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by James Durham
Verse 4. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
The sixth thing commended in the Bride, is her 'neck:' the neck being comely and straight, adds much to the beauty of a person, and is placed by nature, as a more eminent and essential part of the body than the eyes, legs, lips, &c. or any other part here mentioned: for it is that whereby the head and body are joined together. The commendation thereof is, that it is 'like the tower of David:' what particular place this hath reference unto, it is hard to say, possibly it is that mentioned, Neh. 3:16,19,25, called the tower of the mighty, or the armory; it is like, that some strong hold built by David, eminent for beauty and strength, is hereby signified; which might have been employed for keeping of arms, for times of danger, as the words following seem to bear.
This tower is more particularly explicated. 1. From the end and use for which it was intended, it was built 'for an armory,' that men might be furnished with arms in time of need. 2. The store of arms there laid up, is here set down, 'whereupon hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men,' that is, it is furnished especially with defensive arms (the believer's war being most defensive) as shields; but with abundance of these, for number a 'thousand;' and for quality excellent, and such as 'mighty men' make use of.
If we consider the neck here, in respect of its use, it holds forth the vigorous' exercise of the grace of faith; for it is that by which a believer is united to Christ the head: it is that which strengthens them, and is their armory furnishing them with shields, because it provides them out of Christ's fulness, which is contained in the promises; which promises, or rather Christ in them, being made use of by faith, are for a believer's security, against challenges, temptations, discouragements, &c. as so many excellent shields: therefore, Eph. 6:16, it is called 'the shield of faith,' and for their safety, it is commended above all the rest of the spiritual armour: and this being the believer's great defence, and especially tending to their commendation when it is in lively exercise, this similitude cannot be so well applied to any other thing.
Observe. 1. Faith in exercise is a noble defence to a believer, against all assaults and temptations; there is no such shield as faith is; every promise and every attribute of God, is as a shield to those that exercise this grace of faith thereupon. 2. Faith exercised on these, is exceedingly well pleasing to Jesus Christ. 3. That all believers have their arms out of one armory, there is but one store-house for them all, to wit, faith acting on Christ's fulness. 4. Faith will never want a buckler, there is a thousand laid up in a magazine for the believer's use. 5. He is the most mighty and valiant man, who is most in the exercise and use-making of faith. 6. Faith is the grace that makes a man valiant and victorious, as all the 'cloud of witnesses,' Heb. 11 proves.
Again, if we consider the neck, as it is commended here, as being like a tower for uprightness and straightness, it signifies a quiet serene mind, and a confident boldness in doing and suffering; in which sense, it is opposite to hanging of the head, which speaks discouragment: and as a stretched out neck, in a carnal sense, Isa. 3:16. signifies haughtiness and pride: so here in a holy and spiritual sense, it implies cheerfulnesss of heart, and confident holy boldness, which proceeds from the spirit of adoption; and this waits upon, and follows after the exercise of faith, being fixed and stayed upon the Lord and his word against all events, Psalm 112:6. Bold in duties, and valorous in sufferings, and in undergoing any difficulties. So then, this is no small commendation which Christ gives his Bride, and it is well consistent with that holy blushing, shamefacedness and sobriety, for, which she was commended in the former verse.
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