|SOLOMONíS SONG |
Called also CANTICLES, and Song of Songs, B. C. 1012. This highly figurative and beautiful poem has always held a place in the canonical Scriptures, and of course was a part of the Bible in the time of Christ; it was so regarded by the early Christians, and appears in the ancient catalogues, manuscripts, and versions. Numerous and very different opinions have been held as to the subject and plan of this poem; but that its design is to set forth the spiritual love and mutual communion between Christ and his people, is evident from its harmony, when so understood, with the large class of Scripture passages which represent God and particularly Christ as the husband of the church, and employ the marriage relation in its various aspects to illustrate the relation between the Savior and his people. Thus Psalms 45:1-17 is a Messianic nuptial song. See also Isaiah 54:5 62:5 Jeremiah 3:1-25 Ezekiel 16:1-63 Hosea 1:1-3:5 2 Corinthians 11:2 Ephesians 5:23-32 Revelation 19:7-9 21:2-9.
In the exposition of this beautiful poem we must remember the difference between eastern and western nations. Modern conventional rules and notions. Modern conventional rules and notions are not the standard to which its plan, its images, or its phraseology should be brought. The veiling of spiritual fervor and enjoyment under the symbol of love is common among oriental nations, and commentators have quoted portions of eastern allegorical songs, which bear no small resemblance to this inspired allegory. Many Christians, deeply imbued with the spirit of the gospel, have found great delight and benefit in reading it. Jonathan Edwards says, "I found an inward sweetness that would carry me away in my contemplations. This I know not how to express otherwise than by a calm, delightful abstraction of the soul from all concerns of the world; and sometimes a kind of vision of fixed ideas and imaginations of being alone in the mountains or some solitary wilderness, far from mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and rapt and swallowed up in God. The sense I had of divine things would often of a sudden kindle up an ardor in my soul that I knew not how to express. While thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to sing or chant forth my mediations, or to speak my thoughts in soliloquies with a singing voice."
Dr. John Brown of Haddington, in the introduction to his admirable paraphrase of this book, says, "If understood of the marriage and fellowship between Christ and his people, it will appear most exalted, instructive, and heart-warming. Its majestic style, its power on menís conscience to promote holiness and purity the harmony of its language with that of Christís parables and the books of Revelation, the sincerity of the bride in acknowledging her faults, and its general reception by the Jewish and Christian church, sufficiently prove it inspired of God. To such as read it with a carnal and especially with a wanton mind, it is the savor of death unto death, as the mind and conscience of such are defiled; but to such as have experienced much fellowship with Christ, and read it with a heavenly and spiritual temper of mind, it will be the savor of life unto life. The speakers in it are, Christ, Believers, and the Daughters of Jerusalem," or companions and friends of believers.