No. 1634b-27:698. A Short Sermon, Among The Golden Apple Trees, By C. H. Spurgeon.
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feeds among the
lilies. [So 2:16]
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 374, “Interest of Christ and His People in Each Other, The” 364]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1190, “Song Among the Lilies, A” 1181]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1634, “Loved and Loving (Short Sermon)” 1635]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2442, “My Beloved Is Mine” 2443]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3185, “Song of My Beloved, A” 3186]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3307, “Over the Mountains” 3309]
Exposition on So 2:1-3:5 [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2485, “Love’s Vigilance Rewarded” 2486 @@ "Exposition"]
1. I. “MY BELOVED,” — this is a sweet name which our love takes liberty to apply to the Lord Jesus. His inexpressible beauty has won our affection, and we cannot help loving him whatever may come of it: whether he is ours or not, and whether he smiles upon us or frowns, we love him and cannot do otherwise. We are carried away by the torrent of his goodness, and have no longer the control of our affections. As long as we live we must and will love the altogether lovely One. Yes, he is, and must be to me, “My Beloved.”
2. II. BUT SUPPOSE, — suppose for a moment that we loved and had no right to love. Many a heart that has cried “My beloved,” has been wounded even to death, because it could not obtain its choice, but was doomed never to exclaim, “My beloved is mine.” The beloved was longed for, but could not be grasped. This is often so in earthly love, since such love may be unlawful, or unwise, and in every case it is the source of grievous misery. Thank God, this is not the case with the soul enamoured with Christ Jesus; for he freely presents himself in the gospel as the object of our confidence and love. Though he is infinitely above us, yet he delights to be one with all his loving ones, and by his own will he gives himself to us. A polluted sinner may love the perfect Saviour, for there is no word in Scripture to forbid it. Indeed, if a sinner would be wedded to the Lord of glory there is no one to forbid the banns.
3. Suppose that our possession of Jesus were a matter of doubt, as, alas! it is with far too many: that would be a door of sorrow indeed. Life would be unhappy if it were soured by a question concerning whether our Well-Beloved is ours or not. To an awakened and instructed mind it is anguish to be dubious of our hold of Christ; we need to be sure about this, or be unhappy. Everything else may be in jeopardy, but, oh most blessed Lord, never allow our possession of yourself to be in dispute! It would be a poor thing to say, “My beloved may be mine,” or even “he was mine,” or “perhaps he is mine”: we cannot bear any verb except one in the indicative mood, present tense, — “My beloved is mine.”
4. Suppose yet once again that, though we loved, and rightly loved, and actually possessed the beloved object, yet our affection was not returned. Ah, misery! to love and not be loved! Blessed be God, we cannot only sing, “My Beloved is mine,” but also, “I am his.” He values me, he delights in me, he loves me! It is very wonderful that Jesus should think us to be worth the having; but since he does so, we find a matchless solace in the fact. Which is the greater miracle — that he should be mine, or that I should be his? Certainly, the second is the more sure basis of safety, for I cannot keep my treasures, since I am feebleness itself; but Jesus is able to preserve his own, and no one can pluck them out of his hand. The truth that Jesus calls me his is enough to make a man dance and sing all the way between here and heaven. Believe the fact that we are dear to the heart of our incarnate God, and amid the sands of this wilderness a fountain of overflowing joy is open before us.
5. III. BUT THE TEXT IS FREE FROM ALL SUPPOSITION: it is the language of indisputable possession, the exclamation of a confidence which has made its assurance doubly sure. There are two positive verbs in the present tense, and not the smell of a doubt has passed upon them. Here is a brave positiveness which fears no controversy, “my beloved is mine and I am his,” doubt it who may; indeed, if you need to doubt it, ask him. There he is, for “he feeds among the lilies.” The spouse sees him of whom she speaks; he may be a mere myth to others but he is a substantial, lovable, lovely, and truly beloved person to her. He stands before her, and she perceives his character so clearly that she has a comparison ready for him, and compares him to a gazelle feeding on the tender grass among the lilies. This is a very delightful state of heart. Some of us know what it is to enjoy it from year to year. Christ is ours, and we know it. Jesus is present, and by faith we see him. Our marriage union with husband or wife cannot be more clear, more sure, more matter of fact, than our oneness with Christ and our enjoyment of that oneness. Joy! joy! joy! He whom we love is ours! We can also see the other side of the golden shield, for he whom we prize beyond all the world also prizes us, and we are his. Nothing in the universe besides deserves for an instant to be compared in value with this inestimable blessing. We would not change places with the cherubim: their chief places in the choirs of heaven are poor as compared with the glory which excels, — the glory of knowing that I am my Best Beloved’s and he is mine. A place in Christ’s heart is more sweet, more honourable, more dear to us than a throne among the angels. Not even the delights of Paradise can produce a rival to this ecstatic joy — “My Beloved is mine, and I am his.”
6. IV. YET THE TEXT HAS A NOTE OF CAUTION. The condition of fully assured love is as tender as it is delightful. The spouse in the seventh verse had charged her companions by all things of gentleness, delicacy, and timidity — “by the roes, and by the hinds of the field” — to refrain from offending her beloved while he condescended to remain with her; she had also compared him to a roe or a young hart, rather hiding than revealing himself; and here she compares him to the same roe, quietly pasturing in the gardens, so gently moving that he does not break or even bruise a lily, but softly insinuates himself among their delicate beauties, as one of the same dainty mould. This hints in poetic imagery at the solemn and sacred truth that the dearest fellowship with Jesus can never be known by the rough and the coarse, the hard and the restless, but remains the priceless inheritance of the lowly and meek; and these can only retain it by a studious care which cherishes love, and guards it from even the least intrusion. A gazelle among the lilies would be startled at the bark of a fox, and be gone at the voice of a stranger; and therefore soft whispers of inward love must say, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes,” and nimble hands with noiseless fingers must draw up the lattice so that kindly eyes may look out from the windows, and may be seen by him who delights in love.
7. The evident intent of the language is to present the delicacy of the highest form of holy fellowship. The Lord our God is a jealous God, and that jealousy is most seen where his love is displayed the most. The least sin, wilfully indulged in, will grieve the Holy Spirit; slights, forgetfulnesses, and negligences will cause him to turn away. If we would remain positively and joyfully assured that the Beloved is ours and that we are his we must use the utmost circumspection and holy vigilance. No man gains full assurance by accident, or retains it by chance. Just as the gentle hind wanders in lovely places where the pure white lilies grow, and as he shuns the places profaned by strife, and foul with rank weeds and nettles, so the Lord Jesus comes to holy minds perfumed with devotion and consecrated to the Lord, and there in sacred quiet he finds solace and remains with his saints.
May the Lord preserve us from pride, from self-seeking, from
carnality, and wrath, for these things will chase away our delights
even as dogs drive off the hind of the morning. Both our inward and
outward walk must be eagerly watched, lest anything should vex the
Bridegroom. A word, a glance, a thought may break the spell, and end
the happy rest of the heart, and it may be a long time before the
blessing is regained. Some of us have learned by bitter experience
that it is hard to establish a settled peace, and easy enough to
destroy it. The costly vase, the product of a thousand laborious
processes, may be broken in a moment; and so the supreme delight of
communion with the Lord Jesus, the flower of ten thousand eminent
delights, may be shattered by a few moments of negligence. Hence the
one lesson of our little sermon is — “I charge you, oh you daughters of
Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that you do
not stir up, nor awaken my love, until he pleases.”
For I am jealous of my heart
Lest it should once from him depart;
Then should I lose my best delight
Should my Beloved take to flight.
Letter From Mr. Spurgeon
Mentone, Dec. 10th, 1881.
Beloved Friends — In a few days I hope to turn my face homeward, much
refreshed by laying aside the harness for a season. I beseech you to
continue your prayers for me — prayer which I value beyond all earthly
treasures. If these sermons profit you, ask that I may have grace to
continue them. Entering upon a Twenty-seventh Volume, I entreat your
help to increase their circulation, so that they may have a wider
range of influence.
C. H. Spurgeon