A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, November 30, 1862, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
Who is this who comes out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? Behold his bed, which is Solomon’s; sixty valiant men are around it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man has his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night. King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made its pillars of silver, its bottom of gold, its covering of purple, its midst being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem. Go out, oh you daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown his mother crowned him with in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart. (So 3:6-11)
1. Great princes in the east are in the habit of travelling in splendid palanquins,1 which are at the same time chariots and beds. The person reclines within, screened by curtains from public view; a bodyguard protects the coach from robbers, and blazing torches light up the path along which the travellers proceed. King Solomon, in this Song, describes the Church of Christ, and Christ himself, as travelling through the world in such a palanquin. The day is coming when both our divine Lord and his chosen bride shall be revealed in glory before the eyes of all men. The present age is the period of concealment — the mystical Solomon and his beloved Solyma are both on earth, but they are unseen by men; like the ark of old they dwell within curtains; only the anointed priests of God can see their beauties, and even these gaze rather by faith than by sight. “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world,” is certainly true, for Jesus is here; but equally correct is that word of Peter, “Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you do not see him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” He is here in the reality, power, and influence of his presence, but he is not here with respect to the visibility of his kingdom and person, for we wait with our waist clothed, and with patience of hope, until the revelation of Jesus Christ. The portion of the blessed canticle now before us is, we think, descriptive of the progress of the hidden Christ through the world. He has been borne along, in very truth, but he himself has been so little perceived by men, that they even ask the question, “Who is this who comes out of the wilderness?” He is not now revealed openly to men. If any should say, “Lo here!” or “Lo there! this is Christ!” do not believe them, for Christ is not as yet seen. When he does come he shall be as perceptible as the lightning’s flash, which every man’s eye discerns without the need of an instructor. So, also, with his true Church. She also is hidden like her Lord, and though her hand, her foot, or her face may be sometimes seen, yet the whole elect body has never yet been seen. If anyone says, “Lo, here is the Church of Christ!” or “Lo there!” do not believe them, for it is a fact that there is no corporation of men of which we can say exclusively or even universally, “Lo, this is the Church of Christ.” There are tares growing with the wheat in the best guarded field, and on the other hand no one enclosure contains all the wheat. The true Church of Christ is scattered here and there; it is found among all denominations, and there is not one denomination of which you can say, “This only is the Church of Christ, or all its members belong to the body of Christ’s spouse.” Just now the mystical bride is in a certain sense as invisible as her Husband. Behold, then, the betrothed ones carried through the world in the sumptuous chariot of which we have to speak this morning.
2. I must now claim your attention while I notice, first, the glory of the progress of Christ through the world, as described in the So 3:6; secondly, the security of Christ’s cause, as represented in So 3:7, 8; thirdly, its superlative excellence, as described in So 3:9, 10; and lastly, our joyful duties with regard to it, as openly declared in So 3:11.
The Church and Her Lord
3. I. First, then, THE MAGNIFICENT PROGRESS, THE GLORIOUS ON GOING OF THE CHURCH AND HER LORD THROUGH THE WORLD.
4. “Who is this who comes out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?” This sight excites the attention of the onlooker; his curiosity is raised, and he asks, “Who is this?” Now, in the first progress of the Christian Church, in her very earliest days, there were people who marvelled greatly; and although they discounted the wonders of the day of Pentecost to drunkenness, yet “they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, ‘What does this means?’?” In later years, many a heathen philosopher said, “What is this new power which is breaking the idols in pieces, changing old customs, making even thrones unsafe — what is this?” By and by, in the age of the Reformation, there were cowled monks, cardinals in their red hats, and bishops, and princes, and emperors, who all said, “What is this? What strange doctrine has come to light?” In the times of the modern reformation, a century ago, when God was pleased to revive his Church through the instrumentality of Whitfield and his brethren, there were many who said, “What is this new enthusiasm, this Methodism? Where did it come from, and what power is this which it wields?” And, doubtless, whenever God shall be pleased to bring forth his Church in power, and to make her mighty among the sons of men, the ignorance of men will be discovered breaking forth in wonder, for they will say, “Who is this?” Spiritual religion is as much a novelty now as in the day when Greek sages scoffed at it on Mars’ Hill. The true Church of God is still a stranger and pilgrim; an alien and a foreigner in every land; a speckled bird; a dove in the midst of ravens; a lily among thorns.
5. The ignorance of men concerning spiritual things is not, however, caused by the darkness of the things themselves, for Christ and his Church are the great lights of the world. When great personages travelled in their palanquins, and more especially on marriage processions, they were attended by a number of people who, at night, carried high up in the air burning cressets2 which gave forth a blaze of light. Sometimes these lights were simply torches carried in the hands of running footmen; at other times they were a sort of iron basket lifted high into the air upon poles, from which went up a pillar of smoke and flame. Our text says “Who is this who comes out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke?” a beautiful illustration of the fact that wherever Christ and his cause are carried, light is a sure accompaniment. Into whatever region the gospel may journey, her every herald is a flash of light, her every minister a flaming fire. God makes his Churches the golden lamps, and says to his children “You are the lights of the world,” is certainly as ever God said “Let there be light,” and there was light over the old creation, so he says, whenever his Church advances, “Let there be light” and there is light. Dens of darkness, where the bats of superstition had folded their wings and hung themselves up for perpetual ease, have been disturbed by the glare of these divine torches; the innermost caverns of superstition and sin, once black with a darkness which might be felt, have been visited with a light greater than the brightness of the sun. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and to those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has sprung up.” Thus says the Lord to the nation where his kingdom comes, “Arise, shine, for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” Bear the Church of Christ to the South Seas; carry Christ and his spouse in his palanquin to the Caffre,3 the Hottentot, or the Eskimo, and everywhere the night of death is ended, and the morning with its glorious dawn has come. Lift your lamps high, you servants of our Lord. Lift up high the cross of the Redeemer; for in him is light, and the light is the life of men.
6. But you will tell me that our text rather speaks of “pillars of smoke” than of sparkling lamps. Brethren, the smoke is only the effect of the flame, and even the pillar of smoke is luminous. What is the smoke that has attended the Church? What else except the deaths of her martyrs, the sufferings of her confessors, the patient endurance of her valiant sons? Wherever she goes, the thick smoke of her suffering goes up to heaven. “We are always delivered to death,” said the apostle. The cause of truth involves a perpetual sacrifice; her smoke ascends for ever. I say it is black smoke in the eye of man, but to God it is a sweet smelling savour. Never did fat of rams, or the fat of kidneys of fed beasts, smell so sweetly before the Most High as the faith, the love, the courage, which has ascended up to heaven from the dauntless heroes of the Church in past ages when at the stake they have been faithful even to death. Suffering, and grief, and woe are the lot of the spouse of the despised and rejected Saviour, but all these are as things of naught if by it she may scatter that terrible blackness which blinds the face of man and makes him a stranger to his God.
7. It often happens that oriental monarchs of immense possessions, are not content with burning common coals in these cressets, but frequently consume sandal wood and other woods which give forth a delightful smell; or else, if they use ordinary coals, they sprinkle upon them frankincense and myrrh, so that a delightful perfume is defused on all sides. In the olden times, they also went to great expense in obtaining drugs, which the merchants collected from all parts of the earth, and these were carefully compounded into the renowned “powders of the merchants,” which yielded a delightful variety of delicate perfumes, not to be produced by any one aromatic essence. Our inspired poet describes the travelling procession of the royal pair and does not fail to dwell upon the delightful perfume of myrrh and frankincense, with all the powders of the merchant, “which make the wilderness smell like a garden of roses.” Wherever the Church of Christ proceeds, though her pathway is a desert, though she marches through a howling wilderness, she scatters the richest perfume. The page of history would only be worthy to be blotted in oblivion if it were not for the sweet odours which the Church has left upon it. Look at all past ages, and the track of the Church is still redolent with all the richest fragrance of human virtue and divine grace. Wherever the Church advances she makes the savour of the knowledge of Christ known in every place! Men believe in Jesus, and to the Lord faith has all the fragrance of myrrh. They love Jesus; and love in the esteem of heaven is better than frankincense. Loving Christ they endeavour to be like him, until patience, humility, brotherly kindness, truthfulness, and all things that are honest, lovely, and of good repute, like “powders of the merchant,” are spread abroad throughout the whole earth. Tell me where the Church is not, and I will tell you where sin reigns; tell me where Christ and his Church are carried, and I will tell you where you shall find every virtue that can adorn humanity, and every excellence that can magnify the excellence of the grace of God. If you wish to find an antidote for the deadly exhalations which lurk among this world’s deserts of sin; if you wish to destroy the foul pestilence which reigns in the darkness of heathenism, of Popery, and of infidelity, cry to the Mighty One — “Arise, you unknown traveller, arise, and bid your servants carry you into the midst of all this misery and death! The light of your flaming torches shall scatter the darkness, and the burning of your precious perfumes shall say to evil — ‘Fold your wings!’ and to the pestilence of sin — ‘Get back into your den!’?”
8. Among the ten wonders which Jewish tradition ascribes to the temple, we find that the rain never extinguished the fire of the wood which was laid in order upon the altar, nor did the wind ever overpower the pillar of smoke to disperse or bend it. Truly it is so with the Church of God, as she comes out of the wilderness: who shall quench her flaming lamp, or extinguish the incense of her golden censers? Ride on, Great Prince, and bear your spouse with you in your majestic chariot, until you have lit the world with your divine light, and have made it a temple filled with a cloud of incense of sweet smell to the nostrils of Jehovah!
The Security of Christ’s Church
9. II. We have, secondly, to notice THE SECURITY OF CHRIST’S CHURCH AT ALL TIMES.
10. Of course when travelling through a wilderness, a royal procession was always in danger of attack. Arabs prowled around; wandering Bedouins were always prepared to plunder the caravan; and more especially was this the case with a marriage procession, because then the robbers might expect to obtain many jewels, or, if not, a heavy ransom for the redemption of the bride or bridegroom by their friends. What shall I say about the attacks which have been made upon the Church of Christ, and upon Christ himself? They have been incessant. When one form of evil has been routed, another has presented itself. Evil teems with children. The frogs and lice of Egypt were not more numerous than the enemies of the Lord’s Anointed and his bride. Every day produces new battles. These attacks arise from all quarters; sometimes from the world, and sometimes, alas! from even professed members of the Church. Adversaries lurk everywhere, and until the Church and her Lord shall be revealed in the splendour of the Millennium, having left the wilderness for ever, we must expect to find her molested on every side. My dear brethren, we know that Christ’s cause in the world is always safe because of divine protection, and because the legions of God’s angels keep watch and ward over the saints. But we have something more tangible than this. Our gracious God has been pleased to commit tomen the ministry of Christ. “To the angels he has not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak.” The Lord ordains that chosen men should be the protectors of his Church; not that they have any power in and of themselves to do anything, but he girds the weak with strength and makes the feeble mighty; so then, men, even the sons of men stand in array around the travelling palanquin of Christ, to guard both the bridegroom and the bride.
11. Read So 3:7, 8 carefully, and you will notice that there are enough swordsmen. “Sixty valiant men are around it.” There are always enough men chosen by God to guard the Church. Poor Unbelief holds up her hands and cries — “Ah! the good men are all dead; Zion is under a cloud; the Lord has taken away the great men; we have no valiant defenders of the faith, none such as this crisis may require!” Ah! Unbelief, let the Lord say to you as he did to Elijah — “Yet I have left for myself seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal.” There shall be just as many warriors as the crisis shall require. We do not know where the men are to come from, but the Lord will provide. There may be sitting in the Sunday School today a child who shall one day shake this nation from one end to the other; there may be even here, unknown, obscure, and unobserved, the man whom God will make strong to rebuke the infamous infidelity of our age. We do not know where the anointing rests. We, in our folly, would anoint Eliab or Abinadab, but God has chosen David, the shepherd’s boy, and he will bring him forth and teach him how to hurl the stone at Goliath’s brow. Do not tremble, neither be afraid; God who makes man and makes man’s mouth, will find the sixty men when the sixty shall be needed. “The Lord gave the word, great was the company of those who proclaimed it.” The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
12. Observe that these warriors are men of the right mettle. “Yes,” says poor trembling Little Faith, “we have hosts of men, but they are not like the great hearts of old; they do not have the qualifications which the age requires.” Ah! but remember, around the bed of Solomon there are “sixty valiant men”; and glory be to my Master, while I may not flatter the ministry, I must not dishonour him by believing that he has left his Church without valiant defenders. There are Luthers still living who bid defiance to all adversaries; men who can say, “We do not count our lives dear to us so that we may finish our course with joy, and fulfil the ministry which the Lord has delivered to us.” Do not fear; you may not at present know the valour of the Lord’s bodyguard, but when the Church’s battle grows hotter than just now, suddenly there shall be seen a champion stalking to the front of the battle, and men shall say, “Who is this? How he wields that battle axe! How he splits the armour of his foes! See how he piles them heaps on heaps, and mounts that hill of slaughtered enemies to strike a greater foe! Who is this?” And the answer shall be, “This is a man whom God has found; the world did not know about him, but God has trained him in the camps of Dan, and now the Spirit moves him to strike the Philistines.”
13. “Ah!” I think I hear you say, “but though there may be so many men, and men of the right kind, I am afraid they are not in the right place.” Look again at the text. It is written — “Sixty valiant men are AROUND IT”; that is, there are some on that side, and some on this, some before, and some behind; they are all around the travelling chariot of Christ. “I wish there might be one in our parish,” one says. Pray for him, and he who has promised to send you all good things may yet send him to you. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he may send out labourers into his harvest.” It is singular how God sometimes raises a mighty man, in this denomination, then in that, and then in the other. Suppose any body of Christians should try to monopolize all the valiant men themselves; why, they could not do it, because every side of the royal bed must be guarded, and in his own place each man is placed for the defence of the gospel. The Church is surrounded with mighties, who are under God to do great exploits. If the Lord guides the flight of sparrows, surely he knows how to allocate his ministers; and let the Church be well content to let them occupy their posts until the wilderness is past, and the glory shall be revealed. The Church often makes mistakes, and thinks she can make ministers, or at least choose their position. She can do no such thing. God sends the valiant man; all you can do is to recognise his valour, and accept him as your champion; beyond that you cannot go; this is God’s work, not man’s. A minister made by men, made valiant by human strength, had better retreat at once ignominiously to his tent, for his disgrace will be certain. God who sends the men, knows where to put them, so that they may stand all around the bed, and leave no corner unprotected.
14. Notice that these men are all well armed. The text says expressly, “They all hold swords.” What swords are these? Every valiant man in Christ’s Israel holds the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. A man who is a good student of the Scriptures will usually be a good divine; he who draws from the treasury of the written word will find his spoken word to be fruitful to profit the people of God. If we use carnal reason; if we rely upon refinement, argument, eloquence, or any other form of the wisdom of man, we shall soon find our enemies will defeat us; but to ply the Word right and left; to give gospel cuts and strokes such as the devil himself cannot parry, this is to overcome the world through the Word of God. Besides this, and here is an opportunity for you all to carry swords — every valiant man in God’s Israel carries the sword of prayer, which is comparable to those huge two handed swords of the olden time, which the soldier lifted up and brought down with such tremendous force, as to split a man in two: prayer is a weapon which no man can effectually resist. If you know how to use it, bring it down upon your foe’s head, and woe to him! I wish that in this Church there were found many of these valiant men of Israel! Indeed, oh that all the Lord’s servants were prophets, that it might be said of all of you that you hold swords. Your holy lives can be swords with which to strike your enemies. The tongues with which you speak of Christ lovingly, tenderly, persuasively — these may be weapons against our common enemy. Oh that when we hear the muster roll at last, it may be said of every Church member that he held a sword! Do not tremble, you timid ones, for the ark of the Lord; neither let your fears promote your unbelief; God knows full well how to give the right weapons to the right men, and his Church shall be secure even to the end.
15. Further, my brethren, these men are not only well armed, but they are well trained. They are all expert in war; men who have endured temptations themselves; men whose souls have been exercised; men who have slain both the lion and the bear, and are men of war from their youth. Christian ministers especially should not be novices, but they should be disciplined for battle both in the school of temptation, and in some school of the prophets. May there be such found here! I look out daily for such among you as are taught by God, and much of my time is spent with our young soldiers to make them expert in war. Oh that the Lord would hear my prayers and bless our college with men, and means, and above all with his Spirit. Fools are not the men for this age. We need a sound knowledge of doctrine, practical power in preaching, and a thorough insight into the human heart; and where these by earnest prayer can be found in a man and further developed by careful teaching, we are bound to give our aid. Such men should be looked after, and no pains should be spared to bring them forth; in fact, dear friends, you ought to think it a high honour to be allowed to help in educating and equipping such men. Oh! how I groan to get my friends to feel the importance of sending out trained young ministers. I give my time and my substance cheerfully, but when will the Christian Church help in this matter as it should?
16. Further, these men were not only well trained, but you will see that they were always ready. Each man has his sword upon his thigh, ready to be drawn out. I know some nominal ministers who seem to me to carry no sword at all. They keep a sheath, a very handsome sheath, with a hilt at the top and a stick inside. What is the good of such men? We need men to have swords in their sheaths, men who can speak with power, and have the demonstration of the Spirit and his power resting upon them. Such men should wear their swords where they can be easily accessed, so that when the adversary comes they may dash at him at once. Rejoice, oh daughter of Zion, your Lord has not left you, even at this day, without some such men!
17. Observe also that these men were watchful, for “they had their sword on their thigh because of fear in the night.” They never sleep, but always watch for the Church’s interest. Pray that the Lord may raise up many such, who night and day with tears shall watch for the souls of men, and against the enemies of our Israel.
18. Dear friends, some of you may at times be alarmed when you hear of attacks made upon the Bible. At one time it was thought that ethnology would prove that the human race could not be one; and Moses was terribly abused by some who said it was not possible that all of us could have come from a single pair. That battle was fought, and you hear nothing about it now; it is over; learning and argument in the hand of God has routed those antagonists. Then they pelted us with shells, and bones of lizards. Geology threatened to dig our graves; but we have lived all through that struggle, and we have found geology to be a great blessing, for it has shed a new light on the first chapter of Genesis,4 and made us understand a great deal better what it meant. Another Amalekite advances to combat; this time it is with figures and numbers; we are to be speared with arithmetic, and slain with algebra! And what will be the result of it? Why, it will do the Bible a world of good, for we shall understand it better. I thank God whenever the Bible is attacked; for all those who know the times and seasons, begin to study just that part of Scripture more carefully, and then we get a clearer light shed upon it, and we find ourselves more confirmed than ever that this is the very truth, and that God has revealed it to us. “Well, but who will take this matter up?” I do not know, and I do not particularly care, but I know my Master has his sixty valiant men all around his bed, and that each man has his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night, and never mind what the battle may be, the end of it will be for God’s glory, and there shall be progress with the chariot of Christ through what seemed as if it must overthrow it. Cast aside your fears; rejoice, and be glad, oh daughter of Zion! Your Lord is with you in the travelling chariot, and the sixty valiant men are watching out for your foes.
The Chariot in Which Jesus Rides
19. III. Meanwhile, reposing in peace, let us notice THE EXCELLENCY OF THIS CHARIOT IN WHICH JESUS RIDES.
20. It is not difficult to convey to people the most unacquainted with Eastern manners and customs, an idea of what this palanquin is. It is a sort of large sedan in which one or two people may recline with ease. Of course, this palanquin could not be made of gold or silver, because then it would be too heavy to carry; it must be made of wood; hence King Solomon made a bed, or chariot, or palanquin, from the wood of Lebanon. Then there needs to be four pillars supporting the covering and the curtains; its pillars are of silver. The bottom of it should be something massive, in order to sustain the weight of the person; its bottom is made of gold. The canopy on the top, is a covering of purple. Since to lie on gold would be very unpleasant, it is covered with delicate, daintily woven carpets; and so we have its bottom paved, or rather carpeted with love for the daughters of Jerusalem. Some delicate devices of needlework adorn the bottom of this bed-chariot in which the king and his spouse recline during their journey.
21. The doctrines of the gospel are comparable, for their antiquity, for their sweet fragrance, for their incorruptibility, to the wood of Lebanon. The gospel of Christ never decays; Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever. Not one single truth, bears any sign of rot. And to those souls who are enlightened from above, the gospel exudes a fragrance far richer than the wood of Lebanon.
No beams of cedar or of fir,
Can with your precious truth compare.
I rejoice to know concerning you as a Church, that the more you understand the doctrines of grace the better you love them. You are confirmed in the present faith, and well you may be, for our doctrine is worthy of your confidence. We are not afraid that any truth which Christ has uttered should be tried by the most stringent criticism, for not one single stone of all the bulwarks of Gospel doctrine can ever be moved out of its place. When cedars of Lebanon have yielded to the worm, even then shall the truth as it is in Jesus remain the same.
22. As for the silver pillars which bear up the canopy, to what should I compare them but to the attributes of God which support and guarantee the efficacy of the great atonement of Christ beneath which we are sheltered. There is the silver pillar of God’s justice. He cannot, he will not strike the soul that hides beneath the cross of Christ. If Christ has paid the debt, how is it possible that God should visit again a second time the iniquity of his people, first on their Surety, and then again on themselves? Then stands the next, the solid pillar of his power. “They shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand; my Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Then on the other side is the pillar of his love, a silver pillar indeed, bright and sparkling to the eye; love unchanging and eternal, strong as the power and firm as the justice which supports the canopy on the other side. And here on this side stands immutability, another column upon which the atonement rests. If God could change, then he might cast away his blood bought; but “because I am God and do not change, therefore you sons of Jacob rejoice.” As for the covering of the chariot, it is of purple. I do not need tell you where it was dyed. No Tyrian hues are mingled here. Look up, Christian, and delight yourself in that blood red canopy which shelters you from the sun by day and from the moon by night! From hell and heaven, from time and from eternity, you are secured by this covering which is of purple. Oh! tempting theme to expound the precious and glorious doctrine of atonement! Whenever our adversaries assail the Church, whatever may be the apparent object of their animosity, their real one is always the same, a desperate hatred for the great truth that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. Well, as they hate it, let us love it; and under it let us take our greatest delight.
23. As for the bottom of this palanquin, which is of gold, — may this not represent the eternal purpose and counsel of God, that purpose which he formed in himself even before the earth was? The decree of God was pure, holy, wise, just, for his own glory, and most true; and just as the precious things of the temple were all of gold, well may the basis of eternal love, an immutable and unchangeable decree, be compared to much fine gold. I do not know, brethren, how it is with you, but I find it most pleasant to have as the basis of my hope, the firm decree of God. Atonement covers me, I know, but still on this I must rest, Jehovah wills it; God decrees it; he has said it, and it must be done; he has commanded and it stands firm. Oh! that golden sovereignty, in which is written — “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs.” Dear brethren, the Apostle plainly tells us that this is the basis on which even the silver pillars rest, “for he has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, according as he has chosen us in him from before the foundation of the world.”
24. Then, to make this all soft and pleasant to recline upon, here is pavement of needlework. Soft cushions of love on which to rest. There is a double meaning here, for both the bride and bridegroom find rest in love. Our Lord finds rest in the love of his people. “Here I will dwell for ever.” They do, as it were, make these carpets of needlework in their love and affection for him, and in their trust and confidence in him; and here he rests. On the other hand, our Beloved spent his life to make for us our bed of rest, so that we must translate it “love of,” as well as “love for the daughters of Jerusalem.” We rest in Christ’s love; he rests in our love. Come, I do not need to explain further, brothers and sisters. Take your rest now to the full. You are married to Christ; you are one with him; betrothed to him in faithfulness, embraced in the arms of his affection. Do not fear the noise of archers; the “sixty valiant men” protect you, and the King himself embraces you; now solace yourself with him; take your fill of his sweet company, and say to him from the bottom of your heart, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for his love is better than wine.” Leave fighting for the evidences to the valiant men who can do it; as for you, you daughters of Jerusalem, rest upon your Lord’s bosom; leave the conflict to the men ordained to fight, the men expert in war; as for you, be expert in communion; understand the motions of Jesus’ heart; look to the lustre of his loving eyes; behold his beauties; be ravished with his divine affection for you; and now let your soul be satisfied with favour, and be full of the lovingkindness of the Lord!
The Duty of Every Believing Heart
25. IV. We close, then, by noticing THE DUTY OF EVERY BELIEVING HEART in connection with the subject.
26. Let every believer, while he recognises himself as part of the Church inside the palanquin, still look upon himself personally as one of the daughters of Zion, and let us each go forth this morning to meet King Solomon. It is not King David; King David is the type of Christ up to the time of his crucifixion — “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and yet King of the Jews. King Solomon is the type of Christ ever since the day when
They brought his chariot from above,
To bear him to his throne.
and, with sound of a trumpet, conducted him to his Father’s presence room above. Now it is King Solomon; King Solomon for wealth, for wisdom, for dignity, for honour, and for peace. He is the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and therefore he is King Solomon going forth. Get up from your beds of sloth; rise from your rooms of ease; go out, go out to pray, to labour, to suffer; go out to live in purity, leaving Babylon behind; go out to walk with him alone, leaving even your relatives and acquaintances if they will not follow with you. Why do you stay at home when the King is abroad? “Behold the Bridegroom comes, come out to meet him,” and behold King Solomon. Today let your eye rest upon him. Let your eye behold the head that today is crowned with glory, wearing many crowns. Behold, too, his hands which once were pierced, but are now grasping the sceptre. Look at his belt where swing the keys of heaven, and death, and hell. Look at his feet, once pierced with iron, but now set upon the dragon’s head. Look at his legs, like fine brass, as if they glowed in a furnace. Look at his heart, that bosom which heaves with love for you, and when you have surveyed him from head to foot exclaim, “Yes, he is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.” Does sin prevail? Behold King Solomon. Have doubts and fears arisen? Behold King Jesus. Are you troubled, and does your enemy annoy you? Look up to him, behold King Solomon. I urge you to remember the light in which you are to behold him. Do not think that Christ has lost his former power. Behold him as he was at Pentecost, with the crown his mother crowned him with in the day of his espousals. Oh! how glorious was our Lord when the Church crowned him with her zeal, and the arrows went out, and three thousand fell slain by his right hand to be made alive by the breath of his mouth! Oh, how these early saints crowned him, when they brought of their substance and laid it at the apostle’s feet, neither did any man count what he had as his own. They crowned him with their heart’s purest love; the Church had on her brow her bridal wreath, and her husband wore his nuptial crown. Behold him today as still wearing that crown, for he is the same Christ, and do you go forth to meet him, and labour for him, and love him as the first saints did?
27. Do not forget that his mother is to crown him soon in the day of his espousals. He is our Brother as well as our Husband, and the Church is his mother as well as ours. Oh! she is to crown him soon! The day of his espousals draws near. Listen! I hear the trumpet sound! Jesus comes, and his feet stand upon Mount Olivet; kings and princes lick the dust before him; he gathers sheaves of sceptres beneath his arm even as the mower gathers wheat with the sickle. He treads on principalities and powers; he tramples underfoot the young lion and the dragon. And now his saints cry, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The long expected one is come, and his mother crowns him in the day of his espousals! Courage, poor heart, courage! Go out and see King Solomon today as he is to be, and remember,
It does not yet appear
How great we shall be made;
But when we see our Saviour here,
We shall be like our Head.
When we look on him; let us rejoice that this is to be our glory. We are to put off this sackcloth and put on scarlet and fine linen. The dust is to be wiped from our brow and the sweat from our face; the shackles are to be taken from our wrist, and the fetters from our legs; and we are to be emancipated, ennobled, glorified, made partners with Christ in all his splendour, and taught to reign with him world without end.
28. But there are some here that I can hardly call the daughters of Jerusalem, yet they are always around Zion’s gate. Oh, there are many of you who are always listening to our voice, and joining in our hymns, and yet you have not seen our Master yet! Go out; leave your sinful pleasures, and leave your self-righteousness too; go out and see King Solomon. Look to Jesus, sinner, bleeding on the cross, and as you look, love and trust; and I know that as soon as you has seen him and trusted him, you will have a crown to put upon his head. It will be the day of your espousal to him, and you will crown him with such a crown. You will decorate that crown with jewels dug from the secret mine of your deepest heart, and having made this crown, you will put it on his head, and fall down before him and sing —
All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all.
29. Well, then, we will lay aside every fear, and continue all the day gazing upon our matchless Christ, adoring him, exalting him, and having fellowship with him; for all is well; his travelling chariot is always safe, and soon he will step out of it with his bride at his right hand, and the world shall be astonished to see the beauties of the royal pair when he shall be exalted, and those who are with him, before the presence of his Father and all the holy angels!