Imatges de pÓgina

bear witness to solemn charges and covenant engagements.

The improvement of this difficult verse shall be comprized in two ideas.

1. That true love deprecates every thing calculated to disturb the harmony, or injure a good understanding between the parties. Doth Christ love his church? Then must he be offended at every attempt to disturb her peace, or alienate her affection from him.-Do we love Christ? Then shall we, with pious jealousy, guard against whatever has a tendency to dishonour his name, to grieve his Spirit, or offend his love.

I charge my sins not once to move,

Nor stir, nor wake, nor grieve my love.'


2. The whole creation witnesseth for God against apostates. If after engaging ourselves by covenant to be the Lord's, and professing to be his disciples, we turn our backs upon religion, and renounce his service, not only will our friends and neighbours, our children and servants, bear witness against us, but the very animals who saw our former professions and devotions, will rise up against us in judgment. Yea, the very timber and stones of our dwelling will witness against us, if we deny our God'.

Josh. xxiv. 27.


Chap. II. ver. 8, 9.

Spouse. The voice of my beloved! behold he cometh,
Leaping on the mountains, bounding on the hills.
My beloved resembles an antelope, or a young hart.
Behold him standing behind our wall;
Looking through the windows,

Displaying himself through the lattice work.

THESE verses open a new scene, and, according to many expositors, a new day. But as repose is very customary in warm countries in the middle of the day, I am not certain but this may refer to the afternoon or evening, especially as there is nothing in the description which particularly marks the morning.

Dr. GILL connects this section with the former in this manner: he supposes the spouse to have heard the beloved give a tender charge to the virgins not to disturb her, and that thereupon she arises and exclaims, Behold! it is


the voice of my beloved! To me, however, this appears unnatural and absurd, because here she sees him at a distance leaping on the mountains, and bounding upon the hills.'

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Another critic supposes the voice of the bridegroom' to be the sound of the music which attended him; and I conceive such an allusion not improbable; and that in verse 10. the chorus is introduced: Arise, my consort, and ' come away!'

The imagery is here so easy and beautiful as to require little illustration. The beloved is seen first at a distance hastening to his love, with the speed of an antelope or a young

hart-then he stops behind the green wall of the garden-or shews himself, in his bridal dress, through the lattices of the choisk-and here invites her to enjoy with him the opening charms of summer, of which Mr. HARMER has shewn the following verses to be an accurate description; and that they mark the time to be about the end of April, which answers to June in our climate.

Little difficulty occurring in the literal sense of this section, we apply immediately to the allegory, and enquire,

1. Why is the heavenly bridegroom compared to the antelope or the young hart? I reply, not only on account of the beauty of those amiable creatures, but chiefly for their swiftness, as intimating the alacrity with which the Messiah came, in the first instance, for our redemption; and the readiness with which he still flies, in the hour of distress for our relief. Even in the painful work of redemption, with what cheerfulness did he undertake, and with what willingness did he suffer! Lo! I


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'That the Hebrew Zabi (y) intends the antelope, or gazelle, is the opinion of Dr. Shaw, Buffon, and Sir W. Jones and certain it is, this is one of the most beautiful animals in creation. In this place the LXX add, On the • mountains of Bethel.' But this seems both unnecessary and unintelligible.


Displaying himself [y] literally flowering through the lattice work: an allusion to flowers which penetrate the open work of lattice windows, and bloom on the other side. Such a circumstance was noticed with admiration by Mr. Stewart, in his journey to Mequinez, quoted by Mr. Harmer.

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⚫ come,' saith he, to do thy will, O my God,' though he knew that will required that he should sacrifice his life. And after he had assumed human nature, and began to be a 'man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,' he cries, I have a baptism to be baptized with,' alluding to his sufferings, and how ' am I straitened until it be accomplished!'

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Nor is the Saviour less ready, now he is exalted to power and to glory, to fly to the salvation of his people. How often hath his church in the most perilous circumstances experienced his delivering hand! And how often have we as individuals found him to be 'a very present help in time of trouble!'

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2. Our next observation relates to the gradual manner in which the beloved discovers himself-upon the hills-behind the walland through the windows of the choisk. Commentators apply this to the gradual discoveries of Messiah under the Old Testament, which was like the shining light, which • shineth more and more unto the perfect day.' In the antediluvian ages he appeared as on the distant mountains, shrouded with a morning cloud; by the revelations made to Abraham and his family, he drew nearer, and was more distinctly seen; but in the types and emblems of the Mosaic œconomy he displayed himself with great beauty, and in great glory. Under this dispensation lived the writer of this poem. We know that he saw the Redeemer's glory, and spake of him, not only in this song but in some of the psalms, and, as they are commonly

understood, in several chapters of the Proverbs.

This dispensation introduced the gospel, in which the voice of the Redeemer calls up his church to arise and enjoy its privileges. Thus he speaks:

Chap. II. Ver. 10-13.

Bridegroom. Arise! my consort, my beauty, and come away, For, behold! the winter is past;


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6 The rain is over-is gone.

The flowers appear upon the earth:

The time of the singing" [of birds] is come:
The voice of the turtle doveis heard in our land:
The fig-tree ripeneth her green figs :

The vines, [with] their tender buds 3 yield fra-

Arise! my consort, my beauty, and come away.'

• Winter.' The word no, used only in this place, is generally considered as a Chaldee word, and the Jewish critics draw a mystery from it, on the supposition of its referring to the Babylonian captivity. But Mr. Parkhurst derives it from the Hebrew no, to stir, disturb, q. d. The disturbed season; and observes from Niebuhr, that the Arabs call their winter Schitte.

2 Time of singing,' . So R. Sol. Farchi, Aben Ezra, and other Jewish, with most Christian writers. But the LXX read The time, Tys Touns, of cutting,' i. e. pruning vines, which it is admitted the word may signify, and which agrees well enough with the season. The former sense, however, I have preferred as most poetical, and consonant to the other images.


• Tender buds.' Our translators read grapes, but this is carrying the season too far. Dr. Gill says smadar, and, signifies to flower. So Symmachus renders it here by avaven, the vine blossom, and the Vulgate by florantes: The LXX, however, render it, numρiew, to bud; and in chap. vii. 12, by

μos, a bud-the budding of a flower, which agrees exactly with the marks of the season-for the vines and roses bud and blow very nearly at the same period. Both eastern vines and roses, when in bloom, are extremely fragrant. See Harmer on Sol. Song, p. 138, 139. F f

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