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the things which are seen and temporal-how prone we should be to forget his love, and crucify him afresh by our sins. The institution of the sacrament of the supper, he has calculated to guard us in these respects. It is calculated to teach us our weakness ; to teach us our dependence, and the necessity of feeding on him by faith ; to teach us the greatness of his sufferings ; the evil of sin ; the holiness of God's law, and the end of his death. In a word, the whole history of redemption is so concentrated into one point, and brought to our view, in this memorial of his love, that it cannot but draw forth the love, gratitude, and obedience of all, who have not hearts of stone.
Let us, my brethren, on this occasion, strive for lively exercises of humility, of gratitude and love. Let us in the memorial of a suffering Saviour, con template his benevolence, the excellencies of his character, and his mediatorial qualifications. He was made perfect through sufferings. In Him, all fulness dwells. He is made, of God, unto us, wise dom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ; that he who glorieth, should glory in the Lord. Let us view him as Immanuel, as speaking from the bosom of the Father, and as speaking as never man spake. Let us view him, in the several steps of his humiliation and triumph, in all the acts of his power, faithfulness, and grace, till our souls flow forth in holy resolutions, through divine grace, of renewed obedi. ence and exertions in his cause. By attending on means and ordinances, in this veil of flesh, may we be prepared to see him in his glory, without a veillove himn without colonesg-menter into the joys prea pared for those that lore him, and join in the ascriptions of the church triumphant- Unto Him that loved us, and washed is from our sins, in his own blood ; to Him te glory anel dominion for ever and ever.” Angen,
THE CHURCH BEAUTIFUL AND FORMIDABLE,
SONG OF SOLOMON 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 ?
HIS inspired poem was written by Solomon, the king of Israel. It is a sacred allegory ; and is written, like many other parts of the sacred scriptures, in a dramatic form. The principal characters exhibited are the bridegroom and the bride. These are represented as conversing together, or as speaking respecting each other. The excellencies of each, and their affection for each other, form the principal subject of the poem.
The bridegroom metaphorically represents Christ; and by his affection for the bride, is represented Christ's love to the church. The bride, of consequence, metaphorically represents the church. She is called the bride, the lamb's wife. Rev. xxi. 3. Her affection for the bridegroom represents the love of the church to Christ. The bride rejoices to hear the bridegroom's voice; and so does the church to hear Christ's voice. This is the Saviour's testimony -"He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom; but
the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth, and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly, because of the bridegroom's voice.” John iii. 29. Her admiration of the bridegroom, and disposition to extal him, metaphorically represent the church, admiring Christ, and setting forth his divine excellencies. Every thing in this book is expressed figuratively ; making of the whole a sacred allegory: containing many important truths, for the satisfaction and comfort of those, who with an humble, sanctified mind apply themselves to the careful perusal of it.
It is by no means to be understood carnally, (as: some, unfriendly to the sacred scriptures, have pretended) or literally, concerning Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter, and their marriage. It may be understood as alluding to it in some respects; and to the general custom or manner of celebrating the: nuptials of persons in those eastern countries, at that period ; but it is to be understood spiritually, concerning Christ and the church, or all true believers. This might be made evident from many considerations. It will be sufficient to suggest two or three.
1. Many of the descriptions of the bridegroom and bride in this book are such as could not, witlo any propriety, be applied to Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter; as where he is introduced as a shepherd, and called his bride's brother, Chap. v. and where he gives such high and extraordinary commendations of himself, as are frequent in this book ; and as where the bride is the keeper of the vineyards, and of sheep, and is said to be smitten and abused by the watchmen, and to be terrible as an army, and to be like a company of Pharaoh's horses. There are also many other expressions and descriptions, which if applied-literally to a bridegroom and bride, would be absurd and monstrous ; but understood allegorically, and applied to Christ and the church, may ex
press interesting truths ; they are doubtless therefore to be so understood and applied.
2. This will appear further evident from the consideration, that the idea of the Messiah's being the head, husband, and saviour of God's people, was familiar to the prophets, and the wise and pious Iraelites, in the time of the Old Testament. God compares himself to a bridegroom, and his church to a bride. Isa. Ixii. He calls and owns himself the husband of his people. Isa. liv. and Hosea ii. In these places, it appears by comparing them with other scriptures, that the terms God, or the Lord, are intended to point out Christ, or the second person in the Godhead ; who was to come, and since has come into the world for the consummation of the union between God and his people, which has been eternally designed. In the New Testament, Christ is expressly declared, and with particular allusion to the language of the Old Testament, to be the bridegroom, or husband of his church. The 45th Psalm, which is admitted by all interpreters, both Jewish anel Christian, to refer to Christ, and the mystical union between him and the church, and to be incapable of any other consistent meaning, is but a kind of abridgment of this Song of Solomon. In both there is an allusion to the marriage of Sołomion and Pharaoh's daughter. But the great object, in both cases, is to celebrate the union between Christ and his. church.
From these considerations, though many others might be suggested, I think it is sufficiently manifest, that the great scope and business of this book is to describe the mutual love, union, and communion, which subsist between Christ and the church, in the various conditions to which it is liable in this world; such as a state of weakness, desertion, and persecution, from foolish and wicked shepherds, or pastors and the like.
I would just add here, for the confirmation of these idcas, and for further explanation, that it is to be considered, that the sacred writer often varies his speech. Sometimes he speaks of the church in general, as one person, or body; and sometimes of the particular members of it, or of individual believers, both such as are sincere, and such as are not. This occasions the difference of characters exhibited, as the mother and spouse--the children, or daughters of Jerusalem--those who are strangers to the bridegroom, and those who are well acquainted with him.
Having premised these things, in support of the figurative meaning of this book, and in explanation of the allegory which it contains ; I come now, more particularly, to consider the words of our text. « Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners ?"
The text begins with the question, Who is she ? The person respected is evidently the church. The question does not imply an uncertainty as to this ; but seems designed merely to express admiration, and commendation. Who? (i.e.) what manner of person is this? How excellent and glorious! Therefore, to describe her beauty, excellency, and glory, she is compared to the inorning--to the moon-to the sun-and to an army in battle array. The design of the present discourse is,
I. Briefly to illustrate these comparisons. And,
II. To point out what that is, which renders the church so beautiful and glorious, and so terrible to her enemies.
I. I am to illustrate the several comparisons in the text.