Inthis Song, Salomon by most sweete and comfortable allegories and parables describeth the perfite loue of Iesus Christ, the true Salomon and King of peace, and the faithfull soule or his Church, which he hath sanctified and appointed to be his spouse, holy, chast and without reprehension. So that here is declared the singular loue of the bridegrome towarde the bride, and his great and excellent benefites, wherewith he doeth enriche her of his pure bountie and grace without any of her deseruings. Also the earnest affection of the Church which is inflamed with the loue of Christ, desiring to be more and more ioyned to him in loue, and not to be forsaken for any spot or blemish that is in her.
[The Churches beautie.]
1 The familiar talke and mysticall communication of the spirituall loue betweene Iesus Christ and his Church. 6 The domesticall enemies that persecute the Church.
1 Let [Note: [a] This is spoken in the person of the Church, or of the faithfull soule inflamed with the desire of Christ, whom she loueth. ] him kisse me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy loue is better then wine.
2 Because of the [Note: [b] The feeling of thy great benefites. ] sauour of thy good ointments thy name is as an ointment powred out: therefore the [Note: [c] They that are pure in heart and conuersation. ] virgins loue thee.
3 [Note: [d] The faithfull confesse that they can not come to Christ except they be drawen. ] Drawe me: we will runne after thee: the King hath brought me into his [Note: [e] Meaning, the secret ioy that is not knowen to the world. ] chabers: we will reioyce and be glad in thee: we will remember thy loue more then wine: the righteous do loue thee.
4 I am [Note: [f] The Church confesseth her spots and sinne, but hath confidence in the fauour of Christ. ] blacke, O daughters of Ierusalem, but comely, as the tentes of [Note: [g] Kedar was Ishmaels sonne, of whom came the Arabians that dwelt in tents. ] Kedar, and as the [Note: [h] Which within were all set with precious stones and iewels. ] curtaines of Salomon.
5 Regard ye me not because I am [Note: [i] Consider not the Church by the outward appearance. ] blacke: for the [Note: [k] The corruption of nature through sinne and afflictions. ] sunne hath looked vpon mee. The [Note: [l] Mine owne brethren, which should haue most fauoured me. ] sonnes of my mother were angry against mee: they made me the keeper of ye vines: but I [Note: [m] She confesseth her owne negligence. ] kept not mine owne vine.
6 Shewe me, [Note: [n] The spouse feeling her fault, fleeth to her husbande onely for succour. ] O thou, whome my soule loueth, where thou feedest, where thou liest at noone: for why should I be as she that turneth aside to the flockes of [Note: [o] Whome thou hast called to the dignitie of pastours, and they set foorth their owne dreames in stead of thy doctrine. ] thy companions?
7 [Note: [p] Christ speaketh to his Church, bidding them that are ignorant, to go to the pastors to learne. ] If thou knowe not, O thou the fairest among women, get thee foorth by the steps of the flocke, and feede thy kiddes by the tents of the shepheards.
8 I haue compared thee, O my loue, to the troupe of horses in the [Note: [q] For thy spiritual beauty & excellencie there was no worldly treasure to be compared vnto thee. ] charets of Pharaoh.
9 Thy cheekes are comely with rowes of stones, and thy necke with chaines.
10 We will make thee borders of golde with studdes of siluer.
11 [Note: [r] The Church reioyceth that she is admitted to the company of Christ. ] Whiles the King was at his repast, my spikenard gaue the smell thereof.
12 My welbeloued is as a bundle of myrrhe vnto me: he shall lie betweene my [Note: [s] Hee shall be most deare vnto me. ] breasts.
13 My welbeloued is as a cluster of camphire vnto me in the vines of Engedi.
14 My loue, beholde, thou art [Note: [t] Christ accepteth his Church & commendeth her beautie. ] faire: beholde, thou art faire: thine eyes are like the doues.
15 My welbeloued, beholde, thou art faire and pleasant: also our [Note: [u] That is, the heart of the faithfull wherein Christ dwelleth by his Spirit. ] bed is greene:
[Her desire to Christ.]
16 The beames of our house are cedars, our rafters are of firre.
3 The Church desireth to rest vnder the shadowe of Christ. 8 She heareth his voyce. 14 She is compared to the doue, 15 And the enemies to the foxes.
1 I am the rose of the fielde, and the lilie of the valleys.
2 Like a lilie amog the thornes, so is my [Note: [a] Thus Christ preferreth his Church aboue all other things. ] loue among the daughters.
3 [Note: [b] The spouse testifieth her great desire towarde her husbande, but her strength faileth her, and therefore she desireth to be comforted, and felt it. ] Like the apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my welbeloued among the sonnes of men: vnder his shadow had I delite, & sate downe: and his fruite was sweete vnto my mouth.
4 Hee brought mee into the wine cellar, and loue was his banner ouer me.
5 Stay me with flagons, and comfort me with apples: for I am sicke of loue.
6 His left hande is vnder mine head, and his right hand doeth imbrace me.
7 [Note: [c] Christ chargeth them which haue to doe in the Church, as it were by a solemne othe, that they trouble not the quietnesse thereof. ] I charge you, O daughters of Ierusalem, by the roes and by the hindes of the fielde, that ye stirre not vp, nor waken my loue, vntill she please.
8 [Note: [d] This is spoken of Christ, who tooke vpon him our nature to come to helpe his Church. ] It is the voyce of my welbeloued: beholde, hee commeth leaping by the mountaines, and skipping by the hilles.
9 My welbeloued is like a roe, or a yong hart: loe, he [Note: [e] Forasmuch as his diuinitie was hidde vnder the cloke of our flesh. ] standeth behinde our wall, looking forth of the windowes, shewing him selfe through the [Note: [f] So that we can not haue ful knowledge of him in this life. ] grates.
10 My welbeloued spake and said vnto me, Arise, my loue, my faire one, and come thy way.
11 For beholde, [Note: [g] That is, sinne and errour is driuen backe by the coming of Christ, which is here described by the spring time, when all things florish. ] winter is past: the raine is changed, and is gone away.
12 The flowers appeare in the earth: the time of the singing of birdes is come, and the voyce of the turtle is heard in our land.
13 The figtree hath brought foorth her yong figges: and the vines with their small grapes haue cast a sauour: arise my loue, my faire one, and come away.
14 My doue, that art in the [Note: [h] Thou that art ashamed of thy sinnes, come and shewe thy selfe vnto me. ] holes of ye rocke, in the secret places of the staires, shewe mee thy sight, let mee heare thy voyce: for thy voyce is sweete, and thy sight comely.
15 Take vs the foxes, the [Note: [i] Suppresse the heretiques whiles they are yong, that is, whe they begin to shewe their malice & destroye the vine of the Lord. ] little foxes, which destroy the vines: for our vines haue small grapes.
16 My welbeloued is mine, and I am his: hee feedeth among the lilies,
17 Vntil the day breake, and the shadowes flee away: returne, my welbeloued, and be like a [Note: [k] The Church desireth Christ to be most readie to helpe her in all dangers. ] roe, or a yong hart vpon the mountaines of Bether.
[The Church desireth to be ioyned to Christ.]
1 The Church desireth to bee ioyned inseparably to Christ her husband. 6 Her deliuerance out of the wildernes.
1 In my bed by [Note: [a] The Church by night, that is, in troubles seeketh to Christ, but is not incotinently heard. ] night I sought him that my soule loued: I sought him, but I found him not.
2 I will rise therefore nowe, and goe about in the citie, by the streetes and by the open places, and wil [Note: [b] Shewing that although we be not heard at the first, yet we must still continue in prayer till we feele comfort. ] seeke him that my soule loueth: I sought him, but I found him not.
3 The [Note: [c] Which declareth, that we must seeke vnto all, of whom we hope to haue any succour. ] watchmen that went about the citie, found mee: to whome I said, Haue you seene him, whome my soule loueth?
4 When I had past a litle from them, then I found him whom my soule loued: I tooke holde on him and left him not, till I had brought him vnto my mothers house into the chamber of her that conceiued me.
5 [Note: [d] Reade Chap.2.7. ] I charge you, O daughters of Ierusalem, by the roes and by the hindes of the fielde, that ye stirre not vp, nor waken my loue vntill she please.
6 Who is shee that commeth vp out of the [Note: [e] This is referred to the Church of Israel, which was led by the wildernes fourtie yeeres. ] wildernes like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrhe and incense, and with all the [Note: Ebr. powder. ] spices of the marchant?
7 Beholde his [Note: [f] By the bed is ment the Temple, which Salomon made. ] bed, which is Salomons: threescore strong men are round about it, of the valiant men of Israel.
8 They all handle the sworde, and are expert in warre, euery one hath his sword vpon his thigh for the feare [Note: [g] He alludeth to the watch, which kept the Temple. ] by night.
9 King Salomon made himselfe a [Note: Or, charet. ] palace of the trees of Lebanon.
10 Hee made the pillars thereof of siluer, and the pauement thereof of gold, the hangings thereof of purple, whose middes was paued with the loue of the daughters of Ierusalem.
11 Come forth, ye [Note: [h] All ye, that are of the nomber of the faithfull. ] daughters of Zion, and behold the King Salomon with the [Note: [i] Christ become man was crowned by the loue of God with the glorious crowne of his diuinitie. ] crowne, wherewith his mother crowned him in ye day of his mariage, and in the day of the gladnes of his heart.
1 The praises of the Church. 7 Shee is without blemish in his sight. 9 The loue of Christ towardes her.
1 Beholde, thou art [Note: [a] Because Christ delighteth in his Church, he commendeth all that is in her. ] faire, my loue: behold, thou art faire: thine eyes are like the doues: among thy lockes [Note: Chap.6.4. ] thine heare is like the [Note: [b] He hath respect to the multitude of the faithfull which are many in nomber. ] flocke of goates, which looke downe from the mountaine of Gilead.
2 Thy teeth are like a flocke of sheepe in good order, which go vp from the washing: which euery one bring out twinnes, and none is barren among them.
3 Thy lippes are like a threede of scarlet, and thy talke is comely: thy temples are within thy lockes as a piece of a pomegranate.
4 Thy necke is as the tower of Dauid builte for defence: a thousand shieldes hang therein, and all the targates of the strong men.
5 Thy two [Note: [c] Wherein are knowledge, and zeale, two precious iewels. ] breastes are as two young roes that are twinnes, feeding among the lilies.
6 Vntill the day breake, and the shadowes flie away, I wil go into the mountaine of myrrhe and to the mountaine of incense.
7 Thou art all faire, my loue, and there is no spot in thee.
8 [Note: [d] Christ promiseth his Church to call his faithfull from all the corners of the world. ] Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, euen with me from Lebanon, and looke from the toppe of Amanah, from the toppe of Shenir and Hermon, from the dennes of the lyons, and from the mountaines of the leopards.
[The fountaine of grace.]
9 My [Note: [e] Christ calleth his Church sister in respect that he had taken the flesh of man. ] sister, my spouse, thou hast wounded mine heart: thou hast wounded mine heart with one of thine [Note: [f] In that he made his Church beautifull and rich, he loued his gifts in her. ] eyes, and with a chaine of thy necke.
10 My sister, my spouse, how faire is thy loue? howe much better is thy loue then wine? and the sauour of thine oyntments then all spices?
11 Thy [Note: [g] Because of thy confession and thankesgiuing. ] lippes, my spouse, droppe as honie combes: honie and milke are vnder thy tongue, and the sauoure of thy garments is as the sauoure of Lebanon.
12 My sister my spouse is as a garden inclosed, as a spring shut vp, and a fountaine sealed vp.
13 Thy plantes are as an orchard of pomegranates with sweete fruites, as camphire, spikenarde,
14 Euen spikenarde, and saffran, calamus, and cynamon with all the trees of incense, myrrhe and aloes, with all the chiefe spices.
15 [Note: [h] The Church confesseth that all her glory, & beautie commeth of Christ, who is the true fountaine of all grace. ] O fountaine of the gardens, O well of liuing waters, and the springs of Lebanon.
16 Arise, O [Note: [i] She desireth Christ to comfort her, and to powre the graces of his Spirit vpon her, which Spirit is ment by the North and South winde. ] North, and come O South, and blowe on my garden that the spices thereof may flow out: let my welbeloued come to his garden, and eate his pleasant fruite.
1 Christ calleth his Church to the participation of all his treasures. 2 She heareth his voyce. 3 She confeßeth her nakednes. 10 She praiseth Christ her husband.
1 I am come into my [Note: [a] The garden signifieth the kingdome of Christ where he prepareth the banket for his elect. ] garden, my sister, my spouse: I gathered my myrrhe with my spice: I ate mine hony combe with mine hony, I dranke my wine with my milke: eate, O friends, drinke, and make you mery, O welbeloued.
2 [Note: [b] The spouse saith that she is troubled with the cares of worldly things, which is ment by sleeping. ] I sleepe, but mine heart waketh, it is the voyce of my welbeloued that knocketh, saying, Open vnto mee, my sister, my loue, my doue, my vndefiled: for mine head is full of dewe, and my lockes with the droppes of the [Note: [c] Declaring the long patience of the Lord toward sinners. ] night.
3 I haue put off my [Note: [d] The spouse confesseth her nakednes, and that of her selfe she hath nothing: or seeing that she is once made cleane, she promiseth not to defile her selfe againe. ] coate, howe shall I put it on? I haue washed my feete, howe shall I defile them?
4 My welbeloued put in his hand by the hole of the doore, and [Note: Ebr. my bowels were mooued towards him. ] mine heart was affectioned toward him.
5 I rose vp to open to my welbeloued, and mine hands did drop downe myrrhe, and my [Note: [e] The spouse which should bee anointed of Christ, shall not finde him if she thinke to anoynt him with her good workes. ] fingers pure myrrhe vpon the handels of the barre.
6 I opened to my welbeloued: but my welbeloued was gone, and past: mine heart was gone when hee did speake: I sought him, but I coulde not finde him: I called him, but hee answered mee not.
7 The [Note: [f] These are the false teachers, which wound the conscience with their traditions. ] watchmen that went about the citie, founde me: they smote me and wounded me: the watchmen of the walles tooke away my vaile from me.
8 I charge you, [Note: [g] She asketh of them which are godly (forasmuch as the lawe and saluatio should come out of Zion and Ierusalem) that they would direct her to Christ. ] O daughters of Ierusalem, if you finde my welbeloued, that you tell him that I am sicke of loue.
9 [Note: [h] Thus say they of Ierusalem. ] O the fairest among women, what is thy welbeloued more then other welbeloued? what is thy welbeloued more then another louer, that thou doest so charge vs?
10 My welbeloued is white and ruddie, the chiefest of ten thousand.
11 His [Note: [i] She describeth Christ to be of perfit beautie, and comelinesse. ] head is as fine golde, his lockes curled, and blacke as a rauen.
12 His eyes are like doues vpon the riuers of waters, which are washt with milke, and remaine by the full veßels.
13 His cheekes are as a bedde of spices, and as [Page]
[The faith of the Church.]
sweete flowres, and his lippes like lilies dropping downe pure myrrhe.
14 His hands as rings of gold set with the [Note: Ebr. Tarshish. ] chrysolite, his belly like white yuorie couered wt saphirs.
15 His legges are as pillars of marble, set vpon sockets of fine golde: his countenance as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
16 His mouth is as sweete thinges, and hee is wholy delectable: this is my welbeloued, and this is my louer, O daughters of Ierusalem.
17 [Note: [k] Hearing of the excellencie of Christ the faithfull desire to knowe how to finde him. ] O the fairest among women, whither is thy welbeloued gone? whither is thy welbeloued turned aside, that we may seeke him with thee?
2 The Church aßureth herselfe of the loue of Christ. 3 The praises of the Church. 8 She is but one and vndefiled.
1 My welbeloued is gone downe into his [Note: [a] That is, is conuersant here in earth among men. ] garden to the beds of spices, to feede in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
2 I am my welbeloueds, and my welbeloued is mine, who feedeth among the lilies.
3 Thou art beautifull, my loue, as [Note: [b] Which was a faire and strong citie, 1.King.14.17. ] Tirzah, comely as Ierusale, terrible as an army with baners.
4 [Note: [c] This declareth the exceeding loue of Christ toward his Church. ] Turne away thine eyes from me: for they ouercome mee: [Note: Chap.4.1. ] thine heare is like a flocke of goates, which looke downe from Gilead.
5 Thy teeth are like a flocke of sheepe, which goe vp from the washing, which euery one bring out twinnes, and none is barren among them.
6 Thy temples are within thy lockes as a piece of a pomegranate.
7 There are [Note: [d] Meaning, that the giftes are infinite which Christ giueth to his Church: or that his faithful are many in nomber. ] threescore Queenes and fourescore concubines & of the damsels without nober.
8 But my doue is alone, and my vndefiled, she is the onely daughter of her mother, and shee is deare to her that bare her: the daughters haue seene her & counted her blessed: euen the Queenes and the concubines, and they haue praised her.
9 [Note: [e] Hee sheweth that the beginning of the Church was small, but that it grewe vp to a great multitude. ] Who is shee that looketh foorth as the morning, fayre as the moone, pure as the sunne, terrible as an armie with banners!
10 I went downe to the [Note: [f] He went downe into the Synagogue to see what fruites came of the Lawe, and the Prophets. ] garden of nuttes, to see the fruites of the valley, to see if the vine budded, and if the pomegranates flourished.
11 [Note: [g] I founde nothing but rebellio. ] I knewe nothing, my soule set me [Note: [h] I ranne as swift as the nobles of my people in their charets. ] as the charets of my noble people.
12 Returne, returne, O [Note: [i] O yee people of Ierusalem: for Ierusalem was called Shalem, which signifieth peace. ] Shulamite, returne: returne that we may behold thee. What shal you see in the Shulamite, but as the company of an armie?
1 The beautie of the Church in all her members. 10 She is assured of Christes loue towardes her.
1 Howe beautifull are thy [Note: [a] Hee describeth the comely beautie of the Church in euery part, which is to be vnderstande spiritually. ] goings with shooes, O princes daughter! the ioynts of thy thighs are like iewels: the worke of the hande of a cunning workeman.
2 Thy nauel is as a round cuppe that wanteth not licour: thy belly is as an heape of wheat compassed about with lilies.
3 [Note: [b] Reade Chap. 4.5. ] Thy two breastes are as two young roes that are twinnes.
4 Thy necke is like a towre of yuorie: thine eyes are like the fishe pooles in Heshbon by the gate of Bath-rabbim: thy nose is as the towre of Lebanon, that looketh toward Damascus.
5 Thine head vpon thee is as skarlet, and the bush of thine head like purple: the King is tyed [Note: [c] He deliteth to come neere thee and to be in thy company. ] in the [Note: Or, galeries. ] rafters.
6 Howe faire art thou, and howe pleasant art thou, O my loue, in pleasures!
7 This thy stature is like a palme tree, and thy brestes like clusters.
8 I saide, I will goe vp into the palme tree, I will take holde of her boughes: thy breastes shall nowe be like the clusters of the vine: and the sauour of thy nose like apples,
9 And the roufe of thy mouth like good wine, which goeth straight to my welbeloued, and causeth the lippes of the ancient to speake.
10 [Note: [d] This the spouse speaketh. ] I am my welbeloueds, and his desire is toward mee.
11 Come, my welbeloued, let vs go foorth into the fielde: let vs remaine in the villages.
12 Let vs get vp early to the vines, let vs see if the [Note: [e] If the people that are called to Christ, bring forth any fruite. ] vine florish, whether it hath budded the small grape, or whether the pomegranates florish: there will I giue thee my loue.
13 The mandrakes haue giuen a smell, and in our gates are all sweete things, new and olde: my welbeloued, I haue kept them for thee.
2 The Church will be taught by Christ. 3 Shee is vpholden by him. 6 The vehement loue wherewith Christ loueth her. 11 Shee is the vine that bringeth foorth fruite to the Spirituall Salomon, which is Iesus Christ.
1 Oh [Note: [a] The Church called of the Gentiles, speaketh thus to the Church of Ierusalem. ] that thou werest as my brother that sucked the brestes of my mother: I would finde thee without, I would kisse thee, then they should not despise [Note: Or, me. ] thee.
2 I will leade thee and bring thee into my mothers house: there thou shalt teache me: and I will cause thee to drinke spiced wine, and newe wine of the pomegranate.
3 [Note: [b] Reade Chap.2.6. ] His left hand shalbe vnder mine head, and his right hand shall embrace me.
4 [Note: [c] Reade Chap.3.5. ] I charge you, O daughters of Ierusale, that you stir not vp, nor waken my loue, vntil she please.
5 (Who is this that commeth vp out of the wildernesse, leaning vpon her welbeloued?) I raysed thee vp vnder an apple tree: there thy mother conceiued thee: there she coceiued that bare thee.
6 [Note: [d] The spouse desireth Christ to be ioyned in perpetuall loue with him. ] Set mee as a seale on thine heart, and as a signet vpo thine arme: for loue is strong as death: ielousie is cruel as the graue: the coles thereof are fierie coles, and a vehement flame.
7 Much water can not quench loue, neither can the floods drowne it: If a man should giue all the substance of his house for loue, they would greatly contemne it.
8 [Note: [e] The Iewish Church speaketh this of the Church of the Gentiles. ] Wee haue a litle sister, and she hath no breastes: what shall we do for our sister when she shalbe spoken for?
9 [Note: [f] If she be sure and fast, she is meete for the husband to dwell in. ] If shee be a wall, we will builde vpon her a siluer palace: and if she be a doore, we wil keepe her in with bordes of cedar.
10 [Note: [g] The Church promiseth fidelitie and constancie. ] I am a wall, and my breasts are as towres: then was I in his eyes as one that findeth peace.
11 [Note: [h] This is the vineyard of the Lord hired out, Matth. 21.33. ] Salomon had a vine in Baal-hamon: hee gaue the vineyarde vnto keepers: euery one bringeth for ye fruite thereof a thousand pieces of siluer.
12 But my vineyarde which is mine, is before me: to thee, O Salomon appertaineth a thousand pieces of siluer, and two hundreth to them that keepe the fruite thereof.
13 O thou that dwellest in the [Note: [i] Christ dwelleth in his Church, whose voyce the faythfull heare. ] gardens, the companions hearken vnto thy voyce: cause me to heare it.
14 O my welbeloued, [Note: [k] The Church desireth Christ that if he depart from them, yet that he would haste to helpe them in their troubles. ] flee away, and be like vnto the roe, or to the yong harte vpon ye mountaines of spices.