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Chapter 4 Verse 9
ravished my heart, my sister; my spouse: thou hast
ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy
having invited his church to go along with him, here discovers the reason of it, because his heart was ravished with her; he had such an affection for her, that he could not bear to be at a distance from her. In these words, consider,
I.The titles given to her; “my sister, my spouse.”
II.What he declares to her; “thou hast ravished my heart;” which expression is doubled.
III.What it was his heart was so taken with, which had such a mighty influence upon him; “with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.”
I.I shall consider the titles he gives unto her, and they are two, “my sister, my spouse;” one of which, namely, “my spouse,” has been explained in the former verse, and is here repeated to shew his affection to her, how much he delighted, in her under this character; as also, to assure her of the truth of it, as well as to manifest his satisfaction in this relation, and that he was not ashamed to own and acknowledge her as such: the other title, “my sister,” we have not met with before. Now Christ may call the church his sister, 1. More amatorio, it being a love-strain;520520Sive tibi conjux sive futura soror, Tibullas. and this being a love-song, where Christ and his church are expressing their love to each other; such a title as this cannot be looked upon as an improper one: it being an endearing expression, used by husbands to their wives; as by Raguel to Edna, Tobit 7:18, and by Tobias to Sara, chapter 8:4. 2. More Hebraeorum: it being usual with the Jews to call those of their own kindred and country, brethren and sisters; and with none but such were they allowed to marry; and perhaps to this the apostle has a respect (1 Cor. 9:5), “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife?” etc. agreeable to this, Christ calls his church, his sister, whom he had espoused to himself. 3. He may call her so on account of his incarnation; he assuming the same nature, and partaking of the same flesh and blood the children did; and so being of one and the same mass and lump with them, is not ashamed to call them brethren; which, it may be, is intended in that wish of the church’s, chapter 8:1. “O that thou wert as my brother!” etc. that is, O that thou wert incarnate! that we were of the same flesh and blood, and thereby thou appear to be my brother, and I thy sister. 4. On the account of her adoption: God has, by his sovereign, free, and distinguishing grace, adopted all his elect into his family, and has in his covenant of grace declared himself to be their Father, and them to be his sons and daughters; and now, being the sons and daughters of the same Father as Christ as the Son of, they become his brethren and sisters, which he acknowledges (John 20:17). 5. Being born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, they bear this character; and are so in Christ’s esteem, according to what he says (Matthew 12:50), “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother:” Christ bears all relations to his people, and is willing to own them in all relations to him. 6. Perhaps the church is here first called Christ’s sister; because Christ having called his people out of Judea’s land, and gathered a church among the Gentiles, that little sister spoken of in chapter 8:8, it might hereby appear that he had a real affection for her, that she was valued by him, and nearly related to him.
II.What he declares unto her, is, that she had “ravished his heart.” It is but one word in the Hebrew text, and is used is this form and sense no where else, but twice in this verse; for Christ’s love being so unspeakable and inexpressible, he coins, as one,521521Durham in loc. well observes, new words to discover it by; it is variously rendered, and perhaps by laying the several versions together, it will appear more fully what is intended by it. 1. The words may be rendered, “thou hast heartened me, or put heart into me,” and caused me to be of good cheat; so Cocceius and Schmidt: the word is used in this sense, in the Syriac Testament, in Matthew 9:2, and 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and then the sense may be this; the love which I bear unto thee, the charming ideas of thee, which I always carry in my mind, and the “joy which was set before me,” of having thy company and presence for ever in glory; have made my heavy sufferings easy, animated me as man and mediator, and cheerfully carried me through them all for thy sake, Hebrews 12:2. 2. Others read them, “thou hast unhearted me;” thou hast taken away my heart, and stolen it from me, so that I have no heart left in me, so the Septuagint; which reading, R. Aben Ezra confirms. Sometimes fear throws persons into such a condition, that they are as if they had no heart, spirit, life, or soul in them; as the Canaanities in Judges 5:1 sometimes wonder and surprise; thus the queen of Sheba, when she had seen Solomon’s wisdom and glory, it is said, “there was no more spirit in her:” and sometimes love has such an influence on the heart, and so it had here on Christ; it was so powerful, that it had taken away his heart; “thou hast ravished my heart,” that is, thou hast taken it away from me, as it were, by force and violence, that it is no longer mine, but thine; thou art master over it, and hast the command of it522522ynjbkl vendicasti tibi cor meum, Tigurine version; occupasti, Lutherus, Marckius. having claimed it to thyself as thine own. 3. It is rendered by others, “thou hast drawn my heart unto thee,” so R. Solomon Jarchi; or, “brought me near,” or “caused me to draw nigh”:523523Gloss. in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 53. 2. & 88. 2. that our hearts should be drawn to Christ, by views of his loveliness, and discoveries of his love to us, is no wonder; but that Christ’s heart should be drawn to us, in whom were neither love nor loveliness, is surprising; which shews the exceeding greatness, freeness, and richness of Christ’s love. 4. It may be read, “thou hast coupled my heart with thine;” and in this sense the Talmudists use the word:524524In Sabbat, fol. 5. 2. & Avoda Zara, fol. 2. 2. in Misnah. Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Hebrews in rad. bbl & Lex. Talmud. p. 116. Co. copulasti mihi, uxtorf. Hottinger, Smegma, p. 162. Christ’s heart and a believer’s are so knit, joined and coupled together, that they are but one heart, one soul, and one spirit; “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit;” all the powers of hell and earth, united together, are not able to disjoin and separate, either a believer’s heart from Christ, or Christ’s heart from a believer. 5. The Targum paraphrases it thus, “thy love is fixed upon the table of my heart;” it is wrote there in legible characters, which can never be erased: the church is not only engraven on the palms of Christ’s hands, but also upon the table of his heart; and so the church has what she wished for, chapter 8:6. “Set me as a seal upon thine heart:” Christ’s love to the church is so riveted and fixed in his heart, that there is no removing it; “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” 6. It is translated by others, “thou hast wounded my heart,” so the Vulgate Latin; which reading is not to be despised; R. David Kimchi525525In lib. Shorash, rad bbl owns it: Christ’s heart was wounded with one of love’s darts526526Sagiuiseri amores, Statii Sylva,1. 3. ode 3. 5:131. with an arrow shot from one of the church’s eyes; which is expressive of the force and power of love, with what vehemence it dwelt in, and what influence it had upon the heart of Christ.
Now this expression is repeated, to shew the vehemency and passionateness of his love, and the exceeding greatness of it; as also to assure her of the reality of it, that he was hearty end sincere in it; and did not say this by way of compliment to her, as lovers too often do; nor was it a word which wan rashly spoken by him, or that dropped from him at unawares; but as it proceeded from his heart, so it was spoken by him in a deliberate manner; therefore he repeats it, not to correct, but to confirm it.
Hence we may conclude what interest a believer has in Christ’s heart. What may he not expect? what can he want? what need he fear, that has so great a share in Christ’s heart and what reason has he to give Christ his heart, who has so much of Christ’s?
III.I shall now take notice of the things with which Christ’s heart was ravished. 1. “With one of the church’s eyes:” the eye is an attractive of love;527527Ta~v pw>ntev ep o[mmasin i]meroi ejnti Theocrit. Idyll. 18. Perque tuos oculos qui rapuere meos, Ovid. Amor. 1. 3. eleg. 10. Vid. 5:6. Barthii not. ad Claudian. de Nupt. Honor. and therefore it is said in Proverbs 6:25. “Neither let her take thee with her eye-lids.” By the eye, with which Christ was so taken, may be meant, the eye of faith; by which a soul looks on him, and loves him; beholds his fullness, and wishes for an interest in him; and looks to him, and expects from him alone life and salvation: He says, it was with one of her eyes; which shews that a believer has more eyes than one; and therefore we read of “the eyes of their understanding,” Ephesians 1:18, but it was with this eye of faith, by which she looked to him, and believed on him, that his heart was so ravished; and that but with one look from it, or glance of it, as both Junius and Ainsworth read it; nay, though but a very glimmering one; for faith, even in its lowest degree, is exceeding precious to Christ Jesus; which shews how easily and quickly a conquest is gained over Christ’s heart by faith; his heart must needs be full of love to believers, since it is ravished and overcome even with a single glimmering look from faith’s eye; and if so, how” much will his heart be ravished, when we shall see him “face to face, just as he is;” take a full view of him, look at him, and feed our eyes for ever upon the unutterable glories of his person! 2. “With one chain of her neck:” the neck is a beautiful part of the body, and being agreeably adorned, is exceeding enamoring: the Vulgate Latin version is, “with one lock of hair of thy neck.” so Aquila; which hung down in it, and looked very beautiful, and with which lovers are sometimes taken.528528Aipara par aucena seiet eqeira, Theocrit. Idyll. 5. Caesariem effusa nitidam per candida colia, Virgil. Georgic.1. 4. 5:337. Comae per levia colla fluentes. Propert.1. 2. eleg. 3. 5:13, By the neck, we may also understand faith, as we have observed on verse 4. it being neither unusual nor improper to represent one and the same thing under different metaphors: and by the chain, may be meant the graces of the Spirit, which, being linked and chained, do inseparably go together; and being put about this neck of faith, makes it look very beautiful: every grace is as a golden link or precious pearl in Christ’s esteem; who having, beautified his people with them, takes the utmost delight in viewing them; and whilst he is observing how beautifully they are adorned therewith, his heart is ravished with them.
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