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A15339 An exposition vppon the Booke of the Canticles, otherwise called Schelomons Song. Published for the edification of the Church of God. By T.VV. T. W. (Thomas Wilcox), 1549?-1608. 1585 (1585) STC 25622; ESTC S119964 142,941 290

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nothing at all so rechlesse and vnfaithfull manye times are they that should be most forward but proceedeth to declare what issue her diligent searching had namely that shee was scarce gone from them or passed but a little way from them When I found him whom my soule loueth vz. to the great ioy and contentment of my hart I tooke hold of him As in the former wordes she had declared what she did before shee found him so now shee sheweth what she did after she had found him vz. laid fast and sure holde of him as loath to let him depart whome shee had so painefullye sought and did so tenderly loue Neither will I suffer him to depart vz. at any time or by any meanes from me She sheweth the holy purpose she had to detaine and keep Christ with her for the better performance whereof also shee maketh a promise that shee might thereby be the more straightlye bound to the doing of the same Till I shall haue brought him into my mothers house For the word till see before chapter 2. 17. meaning also by her mothers house moste familiar and delightfull dwelling and continuaunce with him by which also for the great loue that mothers beare vnto their children for which see Isaiah 49. as also Isaiah 66. 13. she noteth most comfortable intertainement and friendlye continuing togeather as it were vnder one roofe And into the inner chamber shee meaneth the best place of the house and most secreat and if any one were more secreat better than an other See 2. King 6. 12. Of her that conceiued me A periphrasis or description of hir mother See Psal 51. 5. Verse 5. 1. I charge you by an oth The church hauing obtayned her husband and his holy companye or felowship enioyneth and that verye vehementlye the particular members thereof to doe nothing that may bee grieuous vnto him and no doubt but shee hath a speciall regarde to the custome vsed then and yet euen at this day in some places vsed amongest vs namely that songes are sung before the Bryde chamber and certaine noyses of instruments broght to wake the bride and bridegrome from sleepe See all this verse euen word for word as it is heere expounded before chap. 2. verse 7. which also is an vsuall thing in this booke as we see in many mariage songs and other kind of verses also Vers 1. Who is she vz. beside my selfe q. d. what people is there in the world besides the church that would do this and that that is those things which are expressed in this verse And heere beginneth the other part of the chap in which the church correcting as it were her former speech speaketh thus as it were what shoulde I cause him to remaine with me Nay rather I shoulde striue to enter into his pallace who hath all thinges moste fayre beste furnished and exceedingly sweete and well smelling yea whose very Bedde or Bride-chamber is much more glorious then all Solomons roialty which afterwards shee commendeth in many respectes That would come vp out of the wildernesse that is forsake the world and the things that be therein which may bee aptly compared to a wildernesse because as it is commonly ful of hurtful noysome thinges so is the world As it were perfumed with the liftings vp of smoke that is ascending vp directly euen as pillers of smoke She addeth perfumed with myrh and incense Wee know that these were sweet pleasant things for the sauour and smell of them see Psal 45. 8 Better then all the fine powder of the Apothecarie The worde that is here turned Apothecary signifieth such a merchaunt as selleth all sortes of sweete smelling thinges Our grossers heere amongest vs but specially our Apothecaries haue their shops most stuffed with such sauours and are moste often in the compounding of such things for smell and therefore it is not yll turned Apothecary Whatsoeuer it be the Church mindeth to declare that though she had the vaintiest and delightfullest thinges in the world yet these could not hinder her from comming to her husbād Christ in whom were hid al the treasures of God Col. 1. 19. Also Coll. 2. 3. and as in respect of which all the thinges of the world were to be accoūted but losse dyrt dung and whatsoeuer is most vile see Phil. 3. 8. Verse 7 Behold this bed which is better then that that is Solomons She amplyfieth the excellency of the bed of Christe and his church by comparing it with Solomons first she commendeth it for the safety that is to be had found there and that in this verse and verse 8 all which is conteyned in a parenthesis as you may see Secondly for the deare price and rich furniture of the same vers 9 10. And she entreth into this course of commendation not only to set out the great glory of her husband but thereby also the better to stirre her vp to perfourme her duty towardes him that was of such great state and magnificēce About which stand threescore mighty men q. d. The bed is watched least any shold eyther by force or frawd annoy the bridegr●me or his spouse neither doth this watche consist of weaklings but of moste stoute and couragious men yea and that of a greate number of them namely threescore and those not heathenish idolaters or prophane professors but as shee sayth afterwards of the mighty men of Israel that is faithfull and godly hauing the knowledge beleefe zeale and obedience of religion towardes the Lord and therefore most likely to be founde trusty towardes other All this is spoken after the manner of earthly princes who as they haue their guard for the day so they haue their watch for y e night and y t in about the bed-chambers as a man would say Verse 8. All taking hold of the swoord He amplifieth this gard or defence shewing that they are not onely godly men but as he sayd before men of valure and courage able to handle this weapon both for the defence of them selues their king and for the annoyaunce and hurt of their enemies Are expert in warre As before shee had commended them for their strength so here shee prayseth them for their skill because one of these without the other are little auaileable Euery one is girded with his swoord vpon his thigh This was the maner and custome then of that people as appeareth Psalm 45. 3. By which also shee noteth their readines in the vse of their weapōs For feare vz. least any hurt should befaule y e brydgrōe or y e brid Euery night she meaneth y t they vse this course of a watchful care and wise defence continually No doubt but vnder all this the holy Ghost meant to shew in what a safe state and condition they are that are matched with him who haue both infinite numbers of holy aungels to attend vpon them Psalm 91. 10. and of godlye teachers to fence and garde them as it were thorow all
thanke God for it and laye it out to the benefite of the church And in our gates are all sweet thinges The word signifieth precious also And when the church sayth They are in the gates she meaneth not onely that they were readye but alludeth also vnto customes and orders obserued on mariage daies men beeing went to straw the houses entries doores yea and streets and all with sweet smelling herbes as we see in vse amongst vs. New and old q. d. There is great stoore and plentye of them for this is an vsuall thing by these termes to expresse aboundaunce See for the phrase Math. 13. 52. where Christe affyrmeth that the Scribes which are taught of God bring out of their treasures new and olde thinges I haue kept them foorth The church protesteth that as shee had carefullye reserued these thinges againste the marriage daye so that time beeing come she will plentifully powre them abroad that so Christ her spouse maye take pleasure in the thinges that shee willinglye offereth for his intertainment Many mistically expound these thinges for the sweet sauor that the godly yeelde in the churche by their good workes and holy conuersation and I doubt not but it maye bee so taken how be it I suppose this to bee the more simple meaning that the church alluding to the outward maner of men in worldly marryages doth meane thereby the great preparation that both she had in former tymes and presently made against the marriage day and would then plentifully powre the same abroad for the greater manifestation of her vnfayned loue towardes Christ Ver. 5. Oh that some would giue thee The church hauing shewed y e great preparatiō she had made for the marriage daye beginneth to declare the earnest affection shee had towardes Christe wishing as many doe in the earnestnesse of their minde specially when they eyther feel the want of good thinges or are moued with the excellency thereof that shee might continuallye enioye him as a moste faithfull friend Now in that shee mencioneth none to whome shee powreth foorth this wishe shee meaneth not that euerye one could graunt this or that shee did at all aduentures speake it but knowing that it was only in God to graunt the same shee doth vnder this exclamation or wish expresse the feruent desire she had to haue this performed vnto her See Iere. 9. 1. To be as a brother vnto me that is most faithfull friendlye and louing see Genes 13. 8. Also Psal 133. 1. That sucked the breastes of my mother She is not contented onely to haue him as a brother but as a most naturall kinde brother because many times it falleth out that brethren also are at great iarres thorow the neglect or forgetfulnes of those bondes wherewith they should be tyed most straitly together she wisheth that she might finde Christ as louing towardes her and as continual with her as one most natural and kindharted brother is to with another that so she might both continually and most familiarly also enioye his loue comfortable both presence and speech Though I found thee in the street that is in so open and publicke place as it were See Luk. 14. 21. I would kisse thee that is I woulde neither be ashamed nor afrayde to performe the dutyes of a holye loue and sound good will towardes thee See chapter 1. verse 2. Also Luke 15. 20. Neither would they despise me vz that knew what it meant otherwise perhaps there might be misiudging We know it is an immodest and vnseemly thing to kisse women and maydes openly as many do but if thou wert my brother as though she shoulde saye no bodye would dislike me for it though I did it openlye because of a holy affection I carry towards thee So here we see that as shee proposed her wishe and desire so here shee beginneth to shew what she would do if that might be graunted proceeding in reckoning vp of other thinges that shee ment to performe meaning onelye heere that in the performance of those holy dutyes shee would set feare and shame aside and not regarde the scornes and reproches wherwith the wicked are wont to exercise her and will still exercise her till the mariage day indeed come Verse 6. I woulde lead thee I woulde bring thee Shee doubleth the worde as it were to note not onely the ioyfulnesse of her hart to thinke vppon this which if it were so delitfull now that shee coulde not tell with what wordes to expresse it what would it be then beeing performed in full measure but also the certaine purpose that indeed shee had to execute the same binding her selfe by the means of this maner of speech more straightly to the performaunce thereof Into the house of my mother Shee alludeth no doubt to the custome in those dayes which was to bring the Bryde and the Brydegrome also into the houses of eyther of their parents see chap. 3. 4. and Genes 24. 97. where Izhac is sayde to haue brought Ribkah into the tent of Sarah his mother And no doubt but here vnder the name of mother the whole vniuersal church which rising vp togeather into one body shall in good time as a pure virgin be presented glorious and vnspotted to Christ See 2. Cor. 11. 2. Ephe. 5. 27. For the better vnderstanding of this point we muste well weigh two thinges the first is the maner of the Hebrues in their speech which vse to call some whole thing or body by y e name of father or mother and the partes deryued from the same by the names of sonnes or daughters whereof also there is some reason because as children be as it were chippes hewen from their parentes so are other things when they are disioyned one of them from an other The second is the consideration that wee muste haue of the church which in the holye scripture is to bee considered after two sortes to wit either generallye or particularly The church generall or vniuersall is likewise to be considered after two sortes For sometimes there is contayned vnder the name or word of the church Christ with all his elect people which therefore by reason of the streight and narrow coniunction that is betweene him and them is also called the Brydegromes mother as ver 9. of this chapter and in which regard also the church is called his sister chapter 4. 9. and also chapter 8. 1. Sometimes vnder the same word there is signified the elect onely as in this place and before in this booke chapter 3. 4. also chapter 6. 6. and such like Where we must marke that the very selfe same distinction muste bee obserued in the new Testament also where the church considered together with her heade Christ is called Christ 1. Cor. 12. 12 Eph. 3. 4. that is to saye misticall Christ as the Fathers were wont to say or Christ in a misterye but when wee consider the church seuered from Christe then it is called Christes church or his bodye Now
glorious shew at which time shee seemeth a very beautifull and fayre creature indeed Pure as the sunne He meaneth not onely simply and of it selfe as the sunne hath not her light from any other but glorious also and full of wonderful maiesty so in Christes transfiguration it is sayde that his face did shine as the sunne Math. 17. 2. and Reuel 1. 16. it is sayd that his face shonne as y e sun shineth in his strength In a word vnder these speeches the holy Ghost woulde not onely note the growth of y e church by comparing it to the morning but the excellency glory of it by resembling it to the moone yea to the sunne the most excellent and glorious of all the heauenlye creatures that we doe beholde And terrible as an armie with many ensignes This is largelye expounded before in the first verse of this chapter Ver. 8. I came down to the fair dressed gardē Many turn it the garden of nuts with what reason let thē see This rather standeth both w t the etimology of y e hebrue word as good expositors note also more agreeth with the circumstance of the place because afterwardes he mentioneth vines pōgranates such like with which mē are wōt to plant their gardens not w t nut trees which besides y t they are cēmō euery wher to be had are of no precious accoāt or estimation I omit y e mistical reasons y t the iewes alledge why they thēselues shold be cōpared to nuts as ful of childish toyes and conceites No doubt but for the clearing of the sense this is to bee noted as before that heere beginning the seconde parte of the chapter in which Christe laboureth to comfort his church he sayth that he did not of lothsomnesse or wrath depart from her but rather of a very earnest desire that he had to finish y e same most holy mariage that therefore indeede hee went away for a while y t so he might be y e more assured of the time And in y t he resembleth the church to a fayre dressed garden he speaketh after the maner of mē who in y e beginning of y e spring prune purge dresse ther gardens orchards y t so it may bear more fruit when he saith he cāe down to the same he speaketh y t also according to y e maner of men who in the summer time come to see how their hādy works thriue and prosper so y t al is as much q. d. Thou shouldest not haue bin dismaide O church y ● I departed frō thee for therin I dealt but with thee as good gardeners vine-dressers deal w t their orchards gardens vineyards who cōming perhaps before y t time of fruit to look for fruit finding none depart not for euer but til another more conuentēt season when they may receiue fruit And besides y t this agreeth wel w t christs purpose q. d. think not not y t I wil any more lose my labour cost bestowed vpō thee then owners of their gardēs orchards y e words folowing also in this ver do help to strengthen vphold this sense To behold the green plants of the vally y t is things newly plāted set to see also how they did thriue grow he vseth y e word vally which in y e hebrue tong signifieth both a riuer a brooke a vally also thorow which a riuer or brook did or might run because men commōly plant ther as which they take to be more plētiful fruitful To see whither the vine florished the pomgranates budded By 2. wordes he meaneth one thing namely y t as men look not onely to see the growth of their grifts plants but also their fruits whither they were then ripe so he did wait whether y t time appointed for y e mariage were come wherof also he had forerunning signes euen as the flourishing of y e vine budding of pomgranates were tokens of y e spring past of the sommer comming on See for this purpose cap. 7. 3. of this book Which order course our sauior him self obserueth Mat. 24. 32. see also for this end purpose Isa 5. 1. 2 Vers 9 When I perceiued not these thinges Vz. The Vine to flowrish the Pomgranate to bud c. Which are mentioned ver 8. meaning therby that when he perceiued the time of the mariage was not yet come as men know y ● summer is not come when these thinges sprout not out to which also may be added that when hee perceiued howe greeuously the churche tooke his absence then My soule my louing affection and tender hart for now hee goeth about to declare what councell hee tooke when he perceiued that the long looked for time of mariage was not yet come namely that he made great hast backe againe as it were to comfort his Church which he expresseth by the metaphors following Set mee vpon the chariots that is yeelded mee good and sure meanes to bee caried neither doth hee onely note hereby the meanes of his comming to the Churche but in the wordes following the speede that he made Of my free people q. d. As they they that be willing and free hearted people do the things that they doe cheerefully and therefore also with more expedition and speede then others so came I cheerefully and with a readye minde after I had once resolued vppon the matter to see comfort the churche for this free harted and willing people see Psal 110. 3 I know other giue other sences of these words but me thinketh this is moste plaine and simple So that I sayd As before hee had declared his purpose and resolution of his returning to the church to the great comfort of the same so now hee sheweth what hee spake when hee came to her Verse 10 Returne returne These are the wordes of Christe vnto the Churche who in seeking of him had as a man wold sai gone beyond him And this calling of her backe again is expressed vnto vs vnder the similitude of an earthly man who as it were a farre off whooteth and shouteth euen as lowd as he can by wordes and speech to bring such back as wander out of the right way O Shulamite No doubt but vnder this terme hee meaneth the church which some thinke signifieth made moste perfect thorough the eternall purpose and calling of her by God to himselfe Me thinketh also it may be deriued of Salem by which name Hierusalem was called in former time as appeareth See Psal 76. 2. Gens 14. 18. Heb. 7. 7. 1. 2. and though perhaps it may rather bee sayde Schelemite than Schulamite yet it may be of another forme as in the scripture we reade Schunanite of Schomem 2. King 4. 8. 12. And the rather I would referre it to Hierusalem because that worde is often vsed in the scripture for the church it self Returne returne This is no vayne
127. 5. Much lesse shall the Churche or children thereof bee ouertaken there with howsoeuer they may somtimes haue their feares And this we may see performed particularly in Sephen Acts. 6. 15. And generally thorough the whole seuenth chapter of the sayd booke of the Actes Verse 15. Commending vnto vs the excellency and aboundance of Gods graces bestowed vpon the church is another argumēt propounded by the holy ghost to drawe vs on more and more to loue the same Al which is put down not only for the high exceeding commendation of the church of God as which is indued with al manner of louely graces from the Lord but also that so he might win that at our handes eyther by some one of these sundry reasons or by all of thē ioyntly together that otherwise coulde not bee gayned of vs. We learn also that not mean men onely but euen the mightiest of the earth should make this their speciall crowne and glorye to delight in the church of God yea to take delight in the very stones therof as Gods seruants are said to doe Psalme 102. 14. For what could it or can it boote them to liue and not to liue as the principall members or at the least sound members thereof sithe all of them must confesse that without the church there is no saluation And the rather they aboue others should striue hereto because their examples are manye times forcible to fetch that from men eyther for feare or fauour c. that other mens works can not winne Vers 16. Deliuereth vnto vs this doctrine namelye that the Churche contayneth in it not only more glory and beauty then can bee seene with the outward eie but than can either be conceiued in heart or expressed with mouth Which also shold moue vs vnfeinedly to affect the same Wherof also me thinketh we may yeelde a dubble reason the first because of the narrownesse and straightnesse of our owne vnderstanding we being not able sufficiently either to thinke or speak of the least of Gods graces much lesse of the church vppon whome the Lorde hath bestowed euen the very treasures of his goodnesse secondly because of y e excellency of y e graces thē selues whether we consider them generallye or particularly they beeing as in respect of themselues euen of his nature from whom they flow y t is to say altogether infinite incōprehensible Ver. 17. Teacheth vs y t howsoeuer the church both in the whole and in the partes thereof may be greatly by the burthen of afflictions oppressed for the time that yet notwithstanding it shall rise vp againe doe the wicked what they can Which as we know to be truelye performed in Christ our sauiour the head therof whom it was impessible y t the sorrowes of death shold altogether hold down Act. 2. 24 so was it also verefied in the Apostle and other beleeuers who sayth of him self and thē we are afflicted on euery side yet not in distresse persecuted but not forsaken cast downe but perish not 2. Cor. 4. 8. 9. which indeed ariseth in them from the strength of Christes ouercomming we being in him become more then conquerors Roma 8. 37. Oh whom would not this comfort and incourage to suffer any thing yea euery thing for the profession of Christ and the keeping of a good conscience before God and men Vers 18. Teacheth vs that the greatest matter of ioy to the church standeth especially vpon thes two points to wit Christes continuall presence and his making of the same fruitefull in the seueral duties that the church is to perform to God and men One of these maye not nor can not bee sundred from other because where Christe is hee is not there idelly or in vaine though we muste confesse also that the force of Christs grace appeareth not a like at al times because it is darkned many times with the mystes cloudes of our owne corruption but dwelling in their harts by faith he maketh thē fruitfull in all good workes and inableth them to comprehend with all saints what is the bredth and length and depth and height that is all fulnesse as it were of fayth and obedience See for this purpose Epes 3. 17. Vers 19. Doth notably commend vnto vs the excellency gracious effects of the word of god Whereof who so listeth to read may see a large discourse psal 119. And if they suppose that to be to tedious they maye more shortly see it comprised Psal 19. vers 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. which the holye Ghoste doth so much the more highly extoll because men are wont to haue it in very small regard accoūt And yet in y e praising of it he doth not as mē who to win men to the loue liking of such things as they propose giue excessiue or vnture commendations thereof but in all truth and simplicitie exalteth the same if he come short any waye it is because the Lord is too sparing in it not that hee wanteth wordes to expresse the praise of it or that the thing it selfe is not most high excellent but because hee is for our weaknesse sake contented to stoupe downe commending it so farre foorth as we are able thorow his spirit to conceiue of it and not otherwise Is it not then a pitifull thing that this word shall receiue so great a commendation and that we shall be so backewarde in intertayning the same CAP. 7. and the summe thereof The church hearing of the earnest affection and loue of Christ hir spouse towardes hir whollye resigneth vp her selfe vnto him verse 1. and afterwardes doth not onelye seeke to know the signes of the day set for their mariage but doth wishe from hir hart that the time therof were come ver 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. She admonisheth her Damsels handmaides or friendes of their dutie that they should not hinder hir being now conuersant with hir husband Christ vers 8. And lastly she declareth her most ardent and earnest loue towardes him desiring euen for euer to be beloued of him againe ver 9. 10. 11. 1 I Am my welbeloueds for his desire is towardes me 2 Come my welbeloued let vs goe foorth into the fielde let vs remaine in the villages 3 Let vs rise vp earely to the vines let vs see whether the vine flourish and whether the small grape hath opened it selfe whether the pomgranates florish ther will I giue thee my loues 4 The mandrakes haue giuen a smell and in our gates are all sweet thinges new and olde I haue kept them for thee 5 O that some woulde giue thee to be as a brother vnto me that sucked the breastes of my mother though I found thee in the streat I woulde kisse thee neither would they dispise me 6 I would lead thee I woulde bring thee into the house of my mother that teacheth me I would cause the to drinke spiced wine yea sweete wine made of my Pomegranate 7 His left hande shoulde be vnder mine