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ness in the church, and its members : but what can be the meaning of such excuses? They are ridiculous in the extreme, and intended to appear such-like the excuses in the gospel. For there is no doubt but lamps were kept burning in the royal harem; and the loose garments of the cast are easily put on : there could be little danger of defiling the feet in treading on a carpet-and there can be no question of the floor being covered. But what lesson can these circumstances be intended to inculcate? That all our excuses for negligence and disobedience in religion are unfounded and absurd : the pleas of sloth and folly, which increase the evils for which they would apologise. I could go one step farther, and remark, that the excuses here offered are perfectly of an antinomian cast. The church is willing to receive her Lord, if he will force his entrance; but affects a wonderful delicacy to excuse herself from exertion --from rising to let liim in.
3. When she is at length overcome by his intreaties, and rises to adinit him, alas ! he is withdrawn–the just reward of her indolence and neglect. And thus it is, a state of supineness, and want of circumspection in the church, or a believer, provoke the Lord to withdraw his presence, that we may eat the fruit of our own doings.' It is by experience that we learn wisdom, and it is sometimes necessary that this should be dearly bought, in order that it
may be rightly prized. The conduct of the spouse under this disappointment shews that
her indifference was not radical, nor habitual ; but the effect of a temporary stupor, induced perhaps by indulgence. But when she saw his hand, and that he could not reach the lock or bolt to open it, her heart smote her-her bowels were moved within her on his account', and she rose directly to admit him : but alas ! it was too late -he had turned away, and
! was withdrawn.
Still at the door my injured lord attends, • While on the lock his busy fingers move: • Touch'd with a soft remorse, at last I rise, • Fly to the door ; but while with eager haste • The fastened lock I search’d, sweet smelling myrrh . From every bolt its precious moisture shed; • The rich perfume my lover's hands had left.' This poetic version (which is Mrs. Rowe's) supposes, as commentators do in general, that the perfume here called liquid myrrh’, pro
Instead of (75%) for him, more than 200 MSS. and editions read only by, in our margins rendered in me; I doubt however this rendering of the particle, the radical idea of which is above or upon; and as the verb (1277) is applied to the motion of the sea, I am inclined to think the accurate idea is, that a tumult of tenderness and compassion (so to speak) inakes the bowels roll over and over, like the waves, within us.
There is another doubt, however, as to the meaning of this verse; instead of the beloved's putting forth his hand to open the lock, some think it means, he withdrew his hand from it to go away. [So the LΧΧ απεστειλε-απο () της OTUS ; and Junius–Demiserat manum suam a foramine:] and this was certainly a' sufficient cause for alarm: but, I confess this does not appear to me so natural.
Liquid [ny current, passing] myrrh.' Bochart explains this of the myrrh which of itself went or flowed from the plant—which Watts elegantly
, calls myrrh new bleeding * from the tree;' which is always the most precious. As
ceeded from the moisture of his hands, wet with dew; and the compliment in this view is very elegant and beautiful, implying that the fragrancy of his body perfumed every thing which came in contact with it. If the perfume, however, be referred to the spouse, I think it will imply, that she had anointed herself with such luxuriancy, that her fingers were still wet with myrrh ; and this would partly account for her reluctancy to rise, since indulgence naturally induces sloth,
The application is not difficult. Ease and indulgence produce languor and negligence in the church, as well as in individuals; and
; in such circumstances the Lord often withdraws his presence and his smiles.
• He is a • God that hideth himself;' and both the church and her particular members have bewailed his absence, as we may see at large in the penitentiary psalms, and the book of Lamentations. • O Lord, my spirit faileth : hide not thy face ' from me, lest I be like unto them that go down unto the pit'.'
: My soul with anguish melted when he spoke,
Mrs. Rowe.' 4. She seeks him without success, and in great distress and anxiety of mind.
It is a to the supposition that she had a pot of myrrh in her hand, which in her hurry she overturned and spik on the lock, it appears, to me puerile, and unnecessary.
Ps. cxliii. 7.
very awful threatening by the mouth of this inspired writer :
• Because I have called, and ye refused, • I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded :• I will also laugh at your calamity; • I will mock when
your fear cometh' And though this threat, in its full terror, applies only to the finally impenitent; yet is it, in a certain extent, applicable to all who refuse to listen to the calls of God in his word and providence. Those who turn a deaf ear to his commands may reasonably expect him to refuse to listen to their petitions. If we trifle with his grace he will withdraw his smiles - he will hide his face in anger, till he humble and recover us.
Her disappointment greatly distresses and distracts her. First, her soul failed, or fainted at his word? ; but then speedily recovering, she
; loosely throws her veil over her night dress, and runs after him, like one distracted with love, into. the city. This, we are to remember, is a dream; but there is a harmony in its circumstances, and this conduct sufficiently accounts for her treatment: for
4. When she was found in the streets the watchmen very properly stopt her, drew aside 1 Prov. i. 24, 26. .
, 271272 719', literally, her soul went out of her at his word --perhaps some cutting parting word. So Mrs. Rewe:
· Tir’d with my cold delay, farewell, he cries,
• Those killing words my fainting soul surprise. Or the expression may be elliptical— She fainted (at the remembrance of his word.' So Gill, and others.
her veil, and insisted on knowing who she was; but they went farther, and meeting, we may suppose, with no satisfactory answer, they treated her very roughly: they smote, they hurt her. In the parallel vision we have considered the watchmen of Jerusalem as the ministers of the church, and we have no reason here to seek another interpretation. It cannot be denied, however, that in the present instance they are represented as treating the fair stranger with too much roughness and severity ; a hint that may not be without its use, if duly attended to by those whom it concerns. The character of a gospel minister requires firmness and plain dealing; but not roughness, rudeness, or unnecessary severity.
Lastly, she charges with a message the virgin daughters of Jerusalem, if they should meet with her beloved. This
be considered as a kind of chorus, which, while it makes a poetical conclusion to the vision, leads to the grand object of this section, the description of the beloved ; and appeals from the harshness of the guard to the tenderness of the daughters of Jerusalem.
6. But you, bright maids of Salem, I adjure