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In our application of these words to the heavenly bridegroom, we may observe,
1. That he is compared to a tree. So the God of Israel represents himself in the prophet -I am like a green fir-tree','-which is ever fair and flourishing.
He is compared to a large and shady tree"in (or under) his shade I delighted and sat 'down.' To us this image is not nearly so striking and beautiful as if we resided in the east, where the heat of the sun is more intense, and shade in travelling much less frequent. But he, who is compared to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,' may also, no less fitly, be compared to the shadow of a great tree. Jesus Christ shades the believer from the just anger of Deity, and its consequences: and those who fatigue themselves in vain, in seeking salvation at the foot of burning Sinai, may find rest and safety under the shadow of his cross; 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' He shades them from the burning sun of persecution, or public calamity: The Lord is thy 'shade upon thy right hand; the sun shall 'not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night'.'
He is compared to a fruitful tree-- From me,' says the Lord to his people IsraelFrom me is thy fruit found 3.' Wisdom is a tree of life'a tree that beareth twelve manner of fruits,' and has no barren season-al
ways blooming, ever bearing: and by the fruit he bears may be understood either, 1. His conversation, which is the fruit of the lips'.' 'A word spoken in due season, how good is ' it!'-When Jesus Christ was upon earth his words were admired for their sweetness, and authority; Never man spake like this man!' Now he is in heaven, he can still 'speak well:' -he can speak peace to them that are afar off. His words are as citrons of gold in
baskets of silver.'
2. The fruit of this tree may intend the graces of the Spirit, which are communicated from Christ-the fruits of righteousness and holiness. These are the fruits expected from those trees of righteousness which the Lord hath planted;' and of such, he says, 'from me is thy fruit found.'
Spouse. He brought me into the house of wine,
Support me with refreshments;
• Strew citrous round me;
For I am sick of love.'
His left hand was under my head,
And his right hand embraced me.
In these verses, the imagery is dropped or changed, and the spouse relates more literally the pleasure she had recently enjoyed in the company of her beloved. He brought me into the house of wine.' The Persian poet HAFEZ uses this expression for an eastern tayern, or house of entertainment; but Solomon,
I think, for a wine cave, or cool recess, in the royal gardens. Whether it were customary with the Hebrews to display a banner, a flag, or pendant, (as sometimes on our tents and summer houses) on occasions of festivity, I am not confident; but it seems probable from the next words, his banner over me was love;' that is, was inscribed with this term, or embroidered with figures expressing the chaste enjoyments and affections of the nuptial state: though some commentators,are of opinion the expression only intimates, that the bridegroom conquered merely by the display of his love. In this situation she confesses herself overcome, and requests to be supported with refreshments, and exhilarated with fruits, particularly citrons, remarkable, it should seem, for their exhilarating quality.
What are intended by the first term, which I have rendered refreshments, the translators have been much at a loss to guess, as may be seen by the variety of versions in the margin'. Mr.
www-In floribus.] In unguentis, (ev pvpois) LXX. sic Arab-Phialis vitreis. Pagn.-lagenis istis, Jun. & Tr. Pisc.-lagenis, Merc. sic Mont. Castal. Arab. &c.—sive, vasis, Vatab. Munst. sub. vini, Vatab. Merc. Arab. sim. Muns. vini optimi; ut fieri solet Tais REITOSUμovai, Grot.—Poli Syn. Crit. in loc.
The English translators agree no better. Cranmer, and the Bishops Bible, turn it cups; Coverdale and Matthews, grapes; the Doway version. flowers; our common version i flaggons; and Mr. Harmer understands it of the skins of gourds, used as vessels for wine. The LXX and Vulgate use in different places different words, signifying cakes, unguents and lees of wine. The word itself, www, is allowed to be derived from w fire in a reduplicate form.
The root (5) is to spread a carpet, to strew round, as fruit from a tree.-Parkhurst.
PARKHURST (following the derivation of the word from fire) renders it confectionaries-things baked, or prepared by fire: but might he not with equal propriety have referred to some cordials or simple waters distilled by fire? or even to wine in baked earthen vessels?-In this great uncertainty, I have preferred the most general term I could find-refreshments. The other member of the sentence, Strew citrons round me,' is literally rendered, and presents us with the image of a person seated upon a carpet (as is the eastern custom) and surrounded with fruit and other delicacies.
The application of these verses to a chaste and spiritual mind is easy. We need not seek far for what is intended by the banqueting house, or wine-cave'. Free and intimate communion with God in holy exercises is a banquet to the
1 We have observed in the preliminary essay, (p. 87, &c.) from the highest authorities, that these images are allegori cally employed by the Persian poets, particularly Hafiz. Accordingly to the mystical vocabularies [or rather commentaries] on Hafiz, by wine the poet invariably means "devotion; by the breeze, an illapse of grace; by perfume, the hope of the divine favour; by the tavern or banquet-house, "a retired oratory; by its keeper, a sage instructor; by beauty, the perfection of the supreme Being; and by wantonness, mirth, and inebriety, religious ardour, and disregard "of all terrestrial thoughts and objects." Hindley's Persian Lyrics, p. 29:
I may add, from another writer, that the most respectable commentators assert the koranic principles of Hafez.' Feridoun attempts to prove that even his most • luxuriant verses are but so many religious allegories;' and so prevalent is this opinion that the language of Hafez has been stiled among the Mussulmans, Lessan Gaib, or the language of mystery. Nott's account of Hafez, prefixed to his select odes, p. x.
soul; and the place where this is enjoyed, a banqueting house. In this view the temple was such to the pious Jews, where the sacrifices were considered as a feast, and the wine poured out as the wine of a banquet, whereby the heart, both of God and man, was gladdened.
How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! 'Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy
And thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy plea'sures1.'
The blessings of the gospel are promised under the same image, and the communion with God vouchsafed in his house, is a feast, or banquet, under every dispensation.
In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all • people
A feast of fat things;
A feast of wines on the lees;
• Of fat things full of marrow;
• Of wines on the lees well refined"
Agreeable to the same imagery, all the provisions of the gospel are represented under the idea of a feast-a marriage feast, at which we know that plenty of wine was always an essential article 3.
When the queen of Sheba was brought into the court of Solomon, and saw all his glory and heard his wisdom, we are told that there
1 Ps. xxxvi. 8.