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of Hosts expressly calls the house of Judah • his GOODLY HORSE in the day of battle;' where is, I conceive, a double allusion (as in Solomon) both to the horse and its ornainents,the horse well-fed, mettled, bold, courageous, and richly caparisoned, as the horse of a commander in chief in the day of battle?.'
When the ornaments, whether of the women or horses, are here mentioned, we may recollect the apostolic exhortation, particularly to the fair sex ; - Whose adorning (says St. PE
• ' TER) • let it not be that outward adorning, of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or
of putting on of [rich] apparel: but let it be the • hidden man of the heart, in that which is not
corruptible, (even the ornament] of a meek • and quiet spirit, which is, in the sight of
God, of great price. For after this manner, in the old time, the holy wonen also, who • trusted in God, adorned themselves.' In similar language the apostle PAUL exhorts that women adorn themselves in modest
apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not • with broidered (or plaited) hair, or gold, or
pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with GOOD (WORKS.'
But more particularly I would observe, 1. That the graces of the Spirit (which are the
There is a peculiarity in the original of this text. Judah (17717) signifies praise, glory, &c. and in allusion to this root, Judah is called a glorious, or a gora geous horse, by a word (1717) nearly related to that root. See
Zach. x. 3:
.ידה and הדה Park. in
same as the moral virtues arising from evangelical principles, and wrought by the Holy Ghost--the graces of the Spirit) are recommended to us as jewels, pearls, and ornaments of gold or precious stones, as in the scriptures already cited.
Sometimes the precepts of divine truth and wisdom are thus represented. So SOLOMON, speaking of wisdom—that “wisdom which is from above'-says, • She is more precious than rubies, • And all the things which thou canst desire (are] not to be
compared unto her!!! Speaking of her precepts, he says,
They shall be life unto thy soul, * And grace unto thy neck.
They shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head,
* And chains about thy neck'. 2. That these graces, or virtues, are connected like the links of a chain. Say, that the Christian virtues are pearls, or precious stones, then grace is that golden thread' on which they are strung; this may also be referred to the blessings of the gospel, which all depend upon the grace of God.
Thus the apostle enumerates the former-Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge ; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance pa'tience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to bro
2 Prov. jii. 22.
1 Proy. iii. 15. • Prov. i. 9.
therly kindness charity',' The like remarks may be applied to the rich and various bles, sings of the covenant of grace and redemption: thus the apostle links them: “Whom he did • foreknow he also did predestinate ; whom he
did predestinate, them he also called ; and 5 whom he called, them he also justified; and
; * whom he justified, them he also glorified ? '
Lastly, we may apply this to the praises or encomiunis bestowed upon the church ; and it
; may lead us to observe that, however the irreligious world may despise or deride the character of the true believer, thosé best acquainted with it will commend and admire. So we have often seen that candid minds, and those open to conviction, have admired and commended the virtues and graces, which they were little disposed to imitate. See how
these Christians love,' was the language of admiring heathens.—The virgins that attend the church praise her.
My spikenard shall yield its odour.
Such as] in the vineyards of En-gedi. This paragraph presents us with a different set of images. The king is supposed to be in the circle of his friends at the marriage feast;
1 Pet. i. 52
· Rom. viii. 29, 30.
and the spouse promisés, in allusion to eastern manners, to entertain him with the most choice perfumes': but the language is highly metaphorical. She had before compared his name to liquid perfume, and I conceive her meaning to be, that she would extol him before the
company, and that her praises should perfuine his character, equal to the fragrancy of ointments poured out, or of spices burnt before him.
In this view the allegory admits of an easy and beautiful application. The Redeemer is (or at least ought to be) at all times the object of the believers admiration and gratitude. We should praise him in contemplating the works of nature and of providence-we should praise him in all the ordinances of his house, but most eminently at his table, when he sitteth ' in the circle of his friends.' Then should our hearts burn with holy gratitude; then should our lips celebrate his love, and our graces exhale like the perfume of spikenard,
On nuptial occasions, and at all royal and noble feasts, the eastern nations are very profuse in their use of perfunes. Some instances occur in the history of our Lord himself in the New Testament. See Mark, xiv, 3. John, xii. 3.
3 Of the true spikenard of the antients there have been some disputes. Three dissertations on it may be found in the Asiatic Researches. (See vol. II. 405. IV. 418.) Dr. Roxburgh calls it Valeriana Fatamansi. He had the living plants , growing in baskets, and in each basket were about thirty or forty hairy spike-like bodies, more justly compared to the tails of ermine or small weasels. They could not be brought to flower out of its native soil.Bootan. It is used both for perfume and medicine,
• While at the table sits the king,
• And breathe like spikenard round the room'. The words may, however, be extended to the whole of the communion subsisting between the Lord and his people, in acts of social worship. • The prayers of saints' are in the New Testament compared to 'incense;' and believers, from their being permitted at all times to offer these, are considered as “ priests' whose office it is to offer incense unto « God 2.'
Beside sprinkling and burning perfumes, the easterns frequently use bunches of odoriferous plants as we do nosegays, and sometimes wear little bags or bottles of perfume in their bosoms 3: both which circumstances are alluded to in the next verses.
By a bundle, bag, or bottle of myrrh, I understand a small vessel filled with liquid myrrh, or that precious stacte which exudes from the tree of its own accord, and was probably worn in the bosom to exhilarate the spirits. By the cypress here mentioned is supposed to be intended the henna (or hinna) a plant in very high esteem with the Arabians, and other eastern nations. Dr. Shaw says, “This beau* tiful and odoriferous plant, if it is not an
nually cut and kept very low, grows ten or 'twelve fect high, putting out its little flowers
1 Watts, Hymn lxvi. B. I. . Rev. v, 18. 3 See Harmer on Sol. Song, p. 212, &c.