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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V. 6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake : I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. I opened to my beloved Saviour, but my Saviour bad now, in niy feeling, withdrawn bimself, and hid his countenance from me, holding me short of those gracious offers and means which I had refused; and now I was almost past myself with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 my 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 adrise 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 his love to me; and, bemoaning my estate to him, tell him how I languish with the impatient desire of bis love and
presence to be restored unto me.
V. 9 IVhat 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, which art the most happy, most gracious, and most glorious 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 him above all saints and angels, that thou art both so far gone in affection to him, and dost so vehemently adjure 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 ingnitely fairer than all the sons of men; and, for goodliness of person, may bear the standard of comeliness and grace amongst ten thousand,
V. 11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. The Deity, which dwelleth in him, is most pure and glorious ; and that fulness of grace, which is communicated to his human nature, is wondrously beautiful, and so sets it forth, as the black curled locks do a fresh and well favoured countenance.
V. 12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of water, washed with milk, and fitly set. His judgment of all things, and his respect to his Church, which are as his eyes, are full of love, and full of piety; shining like unto doves washed in water, yea, in milk, so as there is no spot or blemish to be found in them: and they are withal so fully placed, as is most comely and most expedient for the perfect sight of the estate and necessities of his servants.
V. 13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: 'his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. The manifestation of himself to us in his word, is sweet to our spiritual feeling; as a heap of spice, or those flowers that are used to make the best perfuming ointments, are to the other senses : his heavenly instructions and promises of his Gospel are unspeakably comfortable, and plenteous, in the grace that is wrought by them.
V. 14 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl : his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. His actions and his instruments, which are his hands, are set forth with much port and majesty, as some precious stone beautifies the ring wherein it is set : the secret counsels of his breast, and the mysteries of his will, are most pure and holy, and full of excellent glory.
V. 15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as ihe cedars. Y All his proceedings are firm and stable; and withal, as pillars of marble set in sockets of tried gold; so as they are neither subject to wavering, nor to any danger of infirmity and corruption : "the shew and carriage of his whole person, whereby he makes himself known to his chosen, is exceeding goodly and upright, like to the straight and lofty cedars of Lebanon.
V. 16 His mouth is most sweet : yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. His mouth, out of which proceed innumerable blessings and com. fortable promises, is to my soul even sweetness itself, yea, what speak I of any one part? as you have heard in these particulars, he is all sweets: there is nothing but comfort in him, and there is no comfort but in him: and this, if ye would know, is my wellbeloved ; of so incomparable glory and worthiness, that ye may easily discern him from all others.
FOREIGN CONGREGATIONS. VI. i Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside ? that we may seek h in with thee.
Since thy well-beloved is so glorious and amiable, thou which art for thy beauty worthy to be the spouse of such a husband, tell us, for thou only knowest it, and to seek Christ without the Church we know is vain, tell us where this Saviour of thine is to be sought; that we, ravished also with the report of his beauty, may join with thee in the same holy study of seeking after him.
VI. 2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. My well-beloved Saviour, if you would know this also, is to be sought and found in the particular assemblies of his people, which are bis Garden of Pleasure, wherein are varieties of all the beds of renewed souls, which both he hath planted and dressed by his continual care, and wherein he walketh for his delight; feeding and solacing himself with those fruits of righteousness and new obedience, which they are able to bring forth unto him.
VI. 3 I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine : he feedeth among the lilies. And now, lo, whatsoever hath bappened cross to me in my sensible fruition of him, in spite of all temptations my beloved Saviour is mine through faith, and I am his through his love, and both of us are by an inseparable union knit together ; whose conjunction and love is most sweet and happy, for all that are his he feedeth continually with heavenly repast.
CHRIST. VI. 4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Notwithstanding this thy late blemish of neglecting me, O my Church, yet still in mine eyes, through my grace, upon this thy repentance, thou art beautiful, like unto that neat and elegant city Tirzah, and that orderly building of Jerusalem, the glory of the world; and with this thy loveliness, thou art awful unto thine adversaries, through the power of thy censures, and the majesty of him that dwelleth in thee.
VI. 5 Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me : thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead. Yea, such beauty is in thee, that I am overcome with the vehemency
of my affection to thee: turn away thine eyes a while from beholding me; for the strength of that faith, whereby they are fixed upon me, ravisheth me from myself with joy: I do therefore again renew thy former praise; that thy gracious profession, and all thy appendances and ornaments of expedient ceremonies, are so comely to behold, as it is to see a flock of wel fed goats grazing upon the fruitful hills of Gilead.
VI. 6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren Thy teachers, that chew and prepare the heavenly food of thy soul, are 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 to the Church.
VI. 7 As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks. 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..
VI. 8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. Let there be never so great a number of people and nations, of churches and assemblies, wbich challenge my Name and Love; and perhaps, by their outward prosperity, may seem to plead much interest in me, and much worth in themselves :
VI. 9 My dove, my undefiled is but one : she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her ; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. Yet thou only art alone my true and chaste Spouse, pure and undefiled in the truth of thy doctrine, and the imputation of my holiness: thou art she, whom that Jerusalem which is above, the mother of us all, acknowledgeth for ber only true and dear daughter. And tbis is not my commendation alone, but all those foreign assemblies, which might seem to be rivals with thee of this praise, do applaud and bless thee in this thine estate, and say ; Blessed is this people, whose God is the Lord :
VI. 10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? And, admiring thy goodness, shall say; Who is this, that looks so freshly as the morning new risen; which, from these weak begipnings, is grown to such high perfection, that now she is as bright and glorious, as the sun in his full strength, and the moon in a clear sky; and withal is so dreadful, through the majesty of her countenance and power of her censures, as some terrible army with ensigns displayed is to a weak adversary?
VI. 11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. Thou complainedst of my absence, O my Church: there was no cause; I meant not to forsake thee; I did but only walk down into the well dressed orchard of thine assemblies, to recreate and joy myself with the view of their forwardness, to see the happy progress of the humble in spirit, and the gracious beginnings of those tender souls which are newly converted unto me.
VI. 12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Ammi-nadib. So earnestly did I long to revisit thee, and to restore comfort unto thee, that I hasted I know not which way; and with insensible speed I am come back, as it were upon the swiftest chariots, or the wings of the wind.
VI. 13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies. Now therefore return, O my Spouse, the true daughter of Jerusalem, return to me, return to thyself, and to thy former feeling of my grace: return, that both myself, and all the company of angels, may see and rejoice in thee; and what shall ye see? O all ye hosts of heaven, what shall ye
my Church? even such an awful grace and majesty, as is in a well marshalled army, ready to meet with the enemy.
VII. 1 How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter ! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman. How beautiful are thy feet, () daughter of the Highest; being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, and readily addressed to run the
of the commandments of thy God! Thou art compassed about thy loins with the girdle of verity; which is both precious for the matter of it, and cunningly framed by the skill of the Spirit of Truth.
VII. 2 Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor : thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilics. The navel, whereby all thy spiritual conceptions receive their nourishment, is full of all fruitful supply, and never wants means of sustenance, to feed them in thy womb; which also is so plenteous in thy blessed increase, that it is as a heap of wheat, consisting of infinite pure grains, which consort together with much sweetness and pleasure.
VII. 3 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins. Thy two Testaments, which are thy two full and comely breasts by whose wholesome milk thou nourishest all thy faithful children once born into the light, are, for their excellent and perfect agreement and their amiable proportion, like two young roes.
VII. 4 Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Beth-rabbim : thy nose is us the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus. Those, who, by their holy authority, support thy government, which are as some straight and strong neck to bear up thy head, are, for their height and defence, like a tower; for their order, pureness, and dignity, like a tower of ivory: thy teachers and ministers, which are thine eyes, are like unto some clear and arti. ficial ponds of water, in a place of greatest resort; wherein all comers may see the faces of their consciences, and whence they may plentifully draw the waters of life: thy nose, by which all spiritual scents are conveyed to thee, is perfectly composed, and featured like some curious turret of that goodly house in Lebanon ; so as thy judgment, and power of discerning the spirits, is admirable for the order and excellency thereof.
VII. 5 Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.