaking of a well of “living water,” seems to allude to the Canticles 4:15 of this song, “a fount of gardens, a well of living waters.” So in Ephesians 5:18, there seems to be an eye to Canticles 5:1 of this song. See notes on that in Ephesians.
  2. Canticles. ‘Tis one argument that the BOOK OF CANTICLES is no common love song, that the bridegroom or lover there spoken of so often calls his beloved, “my sister, my spouse.” This well agrees with Christ’s relation to believers, who is become our brother and near kinsman by taking upon him our nature, and is our brother, and the son of our mother by his incarnation, as thereby he became a son of the church, and used the ordinances appointed in it, and so has sucked the breasts of our mother [Canticles 8:1]; and we are become his brethren also by the adoption of his Father. But this appellation would not well suit a common spouse among the Jews, who were so strictly forbidden to marry any that were near of kin to them, and particularly to marry a sister. Leviticus 18:9, “The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or the daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.” ‘Tis neither likely that the Jews would marry such in Solomon’s time, nor that it would be the custom to compare their spouses to such, especially that they would insist so much on such an appellation, as though it was an amiable thing, and a thing to be thought of and mentioned with delight and pleasure, to have a spouse that was a sister, when God’s law taught them to dread and abhor the thoughts of it.
  3. The Book of Canticles. The following places in the Psalms are a confirmation that by her, that the bridegroom in this book calls “my love,” “my dove,” “my sister,” “my spouse,” and the like, is meant the church, viz. Psalms 22:20, and Psalms 35:17, and Psalms 60:4–5, and Psalms 74:19, and Psalms 108:6, and Psalms 127:2.
  4. The Book of Solomon’s Song. No common love song, but a divine song, respecting the union between the Messiah and the church. It is an argument of it that such figures of speech are made use of, from time to time, in this song as are elsewhere used concerning the Messiah and the churCanticles 1:3, Grace is elsewhere compared to “ointment.” That, Canticles 1:3–4, “Draw me,” is parallel with Jeremiah 31:3. There the Lord, speaking to the church of Israel under the name of the virgin of Israel, says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Canticles 1:4, “The king hath brought me into his chambers.” Elsewhere the saints are represented as dwelling in “the secret place of the Most High” [Psalms 91:1]. Hosea 11:4, “I drew them… with the bonds of love.” Representing the bridegroom as a shepherd, and [comparing] the spouse’s children to kids and lambs, Canticles 1:7–8, is agreeable to frequent representations of the Messiah and the church in the Old Testament. The ornaments of the spouse are here represented as jewels and chains of silver and gold (Canticles 1:10–11, and Canticles 4:9); compare these with Ezekiel 16:11–13. The excellencies, both of the bridegroom and bride, are compared to spices (Canticles 1:12–14, Canticles 4:6, Canticles 4:10, Canticles 4:13–14, Canticles 4:16, and Canticles 5:5, Canticles 4:13, and Canticles 8:2), and ointment perfumed with spices (Canticles 1:3, and Canticles 4:10). The same spices were made use of to represent the spiritual excellencies in the incense and anointing oil in the tabernacle and temple, and also in the oil for the light (Exodus 30:28). Canticles 1:16, “Our bed is green.” This is agreeable to figures of speech often used concerning the church. The comfort the spouse enjoyed in her bridegroom is compared to a shadow and the fruit of a tree (Canticles 2:3, Canticles 2:5). Canticles 2:2 is agreeable to Isaiah 35:1–2, and Isaiah 55:13, and Hosea 14:5. Agreeable to Proverbs 3:18, “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is everyone that retaineth her,” and Proverbs 8:19, “My fruit is better than gold,” so the Messiah in the prophecies is often compared to a tree and branch. The comforts the bridegroom and bride have in each other are in this book often compared to wine (Canticles 1:2, Canticles 2:5, and Canticles 5:1). So wine was made use in the tabernacle and temple service to represent both the comforts the church has in Christ, and also the gracious exercises and good works of the saints offered to God. See also Proverbs 9:2, Isaiah 27:2, Hosea 14:7, Zechariah 9:15, and Zechariah 10:7. The comforts the bridegroom and bride enjoy mutually in each other are in this song compared to wine and milk, agreeable to Isaiah 55:1, and also to the honey and honeycomb, agreeable to the frequent representations made of spiritual comforts in the Scripture. The spouse here is represented feasting with the bridegroom (Canticles 2:4, and Canticles 5:1); so the church of God is represented as feasting with him, in the sacrifices and feasts appointed by Moses, and in the prophecies (Isaiah 25:6, Isaiah 55:1). God’s saints are all spoken of as “the priests of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:6), but the priests eat the bread of God. What the spouse entertains her lover with is called “fruits” (Canticles 4:16, Canticles 7:13, and Canticles 8:2), as the good works of the saints abundantly are represented elsewhere as fruit, which the church brings and offers to God. The spouse is here compared to fruitful trees (Canticles 4:13–16, Canticles 7:7–8); the saints are compared to the same (Psalms 1:3, and Jeremiah 17:8, and Isaiah 27:6, and other places innumerable). The spouse is compared to a flourishing fruitful vine3 (Canticles 2:13, Canticles 7:8); so is the church of God often compared to a vine. The spouse’s excellency is compared to “the smell of Lebanon” (Canticles 4:11); so is the excellency of the church. Hosea 14:6–7, “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” The fruits of the spouse are often compared to pomegranates in this song (Canticles 4:3, Canticles 4:13, Canticles 6:7, Canticles 8:2); so the spiritual fruits of the church of God are represented by pomegranates in the tabernacle and temple. The spouse is in this song said to be like the palm tree (Canticles 7:7–8); so was the church of Israel, whose representatives were the seventy elders, typified by seventy palm trees (Exodus 15:27). So the temple was everywhere carved with cherubims and palm trees, representing saints and angels (1 Kings 6:29, 1 Kings 6:32, 1 Kings 6:35, 1 Kings 7:36, 2 Chronicles 3:5); so in Ezekiel’s temple (Ezekiel 40:16). The spouse in this song is compared to a garden and orchard, to a garden of spices, and of aloes in particular (Canticles 4:12–16, and Canticles 5:1, and Canticles 6:2), which is agreeable to the representations made of the churNumbers 24:5–6, “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as the gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, as the cedar trees beside the waters.” The spouse is compared to a fountain (Canticles 4:12); so is the church (Deuteronomy 33:28, Psalms 68:26). The twelve tribes of Israel are represented by twelve fountains of water (Exodus 15:27). The spouse is called “a fountain of gardens” (Canticles 4:15); so the church of God is represented as a fountain in the midst of “a land of corn and wine” (Deuteronomy 33:28), and a stream amongst all trees of unfading leaves and living fruit [Ezekiel 47:12], and as “a watered garden” (Isaiah 58:11, Jeremiah 31:12). The spouse is called “a well of living waters” (Canticles 4:15). The blessings granted to the church and by the church are represented by the same thing. Zechariah 14:8, “Living waters shall go out of Jersualem.” So Ezekiel 47:1–12, where we read of waters going out of the temple and city of Jerusalem, that gave life to everything, and flowed in the midst of trees of life. Another thing that is a very great evidence that this song is mystical, and that the spouse signifies not a person, but a society, and the church of God in particular, is that she is compared to a city, and the city of Jerusalem in particular. Canticles 6:4, “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem.” And that particular parts of the spouse are compared to buildings, and strong buildings, as towers and walls. Canticles 4:4, “Thy neck is like the tower of David, builded for an armory, whereon they hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” Canticles 7:4, “Thy neck is like a tower of ivory;… thy nose is the tower of Lebanon which looketh towards Damascus.” Canticles 8:10, “I am a wall, and my breasts like towers.” We find elsewhere peoples and societies of men represented by buildings, houses, and cities, but never particular persons. And the church of God is a society or people often represented in Scripture by such similitudes, and particularly is often compared to a city with strong towers and bulwarks, and to the city Jerusalem especially, and that on the account of her many fortifications and strong bulwarks.

Again, it greatly confirms that the spouse is a people, and the church of God in particular, that she is compared to an army, an army terrible with banners (Canticles 6:4, Canticles 6:10), and as a “company of two armies” [Canticles 6:13], or the company of Mahanaim.7 So the church of God, when brought out of Egypt through the wilderness to Canaan, was by God’s direction in the form of an army with banners. So the psalms and prophecies often represent the church of God as going forth to battle, fighting under an ensign, and gloriously conquering their enemies, and conquering the nations of the world. And the company of Jacob, that was as it were the church of Israel, with the host of angels that met them and joined them, to assist them against Esau’s host, was the company of Mahanaim, or “company of two armies,” so called by Jacob on that account (Genesis 32:2).

So it is a great evidence of the same thing, that the spouse is compared to war horses8 (Canticles 1:9), which it is not in the least likely would ever be a comparison used to represent the beauty of a bride in a common epithalamium, or love song. But this is exactly agreeable to a representation elsewhere made of the church of God. Zechariah 10:3, “The Lord of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.” Zechariah 10:5, “And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies as the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them.” Zechariah 10:7, “And they of Ephraim shall be like mighty men.”

These expressions show this song to be mystical. Canticles 1:6, “My mother’s children were angry with me,” etc. If supposed to be used of the church, they are easily accounted for. They are agreeable to accounts in Scripture history of Cain’s enmity against Abel, Esau’s against Jacob, and their posterities’ enmity against Israel, and [to] the prophecies that represent the future persecutions of the church by false brethren.

Another thing that shows this to be no common love song is that the spouse seeks company in her love to the bridegroom, endeavors to draw other women to join with her in loving him, and rejoices in their communion with her in the love and enjoyment of her beloved. Canticles 1:3–4, “Therefore the virgins love thee. Draw me. We will run after thee. The king hath brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in thee; we will remember thy love more than wine. THE UPRIGHT love thee.” Canticles 6:1–2, “Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither is thy beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with thee? My beloved is gone down into his garden,” etc. Canticles 8:13, “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companies hearken to thy voice.”

The bridegroom in this song speaks of his willing people (Canticles 6:12), agreeable to the language used concerning the people of the Messiah (Psalms 110:3).


As it was a common thing in these ancient times to have mystical speeches and parables, so it seems to have been a common thing to have mystical songs. See note on Canticles 2:10–11. See the evidence there is that the Psalms 45 is no common love song or epithalamium. “Miscellanies,” no. 1067, §46. See “Scripture,” no. 436. The ancient Jews about Christ’s time “believed that the book of Canticles was chiefly composed for the Messiah.” See Basnage’s History of the Jews, p. 367. See note on Canticles 8:5See SSS, preface to this book, and also to the book of Proverbs.

Canticles 1:4.] This verse affords two good arguments that this song is no human love song. 1. Because the first person singular and plural are here used promiscuously. “Draw me, we will run after thee. The king hath brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in thee; we will remember thy love more than wine.” If this was intended for the language of an earthly lover or sweetheart, how comes she to speak of herself thus in the plural number? ‘Tis evident ’tis because more than one person is signified, and respect is plainly had to the virgins mentioned in the last clause of the preceding verse, “the virgins love thee.” ‘Tis the nature of earthly love to dislike a rival, and to be averse to plurality. But she speaks of the virgins’ loving her loved, and having enjoyed his love, with manifest approbation and delight. So in the beginning of the Canticles 6, when the daughters of Jerusalem desire to seek the beloved of the spouse that they may enjoy him with her, she don’t disapprove of, but forwards it by directing them, according to their desire, where they may find him. See also Canticles 3:10–11. And by using the singular and plural thus promiscuously, ’tis evident that the spouse that is speaking, though one spouse, yet is more persons than one. 2. The last clause, “The upright love thee.” (1) It shows that this song is not a profane but an holy love song. Why should a lascivious lover take notice of this with such delight and pleasure, that the upright loved her beloved? The same word is used all over the Old Testament to signify the saints. Therefore it might have been translated, “the saints,” or “the sincerely godly love thee.” (2) When

 

2 Overall Statements about the Song

 

1  Practitioners of a precritical approach to the Bible, although they resorted to a variety of exegetical strategies, often employed typology in the effort to meet challenges to the premodern commentarial mindset. Edwards was no exception. For example, in “Notes on Scripture” he muted what had become by the eighteenth century the moral scandal of God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac by associating the “ram” typologically with Christ (No. 7). He rejected the suggestion that Canticles was “an ordinary love song” by treating the affection between the biblical lovers as a “shadow” of the “love, union, and communion” between Christ and the church (No. 147) and by linking typologically the spouse in the Song of Solomon and the “tents of Kedar” (Canticles 1:5) with the church (No. 458). He turned the discussion of the sun and the moon that stood still when Joshua fought the enemies of Israel (Joshua 10:12–14) away from questions of science by declaring the sun to be an “eminent type” of Christ, “the Sun of Righteousness and the Light of the world” (No. 207). These and many

2. Basnage, History of the Jews, p. 367. JE is referring to the opening passage of the chapter entitled, “Of the Helps which the Jewish Church had in the Time of christ, to know the Messiah.” Basnage states: “They as yet admitted the Maxim of St. Paul, that all things had happened to the Fathers in Types and Figures of the Messiah. And therefore they apply’d to him part of the Histories, and Events of the Old Testament.” Basnage goes on to cite David, the book of Canticles, and the brazen serpent as containing specific images that can be interpreted as applying to the Messiah.

The church or spouse of the Messiah is spoken of in Canticles 6:13 as being represented by the company of Mahanaim, that we have an account of (Genesis 32:1–2), made up of Jacob’s family and the heavenly host that joined them.

2 Fifteen years later, looking back on his early ministry, Edwards recollected: “I had then, and at other Times, the greatest Delight in the holy Scriptures, of any Book whatsoever.” “Notes on Scripture,” a biblical commentary that includes more than five hundred numbered entries, is evidence of that continuing preoccupation. The last entry in the series, No. 507, written approximately two years before his death in 1758, is a lengthy comparison between Canticles and Psalms 45. Seven years after Edwards’ death, Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803), his close associate and first biographer, declared that his friend “had studied the Bible more than all other books.” This volume provides evidence of the fruits of that study.

3 In the early 1740s he worked his way through the book of Genesis, using Matthew Henry’s Exposition (Nos. 342–348). Later in the same decade he wrote another cluster of entries on Genesis (Nos. 448, 450–456). And finally, late in the series he based twelve successive notes on Canticles on Poole’s Synopsis criticorum (Nos. 486–497). But these five cases, plus the long entries on the Pentateuch, are the exceptions. In general, the series documents a free-ranging pattern of biblical study.

4  In Honey from the Rock, for example, one of his more intricate sermons from a literary standpoint, he gives a highly christocentric, typological reading of God’s provision to the people of Israel in the wilderness. A sermon on Canticles 1:3 (288) from June 1733—which bears marked similarities to the sermon on Revelation 5:5–6 (405), published in 1738 as The Excellency of Christ—contains an unusually lengthy exposition of the nature of Christ in terms of his love for his people. The True Christian’s Life a Journey Towards Heaven is pastoral in tone—an effort toward consolation and encouragement in light of death.

5 The Sweet Harmony of Christ, retains the diction of Blessed Struggle, it increases manyfold the occurrence of one word, sweet, and adds in even greater number another wholly absent from the first, love. Described as “everlasting,” “transcendent,” “supreme,” and “dying” in a single paragraph, love governs the discourse, much as the dozen or so citations from Canticles sanction it and the twin notions of mutuality and harmony promise it. Indeed, “the nature and genius of Christianity” lies neither in professions, tenets, observances, or outward shows nor in orthodoxy, superstition, or “will-worship” but in the “internal, spiritual harmony between Christ and the soul,” the mutual love of one for the other.

6  Wilson, A Complete Christian Dictionary: Wherein the Significations and several Acceptations of all the Words mentioned in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New-Testament, are fully opened, expressed, explained… With a Particular Dictionary for the Canticles, or Song of Solomon

7  Edwards also consulted the work of Herman Moll (d. 1732), a Dutch mapmaker and geographer who came to London near the end of the seventeenth century.2 In one instance he drew upon Moll’s description of the height of a palm tree in his interpretation of the spouse in Canticles (p. 625). Biblical exegesis often intersected with the study of the chronology of the ancient world. Chronology was a preoccupation of many writers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Edwards was especially beholden to the work of Arthur Bedford

Psalms 116:16.] These words may be taken either as the words of the Psalmist speaking in the name of Christ, or in his own name. They may well be taken as the words of Christ, who was the seed of the woman and only the Son of God’s handmaid, and not of any one of his servants. There seems here to be a reference to that law of Moses, that when the mother was a maidservant, the children should be the master’s, though the father that was a servant might go out free. God, in giving a law whereby the children of an handmaid were servants by birth, probably had an eye to Christ who appeared in the form of a servant; his having the human nature, though only of a woman, was sufficient to render him a servant. Or if we understand the words as being spoken by David in his own name as a particular saint and member of God’s church, all the saints are the seed of the woman, and are herein conformed to Christ; and ’tis by being her seed that they become God’s servants. See Psalms 86:16. Hence the matter of the spouse is so often mentioned in the book of Canticles, and not the father (Canticles 6:9, and Canticles 1:6, Canticles 8:1, and Canticles 8:5).

9  On the whole, The Church’s Marriage is a celebration not merely of a minister’s installation but of the process of redemption through the preaching office in what Edwards clearly intimates are the “latter days” before Christ’s heroic return to reclaim his spouse. The rhetoric of Canticles and millennial anticipation heightens Edwards’ own flourishes of eloquence at climactic points throughout the sermon, and the tonic word joy (including variants, joyful and rejoice) firmly sustains his homiletical emphasis.

10  I would here take notice of the additions that were made to the canon of the Scripture in or soon after Solomon’s reign. There were considerable additions made by Solomon, who wrote the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, probably near the close of his reign. His writing the Song of Songs, as it is called, is what is especially here to be taken notice; which is wholly on the subject that we are upon, viz. Christ and his redemption, representing the high and glorious relation and union and love there is between Christ and his redeemed church. And the history of the Scripture seems, in Solomon’s reign and some of the next ensuing reigns, to have been added to by the prophets Nathan, and Ahijah, and Shemaiah, and Iddo. ‘Tis probable that part of the history we have in the first of Kings was written by them by what is said, 2 Chronicles 9:29 [“Now the rest of the acts of Solomon … are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah … and in the visions of Iddo”], and 2 Chronicles 12:15 [“Now the acts of Rehoboam … are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer”], and 2 Chronicles 13:22 [“And the rest of the acts of Abijah … are written in the story of the prophet Iddo”]

37. FAITH.

11  The soul is espoused and married unto Jesus Christ; the believing soul is the bride and spouse of the Son of God. The union between Christ and believers is very often represented to a marriage. This similitude is much insisted on in Scripture—how sweetly is it set forth in the Song of Songs! Now it is by faith that the soul is united unto Christ; faith is this bride’s reception of Christ as a bridegroom. Let us, following this similitude that we may illustrate the nature of faith, a little consider what are those affections and motions of heart that are proper and suitable in a spouse toward her bridegroom, what are those conjugal motions of soul which are most agreeable to, and do most harmonize with, that relation that she bears as a spouse. Now it is easy to everyone to know that when marriage is according to nature and God’s designation, when a woman is married to an husband she receives him as a guide, as a protector, a safeguard and defense, a shelter from harms and dangers, a reliever from distresses, a comforter in afflictions, a support in discouragements. God has so designed it, and therefore has made man of a more robust [nature], and strong in body and mind, with more wisdom strength and courage, fit to protect and defend; but he has made woman weaker, more soft and tender, more fearful, and more affectionate, as a fit object of generous protection and defense. Hence it is, that it is natural in women to look most at valor and fortitude, wisdom, generosity and greatness of soul: these virtues do—or at least ought, according to nature—move most upon the affections of the woman. Hence also it is, that man naturally looks most at a soft and tender disposition of mind, and those virtues and affections which spring from it, such as humility, modesty, purity, chastity. And the affections which he most naturally looks at in her are a sweet and entire confidence and trust, submission and resignation; for when he receives a woman as wife, he receives her as an object of his guardianship and protection, and therefore looks at those qualifications and dispositions which exert themselves in trust and confidence. Thus it’s against nature for a man to love a woman as wife that is rugged, daring and presumptuous, and trusts to herself, and thinks she is able to protect herself and needs none of her husband’s defense or guidance. And it is impossible a woman should love a man as an husband, except she can confide in him, and sweetly rest in him as a safeguard.

Thus also, when the believer receives Christ by faith, he receives him as a safeguard and shelter from the wrath of God and eternal torments, and defense from all the harms and dangers which he fears. Isaiah 32:2, “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Wherefore, the dispositions of soul which Christ looks at in his spouse are a sweet reliance and confidence in him, a humble trust in him as her only rock of defence, whither she may flee. And Christ will not receive those as the objects of his salvation who trust to themselves, their own strength or worthiness, but those alone who entirely rely on him. The reason of this is very natural and easy.

12  We are come now to inquire what cause they have thus to glory in Christ.

First. They have a more glorious Lord. Christ is the most glorious king: there are none of the sons of the mighty can be compared unto him. He is KINGS OF KINGS [Revelation 19:16], which phrase not only signifies that he rules over other kings, but that he is the most excellent king, as “Song of Songs” signifies the most excellent song.

He is a king of higher descent. Others are sons of nobles, but he is the Son of the Most High God; others have royal blood, but he has the divine nature.

His kingdom is of greater extent, who rules over heaven and earth;….

The Nature, Purpose, and Use of “Miscellanies” Nos. 501–832

“Miscellanies” Nos. 501–832 trace Edwards’ intellectual development during this crucial period in his career as a Puritan minister and theologian. The internal narrative they provide is, however, indirect, for the entries themselves include few references to external events. Nos. 501–832 contain only one date, a cross-reference in No. 625 to a “sermon on Canticles 1:3, preached June 1733″.  In fact, citations of sermons are the strongest links to external events found in this group of entries, for after January 1733 each of Edwards’ sermon manuscripts contains a notation of the date of its composition. Apart from these oblique references to specific preaching occasions, Edwards makes no mention of his public activities in these miscellanies. Nevertheless, thematic connections can be discerned between specific entries and the social context in which they were presumably composed. Many entries written in the 1730s, for example, consider various stages of the morphology of conversion, a topic that occupied Edwards during the awakening and that he considered at length in A Faithful Narrative. Similarly, many address some aspect of the liberal critique of Calvinist Christianity, a topic related to Edwards’ involvement in the Breck affair. But Edwards discusses neither of these events explicitly.

Ink comparisons made by Schafer show that the sermon on Canticles 1:3 was written in an ink identical to that found in Nos. 621–22. Nos. 626–28 are written in the same ink as A Divine and Supernatural Light (Matthew 16:17), dated Aug. 1733. It is therefore likely that JE wrote No. 625 between June and August 1733


Job 24:18. “He is swift as the waters.”] I.e. as the waters swiftly hasten to the sea, so he is making haste to destruction. “He beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.” I.e. the way to life, comfort, and joy. Here the broad way that leads to destruction is fitly compared to the course of the waters which is descending to the great abyss, and the narrow way that leads to life to the way of the vineyards which were wont to be upon hills, and where were their pleasantest and most reviving fruits which made glad the heart. Spiritual blessings are often compared to wine, and God’s church to a vineyard, in Canticles and elsewhere. Compare Job 20:17, Proverbs 2:18–19, and Proverbs 5:5–6.

========================================================================================================================================================

3.  PSALM 45 Blank Bible Notes

Psalms 45:1. “My tongue is as the pen of a ready writer.”] I.e. I am not any more at a loss for words and expressions than a ready scribe who writes from a copy, where all the words are already set before his eyes.

Psalms 45:7.] See no. 163.Works, 15, 97.

Psalms 45:8.] Ivory is a white substance, and these spices coming “out of ivory palaces” representMS: “represents.” the same as Mary’s precious ointment, perfumed with spices, out of an alabaster box. See note on Mark 14:3. Ivory is evidently used in Scripture as a type of spiritual purity by reason of its whiteness. So Solomon’s throne of judgment was of ivory (1 Kings 10:18), to signify the righteousness and purity of his judgment, and righteousness of his government, as Christ is represented at the day of judgment as sitting on a great white throne (Revelation 20). The same may be argued from Canticles 5:14, “His belly is as bright ivory.” And Canticles 7:4, “Thy neck is as a tower of ivory.” By the “ivory palaces” is probably meant heaven. So SSS.This reference and the preceding sentence are a later addition. Synopsis Criticorum, II (London, 1671), Pt. 2, cols. 841–42.

Psalms 45:10. “Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house.”] By which may be intended sin, and the pleasures and profits thereof, the objects of our lusts; which may well be compared to our father’s house and natural kindred, both because sin and corruption is what we have naturally, that which we are born with, and that we derive from our parents. ‘Tis that which we have by the first birth, whereby we are born of earthly parents, for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” [John 3:6], and also because sin is naturally dear to us, as those relations that we are akin to by birth, that we are born of or amongst, and are nourished and brought up by and with.

By her “father’s house” may be intended also this world, which is our native country. We are naturally, and by our first birth, of the earth, earthly. We must forsake this country in our hearts for Christ. See Ephesians 5:30–32.This reference is a later addition.

Psalms 45:13. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.”] So it was with the tabernacle that Moses erected. Its inward clothing or curtains were of fine linen, embroidered with blue, purple, and scarlet, coupled together with taches of gold; but its outward coverings were plain, of rams’ skins and badgers’ skins [Exodus 25:4–5]. The church is “black, but comely,” outwardly of a mean appearance, “as the tents of Kedar,” and inwardly beautiful and glorious, “as the curtains of Solomon” [Canticles 1:5].

How Psalm 45 Relates to the Song of Songs

Both these songs treat of these lovers with relation to their espousals one to another, representing their union to that of a bridegroom and bride.

In both the bridegroom is represented as a king, and in both the bride is spoken of as a king’s daughter. Psalms 45:13, “The king’s daughter is all glorious,” etc. Canticles 7:1, “How beautiful are thy feet, O prince’s daughter.”

In each, both the bridegroom and bride are represented as very fair or beautiful. The bridegroom, Psalms 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the sons of men.” Canticles 5:10, “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousands.”

In both the bridegroom is represented as greatly delighted with the beauty of the bride. Psalms 45:11, “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty.” Canticles 4:9, “Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.”

In both the speech of the bridegroom is represented as exceeding excellent and pleasant. Psalms 45:2, “Grace is poured into thy lips.” Canticles 5:16, “His mouth is most sweet.”

In both the ornaments of the bride are represented by costly, beautiful, and splendid attire, and in both as adorned with gold. Psalms 45:9, “Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.” Psalms 45:13–14, “Her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.” Canticles 1:10–11, “Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, and thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” Canticles 7:1, “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter!”

The excellencies, and amiable and honorable endowments, of the bridegroom in both are represented by perfumed ointment. Psalms 45:7, “Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Canticles 1:3, “Because of the savor of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love thee.”

In both the excellent gifts or qualifications of these lovers, by which they are recommended to each other, and delighted in one another, are compared to such spices as myrrh, aloes, etc. And in both the sense these lovers have of this amiableness, and that sense by which they have comfort and joy, is represented by the sense of smelling. Psalms 45:8, “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, whereby they have made three glad.” Canticles 1:13–14, “A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; my beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire.” Canticles 1:12,

“While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” Canticles 2:13, Let us see whether the vines “give a good smell.” Canticles 3:6, “Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?” Canticles 4:14, “Spikenard, saffron, calamus, and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh, aloes, with all the chief spices.”

Indeed in some parts of Psalms 45, the Psalmist makes use of more magnificent representations of the bridegroom’s excellency. Psalms 45:3–4 “And gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty; and in thy majesty, ride prosperously.” So we find it also with respect to the bride. Canticles 6:10, “Who is this that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” And in both these representations the excellencies of these lovers are represented as martial excellency, or the glorious endowments of valiant warriors.

In both these songs the bride is represented as with a number of virgins that are her companions in her nuptial honors and joys. Psalms 45:14, “She shall be brought in unto the king; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto thee.” So in many places of Solomon’s Song, the spouse is represented as conversing with a number of the daughters of Jerusalem that sought the bridegroom with her, and therefore she speaks in the plural number. Canticles 1:4, “Draw me, we will run after thee; we will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will remember thy love more than wine.”

The representation in both of the manner of the bride’s being brought into the king with her companions, with great joy, is exactly alike. Psalms 45:14–15, “She shall be brought in unto the king in raiment of needlework. The virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and with rejoicing, shall they be brought unto thee; they shall enter into the king’s palace.” Compare this with Canticles 1:4, “The king hath brought me into his chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee.”

Those who are the friends of the bridegroom, that are united to him and partake of his dear love, are in both these songs represented as gracious and holy persons. Psalms 45:4, “In thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth, meekness, and righteousness.” Canticles 1:4, “We will remember thy love more than wine; the upright love thee.”

To represent the excellency of the bridegroom’s place of abode, in Psalms 45:8, the excellent materials that his palace is made of are mentioned.

‘Tis represented as made of ivory. In like manner, as the excellent materials of his palace are spoken of, Canticles 1:17, “The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir,” as elsewhere, the materials of his chariot are mentioned, viz. “the wood of Lebanon,” gold, silver, and purple (Canticles 3:9–10).

‘Tis objected by some against Solomon’s Song, that some expressions seem to have reference to the conjugal embraces of the bridegroom. But perhaps there is nothing more directly supporting this than the Psalms 45:14, Psalms 45:15, and Psalms 45:16 verses of the Psalms 45, where seems to be a plain reference to the manner in Israel in which the bride at night used to be led into the bridegroom’s bed chamber, her bridesmaids attending her, in the Psalms 45:14 and Psalms 45:15verses; and then, immediately in the next verse, are we told of the happy fruit of the intercourse in the offspring which they have, “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.”

‘Tis supposed by many to be very liable to a bad construction that the beauty of the various parts of the body of the spouse is mentioned and described in Solomon’s Song. But perhaps these are no more liable to a bad construction than the Psalms 45:13, where there is mention of the beauty of the bride’s clothes, and her being “glorious within,” where setting aside the allegory, or mystical meaning of the song, what is most naturally understood as the most direct meaning would seem to be, that she had not only glorious clothing, but was yet more glorious in the parts of her body within her clothing, that were hid by her clothing.

 

============================================================================

4.  PSalm 72

Psalms 72:3. “The mountains shall bring peace,” etc.] I.e. this shall be as it were the natural produce. In the land of Canaan, that hilly country, their fruitful grounds were mountains and hills. In the Psalms 72:16 we read of “an handful of corn” on the mountains, and in innumerable places we read of the produce of the hills and mountains. This figure of speech concerning the mountains’; bringing forth peace is like many others in the Scripture, such as the earth’s opening, and bringing forth salvation, and righteousness springing up together (Isaiah 45:8), and truth’s springing out of the earth (Psalms 85:11).

Psalms 72:6. “He shall come as rain on the mown grass.”] Man is first cut down by the fall before he is redeemed by Christ. The soul, before it is refreshed and renewed with the consolations of Christ, is wounded and as it were cut down with the scythe of the law. And in order to our having the benefit of Christ’s salvation, we must be cut down; we must be cut down as to our former sinful life. We must die to sin that we may live to Christ. We must be cut down as to our worldly happiness; those things that we used to place our happiness in, we must renounce, and sell all for Christ. We must be crucified to the world, and the world must be crucified to us. We must cut ourselves down as to these things. He that would find his life must lose it [Matthew 10:39]. We must be cut down as to our pride, must be made low and level with the ground as to our own righteousness, cut off from our own stock that we may be engrafted into Christ, cut off as to that life that we live by nature, in order to renewed life by Christ, as the grass that grows again and is renewed by rain after it is mown. So Christ comes down as rain on those that are cut down by affliction, and on his church when cut down by her oppressors and persecutors. See Psalms 72:2 and Psalms 72:4. Grass is a very low, feeble, tender plant; it vastly differs from tall trees. It is easily cut down; many hundreds of spires of grass may be cut down at one stroke of the scythe. ‘Tis easily devoured and commonly trodden under foot. Yet this is remarkable concerning it: that when it is cut down, it will sprout again when watered by the showers of heaven, and will flourish not less than it did before. Cutting of it down, though it be year after year, and many times in a year, don’t at all put it out of hope. If it be devoured from day to day by the beasts that feed upon it, yet it will live and grow by the dew and rain. When a field is mown close to the ground, yet the rain as it were heals the wound of the scythe, and raises it from the dead; and presently it appears green, and flourishing, and joyful again. The church of God in the world is very much like grass in this respect: it can’t be killed by cutting down, or by being devoured by the beasts that are greedy of it. Let it be never so often wounded, cut off, or mown down, it will live and grow again by showers of heaven. There quickly comes up a multitude of new spires in the room of old ones that were cut down. Often has that been verified in Isaiah 37:31, “And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.” And that in Isaiah 26:19, “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth her dead.” And Hosea 14:5–7, “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.”

When the grass is mown, it is killed. The growing of the grass, after it is cut down with the scythe, is a kind of resurrection from the death. So by Christ’s word and spirit, which is spiritual rain, the soul rises from the dead after it has died to sin, to the world, and to the law; it is quickened together with Christ. And their dead bodies at last shall rise, so that when he comes at the end of the world, he will come down on the dead bodies of the saints “as the rain on the mown grass” [Psalms 72:6]. And whenever he revives the saints, either their bodies or spirits, it is as [rain] coming down from heaven.This paragraph has been relocated from its mistaken location at Psalms 36:9.

Psalms 72:7. “Abundance of peace.”] Psalms 37:11; Jeremiah 33:6.

Psalms 72:8. “And from the river unto the moon.”] See notes on Zechariah 9:10.

Psalms 72:15.] It might have been rendered, “Prayer also shall be made through him continually, and daily shall he be blessed.” The wordבָּרַךְ rendered “praised” is that which is commonly rendered “blessed” when speaking of an act of worship towards God. And the wordבְּעַד translated “for” is sometimes used for “through,” as.

 

========================================================================================================================================================

Jonathan Edwards general quotes on Song of Solomon

The name of the incense, and the names of the sweet spices that were used in the incense and anointing oil in the sanctuary, are made use of to signify spiritual things appertaining to the Messiah and his kingdom in the book of Canticles and Psalms 45:8. Something in the Messiah’s kingdom is called by the name of the precious stones that adorned the temple.  Compare Isaiah 54:11–12 with 1 Chronicles 29:2 and 2 Chronicles 3:8

==============================================================================

 

 

 

The Churches Marriage to her sons and to her God

July 1737.  Jonathan Edwards

Song of Songs 5:3-6

I have put off my coat how shall I put it on I have washed my feet how shall

I defile them The spouse of X here gives an account of what passd with respect to her on occasion of a special call that she had from her beloved.  we have an account of

the call in the foregoing verse where she begins with giving an account of the frame she was in when this call was made I sleep but my heart waketh tho her heart was awaked tho she had a principle of within her of true Religion that in it self was lively a lively vigorous active principle a principle of Grace that was forward to duty. yet she by the reason of the prevelency of the canal part was in a dull & sleepy frame indolent & indisposed to duty..

The expression I sleep but my heart waketh is seems to be of the same import with that which X uses with Respect to his discip. when he saw them in a very dull time Math 2641. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. & then the spouse gives an account how and while she was in this frame  Christ her beloved called her

“it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh”

Christ calls her to arise & open to him to let him in.  That was the duty he required of her & the end was that he might come in & enjoy her company & she his that they might sweetly converse together . He calls her in a very winning manner, with the most endearing expressions & appellations

Open to me says he my Love my dove my undefiled. & he  knocks & calls in a most importunate manner my head says he is “filled with the dew”

sh his s thus knocking at the door of his beloved is represented as being in the night  X sought when she was a (her heart was sleeping, when in a rebellious state.  When lost the
Good Shepherd is calling her back.  Conviction of truth and need of repentance in a time of rebellion and sin.  This is how he calls her back.  This is how by His love her draws her closer when far away.)                                  

X sought entertainmt of her and shelter from the dew dews & cold damps of the night In the Text we have an account of what followed with Respect to the spouse who is thus called & at whose door X thus knocks . In which may be observed several things

  1. she is slow in answering his call & opening the door to him as he requested.   She did not do as might have been well expected arise & open to him immediately receiving him with the greatest Alacrity & Joy but she is dull about & delays & excuses her self.

2 for  what reason she is thus backward to hearken to Xs call. viz. her lothness a little to deny her self.   “I have put off my coat how shall I put it on I have washed my feet how shall I defile them.”

she was in a dull sleepy frame it was contrary to her to rise out of her bed & put swe(et myrrh on, unlock the door and enjoy fellowship with him/Him by obeying his voice to repent when your in known sin or delaying obedience in any area)  drouse & shake off sweet sleep & therefore she finds out excuses she makes an excuse of that that she shall defile her feet if she rises & lets him in.

  1. We may observe how after her delays & excuses she was made willing to comply with the request of her beloved . he put in his hand & her bowels.  X was pleased (to call to her, but her returns of love to him/Him came to late).

when her beloved had called & told her how his head in vain . he further manifested his desire of be entrance by putting in his hand her seeing this moved her she says her bowels were moved for him . (Conviction of what I ought to do while I’m in sin along with further convictions that Christ really wants to fellowship with me indicated by not only Him knocking but His hand advancing, she enjoys some fellowship but it is soon gone because her obedience was to late, she should have known better so back into the dark night she goes til her higher view of Him humbles her to quicker repentance when in known sin)  (When the Head suffers from the night the whole body of Christ suffers, Don’t leave Christ outside knocking when your in sin while Christ and the whole body suffers)

 

it wroght on her affections & made her sensible of her own ingratitude in being so backward to open to him, it roused & made her delay no longer. This seems to be signified by it viz that when the spark of X was not prevaild upon by X’s outward call the call of his word he then quickend her by his own immediate hand by drawing forth her heart by the motions of his sp. & therby did as it were put in his hand through the door of her heart

the voice of the beloved probably signifies the external call of X but the hand of X signifies [his] inward efficacy. tho Xs voice did not move her yet his hand prevail’d .

while called to she only heard him  but when he put in his hand then she saw something of him she saw his hand Tho having X only only wont prevail on the heart yet when the soul comes to see  something of X that will have effect.

  1. upon this she rises to open to X. G I rose to open to my beloved then after Xs hand

had been put in she was willing to obey his commands so that we may observe that she did not utterly refuse to comply with Xs call. The manner of saints & is diff. in this Respect . a natural man utterly Refuses to open to X tho X continues calling

from  time to time .  on the other hand a saint may at first be backward & shew through a lothness to deny Hims & thereby Greatly sin & but yet they are commonly won’t when they have considered the matter at length to comply & yield to their duty  tis not their manner absolutely to refuse obedience to [ ]

commands of X 

The spouse says of her self that her hands dropped with myrrh

i.e  she opend the door with [shewing] of sweet affection to X. . her heart

[began to] be moved from when she first saw him put in his hand through the hole of the door. but after that her affec gracious affection to him pu & desires after him prevailed more & more & no & when she opend the door she did it willingly as with sweet desires after X .

  1. We may observe how she was disappointed when she came to open the door But my beloved had (gone). she opend with earnest expectation of meeting her beloved there at the door her heart seemd ready to embrace her hands were perfumd w as it were with sweet smelling myrh- myrrhe ready to be to prepare them to take hold of him & embrace him as soon as ever the door was open . her heart was full of eager desires &

expectations of the happy meeting she should there have with him but behold when she had opened the door he was not there but had withdrawn hims. she if she had arose & opened to him when he first calld she ma might have met with him then. But as she says, her soul failed when he spake i. e when he first calld her heart faild her she did not find it in her heart then to arise & open to him . (Prov. 1:20-33)

& now she suffers for it. Now she is risen he is not to be (found) & has opend he is not there. & she says she sought him. Her backwardness to deny herself in her sleepy sluggish frame when he first calld her lost her the benefit of sweet communion with her beloved & not only so but cost her a great of deal of difficulty. For after this she say when she went out about the city to try to find him the watchmen that went & she was sick of love. i. e she was sick & had her heart sunk with her disappointmt of that opportunity of communion with him that she m had met with and so earnestly desired .

DOC. ‘Tis a  Common thing that the saints miss of sweet communion with X for want of a little selfdenial.  (For lack of immediate self-denial when He wants her to obey)

I would endeavour to clear up this doc. by speaking particularly to the following propositions.

  1. That X stands ready to grant his saints sweet commu-

nion with himself.

2.  There are duties incumbent on us or things

that they ought to do that so they may be in the way of

communion with X.

  1. there is a backwardness in the [saints] to the the do-

ing of those things especially at sometimes & in some instances &so

they can be done without self denial.

  1. X is especially wont at such- times as when the saints to deny thems. to grant them sweet communion with hims.

5.  They miss of that self denial through the want of which they miss of is but small.  Though the duty be but small the bride went long without him until she got him back.

Prop. I. Christ stands ready to Grant his saints sweet communion with him did he not manifest hims ready to have communion with the spouse in the v. proceeding the text. when he came to her door in the night & Knocked saying open to me my sister my Love my dove my und –

dont these sweet endearing [epaulletions] manifest a readiness. He was ready tho the spouse was backward. he faild not of willingness on his part tho the spouse in her dull & sleepy frame was full of her trivial excuses.

X hath an exceeding transcendent Love to his saints he loved them from all Et. his de lights were with them before the foundation of he Θ as he says Prov. 8 31 he delighted in them as they existed in his foreknowledge . X certainly then he will not be backward to have communion with them when they come into being and after they are savingly brought home to hims. & have his image put upon their souls X loves the saints with a love of complacence he rejoices over them he delights in those holy graces & those lovely ornaments that he has put upon them his heart is as it were ravished with the sp. beauty that he has given them & he is delighted in their love to him as in the 9. & 10 v of the Chap

proceeding the text Thou hast Ravished

The souls of the saints are the spouse of J. X as they are Represented throughout this book of Sol. Song. such is delight in her that he compares her to the lily among thorns & to a garden enclosed a fountain of Gardens a well of living w. & streams from Lebanon. He compares her graces to pleasant fruits & the sweetest & most fragrant spices. He compares her beauty to the light of the morning to the fairness of the moon & brightness of the sun Chap. 6 10 such a complacence certainly implies a delight that X has in communion with his saints .

Xs

X manifests his readiness to grant the saints communion with hims. by his often inviting them to it in this Book as in the 2 Chap. 10 & and again 4 Chap 8 v. & 5. chap. 1v. eat as O Friends drink ye drink abundantly O beloved . & so in the Text open to me my sister

& with what delight does X speak of his intended communion with his spouse Chap. 7. 6 7 8 How fair & how pleasant art thou O love for Delights this thy stat. is like to a palm tree & thy breasts to clusters of grapes I said I will go up to the palm tree I will take hold of the boughs Thereof . i.e I will Go & have communion with my spouse.

Xs love to his saints far exceeds their love to him . he loved them first & his love is the foundation & as it were the fountain of theirs

His love to them is such that it made him willing to die for them & shall not he that was ready to shed his blood & to suffer the cruel & accursd death of the cross for them he ready to grant them communion with Him yea he died for that end to make way that they might have communion with him & since he so readily did that surely he will be ready when it is done to attain his own end in it.  X never manifests any backwardness to hold communion with his people but is ever more ready for it & acts as one that delights in it when they are ready for it he never is backward on his part

Prop II . There are duties incumbent on them as things that they ought to do that they may be in the way of communion with X . There is nothing required of the saints to make em worthy of such a priviledge nothing by which they can merit it. X stands ready to grant it to them. he doesn’t need any money or price of theirs to purchase but yet X deals with the saints as reasonable active creatures as tis a mercy to them that he does . and therefore tis expected that they should not be wholly idle & meerly passive in this matter but that they should be actively concerned in what appertains to their coming to this great priviledge of communion with hims. tis an honour that X puts upon them that he orders it that it should be so that there should be an. intercourse maintaind between him

 

wherein they should be active & indeed it belongs to the notions of communion & converse of two active beings that they should be mutually active .

Tho there be nothing incumbent on the saints whereby they may merit the priviledge of communion with X Yet there are things incumb. on them in order to their being prepared for it and also in order to our voluntary admitting and receiving X to communion.

whereby we may as it were open the door to recieve X into our fellowship & communion . for X never forces hims. upon any against their will. & if tis required of us that we should be willing to Receive X & to have fellowship tis doubtless required that this willingness by some way expressed in our actions .

Here it may be Enq. what Things are they that are incumbent on the saints as they would be in the way to enjoy communion with X?

Ans. in general to yield to X & hearken to his calls.

All that is required of us in order to communion with X may indeed be resolved into a voluntary active admitting & receiving communion with him.

X is first in seeking communion with us before ever the saints seek or desire communion with him he is alwaies first & leads & all that they have to do is to yield & to follow .

the end of all his calls to us is our happiness in him . he dont calls us to come to him or to admit him to come to us that he may be made happy by us for he stands in no need of us nor have we any thing to bestow upon him to make him happy but he calls that he may make us happy in him & In his communion to this end he Calls us to open to him & Receive him he calls us to yield our selves to him  he & to follow him .

But more particularly .

  1. He calls them away from the pollution of the world & from communion with other lovers.

Indeed they have their hearts called away from those things in their conversion they are Cleansed in a measure & hant their love to her lovers

Mortified but not perfectly purged out of their hearts but they are still liable to pollute thems. & to leave X for a time  & in a great degree to go after other lovers again .

whereby they deprive thems. of communion with X when they pollute thems. with sensual defilements hereby they do as it were drive X far from them . never any had much sweet communion with X while they remain’d in a sensual frame no wonder that X dont delight to converse with a soul when defiling it self with that abomination which his soul hates  The King of glory calls his saints to wash & purify thems. from their filthiness & to put off their filthy rags that they may be fit to converse with him so he calls to his chh. Isai. 52 1 2 There are other lovers that are

solliciting the  & sometimes do in a great measure prevail such as Θly profit & Θly advancement  & the objects of their sensual appetites . but X calls them away from them those that they may have communion X wont tolerate a rival X dont come to us to seek a share in our hearts w together with other lovers but that we would forsake all for his sake . he wont converse with us as long as others are entertaind but when we Cast off all others for him then may we expect that he will grant us communion with hims. when X spouse is most undefiled   least polluted with the defilements of the world & least polluted by other lovers then will X be most ready to have communion with his spouse.

his Thus we see in the text when X calls his spouse to communion with him he gives her the character of undefiled

  1. Christ calls his saints to admit him as the object of their meditations . the believer by fixing his meditations on X [Carries] the eye towards him & fixes it on him which is necessary in order to communion with him . for how shall we c have communion or converse with a person that we dont l see & that our mind is not fixed upon how should our souls be entertaind with communion with X & yet be taken up with other objects therefore if we would have sensible communion with X tis absolutely necessary that we should fix our meditations on him this X calls us to to that end.

Tis the duty of every Xtian to make X the daily subject of his meditations X should be the chief object of a believers contemplations as he is the most worthy & Glorious object . this we are called to by X & that because we are apt to forget X & to be unmindful of him . this is part of what is intended

Cant. 8 6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart as a seal upon thine arm for love is strong & death and Jealousy is cruel as the grave. & especially at some times are we call the saints called to  fix their medita. on X persons should have set times every day wherein they should do this & it shoud be especially done on Sabbath days & oftentimes there are particular calls to it by our particular circumstances & `Gods providential dealings with us. 

  1. Christ calls his saints to wait upon him in the use of the means of his appointment. In a diligent reading  & hearing of his word & Keeping his holy Sabbaths & attending on his ordinances . these are as it were his gates & the posts of his doors these are his chambers w where he is won’t to meet with his spouse & to grant her communion with him those are the shepherds tents spoken of in the first  Chap. of v Sol S.  7 8 v. The spouse desires her beloved to tell where he fed & where he made his flock to Rest at noon that she might come to him there & enjoy his company & communion.  he tells her “if thou know not O then fairest among women go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock & feed thy kids beside the shepherds tents.”
  2. He calls them to follow him & walk with him if we would enjoy communion with X we must follow him where he goes . we must follow his example. we must cleave to him in every case & not desert him because of the cross that lies in the way .

we must cleave to him in every duty that he requires of us . we must follow X in our behaviour alone & in secret we must follow X in all our conduct towards men . we must follow him whether in a private or publick station. & in our behaviour in our families & .among our neighbours & towards all men . we are called to walk with X & Cleave to him through the whole of our course through the world we follow him in the exercise of those great works that he hath set us an example of his meekness & humility his patience his selfdenial his contempt of the Θ & his forgiveness & his wonderfull love & Charity Math 11 28.29. come unto me all ye that Lab Joh. 13. 15 I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done unto you.. I come now to the

III Prop.   There is a backwardness to these things especially in some cases so that

selfdenial is necessary in order to the doing of them.  There are such remains of corruption in the H. of the [breast] that the thorough complying with the call of X in these things is attended with a great deal of difficulty.  & especially if it be easy to comply in some cases yet not in others there are some duties required that are very difficult very cross to those principles & inclinations that are naturally predominant in men & that have great power & strength in the Godly . & especially have they a backwardness to them at some times . no godly person is alwaies in a like frame. that duty which is easy to him at one time is very difficult at another it seems to be no self-denial to do it when the heart is in a spiritual & lively frame and yet is very cross & contrary in a dull & carnal frame so that a thorough yielding to X in those his calls & opening the door to him in them all cant be done without denying our selves.

when the saints get into Ill frames . so as to follow after other lovers & to defile thems. in the pollutions of the Θ there is a backwardness to forsake those things tho X calls to it by the preaching of the word or  otherwise there is a backwardness to comply with the call a disposition in the saints to excuse thems. there is a principle in the Heart that loves those pollution & those rivals of J. X when they have insensibly fallen into a way of indulging any lust & are called to break it off there is a backwardness to it there is a slothness to forego the sinfull Pleasure that has been entertaind & has got footing in the heart . there is a backwardness to cross the sensual appetite & to keep underthe body .

And there is oftentimes a Great deal of difficulty . in fixing the heart in meditations on Jesus X  tis work that seems cross to the [clination] of the heart the mind seems not to be  disposed to it but flies off from it . X tis contrary to the sluggish frame that the soul is in to take any great matter of pains to fix the thoughts There is oftentimes a great deal of backwardness to a diligent and attentive use of all the means that X has appointed in order to communion with him .

sometimes there is backwardness when X calls to prayer or when he calls to reading the Holy ss. & a dullness of heart on sabbath days & in the time of Publick duties of worship a backwardness to any diligent attention to them . .so oftentimes there is a backwardness in the saints to follow X & Cleave to him. there it is cross to their present temporal interest or cross to some sinfull inclination. cross to covetousness or cross to pride or to slothfulness.

there is a disposition to neglect some duties that are required of em & to find out some excuses or other there is a backwardness to put the coat on when it is put off  & a pretence of unwillingness to defile the feet after they have been washed. .

Prop IV. X is won’t to sweet communion with hims. If the saints feel a backwardness in them if they will resolutely oppose & cross their backward. to yield to X that is the way to receive special manifestations of X & his love & to be admitted to a peculiar intimacy with him. if the spouse when she  felt her self so indisposed to had immediately cross that sluggishness & had arisen and opend to her beloved she

X dont intend that his saints should be any [loafers] by denying thems. for his sake.  [but] hell give em that communion with hims & those sp. blessings that will compensate it an hundred fold. math 19 29 “And every one that hath forsaken houses or brethren or sisters or Fathers or mothers or lands for my names sake shall receive an hundredfold”

if a person desires communion with X the directest course he can take in order to it is to  Thoroughly to deny hims. & all his sins for his sake.  & the greater acts of self denial there are so much the more likely is it that persons will Receive the blessed [means] of divine light & comf. from X

we have  many examples in the saints the ss. gives us an account as that confirm it .   so in Abraham. after he had denied hims. & at[s] Gods command had forsaken we read that immediately after it the L. appeard to him. with comfortable & gracious promises so that Abrah. thought it worth his while to build an alter in that place as a memorial of the sweet commun. with G. that he had had there Gen 12 7 so after denied himself to offer

up his  son

Gen 22:15 & so when moses had denied hims. Refused to be Calld the son of Pharoahs daughter . to enjoy the pleasure & Honours of Pharoahs court & by his Zeal for G. Rather suffered Banishmt into  a strange land X. appeard to him on mt Sinai in the Bush. & after wards he was blessed with the most gracious & Remarkeable Intimate communion.

Particularly when he denied his [images.] when envied & reproached by shadrach meshach & abednego. when they so denied thems. as to appear singular in Refusing to bow down to the Golden Image against the express comands & most fierce will of Nebuchadnezzar even to their being cast

X is want to Reward the self denial of his saints with communion with

hims.  these three ways.

  1. X is very often want in the time of Acts of self denial as soon after to Grant them sweet communion with him especially any remarkeable acts of self denial . This is often found in the experience of the saints . when they cheerfully deny them & go through difficulties when called X comes to them he dont leave em long done in such cases. those saints that do most cheerfully & thoroughly deny

2.  Reward the self denial of his saints thems. are want to enjoy with the comforts of communion with hims. Long after at times when they stand in most need of it . he

2 Those saints that L that most cheerfully & thoroughly deny thems. are want to enjoy most communion with X through their whole lives .  They that most thoroughly deny their sloth .& carnal cast & appetites & renounce their Θly interest for Xs sake they commonly are the Xtians that have most  inward & spiritual comfort . david was a remarkeable instance of this who remarkeably lived a life of self denial while saul lived when saul sought his life & he might easily have had opportunity to B have deliverd hims. from such an adversary either by  Raising Rebellion in Israel while who had a great favour for David & Saul was under great disadvantage by his having fallen into melancholly or he might secretly have conspired against him & slain him hav but he chose rather to flee & spend his time in the m woods & mountains & caves of the Earth & when saul was Remarkeably delivered into his hand wh once & again & he could have easily have slain him he choose still to deny his Revenge & rather continue in his wandering state & go into banish mt than put forth his hand against the Lords anointd thus he long continued to live a life of selfdenial & suffering & the Book of Psalms shows what abundant communion with G. he was blessed with where he is from time to time speaking of the Comforts of Gods spirit & the light of Gods countenance that he had & tis observed that the Greater part of his psalms were pen’d while he in his suffering state before his outward prosperity.

we have a Remarkeable instance in Moses in whom we have one of the Greatest instances of a life of selfdenial as any of the Old T. saints  he had opportunity to have lived in he enjoymt of the Greatest Θly pleasure riches & honours if he would having been adopted by Pharoahs daughter who probably was the King of Egypts only

child & so was brought up in pharoahs court & probably might have inherited his crown but he renounced all he chose to live a life of affliction with the people of G. then enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Heb 11 24 25 26

He so denied hims that he rather chose to be reckd among that despised people that were m the Egyptians bondslaves that they treated with no more Respect then beasts probably showed em less mercy then they did their beasts

he chose rather to appear as to be one of these then to be calld the son of Pharoahs daught. & by his Zeal for G. he & his people he into a strange land & spent 40 years in Banishmt. But there he was favourd with extraordinary communion with X.

X appeard to him in an extraordinary manner – at mt sinai in the Bush . for there was X that the second person in the trinity that there appeard to him as is said beause he is calld the angel of the L. Exod 3:2  burnt with fire was a type and from that time forward he was favourd with the most remarkeable & intimate Communion with X

the same Angel that appeard to him in the Bush that ever any of the old F. Prophets had been .  G. from time to time appearing to him face to face. & speakg with him as a man speaketh with his friend Exod 33 11. & when he beseeched him to shew him his glory he made all his goodn. pass before him & proclaimd his name to him & shewed him his glory so far as his present soul or state would allow

he shewed him his backparts because no man could see his face & live & he was twice forty days & forty nights in the mt Conversing with X. until at last his very face shone that the Chil. of Is. could not see what G. says of him to aaron & miriam numb

fear to look upon it 12 5& f

Daniel is another instance of a saint remarkeable for selfdenial. he when he was Carried to Babylon had the offer of being  fed [daily] with the kings royal dainties dan 1 5 and the king appointd them a daily provision of the kings meat & of the wine which he drank so nourishg them three years that at the end thereof he might stand before the king. but daniel with his three friends Rather chose rather to have nothing but pulse to eat & water to drink mean course fare then to defile hims with the Kings meat that it was not [Cons] for them to eat because it had been consecrated to their Gods And afterwards when King Darius made a decree that whosoever should ask any petition of any G. or man for 30 days but of him should be cast into the den of Lions.

Daniel who was such an instance of self denial for G. we find to be most Remarkeably favoured with extraordinary Communion with G. & manifestations of his favour & love how did G. Reveal to hims. to him in the extraordinary visions that he had Revealing the future mercy he intended for his people & particularly giving him the most clear Revelations of the messiah as any that had ever been given to the prophets

And the angel that was sent to him came with a declaration of Gods Great love & favour to him [accosting] after this manner O man greatly beloved

923 & Chap 10 1, 19

we have another remarkeable instance in the apostle who seems to have exceeded all the apostles in his self denial & was probably on of the greatest instances of  a

Life of self denial that ever was in the world He tells us 1. Cor. 9 19 that tho he was free from all yet he had made hims. serve of all unto all that he might gain the more & in the 27 v that he kept under his body & brought it into subjection . he gives us a brief catalogue of the instances of his self denial & sufferings in 2 Cor 4 6 4 &c  

& Chap 11 23 &c & in the 3d Chap of Philip8&10v sufferd loss of all things and as he was such a Great instance of self denial so he  was as remarkeably favoured with Communion with X & his sweet & Joyfull Presence he tells us that tho he was sorrowf. yet he alwaies rejoiced 2 Cor 6 10 & that he alwaies triumphed in X Jesus 2 Cor 2 14 & tells us in the 12. Chp. of the 2 corinthians how he was caught up to the third heaven. & that he was so favourd with abundnt Revelation . that he forbear to relate them lest any should think too highly of him . X dont only grant to his people the Rewards of his comfortable presence but he will Reward them with often times long after wards at times when they do most need it oftentimes by granting them his presence  & the Consolations of his sp. in some sore affliction or in granting in to them when passing through the valley of the [in = it?] shadow of death .so that they [die] as it were on the top of the mt as moses did.

  1. These saints that deny thems most for X shall be rewarded with the highest degree of happiness in communion with X in glory hereafter.  There are higher degrees of Reward promised to those who deny thems. & suffer most for X. 2 Tim. 2
  2. If we suffer we shall also reign with him Rom 8 17 If so be that we suff. with him that we may be also glorified together . 1 Pet 4 13 But rejoice in as much as ye are made partakers of Xs sufferings that when his glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

our sufferings & crosses

Those They that are of Conquerors shall have communion with X in Heaven

appears by Rev 2 7

X is the tree of Life That grows v 26 27 28 & Chap. 3 12. & v 21 : [vid] Prop V 2p of next fold but one

 

Stephen. Acts 7. Latter end.  

Peter Paul & silas & at midnight they prayed & sung Praises. Acts 16. 25.

so when Paul exposed hims. to persecution & a difficult & dangerous voyage to Rome as a prisoner. He had the most comfortable presence of X strengthening him. Acts 27 22 23 24

. & the time that he says he was caught up to the 3d Heaven seems to have been Just after he had exposed hims. to persecution of which we h Acts 9 23 & c & anothr Remarkeable inst. we have in the apostle John & There are special promises made to self denial & suffering for X sake. He appears most when other things are most rejected & Left for his sake for then h the soul is m appears most as a Garden enclosed then X will most delight to come into his garden & to eat the pleasant a person never puts so much honour upon his beloved & shows so sincere & hearty a Care & so ingratiates hims with him as when he rejects all other lovers for his sake & tis not to be expected that we should have much sweet Com. with X any other way than in a way of selfdenial for tis reasonable to [think] to have both the gratification of our lusts . & s divine pleasure of Com-

with X too tis not intended that we should gratify our carnal part & our sp. part both . he that would have Comm must look on that sufficient alone without the gratification of his lusts or the enjoymts of the Θ he must esteem the Company of this beloved sufficient without that of other lovers   [vid] first p.

Song 5:2-6

Doctrine Tis a Common thing that the bride will miss of sweet com w her husband/Husband for lack of a little self denial.

1 X stands ready. 2. There are duties incumb. 3 a backwardness. 4. X especially wont at such times as when the saints deny .

Prop V. The self denial for want of which is but a small What little a thing weret that the spouse makes an excuse of in the text she had put off her coat how should she put it on she had washed her feet how should she defile them.   what trivial things were those in comparison of the comfort and pleasure that she missed of by it . as she her self was sensible after she had waked out of her drouse and had shaken off her sluggishness for she put her self to a great deal more trouble to enjoy communion with her beloved after this she arose & put on her coat & went about the city earnestly calling & diligently seeking her beloved & was smittend and wounded by the watchman & had her veil taken from her by the keepers of the wall – . The saints commonly miss of sweet commun. with X for that self want of that selfdenial that is small in two respects

  1. all the self denial that is Required of them is a small matter in comparison of the excellency of that communion with X that he is wont to grant is reward for it

Indeed as we have already observed,  the saints sometimes feel a great backwardness to yieled to Xs calls & to do what he requires of em but tis because they have a great backwardness to little things things & that carry but very little suffering in them . the evil  is chiefly an appearance when they take courage & go through with it the fright full appearance vanishes & there is found but very little suffering in that – had a formidable appearance in the forethought. it prove a thing of nothing .

indeed the saints are called to considerable acts of self denial they are called to cross their inclinations or to deny their temporal interest much but tis but small in comparison of the communion with X that X stands ready to reward it . Thus it is if they are called wholly to cross & utterly to renounce some strong appetite or if they are called in the way of duty to part with consid. of their estates or to suffer s in their Θly interest or considerably to incur the displeasure and ill will of their neighb.

those are but very small things in comparison of the value of that sp. light & comfort & that X is wont to give to those that do cleave to him & follow him through all difficulties . Tho if we would follow X tis requisite that we should take up our cross daily yet the burden of the cross is but light in comparison of the comfort of his company. we had better have the burden of the cross & walk with X & then to walk alone & destitute of his company free of that burden . In this is that verified that X says Math 11. take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy & my burden Light tis easy & Light in in comparison of the comforts he gives to those who take upon them communion with him will sweeten a bitter way & make a heavy burden seem Light we had better follow X tho he Leads us into the wilderness if then he will speak comfortably to us tis better to g travail with J. X in rough way then alone in smooth way without him.  & Even those more extraordinary acts of self denial that the saints are called to in times of persecution are but small in comparison of the sweetness of that communion with X that he often gives them at such times . It has often been w so with the martyrs that the time of their greatest external sufferings have indeed been the times of their Greatest comfort and joy so that they have been enabledto to look upon their sufferings as light & even to despise them & triumph over them & sing in the midst of them. communion with X will  give songs in the night Ps.

& will makest a bright morning in the midst of the darkest night. Thus G. turns theshadow of death into the morning.. Amos 5 8

  1. The saints do sometimes miss of sweet commun. with J. X  through a backwardness to some of the smaller degrees of self denial. not only  smaller in comparison of other acts of selfdenial that all Xtians are called to. sometimes the saints get into such a drouse and corruption so far Prevails that they make objections against their duty of meer trifles things that hant worth mentioning a little denial of their sloth & ease & little putting thems. out of the way & giving a small matter to the [past] or suffering a little in their Θly Business & a little slight offense to some neighbours . tho they won’t for such things as those  really commit known him & absolutely Refuse to [compy] with known duties yet  their foolish & sinfull backwardness blinds their eyes . & putsem em open in wanting excuses & c [pleas] for a neglect of their duty and if they Dont wholly blind thems. & so neglect their duty yet they go about it with more [slavily] & backwardly. & not with that readiness & cheerfulness that becomes them as the spouse in the text did not utterly refuse to arise and open the door but she was backward & [slow] about it she [ ] excusing her self so that before she did It her beloved had with drawn hims & was Gone &

she lost her opportunity for sweet communion with him .

such a backwardness & [slowness] in the saints to undergo small difficulties for his sake is offen very offensive to X and is what he oftentimes punishes by witholding those sweet manifesta. of hims & tokens of his love that he would other wise give & bring them to much distress that [other] they would be free free from.

Application..

I. use may be of instruction. This [errour] & folly of the saints may lead us to see the extreme folly of sin

those who  avoid self denial dont only miss of  much communion with X but of Eternal slavation

it self why is it that sinners that have heaven & hell set before em from time to time and are told of the necessity of the being violent for the K. of H

if ever they would obtain it still  continue careless & negligent  but only through & lothness & backwardness to deny thems . they dont love to deny their sloth & to ease to renounce their ease & relinquish their Θly  vain pursuits they choose rather for the present to continue in a Xtless state and run the venture of dropping into hell in the mean. time trusting to nothing but their uncertain lives by which means thems. & thems. sink into hell & perish past all remedy . How extreme is their folly how trivial & light a matter is that which they are so backward to & averse to comply with in Comparison of Everlasting burnings   that they foolishly plunge thems. into to avoid it & that eternal happiness that they miss of.  many rather than deny a sensual appetite will  run head long into  hell fire & sell their souls as Esau sold his Birthright for a morsel of meat & many rather than deny their covetousness  a foolish bargain wherein they Loose their own souls for a very little part of the Θ & that but but & for a few days when it profit em nothing if tho by this Loss of the soul they should gain the whole Θ. many men act as if they had a Cruel hatred against their own souls .

if a man should treat a Child or treat a servant so as they treat their souls they would be looked upon as some of the most barbarous [ ] upon earth If a man would put hims. as little out of his way to safe the life of his child when d in danger as many men will to save the life of their soul. they would be thought very unnatural yea if they should be so little cross of their servants as to from day to day for force em to that work that tended to bring em to the most tormenting death they would be thought cruel murderers . men have no mercy upon their souls if G. had no more mercy upon them then they have upon thems. [It] would be a gone case with them.

Prov 8 36 He that sinneth against one wrongeth his own soul all that hate me love death. many men act as if they loved damnation and prized it as a most precious Jewel. 2.

  1. Hence Learn one Reason why there are so many  Xians that have so little sweet communion with J. X. . many complain much of this. they complain that X dont manif. hims to em they walk in darkn. Great part of their time. & may be one ready to wonder what the matter is . they say they have often prayed earnestly for the presence that they might have commun with G. & G. dont seem to hear or regard their prayers.

But the case is they are backward to deny thems. they are not dont take up their cross & to follow X as he expects they should do .  they are backw. to deny their sloth but live in a considerable degree of the Indulgence of it they dont watch against & deny their covetousness . or it may they  time after time have a proud & envious & sp. a sp of ill will to their neighb. rising up in them & they dont deny & cross it but rather Gratify & [would] they wont honour such an evil disposition in a great measure by allowing of revengefull thoughts &  speaking evil & backbiting those that they have a sp. against . or it may be they dont deny a peevish foward disposition under adverse dispensations of providence. t tho they dont shew their favordness by directly complaining of Gods dealing with them yet their afflictions make them peevish & fretfull to others which is are about them which indeed arises from a fretfulln at providence & a is at the Root against G. & when they are called to difficult duties they indulge a backw. sp. they are as the sp. was ready to make excuses. & object very trivial things as tho they were sufficient to excuse them . no wonder such Xtians hant a great deal of sweet commun with X. they might have it ten times where they have it once were it not their for their this their backward sp. to bear the cross X loves to see his discip. Cheerfull in taking up the cross thei to follow him & those that he sees do so he will meet em &  manifest hims. to them Isi 645 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth & worketh right.

  1. use may be of exh. to the the Godly  to exhort them to a forwardness to deny thems for X sake .

dont give way to a backwardness & a disposition to excuse your self when X calls you to any duty. This is the way to keep your soul lean & in a withering languishing condition all you life. this is the way for you to continuewalking in darkness while others that are more cheerfull in bearing the cross walk in the light of Gods countenance & are blessed with  that sweet communion with X that a thousand times more worth than all that you get or save by your backwardness to self denial. This is not the way for you to live & Comfortably in the Θ if you would live a life of  through selfdenial you might doubtless live a  sweet & pleasant life you might enjoy eat plentifull of the hidden manna & have much of that joy that a stranger intermeddle not with. instead of you slothfull ease that you are so loth to deny you might have Rest under Xs shadow. & instead of Gratifying your Θliness & other evil inclinations you might have that [furl] that would be vastly sweeter to your taste . if you will deny & sell the Θ for X X will give you that which is better thanthe Θ .

Therefore consider seriously whether or no you hant [bereavd] your own soul of G. by following after other lovers & if you have readily quit all concern with them at Xs call. &

Let it be your steadfast resolution to cleave close to X & [follow] for him for time to Come crucifying the flesh with the affections & lusts & hating F & mother

Here Consid. things

1.The excellency of commun. with J. X tis that Kind of Enjoymnt wherein mens Love happiness Consists tis a pure delight without any mixture of carnality or any manner  of impurity. it leaves no sting behind it but a sweet Relish

makes the heart better.  Carnal pleasures are of a destructive nature tis of a soul satisfying nature tis far more exquisitely sweet then outw enjoyment of any kind. the spouse after she had been brought into the kings chambers says I will Rememb. thy love more than wine in this is to be had that peace that passes all und. & that Joy that is  unspeakab. & full. & This is a [foretast & Earnest] of & how great in honour is it that X puts upon a soul . There is nothing [contend] so much to [render] your life so comfortable & pleasant as this you will find it a powerfull support under all afflic. and as it were a sav. remedy against all diseases. & a sav. antidote against all sp. poison.

This will give new life to your soul & by this you may live in the light. Ps 89 15.

They shall walk in the light of thy count. Ps 36 9 in thy light shall we see light.

2. in you n you wont only miss of Great comfort by

[avoid] self denial but  will escape trouble by it this is what you aim at you dont love trouble & that makes you backward you dont love the trouble of hard labour dont love the tr. & suff. of these & those duties. the spouse did not love to put her self to the troub.

But you will miss your [time] you wont in the end escape trouble but only run your self into trouble by it by avoiding the difficulty of selfdenial you will bring on your self greater diff. you will bring sp. difficulties expose s your s. to many exercises tempta. & to a great deal of distressing darkn. you are like to be left alone to bear your difficulties that you meet with as well as you can whereas otherwise you might have X with you to help you. & if you have excused your self at first you afterwards repent & such that communion th with X that you have missed & you do at length obtain it it will Probably cost you sometimes the difficulty that a cheerful denying your self was in the in obedience to the first call would have done . How much more greater trouble did it cost the spouse to seek communion with her beloved after she had excused her self from the trouble of putting on her she had that trouble & a great deal more.

The easiest way of obtaining communion with X is to comply with [his] first calls without objection whatever self denial he Required of us & those Xtians that do most willingly take trouble & difficulty upon thems. in the way of duty do indeed un meet with least trouble & their troubles that afterwise would be heavy become light yea sometimes become a meer pleasure & their very cross becomes sweet.

========================================================================================================================================================

THE SWEET HARMONY OF CHRIST
He goeth before them, and the sheep follow him. John 10:4

IN this former part of this chapter is most significantly and elegantly set forth the relation, disposition, and behavior of Christ and believers towards each other under the resemblance of a shepherd and his flock. ‘Tis needless particularly to observe what things Christ here says of himself and his disciples under this figure. The whole seems to be summarily comprehended in the words read, viz. that “he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him”; in which may be observed,

  1. What is here declared of Christ with respect to believers, viz. that “he goeth before them”; which expression will appear to be very comprehensive, if it be considered that what is intended is that Christ [goes] before them as a shepherd goes before his flock.

So that here is signified the relation that Christ stands in to them. He is their shepherd; he hath a special propriety in them. They are his sheep; they are called in the beginning of the verse and in the foregoing verse, “his own sheep.” In this respect he is opposed to hirelings in the John 10:12,1 in that they are those “whose own the sheep are not.”

And hereby is signified his respect to them, his love to them and tender concern for their welfare, as a shepherd is concerned and takes care for the welfare of his flock. This is more fully expressed in the context, as particularly [the] John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”; and so in the John 10:14–15.

Hereby is also signified Christ’s gracious treatment of his disciples or followers. He goes before them as their shepherd to defend them from those evils and enemies that they are exposed [to]; as the shepherd goes with his flock to take care of it, to defend it from wolves, and other dangers

they might be exposed to. This is also more particularly expressed in the context, as particularly the John 10:12, “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep”; [the] John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” Christ goes before them as a shepherd to lead and guide [them]; as ’tis said [in] the foregoing verse, he “leadeth them out.” He guides them by the instructions and counsels of his word, which in the context is called “his voice” in that former part of the foregoing verse, “The sheep hear his voice.” He also guides them by his spirit, whereby they are not only the subjects of the outward instructions and calls of the gospel, which are general; but the word of Christ is applied and got home on their hearts, particularly as in the latter part of the John 10:3, “He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”

He leads them by his example, which may especially be called “going before them.” He goes himself in the way in which he would have them to go, and they go after him in the same way.

He goes before them as a shepherd to provide for them. The shepherd goes with the flock to feed the flock, to lead them to their pasture. So doth Christ with respect to believers: [the] John 10:9, “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Psalms 23:1–2, “He leads me in green pastures.”

He as a shepherd goes before them to lead them to their refreshment and rest, as the shepherd leads his flock to water and to a cool shadow, as to their resting place. Psalms 23:1–3, “The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.” Canticles 1:7, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, and where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.”

  1. We may observe what is here declared concerning believers with respect to Christ, “the sheep follow him,” which is also very comprehensive. Hereby is signified their acquaintance with [him]. When they see him, they follow him as one that they know. ‘Tis said, “The sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”

And hereby is signified their acknowledgment of him. When he goes before them, they readily follow him, as acknowledging [him] as their shepherd. When they see a stranger, they don’t follow him, because they don’t know [him]; they [don’t] have any concern with him. But when they see Christ before them, they follow him, as acknowledging their concern with him. By their following of him is signified their approbation of him,

and inclination to him. When he calls, they willingly come to him; and when he goes forth, they willingly follow. For they entirely approve of him, and incline to him as their shepherd. Their following is spoken of not as a forced, but a ready and cheerful following of him.

And again hereby is denoted their submission to him. When he calls, they obey and come; when he goes and leads, they willingly submit and follow. They don’t take upon them everyone to be his own guide, and go their own way; but they are willing to submit to his direction, and go where he leads them.

Hereby also is signified their trust in [him]. They follow him, boldly trusting in him as their good shepherd, that he will lead them where they may go safely, and lead them where they may find pasture. They durst not follow strangers: they dare not trust them: they don’t know where they will lead them; as in the next verse to the text, “A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” But they have that acquaintance with Christ, and do so know him to be a good and faithful shepherd, that they ben’t afraid to go wherever he leads them.

DOCTRINE.There is a sweet harmony between Christ and the soul of a true Christian.

The harmony that there is, consists in three things.

I. An harmony of mutual respect.

II. An harmony of conformity and likeness.

III. {An harmony} of suitableness.

I. There is between Christ and the soul of a true Christian a sweet harmony of mutual respect. This consists,

First. In mutual election or choice. Christ and the true Christian do choose each other: true believers are those that are Christ’s chosen ones. Revelation 17:14, “They that are with him are called and chosen.” John 15:16, “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” So likewise is Jesus Christ the object of their choice: he is their chosen one.

A true Christian is one that Christ has chosen before others. He has chosen

[some], passing by others, rejecting multitudes, thousands and millions, passing by many of the princes and great ones of the earth. John 15:19, “I have chosen you out of the world.”

So is Christ chosen by the true Christian before all earthly things yea all created objects. His soul chooses Christ in comparison of them, rejecting and neglecting all other things. This is with him the “pearl of great price,” of such exceeding value in his esteem, that for the sake of it, he sells all that he has and buys it.

Christ has chosen believers to be a peculiar people to himself, to be his portion and special treasure. And so have they chosen Christ [to] be their portion and peculiar treasure. He is their chosen happiness. This is the treasure hid in the field, which a true Christian finds, and goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. True Christians are Christ’s chosen disciples. He is their chosen Redeemer and Lord. They choose him above all others to be their Savior, above their own righteousness or any fleshly arm.

Christ hath chosen the soul of the believer to be his spouse and spiritual bride. The soul of the believer mutually chooses Christ to be his best and nearest friend, and of free choice and inclination gives up itself to be espoused unto Christ.

That is the language of Christ to the souls of true Christians. Canticles 1:8 (and also Canticles 5:9 and Canticles 6:1), “O thou fairest among women.” And that is the language of the believer’s soul concerning Christ. Psalms 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the sons of men.” And Canticles 5:10, “My beloved is the chiefest among ten thousand.”

Second. In mutual love. The heart of Christ and the true Christian are united in love: “I love them that love me.” Christ is first in love to them, for Christ has loved them with an everlasting love. But when they are converted, their souls are brought into an harmonious agreement with Christ in this respect. Christ hath loved the true Christian with a transcendent love, with a love that in its height, and depth, and breadth, passeth knowledge. And they mutually love him with a supreme love, with a love whereby they set him above all (Matthew 10:37). Christ hath loved them with a dying love; and so it is the spirit and temper of a Christian to be ready to lay down his life for Christ, if his honor and glory should call for it

Christ hath a great esteem and value for his true disciples. They are his jewels, and they are precious in his sight. “Since thou wast precious in mine eyes, thou hast been honorable.” So is Christ highly prized by the true Christian. To them that believe, he is precious (1 Peter 2:7); and they are of the same spirit with the Apostle, who says that all things were accounted as loss.

Christ is altogether lovely in the eyes of a Christian. There is nothing in Christ, no attribute or qualification, but that he is lovely to him on the account of it. Not only his goodness and grace, but his justice and sovereignty is lovely to the Christian. Canticles 5:16, “He is altogether lovely.” So also the Christian may be said to be wholly lovely in the eyes of Christ; for though there be much remaining deformity, yet ’tis as it were hidden from the eyes of Christ, that he sees it not. He doth not behold iniquity in Jacob, nor see [perverseness in Israel] (Numbers 23:21). And therefore Christ says to his church, Canticles 4:7, “Behold, thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”

Christ loves the true Christian with a love of benevolence from love to him. He seeks and promises his deliverance from eternal misery and from all evil, and his enjoyment of a most exceeding and eternal glory and happiness. Such is Christ’s love to the Christian that nothing is esteemed too good, too great an happiness or honor to be bestowed, or too much to do or to suffer to procure it. The Christian is in his nature of the same spirit and disposition towards Christ. His love to Christ causes him earnestly to define his honor and glory, and to seek that more than all his temporal interests, profits, or pleasures.

Such is Christ’s love to a true Christian that he is jealous for his good and welfare, and nothing will soever provoke him than to see any injure him. Matthew 18:6, “If any offend one of these little ones.” And such is the spirit of a Christian towards Christ [that] he is jealous for his glory. He has a spirit of zeal for the glory of his Redeemer, and nothing will more grieve and offend him than to see him dishonored and his interest suffering. Christ and the soul of the true Christian have a mutual complacence in each other, and hath delight in the believer. Isaiah 62:5, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth [over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee].” Christ is exceedingly well-pleased and takes sweet delight in the graces and virtues of the Christian, in that beauty and loveliness which he hath put upon him. Canticles 4:9, “Thou hast ravished my heart.”

The believer has also a complacence in Christ: he has complacence in the person of Christ, and hath complacence in his offices. He approves of him as a Redeemer. His soul acquiesces in the way of salvation by him,

as a sweet, and excellent, and suitable way: it loves the way of true grace by Christ and by his righteousness, and is well-pleased in it, that Christ should have all the glory of his salvation. He takes full contentment in Christ as a Savior. Having found Christ, he desires no other: having found the fountain, he sits down by it: having found Christ, his hungry and thirsty soul is satisfied in him. His burdened soul is eased in him: his fearful soul is confident: his weary soul is at rest. Canticles 2:3, “I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” So hath Christ rest and contentment in believers. He says of Zion, i.e. the church, “This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” (Psalms 132:14).

Christ and the true Christian have desires after each other. Canticles 7:10, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me.”7 And the desire of the Christian’s soul is after Christ. Canticles 3:1–2, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets and broad ways. I will seek him whom my soul loveth.” The true Christian has an admiration of Jesus Christ; he admires his excellencies. Isaiah 63:1, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?” And so Christ is represented as admiring the excellency and beauty of the churCanticles 6:10, “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?”

Christ and the believer do glory in each other. The believer glories in Christ. Canticles 5:16, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend.” Canticles 6:3, “I am [my] beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” Christ glories in his people: he looks on them as his armor and his crown. Isaiah 62:3, “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Zechariah 9:16, “And they shall be as the stones of a crown”.

Third. There is between Christ and the soul of a true Christian a mutual compliance and acceptance. Christ offers himself to man as his lord, redeemer, and portion. The believer with his whole soul, closes with the offer and joyfully embraces it.

And the believer comes to Christ to give up himself, soul and body, to him. And though it be but a poor offer, yet Christ readily accepts of it. He that comes to him, he will in no wise cast out.

Christ becomes a suitor to the souls of [believers]. He earnestly and importunately seeks their love. Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and

knock.” The believer yields to his suit: he opens the door, and willingly complies with [it], when he seeks [it] of them.

And on the other hand, the believer is a supplicant unto Jesus; and Christ accepts their suit to him, and hears their prayer, and grants their requests. Matthew 21:22, “And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” John 14:13–14. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

The believer accepts of all Christ’s offers, all the benefits that he has purchased, and offers in the gospel. And Christ accepts whatsoever the believer sincerely offers to him: he accepts his love, and this thankfulness, and the graces that he exercises towards him; as Christ well accepted of Mary, when she anointed him with her box of precious [ointment], thought others found fault with her [Matthew 26:6–13]. Christ accepts of whatsoever they do for him in sincerity, though it be but the giving of a cup of cold water (Matthew 10:42). Christ accepts of all the sincere requests of believers, and will do according to them. So the believer complies with whatsoever Christ requires, submits to his commands, is willing that Christ should have all that glory and respect that he receives. All his commands are agreeable and acceptable. He accounts Christ’s yoke easy, and his burden light, and his commands not grievous. Ye esteem the ways of his commands “ways of pleasantness.”

Thus I have shown how there is sweet harmony of the first kind, viz. mutual respect between Christ and the soul of a true Christian.

II. There is a sweet harmony of likeness or conformity between Christ and true Christians.

First. Christ hath made himself like to them. He hath conformed himself to them in nature: he took upon him the human nature that he might be conformed in nature to his elect people. Though he was God, yet he became man, that he might be as they are. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us,” as one of us. Though he was “in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” yet he “took on him the form of a servant,” that he might be conformed to us.

And not only so, but that he might conform himself to his people, he became subject to affliction and temptation as they; lived in the same evil world as they do; was subject to the changes and vicissitudes of time as they are; dwelt in a like frail body with them; took the human nature in its weak, broken state to be like them, and took it with those disadvantages that are the fruits of sin; was subject to hunger, and thirst, and weariness, pain, and death as they are; and liable to the afflicting, trying influences of evil spirits

as they are, to be conformed to them. Hebrews 4:15, “He was in all points tempted like as we are.” And Hebrews 2:14, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise takes part of the same”; Hebrews 2:16–17, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved [him] to be made like unto his brethren.”

Second. Believers are conformed or made like unto Christ. Christ was conformed to believers in all that was sinless, and believers are conformed to Christ in all that is holy. As they are naturally, there is the greatest deformity between them and Christ. But when they become true Christians, they put on the new man, and are renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created them. And “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). They are of a like spirit and temper with him, and follow his example: they are made partakers of his holiness: they are conformed to Christ in a filial spirit and temper towards God the Father: they are conformed to him in his obedience to the Father. As Christ did whatsoever the Father commanded, so the believer’s obedience is universal: he has respect to all God’s commands. The believer is conformed to Christ in his contempt of the world, and in meekness and loveliness of heart. As Christ was wonderful meek and lovely, so meekness and humbleness of mind is the temper of the true Christian.

They are conformed to Christ in love and charity. As Christ was a marvelous instance of love and condescension, pity and mercy, so are the people elect of Christ wont to put on “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, forgiving one another” (Colossians 3:12–13). They are conformed to the Lamb of God in a patient, lamblike disposition under sufferings, and also in a disposition to labor and deny themselves doing good. Especially are they conformed to Christ’s temper and behavior towards them: as Christ loved them, so they love one another: as Christ infinitely condescended for them to pity and help them, and deny himself for them, so they are of a condescending spirit and practice: as Christ forgave them, so they are of a forgiving spirit: as Christ has been infinitely rich in his bounty and grace to them, so the true Christian is of a liberal, bountiful, charitable disposition; looks not only on his own things, but also on the things of others. But I proceed, to the

III [Third] thing wherein the harmony between Christ and the soul of the true Christian consists, which is suitableness. And here I would take notice of a threefold harmony of this kind: first, a suitableness of temper and behavior to each other’s nature and state; second, a suitableness of temper and behavior to the relation they stand in to each other; and, third, a suitableness of temper and behavior to each other’s temper and behavior.

First. There is between Christ and true Christians a suitableness of temper and behavior to each other’s nature and state. The temper and behavior of Christ towards them, is suitable to their state and nature. They are in themselves poor, little, mean creatures;9 and Christ, answerably to this, is a person of infinite goodness and condescension. They are in themselves so exceeding sinful and unworthy, infinitely undeserving and ill-deserving; and [Christ] is one that is infinitely rich in free and sovereign grace.

They are in themselves miserable and helpless; and Christ is one of infinite mercy and compassion.

They are in themselves exceeding weak, and continually exposed to all manner of mischief; [and] Christ is full of gracious care and tenderness towards them, and maintains a gracious watch continually for their protection. They are in themselves empty, needy creatures; and Christ is richly communicative.

So the temper and behavior of the true Christian towards Christ is answerable to his nature and state. Christ is in the divine nature: he is the eternal and infinitely glorious Son of God. And answerably hereto, the Christian hath an humble, adoring respect to Christ, pays him divine honor, and exalts him above all. And he also is [in] the human nature, and so is become his brother. Answerably hereto, the Christian hath boldness of access, and has his heart knit to Christ, as a true friend and intimate companion.

Second. There is a suitableness of temper and behavior to the relation they stand in to each other. Christ is the Christian’s Lord and King. And agreeably to this relation, the Christian has a spirit of submission to Christ, and resignation to his will, and of obedience to his command. And on the other hand, the heart of Christ is full of clemency and grace towards the Christian, as becomes a lord towards a subject.

Christ is the Christian’s head. He is the head of all spirit, life, and gracious

influence and communication; and suitably hereto, Christ is free, rich, and unfailing in communicativeness towards the Christian. And on the other hand, there is a spirit of union and dependance in that Christian towards Christ.

Christ is the Savior of the Christian; and suitably hereto, he is merciful and faithful in his work and office. And on the other hand, the Christian hath a spirit of trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ. Christ is the teacher {of the Christian}; in him [is] the spirit of a disciple. {The Christian} sits at [his] feet. {To the Christian} Christ is the light {of the world}. The soul opens itself to receive this light. Christ is Intercessor: [salvation] comes in his name.

Christ is the friend of [the] Christian, and the one admitted to a state of friendship with him. The soul of the Christian is brought and united to Christ as his spouse. And answerably to this relation, there is a spirit to delight in each other’s presence, and communion, and conversation; and [they] are wont freely to open their hearts, and reveal themselves to each other, and dwell with each other. John 14:21, “And I will love him, and manifest myself to him”; John 14:23, “And we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

The Christian has a disposition suitable to this relation under all its difficulties to resort to Christ, to go there for counsel, and pity, and help. And Christ is ready to offer it to him as he needs [it]. John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come unto you.”

Third. There is a suitableness of temper and behavior to each other’s temper and behavior. In Christ is infinite grace towards them; and suitably hereto is thankfulness and praise towards him.

In him is tenderness and faithfulness; in them is trust and confidence.

The love of Christ to the Christian exceeds the love of all others. He loves them more than any other friend; and suitably to this, the Christians love Christ, Christ above all. But I would now proceed to a brief

APPLICATION.[Use] I. What we have heard under this doctrine may well lead us to admire the marvelous grace of Jesus Christ to man. That he should enter into such an union and commerce with such a creature as man, is how greatly has Christ herein condescended, and how highly is man hereby honored and exalted. Why should the eternal Son of God, who is infinitely above us, and above any need of us, stoop to be in such a manner concerned with us to establish such an intimate union, such a sweet consent

and harmony, such a dear, mutual respect, such a wonderful conformity, an answerableness between him and us?

All is owing to Christ. ‘Tis from him [and] begins with him. ‘Tis not owing to us; for we are naturally in a state [of] estrangement and great alienation, and should forever have so remained, if we had been let alone. And we did not deserve that Christ should thus deal with us, and should enter into such a sweet, and excellent, and happy union with us; for we are his enemies.

How wonderful was it that the grace of Christ should so triumph over our enmity, especially considering after what manner this is brought about. Christ was not only first in seeking of it, but to make way for it. Though he was in the form of God, [he] became man, and laid down his life. Why should Christ make so much of us, who cannot be profitable to him, who can add nothing to his happiness and glory? What does Christ get by us poor, vile worms, that he should thus lay out himself for an union with us?

[Use] II. Hence we may learn the nature of true and sincere Christian piety. This shows the nature and genius of Christianity, what that is wherein it most essentially consists. It don’t consist chiefly in any certain profession, or set of principles or tenets; or in any outward form of worship, or an attendance in such or such religious observances; or in outwardly moral behavior; but in such an internal, spiritual harmony between Christ and the soul, as that which has been spoken of.

In that consists the essence of Christianity. He that has this is a Christian; and he that is without it is not worthy of the name, whatever his knowledge, or profession, or orthodoxy, or outward strictness be.

By this, Christianity is most essentially distinguished from all things. By this, ’tis distinguished from the morality of the heathen. And by this, ’tis distinguished [from] the superstition and will-worship of many that are called Christians. And by this, ’tis distinguished from the fair, outward show, or the false affection and zeal of hypocrites. By this, may all pretended descriptions of Christian piety, and precepts to it, and pretenses of it be tried.

The end of the doctrines and precepts of Christianity, is to bring about this sweet harmony between the soul and Jesus Christ. And this is the nature and tendency of them. Whatever doctrines or rules of any profession tend to the contrary, they are to be rejected. And whatever pretenses any make to piety, if their prevailing temper be found contrary to this, they are like to be rejected and acknowledged by Christ as his; for his sheep know his voice and follow him.

This doctrine shows us the excellent and lovely nature of true Christianity. For how exalted is such an harmony between Christ and the soul, as has been spoken of: how does it ennoble and exalt the soul of man: and how excellent does it render his state.

[Use] III. We may particularly hence learn the nature of that great Christian grace of faith in Jesus Christ. The grace of faith is often spoken of in Scripture as that by which especially the union between Christ and the soul is made. And therefore ’tis called in Scripture, a coming to Christ, and a receiving Christ. ‘Tis a coming to Christ as being drawn to him: ’tis the opposite to disallowing and rejecting of Christ (1 Peter 2:7).

And therefore saving, justifying faith in Christ, don’t consist merely in the assent of the understanding, nor only in the consent of the will; but ’tis the harmonizing of the whole soul with Jesus Christ, as he is revealed and held forth in the gospel.

‘Tis the soul’s embracing the revelation of Jesus Christ as its Savior. ‘Tis the whole soul’s entirely adhering to him and acquiescing in him, according and symphonizing with the revelation and offer of Christ as its Savior. There is an entire yielding to it, and closing with it; adhering to it with the belief, with the inclination and affection; admitting and receiving it with entire credit and respect as true, and worthy, and excellent.

Faith is no other than that harmony in the soul towards Christ that has been spoken of in its most direct act. And it may be defined [as] the soul’s entirely uniting and closing with Christ for his Savior, acquiescing in his reality and goodness as a Savior, as the gospel reveals him. And hence it is that by faith that we are justified, not as commending us to God by its excellency as a qualification in us, but as uniting us to Christ. The foundation of persons’ acceptance with God, is their union with Christ, or that relation to him, whatsoever that is, by which in Scripture we are said to be in Christ. And faith is that by which we are thus united; for it is the active unition [and] closing with Christ as a Savior.

[Use] IV. By this doctrine we may examine and try ourselves, whether or no we are true Christians. Is there such a sweet harmony subsisting between Christ and our souls? We need not inquire whether or no there be nothing else but harmony; for there is a great deal of discord remaining in the hearts of the best in the world.

And we need not conclude that we are not true Christians, if we can’t speak to every particular that has been mentioned herein; for though

there be an harmony in all these respects in every Christian, yet it may be very imperfect, and in some instances greatly obscured by indwelling sin. But let us inquire whether or no such an harmony between Christ and the soul, appears sweet and delightful to us. Have we a sense of the excellency of it, so as to cause longing desires often? Does a life of such harmony with Christ appear to be the most excellent and happy life? Have we a sense in our hearts of the sweetness of it, and that such a life is far better than all the enjoyments of this world? Can we find it in our hearts to prefer it, prize it vastly above all the profits, and grandeur, and pleasures of the world, if we might have our free choice?

And can we in the general, though not in every particular, and though very imperfect in every particular, find such a spirit towards Christ as has been described? Have we such a spirit to choose, to love, to long after Christ, and to acquiesce in him, and rejoice to cleave to him? How did we find in the hearing of it? Have we felt such a temper of mind? Or are those things what we are wholly strangers to? Is this a sapless, dull story to us, and what is remote from our experience? Or do our hearts in many instances echo to what has been said; so that we can have good grounds to think that such a harmony is begun in our souls, though it be very imperfect?

Use V, and last, may be of Exhortation, earnestly to seek after such an harmony between Christ and our souls. For motive, consider

First. How miserable are those that have not attained it. There is no agreement between Christ and you; but on the contrary is a “stone of stumbling and rock of offense.” You are strangers to all that has been: “You are without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.”

Second. And how beautiful and lovely is a Christian so far as this harmony prevails in his soul. What can render a creature more amiable than to be thus affected, related, and conformed to the Son of God, who is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and “the express image of his person.” Well may it be said, “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor.”

Third. This shows us also how happy a person a true Christian is, what happy circumstance he is in, and what an happy life must he needs live; so far as he is in the exercise and sense of this sweet harmony between Christ and him. Without doubt this is a sweeter pleasure than all that earth can afford. It need not be difficult to us to believe that this gives peace, that passes all understanding; and that herein is to be had joy, that is unspeakable and full of glory

Fourth. How inconceivably happy will the true Christian be hereafter, when he shall dwell with Christ, between whom and his soul there is such an harmony. As Christ and the believer are now spiritually so united as we have heard, so Christ will have them to be where he is, forever to dwell with him and partake with him in his glory. And then this union will be perfected, and there shall be nothing remaining to disturb, to interrupt, or allay the harmony; but the mutual respect and love shall be gloriously exalted. The conformity and suitableness shall be perfected, and the same shall be immutably continued, and the sweetness and delight hence arising shall be uninterrupted and everlasting.

========================================================================================================================================================

Other work

A nice critique of Edwards and the Song of Songs

mostsublimesong View All

Saved in 2000 at age 27. Nearly immediately I fell in love with the Song and grew very fast the first two years memorizing large portions of scripture purifying my mind the started chewing on meat to soon and struggled for 12 years and Christ has me on track like always but I just took the long way around and now I love leading others closer to Christ by seeing His love reflected in Solomons love for an enemy slave girl.

I have experienced God's love to me in the Song in ways that words can't express. There are many portion of the Word where she experiences extra ordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God. If you have a burning desire for a close intimate relationship with God by experiencing His Love to you over and over again at greater and greater heights, depths, lengths and breaths then The Song of Songs is where you need to be.

I can help you with this process of Growing in the experience of God's love. As of 7-23-16 I have experienced everything prior to chapter 8. The Song of Song is progressive in experience. Meaning that if you are mature then you can experience the joys and extraordinary outpourings of God's Love shed abroad in your heart.

If you are not so mature then the delights in the first chapter of the Song will satisfy your thirst for experiencing the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many Christian are living in sin because they do not know how to experience God's love and get hooked on Loving Him. It feels good to be loved and to love Him. His burden is not heavy and His yoke is light, Jesus said in Matt. 10:28

I believe God wants to use me to help beautify His Bride through the Song of Solomon.

If you see the book literally you will not understand nor grasp the Love God has for you. If you see the book and the verses in it relating to Christ's love to you then I would love to show you how to experience this Love to the fullest. I will pray for you daily and guide you every step of the way.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I grew up going to church but was a hypocrite. I lived my life how I chose but went to church on Sunday because my family went.

Mom and Dad divorced when I was about 5.

About this time I was sexually abused by "Bob" a made up name. This incident changed my life for the worst. I had no clue how to deal with it.

As I got older I grew in my hatred for Bob. I didn't blame anyone of my family because I was to young to know any better. Some of what happened during the abuse was in a bathroom. So overtime I would use the bathroom and look at my private parts that night would replay in my mind. My hatred for Bob would continue to grow each time.

Now I know this only happened to me one night. I can't image the pain other's go through who have had this happen to them over and over. Even as I write this now I cry with many tears for those hurting. God love you even though you may not know it or feel it. Go to Him in your time of need.

I was a really bad teenager. I only cared about myself and not even my family. I always came first in my mind. Even at the expense of hurting others. I was growing in my hatred for God by now.

I was going to church and was learned that God was in control. I thought well, if God was in control then He must have let me be sexually abused. I didn't understand this, How could a good and loving God allow this. I hated Him for it. My hatred for Bob grew as well. I was still using the bathroom and memories kept coming back. My heart grew even harder for Bob and God. As far as I was concerned God would have nothing to do with my life so I lived even worse. I thought I would be in jail or dead and I really didn't care, I thought it could be much worse than reliving your painful past over and over again. Little did I know that God's plan later would be to use these events to give me a burning passion for the closest most intimate love relationship with Himself through Christ mainly through the love poem in the Song of Songs in the Bible.

I remember hating Bob so much that the only thing that would relieve my pain was actually thinking he would suffer forever for what he did. I grew so much in my hatred for him that I had to continue to think that he would get even worse than what I imaged before. After some time I would only be relieved of hatred for him unless I thought he would burn in a hotter and hotter hell for all the suffering he put me through.

I never told my mom or family what happened, although I think some of them knew something had happened.

I grew up quite rebellious and even went to jail at the age of 20. I was living the fast life pursuing all my sinful desires and wanting more. It never seemed to be enough. I was quite happy in my sin but I just wanted more of it.

I lived life thinking I would die at a young age, riding motorcycle and living on the edge put me in the hospital many times and I should have been dead.

California at age 26.

I moved to California for a job opportunity at the age of 27. While trying to figure out what radio stations to program in my car, I ran across a RC Sproul talking about "people who have the faith that saves and people who only say that have faith" only the people who have the faith that saves will go to heaven. I thought "I don't think I have the faith that saves because my life was so bad." I searched the scriptures to try to get this faith. I found a church and thought people there could help me get this faith that saves. All along God kept showing me how sinful I was and that I deserved punishment from Him for living my life hating Him.

One weekend I read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John desperately trying to find out how to get this faith that saves. By now I knew that if you had the faith that saves that Jesus would be saving you from a life of sin. I still liked my sin and Jesus sure wasn't saving me from a life of sin, so I rightly concluded that I didn't have the faith that saves.

By the time I got to John, I saw "believe" everywhere. John 3:16 and other verses and wow the whole book was written so that you may believe. John 20:31 "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." So at night I would pray "I believe Jesus died for me, I believe, I believe. This was just an intellectual belief. I knew that in history and the Bible that Jesus died for everyone, so I believed it. But this belief did not change my life.

I would go on night after night saying the same prayer only to wake up the next day wanting to fulfill my sinful desires. The prayer wasn't working so I started to word it different each time hoping some prayer would work. After about 2 weeks of this I was fed up with it all, nothing was happening. I still was living in my sin and wanted more of it. A Christian hates their sin and does something about it, and certainly they don't continue to make plans to sin. The prayers weren't working so I gave up. I thought to myself "God, I tried with all my might, I searched the Scriptures, went to church, read the Bible and prayed all to no avail. If Im going to be saved your going to have to do it because I tried."

So I quit praying but still the Bible kept calling me so I read more. 3 Days later I was laying in a tanning bed and God convicted me really hard that I had offended Him by the life I was living. I was so scared of God, where could I run. You can't hide from God. It seemed like forever that I was under these terrors of being punished by a Holy Angry God. This lasted about 10 minutes then this is how I understood it. God let me understand that all that anger that He had for me for all my sin should come my way but He had poured that anger out on Jesus 2,000 years ago. I immediately started weeping an couldn't stop for about 20 minutes. All the sins that I could think of I confessed for that 20 minutes one after another after another, I was so sorrowful and grieved it physically hurt inside.

After I stopped crying I thought that was the weirdest thing that ever happened. I walked out of the tanning salon and stood outside and everything seemed so beautiful, the tree's, the birds, even the air seemed pleasant. Now I was really wondering what was going on.

I pondered all of this as I drove to work that day. I brought my Bible to work and was thinking what am I doing, I want to take my Bible to work so I can read it. As soon as I got to work I started reading my Bible. I couldn't believe what I was reading!! It all was so wonderful. It felt so good to just read my Bible. My client showed up and as I was training them the only thing I could think about was getting back to my Bible. I read all night and slept about 2 hours and was reading again.

I had sinful things in my apartment and I rounded everything evil up and threw it in the garbage. It was weird I was thinking but it felt good so I left it all in the garbage. I called my girlfriend to break it up and she thought I had another girl, I said no, I just think this is wrong we shouldn't be sleeping together. She didn't understand so I told her I was a Christian now and she still thought I had another girlfriend. She said "Im glad your a Christian, so am I" I thought to myself, "I have a strong conviction that sleeping together is wrong and she thought it was okay" I wondered how she could think that. Anyway we broke up.

I kept reading my bible and repenting, there was so much to repent of and I had lived a very sinful life. I was a thief for some part of my life and all the people I stole from kept coming to mind. I owed so much money. I was instantly in debt about $80,000. As I could I paid them back. As of 7-18-2016 I still owe about $25,000 but it sure is a joy to be paying them back.

The first week of being saved a car just about ran me over, they hit me but I wasn't hurt at all. The guy in the car felt so bad. I just looked at him and said "God bless you and have a great day, I am okay" smiled at him and moved on. Now I was really wondering what was going on because I normally would have cussed him out left and right and instead of cussing I blessed him. That was so weird. But again it felt good. I learned to do good by what my conscience told me was good and that it felt good. I got hooked on this feeling good by doing good and did it more often.

About two weeks after being saved I thought of Bob. I immediately prayed for him, something like "Lord help him.." then I stopped praying and said out loud "What am I doing?" I'm praying for a man that I hated my whole life, but it feels good and right, so I did it again. I stopped again midway in the prayer and started pacing around. I was trying to make sense of what was going on and couldn't figure it out. But again it made me happy to pray for him so I did. Bob would often come to mind when I went to the bathroom and each time I would pray for Him. The more I did this the less weird it got. And the greater my love grew for him.

I started memorizing large portions of scripture and this was wonderful because it felt like the words were cleaning my mind and as Proverbs 2:10 "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." I wanted more and more of this pleasantness. So I memorized even more and the joy got more and more.

Then this life changing advice came:

A friend from church told me to find a book of the Bible and really understand it. Read through the Bible and pick one and read it over and over and study it and really get it. So I started in Genesis and read through. When I got to Proverbs I really liked it so I thought that would be the book. I started by memorizing all of Proverbs chapter 3. After that I thought maybe there is a better book than Proverbs. So I read on. Then I came to Song of Solomon. I read it with quite some confusion. It wasn't as good as the other books, I didn't know why. So I bought a commentary on it. George Burrowes commentary on the Song of Solomon.

In the commentary I found that George and other saw the book as illustrating God's love to the Church. And not only illustrating it but displaying the Love of Christ better than any other book. This caught my attention big time, because I was having a burning desire for a closer relationship with God and desperately learning about His Love so that I could Love God. You see I had hated Him for so long that God used that old hard heart to spur me on in loving Him. I so much did not want to hate God anymore that I was on fire to learn to Love Him as much and as fast as possible. So here was a book that would help me do that. So I landed on the Song of Solomon. I committed to learning as much of this book as possible.

I memorized the first chapter and would repeat it often throughout the day. I didn't know much of what I was repeating but it sure made me happier and on fire for God. I grew so fast repeating the first chapter over and over again all day, like a dozen times a day at least. It felt so good and I never found any other book that caused me to weep so much. I would often weep everyday just reading it. I was to immature to know what was going on. Even though it hurt to weep so much, I felt like my heart was being cleansed from the filth that was in it by repeating it over and over again so I did. As I read the commentary I understood more and more. What God was doing in me through the Song was greater and faster than any other portion of Scripture so I tended to stay there often. I was so excited about God that I thought it funny that other's in church weren't the same way. Some where happy but it seemed most of them didn't seem to care much about God. They would talk about work, football the weather. The only thing I wanted to talk about was Jesus and God and how can I grow closer to Him.

About this time there was a mission trip to Ireland.

I started to have convictions that I should try to find Bob and witness to him. I kept praying for him but how could he be saved if he hadn't heard the Gospel that has power unto salvation. So I asked family if they had any information. Like me before, my family hated him and thought he deserved hell. After some time I got his name but no location or phone number. Either they didn't know where he was or didn't want to tell me. I prayed some more and then started to get stronger convictions to do something about finding Bob.

So I went on the internet and typed in "his name and child molestation sex offender court" thinking that some court record would have some info leading to where I may find him" I even talked to a private eye and he couldn't help. So I googled some key words and spent hours each day looking through each page. I believed it was God's will for me to witness to Bob. I wanted him to be saved. Really bad. So much so that I thought God would save Bob if I were to witness to him. So I didn't stop searching for him. I kept my computer on each day and went page by page. It took two years to go through about 15,000 pages but I found someone who matched his name in a prison for molesting his grandchildren. I wrote the prison and he wrote back. All kinds of emotions went through my body when I saw his letter from the jail. I didn't open it right away but two hours later God gave me enough courage to face my fears again and I opened the letter. He admitted to being the one who molested me. We wrote back and forth I told him I was angry before but now I was saved and that I loved him and believed God wanted me to talk to him. He read my letters over and over again. I shared the gospel in each one.

I got mad at Bob 2x. Once he said that he love me. I got really angry with him. He didn't love me. That night it was hard to love Bob, I had to call a friend to pray for me to repent, after he prayed I felt greater love for Bob. Then I wrote him back saying "I'm sorry but you can't say that you loved me. You did not love me you lusted after me." He admitted he didn't love as he should have and admitted that it was lust and sinful. Finally some conviction. Yet I only thought he was saying that because I was being nice to him. All his family had left him and he said I was the only "friend" he had.

Wether or not it was true Bob said that he had cancer in his arm and that the help the prison gives was not enough and if he had money he could see a different doctor and get help. I sent him some money and since I was in jail before I knew what it was like to be in there without money, so I sent him money.

About 4-5 months in the economy went down, it was 2008. Work was hard. I still sent him money and I had to work harder. This was a really good lesson for me because I had to "work hard for the benefit of someone who did not deserve it." This was one of the greatest blessing ever because I realized with great certainty that Jesus was in me. This is what Jesus did. Jesus worked his whole life for me and I didn't deserve it!! Christ was in me! This was one of the best feelings ever and it put me in worship for months.

Then a mission trip to Croatia.

Each time I had to leave my business and amazing as it is I was completely okay each time. I am a self employed personal trainer and it is normally absurd to just leave and start over, but each time I had enough work within 2 weeks of coming back. This is a flat out miracle. I trusted God to provide and he did. How many people can start up a business in 2 weeks. Only with the help of God. God was teaching me early on in my walk that as long as I did what He wanted me to do then I had nothing to worry about.

About 3 years saved now.

I Taught the 4 year old's at church Sunday morning for 10 years.

Left my business 2x for mission trips and God miraculously provided when I came back.

I taught 5 x a week plus held a job.

Sunday morning to the kids.
Sunday night with the 5th graders
Friday afternoons at Good News Clubs. Sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Friday Nights with the Kids teaching through Pilgrims Progress, I did this 2x
Teaching Monday afternoons at a nursing home. I taught through the Song of Songs once then John, then Romans then back to the Song again! I love the Song of Songs.
I grew up hating God for what happened to me, and now I love Him because He first loved me. My passion is for children to grow up loving God and not hating Him.

My other passion which has become ever greater is to help others see the Love of Christ to His Church in the Song of Songs!!

I would love to help you, just let me know and I will lead you and pray for you.

God demonstrates His love to us in sending His one and only Son to suffer in our place, taking our sins upon Himself so that whoever believes they get to heaven because of what He did for us will not perish but have everlasting life.

2 thoughts on “Free Commentary, Solomon’s Song of Songs, by Jonathan Edwards Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: