Christ's Invitation to His Spouse
by WILLIAM GADSBY
"Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, and the mountains of the leopards." (Song of Solomon 4:8)
IT is not my design to give a minute statement of the meaning of this portion of the Word of God, but only to drop a few hints that may be useful to some of God's dear tried family, if the Good Spirit of life and grace is pleased to make them so.
If by Lebanon we understand the pleasures of the world, so odoriferous to the fleshly mind; and if by Amana, Shenir, and Hermon, the lions' dens, and mountains of leopards, we understand the horrible haunts and roarings of the powers of hell, the lions of the bottomless pit, the dreadful various-coloured workings of the corrupt heart, we shall find that there is a great needs-be for this precious invitation of the dear Lord, not only to be spoken, but to be applied to the conscience of his dear spouse. There are times and seasons when the dear spouse of Christ is too much captivated with the pleasures of the world, till deadness and darkness of mind render her wretched, and as a scourge for her movements from Jerusalem towards Jericho, the Lord sometimes suffers the lions of hell to roar out the most horrible blasphemies into her already gloomy mind, and suffers her detestable filthy nature to rise up in a thousand forms, enough to horrify an infidel, were it possible that an infidel could see and feel it. And here the poor soul is sinking in a horrible pit and the miry clay, till all the powers of the mind seem swallowed up in awful dismay, and every struggle she makes to deliver herself only sinks her deeper till, in the greatest horror of mind, she roars out, "Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up. Let not the pit shut her mouth upon me." (Ps. 69:15) In very deed, the poor soul can then say to corruption, "Thou art my father," and to the worm, hatched and bred in filth and putrefaction, "Thou art my mother and my sister." (Job 13:14)
Well, here the poor soul is, till the dear Lord is pleased to come and speak with power to the mind, and give her a sweet lift. And how amazing is the love of the dear Lord, as displayed in the blessed portion of his Word we have chosen for our text. He owns her as his spouse, and speaks to her with all the tenderness of a loving husband. Notwithstanding the deplorable state into which she has plunged herself, still he says, "My spouse." Nay, in the preceding verse he calls her his love, and says, she is all fair, and there is no spot in her. And in verses 9 and 10, he says, "Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse. Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes and with one chain of thy neck." This is love, tenderly expressed; matchless, free, undeserved love,--love that many waters cannot quench and that the floods cannot drown! Here creature-strength, creature-beauty, creature-goodness, and even creature-vileness too, with all the roarings of hell, must all give place together, and Christ alone must be exalted. Matchless grace has made this poor filthy wretch comely in the Lord's comeliness and beautiful in his beauty. (Ezek. 16:14) Though black in herself, she is comely in Christ; (Song 1:5) and the dear Lord speaks to her with all the love and tenderness of his loving and lovely heart: "Come with me from Lebanon." As though he had said, "Come, poor soul. In thy own sight and feelings thou art sunk into indescribable filth and ruin, and art ready to say, 'there is no hope for me;' as all thy efforts to deliver thyself only sink thee lower, and produce more horror of mind. But remember, 'my grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength shall be made perfect in weakness;' therefore, lean upon my arm; bear all thy weight on the arm of my blood, love, and righteousness; for here thou shalt find sufficient virtue and strength to raise thee up out of all thy horror, and to defend thee against all dangers. It is by the blood of my covenant that poor prisoners are brought out of the pit wherein is no water. (Zech. 9:11) Neither the allurements of the world, the lions of hell, nor the corruptions of thy own heart, shall destroy thee. Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world, defeated Satan, and made an end of sin, and am in very deed thy great salvation. Cast all thy cares upon me; lean wholly upon my atoning blood for pardon, my righteousness for justification, and my all-conquering arm for thy defence. I have waded through all the floods of thy woes, fought thy battles for thee, and defeated all thy enemies; therefore drop into my embrace, and come up with me, my spouse, with me. Thy complete conquest is secured in the victories I have gained, and it is thy high privilege to rest in my love, blood, and obedience. Thou art my spouse, and thou art one in and with me. My life is thy life, my righteousness is thy righteousness, my strength is thy strength, my holiness is thy holiness; for I am made of God unto thee, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, (1 Cor. 1:30) and I will bring thee safely through all thy trials, and present thee to myself 'all glorious.' Thy own heart will deceive thee; but my salvation-arm is Almighty, and will never deceive thee nor fail thee; therefore come up with me, out of all thy foes, and fears, and faintings, and filth, and wretchedness. Again, I say, poor, tried, tempted, distracted soul, come up with me, and lean wholly upon my arm. I will never leave thee, or forsake thee, but will be a very present help in all thy troubles, and thou shalt prove me a God and Friend near at hand. No weapon formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. Therefore, come up with me from all thy miseries to the sweet enjoyment of my glorious conquest; and by faith in my love, blood, and obedience, sing the wonders of my grace. Come, lovely spouse, and hold a few moments' sweet communion with me. I freely give thee my heart and take thine, to realize a little of the blessedness arising from and connected with thy eternal election, thy special and absolute redemption, and thy spiritual and vital vocation. All the glories arising from the everlasting love of thy Three-One-God are made over to thee, as thou standest in union to me; I in thee, and thou in me, and thou art complete in me. Come up with me, for thy God will converse with thee, and smile upon thee. Thou art chosen in me, redeemed by me, and hast redemption through my blood, the forgiveness of all thy sins. Thou art made holy in me, thou art accepted in me, (Eph. 1:6) and in me thou hast obtained an inheritance; and all to the praise of God's glory. Therefore thou mayest safely sing, 'Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me. He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness; then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, 'Where is the Lord thy God? Mine eyes shall behold her; now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.'" (Micah 7:8-10)
May the dear tried family of God be enabled to look unto, rest upon, and trust wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ, and come up with him from all their filth and enemies into the solemn enjoyment of the mysteries of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; that so they may feelingly say, "My Beloved is mine, and I am his."