Adelaid Ann Newton has left us a little volume upon this Song which brings us into the very presence of the Lord of Glory. In her Preface she says: ''The general character of this book, in contrast to Ecclesiastes, is very striking. Ecclesiastes, from beginning to end, tells of the vanity of the creature-- Canticles of the sufficiency of the Beloved... One verse in St. John's Gospel gives the contrast perfectly. Ecclesiastes is the first half of the verse 'Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again'; Canticles is the latter half of the verse 'Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst' [John 4:13,14]. Thus the book is full of Jesus. But it is Jesus in a special character. He is not seen here as 'Saviour,' nor as 'King,' nor as 'High Priest,' nor as 'Prophet.'... No! it is a dearer and closer relation than any of these-- it is Jesus as our 'Bridegroom'; Jesus in marriage union with His Bride, His Church.
''This is a great mystery, but it is one of most peculiar preciousness to 'all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.' It pervades every part of the Holy Scripture. It was first revealed in Adam and Eve in Eden. It was more fully brought out in the typical characters of the Old Testament; as, for example, in Boaz and Ruth; it was distinctly taught in the betrothment of the Jewish nation; and it is plainly declared in the spiritual language of the Epistles-- 'I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.' [2Cor 11:2]''
[The Song of Solomon compared with other Parts of Scripture, A.A. Newton]
Personal love to Christ is the greatest need of the Church today. A knowledge of sin forgiven and of our share in His redeeming work is the chief thing to draw out our love to Him. This is an age in which there is very little conviction for sin, so it is no wonder that love grows cold. For ''to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.'' Simon the Pharisee asked our Lord to his house by way of patronizing the Prophet, but he neglected to show Him any of the courtesies which civility demanded. The poor forgiven sinner drew near and lavished her love upon His feet. And the Master said: ''Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much'' [Luke 7:47].
''O my dove, thou art in the clefts of the rock,'' the Beloved says to His Bride [Song 2:14]. Hidden in the cleft Rock of Ages, ''crucified with Christ,'' and therefore dead to the world. ''Thou art fair,'' is His reiterated assurance; ''Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee'' [Song 1:15; 4:7]. ''For Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish'' (Eph 5:25-27).
''He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys'' [Song 2:1]. The Rose of Sharon is a highly perfumed and very valuable white variety of the Damascene rose. The Lily of the Valleys is the wild crimson anemone. The one images our Lord's spotless, sinless character, the other His blood shed for us. The Lamb slain corresponding with chapter 5:10: ''My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.'' The description of her Beloved, in these words and the verses that follow, is drawn from the Bride in response to the question of the daughters of Jerusalem, ''What is thy Beloved more than another beloved?'' ''He is the chiefest among ten thousand... Yea, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.'' [5:10,16]
We can trace through the Song how the Bride's love deepens through communion. Twice in the account, that communion seems interrupted for a season, and this leads her to seek His presence more earnestly. These seasons, when communion seems withheld, may be the result of backsliding, or it may be that the Lord is leading her on into deeper fellowship with Himself. In either case, that result seems clearly to be accomplished.
''My Beloved is mine, and I am His'' (Song 2:16). Here the chief thought is that of her possession in Christ. He is mine, for He has given Himself for me. The secondary thought is, ''I am His'' -- bought with His own blood. [Eph 5:25; 1Cor 6:19,20]
''I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine'' (Song 6:3). Here the thought, of His ownership of her, holds the chief place [in her mind].
''I am my Beloved's, and His desire is toward me'' (Song 7:10). Here His ownership swallows up every other thought.
In these three verses, we have the double thought which is given in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians: Christ the inheritance of the Church; the Church the inheritance of Christ. ''In whom also we have obtained an inheritance'' (Eph 1:11); ''The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints'' (Eph 1:18).
''Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which have a most vehement flame'' (Song 8:6). With a jealous love, Christ yearns over His Church, that He may be able to present her to Himself a glorious Church.