THE SONG OF SOLOMON CHAPTER 7.
The Victorious Progress of the Church.
THE BEAUTY OF THE CHURCH’S PROGRESS. — V. 1. How beautiful are thy feet, literally, “thy steps,” with shoes, O prince’s daughter, as the bride proceeds on her way in stately majesty. The joints of thy thighs, the swing or motion of her hips in walking, are like jewels, like the regular swinging of a pendant chain, the work of the hands of a cunning workman, only an artist of the highest rank being able to work such perfection. V. 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, a mixing-bowl, which wanteth not liquor, or, “Let not mixed wine,” such as was mixed with wine or spices, “be wanting”; thy belly is like an heap of wheat, a rounded pile of grain, set about with lilies. V. 3. Thy two breasts, organs of nourishment, are like two young roes that are twins, twin gazelles, figures of graceful strength. V. 4. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory, in whiteness and symmetry; thine eyes like the fish-pools in Heshbon, blue basins mirroring the rays of the sun, by the gate of Bath-rabbim, Heshbon itself being called the “daughter of many,” since it was a populous commercial city; thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon, which looketh toward Damascus, the point of comparison being its straightness, making for a handsome profile. V. 5. Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, a lofty and beautiful mountain, and the hair of thine head like purple, with its dark luster and silkiness. The King is held in the galleries, fettered in love by the beauty of her curls. V. 6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights, charming and amiable in her caresses! V. 7. This thy stature is like to a palm-tree, with its towering stateliness, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes, rather, the clusters of fruit of the palm-tree. V. 8. I said, I will go up to the palm-tree, that being His present intention, I will take hold of the boughs thereof; now also thy breasts shall be, or, “Let thy breasts be,” as clusters of the vine and the smell of thy nose like apples, the King desiring to revel in the beauty and sweetness of His bride; v. 9. and the roof of thy mouth, the sweetness of the palate referring to the loveliness of her kisses, like the best wine for My beloved, that goeth down sweetly, or smoothly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak, gliding down gently and causing the drinker to fall into gentle slumber.
Here we see how the Lord regards His Church on her progress through the world, in performing the work of her calling, of the evangelization of nations. The Church is full of generative power, and her children receive the rich food of the means of grace. At the same time she is strong in the defense of the truth, trying the spirits and ever on the watch for dangers from without and within. Although the Church is a populous city, yet no impurity is found in her: she consists of saints, she is a holy, Christian Church. Her majesty is evident to all, and spiritual blessings go forth from her in richest measure, so that the King is ravished with her appearance and with her caresses, Is. 62, 4. The Bridegroom eagerly longs for the time when He will be united with the bride in heavenly bliss, Eph. 5,32; Rev. 19, 7-9.
THE BRIDE’S ANSWER TO THE LORD. — Even at the end of the last paragraph the bride had caught tip the words of the Bridegroom, stating, on her part, that the Word of her message, of the Gospel-truth, was like wine which caused the most pleasant dreams. She now continues, in reciprocating His affectionate speech: v. 10. I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is toward me, a joyful exclamation showing how sure she is of His love, and how safe she feels in its possession. She, therefore, invites the Bridegroom: v. 11. Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field, out into the open country; let us lodge in the villages, the Church lodging not only in one place, but wherever a congregation with the pure ‘Word is organized. V. 12. Let us get up early to the vineyards, figures of rich fruitfulness; let us see if the vine flourish, whether it has sprouted, whether the tender grape appear, that is, whether its blossoms have opened, and the pomegranates bud forth; there will I give Thee my loves, opening her heart without reserve and giving Him the full love of the chaste bride. V. 13. The mandrakes, whose odor was supposed to stimulate love, give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, the reference being to the store-rooms for dried fruits and vegetables over the doors of the houses, new and old, which I have laid up for Thee, O my Beloved, for only the richest products will properly express the fullness of her affection for the King.
While the Church longs for the consummation of the heavenly marriage, she nevertheless does not neglect her work in this world. She wants the Bridegroom to go out with her into the wide world, to visit and observe the growth of the many congregations, to witness the results of her work. For this labor in the vineyard of the Lord is the true evidence of her love. In her mind there is no doubt that there are many sweet-smelling plants throughout the world, the elect of the Lord, whose souls He will gather as noble fruits of the Church’s toil. Like excellent fruits these fruits are stored in the home of the Church, to be kept for the day when the work of the bride will be ended and the marriage of the Lamb will be celebrated.