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Thus the Book is full of Jesus. But it is Jesus in a peculiar character. He is not seen here as Saviour,” nor as King,” nor as “ High Priest,”
Judge,” nor as Prophet,” nor as Captain of our Salvation,” nor
66 the Great Shepherd of the sheep," nor as “the Mighty God,"
“ the King of kings,” nor as his people's Surety”—No! it is in a dearer and closer relation than any
of these—it is Jesus as our “Bridegroom” -Jesus in marriage union with his Bride, his Church.
This is a great mystery, but it is one of most peculiar preciousness to all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” It pervades every part of Holy Scripture. It was first revealed in Adam and Eve, in Eden (Gen. i. 27, and ii. 21-24). It was more fully brought out in the typical characters of the Old Testament; as, for example, in Boaz and Ruth; it was distinctly taught in the betrothment of the Jewish nation; and it is plainly declared in the spiritual language of the epistles--"I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. xi. 2).
The Song of Solomon is to be understood as the mutual interchange of the affections of the Bridegroom and the Bride. It is the experience of the soul towards Christ in this peculiar relationship. We
may be quite as safe, though we realize our interest in Christ only as our Saviour from the guilt and condemnation of sin; or if we know him only one step further, as the Captain of our Salvation, making us more than conquerors in fighting the good fight of faith.
But it is our privilege (and a great one) to know him in a world that passeth away, wherein we are but strangers and pilgrims, ever learning the bitterness of creature-disappointments, and the drying up of creature-streams of happiness—as the one object in whom our affections may supremely centre with no danger of excess, no fear of disappointment, no possibility of coolness or variableness in return; but rather, in whose love we shall meet with a response that shall make our love as nothing, by reason of the love that excelleth !
This is our privilege-a purchased privilegeours in virtue of our relationship in Jesus.
The question is never once raised throughout the Book whether indeed it is so or not. Grief and sadness arise from other causes. For as the one grand aim of the Bride throughout is the enjoyment of free, uninterrupted, and constant communion with the beloved, so the grand source of sorrow and distress is when seasons of coldness, lukewarmness, and drowsiness ever and anon creep over the soul, coming between it and Jesus, like clouds which hide the sun-not, indeed, affecting its bright shining, but effectually hindering the genial warmth of its cheering, enlightening, and life-giving rays from reaching the soul.
One of the most striking features of this Book is the development of the onward, ripening progress of Christian experience, as traced through the spring, summer, and autumnal seasons (chap. ii., iv., and vi.). “First the blade, then the ear; after that the full corn in the ear.”
And one of its most prominent characteristics is, that THE PERSON of Christ is dwelt on, rather than his work and offices. He is loved, so to speak, for his own sake. It is “his own self” that is the much-loved object.
May our affections more and more centre in Jesus; and may he be the constant companion and friend of our otherwise desolate and unsatisfied hearts, “ until the day break, and the shadows flee away,” and “ the marriage of the Lamb” be come !"
THE SONG OF SOLOMON,
COMPARED WITH OTHER PARTS OF SCRIPTURE.
“This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the
Church."-Eph. v. 27.
Ver. 1. “ The song of songs, which is Solomon's.”
“Let the word of Christ dwell in in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace
hearts unto the Lord.” (Col. iii. 16; Eph. v. 19.) “ For it is a good thing to sing praises unto thy name, 0 most high” (Psalm xcii. 1-3; lxxxix. 1).
It was thus that Moses sang to celebrate the exodus and redemption of Israel from the land of Egypt (Exod. xv). It was thus that Deborah sang, to celebrate the victory of Barak over Sisera (Judges v). It was thus David
sang “ in the day that God delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies”
56 the song
(2 Sam. xxii). It was thus that Paul and Silas, even in the prison, “sang praises unto God” at midnight (Acts xvi). Israel shall, in like manner, sing
" in the land of Judah” the song that is prepared for them in the coming day of their restoration (Isaiah xxvi).
And yet all these are but foretastes of the heavenly song which shall be sung by the redeemed out of “ all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues” (Rev. v. 9, &c). “a new song”- song
of the Lamb” (Rev. xiv. 4, and xv. 2-4)!
The heavenly song will be sung by the Church of Christ in glory ;
which is Solomon's” is the song they sing here upon earth.
Pre-eminence is given to it above every other, when it is called “ the song of songs,” which double rendering is very emphatic in the Hebrew. Thus Jehovah is called the “ God of gods and Lord of lords” (Deut. x. 17); and Christ is called “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. xix. 16). So also the “ most holy place” is called “the holy of holies,” signifying that it was the treasury of the highest and most sacred mysteries of God. And St. Paul has explained to us how great is the mystery contained in this “song of songs,” when he declares, “ for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery ;