« AnteriorContinua »
Only producing weeds, and thorns, and briars. But
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, . And their tongue faileth for thirst;
I, JEHOVAH, will hear them, . I, the God of Jacob, will not forsake them. "I will open rivers in high places, • And fountains in the midst of the valleys; "I will make the wilderness a pool of water, . And the dry land springs of water. . I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, • The shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; · I will set in the desert the fir tree, • The pine and the box tree together?'
Such is the power of divine gràcè, that it can convert weeds and brambles into trees the most choice and beautiful-can make the desert blossom as a rose-and change the wilderness into an Eden the garden of the Lord.'
Comparing the prophet with King Solomon, we may observe,
1. That the church is a Garden-not a Field, or a Common; she may sing in the language of her favourite poet,
• We are a garden wall’d around,
2. The church is a garden planted by the hand of God, and watered by his Holy Spirit, which is frequently compared to springs and living streams of water.
Isa. xli. 17-19.
Like trees of myrrh and spice we stand,
• To make the young plantation grow. 3. The garden is locked; the fountain sealed; i. e. it is secured from intrusion, and from violation. “ Holiness unto the Lord,” is inscribed upon
and these are the mottoes of the seal: "The Lord knoweth them that are his.' And, • Let every one that nameth the name of • Christ depart from iniquity'.
These are hints only, dropped for the enlargement of the reader at his leisure.
Ch. IV. 16. Ch. V. I. Spouse. Awake, O north wind, and come, O south!'
Breathe upon my garden that its aromatics may
And eat his precious fruits.
spouse, I have gathered my myrrh with my aromatics; I have eaten my honey in the comb;
I have drank my wine with my milk. To the Com-7 Eat, О friends! franions. } Drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
In the first of these verses two difficulties occur :- Who is the speaker? and what is the import of his invocation ? On the former
question we can derive no light from the original, and the critics and commentators are much di
vided. Supposing the Bridegroom to continue speaking, after describing the bride as á garden of aromatics, &c. he invokes the gale to breathe on this garden, that he may inhale from it the greater fragrancy; which is not unnatural, nor improper. But conceiving, as I am still inclined to do, the Bride to be the speaker, it forms a part of her reply: as if she had said:
My beloved compares me to a garden, to a paradise ; 0 that I were more fruitful and * more fragrant; that I might entertain him better with my odours', and my fruits ! This I conceive to be more natural, just, and beau. tiful,
The nature of the invocation has been also disputed, though I think with less reason, If the wind must be invoked, yet why invoke it from opposite points, which certainly could not blow at the same time? True: but they might blow alternately ; and were alternately desirable and neceșsary”. The office of the north wind, according to the same poet, was
drive away rain"; and, consequently, to produce that clear, brilliant, glowing sky, which
Prov. xxv. 23: 2 For its aromatics, the LXX. Syriac, Arabic, and Coptic read my; and one of Kennicott's (198) MSS. reads D'ava without a pronoun. On the other hand, in the next line, one of his MSS. (145) reads my garden, and four of De Rossi's appear to have read so. These variations all arose, probably, from the uncertainty of the person speaking,
If it were thought necessary to obviate the supposed absurdity of calling on opposite winds to blow, it would be easily done by rendering the vau, as a disjunctive particle, OR, as it often is by our ir ors.
the patriarch Job calls golden, and which he tells us comes from that quarter'. PLINY says, the north is the most healthful wind that blows”; and its bracing, invigorating effects on the human frame are well known : nor is it less important to vegetation ; shaking the plants and trees from their very roots, loosening the soil around them, and closing up their pores to prevent their being too much weakened. On the other hand, the south wind is, in its turn, no less desirable and necessary to open their pores and exhale their odours 3.
Awake thou north ; ye southern breezes, rise, • With silken wings your balmy vapour spread, . And open ev'ry aromatic bloom.
Job xxxvii. 21, 22.
See Gill, in loc. 3 Dr. Gill observes that the verb (121) breathe, seems to be only in construction with the south wind: and I do nog find it ever applied to a violent or tempestuous wind. But the learned editor of Calmet will not admit the south wind at all in this scene. He says, ' in Judea, the heat of the south wind i would have suffocated the fragrancy of the garden. In answer to which it is sufficient to quote an eastern poet in a still warıner climate. • O gale, scented with sandal, who : breathest love from the regions of the south, be propitious.' Asiat. Research. vol. III.
The geographical situation of Julea will farther justify this interpretation. Lebanon being qa the north of Judea, the wind from that quarter would naturally bring with it the i odour of Lebanon. On the south is Arabia Petræa, and still farther south Arabia Felix. 'Egypt is situated west of Arabia, and Persia to the east. An old historian, quoted by Sir WFones, [Essay on the Poetry of the Easterns) says, • The air of Egypt sometimes in summer is like any • sweet perfume, and almost suffocates the spirits, caused by the wind that brings the odours of the Arabian spices. Now as these odours are brought to Egypt, doubtless by the cast
• the Spirit.'
Let us now attend to the import of the figure. The wind is in scripture an established emblem of the divine Spirit ! “The wind bloweth where
it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of
The different uses of the wind, may be compared also to the different offices of the Spirit. Is the north wind keen, penetrating, and powerful ? Such are the operations of the Spirit in conversion. Is the south wind mild, gentle, sweet? Such are the influences of the same Spirit in his teaching and consolations.
Awake, O heavenly wind! and come, • Blow on this garden of perfume:
Spirit divine ! descend, and breathe • A gracious gale on plants beneath.'
There can be no doubt but the following verse contains the royal bridegroom's answer, except in the concluding line, which is evidently addressed to his companions—the children of the bride-chamber. 6 When the
propitious gales (says she) have prepared my
garden for his reception, then let my beloved senter and enjoy it.'-- I have already (replies
the beloved) began to taste that happiness. ! I am now enjoying, in thy conversation, what
wind, so they would be carried to Judea by the south, and to Persia by the west or south-west ; in every direction, inore or less, producing that excess of fragrancy that at times overpowers, even the natives, with its sweetness.