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ed are always called Sr, guim, nations, eine Gr. from which we have the word · heathen,' gentes, Latin, whence our • Gentiles,
' so frequent in our translation. It is in this distinguishing sense, that the promise above quoted is to be taken; for the peculiarity of the berith, the redeeming covenant, was even then fixed in Isaac', 'In Isaac shall thy seed be called. In fulfilment of this promise, we know that nations, Gentiles, came out of Abraham's loins, not only through Ishmael and his twelve princes", but also through the six sons which he had by his second wife Keturah 3. Of this vast, hemun, multitude, and indeed of the universal hemun of all nations, the Beloved, in terms of the eternal
covenant 4,' and by virtue of his early title of • the seed of the woman 5, was the true original, bya, Baal, Lord-husband, as the word, especially in prophetic language, signifies; though, in process of time, the guim, Gentiles, went a-whoring from him, and set up by bya, Baalim, of their own; and even many times drew off his chosen, dear spouse, into the same provoking, and, in her, most uncharacteristic apostasy. Yet still he was the • Lord of a vineyard®, such as it was, among them, and had it always in contemplation, in his own time and way, to bring them back, and be once more the 2 x 2
1 Ver 21, and renewed chap. xxi. 12. 2 Gen. xvii. 20.
3 Chap. xxv. 2. 4 Heb, xiü. 20.
s Gen. iii. 15. 6 St Matth. xxi. 40.
only Baal of the great Hemun of them. · This must be the real, indeed the only meaning of our Baalhamon. We find no city or place, under this name, nor the word itself anywhere else in all the Bible : So it may be considered, like several others in this Song, as a word of the Poet's own fabrication, to express what he intended in the emblematic style, which he had all along adopted. And in this sense it will be found applicable to the character of the little sister ; little, by the account here given, not in stature or quantity, but in quality and esteem, for want of the magnifying’ privileges of the spouse, being, as her apostle, St Paul, describes her!, : Without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth or polity of Israel, and stran
gers from the covenants of promise, having no • hope, and without God in the world.' 6 He • let out the vineyard to keepers ; every one, for * the fruit thereof, was to bring ( brings,' says Jerom,
will bring,' say the Hebrew and LXX.) "a thousand pieces of silver. Let us turn to our Lord's parable of the servants, and we shall find a sufficient analogy between it, and the description before us, to elucidate the general purport of both, upon making proper allowance for the parabolical strain of the one, and the emblematical design of the other,
1 Eph. ii. 12,
% St Matth. XXV. 14-23.
VER. 12. -My vineyard, which is mine, is before me :
Thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and they that keep the fruit thereof trvo hundred.
This is consistently enough put into the mouth of the spouse; and we find her, so early as in the 1st chapter of the Song, entering on the subject of her vineyard, which I then explained, and may now refer to that explanation, only with this difference, which is indeed a material one, that she then lamented the neglected state of her vineyard ; but now, upon being · brought into the king's cham
bers,' and strengthened by repeated indications of his enlivening love, she speaks of it in high strains of delight, as producing fruit, to the satisfaction of her Beloved, and of all concerned. My vineyard, 75009, sheli, quæ mihi, which is mine, as in distinction from the vineyard in Baal-hamon, is before me, 105, lepni, in my presence, the dear and daily object of my attention and culture, • filling the face of the ' world with fruit'. Thou, O Solomon, shalt have a thousand”. “A certain man planted a vineyard, * and let it out to husbandmen_and sent to receive • from them of the fruit of the vineyard ? ;' which St Paul calls ' doing all to the glory of God 4.' They that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. If this be extended to a general comprehension, we may see the application of it in the parable of the vineyard', • Call the labourers, and give them their • hire, beginning from the last unto the first. But if it is to be restricted, as there is more reason to think it is, to the particular class of • keepers, watchmen,
1 Isaiah xxvii. 6.
2 See above, ver. 11.
or overseers, it may be explained by the apostolic provision for the ministers of religion, “ that they . who serve at the altar should live by the altar “. or by our Saviour's expressive declaration ?, · He ' that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit • unto life eternal, that both he that soweth", and .. he that reapeth, may rejoice together: Which spiritualizing declaration St Paul extends to all ranks and classes of faithful labourers, without distinction, · Become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Let us attend too, as no circumstance from which instruction may
be drawn should escape us, to the proportion stated here, between the Beloved's share of the fruits of the vineyard, and that allotted to the keepers-To Solomon, a thousand ; to the keepers, two hundred among them. In all our labours therefore, whether as appointed keepers, or individual labourers, and in all the fruits that may result from these labours, let the Beloved have by far the largest share, as of necessary and effective operation, so likewise of most justly deserved, glory, honour, and praise !
i St Matth.xx.
3 St John iv. 36. 4 See St Luke viii. 5. expounded ver. 11. 5 Rom. vi. 22.
Ver. 13. Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the com
panions hearken to thy voice : cause me to hear it.
This, whether request or injunction, by the feminine termination of the participle nu, haishbth, quæ habitas, is clearly directed to the spouse, but from what quarter is not so evident. The bringing in the companions, mentioned above', creates a difficulty in any view. It may indeed, for aught material that can be adduced to the contrary, have been put by the Poet into the little sister's mouth ; and in that light may pass for a request, in plain terms, thus, • Thou who, though once in danger of 'wandering in uncertain paths, and turning aside by 'the flocks of the companions, art now happily settled
in a secure residence of delight and instruction, i under the
of thy Beloved, since the companions (good or bad) have had the opportunity of hearkening to thy voice, extend the same favour . to me, and make me likewise to hear it. Have • they not heard ? says St Paul“, yes verily, their • sound went into all the earth, and their words « unto the ends of the world. Or, if we must
go along with the current of interpretation, and assign this verse to the Beloved, it will then appear an injunction, blended, as is his usual way, with a gentle touch of tacit reproof for former deviations, and a call
I Chap. i. 7. and there explained,
% Rom. X. I.