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we read such and such a place with her towns, the Hebrew. is, with her daughters. And the prophet Ezekiel, in his emblematical reproof of the then church', uses the same language ; and our translation has retained the original word, Samaria and her • daughters, Sodom and her daughters,' &c. What the propriety or extent of such a connection may be, we can be at no loss to understand, when we are told by an authentic enough commentator, of a Jerusalem which is the mother of us all a' There needs little more to be said upon this; only to infer, that if the mother, as here, confesses her natural deformity, and acknowledges her Restorer, what have the daughters to boast of? Does not Ezekiel's cutting proverb apply here, · As is the mother, • so is the daughter'? And let every individual make the application,
VER. 6.--Look not on 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.
The former degrading strain is here kept up, and more circumstantiated; but to whom addressed may be a question. • Look not on me.'-The English makes no distinction; the Greek and Latin
. i Ezek. xvi.
2 Gal. iv. 26. 3 Ezek: xvi. 44.
have the verb plural, • look not ye on me, as if to the daughters. The Hebrew seems singular, “ look
not thou upon me,' as 'if to the king. Either sense has its lesson ; of useful instruction, if plural ; of deep humility, if singular; and I need not seek to decide. The sun hath looked upon me.' This is but the third place where the verb nu sazapha is to be met with; the other two are Job xx. 9. and xxviii. 7. where the addition of “the eye' has led translators to render it • look or see ;' though, by the application here, in something of a noxious sense, as even in spirituals it is acknowledged may sometimes be the case. The same sun, which in the natural world warms and vivifies, may likewise scorch and burn up. So in things spiritual, unless the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings, his looks of heat may bring on obdurations, swellings of pride, discolourings of hypocrisy, &c. Even the grace of God may be turned into lasciviousness; therefore, · let him, who • thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.' -— My * mother's children were angry with me. Who are they? Perhaps referring to the Egyptian bondage, when the church was oppressed by a nation, who, though then apostates, were once sons of the covenant, when in the loins of their forefather Ham'; or farther back, and more extensively, to the general state of mankind under the dominion of Satan and his rebellious crew, who were once
2 Gen. ix. 9.
On » Sons of God, and so might be spoken of as relations. Her misery, the misery indeed of every one of us in such a state, is fully and elegantly held forth to us by their being angry with us' (hot upon us, Heb. alluding to the sun's looking' before) by our · keeping their vineyards,' toiling and drudging in their shameful, fruitless, cursed service', to the neglect of our own vineyard, our own work, the great, the only work of our salvation : Or, if this shall appear too forced, there is a more pointed and particular interpretation that the words will bear, and which, for my own part, I think more consonant to them. They made me " the keeper of the vineyards, &c. The Greek, Latin, and English translations, read the Hebrew verb as plural ; but you is singular, posuit me, he placed, appointed me. He who had right or authority to order and dispose of the vineyards: Or impersonally, without any determined nominative, "I was appointed ;' like what we read in St Luke xii. 20. thy soul shall be required of thee;' literally, as on the margin,' they require. This will apply particularly to the Jewish church, which was entrusted with the keeping of the oracles of God", the lively oracles 3,' the adoption and the law, and the glory, and the testaments, and the wor"ship, and the promises.' Against this appointed keeper, her mother's children, while strangers from
Case i Rom. vi. 21.
3 Acts vii. 38.
2 Rom. iii. 2. 4 Rom. ix. 4.
her commonwealth, were angry, &c. as she herself pathetically complains on many occasions - Many • a time have they afflicted me from my youth up,
may Israel now say'. To this high trust, and charge of the vineyards, she was not always faithful; her own vineyard she neglected, lost sight of, and departed from the true intent of the great favours conferred upon her, as her chief Appointer so frequently and fervently expostulates with her. Yet she remained still his chosen, his favourite, his fair one, entitled to his care and protection, as St Paul argues in his epistle to the Romans, and as Ezekiel had been taught, under her disgrace, to promise to her, in language analogous to, and explanatory of the whole strain of our song '_ I will * remember my covenant with thee, (my berith, or * scheme of purification) in the days of thy youth,
and I will establish unto thee an everlasting berith: • and thou shalt remember thy ways, and be asham"ed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, and I will *give them unto thee for daughters :, but not by • thy berith". And I will establish my berith with • thee, and thou shalt know that I am Jehovah ; • that thou mayest remember when I am pacified • towards thee, saith Adoni Jehovah. May not what is here said in the song, compared with this parallel passage from the prophet, belong to the present keeper of the vineyards, the successor of that once appointed one, the christian church, both collectively and diffusively, in all stations, public and private, particular and general. Let all concerned examine and improve.
i Ps. cxxix. throughout.
2 Ezek. xvi. 60–63.
Ver. 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 ?
This is the first direct address to her beloved, and it can be to none other. • Thou whom my • soul loveth’explains itself;' and I shall have occasion to take notice of it afterwards. Where * thou feedest.' This is likewise the first time we meet with this phrase; and from the current use of it after this, through the song, people have taken it into their heads to call the song, by way of compliment indeed, a Pastoral. But the first title we see given to the hero of the poem is King'. Why then confine our ideas to shepherdising? I shall be told, I know, that we have many examples in both sacred and profane writers, of the united character of king and shepherd : how true this is in fact might be contended. I think we have little, if 'any, profane history before Abraham; and of him we read”, that he was rich in sheep and oxen : yet we do not find that he fed them himself. For we are told that he and Lot had herdsmen, yo pastors,
i Ver. 4.
2 Gen. xii. 16.