|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by James Durham
Verse 5. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my Love till he please.
The third part of her care is in this verse, when she hath prevailed with him, to give his presence and countenance to her mother's house, then she turns to the daughters of Jerusalem, the visible professors and members of the church, charging them, that now seeing Christ is returned, they would be careful to entertain him well, and not to provoke him to withdraw. These words were spoken to the former chapter, verse 7, where they have the same general scope, which is to shew her care of having Christ retained; but in this they differ, there they look to her particular enjoyment of Christ; here they look (as the scope and connexion with the former words shew) to his presence in the church, or her mother's house, lest that should, by the daughter's fault, be interrupted: the first shews a believer's care, conjuring all (as it were) that nothing in her might provoke him: this shews what should be the church's care in reference to his visible presence, and blessing (to say so) in his church: now (saith she) Christ is amongst you, O ye who are of my mother's house, beware of putting him away; and in this she deals with them, as considered in their visible church state and relation, and not as real believers; the charge being to all: and therefore in the following verse, and chap. 8:5, the daughters return an answer, which they do not, chap. 2:7, because here she directs her words to the visible professors; whereas, chap. 2:7, her scope was only to compose herself, seeing the presence she enjoyed was only to her particular sense. Here, Observe. 1. As there is more of Christ's sensible presence, and also of distance from him, in his way with particular believers at one time than another; so is there, in respect of his way to his church: sometimes he is not in the mother's house, sometimes he is. 2. As every believer should endeavour to retain Christ in his presence with their own souls, so all the members of a visible church should be careful to prevent his departure from his ordinances. 3. Often it is with Christ's presence in his church, as it is with the condition of particular believers in it; if they be secure, and he away from them, then often he is from the 'mother's house' also; if they be lively, and he with them, then he is brought back again to the church with them. 4. As Christ may withdraw, if provoked and not entertained, from a private believer, so be will do from a church, if they bold not fast what they have received, and walk not answerably thereto. 5. Church members, by their sins, have much influence on Christ's removal from amongst them; yea, sometimes it may come to pass, when the body of a church turn despisers of the gospel, that no intercession of the godly, for preventing his departure, will prevail, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were amongst them, Jer. 15:1, and Ezek. 14:14. 6. Believers, that know the hazard of provoking Christ, and what a loss the loss of his presence is, should interpose seriously with new unexperienced beginners, and give them warning faith fully concerning this their hazard. 7. As a believer, in respect of the visible church, stands under the relation of a child to a mother; so, in respect of visible professors, they stand under the relation of brethren and sisters, and should keep religious communion with them, even as such, that being an external duty that lieth upon them. 8. True love to Christ will be affected even with the wrongs that others .do to him who is their beloved, and will endeavour to prevent his being wronged and provoked, as she doth here. 9. True love to others, will not only put to pray and intercede for them, and employ all the court the believer hath with Christ for their good (as the Bride did in the former verse) but will also manifest itself in giving faithful admonitions, advertisements, &c. and in doing what else may prevent sin in them.
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