Imatges de pÓgina

tament believers, in honour to them, and as an encouragement to us.

What may be particularly signified by the breasts of the church, will be examined more particularly when we come to the last chapter of this book. At present I would only observe, the comparison here employed may be chiefly designed to intimate, that the bosom of the church, and of the believer, is the seat of purity, tenderness and affection; or, as Mrs. RowE expresses it:

• Her breasts the seat of innocence and truth,
Harmless and pure as twins of gentle roes,

• Which in some fragrant spot of lilies feed.' When the heavenly bridegroom speaks of seeking, and resting in the chaste embraces of his church, every wanton idea should be at infinite distance. In different passages of the Old Testament, the Lord is said to delight himself, and to take pleasure in his saints-to rejoice over his church as a bridegroom in his bride-to rest in his love and to rejoice with singing. Expressions which describe in the strongest manner that communion of the saints with their Redeemer which is the leading subject of this poeni.

• Come, let me love: or is my mind
• Harden'd to ftone, or froze to ice?
• I see the bleffed Fair-one bend,

And stoop t' embrace me from the skies.
O! 'tis a thought would melt a rock,
• And make a heart of iron move,
That thofe fweet lips, that heav'nly look,
• Should feek and with a mortal love!'



Chap. IV. Ver. 7, 8.

Thou art all beautiful, my consort,
And blemish is not in thee.

Come unto me from Lebanon, O spouse,

[Come] unto me from Lebanon.

Look from the top of Amana,

From the top of Shenir and Hermon;
From the dens of the lions,

From the mountains of the leopards.

FROM the queen being here first, and in this section only, called the bride or spouse, it has been concluded that this section immediately follows the consummation of the marriage but this is by no means certain. Admitting that circumstance to be alluded to, surely it was not improper at two or three days distance; and, as to the word itself, it seems not so properly to express the bride's connection with her husband, as her relation to his family'.

It is difficult, and of little importance, to ascertain exactly the mountains here referred to, farther than that they formed the boundaries of the country, and were dangerous to travellers, as being the haunts of wild beasts, and of men

1 The word Calah (n), says Mr. Parkhurst, is a term of affection and esteem, used to express the relation of a son's wife to his father and mother, q. d. a perfect one; so the French call a daughter-in-law une belle fille; i. e. a fine daughter. See Gen. xi. 31. 1 Sam. iv. 19, &c. The prois not used with this word in the original.

noun my

perhaps little less savage and ferocious'. The general import of the invitation is, however, sufficiently clear; namely, that the king invites the bride to his arms, as a place of complete security from áll the dangers to which she had been, or might in future be exposed. The envy of her brothers had driven her among the vineyards, which usually were planted in the mountains-her own fears, had made her like a dove hiding in the rocks: but now, secure in the bosom of the wise, the mighty, the puissant Solomon, she might look around with confidence and pleasure, and smile at enemies and dangers.

The application of this sentiment is clear and natural. Where can the church, or the believer, find safety, or happiness, or comfort, but in the arms of her beloved? Mr. HARMER thinks that the mountains of prey (as the Psalmist calls them3) are here used for the regions of idolatry, of which Egypt was one of the most remarkable. And certainly, if Pha


1Amana seems to be the same as Abana, 2 Kings v. 12. (where the Keri reads Amana) So the Targum on this. place. These were all perhaps different parts of the same ridge of mountains, reaching to a considerable extent, and separating Judea from Syria. Dr. Blair remarks, Every thing in description should be as marked and particular as possible, in order to imprint on the mind a distinct and complete image. A hill, a river, or a lake rises up more conspicuous to the fancy, when some particular lake, or river, or hill is specified, than when the terms are left general;' and here the learned professor quotes the verses under consideration as examples. Lect. XL. vol. III.

2 The Hebrew is not imperative but future. 9 Psal. Ixxvi. 4.


raoh's daughter was, as we have all along supposed, a proselyte to the worship of Jehovah, it must be no small comfort and satisfaction to her to reside where that worship was established, and where she could be under no fear of persecution or reproach on account of her religion.

The import of the original word for spouse leads us to remarks, in passim, that the same act of union which unites us to Christ, the spiritual bridegroom, introduces us also into the family of heaven, and makes us sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.' The encomium on the spouse must bring to our recollection his infinite grace, who loved the 'church, and gave himself for it; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or terinkle, or any such thing;' but that it should be holy, and without • blemish.'


Chap. IV. Ver. 9-11.

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Bridegroom. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, [my]


Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine


With one chain of thy neck.

How beautiful is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse;
How much more excellent than wine,

And the odour of thine ointments than all per


Thy lips, O spouse, drop [as] the honey-comb;
Honey and milk are under thy tongue:

And the odour of thy garments is as the odour
of Lebanon.

There is a singularity in this imagery which


has much perplexed the critics, and perhaps it is not possible to ascertain the meaning of the poet beyond a doubt. Supposing the royal bridegroom to have had a profile, or side view of his bride in the present instance, only one eye, or one side of her necklace would be observable; yet this charms and overpowers him'. TERTULLIAN mentions a custom in the east, of women unveiling only one eye in conversation, while they keep the other covered: and NIEBUHR mentions a like custom in some parts of Arabia. This brings us to nearly the same interpretation as the above.

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Some authors think it necessary to supply a word here, and read one glance from thine ' eyes':' and, in the next member of the sentence, instead of one chain, neck;' and this certainly



one turn of thy agrees with the


So Ainsworth, Harmer, &c. The original for thou ‹ hast ravished my heart' is but one word (n), and signifies unhearted, as it is rendered by the LXX. (exapdiwσas), Aben Ezra, &c. Some have indeed attempted to give contrary meaning, as, having heartened him, but this is extremely unnatural and inelegant. To skin is to take off the skin; and to embowel, to take out the bowels. When the Queen of Sheba saw King Solomon, there was no more spirit in her which seems to be a synonimous expression. Travels in Arabia, vol. I. p. 262.

For, masc. the Keri and many MSS. read лnx fém. to agree with py, which has occasioned a suspicion that §7, or some such word, may have been dropt from the text in transcribing; Le Clerc and Bp. Percy make no scruple to supply this, and even Junius and Ainsworth suppose it to be understood. The mem prefix leans also to this interpretation. Dr. Hodgson reads 'at once with thine eyes, at once with the chain around thy neck.'

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