Song of Solomon 7
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
The commendations of the bride's beauty, which occur in the early verses of this chapter, lead up to the exclamation - so much in harmony with the whole spirit of the Canticles - concerning the fairness, the pleasantness, the delightsomeness, of true love.

I. THE BEAUTY AND GOOD SERVICE OF LOVE, AS A SENTIMENT IN THE HUMAN HEART AND AS A BOND IN HUMAN SOCIETY. As distinguished from mere carnal passion, that conjugal love which is pictured as subsisting between the king and his spouse is justly in this Song of Songs represented as of the purest and highest excellence. It is true that religion and morality put a restraint upon the natural impulses, and the Bible abounds with warnings against yielding to the temptations which are favoured by human nature and by sinful society. But if the way of virtue be a narrow way, it is not without flowers by its borders, both fair and fragrant. The path of self-government and self-denial is a path which has pleasures of its own. And one aim of this Book of Canticles, one justification for its place in canonical Scripture, appears to be its effective depicting of the pure joys of human affection. Where marriage is the result of personal preference and sincere attachment, and where it is entered upon under the guidance of sober reason and forethought, it may well be expected to yield delights. Toil, anxieties, mutual forbearance and self-sacrifice, the endurance in common of life's cares and sorrows, so far from extinguishing love, may refine and hallow it. And maturity of character and spiritual discipline and strength will prove more than a compensation for the abandonment of the "primrose path" of pleasure, in which the unspiritual find their joys. The family and the home are the scene and the embodiment of wedded love. And they are the very basis of human society, the condition and mean's of true human progress, the earnest of a higher state of Christian civilization in the future.

II. HUMAN LOVE IS THE EMBLEM OF THE DIVINE LOVE WHICH UNITES THE SOUL AND THE SAVIOUR, AND WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL AND HEAVENLY JOYS. The highest purpose of that affinity which binds heart to heart is to elicit emotions, and to lead to relations with which our highest welfare here and hereafter is associated. They who read this Book of Canticles without recognizing the divinely appointed connection in question miss not only a literary charm, but a spiritual truth and law. It is to be feared that in the view of some, human love, such as should exist between husband and wife, appears a profane and common, if not a foolish, thing. But God is not honoured by the disparagement of his own provisions and plans. If he has made love so important a factor in human life, he has done so, we may be sure, with a purpose worthy of himself, his wisdom, and grace. As earthly love is elevated and purified by the Divine discipline of this earthly existence, it comes to symbolize, with ever-growing force, the profound affection which subsists between Christ and his Church. And this significance is recognized in the language of St. Paul and St. John regarding the bride and spouse of the Saviour. With reference to the emotions which are cherished by Christ towards his chosen and beloved people, and by his people towards him to whom they are indebted for all they have and for all they hope for, how appropriate is the exclamation, "How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!" Divine love is the source of Divine joy. It is immortal love which is the earnest of "pleasures forevermore." - T.

The figurative language here employed by the royal lover to eulogize the voice and the utterances of the bride is to our colder and more measured habits of thought Oriental extravagance. Yet it is in harmony with the highly coloured character of the book as a whole. And human speech does often awaken within the heart emotions not easily expressed in cool and justifiable panegyric. The human voice is of all music the sweetest, and speech is sweeter even than song, uttering as it does, not the studied and artificial sentiment of the musical composer, but the spontaneous and natural emotions of the speaker's heart.


1. Sincerity is the first condition of all acceptable speech; it is above all things desirable that there should be no discordance between the utterance and the heart. The flatterer at court and in general society speaks only to please; and in the case of those who know his aim and his motives, he fails of the very object he has in view. The Church is bound to speak "words of truth and soberness," as remembering the sacredness of the gift of utterance, and the responsibility attaching to its exercise. To a just mind sincere words are welcome, even though they be less honeyed than the words of the time server and men pleaser.

2. Love prompts to words which are a delight to hear. Whilst the tones of hatred are harsh, and the utterances of coldness are repugnant, kindness, sympathy, affection, give a sweetness to every utterance. Welcome as the words which come from the heart of the beloved, telling of the depth of unchangeable affection, are those Christian declarations in which the Church gives expression to her love for her Saviour and her pity for the world.

II. CHRISTIAN SPEECH IS SWEET WHEN IT TESTIFIES TO THE LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS OF THE LORD. There is no exercise more congenial to Christ's people, more acceptable to Christ himself, than this. The powers of speech cannot be more holily and honourably employed than in uttering forth the high praises of God, in lauding and magnifying the redeeming love of Christ. The hymn which is lisped by the little child, the anthem which rings through the cathedral aisles, the quiet word of witness in which the friend commends the Saviour to him who is dear to his heart, - these are but some of the forms in which language may show forth the greatness, the goodness, the wisdom, of the Eternal. What theme so worthy of the tongue, "the glory of the frame," as this? The voice of praise and thanksgiving is dear to the heart alike of God and man.

III. CHRISTIAN SPEECH IS SWEET WHEN UTTERING TESTIMONY TO THE GOSPEL OF GOD'S LOVE. Men's hearts have to be reached and to be affected by the tidings of Divine mercy and compassion. It is most condescending and gracious on God's part that he deigns to employ human agency in the service of his own Divine beneficence. If men avail themselves of all the resources of human rhetoric in order to obtain earthly ends - power, wealth, and fame - how much more ready should they be to use all the faculties they possess, all the arts and means they can acquire, to bring before their fellow men the tidings of heavenly and immortal love! Well may every preacher and. every teacher of Divine truth put up the prayer -

"Jesus, confirm my heart's desire,
To work, to think, to speak for thee:
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up thy gift in me!" = - t.

I am my beloved's, etc. The scene is still in "the king's chambers" at Jerusalem. What Solomon has said to her whom he would win is of no avail; her heart is true to her beloved. This emphatic redeclaration of her love for that beloved one is all the response that the king's flatteries have obtained. She speaks as if she were already away from the palace and back at her country home; once more occupied in her usual occupations and enjoying her former happy intercourse with her beloved. But the going forth to her work suggests the idea of going forth in spiritual work, and the language she uses points to the manner in which such work may be successfully done. We may take the section as an allegory concerning Christian missions. It suggests -

I. WHAT PROMPTS THEM. (Ver. 10.) The profound and delightful realization of Christ's love towards and within us. Such work, if done only because we are afraid of the judgment day, when we all must give account of our stewardship; or from mere sense of duty; still less when the motive is ecclesiastical ambition; or even when pity for the ignorance and general sad condition of the heathen is the motive; - all such promptings have but partial, some very partial, power. The true motive is that which the rapturous expression of ver. 10 reveals -

II. HOW THEY SHOULD BE CARRIED ON. "Come, my Beloved, let us," etc.

1. The presence of Christ should be invoked. (Ver. 11.) "Let us go forth," etc. Then:

2. There should be the going forth. Away from accustomed haunts, away from the place of ordinances and privileges, to where none of these things are enjoyed.

3. With diligence. "Let us rise early" (ver. 12).

4. With watchfulness, not alone in planting, but for growth and progress.

III. THEIR TRUE. NATURE. (Ver. 12.) "There will I give thee," etc. They are an acceptable offering of our love to Christ and its true manifestation. A love to Christ that is not expansive, that does not go forth to bless others, is no true love, but something very different (1 Corinthians 15:10).

IV. THEY SHALL BE REWARDED WITH DELIGHTFUL SUCCESS. (Ver. 13.) May not the lack of this - though, indeed, it is not entirely absent - be owing to some grave defect in motive or manner?

V. ALL THE GLORY WILL BE RENDERED TO CHRIST. "Which I have laid up for thee. (Ver. 13.) Cf. the account of the first missionary meeting and report (Acts 14:27). - S.C.

The assurance of mutual possession and affection occurs in an earlier part of the poem; but its repetition here is not without significance. Love has not lessened as time has passed; it has rather deepened, as experience has revealed, to each of the married lovers, the faithfulness and kindness, the purity and, devotion, of the other. Hence the bride adds to this later exclamation, "I am my beloved's," the statement which is the expression of experience, "His desire is toward. me." Transferring the language to the relations and sentiments distinctive of the mutual attachment of Christ and his people, we observe here a declaration -


1. The Lord takes a deep satisfaction in his people, and regards them with a holy complacency.

2. He desires that they should participate in his character and reflect hid image. Spiritual fellowship with him tends to bring about this result, than which nothing can be more to the mind of the Head of the Church.

3. He desires that they may be qualified witnesses to himself, and agents in promoting his cause and glory upon earth. And this, for his own sake indeed, yet also for the Church's sake, and for the sake of the world for whose salvation he lived and died on earth.

II. OF THE RESPONSE OF THE CHURCH, HER SURRENDER OF HERSELF COMPLETELY TO HER SPOUSE AND LORD. This attitude of heart has been beautifully expressed in these words: "I attach myself to God, I give myself to him; and. he turns to me immediately; his eyes look upon me with favour; his Spirit is attentive to my good; his great heart bows itself and stoops to my nothingness; he unites his heart to mine; he heaps upon it new graces, to attach it more strongly to him. Devote thyself, O my soul, wholly to thy God."

1. Spiritual receptiveness is the just response to Divine desire. If it is the will and pleasure of the Saviour to take possession of the whole nature and life of his people, it is equally their will and pleasure to abandon all other aims in life, and to devote themselves to this, with the view of becoming his only, his altogether, and his forever.

2. Spiritual consecration completes this just response. Human nature is not merely passive; it is energetic. Human life is an opportunity, not only for getting, but for giving. The Church must indeed receive from the Divine Head every qualification which can fit for the discharge of duty, for the rendering of service. But it is hers to prove her gratitude and her fidelity to the trust reposed in her, by devoting herself to those high ends with a view to which she has been chosen, loved, and redeemed. - T.

Earth is a great picture gallery, full of illustrations of heavenly things. This material universe is the projection of God's thoughts; the visible expression of his dispositions; the blossoming of his love. The God of nature is the God of religion; hence the same lessons appear in both. As we have seen in the home of a great artist the handiworks of his genius adorning parlours and halls, corridors and bed chambers - works in all stages of development - so is it in God's world. Pictures of him abound. Every garden is a lesson book for humanity; every well kept garden is a portrait of a saint; every fruitful vineyard is an emblem of Christ's Church. Said the Prophet Isaiah to the godly man, "Thou shalt be as a well watered garden." "My Well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill." The highest fruitfulness is the result of patient culture. Prosperity is threatened by many foes. Human agency must cooperate with Divine power in order "to bring forth fruit unto perfection." Every flower and blossom is an outburst of God's glory. Earth is crammed full of heavenly things.

I. IN ALL HOLY SERVICE THE MOTIVE POWER IS LOVE. "Come, my beloved." Thus Jesus speaks.

1. God's works spring from love. We cannot conceive any other reason why the eternal God should have begun to create, unless that happiness and love might be multiplied. Love would not permit him to keep all good within himself. Love impelled him to produce various orders of sentient life. His joy is increased by witnessing the joys of others.

"Yes, he has gemmed with worlds the abyss,
Filled them with beauty, life, and bliss,
Only the wider to dispense
The gifts of his beneficence.
Oh yes! creation planned above
Was but for mercy's stream a vent,
The outgushings of eternal love -
Ay, this is love's embodiment."

2. This love in us springs from our assurance of Christ's love. The love that is fruitful in service realizes the personal friendship of Christ. If I am tormented with doubts touching my acceptance by Christ, I shall have no energy for service. I have only a limited capacity of power, and if I expend this in solving difficult questions, or in calming my own fears, I shall be unfit for service. If the Master is saying to me, "Son, go work today in my vineyard," and if I reply, "Lord, I know not if I be a son," I shall not accomplish any good. But when 1 know that I am "accepted in the Beloved," there is a mainspring of love within that stirs all the energies of my soul. Then my daily prayer will be, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Then, "the love of Christ constraineth me." "For to me to live is Christ." It would be a painful restraint on my new nature if I did not render him service. Then his "service is perfect freedom."

3. True love hears Immanuel's voice. "Come, my beloved." Love moves into healthful activity every organ. It not only gives activity to the feet; it gives sensitiveness to the ear. The voice of Christ is not addressed to the bodily organ; it is addressed to the soul. It is a spiritual communication; a "still small voice." As in the days of his flesh the multitude did not understand the speech that came from heaven - "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again;" they thought that it thundered, or that an angel spake; so is it still. The Christian hears a voice that no one else can hear. The passing crowd may hear a faint hum, as the wind passes through the telegraphic wires, but the message conveyed through the wire is understood only by the person trained to receive it. So the voice of heavenly authority and the voice of heavenly friendship is heard only by wakeful, tender love.

4. Love craves to give itself expression. Love is an expansive power. It is a law of its nature to spread; to go out in practical forms. Like the force of steam, it cannot be held in restraint. The hotter steam becomes, the more it expands. The present motive power in commerce, and in swift locomotion, results from the expansive power of steam. So all human philanthropy and all missionary enterprise are the outcome of fervent love. It would be painful to love if no service were permitted. She is girt and sandalled, waiting to scale rugged mountains, waiting to cross tempestuous seas, waiting to traverse perilous deserts, in order to tell the perishing that Jesus can save. Love never wearies. Service is her delight. There is within an irresistible instinct to do good.


1. This is a real experience. To many persons the presence of Christ is a fiction; it may be a part of their creed, nothing more. They read of it as a promise, but they have never realized it. Yet they may. For on the part of a faithful servant of Christ his presence is a real enjoyment. Every inspiration of benevolent desire is from him. He talks with us by the way. We ask for strength, and he gives it. We lack courage, and he supplies it abundantly. He makes our dumb lips eloquent. As truly as we hold intercourse with an earthly friend - yea, more truly - do we have real and joyous intercourse with Jesus. If he spake the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway," certainly he will fulfil it. Why should he not? Is anything too hard for him to accomplish? Some imagine that the real presence of Christ is to be found only in the sacrament of the Super. This is a delusion. His real presence is ever in the spiritual temple, i.e. in the temple of a Christian's heart. Saith he, "I will never leave thee, will never forsake thee;" so that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my Helper."

2. This companionship with Jesus is a real honour. When, in olden time, the King of England went out in person to war, every peer in the realm counted it an honour to go with him. It was dishonourable to stay at home. Every duke and earl would rather dwell amid hardship and danger on the battlefield, if the king were there, than amid the luxuries of their own castle halls. To be near the person of the king was counted high honour. Yet this honour was as nothing - an empty bubble - compared with companionship with Jesus Christ. To be companion with the King of heaven is real honour and real advantage. It is Christ alone who can teach us what honour is. Honour is inseparable from righteousness, and he is Perfect Righteousness. And Christ is a Worker. He is the good Shepherd, ever going out in search of lost sheep; so, if we wish to have companionship with Jesus, we must be workers too. Service is honourable. It is in service that we shall find Christ nearest us. There is a legend of a pious monk in the Middle Ages, who had a vision of the Saviour. The man was ravished with holy joy. It was a season of hallowed communion with his Lord. At that moment the bell rang, and it was the duty of this monk to distribute food to the poor. There was a struggle in his mind. Should he leave this vision, and break up this sweet fellowship? The bell called him to a sacred duty, and he responded and went. At the end of an hour he returned, and lo! the vision was still there. Then the lips of the Master moved, and he said, "Unless thou hadst fulfilled thy call of duty, I had departed." If Jesus is with us, almighty strength is assured. Unerring wisdom is ours; sweetest sympathy cheers us; certain success is in sight. "I will go in the strength of the Lord God."

III. IN HOLY SERVICE THERE WILL BE SELF-DENIAL. "Let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages; let us get up early to the vineyards." Now, this language does not seem natural or customary in the lips of an earthly king. But it is natural and seemly in the lips of the Prince of heaven. For it is his delight to humble himself, and to become the Servant of all.

1. Discomfort and hardship are foretold. "Let us go into the field." Jesus is very frank and outspoken. Not on any account will he hide from us the hard conditions of his service. Plainly did he tell his first disciples what toils and persecutions they would have to endure. And the Word still abides, "They that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution." Paul was forewarned of the perils that awaited him in every city. But the real friend of Jesus is prepared for self-denial. Apart from self-denial, his service would not be like the service of Jesus. "The disciple is not greater than his Master, nor the servant than his Lord." The Son of God says to us, "Let us go forth into the field." We must leave for a time the fair palaces of our Prince, and lodge in narrow tenements. Yet is there any ground for lamentation? Any roof which covers us, however humble, shall be a palace of delight if only Christ be with us there. The palace does not make the dweller therein a king; but the presence of the King makes the house a palace. Difficulties and self denials will be quietly borne if we are on Christ's errands. Yea, they will be welcome, if love to Jesus prevail "They have put me," said Rutherford, "into a prison; but Immanuel came and made it into a banquet house." Yes, if Jesus come with us into our lowly cottage: forthwith "the doors shall be pearls, and the windows agates," and the fence shall be made of all kinds of precious stones.

2. We shall be willing to continue in this self-denying work. "Let us lodge in the villages." We must not grow weary in this well doing. Many a man will rouse his courage to face some herculean task or to fight in some sharp conflict, who will yet faint under the weariness of a long campaign or fall in patient, endurance. The service to which Jesus calls us is lifelong, and the discomfort may be long continued. Still, we will embrace it with joy. "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." The Christian missionary who goes into a foreign field to sow the heavenly seed, must be prepared for long continued, sacrifice. So should every true servant of the King. For self-denial is not long continued pain. The joy of pleasing Christ, and the blessedness of his company, nullifies the pain and overcomes the discomfort. Soon the self-denial loses its sting. The loss becomes a gain, and every thorn blossoms into a rose. "Out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the bitter comes forth sweetness." The love of Christ changes everything. It makes our hell into heaven.

3. There will even be eagerness for this arduous work. "Let us get up early to the vineyards." To enter upon this hard toil in company with Jesus, we shall be ready to forego comfortable sleep. Soon as morn breaks, soon as the opportunity allows, we shall be ready to leap forth to the task. Our old inclinations are overcome and supplanted with new desires and new endeavours. We are burning with ardour to show Jesus our love. We shall feel ashamed if our zeal does not in some measure resemble the zeal of our Immanuel. He was consumed with holy and intensest ardour to do us good. Said he, "How am I straitened till it be accomplished!" He panted to reach the cross. And now he has commissioned us to take his place and to carry out his work. As his Father had sent him into the world, so has he sent us. His love is to be perpetuated through us. His devotion to humanity must reappear in us. His self-consuming zeal must glow in our breasts. As he could not represent among men the everlasting love of his Father except by incessant toil, humiliating suffering, and a death of public shame, so neither can we adequately represent the saving grace of Christ before men except by enthusiastic zeal and completest consecration. There will be a constant watchfulness forevery opportunity of service. To do Christ's work will be our meat and our drink. A principle of sacred earnestness must possess us. As the hallowed fire on the temple altar was not allowed to expire, so must not the fire of holy zeal ever expire on the altar of our hearts. "We are not our own;" we belong to another; "we are bought with a price;" therefore duty demands that we glorify our Master "with our bodies and with our spirits, which are his."

IV. IN HOLY SERVICE THERE IS GREAT VARIETY OF USEFULNESS, "Let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth."

1. Christ's work is the pattern of ours. The work of Jesus among men was manifold. He opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, straightened paralyzed limbs, fed the hungry, brought the dead back to life, Pardoned men's sins, purified corrupt and vicious lives, led the erring into light. We dwell in the same world in which Christ dwelt. We are encompassed with suffering humanity. We have the same motives for labour. Here there is scope forevery capacity. If you cannot preach to great assemblies, you can speak to a wayfarer for Christ. If you cannot vindicate the truth against the assaults of the scoffer, you can feed a hungry child, or console a sorrowing widow, or visit the bedridden, or pray for the outcasts. The youngest disciple may find something to do for Christ's kingdom in this world of sin and suffering. "As ye have opportunity, do good unto all men;" "Freely ye have received, freely give." In nature each drop of falling rain produces a distinct effect, so in the kingdom of Christ a cup of cold water given to a thirsty Child obtains its reward.

2. Concern for the young is here suggested. "Whether the tender grape appear." Every living Church will have special agencies to gain the young. They have special claims on us. The heart is as yet unoccupied. Character is plastic. Feeling is fresh. There is eager inquiry after the truth. Labour among the young is full of promise. In the young Jesus Christ feels special interest. Every parent should see to it that their children's hearts are opening to Christ. We ought to see conversion to God very early. If faith be the great essential, then very early do children put faith in a Parent or in a friend, and such faith they can as readily place in Jesus the Saviour. Parents have special promises from God to encourage their hope. "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring." Jesus has special love for the lambs in the flock.

"The flower, when offered in the bud,
Is no vain sacrifice."

3. Pious care for all inquirers is indicated. "Let us see whether the pomegranates bud forth." It is a hopeful sign of grace when one is inquiring after the light. Already them is a stir in that dead soul. The deep sleep of sin is broken. The man is awaking. Possibly, like some inveterate sluggard, he may turn over on the other side, and fall into deeper sleep than before. Such a thing often happens, both in nature and in grace. Now is our opportunity while he is half awake. Now let the alarm bell of the gospel sound in his ear. Such methods as true wisdom and love can devise should be vigorously employed. How precious is the moment! Anon it will have fled. There is much to be done. Impression has to be made, instruction given, feeling aroused, conviction wrought, desire excited, resolution taken. Every inquirer after God should be sought out - should be the object of the Christian's concern.

V. IN HOLY SERVICE THERE IS A PRESENT REWARD. "The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old."

1. The reward is the outcome of natural law. As the fruit is already in embryo in the seed, so is reward already in the service, though as yet undeveloped. As hell is the ripe fruit of sin, so heaven is the ripe fruit of holy service. The faithful steward of ten talents shall have ten talents more entrusted to him: this is his reward. The pleasant fruits of the garden shall be the reward of the faithful husbandman. Such fruits are "old and new." Others preceding us have sown good seed, done noble work in the vineyard. We enter upon the results, and gather in the fruits. Old fruit at times is preferable to new. Apples and nuts mellow with age. So the ripe wisdom of old saints is a spiritual banquet. The promises given to Abraham have a good flavour. The faith that has been of long standing - the faith of Elijah and Paul, e.g. - is a very pleasant fruit, while fresh zeal and fresh courage are equally delightful. "Fruits old and new."

2. God's provision for us is ample. If we go diligently about our Master's work, be sure that he will provide. He had said, "Let us get up early, and go forth into the vineyards;" and lo! when noon came and hunger looked for a meal, here at the gate was a royal provision. So Jesus taught his first disciples, that if they attended to his business he would take the responsibility for their wants. He gave to Peter and his comrades a miraculous draught of fishes; then he said, "Feed my sheep; Go into all the world, and preach the gospel;" "My God shall supply all your need, out of his riches in glory by Jesus Christ."

3. Jesus provides a reward suitable to every taste. "All manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee." When our Immanuel spreads for us a banquet, nothing shall be wanting. Is there a fruit anywhere in God's universe that will meet a want of mine or satisfy a longing? It shall be given me. "He will give thee the desires of thy heart;" "In his garden is all manner of pleasant fruit."

4. Present rewards are the pledge of greater. These fruits are found at our gates." It is as if our Immanuel had said, This is only the beginning of good. There's more to follow." And this is most assuredly true. Present possessions are only pledges and earnests of higher and richer good. The love of Christ in the heart is an entrancing joy, but I shall have a larger experience of it by and by. These attainments of piety and excellence are "treasures of the kingdom," but I shall grow richer yet. My knowledge of God in Christ is a precious possession, but the "half has not been told me." Jesus has many things to reveal to me, but I cannot bear them yet. No! "Eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for them that love him."

VI. IN HOLY SERVICE WE GAIN FULLEST ASSURANCES OF IMMANUEL'S LOVE. "There will I give thee my love presents." Toward the close of his ministry Jesus said to his disciples, "He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and we will come unto him, and will make our abode with him." This is the love token, or the love present, which our Immanuel gives us, viz. his abiding presence in our hearts - the sunshine of his love. The idler in God's vineyard need never be surprised if he lack the full assurance of his sonship. It had never been promised him. To give this love present to such a one would be a premium upon indolence. Mark that it is in the field of service that Jesus gives his love tokens. It is to earnest and faithful labourers he confers the full assurance of hope. The consensus of observation testifies that in seasons of apathy and slothfulness we lose the assurance of heaven. But when we run with alacrity in the path of service, then heaven opens to us, and we read our title clear. Is it a real joy to us when we lock into the face of an earthly friend and realize his tender sympathy? Must it not be a greater joy to look into the face of Jesus and feel that he is our Brother? Do the minstrels of the woods pour out a fresh tide of song when the genial sun of May shines upon them? And when we come into the warm sunshine of Immanuel's love, and know that he has made with us an everlasting covenant, shall not our hearts be all aglow with joy? For nothing on earth is more sure than this, that if I give my whole self unreservedly to Jesus, he has impelled me to do it, and upon me he confers the wealth of his eternal friendship. "My Beloved is mine, and I am his." - D.

Man was made, not for solitude, but for society; not for selfishness, but for love. This principle of human nature and life is taken up by religion, and is employed for man's highest, spiritual, immortal interests. The soul which yields itself to Christ delights in his fellowship, and finds therein its true satisfaction. Like the bride who is represented in this poem as saying to her spouse, "Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field," etc., the soul craves the society of the Saviour, and longs for his perpetual companionship.


1. It is companionship to which Christ invites his people. None could address him thus unless first assured of the Lord's interest, friendliness, and love.

2. It is spiritual companionship. The twelve who were with him in his earthly ministry were admitted to close, delightful, and profitable intimacy. They saw his form and heard his voice. Yet, in our case, though we cannot perceive him as they did, the association is equally real; for he is with his people alway.

3. It is companionship in which he is the superior, and we are the dependent. It is true he says, "Abide in me, and I in you;" but he is the Vine, and we the branches.

II. THE OCCASIONS AND MANIFESTATIONS OF THIS COMPANIONSHIP. Observe under this consideration how Christ's friendship appears superior to every merely human association. We may enjoy his society:

1. In our occupations, whatever be their special nature.

2. In our enjoyments, which are all hallowed by his gracious presence and approval.

3. In our sufferings, when we perhaps most need him, and when his sympathy is peculiarly precious, consolatory, and helpful.

4. In our services; for how can we do his work, except beneath his direction and the encouragement of his smile?

III. THE BENEFITS OF THIS COMPANIONSHIP. When Christ is with us, in the varied scenes and experiences of our earthly life:

1. Our gratitude to him will be livelier.

2. Our love to him will be warmer.

3. Our conformity to his will and character will be more complete.

4. Our inseparability from him will be more assured. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

"His is love beyond a brother's,
Faithful, free, and knows no end." T.

When the bride invites the king to revisit the home of her childhood and the scenes of their early acquaintance and attachment, among other alluring representations she assures him that there will be found, laid up for his use by her thoughtful affection, all manner of precious fruits, new and old. A suitable emblem this of the gathered and garnered spiritual fruits which in this earthly life Christ's people are expected to prepare for him at his coming, and which it will be their delight to offer to him as the expression of their grateful love. Properly understood, the main purpose of the Christian life is the growing, gathering, and garnering of precious fruits for the approval and service of the Lord.


1. They are the fruits of spiritual life and experience.

2. They are the "fruits of the Spirit" - the virtues especially Christian, fruits of righteousness, those qualities of character which are the peculiar growth of grace.

3. They are fruits of service; not things enjoyed so much as things achieved.


1. They are the fruit of his own garden, the growth which testifies to the care and culture of the Divine Husbandman.

2. They are of a nature to yield a peculiar satisfaction and pleasure to him.

3. They are such as he will use for his own purposes, and for the display of his own glory and praise. - T.

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