Song of Solomon 4
In this chapter,
I. Jesus Christ, having espoused his church to himself
(Song of Solomon 3:11),
highly commends her beauty in the several expressions of it, concluding
her fair, all fair,
Song of Solomon 4:1-5
Song of Solomon 4:7.
II. He retires himself, and invites her with him, from the mountains of
terror to those of delight,
Song of Solomon 4:6,8.
III. He professes his love to her and his delight in her affection to
Song of Solomon 4:9-14.
IV. She ascribes all she had that was valuable in her to him, and
depends upon the continued influence of his grace to make her more and
more acceptable to him,
Song of Solomon 4:15,16.
|The Beauty of the Church.
1 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair;
thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a
flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
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.
3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is
comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within
4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury,
whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty
5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins,
which feed among the lilies.
6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me
to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
I. A large and particular account of the beauties of the church, and of
gracious souls on whom the image of God is renewed, consisting in
the beauty of holiness. In general, he that is a competent judge of
beauty, whose judgment, we are sure, is according to
truth, and what all must subscribe to, he has said, Behold, thou
art fair. She had commended him, and called all about her to take
notice of his glories; and hereby she recommends herself to him, gains
his favour, and, in return for her respects, he calls to all about him
to take notice of her graces. Those that honour Christ he will honour,
1 Samuel 2:30.
1. He does not flatter her, nor design hereby either to make her proud
of herself or to court her praises of him; but,
(1.) It is to encourage her under her present dejections. Whatever
others thought of her, she was amiable in his eyes.
(2.) It is to teach her what to value herself upon, not any external
advantages (which would add nothing to her, and the want of which would
deprive her of nothing that was really excellent), but upon the
comeliness of grace which he had put upon her.
(3.) It is to invite others to think well of her too, and to join
themselves to her: "Thou art my love, thou lovest me and art
beloved of me, and therefore thou art fair." All the beauty of
the saints is derived from him, and they shine by reflecting his light;
it is the beauty of the Lord our God that is upon us,
She was espoused to him, and that made her beautiful. Uxor fulget
radiis mariti--The spouse shines in her husband's rays. It
it repeated, Thou art fair, and again, Thou art fair,
denoting not only the certainty of it, but the pleasure he took in
speaking of it.
2. As to the representation here made of the beauty of the church, the
images are certainly very bright, the shades are strong, and the
comparisons bold, not proper indeed to represent any external beauty,
for they were not designed to do so, but the beauty of holiness, the
new man, the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not
corruptible. Seven particulars are specified, a number of
perfection, for the church is enriched with manifold graces by the
seven spirits that are before the throne,
(1.) Her eyes. A good eye contributes much to a beauty: Thou
hast doves' eyes, clear and chaste, and often cast up towards
heaven. It is not the eagle's eye, that can face the sun, but the
dove's eye, a humble, modest, mournful eye, that is the praise
of those whom Christ loves. Ministers are the church's eyes
thy watchmen shall see eye to eye); they must be like doves'
eyes, harmless and inoffensive
having their conversation in the world in simplicity and godly
sincerity. Wisdom and knowledge are the eyes of the new man; they
must be clear, but not haughty, not exercised in things too high for
us. When our aims and intentions are sincere and honest, then we
have doves' eyes, when we look not unto idols
but have our eyes ever towards the Lord,
The doves' eyes are within the locks, which area as a shade upon
them, so that,
[1.] They cannot fully see. As long as we are here in this world we
know but in part, for a hair hangs in our eyes; we cannot
order our speech by reason of darkness; death will shortly cut
those locks, and then we shall see all things clearly.
[2.] They cannot be fully seen, but as the stars through the thin
clouds. Some make it to intimate the bashfulness of her looks; she
suffers not her eyes to wander, but limits them with her locks.
(2.) Her hair; it is compared to a flock of goats, which
looked white, and were, on the top of the mountains, like a fine head
of hair; and the sight was more pleasant to the spectator because the
goats have not only gravity from their beards, but they are comely
but it was most pleasant of all to the owner, much of whose riches
consisted in his flocks. Christ puts a value upon that in the church,
and in believers, which others make no more account of than of their
hair. He told his disciples that the very hairs of their head were
all numbered, as carefully as men number their flocks
and that not a hair of their head should perish,
Some by the hair here understand the outward conversation of a
believer, which ought to be comely, and decent, and agreeable to the
holiness of the heart. The apostle opposes good works, such as become
the professors of godliness, to the plaiting of the hair,
1 Timothy 2:9,10.
Mary Magdalen's hair was beautiful when she wiped the feet of Christ
(3.) Her teeth,
Song of Solomon 4:2.
Ministers are the church's teeth; like nurses, they chew the meat for
the babes of Christ. The Chaldee paraphrase applies it to the priests
and Levites, who fed upon the sacrifices as the representatives of the
people. Faith, by which we feed upon Christ, meditation, by which we
ruminate on the word and chew the cud upon what we have heard, in order
to the digesting of it, are the teeth of the new man. These are here
compared to a flock of sheep. Christ called his disciples and
ministers a little flock. It is the praise of teeth to be
even, to be white, and kept clean, like sheep from the
washing, and to be firm and well fixed in the gums, and not like
sheep that cast their young; for so the word signifies which we
translate barren. It is the praise of ministers to be even in
mutual love and concord, to be pure and clean from all moral
pollutions, and to be fruitful, bringing forth souls to Christ, and
nursing his lambs.
(4.) Her lips; these are compared to a thread of scarlet,
Song of Solomon 4:3.
Red lips are comely, and a sign of health, as the paleness of the lips
is a sign of faintness and weakness; her lips were the colour
of scarlet, but thin lips, like a thread of scarlet. The
next words explain it: Thy speech is comely, always with grace,
good, and to the use of edifying, which adds much to the
beauty of a Christian. When we praise God with our lips, and with
the mouth make confession of him to salvation, then they are
as a thread of scarlet. All our good works and good words must
be washed in the blood of Christ, dyed like the scarlet
thread, and then, and not till then, they are acceptable to God.
The Chaldee applies it to the chief priest, and his prayers for Israel
on the day of atonement.
(5.) Her temples, or cheeks, which are here compared to a
piece of a pomegranate, a fruit which, when cut in two, has rich
veins or specks in it, like a blush in the face. Humility and modesty,
blushing to lift up our faces before God, blushing at the remembrance
of sin and in a sense of our unworthiness of the honour put upon us,
will beautify us very much in the eyes of Christ. The blushes of
Christ's bride are within her locks, which intimates (says Mr.
Durham) that she blushes when no other sees, and for that which none
sees but God and conscience; also that she seeks not to proclaim her
humility, but modestly covers that too; yet the evidences of all these,
in a tender walk, appear and are comely.
(6.) Her neck; this is here compared to the tower of
Song of Solomon 4:4.
This is generally applied to the grace of faith, by which we are united
to Christ, as the body is united to the head by the neck; this is
like the tower of David, furnishing us with weapons of war,
especially bucklers and shields, as the soldiers were
supplied with them out of that tower, for faith is our
those that have it never want a buckler, for God will compass
them with his favour as with a shield. When this neck is like
a tower, straight, and stately, and strong, a Christian goes on in
his way, and works with courage and magnanimity, and does not hang a
drooping head, and he does when faith fails. Some make the shields
of the mighty men, that are here said to hang up in the tower of
David, to be the monuments of the valour of David's worthies. Their
shields were preserved, to keep in remembrance them and their heroic
acts, intimating that it is a great encouragement to the saints to hold
up their heads, to see what great things the saints in all ages have
accomplished and won by faith. In
we have the shields of the mighty men hung up, the
exploits of believers and the trophies of their victories.
(7.) Her breasts; these are like two young roes that are
Song of Solomon 4:5.
The church's breasts are both for ornament
and for use; they are the breasts of her consolation
Isa. lxvi. 11),
as she is said to suck the breasts of kings,
Some apply these to the two Testaments; others to the two sacraments,
the seals of the covenant of grace; others to ministers, who are to be
spiritual nurses to the children of God and to give out to them the
sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby, and, in
order to that, are themselves to feed among the lilies where
(Song of Solomon 2:16),
that they may be to the babes of the church as full breasts. Or the
breasts of a believer are his love to Christ, which he is pleased with,
as a tender husband is with the affections of his wife, who is
therefore said to be to him as the loving hind and the pleasant
roe, because her breasts satisfy him at all times,
This includes also his edifying others and communicating grace to them,
which adds much to a Christian's beauty.
II. The bridegroom's resolution hereupon to retire to the mountain
(Song of Solomon 4:6)
and there to make his residence. This mountain of myrrh is
supposed to signify Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, where
incense was daily burnt to the honour of God. Christ was so pleased
with the beauty of his church that he chose this to be his rest for
ever; here he will dwell till the day break and the shadows flee
away. Christ's parting promise to his disciples, as the
representatives of the church, answer to this: Lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the world. Where the ordinances of God
are duly administered there Christ will be, and there we must meet him
at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Some make these to be the
words of the spouse, either modestly ashamed of the praises given her,
and willing to get out of the hearing of them, or desirous to be
constant to the holy hill, not doubting but there to find suitable and
sufficient succour and relief in all her straits, and there to cast
anchor, and wish for the day, which, at the time appointed, would
break and the shadows flee away. The holy hill (as some observe)
is here called both a mountain of myrrh, which is bitter, and a
hill of frankincense, which is sweet, for there we have occasion
both to mourn and rejoice; repentance is a bitter sweet. But in heaven
it will be all frankincense, and no myrrh. Prayer is compared to
incense, and Christ will meet his praying people and will bless
III. His repeated commendation of the beauty of the spouse
(Song of Solomon 4:7):
Thou art all fair, my love. He had said
(Song of Solomon 4:1),
Thou art fair; but here he goes further, and, in review of the
particulars, as of those of the creation, he pronounces all very
good: "Thou art all fair, my love; thou art all over
beautiful, and there is nothing amiss in thee, and thou hast all
beauties in thee; thou art sanctified wholly in every part;
all things have become new
(2 Corinthians 5:17);
there is not only a new face and a new name, but a new man, a new
nature; there is no spot in thee, as far as thou art renewed."
The spiritual sacrifices must be without blemish. There is no
spot but such as is often the spot of God's children, none of the
leopard's spots. The church, when Christ shall present it to himself a
glorious church, will be altogether without spot or wrinkle,
|The Love of Christ to the Church.
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.
9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou
hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of
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!
11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and
milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is
like the smell of Lebanon.
12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut
up, a fountain sealed.
13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant
fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees
of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
These are still the words of Christ to his church, expressing his great
esteem of her and affection to her, the opinion he had of her beauty
and excellency, the desire he had of, and the delight he had in, her
converse and society. And so ought men to love their wives as Christ
loves the church, and takes pleasure in it as if it were spotless and
had no fault, when yet it is compassed with infirmity. Now, observe
I. The endearing names and titles by which he calls her, to express his
love to her, to assure her of it, and to engage and excite her love to
him. Twice here he calls her My spouse
(Song of Solomon 4:8,11)
and three times My sister, my spouse,
Song of Solomon 4:9,10,12.
Mention was made
(Song of Solomon 3:11)
of the day of his espousals, and, after that, she is called his
spouse, not before. Note, There is a marriage-covenant between
Christ and his church, between Christ and every true believer. Christ
calls his church his spouse, and his calling her so makes her
so. "I have betrothed thee unto me for ever; and, as the bridegroom
rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." He is not
ashamed to own the relation, but, as becomes a kind and tender husband,
he speaks affectionately to her, and calls her his spouse, which
cannot but strongly engage her to be faithful to him. Nay, because no
one relation among men is sufficient to set forth Christ's love to his
church, and to show that all this must be understood spiritually, he
owns her in two relations, which among men are incompatible, My
sister, my spouse. Abraham's saying of Sarah, She is my
sister, was interpreted as a denying of her to be his wife; but
Christ's church is to him both a sister and a spouse, as
a sister and mother. His calling her sister is grounded
upon his taking our nature upon him in his incarnation, and his making
us partakers of his nature in our sanctification. He clothed himself
with a body
and he clothes believers with his Spirit
(1 Corinthians 6:17),
and so they become his sisters. They are children of God his
(2 Corinthians 6:18)
and so they become his sisters; he that sanctifies, and those
that are sanctified, are all of one
and he owns them, and loves them, as his sisters.
II. The gracious call he gives her to come along with him as a faithful
bride, that must forget her own people and her father's house, and
leave all to cleave to him. Ubi tu Caius, ibi ego Caia--Where
thou Caius art, I Caia will be. Come with me from Lebanon,
Song of Solomon 4:8.
1. It is a precept; so we take it, like that
(Song of Solomon 2:10,13),
Rise up, and come away. All that have by faith come to Christ
must come with Christ, in holy obedience to him and compliance with
him. Being joined to him, we must walk with him. This is his command to
us daily: "Come with me, my spouse; come with me to God as a
Father; come with me onward, heavenward; come forward with me; come up
with me; come with me from Lebanon, from the top of Amana, from the
lions' dens." These mountains are to be considered,
(1.) As seemingly delightful places. Lebanon is called that goodly
We read of the glory of Lebanon
and its goodly smell,
We read of the pleasant dew of Hermon
and the joy of Hermon
and we may suppose the other mountains here mentioned to be pleasant
ones, and so this is Christ's call to his spouse to come off from the
world, all its products, all its pleasures, to sit loose to all the
delights of sense. All those must do so that would come with Christ;
they must take their affections off from all present things; yea,
though they be placed at the upper end of the world, on the top of
Amana and the top of Shenir, though they enjoy the highest
satisfactions the creature can propose to give, yet they must come
away from them all, and live above the tops of the highest hills on
earth, that they may have their conversation in heaven. Come
from those mountains, to go along with Christ to the holy mountain,
the mountain of myrrh,
Song of Solomon 4:6.
Even while we have our residence on these mountains, yet we must look
for them, look above them. Shall we lift up our eyes to the
hills? No; our help comes from the Lord,
We must look beyond them, to the things that are not seen (as
these high hills are), that are eternal. From the tops of
Shenir and Hermon, which were on the other side Jordan, as from
Pisgah, they could see the land of Canaan; from this world we must look
forward to the better country.
(2.) They are to be considered as really dangerous. These hills indeed
are pleasant enough, but there are in them lions' dens; they are
mountains of the leopards, mountains of prey, though they seem
glorious and excellent,
Satan, that roaring lion, in the prince of this world; in
the things of it he lies in wait to devour. On the tops of these
mountains there are many dangerous temptations to those who would take
up their residence in them; and therefore come with me from
them; let us not set our hearts upon the things of this world, and then
they can do us no hurt. Come with me from the temples of
idolaters, and the societies of wicked people (so some understand it);
come out from among them, and be you separate. Come from under
the dominion of your own lusts, which are as lions and
leopards, fierce upon us, and making us fierce.
2. It may be taken as a promise: Thou shalt come with me from
Lebanon, from the lions' dens; that is,
(1.) "Many shall be brought home to me, as living members of the
church, from every point, from Lebanon in the north, Amana in the west,
Hermon in the east, Shenir in the south, from all parts, to sit down
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,"
Some from the tops of these mountains, some of the great men of
this world, shall give themselves to Christ.
(2.) The church shall be delivered from her persecutors, in due time;
though now she dwells among lions
Christ will take her with himself from among their dens.
III. The great delight Christ takes in his church and in all believers.
He delights in them,
1. As in an agreeable bride, adorned for her husband
who greatly desires her beauty,
No expressions of love can be more passionate than these here, in which
Christ manifests his affection to his church; and yet that great proof
of his love, his dying for it, that he might present it to himself a
glorious church, goes far beyond them all. A spouse so dearly bought
and paid for could not but be dearly loved. Such a price being given
for her, a high value must needs be put upon her accordingly; and both
together may well set us a wondering at the height and depth, and
length and breadth, of the love of Christ, which surpasses
knowledge, that love in which he gave himself for us and
gives himself to us. Observe,
(1.) How he is affected towards his spouse: Thou hast ravished my
heart; the word is used only here. Thou hast hearted me, or
Thou has unhearted me. New words are coined to express the
inexpressibleness of Christ's surprising love to his church; and the
strength of that love is set forth by that which is a weakness in men,
the being so much in love with one object as to be heartless to every
thing else. This may refer to that love which Christ had to the chosen
remnant, before the worlds were, when his delights were with the
sons of men
that first love, which brought him from heaven to earth, to seek and
save them at such vast expense, yet including the complacency he
takes in them when he has brought them to himself. Note, Christ's heart
is upon his church; so it has appeared all along. His treasure is in
it; it is his peculiar treasure
and therefore there his heart is also. "Never was love like unto the
love of Christ, which made him even mindless of himself, when he
emptied himself of his glory, and despised all shame and pain, for our
sakes. The wound of love towards us, which he had from eternity in
himself, made him neglect all the wounds and reproaches of the cross;"
so Bishop Reynolds. Thus let us love him.
(2.) What it is that thus affects him with delight.
[1.] The regard she has to him: Thou hast ravished my heart with one
of thy eyes, those doves' eyes, clear and chaste (which were
Song of Solomon 4:1),
with one glance of those eyes. Christ is wonderfully pleased with those
that look unto him as their Saviour, and through the eye of faith dart
their affections to him, above any rival whatsoever, and whose eyes
are ever towards him; he is soon aware of the first look of a soul
towards him and meets it with his favours.
[2.] The ornaments she has from him, that is, the obedience she yields
to him, for that is the chain of her neck, the graces that
enrich her soul, which are connected as links in chain, the exercise of
these graces in a conversation which adorns both herself and the
doctrine of Jesus Christ, which she professes to believe (as a gold
chain is an ornament to persons of quality), and an entire submission
to the commanding power of his love. Having shaken off the bands of
our neck, by which we were tied to this world
and the yoke of our transgressions, we are bound with the
cords of love, as chains of gold, to Jesus Christ, and
our necks are brought under his sweet and easy yoke, to drawn in it.
This recommends us to Jesus Christ, for this is that true wisdom which,
in his account, is an ornament of grace unto the head and chains
about the neck,
[3.] The affection she has for him: How fair is thy love! how
beautiful is it! Not only thy love itself, but all the fruits and
products of it, its working in the heart, its works in the life. How
well does it become a believer thus to love Christ, and what a pleasure
does Christ take in it! Nothing recommends us to Christ as this does.
How much better is thy love than wine, than all the wine that
was poured out to the Lord in the drink-offerings! Hence the fruit of
the vine is said to cheer God and man,
She had said of Christ's love, It is better than wine
(Song of Solomon 1:2),
and now Christ says so of hers; there is nothing lost by praising
Christ, nor will he be behindhand with his friends in kindness.
[4.] The ointments, the odours wherewith she is perfumed, the gifts and
graces of the Spirit, her good works, which are an odour of a sweet
smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God,
The smell of thy ointment is better than all spices, such
as the queen of Sheba presented to Solomon, camel-loads of them
(1 Kings 10:2),
or, rather, than all the spices that were used in compounding the holy
incense which was burned daily on the golden altar. Love and obedience
to God are more pleasing to Christ than sacrifice or incense. The
smell of her garments too, the visible profession she makes of
religion, and relation to Christ, before men, and wherein she appears
to the world, this is very grateful to Christ, as the smell of
Lebanon. Christ having put upon his spouse the white raiment
of his own righteousness
and the righteousness of saints
and this perfumed with holy joy and comfort, he is well pleased with
[5.] Her words, both in her devotion to God and her discourses with men
(Song of Solomon 4:11):
Thy lips O my spouse! drop as the honeycomb, drop that which is
very sweet, and drop it freely and plentifully. If what God speaks to
us be sweeter to us than the honey and the honeycomb
what we say to him in prayer and praise shall also be pleasing to him:
Sweet is thy voice. And if out of a good treasure in the
heart we bring forth good things, if our speech be
always with grace, if our lips use knowledge aright, if they
disperse knowledge, they then, in Christ's account, even drop
the honeycomb, out-drop it. Honey and milk (the two staple
commodities of Canaan) are under thy tongue; that is, in thy
heart, not only reserved there for thy own use as a sweet morsel for
thyself, but ready there for the use of others. In the word of God
there is sweet and wholesome nourishment, milk for babes, honey for
those that are grown up. Christ is well-pleased with those that are
full of his word.
2. As in a pleasant garden. And well may a very great delight be
compared to the delight taken in a garden, when the happiness of Adam
in innocency was represented by the putting of him into a garden, a
garden of pleasure. This comparison is pursued,
Song of Solomon 4:12-14.
The church is fitly compared to a garden, to a garden which, as
was usual, had a fountain in it. Where Solomon made himself
gardens and orchards he made himself pools of
not only for curiosity and diversion, in water-works, but for use, to
water the gardens. Eden was well watered,
(1.) The peculiarity of this garden: It is a garden enclosed, a
paradise separated from the common earth. It is appropriated to God; he
has set it apart for himself; Israel is God's portion, the lot
of his inheritance. It is enclosed for secresy; the saints are God's
hidden ones, therefore the world knows them not; Christ walks in
his garden unseen. It is enclosed for safety; a hedge of protection is
made about it, which all the powers of darkness cannot either find or
make a gap in. God's vineyard is fenced
there is a wall about it, a wall of fire. It has a spring in it, and a
fountain, but it is a spring shut up and a fountain
sealed, which sends its streams abroad
but is itself carefully locked up, that it may not by any injurious
hand be muddied or polluted. The souls of believers are as gardens
enclosed; grace in them is as a spring shut up there in
the hidden man of the heart, where the water that Christ gives
is a well of living water,
The Old-Testament church was a garden enclosed by the partition
wall of the ceremonial law. The Bible was then a spring shut up
and a fountain sealed; it was confined to one nation; but now
the wall of separation is removed, the gospel preached to every nation,
and in Jesus Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew.
(2.) The products of this garden. It is as the garden of Eden, where
the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight
and good for food,
Thy plants, or plantations, are an orchard of pomegranates
with pleasant fruits,
Song of Solomon 4:13.
It is not like the vineyard of the man void of understanding,
that was all grown over with thorns and nettles; but here are
fruits, pleasant fruits, all trees of frankincense, and all
the chief spices,
Song of Solomon 4:14.
Here is a great plenty of fruits and great variety, nothing wanting
which might either beautify or enrich this garden, might make it either
delightful or serviceable to its great Lord. Every thing here is the
best of the kind. Their chief spices were much more valuable,
because much more durable, than the choicest of our flowers. Solomon
was a great master in botany as well as other parts of natural
philosophy; he treated largely of trees
(1 Kings 4:33),
and perhaps had reference to some specific qualities of the fruits here
specified, which made them very fit for the purpose for which he
alludes to them; but we must be content to observe, in general, the
saints in the church, and graces in the saints, are very fitly compared
to these fruits and spices; for,
[1.] They are planted, and do not grow of themselves; the trees of
righteousness are the planting of the Lord
grace springs from an incorruptible seed.
[2.] They are precious and of high value; hence we read of the
precious sons of Zion and their precious faith; they are
plants of renown.
[3.] They are pleasant, and of a sweet savour to God and man, and, as
strong aromatics, diffuse their fragrancy.
[4.] They are profitable and of great use. Saints are the blessings of
this earth, and their graces are their riches, with which they trade as
the merchants of the east with their spices.
[5.] They are permanent, and will be preserved to good purpose, when
flowers are withered and good for nothing. Grace, ripened into glory,
will last for ever.
|The Love of the Church to Christ.
15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams
16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my
garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved
come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
These seem to be the words of the spouse, the church, in answer to the
commendations which Christ, the bridegroom, had given of her as a
pleasant fruitful garden. Is she a garden?
I. She owns her dependence upon Christ himself to make this garden
fruitful. To him she has an eye
(Song of Solomon 4:15)
as the fountain of gardens, not only the founder of them, by
whom they are planted and to whom they owe their being, but the
fountain of them, by which they are watered and to which they own their
continuance and well-being, and without whose constant supplies they
would soon become like the dry and barren wilderness. To him she gives
all the glory of her fruitfulness, as being nothing with out him: O
fountain of gardens! fountain of all good, of all grace, do not
thou fail me. Does a believer say to the church, All my springs are
in thee, in thee, O Zion?
the church transmits the praise to Christ, and says to him, All my
springs are in thee; thou art the well of living waters
out of which flow the streams of Lebanon, the river Jordan,
which had its rise at the foot of Mount Lebanon, and the waters of the
sanctuary, which issued out from under the threshold of the
Those that are gardens to Christ must acknowledge him a fountain to
them, from whose fulness they receive and to whom it is owing that
their souls are as a watered garden,
The city of God on earth is made glad with the
river that flows from this fountain
and the new Jerusalem has its pure river of water of life proceeding
out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,
II. She implores the influences of the blessed Spirit to make this
(Song of Solomon 4:16):
Awake, O north wind! and come, thou south. This is a prayer,
1. For the church in general, that there may be a plentiful effusion of
the Spirit upon it, in order to its flourishing estate. Ministers'
gifts are the spices; when the Spirit is poured out these flow
forth, and then the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
This prayer was answered in the pouring out of the Spirit on the day
ushered in by a mighty wind; then the apostles, who were bound
up before, flowed forth, and were a sweet savour to God,
2 Corinthians 2:15.
2. For particular believers. Note,
(1.) Sanctified souls are as gardens, gardens of the Lord, enclosed for
(2.) Graces in the soul are as spices in these gardens, that in them
which is valuable and useful.
(3.) It is very desirable that the spices of grace should flow forth
both in pious and devout affections and in holy gracious actions, that
with them we may honour God, adorn our profession, and do that which
will be grateful to good men.
(4.) The blessed Spirit, in his operations upon the soul, is as the
north and the south wind, which blows where it listeth,
and from several points,
There is the north wind of convictions, and the south wind of comforts;
but all, like the wind, brought out of God's treasuries and
fulfilling his word.
(5.) The flowing forth of the spices of grace depends upon the gales of
the Spirit; he stirs up good affections, and works in us both to will
and to do that which is good; it is he that makes manifest the savour
of his knowledge by us.
(6.) We ought therefore to wait upon the Spirit of grace for his
quickening influences, to pray for them, and to lay our souls under
them. God has promised to give us his Spirit, but he will for this be
III. She invites Christ to the best entertainment the garden affords:
"Let my beloved then come into his garden and eat his
pleasant fruits; let him have the honour of all the products of the
garden (it is fit he should), and let me have the comfort of his
acceptance of them, for that is the best account they can be made to
turn to." Observe,
1. She calls it his garden; for those that are espoused to
Christ call nothing their own, but what they have devoted to him and
desire to be used for him. When the spices flow forth then it is fit to
be called his garden, and not till then. The fruits of the garden are
his pleasant fruits, for he planted them, watered them, and gave the
increase. What can we pretend to merit at Christ's hands when we can
invite him to nothing but what is his own already?
2. She begs he would visit it, and accept of what it produced. The
believer can take little pleasure in his garden, unless Christ, the
beloved of his soul, come to him, nor have any joy of the fruits of it,
unless they redound some way or other to the glory of Christ, and he
will think all he has well bestowed upon him.