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Commentary on the Song of Songs, Chapter Four Verse 5

by James Durham

Verse 5. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.

The seventh and last part that is commended in the Bride, is her 'two breasts,' or paps. For clearing of this similitude, we are to consider, 1. That the breasts in nature are a part of the comeliness of the body, Ezek. 16:7. 2. They are useful to give suck and food to others. 3. They signify warmness of affection, and loveliness, as Prov. 5:19, 'Let her breasts always satisfy thee;' and chap. 1:13. the Bride expressing her affection to Christ, saith, 'he shall lie all night between my breasts;' and so the wife of the bosom is the chaste and beloved spouse; and thus Christ is called the Son of God's love, or 'of his bosom.' For this cause, we conceive these things are here understood, 1. A believer's fitness to edify others, and that believers are in a condition suitable to a married wife, or mother, that brings forth children, and hath breasts to nurse them: and so to have 'no breasts,' chap. 8:8. is opposed to this: a believer is, as it were, a nurse with breasts fitted to edify others. 2. That believers being in case to be useful to others for their edification, is a special ornament to their profession, and the third thing that is here understood, is believers' warmliness and kindliness to Christ, and those that are his, taking him and them (as it were) in their bosom; the believer hath warm affections to receive them into. And two breasts are mentioned, to shew there is no defect as to the extent, but both her breasts are in good case, and always ready in love to communicate their furniture, for others' edification.

The commendation is in two steps, each whereof is qualified for the further enlarging of the commendation. The first is, they are like 'two roes,' that are lovely and kindly, Prov. 5:17, (often mentioned before) and like 'young roes,' because these are most lovely, and suit best to be a similitude to set forth the comeliness of that part of the body; they are like young roes, not too big; for, when breasts are too big, it's a deformity; and so when private edification exceeds its true bounds, it's not approvable or lovely. And these roes to which her breasts are compared, are 'twins:' which shews, an equality and proportionableness in their love to God and to others, giving each of these their own place, and keeping their love to creatures in the right subordination; and also their communicating their love to others, in admonitions and rebukes, &c. equally, keeping a proportionableness in all.

The second part of the commendation, is, they 'feed among the lilies:' as roes would not maintain their pleasantness long if they did not feed; yea, if the pasture were not good: so, these must needs be pleasant and useful, because they feed, and that not in a wilderness, but amongst the lilies; which shews, that believers in fitting and furnishing themselves that they may be forthcoming for others' edification, do not neglect their own advantage and edification, but feed on good pasture, whereby they are yet more fitted for being useful to others.

By 'feeding' in this Song, is understood. 1. To be present in such a place, as chap. 2:16. 2. To make use of that which is food for the entertaining of life. 3. To delight in a thing for satisfying of the affections. Next, by the Bride's 'breasts' (being 'like roes which feed amongst the lilies') three things may be understood. 1. As this expression respects Christ's feeding, (so to speak) for he is said to 'feed amongst the lilies,' chap. 2:16, and so it says, that the believer loves to feed in Christ's company, and where he is. And, 2. That this makes believers' breasts run to others, when they are much with him, and in his company. 3. As it respects believers, who are called 'lilies,' chap. 2:16, and 6:2; and so it says, 1. That all believers have one pasture, they feed together as a flock doth. 2. That one believer loves and delights in the company of another, they are the excellent and the lilies of the earth, their delight is with them. And, 3. That this helps a believer's growth, and fits him to be useful for others' edification, and to improve well the spiritual fellowship of other believers. 4. As it respects Christ himself, who is called a 'lily,' chap. 2:1. and his 'lips' are said to be 'like lilies dropping,' &c. chap. 5:13. Whereby is holden out, his words, promises, ordinances, &c.

And so it says, 1. That Christ and his word is the great and main food, upon which believers feed, that is their proper pasture; to be much drinking-in the 'sincere milk of the word' is their meat and drink. 2. That much acquaintance with Christ in the word, enables one for being very useful to others. In sum, it says, 1. That a believer is no bare novice, but hath breasts that yield milk and nourishment to others. 2. That a believer hath a good pasture to feed on. 3. That believers' breasts run to others, according as they feed themselves; if they hunger themselves, others will not be edified by them; if they feed on wind and empty notions themselves, it will be no healthful food that others will from receive them. 4. That it is a pleasant thing and acceptable to Christ, when a believer so communicates what he hath received to others, as he is still feeding on Christ himself, and not living on the stock he hath already received.



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