Longing For Christ’s Visits
“Make haste, my Beloved; and be Thou like to a roe, or to a young hart on the mountains of spices.”
(Song of Solomon 8:14)
Every serious and sensible Christian considers the Song of Solomon as a storehouse of inward religion and a treasury of holy experiences. In no part of the Scriptures is the work of the blessed Spirit on the souls of men more strikingly and more exactly delineated. If some unhappy persons consider this sacred poem in any other view, it is because they are unacquainted with the power of godliness, and have not experienced that renewal in the spirit of their minds, which can alone qualify lost sinners to contemplate with advantage the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
The church addresses the passage quoted above to the Saviour, who has redeemed her by His blood. She styles Him, her Beloved; the object of her supreme affection and the meritorious procurer of all her happiness. She prays for the manifestations of His spiritual presence, and that those manifestations may be speedy: “Make haste, my Beloved! and be Thou,” in the swiftness of Thy approach, “like to a roe, or to a young hart, on the mountains of spices!”
Rapidly as those lively, expeditious animals spring from hill to hill; nimbly as they bound, instantaneously as they leap, on the fragrant mountains of the east; so swiftly do Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance on Thy waiting people, and cheer them with such tokens of Thy grace and favour as are more reviving to the soul than all the odours of the spicy mountains are to the fainting traveller.
On the other hand, a formal professor does not look upon ordinances as means of inward religion, and as steps to communion with God, through the Spirit: but having skimmed the surface of outward duties, he sits down satisfied with externals, and aims at nothing higher.
Not so are the conduct and views of one whose heart God hath touched. The truly awakened soul considers all the exterior means of grace but as channels, through which grace itself and the comforts of it are (in a way of sovereignty and freeness) communicated to them that hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
And as it is not the mere channel of conveyance but the water conveyed which can satisfy thirst, so the Christian is sensible that, not a bare attendance on outward services, but the presence of God enjoyed under those services is that which nourishes the believing soul and renews the believer’s strength.
Hence his heart’s desire and prayer are similar to the verse immediately preceding the text:
“Thou that dwellest in the gardens,” Thou who condescendest to be constantly present in the hearts and assemblies of Thy people, “the companions hearken to Thy voice”: the church above, and the church below, with whom Thou hast vouchsafed to contract a gracious intimacy, are delighted with hearkening to Thy voice of love: a “cause me to hear it!”
Make me also glad with the joy of Thy salvation!
Give me to see the felicity of Thy chosen, and to drink deep of that river, to experience much of that unspeakable fellowship with Thyself, which makes glad the city of God both in earth and heaven.
Then follows the supplication, “Make haste, my Beloved,” with which we began; from all which it appears that Jesus is the object of His people’s love.
And whom should we love, if not Him who loved us, and gave Himself for us?
If the bliss, even of angels and glorified souls, consists greatly in seeing and praising the Son of God, surely to love, to trust and to celebrate the Friend of sinners must be a principal ingredient in the happiness of saints not yet made perfect.
Solomon, whose experience of grace was lively and triumphant when he wrote this Song of Songs, declares in the fifth chapter that Christ is altogether lovely. Other objects may be overrated and too highly esteemed; but so transcendent, so infinite is the excellency of Christ, that He is, and will be to all eternity, more lovely than beloved. Yet though all the love possible for saints and angels to show falls, and will always fall, infinitely short of the Saviour’s due, still it is a blessed privilege to love Him at all, though in ever so faint a manner, and in ever so low a degree.
They that love Him at all wish to love Him more; and more and more they shall love Him, through the ages’ endless duration in heaven, where they shall be like Him, and see Him as He is.
By Augustus Toplady