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is styled, the desire of all nations, but was most eminently so of the believing Jews, who • waited for his salvation. Thus the elegiac prophet, full of his afflictions, and deeply impressed with a conviction that they sprang not out of the dust, thinks it unnecessary to name their author. · I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of H18
wrath. • He hath brought me into darkness, and not into light.
So Mary Magdalen, when she supposed herself conversing with the gardener, seemed to think it unnecessary to name the object of her solicitude_Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, • tell me where thou hast laid him.' Her mind was full of Jesus, and she thought that he also occupied the attention of 'all others. Such is the frame of soul, in which the church--the believer exclaims,
• Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.' We may write here, as the heathen inscribed upon their temples— Far hence be
' • the profane!' A kiss was a token of reconciliation and submission, and was thus figuratively used by David in a similar application : « Kiss the son lest he be angry.'
But the kiss here is intended as a mark of conjugal affection. • Now the king hath ho
noured me with the character and rank of a * royal bride, let him not withhold the tokens • of his conjugal affection.'
Profane minds may ridicule images borrowed from conjugal affections and embraces,
as if these were something impure or improper ; but the holy Author of this state hath sanctified it by his appointment, his blessing, and the adoption of these images in many parts of scripture; and “what God hath o cleansed let no man call common or unclean.'
The expression, - kisses of his mouth,' hath been marked as hebraistic and poetical : it certainly well agrees with the antiquity and simplicity of the language; but it is not merely redundant, or emphatical: it distinguishes the kiss of love from that of mere submission and obedience. Servants and subjects might be allowed to kiss the hands or feet of their prince; but to be kissed by him, to be favoured with • the kisses of his mouth,' implies the highest degree of familiarity and affection.
The next line introduces a change of persons in my conception highly beautiful and poetical. I see no reason for supposing, as many have done, that the king is introduced here, or in any part of this section.
It appears to me to injure the beauty of the following sentiments. But the change of person is another mark of the situation of the speaker's mind. The same principle on which we account for the omission of her beloved's name, will account for this change of person. The same love which so engrossed her mind as to render it superfluous to name the ovject of her attachment, realized his image, and led her to speak as if he had been present, without that
restraint which his presence might have imposed'.
• Because better is thy love ? than wine.' It is the excellency of this love that made the spouse so anxious for discoveries of it. The term for love is plural in the original, as intending the various instances of this love, and the different methods in which it is displayed: it might therefore have been rendered affections, but I have not thought the change inportant.
The love of God has been compared to wine, both for its qualities and effects. The qualities of good wine are age, and strength : the love of Christ is stronger than death,' and more antient, for it is from everlasting : but the effects of good wine are chiefly pointed at when it is employed as a sacred metaphor.
6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, • And wine to those that be bitter of soul 3.
The discoveries of divine love then are more animating and consolatory than wine is to the faint and heavy hearted.
The literal sense of the following verse is, that the king's fame attracted love and admiration.
'Those who suppose this poem to have been sung as an epithalamium, or to include part of the processional songs, consider these verses as part of the chorus : but I consider this as a circumstance so very uncertain that I have not ventured to offer any opinion on it.
2 The LXX, Vulgate, and Arabic, both here and in verse 4, read • breasts,' instead of loves,' but they are not supported by MSS. and the common reading seems preferable.
Prov. xxxi. 6. Margin.
1. The king's name is compared to "good . ointments,' not medicinal, but such as were used for perfume, which alone are uniformly. intended in this song. For though perfumes employed by men are considered as marks of effeminacy with us, it is far, otherwise in the east,
, especially on nuptial occasions. In the 45th psalm not only is the king said to be anointed : with the oil of gladness ;' but even his garments to be perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and 6 cassia.' The same custom obtains among the Turks and Arabians to this day'. The comparison imp
imports, that as liquid perfumes poured out, diffuses its fragrancy around; sơ the report of the king's virtues and greatness, attracted the love and admiration of all who heard it. Thus Solomon elsewhere observes, 'A good name is better than precious oint
ment :' and Martial has told us that the names of lovers to each other are sweeter than nectar 3.
The application of this in the allegory is both easy and beautiful. : It is the great object of the gospel to exalt King \fessiah, and to spread the lionour of his name : the victories of the cross, and the labours of redeeming love, have a strong attractive power to draw enquiring souls to Christ; and he is exalted to this end, that he might in this manner draw all men unto him. Commentators, in general, apply the expression of ointinents and per
fumes mystically to the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, with which our Lord Jesus Christ was anointed beyond measure : and it is true, by these influences alone men are drawn unto him: as we may more particularly observe on the first clause of the following verse :
• O draw me!' ABEN EZRA, and some others, understand this as the language of the virgins severally expressed ; but it appears to me much more natural to divide the line as I have done on the suggestion of Bishop PATRICK, and understand this clause as an apostrophe to the beloved - O drar me!-Draw me with the report of thy virtues and excellencies ! Draw me with the discoveries of thy kindness, and affections ! Draw me with the fragrance of thy perfumes :--that is, spiritually, by the gracious influences of thy good Spirit.'
This drawing, as Gill observes, implies no restraint or violence upon the will. The sick are drawn by the report of a good physician, or a medical spring : the poor are drawn by a character of extensive benevolence and liberality : all men feel more or less the attractions of interest or of pleasure; and none complain of it as a violence : so it was an especial promise of the Messiah, “And I, when I am - lifted up, will draw all men unto me.'
The drawing here intended does not, however, so much express the first drawing of the soul to God in conversion, as the subsequent drawings of the Spirit into closer communion and greater conformity to Christ.