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Chapter 5 Verse 2
I sleep, but
my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that
knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, ray dove, ray
undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and ray locks with the
drops of the night.
are the words of the church, who here begins to give an account of her present state and condition; how that after this spiritual banquet, which she had partook of with Christ, she fell asleep, as the disciples did in the garden, after they had been with Christ, at his table: and also, what methods he made use of to awake her; how basely and ungratefully she treated him; which he resented, and shewed by a departure from her; which when she was sensible of, was troubled at, and made enquiry after him, first of the watchmen, who abused her, and then of the daughters of Jerusalem, who question her about him; which gave her occasion to give that large and excellent account of him, which closes this chapter: and it may be observed, that as Christ speaks most in the preceding chapter, so she does in this. In these words are these two things,
I.The church’s account of her present state and condition.
II.Christ’s carriage and behavior to her in this condition.
I.The account she gives of her present state and condition; “I sleep, but my heart waketh:” like persons half awake and half asleep, whom Cicero611611Familiar. Epist. 1. 7. ep. 1. so Seneca, ep. 122. calls semisomni; the phrase is sometimes used to describe a sluggish, slothful man.612612Qui vigilans dormiat, Plauti Pseudolus, act. 1. sc, 3. 5:151. This case which the church was now in, is different from that recorded in chap. in. there she was upon her bed indeed, but not asleep; there she was seeking after her beloved; but here he is seeking to her, and entreating her in the most kind and affectionate manner to arise, and let him in; there she of her own accord arose and sought him in the streets and broad ways; but here she continues in this sleepy and lazy condition, notwithstanding the pressing instances and powerful arguments which he made use of, until he exerted his mighty grace, which caused her to arise and open to him; but then he was gone: there she inquires of the watchmen, who, though we do not read of any answer they gave her, yet they did not abuse her; but here they smite her, wound her, and take away her veil from her; there, a little after she had passed from them she found him; but here she appears to be even sick of love before she found him. In this account of hers, two things are asserted by her, First, That she was asleep. Yet, Secondly, Her heart was awake.
First, She acknowledges that she was asleep. “I sleep.” This is not the dead sleep of sin, in whom all unconverted per. sons are; nor that judicial slumber, which God suffers to fall upon some; but such an one, which though displeasing to Christ and unbecoming the believer, yet is consistent with a principle of grace. The church here was not so fast asleep, but she could hear, know, and distinguish the voice of Christ; her sleep is much the same with that of the wise virgins, who all slumbered and slept, as well as the foolish, and yet had oil in their lamps, which they had not. And in taking notice of this part of the church’s case, I will endeavor, 1st, To shew wherein this sleepy frame, which sometimes attend believers, does consist, or wherein it shews itself. 2dly, What are the springs and causes of it, or from whence it proceeds. 3dly, The danger of such a frame.
1st, It will be proper to shew wherein this sleepy frame of spirit does consist, or wherein it shews itself, 1. It consists in a non-exercise of grace; though there is grace in the heart, yet it is but very little exercised by persons in this condition, it lies dormant; faith is weak and languid, hope abates in its former liveliness, and love in its warmth and fervency; it grows cold; there is such a thing as a leaving, though not a losing our first love. 2. It appears in a sluggishness and slothfulness to or in duty; for though persons have not wholly cast off the fear of God, and restrained prayer before him, as Eliphaz, Job 15:4 wrongfully charged Job; yet there is a backwardness to it, and a laziness appears in the performance of it; there is a want of that fervency and spirit, which formerly discovered itself whilst they were serving the living God. 3. It manifests itself in a contentation in the external parts of religion: Internal religion is at a low ebb in their souls; they hear, and read, and pray, and attend on ordinances, contenting themselves with the bare performance of these things, without having their hearts engaged, their faith in exercise, and their affections raised; and so come short of answering the character of being worshippers of God in the spirit; either under the influences of the eternal Spirit, or with their own spirits influenced thereby, which formerly was their great concern in religious worship. 4. It discovers itself in a carelessness, lukewarmness, and unconcernedness for the cause of Christ: persons in such a condition may be observed sensibly to abate in their zeal, both for the doctrines of the gospel, and the 46 discipline of God’s house; they seek their own things, and not the things which are Jesus Christ’s; they mind their own celled houses, and let the house of God lie waste; they come far short of imitating Christ, their glorious head, of whom it is said (Ps. 69:9), that the zeal of God’s house eat him up; things may go how they will for ought they care, who have got into this frame of spirit. 5. It shews itself in an unconcernedness, as to omission of duty, and commission of sin: time was, when these persons could not omit a duty occasioned by the hurrying business of life, but it gave them great uneasiness; could not do those things which by some are not accounted sinful, but it burdened their consciences; but now they can neglect duties time after time, fall in with the customs and corruptions of the age, and be very little concerned about it. 6. In a willingness to continue so: they do not love to be jogged; grow peevish when any attempts are made to awaken them; their language is that of the sluggard (Prov. 6:10), “yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.” This seems to be the case of the church, who being asleep, did not care to be disturbed; and therefore made those idle excuses she did, when called upon in the most tender and affectionate manner to arise.
2dly, What are the true springs and causes of this sleepy frame, or from whence it does proceed, 1. From a “body of sin” they carry about with them; which fleshly, gross and earthly part in them, induces heaviness, and inclines to sleep: the cold humors of sin benumb the soul, and bring upon it a spiritual lethargy; “like the poison of asps,” it operates this way; the deceitful charms of sin sometimes lull them asleep. 2. Worldly cares have sometimes this effect upon God’s people; an immoderate thirst and pursuit after the things of this world, oftentimes makes persons grow indifferent about the things of another; it runs them into many temptations and snares; it frequently causes them to omit private and family duty, and “ chokes the word” and ordinances, that they become unfruitful; being surfeited and overcharged with it, they fall into this drowsy and sleepy frame. 3. It arises sometimes from a cessation from spiritual exercises; idleness, or a want of exercise induces sleep: when believers grow weary of well-doing, and grow remiss in the duties of meditation, prayer, hearing and reading; grace, as to the exercise of it, declines, and their souls fall into a spiritual slumber. 4. It sometimes springs from, and is increased by an absenting from the ministry, especially an awaking one, which might be useful to rouse them; and from the company of lively Christians by conversing with whom, their souls, through the blessing of divine grace, might be kept awake; but instead of this, they” neglect the ministry of the word, leave off the company of those warm and lively souls, and converse with cold and formal professors, which bring them into, and continues them in this sleepy frame. 5. Sometimes it follows upon an enjoyment of ease, peace and liberty; therefore some613613Brightman and Cotton in loc. interpret these words of the state of the church in Constantine’s time, when the church not only enjoyed freedom from persecution, but also abounded in riches and prosperity, and upon it grew careless, secure and sleepy; by reason of which many errors, both in doctrine and discipline, crept into the church; and I am afraid, that the long enjoyment of peace and liberty which we have had, has brought us into much the same frame of spirit.
3dly, The danger of being in such a state and condition, 1. When the church of Christ is in such a condition, it lies liable to be filled with hypocrites, and pestered with heretics: to be filled with hypocrites, because it has not then such a spirit of discerning; these may then more easily impose themselves upon it: to be pestered with heresies and heretics, of which there have been lamentable instances, that “while men slept, the enemy sowed tares;” which roots of bitterness have sprung up with the wheat of sound doctrine, and have troubled some, and defiled others; and I wish I could say, that this is not the case of the churches of Christ now, nor these the dreadful consequences of her being in such an one. 2. Particular believers, who are got into this sleepy and drowsy frame, are exposed to every sin and every temptation; therefore said Christ to his disciples, Matthew 26:41, “watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;” knowing, that when asleep, they might easily be led into it: What may not the “devouring lion” be suffered to do to persons in such a condition? Into what sins and snares may he not be permitted to lead them, though he shall never destroy them? 3. They are liable to be deprived of Christ’s presence, which was the case of the church here: she had had a glorious enjoyment of Christ’s presence; he had been with her in his garden, and had made a noble entertainment for her and his friends, quickly after which she falls asleep; and after he had made some attempts to awake her, and had given some notices of his regard to her, withdraws himself from her, verse 6. 4. Such may be robbed of what is valuable and dear unto them; a man that is asleep, any thing that he has, money, jewels, etc. may be taken from him; so a believer, though he cannot lose his grace, nor that treasure which he has in heaven, yet he may lose his comfort and liveliness; and the truths of the gospel may be more easily wrung out of his hands. 5. Such a sleepy, lazy frame, tends to spiritual poverty; it brings leanness upon the soul: grace, as to its exercise, is brought low thereby, and the soul into a declining condition. 6. Such persons are liable to be surprised with the midnight-cry; though it is tree those who are real believers, shall never be found without oil in their lamps, but shall be always ready in Christ for his appearance; yet it will not be so startling and surprising to the waking, as to the sleepy virgins. 7. Such a frame is both displeasing to Christ and uncomfortable to themselves: a lukewarm frame Christ so resents, that he threatens to “spew such out of his mouth;” neither is it very comfortable to themselves; it is but broken sleep they have; they are disturbed with many startlings and joggings of conscience; like persons who know it is their duty to arise and be about their business, and yet have no power to do so, being overcome with sleep.
Secondly, She declares, that notwithstanding she slept, yet her heart was awake. R. Sol. Jarchi divides these words, and refers the former clause, “I sleep,” to the bride; and this here, “my heart waketh,” to the bridegroom; and so he says, it is expounded ha an ancient book of theirs, called Pesikta614614And so Tanchuma in Yalkut in loc; : and then the sense is, Though I have been, and am in a sleepy frame of spirit, yet he who is my heart615615A phrase used by lovers, meum cor, Plauti Poenulus, act 1. sc. 2. 5:154, 170, 173. meum corculum, Ib Cafina, act 4. sc. 4. 5:14. , my life, my soul, my all; he whom I love with all my heart, and who is the rock, the strength of my heart, mad my portion for ever; he, I say, never slumbers nor sleeps, but watches over me night and day even when I am asleep, that nothing hurts me. But in another ancient book of theirs, called Zohar616616In Deuteronomy fol. 122. 2. , I dad both clauses referred to the church, and so they are to be understood; “my heart waketh,” that is, my regenerate part, which is sometimes called in scripture, “the spirit,” and the “inward man;” that is to say, so far as my carnal and unregenerate heart prevails, “I sleep;” and so far as I am renewed and sanctified, “my heart waketh:” she was not so fast asleep, but that, 1. She had some thoughts of heart concerning Christ; he was not wholly out of her mind; though she was asleep, her thoughts were running upon, and employed about her beloved; his image was so impressed upon her mind, that she thought him present; and every thing that stirred, supposed it was he, and that she heard his voice; even as lovers in their sleep, have their thoughts running upon the person who is the object of their love. 2. There were some stirrings of affections in her towards him; though she had got into this sleepy and lazy frame of soul, yet Christ was still the object of her love; and therefore she says, “it is the voice of my beloved;” she was not so fast asleep, but that she could not only know and distinguish the voice of Christ, but she could also call him “ her beloved? 3. There were no doubt some convictions of sin upon her conscience: we must not suppose her to be in such a dead sleep, as to be “past feeling,” or to have her “conscience seared with an hot iron;” she was sensible of her evil, in indulging such a flame; though, being overcome with sleep, she had no power to guard against it. 4. It is highly probable, that she was not without some desires after being in her duty, as being uneasy in her present case; it seems to be with her, as it was with the disciples when asleep, of whom Christ says, “that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak;” they, with her here, had a will to duty, a will to watch and pray with him; “but how to perform they knew not,” being overpowered with this fleshly and earthly part.
Now from this whole account which she gives of herself, as sleeping, and yet waking, we may observe the following things. (1.) That a believer has two different principles in him; a principle of corruption, and a principle of grace; the one he brings into the world with him, the other is wrought by the Spirit of God; and these are represented as two different persons, both by the church here, who speaks of and that sleeps, and an heart that wakes; and by the apostle elsewhere, who speaks of a new man, and an old man; of himself, as having no good thing dwelling in him, and yet of an I that sinneth not (see Rom. 7:18-20; Eph. 4:22-24). (2.) That these two different principles may exert themselves, at one and the same time, in a believer; “the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other: the law in the members wars against the law in the mind, and the law in the mind opposes the law in the members;” and at the same time she sleeps, her heart wakes. (3.) That corruption may seem to have the ascendant, in a believer’s heart for a time; it seems to have had k in the church here; sleep overpowered her, though her heart was awake: this law in the members may carry captive for some time, and have such a power over the believer, as that he cannot do the good which he would. (4.) Notwithstanding, true grace cannot be lost in a believer; it is an immortal seed which remains and abides; grace is always alive, though not always alike lively; it is “a well of living water springing up into everlasting life.” (5.) The difference between a carnal and a spiritual heart; the one is in a dead sleep, the other, though asleep, yet his heart wakes; the one has spirit as well as flesh, the other is nothing but flesh. And, considering these as the words of the church, they inform us, 1. That believers have a discerning of their state and condition; when in the lowest, they know in some measure how it is with them, and can observe a difference in themselves, from themselves, and from what they have formerly been, which an unconverted person is a stranger to; he is not capable of making such a remark as this upon himself, which the church here does; though it is true, the believer may be left sometimes to make a wrong judgment of himself. 2. That believers are ingenuous in acknowledging their sins, failings ,and infirmities; which is an evidence of the truth of grace, and that there are more or less some stirrings of it, where this spirit is. 3. That it is the duty of believers to take notice of their grace, as well as of their sin; and therefore the church takes notice of her “waking heart,” as well as of her “sleeping I:” we should be careful how we deny or lessen the work of the Spirit of God upon our souls, but speak of it to the glory of him who is the author of it; who can, does, and will keep our hearts awake, grace alive there; though we, with the church, may be sometimes suffered to fall asleep: thus much for her state and condition. Now follows,
II.Christ’s carriage and behavior to her when in this state, as acknowledged by herself.
1st, He called unto her, and that so loud, that she, though asleep, could hear, and own it to be his voice, saying, “It is the voice of my beloved.” By the voice of Christ, we must understand the gospel, as preached by his ministering servants; by whom he often calls to his drowsy and sleepy saints to awake, as he does here. In what sense the gospel is the voice of Christ, and how it may be and is distinguished by believers from the voice of strangers, have been shown in Song of Solomon 2:8. I need only add here, that as it is a distinguishing character of believers to know Christ’s voice; so they are capable of doing it, even when in a carnal and sleepy frame of soul: believers sometimes, under hearing the word, are very dull and heavy; there is but very little exercise of faith in them; yet: they can then distinguish the gospel from what is not so; though they are little affected with it, and receive but very little advantage by it: nay, it may be further observed, that she could say, it was the voice of her beloved; for though her faith and love were very low, yet they were not lost; but then let it be carefully remarked, that though she was capable of making such observations on what she heard, yet she was not thoroughly awaked hereby, but sleeps on still: thus, notwithstanding Christ’s passionate expostulation with his disciples in the garden, saying, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” I say, notwithstanding this, they fall asleep again. Christ’s word, without his power, will neither quicken dead sinners, nor awake sleepy saints; neither of these will be affected by it, unless he puts in the finger of his powerful and efficacious grace, “by the hole of the door,” as he does in verse 4. Well, Christ calling her by his ministers, and not awaking her, he takes another method: and therefore,
2dly, Knocks, and calls again, saying, Open to me, etc. There is, 1. A knocking at sinners hearts at first conversion. The heart of an unconverted sinner is bolted and barred against Christ, with the strong bolts and bars of sin and unbelief: elect sinners, whilst in a state of nature, are stout-hearted, and far from righteousness; they are unwilling to submit to Christ and his righteousness, nor to open the doors of their hearts, and let the king of glory in: he stands and knocks there, by the preaching of the gospel; and, having the key of David in his hands, “he openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth;” with this key of almighty and efficacious grace, he openeth their hearts, as he did Lydia’s; and, with the hammer of his word, breaks them in pieces, and causes all bolts and bars to fly before him; plucks down the strong holds which Satan had made; dispossesses the strong man of his armor, wherein he trusted, to keep his palace in peace and safety; and reduces all in obedience to himself; where entering with his glorious train of graces, and hawing dethroned sin, sets up grace to reign in his stead; and takes possession of the heart as his palace, from whence sin and Satan will never be able to eject him. Now in this mighty work of grace, in thus conquering and subduing a sinner’s heart, we are not to suppose that here is a force upon the will; for though before they were unwilling, as well as unable to open and let him in, yet are now made willing in the day of his power, to submit unto him; they become voluntary subjects to him; and Christ meets with a kind reception and hearty welcome from them; so that they are as desirous of having him there, as he is of entering in, when this day of his power has passed upon them. But, 2. There is a knocking at churches, or at the hearts of particular believers; and of this we read in Revelation 3:20. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” etc. the church of Lacodicea there appears to be in much the same case and condition as the church is here: the church here was asleep, though her heart was awake; and the church of Laodicea there was lukewarm, neither hot nor cold; which being highly displeasing to Christ, in order to bring her to a sense of her present condition, he comes and stands at the door, and knocks, as he does here. Now we are not to suppose that Christ is ever turned out of doors; that the key is turned upon him; or that he has not always a dwelling in his churches, or in the hearts of particular believers; for he is Christ in us, and in all believers, the hope of glory; he is there, and will continue there, till he has brought them to that glory which they are hoping for; though sometimes they are so shut up in their frames, that they can neither come forth themselves, in the enlargement of their desires and affections, and in the exercise of grace, nor let in Christ unto them; there is but very little communion between Christ and them; and though there is no distance or separation with respect to union, yet there is with regard to communion; there stands as it were a door, a wall, a middle wall of partition, between Christ and their souls; and oftentimes, which is still worse, they are secure, careless and unconcerned about it; therefore Christ, in order to bring them to a sense of themselves, and their present condition; that they may see their need of, and that desires may be stirred up in them, after communion with himself, comes and stands at the door, and knocks: which knocking I take to be, not by the ministry of the word, as before: but in a providential way, in a way of chastisement, by taking in his hand the rod of affliction or scourge of persecution, and lashing his children with them; with such severe raps and blows of persecution did he knock at the door of the church, in the times of Constantius, Valens and Julian, emperors of Rome, after she was fallen asleep, through the peace and prosperity which she enjoyed in the times of Constantine: the two former of which persecuted the orthodox ministers and others, in favor of the Arians; and the latter entirely apostatized from the Christian religion, and became a bitter enemy and cruel persecutor of it: and this is thought by some interpreters617617Brightman, Cotton, and Cocceius in loc. , to be particularly intended here: and in this sense we are to understand knocking, in that parallel text (Rev. 3:20), as is manifest by comparing it with verse 19, “as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent; behold, I stand at the door and knock,” etc. His knocking there, is no other than his rebukes and chastisements in a way of love, which were designed to bring her to a sense of herself, as appears from that exhortation, “be zealous therefore, and repent;” and that she might see her need of, and have her desires enlarged after communion with him, as is manifest from these words; “if any man open to me, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me;” which also is his end and design in knocking after this manner here; “it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me.” There is an emphasis upon the word me! open to me, who am thy Lord, thy head, thy husband, and thy friend: and by opening to him; he means an enlarging of their affections and desires to him, which were now very cold and chill; and an exercise of their faith upon him, which was very weak; which they of themselves were no more capable to do, than a sinner is to open his heart to Christ at first conversion; this can only be done by him, who has the key of David, who openeth and no man shutteth, etc. and therefore we find this knocking was also ineffectual, until he exerted his mighty grace, as in verse 4, his saying to her, “open to me,” is designed to convince her of her present condition, and what need she stood in of his presence and assistance.
3dly, Christ not only calls by the ministry of the word, and knocks in a providential way, by his rebukes and chastisements; but he also gives her good words, kind and endearing titles and characters: he calls to her, saying, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.” The three first of these titles and characters have been already considered and explained: the first title, my sister, is expressive of the near relation the church stands in to Christ, being “flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone,” and has been spoken to on chapter 4:9, the second, “my love,” shews the strong affection Christ had for her, she being the alone object of it, and has been opened on chapter 1:9, the third, “my dove,” declares the church’s harmlessness and simplicity, her cleanness, purity and chastity, as has been shewn on chapter 2:14, and the fourth, “my undefiled, or my perfect one618618ytmt telei>a mou, Sept. perfecta mea, Montanus, Tigurine version, Marckius: integra mea, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis, Galatinus, 1. 3. c. 30. de Arcan. Cathol. Verit. from the Midrash, would have it, that it was formerly read, ytmwat gemella mea, my twin; and I find in Zo , as it is in the Hebrew text, is what we have not yet met with, and therefore will deserve a little more consideration. And here it must be observed, that all the descendants of Adam, by ordinary generation, are polluted and defiled, both in their nature and actions; all the parts of their bodies, and powers and faculties of their souls are so; their will and affections, understanding and judgment, mind and conscience, are all defiled; and indeed how can at otherwise be, for “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one:” nay, believers themselves are not free from pollution; but complain of the uncleanness of their hearts and lips; and frankly acknowledge that they are all as an unclean thing, and that all their righteousnesses are as filthy rags: it may then seem strange, that Christ should call his church, and that in her present circumstances, his undefiled one; and so she is, not in herself; but as considered in him, believers are full of spots in themselves, but having in his spotless righteousness, he looks upon them as all fair, and as having no spot in them; they are the undefiled in the way, even whilst in the way to glory: and on this side the heavenly inheritance, which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth net away, reserved in the heavens far them. Or else, this character may regard her chastity to Christ; who, though she was guilty of many failings and infirmities, yet she had kept his bed undefiled; had not committed spiritual adultery, which is idolatry, but kept close to his ways and ordinances, as those we read of in Revelation 14:4, who, because they did not join with the whore of Rome in her abominations, are said not to be “defiled with women, for they are virgins; these are they which follow the lamb whithersoever he goeth.” Now Christ calls his church by all those loving and endearing titles, 1. To shew that she stood in the same relation to him she ever did, and was loved by him with the same love she ever was; though sleepy and lazy, careless and negligent of her duty, and regardless of him, yet she is his sister, his love, his dove, his undefiled: notwithstanding all this, there was a change in the frame of her soul, and in her carriage and behavior towards him; but no alteration in her relation to him, nor in his love to her, which shews him indeed, “Jesus, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” 2. That all these knocks, raps, and chastisements, were all in love; he meant it for her good, and would have her take it so: we are too apt to think, when chastised and under God’s afflicting hand, that it is in a way of wrath, and that he deals not with us as children; but when he knocks, and gives such endearing characters as these, it plainly shews that it is all in love. 3. To manifest how desirous he was of communion with her, and therefore takes all ways to obtain it; he calls and knocks, and calls again, and that in the most tender, moving language that can be. And this is not all, but,
4thly, He expostulates with her, and uses very pressing instances and powerful arguments to persuade her to open and let him in; “for my head,” says he, “is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night:” here, because of the great love and affection which he has for his church, and the desire he has of enjoying communion with her; here, he is represented as coming in the night, season to pay her a visit, and standing knocking at her door, and waiting so long there for an answer, until his head was filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night: which may be understood, either, 1. Of the doctrines and blessings of grace, which Christ came full fraught with; these being compared to dew in scripture, see Deuteronomy 32:2, Hosea 14:6, and then the sense is, “Behold, my love, I starts at thy door knocking, and waiting to be admitted in; I pray thee, rise and open to me, for I am come filled with the comfortable and refreshing doctrines of the gospel, and wire all the spiritual blessings of the everlasting covenant of grace, which I know are needful and proper for thee:” So R. Sol. Jarchi, by dew, understands God’s blessings for those who turn by repentance; though by drops of the night, he thinks are meant punishments tot those who forsake and despise him. Or else, 2. These words may intend the sufferings of Christ, which I rather incline to: Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s body being wet with the dew of heaven, is expressive of the forlorn and miserable condition he was in, when being driven from men, he eat grass as oxen, and was exposed to all the inclemency of the heavens; so when Christ’s head is here said to be filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night, it may mean his sufferings in Ins state of humiliation, who had no where to lay his head; whose constant practice it was some time before his death, in the day time, to teach in the temple, and in the night continued praying in the mount of Olives; and that night in which he was taken, appears to be a very cold one, from Peter’s warming himself: so that there seems to be an agreement between those outward sufferings of his, and these represented in these words; though no doubt far greater than those intended here, which he underwent in his own person, on the account of his church; which may be compared to dew and drops of the night, (1.) Because of the multitude of them, the dew and drops of the night being many: Christ’s sufferings were many and various; there are the sufferings of his body and of his soul, and many of both sorts; what tongue can express, what heart can conceive what he underwent, when he bore our sins and his Father’s wrath? and because of the multitude of them, they are compared, not only to dew and drops of the night, but to floods (Ps. 69:1, 2). (2.) As the dew and drops of the night are uncomfortable and prejudicial to health, especially in those hot countries; so Christ’s sufferings were uncomfortable to the human nature, as is manifest from what he said to his Father in the garden, and when upon the cross; and they would have been intolerable to any but himself. (3.) As the dew and drops of the night, though prejudicial to the health of persons, yet are very useful and fructifying to the truth; so the sufferings of Christ, though uncomfortable to the human nature, yet have produced many blessings of grace, and are the means of bringing many sons to glory (see John 12:24). Now the sum of the argument then is this; seeing I have suffered so much and so largely on this account, how canst thou be so cruel so hard-hearted, so base and disingenuous, as not to arise and let me in? so lovers sometimes represent their case in such circumstances as hardly dealt with619619Janua vel domina, etc. Propert. eleg. 16. 5:17-19. me medias noctes, loc. 5:22. ; and know not which to call most hard and cruel, the door shut against them, or the lover within: and yet, notwithstanding such a moving and melting argument, what idle excuses does the church make to put Christ off, in the following words?
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