Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Song of Solomon, Taylor, Edwards, Spurgeon

I'll concur with the saints of past is seeing the Song of Solomon as ultimately a picture of Christ and His bride. Many found this book to be instrumental to their intimacy with Christ and often preached on it. I pray you find the two excerpts below very moving and fruitful.

I like how Jonathan Edwards (who read this book frequently) intoduces this book:
"The name by which Solomon calls this song confirms to me that it is more than an ordinary love song and that it was designed for a divine song and of divine authority for we read in 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon's songs were "a thousand and five". This he called the "Song of Songs" (Canticles 1:1). That is the most excellent of his songs which seems very probable to me to be upon that account because it was a song of the most excellent subject, treating of the love, union and communion between Christ and His spouse of which marriage and conjugal love was but a shadow. These are the most excellent lovers and their love the most excellent love".
Edwards, Jonathan - "Volume 15 - Notes on Scripture", Yale University Press.

Hudson Taylor on the Song of Solomon (a devotional)

Look not upon me, because I am swarthy,Because the sun hath scorched me.My mother's sons were incensed against me,They made me keeper of the vineyards;But mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Our attention is here drawn to a danger which is pre-eminently one of this day: the intense activity of our times may lead to zeal in service, to the neglect of personal communion; but such neglect will not only lessen the value of the service, but tend to incapacitate us for the highest service. If we are watchful over the souls of others, and neglect our own--if we are seeking to remove the motes from our brother's eye, unmindful of the beam in our own, we shall often be disappointed with our powerlessness to help our brethren, while our MASTER will not be less disappointed in us. Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do; and that all fruit borne when not abiding in CHRIST must be fruit of the flesh, and not of the SPIRIT. The sin of neglected communion may be forgiven, and yet the effect remain permanently; as wounds when healed often leave a scar behind.

Now here is C.H. Spurgeon upon the same passage

Many are working very hard for wealth, which means, of course, for "self", that they may be enriched. Some are working simply for a competence, which means, if it goes no farther, still for "self". Others work for their families, a motive good enough in its way, but still only an enlargement, after all, of "self". To the Christian there must always be a far higher, deeper, purer, truer motive than self in its widest sense; or else the day must come when he will look back upon his life, and say, "They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard" -that is, the service of Christ, the glory of him that bought me with his blood "have I not kept." It seems to me to be a terrible calamity to have to look back on twenty years, and say, "What have I done in all those twenty years for Christ? How much of my energy has been spent in striving to glorify him? I have had talents: how many of those talents have been used for him who gave them to me? I have had wealth, or I have had influence. How much of that money have I spent distinctly for my Lord? How much of that influence have I used for the promotion of his kingdom?" You have been busy with this notion, and that motive, and the other endeavor; but have you lived as you will wish to have lived when you stand at his right hand amid his glories? Have you so acted that you will then judge yourself to have well lived when your Lord and Master shall come to call you to account? Ask yourself, "Am I an earnest laborer together with God, or am I, after all, only a laborious trifler, an industrious doer of nothing, working hard to accomplish no purpose of the sort for which I ought to work, since I ought to live unto my Lord alone?" I invite all my fellow-servants to take a retrospect, and just to see whether they have kept their own vineyards. I suppose that they have worked hard. I only put the question Have they kept their own vineyards? Have they served the Lord in all things? I am half afraid to go a step farther. To a very large degree we have not been true to our own professions: our highest work has been neglected, we have not kept our own vineyards. In looking back, how little time has been spent by us in communion with God! How little a part of our thoughts has been occupied with meditation, contemplation, adoration, and other acts of devotion! How little have we surveyed the beauties of Christ, his person, his work, his sufferings, his glory! We say that it is "heaven below" to commune with Christ; but do we do it? We profess that there is no place like the mercy-seat. How much are we at that mercy-seat? We often say that the Word of God is precious that every page of it glows with a heavenly light. Do we study it? Friends, how much time do you spend upon it? I venture to say that the bulk of Christians spend more time in reading the newspaper than they do in reading the Word of God. I trust that I am too severe in this statement, but I am afraid, greatly afraid, that I am not. The last new book, perhaps the last sentimental story, will win attentive reading; when the divine, mysterious, unutterable depths of heavenly knowledge are disregarded by us. Our Puritan forefathers were strong men, because they lived on the Scriptures. None stood against them in their day, for they fed on good food, whereas their degenerate children are far too fond of unwholesome food. The 'chaff of fiction', and the 'bran of the Quarterlies', are poor substitutes for the 'old corn of Scripture', the 'fine flour of spiritual truth'. Alas, my brethren, too many eat the 'unripe fruit of the vineyards of Satan', and the fruits of the Lord's vines they utterly despise! Think of our neglect of our God, and see whether it is not true that we have treated him very ill. We have been in the shop, we have been on the exchange, we have been at the markets, we have been in the fields, we have been in the public libraries, we have been in the lecture-room, we have been in the forum of debate; but our own closets and studies, our walk with God, and our fellowship with Jesus, we have far too much neglected.

From The Unkept Vineyard; Or, Personal Work Neglected #1936

If you pray for yourself in this matter, then pray also for me!


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