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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 ye see? O all ye hosts of heaven, what shall Church? even such an see in ye 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 li quor: 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 wonib; 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
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, that 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.
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.
THE JEWISH CHURCH.
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 pomegranate.
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 teach me how perfectly to serve and worship thee, and I shall gladly entertain thee with a royal feast of the best graces that are in my holiest servants; which I know thou wilt account better cheer, than all the spiced cups and pomegranate wines in the world. VIII. 3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.,
Then shall I attain to a nearer communion with him; and both his hands shall be employed to sustain and relieve me: yea, he shall comfort my head and my heart, my judgment and affections, with the lively heat of his gracious embracements.
VIII. 4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
I charge you, O all ye that profess any friendship to me,
charge you deeply, as ye will avoid my uttermost censures, take heed how ye vex and disquiet my merciful Saviour, and grieve his Spirit; and do not dare, by the least provocation of him, to interrupt his peace.
VIII. 5 Who is this that upon her beloved? I raised mother brought thee forth thee. Who is this, that from the comfortless deserts of ignorance, of infidelity, of tribulations, ascendeth thus up into the glorious light and liberty of my chosen; relying herself wholly upon her Saviour, and solacing herself in him? Is it not my Church? It is she, whom I have loved and acknowledged of old: for even under the tree of offence, the forbidden fruit which thou tastedst to thy destruction, I raised thee up again from death; even there, thy first mother conceived thee, while by faith she laid hold on that blessed promise of the Gospel, whereby she and her believing seed were restored.
cometh up from the wilderness, leaning thee up under the apple tree: there thy there she brought thee forth that bare
THE JEWISH CHURCH.
VIII. 6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
And so have thou me still, O my Saviour, in a perpetual and dear remembrance: keep me sure in thy heart, yea in thine arms, as that which thou holdest most precious; and let me never be removed from thy love, the least shew and danger whereof I cannot endure: for this my spiritual love is exceeding powerful, and can no more be resisted than death itself; and the jealous zeal, which I have for thee and thy glory, consumes me even like the grave, and burns me up like unto the coals of some most vehement and extreme fire:
VIII. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Yea, more than any fire; for any flame yet may be quenched with water, but all the water of afflictions and terrors, yea whole streams of persecutions, cannot quench this love; and for all tempting offers of wealth, of pleasures and honour, how easily are they all contemned for the love of my Saviour!
VIII. 8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? We have a sister, as thou knowest, O Saviour, ordained through thy mercy to the same grace with me, the uncalled Church of the Gentiles; small, as yet, of growth through the rareness of her converts, and destitute of the help of any outward ministry whereby she might either bear or nourish children unto thee:
when she grows unto her maturity, and the mystery of calling her universally to thee shall be revealed to the world and herself, what course will it please thee to take with her?
VIII. 9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. If she shall continue firm and constant, in the expectation of her promises, and the profession of that truth which shall be revealed, we will beautify and strengthen her with further grace, and make her a pure and costly palace, fit to entertain my Spirit; and if she will give free passage and good entrance to my word and grace, we will make her sure and safe from corruption, and reserve her to immortality.
THE JEWISH CHURCH.
VIII. 10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
Behold, that condition, which thou requirest in the Church of the Gentiles, thou findest in me: I am thus firm and constant in my expectation, in my profession; and that want, thou findest in her, of ability to nourish her children by the breast of thy word, is not in me; who have abundance both of nourishment and defence upon which my confession and plea, I found grace and peace in the eyes of my Saviour, and received from him assurance of his everlasting love to me.
VIII. 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
My Church is my Vine, and I am the Owner and Husbandman: our thrift and profit thereof far exceedeth the good husbandry of Solomon he hath a rich vineyard indeed in a most fruitful soil, but he lets it forth to the hands of others, as not being able to keep and dress it himself; and therefore he is fain to be content with the greatest part of the increase, not expecting the whole:
VIII. 12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, 0 Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
But my Vine is ever before me: I am with it to the end of the world I reserve it in mine own hands, and dress it with mine own labour; and therefore, if thou, O Solomon, canst receive from thine to the proportion of a thousand, thy workmen and farmers will look for the fifth part to come unto their share, whereas the gain of my vineyard ariseth wholly and only unto myself.
VIII. 13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.
Since therefore, such is my care of thee, and joy in thee, O my Church, which consistest of the particular assemblies of men pro