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Commentary on the Song of Songs, Chapter Seven, Introductory Comments

by James Durham


Verses 1,2,3.

This chapter hath two parts; in the first, reaching to the tenth verse, Christ continueth in the commendation of his Bride: in the second, thence to the close, the Bride expresseth her complacency in him and in his love, her enlarged desires after communion with him, and that she might be found fruitful to his praise.

That it is Christ, the Bridegroom, who was speaking in the end of the former chapter, that continues his speech throughout the first part of this, there is no just ground to question, the scope, style and expressions being so like unto, and co-incident with what went before; and what is spoken in the first person, verse 8, can be applied to none other, neither would it become any to speak thus but himself, his love is enlarged and loosed (as it were) in its expressions, and this love of his is indeed a depth, that is not easily reached. In this commendation, he doth first enumerate ten particulars (as she had done when she commended him, chap. 5) Then, 2. He shews his acquiescing in her, as being ravished with her beauty, verse 6, &c. We had occasion to say something in the general of such commendations, chap. 4:1, which is now to be remembered, but not repeated; we take this to be understood after the same manner as that was, and although the visible church be in some respect Christ's Bride, and therefore, we will not condemn the application of some of the parts of this commendation to her as so considered; yet, since the scope is mainly to comfort true believers, as differenced from others, and that it is she to whom he speaks, who had ravished him with her eyes in the former chapter (which can agree properly to the true believer only) and considering also, that some parts of the commendation do respect inherent grace in his people (and indeed it is this, which is the great ground of the Bride's commendation) we therefore incline still to take these commendations, as holding forth the continuance of the expressions of Christ's love to those, who are his own by saving faith; and so much the rather, as the words being taken so, are of special and particular use for believers.

There are four differences in this commendation, from that mentioned, chap. 4, and that which was spoken to, on chap. 6:6,7, which by answering four questions, we shall clear.

Quest. 1. Wherefore is this subjoined now, after so large a commendation in the words immediately preceding. Answer. The former commendation shews Christ's love to his Bride (to say so) immediately after the marriage, or on the back of some agreement, after an outcast; but, this is added, to shew what is Christ's ordinary way of carriage to his people, and what are his usual thoughts (to say so) of them; he is not kind only at fits (as men sometimes use to be, and do no not continue) or, when he was surprised (as it were) with a sudden gale of affection, chap. 6:12; no, he is constantly kind; and therefore, these expressions are now renewed, to show that such are his ordinary kind ways of dealing towards them, even when there is no connexion betwixt his dealing and their present condition, nor any thing in them that can be looked on as the immediate rise thereof. Our blessed Lord is a most fair, loving and friendly speaker unto, and converser with his Bride.

Quest. 2. Why is this commendation enlarged beyond the former, having more particulars in it? Answer. Thereby the Lord shews, 1. The sovereignty of his love, in making the intimations thereof, less or more as he pleaseth. 2. The last commendation is most full, in expressing the riches of his love, to shew that Christ never speaks so kindly to one of his own, but there is more behind in his heart than hath yet vented itself, and that there is more, which they may expect from him, than they have yet met with, however that may be very much. 3. It is to make it the fresher unto them, when by this it is evidenced to be a new intimation of his kindness, although it proceed on the same grounds, on which former intimations did and this may be a reason also of the third difference, and question following, which is,

Quest. 3. Why are the same parts named, as 'eyes, hair,' &c. and yet the commendation is different from what it was, for the most part? Answer. 1. This is to show the beauty of grace, which is such, that one commendation cannot reach it. 2. The account that he in his love hath of her, which is so great, that one expression doth not fully answer it. The various and abundant ways, that love hath to speak comfortably to a believer, there is strange eloquence and rhetoric in the love of Christ, when he thinks good to vent it.

Quest. 4. Why is the way be followed before changed? He began formerly at the head, now at the feet? Answer. This is also a piece of his sovereignty, and shows how he delights to vary the expressions of his love to his people; and that it may be seen, that whatever way we will follow in looking upon grace in a believer, it is still beautiful in itself, and acceptable to him.



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