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in clusters which yield a most grateful smell • like camphire".'
It was at the island Hinzuan or Johuna, that Sir W. JONES first saw the hinna, which he describes as a very elegant shrub, about six feet high before it was in flower. On bruizing some of the leaves, moistened with water, and applying it to the nails and tips of the fingers, they were in a short time changed to an orange scarlet :. . Sonnini describes this plant as of a sweet smell, and commonly worn by women in their bosoms 3.
From this plant being said to grow in the ' vineyards of Engedi,' we may remark, that the Hebrews did not restrict the term vineyards to ground devoted to the culture of vines, but included in it every kind of plantation for the culture of curious and exotic plants 4. The sentiment expressed under both these images is the same, and amounts I conceive to this
That the sense and recollection of her be• loved's affection was to her pleasant, reviving, and animating, like the choicest
per• fumes even worn continually in the bosoms. Such is the Lord Jesus Christ to his church,
1 Travels, p. 113, 114. 2d edit.
See Calmet's Dict. also Harmer on Sol. Song, p. 34. 5 The original word for remain signifies to stay, abide, remain,' and is by no means confined to the night. Bate, Parkhurst, Harmer.
and to the individual believers of which it is composed.
1. His love is precious like myrrh. Images of this kind make but weak impressions on the imagination of an European; but to see the manner in which an Asiatic enjoys perfumes would suggest a strong idea of the rapturous manner in which St. Paul expresses his sense of redeeming love: “() the height and depth, • the length and breadth of the love of « Christ!'
2. We should endeavour to preserve this sense of the love of Christ in our hearts_wear it in our bosoms. So saith the apostle JUDE:
Keep yourselves in the love of God; looking • for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto • eternal life. The continual recollection of the love of Christ to us, is the most certain way to keep alive our affection to him.
3. The Jews have a remark on this text, which, though caballistical enough, may be worth repeating.
They observe, in their mystical way, that the original word for cypress signifies also an atonement; and that the two words, a cluster of cypress, may with a slight variation be changed into the man who pro'pitiates all things,' and point strongly to the Messiah, and his death and sacrifice. Dr. Watts beautifully alludes to this idea.
• As myrrh new bleeding from the tree,
Chap. I. Ver. 15-17.
Behold, thou art beautiful! thine eyes are doves. Spouse. Behold, thou art beautiful, my beloved; yea
Y ea verdant is our carpet. Bridegroom. Cedars are the roof of our house,
And the Brutine trees our rafters. Dr. KENNICOTT makes a division liere, with a change of scene; and, though I confess myself rather doubtful, I have followed his example. If we continue the scene, we must consider this verse as an answer to the affectionate expressions of the spouse in the preceeding paragraph ; commending her beauty, and, in particular her eyes, as the faithful index of her heart. The general current of critics and interpreters run a parallel between her eyes and the eyes of doves, and it is certain that there is something very beautiful and striking in the eyes of the carrier pigeon, which is the true Assyrian dove: but having considered the cona struction of the original, and the manner in which the same image is afterwards introduced, with the nature of the parabolic imagery, I am compelled to yield to the opinion of Dr. HongSON', that the eyes are compared, not to the eyes of doves, but to doves themselves : for, as he observes, when it is afterwards said, 'her
eyes are fishpools, it must be taken in this manner; and so elsewhere her hair and teeth
are compared to goats and slieep, and not merely to the hair of goats and the teeth of sheep, as we shall have farther occasion to observe'. The general ideas of the metaphor are purity, affection, and simplicity of understanding. Let us apply these figures.
1. The eye is a natural and scriptural image of the understanding--whence the expression of the eyes of the understanding.' And on these subjects we cannot avoid recollecting the maxim of our Lord, to be wise as serpents and
harmless as doves;' and the apostle James's character of divine wisdon, as first pure, and then peaceable, easy to be entreated.
2, Chaste affection is probably the principal idea of the writer. Doves were among the antients sacred to love. Venus had her car drawn by them. The eye is the seat of love, as the dove is the emblem of it. This may afford us a hint upon the nature of genuine love to Christ. Such is the depravity of our nature, and the imperfection of our holy things, that we are very apt to mix carnality
I am the more satisfied with this interpretation, from observing the following image in a Persian poet, (which should be compared also with ch. v. 12.) The bard I allude to says, the eyes of his mistress played like a pair of water-birds
with azure pluinage, that sport near a full-blown lotos on a ' pool, in the season of dew.'
Sir W. Jones's Works, vol. I.
? One of our own poets, in an expression similar to that I have just cited from an eastern bard, says, "Love in her
eyes sits playing ;' but in Solomon the image is sanctified; the cupid is exchanged for a dove, and wantonness for purity.
with our best affections, and to offer to our God a sacrifice with profane fire. This appears in several ways; but chiefly,
1. When we entertain low and mean ideas of the divine character; when we think him
such another as ourselves :' an error which we are the more exposed to from the kind and condescending characters he has assumed: but to prevent this we should accustom ourselves to contemplate the divine and human glories of our Lord Jesus in their union. He is both a lion and a lamb: the root and offspring of . David.' Of the seed of Abraham and of David, according to the flesh; but, in his superior and divine character, 'over all, God blessed for
(2.) We should avoid all those gross and carnal expressions, which degrade and deprave devotion. Jesus Christ is indeed dear, infinitely dear, to all his people; yet terms of endearment borrowed from the objects of our carnal love have a tendency to degrade him, whom it is our first desire to honour. They that treat him but as the babe of Bethlehem still, should remember that he is not always a child: but that he has attained maturity, and taken possession of his throne.
(3.) The dove was a sacred emblem, not only with the Hebrews, but with the Syrians, who worshipped the Deity under this form, and bore this image in their colours. It has been thought also that they decorated their sacred doves, covering their wings' with ornaments