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Oh how fair thou art and comely, my dear Spouse! How inward. ly fair with the gifts of my Spirit! how fair outwardly in thy comely administration and government! Thy spiritual eyes of understanding and judgment are full of purity, chastity, simpli. city; not wantonly cast forth, but modestly shining amidst thy locks : all thy gracious profession, and all thy appendances and ornaments of expedient ceremonies, are so comely to behold, as is to see a flock of well-fed goats grazing upon the fruitful hills of Gilead.
IV. 2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing ; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. Those, that chew and prepare the heavenly food for thy soul, are both of gracions simplicity, and of sweet accordance one with another; having all one heart and one tongue: and both themselves are sanctified and purged from their uncleanness, and are fruitful in their holy labours unto others; so that their doctrine is never in vain, but is still answered with plentiful increase of souls added to the Church.
· IV. 3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. Thy speech, especially in the mouth of thy Teachers, is both gracious in itself, and such as administers grace to the hearers; full of zeal and fervent charity, full of gravity and discretion : and that part of thy countenance, which thou wilt have seen, though dimly and sparingly, is full of holy modesty and bashfulness; so blushing, that it seemeth like the colour of a broken piece of pomegranate.
IV. 4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. Those, who, by their holy authority, sustain thy government, which are as some straight and strong neck to bear up the head, are like unto David's high tower of defence, furnished with a rich armoury, which affords infinite ways of safe protection, and infinite monuments of victory.
IV. 5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. Thy two Testaments, which are thy two full and fair breasts whereby thou nursest all thy faithful children, are as two young roes; twins, for their excellent and perfect agreement one with another, in all resemblances of young roes, that are daintily fed among the sweet flowers, for the pleasant nourishment which they yield to all that suck thereof.
IV. 6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. Until the day of my gracious appearance shall shine forth, and until all these shadows of ignorance, infidelity, afflictions, bę utterly and suddenly dispersed, O my Spouse, I will retire myself,
in regard of my bodily presence, into my delightful and glorious rest of heaven.
IV. 7 Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee. Thou art exceeding beautiful, o my Church, in all the parts of thee: for all thy sins are done away, and thine iniquity is covered; and lo, I present thee to my Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such deformity.
IV. 8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon : look from the top of dmana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards. And now, I thou which I profess to have married to myself in truth and righteousness, thou shalt be gathered to me from all parts of the world; not only from the contines of Judea, where I planted and found thee, but from the remotest and most savage places of the nations; out of the company of infidels, of cruel and bloody persecutors, who, like lions and leopards, have tyrannized over thee, and mercilessly torn thee in pieces.
IV. 9' Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse ; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. Thou hast utterly ravished me from myself, O) ny Sister and Spouse; for so thou art, both joined to me in that spiritual union, and cobeir with me of the same inheritance and glory: thou hast quite ravished my heart with thy love : even one cast of one of thine eyes of faith, and one of the ornaments of thy sanctification, wherewith thou art decked by my Spirit, have thus stricken me with love; how much more, when I shali have a full sight of thee, and all thy graces, shall I be affected towards thee!
IV. 10 How fair is thy lore, my sister, my spouse ! how much better is thy love than wine ! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Oh how excellent, how precious, how delectable are those loves of thine, O my sister, my Spouse! How far surpassing all earthly delicates! And the savour of those divine virtues, wherewith thou art endued, more pleasing to my scent, than all the perfumes in the world!
IV. 11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb : honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. The gracious speeches, that proceed from thee, are as so many drops of the honeycomb that fall from thy lips; and whether thou exhort, or confess, or pray, or comfort, thy words are both sweet and nourisbing; and the savour of thy good works, and outward conversation, is to me as the smell of the wood of Lebanon to the sense of man.
IV. 12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse ; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. My sister, my Spouse, is as a garden or orchard full of all variety of the heavenly trees and flowers of grace: not lying carelessly open, either to the love of strangers, or to the rage of enemies, which, like the wild boar out of the wood, might root up and destroy her choice plants; but safely hedged and walled about, by my protection, and reserved for my delight alone: she is a spring and well of wholesome waters, from whom flow forth the pure streams of my word; but, both, inclosed and sealed up: partly, that she may the better, by this closeness, preserve her own natural taste and vigour, from the corruptions of the world; and partly, that she may not be defiled and mudded by the profane feet of the wicked,
IV. 13, 14 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits ; camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices :
Thou art an orchard, yea a paradise, whose plants, which are thy faithful children that grow up in thee, are as pomegranate trees; the apples whereof are esteemed, for the largeness, colour, and taste, above all other; or, if I would feed my other senses, the plentiful fruits of thy holy obedience, which thou yieldest unto me, are, for their smell, as some composition of cypress, spikenard, saffron, sweet cane, cinnamon, incense, myrrh, aloes, and whatsoever else may be devised, unto the most perfect scent.
IV. 15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Thou art so a spring in my garden, that the streams, which are derived from thee, water all the gardens of my particular congre. gations, all the world over: thou art that fountain, from whose pure head issue all those living waters, which włoso drinketh shall never thirst again ; even such clear currents, as Aow from the hill of Libanus, which, like unto another Jordan, water all the Israel of God.
THE CHURCH. IV. 16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south ; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may floco out. Let
Let my be loved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits, If I be a garden, as thou savest, () my Saviour, then arise, () all ye sovereign winds of the Spirit of God, and breathe upon this garden of my soul, that the sweet odours of these my plants may both be increased, and may also be dispersed afar, and carried into the nostrils of my well-beloved : and so let him come into his own garden, which his own hand hath digged, planted, watered ; and accept of the fruit of that service and praise, which he shall enable me to bring forth to his name.
CHRIST. V. i I an come into my garden, my sister, my spouse : I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey ; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, friends ; drink, ya, drink abundunily, u beloved.
Behold, according to thy desire, I am come into my garden, () my sister, my Spouse: I have received those fruits of thine obe. dience, which thou offeredst unto me, with much joy and pleasure. I have accepted, not only of thy good works, but thy endeavours and purposes of holiness, both which are as pleasant to me, as the honey and the honeycomb. I have allowed of the cheerfulness of thy service, and the wholesomeness of thy doctrine, And ye, O my friends, whether blessed angels or faithful men, partake with me in this joy arising from the faithfulness of my Church : cheer up and till yourselves, O my beloved, with the same spiritual dainties wherewith I am refreshed.
V, 2 I sleep, but my heart waketh : it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night, When the world had cast me into a secure sleep, or slumber rather, for my heart was not utterly bereaved of a true faith in my Saviour, even in this darkness of my mind, it pleased iny gracious Redeemer not to neglect me: he came to me, and knocked oft, and called importunately at the door of my heart, by his word and chastisements, and said, Open the door of thy soul, O my sister, my dear, chaste, comely, unspotted Church ; let me come in, and lodge and dwell with thec, in my graces; shut out the world, and receive me with a more lively act and renovation of thy faith : for lo, I have long waited patiently for this effect of thy love, and have endured all the injuries both of the night and weather of thy provocations, that I might at last enjoy thee.
V. 3 I have put off my coat; how shall I pui it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? I answered him again, pleading excuses for my delay; Alas, Lord, I have now, since I left my forward profession of thec, avoided a great number of cares and sorrows; must I take them up again to follow thee? I have lived clean from the soil of these evils, and shall I now thrust myself into danger of them?
V. 4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. When my Saviour heard this unkind answer of delay, he let his hand fall from the keyhole, which he had thus before without success laboured about; and withdrew himself from soliciting me any more: whereupon my heart and bowels vearned within me for him, and for the remorse of my so long fore-slowing his admittance unto me,
V. 5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. And now I roused up my drowsy heart, what I could, that I might, in some cheerful manner, desire to receive so gracious a Saviour ; which when I but endeavoured, I found that be had left behind him such a plentiful blessing, as the monument of his late presence, upon the first motions of my heart, as that with the very touch of them I was both exceedingly refreshed, and moved to further indignation at myself for delaying him.
V. 6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake : I sought him, but I could not find him; I culled him, but he gave me no answer. I opened to my beloved Saviour, but my Saviour had now, in my. feeling, withdrawn bimself, and hid his countenance from me, holding me short of those gracious offers and means which I had refused; and now I was almost past myself with despair, to remeinber that sweet invitation of his, which I neglected : I sought him therefore in my thoughts, in the outward use of his ordinances and of iny earnest prayers; but he would not as yet be found of me, or let me find that I was heard of him.
v. 7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. Those, which should have regarded me, and by their vigilancy have secured me from danger, proved mine adversaries : instead of comforting me, they fell upon me, and wounded me with their false doctrines, drawing me on into further errors, spoiling me of that purity and sincerity of profession, wherewith, as with some rich and modest veil, I was formerly adorned and covered. V. 8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my
beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love, I advise you solemnly, () all ye that wish well to me, for I care not who knows the vehemency of my passion, if you should find my Saviour's presence in yourselves before me, pray for the recovery of liis love to me; and, beinoaning my estate to him, tell him how I languish with the impatient desire of his love and presence to be resiored unto me.
V. 9 What is thy beloved more than another beloved, 0 thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? O thou, wbich art the most happy, most gracions, and most glo. rious of all creatures, the chosen of the Living God; what is thy well-beloved, whom thou seekest, above all other the sons of men? What such eminency is there in bin above all saints and angels, that thou art both so far gone in affection to him, and dost so vehemently adiure us to speak unto him for thee?
V. 10 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand My well-beloved, if you know not, is of perfect beauty; in whose face is an exact mixture of the colours of the purest and healthfullest complexion of holiness: for he hath not received the Spirit by measure; and in him the Godhead dwells bodily: he is infinitely fairer than all the sons of men; and, for goodliness of person, may bear the standard of comeliness and grace amongst ten thousand.