Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? I raised you up under the apple tree…
I. I SHALL PREMISE SOME THINGS FOR RIGHT UNDERSTANDING THE DOCTRINE. Sin turned this world into an enemy's country in respect of heaven, and so into a wilderness. This her going away up from the wilderness with her espoused Husband, is a going away in heart and affections; it is the soul's motion heavenwards in this life, the last step of which is made at death. Christ's bride at her waygoing, and ongoing with Him thus, is a mystery, a strange sight in the world.
II. I SHALL SHOW IN WHAT RESPECTS BELIEVERS ARE A MYSTERY, A STRANGE SIGHT IN THE WORLD; the power of godliness appearing in their walk at this rate, so that it is said of them, "Who is this?" There is something very amiable about them, as we are told of the primitive Christians (Acts 2:46, 47), that "they continuing daily with one accord in the temple," etc. They are like foreigners in a country, apt to become a gazing-stock, a wonder, about which the natives cannot satisfy themselves.
III. I SHALL GIVE THE REASONS OF THE POINT, THAT TRUE BELIEVERS ARE A MYSTERY, A STRANGE SIGHT IN THE WORLD.
1. Because they are so unlike the world, they are like speckled birds among the rest (1 Peter 4:4).
2. Because they are so unlike themselves in former times.
3. Because they are very rare in the world; they are but here and there one for a marvel (Jeremiah 3:14).USE
I. Of information.
1. Serious souls need not think it strange, if they become a wonder to many (Psalm 71:7).
2. The world is no idle spectator of those who have given themselves to Christ, and profess to follow Him.
3. Those who shall still walk after the course of the world, continue sons of earth, not making away heavenward in the tenor of their life and conversation, are not espoused to Christ; though they have given Him the hand, they have not given Him the heart.USE
II. Of exhortation. O Christians, communicants, walk so as the world may bear witness, that ye are going up out of the wilderness, leaning on your Beloved; that your faces and hearts are heavenward; that ye have set off from them, and are no more theirs. And further, if ye be clothed with humility and with humanity, meek, ruling your own spirit, doing good to all, even to those that wrong you; and are patient under trouble, and living by faith.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.