The Progress of the Soul
Comments on the Song of Solomon — Chapter Four
The Scriptures are likened to a mirror in both the Old and New Testaments. They may thus be used to show a man the failures of his behaviour. Alas, there are times when one thus using them turns away and forgets what manner of individual he is. There is still another way in which the Scriptures may be used as a mirror, and that is to see in them the Lord and Saviour. If truly exercised, even although the picture may be blurred because of man’s defective vision, he sees himself growing more and more like the Blessed One reflected in the divine looking glass.
In the first part of this chapter, the loveliness of the bride is seen in the seven feminine features mentioned. This fact illustrates that Christ looks upon the Church as beautiful. Christ sees her what He has made her now as well as what she shall be when He presents her before His Father without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He speaks of her as having doves’ eyes toward Him, her lover and comforter; He also speaks of her as having eyes of sympathy, grace, and forgiveness for others, even them that are without.
The bride’s long hair seems to be akin to that of the Nazarite, in that she wills it to be so, as an outward expression of love and devotion to her beloved. The long hair of the goat was the pride and glory of Gilead. The Bible says that the long hair of the woman is her glory. The teeth have a vital connection with food and health, with proper digestion and assimilation. This is no less true of spiritual food and health. When Solomon pleaded, “Feed me with food convenient,” he meant spiritual food, for he added, “Lest I say, who is the Lord?”
Can our beloved say of us, “Thy speech is comely?” How often we let evil remarks escape our lips with a smile! Do our words reflect a soul that “has come up from the washing?” The bride has no broken teeth, not one lost, none set on edge through eating wild grapes. Sheep are clean animals which do not feed on unsuitable food, but in green pastures and beside the still waters.
God is not speaking to the worldly person in this Song, but to a heavenly people. Christ prophectically speaks here of His Bride in different aspects. He wants His glory to be reflected by her demeanour. The scarlet thread of her lips is the evidence of His redemptive power, for it is His blood that cleanseth from all sin. King David prayed, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips.” The bridegroom does not refer to the whole pomegranate, but to a piece of one. The reference is to the red and white centre of the fruit. The broken seeds give out a reddish liquid, and the pulp of the fruit is white mixed with red. These colours indicate the chaste life of one redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Solomon said, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and are safe.” Weapons are mentioned here which are used for the protection of the Bride: the shield, the truth, and the sword. The shield is her faith, the truth is divine doctrine, and the sword is the Bible. How many professing Christians are side-tracked because of their neglect of the Word of God, their sword is rusty, dusty, or mislaid, and not available when needed! Not only is our armour in this tower, but there are also one thousand shields of mighty men that have been taken from the enemy. God does not want us to be satisfied with a few victories in life, but many, for we are “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Before the new day breaks, the day of glorious resurrection, the sin of unbelief and all the shadows it casts will be done away. “His eyes are purer than to behold evil, and He cannot look on iniquity.”
There is an odour in the spiritual frankincense of this Song. Here it is: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my help; my help cometh from the Lord.” What is this fragrance? Listen! Here it is: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of the Lord.” When that day breaks, and the shadows flee away, may we not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
The way to become relatively perfect before Him is to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.
There are some reasons why the bridegroom does not want his bride to remain in the mountains; there are dangers there. The borderland mountains of Canaan illustrate far us spiritual perils from which our heavenly Bridegroom would call us. “Come with Me, My spouse,” come entirely away from those borderlands of the world; “Come out from among them and be ye separate.”
The bridegroom sees in her eye the reflection of his own love, and admires her eyes and her whole person. One chain of her neck, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, is in his sight of great price. Our Beloved delights to see in us the fruit of the Spirit. When a soul is born again, it begins a new life in Christ Jesus with a new behaviour. The Lord says, “To him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation.” This is associated with the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips giving thanks in His name.
Paul was as a garden enclosed in that he was a chosen vessel unto Christ. In a lesser measure we can say, “God who hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” A pomegranate is the symbol of a chaste life, a pure heart, a spiritual fruitfulness, and a close discipleship with the Lord. Paul spoke of himself as “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” The bride in this Song is likened not only to a garden enclosed but to a fountain of gardens. This could mean that other gardens were the outcome of hers. One woman, a Canaanite stranger, received the words of the Lord Jesus, and her conversation resulted in the salvation of many of the Samaritans. Solomon spoke also of the well-spring of wisdom, the words of a man’s mouth. The prophet Amos bids us to “let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as mighty streams.”
Troubles of the mind and soul are just as real as any tangible problem in life. Whatever adversity that may come into our lives, and that we may call “the north wind” is known to our heavenly Father. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth,” but the winds allowed of God in our lives do not come by chance. He knows how to temper the north wind by the south. “The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”
The Bible says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands.” How many homes are broken up, lives marred, and children lost to the home, and some to the Lord forlack of this! Notice God’s order for a happy fruitful home life! The Lord says, “Husbands, love your wives.” Before actually speaking to either wife or husband, He says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” When one can pray as did the Lord, “Not My will, but Thine be done,” then this prayer of the bride will become his prayer also. The wife would then be willing to be all that the Lord expects her to be. The husband as the head of the home would in like manner realize that Christ was head over him. Together they could then sing truthfully, “Take my life, and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.”