Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Love Of God

The following is taken from chapter 15 (Paul's Prayer for the Ephesians...) of The Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To The Ephesians by Oliver B. Greene:

- The origin of love is divine (1 John 4:8).
- Love has been from everlasting (Genesis 1:1, Psalm 90:1-2).
- The source of pure love is God (2 Corinthians 13:11).
- We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
- Love is the evidence of saving faith in Jesus (1 John 4:16).
- Love is the royal badge of true discipleship (John 13:35).
- Love is the assurance that we have passed from death unto life (1 John 3:14).
- The love of God in our heart is unmerited (Colossians 1:12-14).
- The love of God is the most costly thing known to Heaven or earth (Ephesians 1:7).
- The love of God is free to all who will receive it (Romans 3:24-25).
- The love of God is universal in its offer (John 3:16).
- The love of God is unbounded in its work (Ephesians 2:4).
- The love of God is unbroken in its ministry (Romans 8:39).
- The love of God is great (Ephesians 2:4).
- The love of God is inconceivable (Ephesians 3:19).
- The love of God is unselfish (1 John 4:10).
- The love of God is forever unchanging (John 13:1).
- The love of God is inseparable (Romans 8:35-39).
- The love of God is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3).
- The love of God is perfect (1 John 4:18).

Do not forget that all spiritual blessings are "in Christ," and to the believer Christ is better than the best, He is richer than the richest.

The Holy Spirit describes Him thus:
- The love of Christ is unknowable (Ephesians 3:19).
- The riches of Christ are unsearchable (Ephesians 3:8).
- The joy He gives is unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8).
- The ways of Christ are untrackable (Romans 11:33).
- The grace of the Lord Jesus is inexhaustible (2 Corinthians 9:8).
- The peace of Christ is unfathomable (Philippians 4:7).
- Jesus Christ Himself is unsurpassable (Exodus 15:11).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the mightiest among the holy. The Lord Jesus Christ is the holiest among the mighty. With His pierced hands He is able to lift empires out of the mire and the muck of lust and sin. He governs all ages, from the eternity behind us through the eternity that lies ahead.

I have already made the statement that if the ocean were a giant inkwell filled with ink, and if every stalk on earth were a quill, and every person on earth were a scribe as the beautiful song declares, it would still be impossible to write the love of GOD even though the sky were parchment and we had the vastness of the blue upon which to write! We could never describe the love of GOD. The love of GOD "passeth knowledge."

It is humanly impossible for the finite mind to comprehend the love of God.

Its breadth - "God so loved the world." Can you conceive of such love? Do you dare ask yourself what it would mean to love the whole wide world? How many folks do you love? Think it over. The breadth of God's love covers the whole wide world.

Its length - "God... gave His only begotten Son." God's love reached from the portals of glory to a stable in Bethlehem. God's love placed His only Son in the womb of the virgin Mary. He was born . . . He lived . . . God gave Him. God surrendered His Son into the hands of wicked sinners, and they nailed Him to a Cross. That, in some small way, points out the length of the love of God. Do you have a son? Do you have an only child? Would you surrender your child to die for wicked men?

Its depth - "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish." Oh, I know we say we love everybody . . . but do we? Do we really love everybody? It is easy to love the lovely. It is easy to love those who are always doing kind things for you and saying kind things about you - but God so loved that He gave His only Son, that whosoever . . . the lovely, the unlovely . . . might not perish. Christ died for the ungodly. God surrendered up Jesus when we were yet sinners.

Its height - "Everlasting life." The love of God reaches to the depth of sin and places that sinner in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. From the lowest depths to the highest height . . . only the love of God could work such a miracle!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Union And Communion - Chapter Two

I have taken the liberty to change all Scripture references to the King James Bible, instead of the Revised Version which this book quoted. Also, I have separated the paragraphs to match the book. A little easier to read that way.

Section II

Communion Broken - Restoration

Song Of Solomon 2:8-3:5

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

At the close of the first section we left the bride satisfied and at rest in the arms of her Beloved, who had charged the daughters of Jerusalem not to stir up nor awaken His love until she please. We might suppose that a union so complete, a satisfaction so full, would never be interrupted by failure on the part of the happy bride.

But, alas, the experience of most of us shows how easily communion with CHRIST may be broken, and how needful are the exhortations of our LORD to those who are indeed branches of the true Vine, and cleansed by the Word which He has spoken, to abide in Him. The failure is never on His side. "Lo, I am with you alway." But, alas, the bride often forgets the exhortation addressed to her in Ps. 45:-

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear;
Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty;
For He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him.


In this section the bride has drifted back from her position of blessing into a state of worldliness. Perhaps the very restfulness of her new-found joy made her feel too secure; perhaps she thought that, so far as she was concerned, there was no need for the exhortation, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Or she may have thought that the love of the world was so thoroughly taken away that she might safely go back, and, by a little compromise on her part, she might win her friends to follow her LORD too.

Perhaps she scarcely thought at all: glad that she was saved and free, she forgot that the current - the course of this world - was against her; and insensibly glided, drifted back to that position out of which she was called, unaware all the time of backsliding. It is not necessary, when the current is against us, to turn the boat's head down the stream in order to drift; or for a runner in a race to turn back in order to miss the prize.

Ah, how often the enemy succeeds, by one device or another, in tempting the believer away from that position of entire consecration to CHRIST in which alone the fulness of His power and of His love can be experienced. We say the fulness of His power and of His love; for he may not have ceased to love his LORD.

In the passage before us the bride still loves Him truly, though not wholly; there is still a power in His Word which is not unfelt, though she no longer renders instant obedience. She little realizes how she is wronging her LORD, and how real is the wall of separation between them. To her, worldliness seems as but a little thing; she has not realized the solemn truth of many passages in the Word of GOD that speak in no measured terms of the folly, the danger, the sin of friendship with the world.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the FATHER is not in him."

"Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with GOD? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of GOD."


2 Corinthians 6:14-15, 17-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.


We have to take our choice: we cannot enjoy both the world and CHRIST. The bride had not learned this: she would fain enjoy both, with no thought of their incompatibility.

She observes with joy the approach of the Bridegroom.

Song of Solomon 2:8-9 The voice of my Beloved! behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My Beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, He standeth behind our wall, He looketh forth at the windows, shewing Himself through the lattice.

The heart of the bride leaps on hearing the voice of her Beloved, as He comes in search of her. He has crossed the hills; He draws near to her; He stands behind the wall; He even looks in at the windows; with tender and touching words He woos her to come forth to Him. He utters no reproach, and His loving entreaties sink deep in her memory.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 My Beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away.

All nature is responsive to the return of the summer, wilt thou, My Bride, be irresponsive to My love?

Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away.

Can such pleading be in vain? Alas, it can, it was! In yet more touching words the Bridegroom continues:-

Song of Solomon 2:14 O My dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let Me see thy countenance, let Me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Wonderful thought! that GOD should desire fellowship with us; and that He whose love once made Him the Man of Sorrows may now be made the Man of Joys by the loving devotion of human hearts.

But strong as is His love, and His desire for His bride, He can come no further. Where she now is He can never come. But surely she will go forth to Him. Has He not a claim upon her? She feels and enjoys His love, will she let His desire count for nothing? For, let us notice, it is not here the bride longing in vain for her LORD, but the Bridegroom who is seeking for her. Alas that He should seek in vain!

Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

He continues. The enemies may be small, but the mischief done great. A little spray of blossom, so tiny as to be scarcely perceived, is easily spoiled, but thereby the fruitfulness of a whole branch may be for ever destroyed. And how numerous the little foxes are! Little compromises with the world; disobedience to the still small voice in little things; little indulgences of the flesh to the neglect of duty; little strokes of policy; doing evil in little things that good may come; and the beauty and the fruitfulness of the vine are sacrificed!

We have a sad illustration of the deceitfulness of sin in the response of the bride. Instead of bounding forth to meet Him, she first comforts her own heart by the remembrance of His faithfulness, and of her union with Him:-

Song of Solomon 2:16 My Beloved is mine, and I am His: He feedeth among the lilies.

My position is one of security, I have no need to be concerned about it. He is mine, and I am His; and nought can alter that relationship. I can find Him now at any time, He feedeth His flock among the lilies. While the sun of prosperity shines upon me I may safely enjoy myself here without Him. Should trial and darkness come He will be sure not to fail me.

Song of Solomon 2:17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved, and be Thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Careless of His desire, she thus lightly dismisses Him, with the thought: A little later I may enjoy His love; and the grieved Bridegroom departs! Poor foolish bride! she will soon find that the things that once satisfied her can satisfy no longer; and that it is easier to turn a deaf ear to His tender call than to recall or find her absent LORD.

The day became cool, and the shadows did flee away; but He returned not. Then in the solemn night she discovered her mistake: It was dark, and she was alone. Retiring to rest she still hoped for His return - the lesson that worldliness is an absolute bar to full communion still unlearned.

By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loveth:
I sought Him, but I found Him not!


She waits and wearies: His absence becomes insupportable:-

Song of Solomon 3:2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth: I sought Him, but I found Him not.

How different her position from what it might have been! Instead of seeking Him alone, desolate and in the dark, she might have gone forth with Him in the sunshine, leaning upon His arm. She might have exchanged the partial view of her Beloved through the lattice, when she could no longer say "Nothing between," for the joy of His embrace, and His public confession of her as His chosen bride!

The watchmen that go about the city found me:
To whom I said, Saw ye Him whom my soul loveth?
It was but a little that I passed from them,
But I found Him whom my soul loveth:


She had already obeyed His command, "Arise, and come away." Fearless of reproach, she was seeking Him in the dark; and when she began to confess her LORD, she soon found Him and was restored to His favour:-

I held Him, and would not let Him go,
Until I had brought Him into my mother's house,
And into the chamber of her that conceived me.


Jerusalem above is the mother of us all. There it is that communion is enjoyed, not in worldly ways or self-willed indulgence.

Communion fully restored, the section closes, as did the first, with the loving charge of the Bridegroom that none should disturb His bride:-

I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
By the roes, and by the hinds of the field,

(By all that is loving and beautiful and constant)
That ye stir not up, nor awake my love,
Till He please.


May we all, while living down here, in the world, but not of it, find our home in the heavenly places to which we are seated together with CHRIST. Sent into the world to witness for our MASTER, may we ever be strangers there, ready to confess Him the true object of our soul's devotion.

Psalms 84:1-2 , 4, 10-12 How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be still praising Thee.
For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.



Union And Communion - Chapter Three

Back to Union And Communion - Introduction

Union And Communion - Chapter One

Hudson Taylor corrects the King James rendering of a certain pronoun in this section. I have edited that sentence and also I have taken the liberty to change all Scripture references to the King James Bible, instead of the Revised Version which this book quoted Also, I have separated the paragraphs to match the book. A little easier to read that way.

The Unsatisfied Life And Its Remedy

Song Of Solomon 1:2-2:7

There is no difficulty in recognizing the bride as the speaker in verses 2-7. The words are not those of one dead in trespasses and sins, to whom the LORD is as a root out of a dry ground - without form and comeliness. The speaker has had her eyes opened to behold His beauty, and longs for a fuller enjoyment of His love.

Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth:
For Thy love[1] is better than wine.


It is well that it should be so; it marks a distinct stage in the development of the life of grace in the soul. And this recorded experience gives, as it were, a Divine warrant for the desire for sensible manifestations of His presence - sensible communications of His love. It was not always so with her. Once she was contented in His absence - other society and other occupations sufficed her; but now it can never be so again. The world can never be to her what it once was; the betrothed bride has learnt to love her LORD, and no other society than His can satisfy her.

His visits may be occasional and may be brief; but they are precious times of enjoyment. Their memory is cherished in the intervals, and their repetition longed for. There is no real satisfaction in His absence, and yet, alas! He is not always with her: He comes and goes. Now her joy in Him is a heaven below; but again she is longing, and longing in vain, for His presence. Like the ever-changing tide, her experience is an ebbing and flowing one; it may even be that unrest is the rule, satisfaction the exception. Is there no help for this? must it always continue so? Has He, can He have created these unquenchable longings only to tantalize them?

Strange indeed it would be if this were the case. Yet are there not many of the LORD'S people whose habitual experience corresponds with hers? They know not the rest, the joy of abiding in CHRIST; and they know not how to attain to it, nor why it is not theirs. Are there not many who look back to the delightful times of their first espousals, who, so far from finding richer inheritance in CHRIST than they then had, are even conscious that they have lost their first love, and might express their experience in the sad lament:-

Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord?

Others, again, who may not have lost their first love, may yet be feeling that the occasional interruptions to communion are becoming more and more unbearable, as the world becomes less and He becomes more. His absence is an ever-increasing distress. "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!" "Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for Thy love is better than wine." Would that His love were strong and constant like mine, and that He never withdrew the light of His countenance!

Poor mistaken one! There is a love far stronger than thine waiting, longing for satisfaction. The Bridegroom is waiting for thee all the time; the conditions that debar His approach are all of thine own making. Take the right place before Him, and He will be most ready, most glad, to "Satisfy thy deepest longings, to meet, supply thine every need."

What should we think of a betrothed one whose conceit and self-will prevented not only the consummation of her own joy, but of his who had given her his heart? Though never at rest in his absence, she cannot trust him fully; and she does not care to give up her own name, her own rights and possessions, her own will to him who has become necessary for her happiness. She would fain claim him fully, without giving herself fully to him; but it can never be: while she retains her own name, she can never claim his. She may not promise to love and honour if she will not also promise to obey: and till her love reaches that point of surrender she must remain an unsatisfied lover - she cannot, as a satisfied bride, find rest in the home of her husband. While she retains her own will, and the control of her own possessions, she must be content to live on her own resources; she cannot claim his.

Could there be a sadder proof of the extent and reality of the Fall than the deep seated distrust of our loving LORD and MASTER which makes us hesitate to give ourselves entirely up to Him, which fears that He might require something beyond our powers, or call for something that we should find it hard to give or to do?

The real secret of an unsatisfied life lies too often in an unsurrendered will. And yet how foolish, as well as how wrong, this is! Do we fancy that we are wiser than He? or that our love for ourselves is more tender and strong than His? or that we know ourselves better than He does? How our distrust must grieve and wound afresh the tender heart of Him who was for us the Man of Sorrows! What would be the feelings of an earthly bridegroom if he discovered that his bride-elect was dreading to marry him, lest, when he had the power, he should render her life insupportable? Yet how many of the LORD'S redeemed ones treat Him just so! No wonder they are neither happy nor satisfied!

But true love cannot be stationary; it must either decline or grow. Despite all the unworthy fears of our poor hearts, Divine love is destined to conquer. The bride exclaims:-

Song of Solomon 1:3 Because of the savour of Thy good ointments Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love Thee.

There was no such ointment as that with which the High Priest was anointed: our Bridegroom is a Priest as well as a King. The trembling bride cannot wholly dismiss her fears; but the unrest and the longing become unbearable, and she determines to surrender all, and come what may to follow fully. She will yield her very self to Him, heart and hand, influence and possessions. Nothing can be so insupportable as His absence! If He lead to another Moriah, or even to a Calvary, she will follow Him.

Draw me: we will run after Thee!

But ah! what follows? A wondrously glad surprise. No Moriah, no Calvary; on the contrary, a KING! When the heart submits, then JESUS reigns. And when JESUS reigns, there is rest. And where does He lead His bride?

The King hath brought me into His chambers.

Not first to the banqueting house - that will come in due season; but first to be alone with Himself.

How perfect! Could we be satisfied to meet a beloved one only in public? No; we want to take such an one aside - to have him all to ourselves. So with our MASTER: He takes His now fully consecrated bride aside, to taste and enjoy the sacred intimacies of His wondrous love. The Bridegroom of His Church longs for communion with His people more than they long for fellowship with Him, and often has to cry:-

Let Me see thy countenance, let Me hear thy voice;
For sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.


Are we not all too apt to seek Him rather because of our need than for His joy and pleasure? This should not be. We do not admire selfish children who only think of what they can get from their parents, and are unmindful of the pleasure that they may give or the service that they may render. But are not we in danger of forgetting that pleasing GOD means giving Him pleasure? Some of us look back to the time when the words "to please GOD" meant no more than not to sin against Him, not to grieve Him; but would the love of earthly parents be satisfied with the mere absence of disobedience? Or a bridegroom, if his bride only sought him for the supply of her own need?

A word about the morning watch may not be out of place here. There is no time so profitably spent as the early hour given to JESUS only. Do we give sufficient attention to this hour? If possible, it should be redeemed; nothing can make up for it. We must take time to be holy! One other thought. When we bring our questions to GOD, do we not sometimes either go on to offer some other petition, or leave the closet without waiting for replies? Does not this seem to show little expectation of an answer, and little desire for one? Should we like to be treated so? Quiet waiting before GOD would save from many a mistake and from many a sorrow.

We have found the bride making a glad discovery of a KING - her KING - and not a cross, as she expected; this is the first-fruit of her consecration.

We will be glad and rejoice in Thee,
We will remember Thy love more than wine:
The upright love Thee.


Another discovery not less important awaits her. She has seen the face of the KING, and as the rising sun reveals that which was hidden in the darkness, so His light has revealed her blackness to her. "Ah," she cries, "I am black"; -"But comely," interjects the Bridegroom, with inimitable grace and tenderness. "Nay, 'black as the tents of Kedar,'" she continues. "Yet to Me," He responds, "thou art 'comely as the curtains of Solomon!'"

Nothing humbles the soul like sacred and intimate communion with the Lord; yet there is a sweet joy in feeling that He knows all, and, notwithstanding, loves us still. Things once called "little negligences" are seen with new eyes in "the secret of His presence." There we see the mistake, the sin, of not keeping our own vineyard. This the bride confesses:-

Song of Solomon 1:6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Our attention is here drawn to a danger which is pre-eminently one of this day: the intense activity of our times may lead to zeal in service, to the neglect of personal communion; but such neglect will not only lessen the value of the service, but tend to incapacitate us for the highest service. If we are watchful over the souls of others, and neglect our own - if we are seeking to remove the motes from our brother's eye, unmindful of the beam in our own, we shall often be disappointed with our powerlessness to help our brethren, while our MASTER will not be less disappointed in us.

Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do; and that all fruit borne when not abiding in CHRIST must be fruit of the flesh, and not of the SPIRIT. The sin of neglected communion may be forgiven, and yet the effect remain permanently; as wounds when healed often leave a scar behind.

We now come to a very sweet evidence of the reality of the heart-union of the bride with her LORD. She is one with the GOOD SHEPHERD: her heart at once goes instinctively forth to the feeding of the flock; but she would tread in the footsteps of Him whom her soul loveth, and would neither labour alone, nor in other companionship than His own:-

Song of Solomon 1:7 Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of Thy companions?

She will not mistake the society of His servants for that of their MASTER.

Song of Solomon 1:8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.

These are the words of the daughters of Jerusalem, and give a correct reply to her questionings. Let her show her love to her LORD by feeding His sheep, by caring for His lambs (see John 21:15-17), and she need not fear to miss His presence. While sharing with other under-shepherds in caring for His flock she will find the CHIEF SHEPHERD at her side, and enjoy the tokens of His approval. It will be service with JESUS as well as for JESUS.

But far sweeter than the reply of the daughters of Jerusalem is the voice of the Bridegroom, who now speaks Himself. It is the living fruit of her heart-oneness with Him that makes His love break forth in the joyful utterances of verses 9-11. For it is not only true that our love for our LORD will show itself in feeding His sheep, but that He who when on earth said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me," has His own heart-love stirred, and not infrequently specially reveals Himself to those who are ministering for Him.

The commendation of the bride in verse 9 is one of striking appropriateness and beauty:-

I have compared thee, O My love,
To a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.


It will be remembered that horses originally came out of Egypt, and that the pure breed still found in Arabia was during Solomon's reign brought by his merchants for all the kings of the East. Those selected for Pharaoh's own chariot would not only be of the purest blood and perfect in proportion and symmetry, but also perfect in training, docile and obedient; they would know no will but that of the charioteer, and the only object of their existence would be to carry the king whithersoever he would go.

So should it be with the Church of CHRIST; one body with many members, indwelt and guided by one SPIRIT; holding the HEAD, and knowing no will but His; her rapid and harmonious movement should cause His kingdom to progress throughout the world.

Many years ago a beloved friend, returning from the East by the overland route, made the journey from Suez to Cairo in the cumbrous diligence then in use. The passengers on landing took their places, about a dozen wild young horses were harnessed with ropes to the vehicle, the driver took his seat and cracked his whip, and the horses dashed off, some to the right, some to the left, and others forward, causing the coach to start with a bound, and as suddenly to stop, with the effect of first throwing those sitting in the front seat into the laps of those sitting behind, and then of reversing the operation. With the aid of sufficient Arabs running on each side to keep these wild animals progressing in the right direction the passengers were jerked and jolted, bruised and shaken, until, on reaching their destination, they were too wearied and sore to take the rest they so much needed.

Is not the Church of GOD to-day more like these untrained steeds than a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariot? And while self-will and disunion are apparent in the Church, can we wonder that the world still lieth in the wicked one, and that the great heathen nations are barely touched?

Changing His simile, the Bridegroom continues:-

Song of Solomon 1:10-11 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.

The bride is not only beautiful and useful to her LORD, she is also adorned, and it is His delight to add to her adornments. Nor are His gifts perishable flowers, or trinkets destitute of intrinsic value: the finest of the gold, the purest of the silver, and the most precious and lasting of the jewels are the gifts of the Royal Bridegroom to His spouse; and these, plaited amongst her own hair, increase His pleasure who has bestowed them.

In verses 12-14 the bride responds:-

While the king sitteth at His table,
My spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.


It is in His presence and through His grace that whatever of fragrance or beauty may be found in us comes forth. Of Him as its source, through Him as its instrument, and to Him as its end, is all that is gracious and divine. But HE HIMSELF is better far than all His grace works in us.

Song of Solomon 1:13-14 A bundle of myrrh is my Wellbeloved unto me; He shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. My Beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

Well is it when our eyes are filled with His beauty and our hearts are occupied with Him. In the measure in which this is true of us we shall recognize the correlative truth that His great heart is occupied with us. Note the response of the Bridegroom:-

Song of Solomon 1:15 Behold, thou art fair, My love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.

How can the Bridegroom truthfully use such words of one who recognizes herself as

Black as the tents of Kedar?

And still more strong are the Bridegroom's words in chapter 4:7:-

Thou art all fair, My love;
There is no spot in thee.


We shall find the solution of this difficulty in 2 Cor. 3. Moses in contemplation of the Divine glory became so transformed that the Israelites were not able to look on the glory of his countenance.

"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory to glory (i.e. the brightness caught from His glory transforms us to glory), even as by the Spirit of the LORD."

Every mirror has two surfaces; the one is dull and unreflecting, and is all spots, but when the reflecting surface is turned towards us we see no spot, we see our own image. So while the bride is delighting in the beauty of the Bridegroom He beholds His own image in her; there is no spot in that: it is all fair. May we ever present this reflection to His gaze, and to the world in which we live for the very purpose of reflecting Him.

Note again His words:-

Thou hast dove's eyes.

The hawk is a beautiful bird, and has beautiful eyes, quick and penetrating; but the Bridegroom desires not hawk's eyes in His bride. The tender eyes of the innocent dove are those which He admires. It was as a dove that the HOLY SPIRIT came upon Him at His baptism, and the dove-like character is that which He seeks for in each of His people.

The reason why David was not permitted to build the Temple was a very significant one. His life was far from perfect; and his mistakes and sins have been faithfully recorded by the HOLY SPIRIT. They brought upon him God's chastenings, yet it was not any of these that disqualified him from building the Temple, but rather his warlike spirit; and this though many of his battles, if not all, were for the establishment of GOD'S Kingdom and the fulfilment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Solomon, the Prince of Peace, alone could build the Temple. If we would be soul-winners and build up the Church, which is His Temple, let us note this: not by discussion nor by argument, but by lifting up CHRIST shall we draw men unto Him.

We now come to the reply of the bride. He has called her fair; wisely and well does she reply:-

Song of Solomon 1:16-2:1 Behold, thou art fair, My beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green. The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir. I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

The last words are often quoted as though they were the utterance of the Bridegroom, but we believe erroneously. The bride says in effect, Thou callest me fair and pleasant, the fairness and pleasantness are Thine; I am but a wild flower, a lowly, scentless rose of Sharon (i.e. the autumn crocus), or a lily of the valley.

To this the Bridegroom responds:

Song of Solomon 2:2 As the lily among thorns, so is My love among the daughters.

Again the bride replies:-

Song of Solomon 2:3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.

The apple tree is a beautiful tree, affording delightful shade as well as refreshing fruit. A humble wild flower herself, she recognizes her Bridegroom as a noble tree, alike ornamental and fruitful. Shade from the burning sun, refreshment and rest she finds in Him. What a contrast her present position and feelings to those with which this section commenced! He knew full well the cause of all her fears; her distrust sprang from her ignorance of Himself, so He took her aside, and in the sweet intimacies of mutual love her fears and distrust have vanished, like the mists of the morning before the rising sun.

But now that she has learned to know Him, she has a further experience of His love. He is not ashamed to acknowledge her publicly.

He brought me to the banqueting house,
And His banner over me was love.


The house of wine is now as appropriate as the King's chambers were. Fearlessly and without shame she can sit at His side, His acknowledged spouse, the bride of His choice. Overwhelmed with His love she exclaims:-

Song of Solomon 2:5-6 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me.

Now she finds the blessedness of being possessed. No longer her own, heart-rest is alike her right and her enjoyment; and so the Bridegroom would have it.

Song of Solomon 2:7 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till He please.

It is never by His will that our rest in Him is disturbed.

You may always be abiding,
If you will, at Jesus' side;
in the secret of His presence
You may every moment hide.

There is no change in His love; He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. To us He promises, "I will never leave thee, never fail thee, nor forsake thee"; and His earnest exhortation and command is, "Abide in Me, and I in you."

[1] Loves = endearments, caresses.


II. Communion Broken. Restoration.

Back to Union And Communion - Introduction