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THE

SWORD AND

AND THE TROWEL.

JUNE, 1865.

fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh.

THE FIRST BUNDLE.

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BY C. H. SPURGEON. “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”-Solomon's Song iv. 7. 20W marvellous are these words! The glorious bridegroom is

charmed with his spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for he deserves it well, and in him there is room for praise

without possibility of flattery. But does he who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? 'Tis even so, for these are his own words, and were uttered by his own sweet lips. Nay, doubt not, O young believer, for we have more wonders to reveal. There are greater depths in heavenly things than thou hast at present dared to hope. The Church not only is all fair in the eyes of her beloved, but in one sense she always was so. He delighted in her before she had either a natural or a spiritual being, and from the beginning could he say, “My delights were with the sons of men.” (Prov. viii

. 31.) Having covenanted to be the surety of the elect, and having determined to fulfil every stipulation of that covenant, he from all eternity delighted to survey the purchase of his blood, and rejoiced to view his Church in the purpose and decree, as already by him delivered from sin and exalted to glory and happiness.

“ In God's decree, her form he view’d;
All beauteous in his eyes she stood,
Presented by th' eternal name,
Betroth'd in love and free from blame.
Not as she stood in Adam's fall,
When guilt and ruin cover'd all;
But as she'll stand another day,
Fairer than sun's meridian ray.
Oh glorious grace, mysterious plan
Too great for angel-mind to scan,
Our thoughts are lost, our numbers fail
All hail, redeeming love, all hail!” (KENT.)

D

“ As many

Now with joy and gladness let us approach the subject of Christ's delight in his church, as manifested in the text, believing in him whom the Spirit has sealed in our hearts as the faithful and true witness.

Our first bundle of myrrh lies in the open hand of the text. I. Christ has a high esteem for his Church. He does not blindly admire her faults, or even conceal them from himself. He is acquainted with her sin, in all its heinousness of guilt, and desert of punishment. That sin he does not shun to reprove. His own words are, as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” (Rev. iii. 19.) He abhors sin in her as much as in the ungodly world, nay even more, for he sees in her an evil which is not to be found in the transgressions of otherssin against love and grace. She is black in her own sight, how much more so in the eyes of her Omniscient Lord. Yet there it stands, written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and flowing from the lips of the bridegroom, " Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee." How then is this? Is it a mere exaggeration of love, an enthusiastic canticle which the sober hand of truth must strip of its glowing fables. Oh, no. The king is full of love, but he is not so overcome with it as to forget his reason. The words are true, and he means us to understand them as the honest expression of his unbiassed judgment, after having patiently examined her in every part. He would not have us diminish aught, but estimate the gold of his opinions by the bright glittering of his expressions; and therefore in order that there may be no mistake, he states it positively, “ Thou art all fair, my love," and confirms it by a negative, “there is no spot in thee.”

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” When he speaks positively, how complete is his admiration! She is “ fair," but that is not a full description; he styles her “all fair.” He views her in himself, washed in his sin-atoning blood and clothed in his meritorious righteousness, and he considers her to be full of comeliness and beauty. No wonder that such is the case, since it is but his own perfect excellencies that he admires, seeing that the holiness, glory, and perfection of his Church are his own garments on the back of his own well-beloved spouse, and she is “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.” She is not simply pure, or well-proportioned; she is positively lovely and fair! She has actual merit! Her deformities of sin are removed; but more, she has through her Lord obtained a meritorious righteousness by which an actual beauty is conferred upon her. Believers have a positive righteousness given to them when they become “accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. i. 6.) Nor is the Church barely lovely, she is superlatively so. Her Lord styles her, “Thou fairest among women.”

“ (Sol. Song i. 8.) She has a real worth and excellence which cannot be rivalled by all the nobility and royalty of the world. If Jesus could exchange his elect bride for all the queens and empresses of earth, or even for the angels in heaven, he would not, for he puts her first and foremost—"fairest among women.” Nor is this an opinion which he is ashamed of, for he invites all men to hear it. He puts a “behold” before it, a special note of exclamation, inviting and arresting attention. Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair.” (Sol. Song iv. 1.) His opinion he publishes abroad even now, and one day from the throne of his glory he will avow the truth of it before the assembled universe.

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“Come, ye blessed of my Father” (Matt. xxv. 34), will be his solemn affirmation of the loveliness of his elect.

Let us mark well the repeated sentences of his approbation. He turns again to the subject, a second time looks into those dove's eyes, and listens to her honey-dropping lips. It is not enough to say, “Behold, thou art fair, my love;" he rings that golden bell again, and sings again, and again, “Behold, thou art fair.”

“Lo thou art fair! lo thou art fair !

Twice fair thou art I say;
My righteousness and graces are

Thy double bright array.
But since thy faith can hardly own

My beauty put on thee;
Behold! behold! twice be it known
Thou art all fair to me!"

(ERSKINE.)
After having surveyed her whole person with rapturous delight,
he cannot be satisfied until he takes a second gaze and afresh recounts
her beauties. Making but little difference between his first description
and the last, he adds extraordinary expressions of love to manifest his
increased delight. “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely
as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Turn away thine eyes
from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that
appear from Gilead. Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up
from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not
one barren among them. As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples
within thy locks. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only
one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.”
(Sol. Song vi. 4-9.)

The beauty which he admires is universal, he is as much enchanted with her temples as with her breasts. All her offices, all her pure devotions, all her earnest labours, all her constant sufferings are precious to his heart. She is "all fair.” Her ministry, her psalmody, her intercessions, her alms, her watching, all are admirable to him, when performed in the Spirit. Her faith, her love, her patience, her zeal, are alike in his esteem as rows of jewels,” and “chains of gold.” (Sol. Song i. 10.) He loves and admires her everywhere. In the house of bondage, or in the land of Canaan, she is ever fair. On the top of Lebanon his heart is ravished with one of her eyes, and in the fields and villages he joyfully receives her loves. He values her above gold and silver in the days of his gracious manifestations, but he has an equal appreciation of her when he withdraws himself, for it is immediately after he had said, “ Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountains of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense,” (Sol. Song iv. 6,) that he exclaims in the words of our text, “Thou art all fair, my love." At all seasons the believer is very near the heart of the Lord Jesus, he is always as the apple of his eye, and the jewel of his crown. Our name is still on the breastplate, and our persons are still in his gracious remembrance. He never thinks lightly of his people; and certainly in all the compass of his Word there is not one syllable which looks like contempt of them. They are the had not then existed. We are indebted physical death is not the consequence to the errors and irregularities of the of sin, that there is no other resurrection early Churches for much of the infor- than at the moment of death, and that mation received from the writings of there is no other judgment than the the Apostles, both upon Christian doc- decision of man's own conscience, are trine and discipline. No patronage of the principal revelations which this Christianity by civil powers had then Bible Student" finds in his Bible. If occurred, but the very opposite state of he has discovered the leading principles things, and, consequently, no direct and of evangelical truth there, it must have special revelation is given upon the been in a few scattered grains, or in such subject. Inferentially, it is granted, an infinitesimal proportion to the rest as sufficient may be gathered for our to be unworthy of distinct notice. We guidance, and great principles are laid do not wonder that this book should down for this purpose. Our author have reached a third edition, since it says, “In the Primitive Church the accommodates the things of the Spirit of question of state connection was not God to the natural man. mooted. And when that alliance was Philosophy of Religion. By Hugh ultimately entered into, the Church had

DOHERTY, M.D. Trübner and become so degenerate as to make its act a most unsafe precedent to follow.

Co., 60, Paternoster-row. What does history say as to this HERE, too, we have a misnomer. Instead question of state Churchism? Why of “ Philosophy of Religion," it should it proclaims with a trumpet tongue have been®“ Religion Philosophized.” that the principle of a state adopting a We object not to the principles mainreligion, whether true or false, and tained, but to the scientific and mystic giving its ecclesiastics a privileged poli- terms and reasoning in which they are tical status, has in its practical working presented. They are beclouded with been uniformly productive of individual such a fog of words and ideas that we injustice and civil wrong. The principle should hardly have known them. Oh may be innocent, and the fault may rest how unlike “ the simplicity which is in with its administrators; but true it is, Christ !” beyond all controversy, that history pro- Davy's School Days. By D. D. nounces it to be the prolific parent of Dean and Son, 11, Ludgate Hill. persecution and intolerance. It has been tried and tested under every con

This is a good and useful tale for school. ceivable form of government, and in boys. It shows how a tender conscience connection with all kinds of religion, solicitude, and if not hardened by evil

cherished and strengthened by maternal false and true, with a wonderful uniformity of result.”. This quotation may colouring, and led into dangerous paths.

companions, may be deceived by false suffice to show that this volume is founded wide and liberal views.

We can cordially recommend it both for upon

its sentiments and its design. Our Eternal Homes. By A BIBLE Joyful Sunday Stories. By FRANCES

STUDENT. Frederick Pitman, 20, UPCHER COUSENS. Dean and Paternoster-row.

Son, 11, Ludgate Hill. A “Bible READER" would have been Each part of the Lord's prayer is here a better title for the author of this book illustrated by short narratives well calthan a “Bible Student." It has peculiar culated to profit and please little notions respecting the trueness of the children. The principle upon which invisible to the visible world, which this little work is founded, of instructing may, or may not be true; but the appli- children in the meaning of a form of cation he makes of them to the subjects prayer before it is uttered by them, has of redemption, leads him far away from our hearty concurrence. their real character and design. That angels have human forms, that there is Rays of Light. By the Rev. T. W. real music in heaven, that we are now in

MEDHURST. Halifax : Milner & the midst of heaven and need only an

Sowerby. additional sense to discern it, that Mr. Medhurst's aim, both in preaching and writing, is not to amuse but to | Testament times – and little of their teach; not to please the imagination, or revolutions through the Middle Ages give vigorous exercise to the mental unto the present period. This has partly powers, but to gain the heart. In this risen from the little attention that has he has succeeded, and we believe will been paid to the subject; but still more, coutinue to succeed. With all his zeal as it now appears, from the extremely and the honour that has attended him, limited sources of information. Mr. he can say, “Lord, my heart is not Mills has not been wanting in ability, or haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither perseverance, or enthusiasm, to supply do I exercise myself in great matters, or the deficiency. We realize under his in things too high for me;" and in this guidance the city of the ancient Shechem, he is an example to many others. He and the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim knows wherein his own power by the in its locality, and our sympathies are grace of God lies, and diligently and with him in the hallowed associations undeviatingly cultivates it to the utmost. that cluster round the spot; but the All that he writes is worth reading, present of those scenes reveals little of because it has in it the sweet savour of the past. The interest is given to it, Christ, and seeks an entrance for him rather than derived from it. The monuinto the soul.

mental remains are suggestive of former Christian Poems.

solemnities, but, with some few ex

By TIMOTHY HARLEY. Jarrold and Sons, 12, The claim of Mount Gerizim to be the

ceptions, are shrouded in uncertainty. Paternoster-row; and Passmore scene of the offering of Isaac by his father

and Alabaster, 23, Paternoster-row. Abraham, for instance, we judge to be These Poems have considerable merit, not yet satisfactorily determined. The and give promise of more. We should Samaritans themselves, even at head not have advised our young friend to quarters, are reduced to so small a part rush so early into print; but confess of their ancient metropolis, and have that his productions, to say the least, been so much oppressed by their Mahomhave allayed our fears. Amidst the metan rulers, that little resemblance to great inequality usually apparent in their ancient forefathers remains. Their first efforts, there are marks of real priesthood is but the shadow of what it poetic genius, such as deserve the once was. Sacrifices, as with the Jews, encouragement which a large sale of are virtually abolished. The smallness this little work is calculated to give. of the community has produced irreguNablous and the Modern Samaritans.

larities so as to combine several offices

and customs into one, and to preclude By Rev. JOHN MILLS, F.R.G.S., others altogether. What little may be M.R.A.S. John Murray, Alber- learned of this people is nevertheless of marle Street.

great value; and biblical science owes We naturally take up a book of this much to Mr. Mills for his careful and kind with great expectations, and if we patient researches. feel at its close a degree of disappoint- The Immortal Theme. By J. ASHment, we are apt to forget that it is not

WORTH. R. Davies, Sutton Street, owing to the writer so much as to ourselves. We have felt, in common with

Commercial Road, East; and W. all biblical students, that whilst we have

Pentney, Peterborough. numerous and voluminous sources of WELL-KNOWN truths are here presented information respecting the Jews, pro- in a clear and impressive light. The perly so called, we have been kept in the one great theme of revelation is placed dark respecting the kindred race of the in due prominence, and in proper order, Samaritans. We have known little of with the exception of the example of their origin beyond the bare facts inci- Christ preceding the sacrificial character dentally recorded in Scripture— little of of his death. The subject of this little the proportion of Jew and Gentile in volume must commend it to all Christheir pedigree— little of the eventualities tians, and its simple and earnest form of of the tribes supplanted by them- little address to all who are interested in the of their national peculiarities in New | best welfare of the young.

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