תמונות בעמוד

Since thy well-beloved is so glorious and amiable, O thou which art for thy beauty worthy to be the spouse of such a husband, tell us, for thou only knowest it, and to seek Christ without the Church we know is vain, tell us where this Saviour of thine is to be sought; that we, ravished also with the report of his beauty, may join with thee in the same holy study of seeking after him.

VI. 2. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

My well-beloved Saviour, if you would know this also, is to be sought and found in the particular assemblies of his people, which are his Garden of Pleasure ; wherein are varietios of all the beds of renewed souls, which both he hath planted and dressed by his continual care, and wherein he walketh for his delight; feeding and solacing himself with those fruits of righteousness and new obedience, which they are able to bring forth unto him.

VI. 3. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine : he feeileth among the lilies.

And now, lo, whatsoever hath happened cross to me in my sensible fruition of him, in spite of all temptations my beloved Saviour is mine through faith, and I am his through love, and both of us are by an inseparable union knit together; whose conjunction and love is most sweet and happy, for all that are his he feedeth continually with heavenly repast.

CHRIST, VI. 4. Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.

Notwithstanding this thy late blemish of neglecting me, O my Church, yet still in mine eyes, through my grace, upon this thy repentance, thou art beautiful, like unto that neat and elegant city Tirzah, and that orderly building of Jerusalem, the glory of the world ; and with this thy loveliness, thou art awful unto thine adversaries, through the power of thy censures, and the majesty of him that dwelleth in thee.

VI. 5. Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me : thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.

Yea, such beauty is in thee, that I am overcome with the vehemency of my affection to thee; turn away thine eyes a while from beholding me; for the strength of that faith, whereby they are fixed upon me, ravisheth me from myself with joy: I do therefore again renew thy former praise; that thy gracious profession, and all thy appendances and ornaments of expedient ceremonies, are so comely to behold, as it is to see a flock of well fed goats grazing upon the fruitful hills of Gilead.

VI. 6. Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.

Thy teachers, that chew and prepare the heavenly food of thy soul, are of sweet accordance one with another, having all one heart and one tongue ; and both themselves are sanctified and purged from their uncleanness, and are fruitful in their holy Tabours unto others; so that their doctrine is never in vain, but is still answered with plentiful increase of souls to the Church.

VI. 7. As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.

That part of thy countenance, which thou wilt have seen, though dimly and sparingly, is full of holy modesty and bashfulness; so blushing, that it seemeth like the colour of a broken piece of pomegranate.

VI. 8. There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.

Let there be never so great a number of people and nations, of churches and assemblies, which challenge my Name and Love; and perhaps, by their outward prosperity, may seem to plead much interest in me, and much worth in themselves :

VI. 9. My dove, my undefiled is but one : she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her ; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

Yet thou only art alone my true and chaste Spouse, pure and undefiled in the truth of thy doctrine, and the imputation of my holiness : thou art she, whom that Jerusalem which is above, the mother of us all, acknowledgeth for her only true and dear daughter. And this is not my commendation alone, but all those foreign assemblies, which might seem to be rivals with thee of this praise, do applaud and bless thee in this thine estate, and say ; Blessed is this people, whose God is the Lord :

VI. 10. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners ?

And, admiring thy goodness, shall say; Who is this, that looks so freshly as the morning new risen ; which, from these weak beginnings, is grown to such high perfection, that now she is as bright and glorious, as the sun in his full strength, and the moon in a clear sky; and withal is so dreadful, through the majesty of her countenance and power of her censures, as some terrible arny with ensigns displayed is to a weak adversary?

VI. 11. I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.

Thou complainedst of my absence, O my Church : there was no cause; I meant not to forsake thee; I did but only walk down into the well dressed orchard of thine assemblies, to recreate and joy myself with the view of their forwardness, to see the happy progress of the humble in spirit, and the gracious beginnings of those tender souls which are newly converted unto me.

VI. 12. Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Ammi-nadib.

So earnestly did. I long to revisit thee, and to restore comfort unto thee, that I hasted I know not which way; and with insensible speed I am come back, as it were upon the swiftest chariots, or the wings of the wind.

VI. 13. Return, return, O Shulamite ; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies. .

Now therefore return, O my Spouse, the true daughter of Jerusalem, return to me, return to thyself, and to thy former feeling of my grace: return, that both myself, and all the company of angels, may see and rejoice in thee; and what shall yo see? O all ye hosts of heaven, what shall ye see in my Church? even such an awful grace and majesty, as is in a well marshalled army, ready to meet with the enemy.

VII. 1. How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter ! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

How beautiful are thy feet, O daughter of the Highest ; being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, and readily addressed to run the way of the commandments of thy God! Thou art compassed about thy loins with the girdle of verity; which is both precious for the matter of it, and cunningly framed by the skill of the Spirit of Truth.

VII. 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor : thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.

The navel, whereby all thy spiritual conceptions receive their nourishment, is full of all fruitful supply, and never wants means of sustenance, to feed them in thy womb; which also is so plenteous in thy blessed increase, that it is as a heap of wheat consisting of infinite pure grains, which consort together with much sweetness and pleasure.

VII. 3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.

Thy two Testaments, which are thy two full and comely breasts by whose wholesome milk thou nourishest all thy faithful children once born into the light, are, for their excellent and perfect agreement and their amiable proportion, like two young roes.

VII. 4. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Beth-rabbim : thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.

Those, who, by their holy authority, support thy government, which are as some straight and strong neck to bear up thy head, are, for their height and defence, like a tower; for their order, pureness, and dignity, like a tower of ivory: thy teachers and ministers, which are thine eyes, are like unto some clear and artificial ponds of water, in a place of greatest resort ; 'wherein all comers may see the faces of their consciences, and whence they may plentifully draw the waters of life: thy nose, by which all spiritual scents are conveyed to thee, is perfectly composed, and featured like some curious turret of that goodly house in Lebanon ; so as thy judgment, and power of discerning the spirits, is admirable for the order, and excellency thereof.

VII. 5. Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple ; the king is held in the galleries.

The whole tire of thy head, which are the ceremonies used by thee, are very graceful, and of high estimation and price to all the beholders ; and as for me, I am so enamoured of thee, that I am even tied by my own desire, to a perpetual presence in thy holy assemblies. · VII. 6. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights !

Oh how beautiful and lovely art thou therefore, O my Church, in all thy parts and ornaments ! How sweet and pleasant art thou, O my Love, in whatsoever might give me true contentment !

VII. 7. This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts two clusters of grapes.

Thy whole frame is, for goodliness and straight growth, like unto some tall palm tree; which, the more it is depressed by the violence of persecutions, riseth the more: and the two breasts of thy Testaments are like two full juicy clusters, which yield comfortable and abundant refreshing.

VII. 8. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof : now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples.

Seeing then thou art my palm tree, I have resolved in myself to adjoin myself to thee; to enjoy thee; to gather those sweet fruits of thy graces, which thou yieldest : and by my presence also will cause thee to be more plentiful in all good works and doctrine ; so as thou shalt afford abundance of heavenly liquor unto all the thirsty souls of thy children, and an acceptable verdure of holiness and obedience unto me:

VII. 9. And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, thut goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

And the delivery of my word, by the mouths of my ministers, is like to the most excellent and pleasant wine ; being both well accepted of that God in whose name it is taught, and most sweetly relished of the receivers; which is of such wonderful power, that it is able to put words both of repentance and praise, into the lips of him that lies asleep in his sins.

THE CHURCH. VII. 10. I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me. Behold ; such as I am, I am not my own ; much less am I any other's ; I am wholly my Saviour's: and now I see and feel, whatsoever I had deserved, that he is mine also in all entire affection ; who hath both chosen me, and given himself for me.

VII. 11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field ; let us lodge in the villages.

Come therefore, O my dear Saviour, let us join together in our mutual care: let thy Spirit and my service be intent upon thy congregations here below on earth; and let us stay in the place, where our spiritual husbandry lieth.

VII. 12. Let us get up early to the vineyards ; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth : there will I give thee my loves.

Let us, with all haste and cheerfulness, visit the fruitful vines of our believing children; and, to our mutual comfort, be witnesses and partakers of all the signs and fruits of grace, of all those good works and thanksgivings, of those holy endeavours and worthy practices, which they yield forth unto us : let us judge of their forwardness, and commend it; whereupon it will easily appear, that the consummation of our happy marriage draweth near, in which there shall be a perfect union betwixt us.

VII. 13. The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.

Behold, thy godly servants, which not only bear fruit themselves, but are powerful in the provocation of others, present their best services unto thee; and even at our doors (not far to seek, not hard to procure) is offer made unto thee, of all variety of fruit, whether from thy young converts, or thy more settled professors : and all these I spend not lavishly; but, in my loving care, duly reserve them for thee, and for the solemn day of our full marriage.


VIII. 1. O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee ; yea, I should not be despised.

Oh that I might see thee, my Saviour, clothed in flesh? Oh that thou, which art my everlasting Husband, mightest also be my Brother, in partaking the same human nature with me; that so, I, finding thee below upon earth, might familiarly entertain thee, and converse with thee without reproach of the world, yea, might be exalted in thy glory!

VIII. 2. I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my promegranate.

Then would I, though I be now pent up in the limits of Judea, bring thee forth into the light and knowledge of the Universal Church, whose daughter I am: and, then and there, thou shouldest

bring the would I promegrant Church, we forth intoough I bene

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