|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by James Durham
Verse 14. Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.
The last verse hath in it the Bride's last and great suit to her Bridegroom, that he would haste his return: as in the former verse the Bridegroom commended all his will, as it were, in one suit to the Bride; let me often hear from thee that I may know how it is with thee, said he so here, she sums up all her desire in one snit, which to her is both first and last, I beseech thee (saith she) my Beloved, 'make haste' and do not tarry. In the words there are, 1. Her suit. 2. The title she gives him. 3. Her repeating and qualifying of her suit. Her request is, 'make haste:' the word, in the original signifieth 'flee away,' importing the greatest haste and speed that maybe, so would she have Christ hasting his coming in the most swift manner; whereby the holy impatience of her affection, that cannot endure delays, doth appear; therefore abruptly she breaks out with this as her last suit, and that which especially her heart desires of him. That it is for a speedy return, the scope, her love that expresseth it, and the manner which she useth through the Song, doth clear; and there being two comings of Christ spoken of in scripture, 1. His coming in grace, which already she had prayed for, and it is promised, John 14:21,23. 2. His coming in glory at the last day to judge the world; we conceive that it will agree with her scope here, to take in both, but principally the last, that is, her desire, that Christ Jesus would hasten his second coming: not that she would have him to precipitate, or leave any thing undone that is to do before the end: but her desire is, that in due time and manner it may be brought about, and that what is to go before it, may be hastened, for making way for it; for, the phrase, 'haste, my Beloved,' is indefinite, and therefore it may look both to his second coming, and to all that must necessarily precede it; and therefore, so long as there is yet any thing to be performed, as previous to his coming, she bids him hasten it. 2. We take this desire to look mainly to his second coming, because that only can perfect believers' consolation, and put an end to their prayers: till he come, their consolation cannot be full, and all shadows are not away, chap. 2:17. There is ever something to be done, and therefore they have ever something to pray for (to wit, that his kingdom may come) till that time. 3. This is the great, joint, and main suit of all believers; they all concur in this, Rev. 22:17, 'The Spirit and the Bride say, come.' &c. It is essential to all who have the Spirit, to join in this suit; and the Bride cannot but be supposed to love the last appearing of our Lord Jesus, which will perfect all her desires: and this coming of his, was prophesied of by Enoch, the seventh from Adam, Jude, verse 14, and was delighted in by believers (Psalm 96:12, &c. Psalm 98:6,7) before Solomon wrote this.
2. The title which she gives him, is, 'my Beloved,' that which ordinarily she gave him, and is here inserted, 1. To be a motive to press her suit, and it is the most kindly motive which she could use to him, that there was such a relation betwixt him and her, and therefore she prayeth, that he would not leave her comfortless, but return again. 2. It is made use of as a stay to her faith, for sustaining of her against discouragement: and that there is such a tie standing betwixt him and believers, is a notable consolation, seeing he is faithful and kind in all his relations; and by this she sweetens this her farewell-wish. 3. It is an expression of her affection, she cannot speak to him, but her heart is kindled, and must speak kindly: and it shows that their parting is in very good terms, like friends. 4. It shows, her clearness of her interest in him, on which she grounds this suit, so as heartily she hereby makes ready, and prepares for his coming, knowing that he is hers.
3. The qualification of her suit is in these words, 'Be thou like to a roe, or a young hart, upon the mountains of spices:' roes and harts frequent mountains, and do run swiftly, speedily and pleasantly on them, as hath been often said: see upon chap. 2:8,17, the allusion and scope here is, as roes and harts run swiftly over mountains, so, my Beloved (saith she) make haste to return with all diligence: or, because 'the mountains of spices' signify some excellent mountains, such as it may be, were not ordinary for roes and harts to run upon (though in these countries it might be so in part) therefore we may read the words, thus, my Beloved, be thou upon the mountains of spices, like a roe, &c. and so heaven may be compared to such savoury and refreshful mountains. The scope is one, and speaks thus, 'now my Beloved, seeing there is a time coming, when there will be a refreshful meeting betwixt thee and me, never to be interrupted, therefore I entreat thee, so to expede thy affairs which are to precede, which in reason I cannot obstruct, that that blessed and longed-for meeting may be hastened, and thou may come to receive thy Bride at the last day.' From all these, Observe. 1. which is supposed, that there is a final and glorious coming of our Lord Jesus to judgment, which will be when all that he hath to do in the earth is perfected otherwise this could not be prayed for by the Bride. 2. It is implied, that this coming of JESUS CHRIST, is a most comfortable and desirable thing to believers; there is nothing that they more aim at and pant for, than his company; and that being so desirable here, it must be much more so hereafter, when all his people shall be gathered to him, and the queen shall be brought to the King in raiment of needle-work, and shall enter into the palace with him, there to abide for ever: that cannot but be desirable, and therefore it is pressed as her farewell-suit. 3. This suit of the Bride's implies, that this glorious coming of our LORD JESUS is much in the thoughts of his people, and useth to be meditated on by them; for, this prayer of hers, is the expression of what useth to be in her heart. 4. It implies, that believers ought to be established in the faith of CHRIST'S second coming, so as it may be a ground of prayer to them. 5. Even the thoughts of this second coming, which flow from the faith thereof, long ere it come, will be refreshful to the believer. 6. It is peculiar to the believer to be delighted with, and to be longing for Christ's second coming; for, it agrees with this relation the Bride hath to him as her Beloved: and whatever others may say, yet this coming of CHRIST JESUS, really is, and will be dreadful to them: and therefore are believers differenced from all others by this name, that they are such who love his appearing, 2 Tim. 4:8.
That we may further consider this prayer of the Bride's we may look upon it, first, more generally, and so gather these. Observe. 1. Faith and love will compend much in few words, and will thrust together many suits in a short expression; there is much in this same word, flee, or haste; it is not the longest prayer that is made up of maniest words. 2. Faith in CHRIST, and love to him, where they are in exercise, will make the believer to meddle in his prayers with things of the greatest concernment: so doth this prayer of the Bride's, it looks not only to his second coming, but also takes in the overturning Satan's kingdom, the calling of Jews and Gentiles, the dissolution of heaven and earth, &c. which go alongst with, and before, CHRIST'S coming: these are great things, and yet that they may be accomplished, is that which she here prayeth for. 3. Faith will look far off in prayer, it will be minding things that are to be performed long after the person's removal out of this life.
Again, we may consider this suit as it followeth on the former long conference, and goes before the off-breaking thereof: and so, Observe. 1. That the most lively and longest continued enjoyments of Christ, that believers have here upon earth, may, and will have their interruptions and off breakings for a time: uninterrupted communion is reserved for heaven. 2. Believers that have been admitted to familiar access unto, and fellowship with CHRIST JESUS, should endeavour to have it distinctly breaking off: so that although they cannot entertain it always, yet they should be careful that it slip not away, and they not knowing how, nor understanding in what terms their souls stand with CHRIST; neglects here ocaasion many challenges. 3. Those who are best acquainted with fellowship with CHRIST here-away, and are clearest of their interest in him, will be most desirous of, and most pressing after his second coming: and the little acquaintance that many have with him here-away, is the reason that so few are taken up with this suit. 4. When believers have been admitted to much sweet fellowship with CHRIST, before their sun decline, or before his sensible presence be withdrawn, they ought to have a new design and desire tabled for his returning; and this is a good way to close such sweet and comfortable conferences with CHRIST, by refering distinctly to a new meeting, especially to this last, which will never admit of a parting again. 5. When temporal enjoyments of Christ break off, believers should endeavour the clearing of their hope of that eternal enjoyment which is coming, and should comfort themselves in the expectation of that, which no time will put an end unto.
3. We may consider the words in themselves, as this particular prayer holds forth a pattern and copy of prayer to believers, and as the Bride evidenceth the nature of true love by this suit. And so we may Observe, 1. That it is the duty of a believer to long and pray for CHRIST'S second coming, and when they are in a right frame and case, they will do so: love to Christ himself, who at his appearing is to be glorified; love to the church in general, which that day is to be adorned as a bride for her husband, and fully to be freed from all outward crosses and inward defects; and love to a believer's own happiness, which that day is fully to be perfected, do all call for this. 2. This second coming of our LORD doth fully satisfy the believer in all respects; they have no suit nor prayer after this, when that day is once come, there will be no more complaints, all sorrow and sighing flies then away; there will be then no more prayer, for there will be no more necessities and wants, but all they can desire will be then enjoyed, and praise will be the work of that blessed world, amongst all the saints to all eternity: there will be no such use of the promises and of faith, as we have of them now, but all will be in possession; our warfare will be ended, and our victory completed, when we shall see him as he is, and be like him: it is no marvel then that he 'Spirit and the Bride say, come,' and cry constantly, 'haste, my beloved,' until this desire be fulfilled. Even so, come, LORD JESUS.
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