Imatges de pÓgina
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was no more spirit in her :' she was overcome with admiration and astonishment. Such is the state of a believer's mind, favoured with intimate communion with his God, and with eminent discoveries of his glory. Thus it was with David, when he rejoiced with great joy on occasion of the people's offering willingly for the temple;' and he said, Now there'fore our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee'. And, when he reviewed the divine conduct toward him on another occasion, overwhelmed with gratitude, he exclaimed," and "is this the manner of man, O Lord God 2 !”

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So when at a distance from the house of God and means of grace, with what pleasure does he recollect his former enjoyments, and with what anxiety pant for their return!

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O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:

My soul thirsteth for thee;

My flesh longeth for thee;

In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

To see thy power and thy glory,

So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary:
Because thy loving kindness is better than life
My lips shall praise thee".

To the experience of David we might add that of Isaiah, of Paul, of John the Divine, and others. Nor is it in scripture only that such

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sublime expressions of devotion are to be met with there are several instances, both in the martyrology, and in authentic religious biography. It is enough to mention the names of Fenelon, Boyle, Watts, Col. Gardiner, and Mrs. Rowe; in whose experience we meet with examples of that rapturous devotion which has at times overcome the mortal frame, and led them to say with Paul, in another caseWhether in the body, or out of the body, I 'cannot tell-God knoweth.'

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In such a frame of mind we suppose the spouse to have confessed herself sick faint, or wounded with love': completely conquered by the display of his tenderness and affection, when his banner over her was love:' which expression is very properly thus expounded by an old writer. The banner of our Lord is his love, which he hath publicly declared to us, 'that he might draw us to himself: by which also, when we are come to him, he retains us with him; and strengthens us with the same when we fight against our spiritual ene'mies. And that we may always look upon it, he carries it over us; that is, renders his 'love most familiar to us. He that knows not of his soldier; and

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this banner, can be none

he that deserts it is undone, unless he presently return to it. So that as the Roman legions had their several names (the pious, the faithful, &c.) in like manner this may be 'called amoris legio, the legion of love 2.'

1

Tεlgaμevy ayatus. LXX. Amore languo. Vulgate. 2 Dalherrus in Patrick.

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In this situation the spouse fell into the arms of her beloved, where she found tenderness, support, relief. His left hand was under her head, and his right hand embraced her. supported her with cordials, wine, and fruits. It is not here necessary to descend to particulars. Whatever be the believer's wants, he may find a rich supply in the gospel, administered by the tender hand of that Saviour, who is 'touched 'with the feeling of our infirmities;' who knows how to speak a word in season' to him that is faint or weary; who giveth strong ́ ́ drink unto him that is ready to perish; and wine to those that be of heavy hearts.'

Verse 7.

Bridegroom. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Before the antelopes, and before the hinds of the field,

That ye disturb not, nor awake

This lovely one, until she please.

As this verse, with little variation, occurs in two other places, it may be considered as a kind of chorus; but whether it be spoken in the person of the bridegroom, or the bride, is doubtful. In the other passages, these words appear to be uttered by the spouse, notwithstanding the construction of the original' would

1 Both the noun Ahabah, ans, love, and the verb Techpatz, Ponn, until she please, are feminine; and it is remarkable that the term for love is here of a different root from that which is applied to the bridegroom, Dodi, 77, my beloved, and the same that is given to the spouse in chap. vii. 6. My version is nearly that of Michaelis in Bp. Lowth, who supposes a mistake in the Masoietic punctuation,

lead us to refer them to the beloved; but in the present instance the strict grammatical sense seems the most natural. Still, in one respect, the verse may be considered as the language of the spouse, repeating what her beloved had said: that is, she relates that her Lord embraced her, and while she rested on his bosom, he hushed the virgins her companions, which may be supposed in waiting:'Disturb not my love until she please.' In the version, however, I have endeavoured to preserve the ambiguity of the original, as a translator cannot be too faithful.

The other difficulty is kept out of sight in the common version, but there can be no doubt that the original properly means, I adjure you,'-I charge you upon oath-that ye disturb not my love, &c. But how shall we reconcile this with the law of Moses, and the manners of the Hebrews, who were strictly forbidden to swear by any name except JEHOVAH? I know that commentators and critics have not been unfruitful in evasions; but they are, in general, so futile that I think them not worth reciting; and would sooner at once confess my inability to untie the knot, than thus violently cut it. There is one circumstance, however, which may throw considerable lightupon the expression.

Notwithstanding the Jews were commanded to swear only by the incommunicable name, they were admitted to call in witnesses to their oath, and in the want of others, the animals of the field were judged sufficient, or perhaps

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preferred. A remarkable instance of this occurs in the history of Abraham and Abimelech. After swearing an oath of fidelity, and making the usual presents on such occasions—' Abra'ham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by 'themselves. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs, which thou hast set by themselves? And he said, These seven ewe lambs shalt thou take ' of my hand, that they may be a WITNESS unto me that I have digged this well '.' The same custom, it appears, is continued in the east to the present day; and points out the proper use of these antelopes and hinds of the field,' as witnesses to the solemn adjuration in this poem. This is indeed hinted at among the seven senses enumerated by Dr. GILL, who remarks that 'sometimes heaven and earth, animate and inanimate creatures, are called in scripture" to

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1

Gen. xxi. 30. I confess myself indebted to the ingenious editor of Calmet for this passage, produced for a very different purpose in his Fragments, No. LXIII. (P. 111.) where he mentions a similar covenant between Mr. Bruce, the celebrated traveller, and an Arabian shekh. To account for the introduction of deer instead of sheep, it is only necessary to suppose that the former might be in sight and not the latter; though it might be added, antelopes and hinds are some of the finest objects of poetic imagery.

As to the particle Beth, which I have rendered before instead of by, I think I have at least kept equally to its radical idea-in, which ought to be preserved in all its various renderings; e. g. In-into-within-in respect of—in the manner of-in opposition to---in connection with-in the midst of-in presence of, i. e. before, which I conceive to be the best rendering here, and in some other texts.

2 See Deut. xxx. 19. Josh. xxiv. 27.

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