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* After thee will we run!:' These I suppose to be the words of the virgins to the spouse, intiinating that, if she followed the bridegroom, they would follow her, drawn and excited as well by her cliarms, as by those of her beloved : and the expression may furnish us with this remark; that there is a charm in genuine practical religion, and in examples of piety and virtue, which wins the hearts of all around, and is particularly engaging to young disciples, and candid enquirers after divine truth : • Let your light so shine before men
that they, seeing your good works, may glo‘rify your Father who is in heaven.' St. PETER gives a particular exhortation to the fair sex on this head; which, as it is scripture, I may be permitted to transcribe. • Likewise,
ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they • also may without the word be won by the
conversation of the wives, while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear?.'
The words, • after thee will we RUN,' certainly express alacrity, cheerfulness and diligence in the ways of God, which are the consequences of divine drawings, attended with the encouragement of good example, and pious exhortation. "
In the next line the spouse declares her marriage. i The king hath brought me into
| The LXX, Vulgate, and Arabic, add, · Because of thy good ointments,' which is only the repetition of a preceding line, perhaps by way of elucidation, but adds nothing to the meaning. : 1 Pet. iii. 1, 2.
• his chambers;' that is, he hath admitted me • to be his wife,' he hath already honoured me with this dear and dignified relation, and I am here waiting till he arrives and favours me with his company. - From this simple idea, applied spiritually, we may observe,
1. That spiritual communion is the great end of our relation to Jesus Christ. What avail our assumption of his name, and boasting that we are Christians, if we know nothing of communion with the Author of christianity. He hath promised us his presence whenever we assemble in his name: yea, he hath said, • If any man keep my commandments I will . come unto him, and sup with him, and he 6 with me.'
2. That those who are found in Christ's chambers were brought there by his grace: or, in other words, those who are truly believers in Jesus Christ—who are the bride, the Lamb's wife are made such, brought into that relation, and enjoy those privileges purely through the grace of God.
3. That the church's business, in Christ's chambers, is to wait for his
This he hath promised, and though he may seem to
1 The Cabbalists have an observation, that wherever the king is spoken of absolutely in this song, it is the King Messiah who is intended ; but we have already settled this point, that Solomon was a type of Christ, and that he is mystically intended throughout the whole of this poem. They suppose also the chambers to allude to the chambers of the teinple: 1 would rather say, they refer to every place in which God is worshipped in spirit and in truth through Christ Jesus, whether the temple, the church, or the private chamber,
tarry, it is our duty to wait for him : . For he • hath not said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye 'my face, in vain.' All attempts or pretensions to worship, that have not this for their end and aim, are hypocritical and unacceptable to God.
In the next lines we have, 1. the joy of the virgins in the happiness of the spouse, · We
will be glad and rejoice in thee :'-2. The manner in which they express their joy, “We • will celebrate thy love more than wine:and, 3. the ground of this joy and pleasure, • The upright love thee.'
Each of these circumstances may furnish a useful remark.
1. From the joy of the virgins we may ob-
for her.'_It is natural enough, indeed, to rejoice in the growth and prosperity of our party; but to rejoice in the work and grace of God as such, without a reference to the honour of our party, or our own instrumentality, is a happy proof that we love God, and make his interest ours.
2. The virgins purpose to express their joy in celebrating the spouse's love, or, as I understand it rather, in celebrating their mutual loves, in nuptial songs and congratulations. The mutual loves of Christ and his church are generally the favourite theme of
Christians they are the friends of the bride that rejoice to hear her voice—that rejoice to join with her in the praises of the beloved that preferthc happi
ness of Zion to their chief joy; or, as the expres. sion here is, that celebrate her love' more
than wine'-_more than all the conveniences, comforts, and felicities of human life.
3. The ground of all this is integrity and uprightness of heart—'The upright love thee'.' Man is a fallen creature, by nature destitute of love to God and goodness: grace alone makes man upright, and fills the heart with divine love: and in proportion as this grace prevails that love will more and more abound. The notion of loving virtue for its own sake, inde, pendent of love to God, and irrespective of his love to us, is a fiction of infidel philosophy,
As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
These verses contain an apology for the spouse's complexion, which it has been found difficult to explain liteșally, and no less so to apply figuratively. Let us examine it. Her complexion was dark?; not naturally, but ac
Aben Ezra takes Down for the adjective to wine* wine that goes down smoothly;' but I conceive the com
' mon rendering to be the more just and better sense.
• Dark am I but comely.'— The original word (7770), which I have rendered dark, properly intends the dusk or early dawn.—Bp. PATRICK.
Gaze not.'-— The common rendering · look not,' is too
cidentally; and yet her person was beautiful. She was dark as the tents of Kedar,' or of the Arabians, which, according to some writers, were made of black goat's hair, or, according to others, died black. The comparing her complexion to these tents may be a poetical exaggeration, to heighten the beauty of the contrast with the curtains of Solomon, probably those of his pavilion or state tent, which were doubtless very superb and beautiful; for the easterns spare no expence in these cases'. Of this Mr. HARMER*gives some remarkable instances from the travels of Egmont and Hayman. The tent of the grand signior was covered and lined with silk. More recently Nadir Shaw had a very superb one covered on the outside with scarlet broad cloth, and lined within with violet-coloured satin, ornamented with a great variety of animals, flowers, &c. formed entirely of pearls and precious stones :.
To account for her dark complexion, she mentions her exposure to the scorching sun,'
weak; the word evidently means to look stedfastly, with attention and admiration. See Gen. vi. 12. Prov. xxiii. 31.
Six MSS. read (and two more did read) '17'n fear not,' which reading is preferred by Doderlein, but I conceive without sufficient reason.
* The LXX read Segzers, the skins of Solomon, supposing his curtains to be made of skins, which is possible enough : but one would have hardly thought it possible that a commentator and a bishop could have been weak enough to apply it to the sleekness of Solomon's own skin! as Bp. Foliot did in the twelfth century. 2 Memoirs of Khojalı Abdulkurreem, p. 31.
On Sol. Song, p. 186.