Delivered on Sunday Morning, February 28th, 1864, by the
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
|A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.| -- Song of Solomon 1:13.
CERTAIN DIVINES have doubted the inspiration of Solomon's Song; others have conceived it to be nothing more than a specimen of ancient love-songs, and some have been afraid to preach from it because of its highly poetical character. The true reason for all this avoidance of one of the most heavenly portions of God's Word lies in the fact that the spirit of this Song is not easily attained. Its music belongs to the higher spiritual life, and has no charm in it for unspiritual ears. The Song occupies a sacred enclosure into which none may enter unprepared. |Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,| is the warning voice from its secret tabernacles. The historical books I may compare to the outer courts of the Temple; the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Psalms, bring us into the holy place or the Court of the priests; but the Song of Solomon is the most holy place: the holy of holies, before which the veil still hangs to many an untaught believer. It is not all the saints who can enter here, for they have not yet attained unto the holy confidence of faith, and that exceeding familiarity of love which will permit them to commune in conjugal love with the great Bridegroom. We are told that the Jews d id not permit the young student to read the Canticles -- that years of full maturity were thought necessary before the man could rightly profit by this mysterious Song of loves; possibly they were wise, at any rate the prohibition foreshadowed a great truth. The Song is, in truth, a book for full-grown Christians. Babes in grace may find their carnal and sensuous affections stirred up by it towards Jesus, whom they know, rather |after the flesh| than in the spirit; but it needs a man of fuller growth, who has leaned his head upon the bosom of his Master, and been baptized with his baptism, to ascend the lofty mountains of love on which the spouse standeth with her beloved. The Sung, from the first verse to the last, will be clear to those who have received an unction from the holy One, and know all things. (1 John 2:20.) You are aware, dear friends, that there are very few commentaries upon the Epistles of John. Where we find fifty commentaries upon any book of St. Paul, you will hardly find one upon John. Why is that? Is the book too difficult? The words are very simple; there is hardly a word of four syllables anywhere in John's Epistles. Ah! but they are so saturated through and through with the spirit of love, which also perfumes this Book of Solomon, that those who are not taught in the school of communion, cry out, |We cannot read it, for it is sealed.| The Song is a golden casket, of which love is the key rather than learning. Those who have not attained unto heights of affection, those who have not been educated by familiar intercourse with Jesus, cannot come near to this mine of treasure, |seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of heaven.| O for the soaring eagle wing of John, and the far-seeing dove's eyes of Solomon; but the most of us are blind and cannot see afar off. May God be pleased to make us grow in grace, and give us so much of the Holy Spirit, that with feet like hind's feet we may stand upon the high places of Scripture, and this morning have some near and dear intercourse with Christ Jesus.
Concerning our text, let us talk very simply, remarking first, that Christ is very precious to believers; secondly, that there is good reason why he should be; thirdly, that mingled with this sense of preciousness, there is a joyous consciousness of possession of him; and that therefore, fourthly, there is an earnest desire for perpetual fellowship with him. If you look at the text again, you will see all these matters in it.
I. First, then, CHRIST JESUS IS UNUTTERABLY PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS. The words manifestly imply this: |A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| She calls him her |well-beloved,| and so expresses her love most emphatically; it is not merely beloved, but well-beloved. Then she looks abroad about her, to find a substance which shall be at once valuable in itself and useful in its properties; and lighting upon myrrh, she saith, |A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| Without looking into the figure just now, we keep to the statement that Christ is precious to the believer.
Observe first, that nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. Ask yourselves, you who have eaten at his table and have been made to drink of his cup, where can such sweetness be found as you have tasted in communion with Jesus? The Christian has joy as other men have in the common mercies of life. For him there are charms in music, excellence in painting, and beauty in sculpture; for him the hills have sermons of majesty, the rocks hymns of sublimity, and the valleys lessons of love. He can look upon all things with an eye as clear and joyous as another man's; he can be glad both in God's gifts and God's works. He is not dead to the happiness of the household: around his hearth he finds happy associations, without which life were drear indeed. His children fill his home with glee, his wife is his solace and delight, his friends are his comfort and refreshment. He accepts the comforts which soul and body can yield him according as God seeth it wise to afford them unto him; but he will tell you that in all these separately, yea, and in all of them added together, he doth not find such substantial delight as he doth in the person of his Lord Jesus. Brethren, there is a wine which no vineyard on earth ever yielded; there is a bread which even the corn-fields of Egypt could never bring forth. You and I have said, when we have beheld others finding their god in earthly comforts, |You may boast in gold, and silver, and raiment, but I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.| In our esteem, the joys of earth are little better than husks for swine compared with Jesus the heavenly manna. I would rather have one mouthful of Christ's love, and a sip of his fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights. What is the chaff to the wheat? What is the sparkling paste to the true diamond? What is a dream to the glorious reality? What is time's mirth in its best trim compared to our Lord Jesus in his most despised estate? If you know anything of the inner life, you will all of you confess that our highest, purest, and most enduring joys must be the fruit of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. No spring yields such sweet water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier's spear. As for the house of feasting, the joy of harvest, the mirth of marriage, the sports of youth, the recreations of maturer age, they are all as the small dust of the balance compared with the joy of Immanuel our best beloved. As the Preacher said, so say we, |I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?| |Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.| All earthly bliss is of the earth earthy, but the comforts of Christ's presence are like himself heavenly. We can review our communion with Jesus, and find no regrets of emptiness therein; there are no dregs in this wine; no dead flies in this ointment. The joy of the Lord is solid and enduring. Vanity hath not looked upon it, but discretion and prudence testify that it abideth the test of years, and is in time and in eternity worthy to be called |the only true delight.|
|What is the world with all its store?
|Tis but a bitter sweet;
When I attempt to pluck the rose,
A pricking thorn I meet.
Here perfect bliss can ne'er be found,
The honey's mix'd with gall;
'Midst changing scenes and dying friends,
Be thou my All in All.|
We may plainly see that Christ is very precious to the believer, because to him there is nothing good without Christ. Believer, have you not found in the midst of plenty a dire and sore famine if your Lord has been absent? The sun was shining, but Christ had hidden himself and all the world was black to you; or it was a night of tempest, and there were many stars, but since the bright and morning star was gone on that dreary main, where you were tossed with doubts and fears, no other star could shed so much as a ray of light. O, what a howling wilderness is this world without my Lord! If once he groweth angry, and doth, though it be for a moment, hide himself from me, withered are the flowers of my garden; my pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their songs, and black night lowers over all my hopes. Nothing can compensate for the company of the Savior: all earth's candles cannot make daylight if the Sun of Righteousness be gone.
On the other hand, when all earthly comforts have failed you, have you not found quite enough in your Lord? Your very-worst times have been your best times? You must almost cry to go back to your bed of sickness, for Jesus made it as a royal throne, whereon you reigned with him. Those dark nights -- ah! they were not dark, your bright days since then have been darker far. Do you remember when you were poor? Oh! how near Christ was to you, and how rich he made you! You were despised and rejected of men, and no man gave you a good word! Ah! sweet was his fellowship then, and how delightful to hear him say, |Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God!| As afflictions abound, even so do consolations abound by Christ Jesus. The devil, like Nebuchadnezzar, heated the furnace seven times hotter, but who would have it less furiously blazing? No wise believer; for the more terrible the heat the greater the glory in the fact that we were made to tread those glowing coals, and not a hair of our head was singed, nor so much as the smell of fire passed upon us, because the Son of God walked those glowing coals in our company. Yes, we can look with resignation upon penury, disease, and even death; for if all comforts be taken from us, we should still be blest, so long as we enjoy the presence of the Lord our Savior.
Nor should I be straining the truth if I say that the Christian would sooner give up anything than forsake his Master. I have known some who have been afraid to look that text in the face which saith, |He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,| or that -- |Except a man hate (or love less) his father and mother, and wife and children, he cannot be my disciple.| Yet I have found that those have frequently proved to be the most sincere lovers of Jesus who have been most afraid that he had not the best place in their hearts. Perhaps the best way is not to sit down calmly to weigh our love, for it is not a thing to be measured with cool judgment, but put your love to some practical test. Now, if it came to this, that you must deny Christ, or give up the dearest thing you have, would you deliberate? The Lord knoweth I speak what I feel in my own soul -- when it comes to that, I could not hesitate a second. If there were a stake and burning faggots, I might flinch from the fire, but so mighty is divine love that it would doubtless drive me to the flames sooner than let me leave Jesus. But if it comes to this, |Wilt thou lose thine eyes or give up Christ?| I would cheerfully be blind. Or if it were asked, |Wilt thou have thy right arm withered from its socket or give up Christ?| Ay; let both arms go; let them both drop from the shoulder blades. Or if it should be, |Wilt thou be from this day dumb and never speak before the multitude?| Oh! better to be dumb than lose him. Indeed, when I talk of this it seems to be an insult to my Master, to put hands, and eyes, and tongue, in comparison with him.
|Nor to my eyes is light so dear
Nor friendship half so sweet.|
If you compare life itself with Jesus, it is not to be named in the same day. If it should be said, |Will you live without Christ or die with Christ?| you could not deliberate, for to die with Christ is to live with Christ for ever; but to live without Christ is to die the second death, the terrible death of the soul's eternal perdition. No, there is no choice there. I think we could go further, dear friends, and say, not only could we give up everything, but I think, when love is fervent, and the flesh is kept under, we could suffer anything with Christ. I met, in one of Samuel Rutherford's letters, an extraordinary expression, where he speaks of the coals of divine wrath all falling upon the head of Christ, so that not one might fall upon his people. |And yet,| saith he, |if one of those coals should drop from his head upon mine and did utterly consume me, yet if I felt it was a part of the coals that fell on him, and I was bearing it for his sake, and in communion with him, I would choose it for my heaven.| That is a strong thing to say, that to suffer with Christ would be his heaven, if he assuredly knew that it was for and with Christ, that he was suffering. Oh! there is indeed a heavenliness about suffering for Jesus. His cross hath such a majesty and mystery of delight in it, that the more heavy it becometh, the more lightly doth it sit upon the believer's shoulders.
One thing I know proveth, beloved, that you esteem Christ to be very precious, namely, that you want others to know him too. Do you not feel a pining in your souls till others hearts be filled with the love of Christ? My eyes could weep themselves out of their sockets for some of you who are ignorant of my Master's love. Poor souls! ye are sitting outside the feast when the door is wide open, and the king himself is within. Ye choose to be out in the highways and under the hedges sooner than come to this wedding-feast, where the oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready -- oh! did you know him, did you know him, you would never be able to live without him. If your eyes had ever seen him once, or if your heart had ever known the charm of his presence, you would think it to be a hell to be for a moment without Christ. O poor blind eyes which cannot see him, and deaf ears which cannot hear him, and hard stony hearts which cannot melt before him, and hell-besotted souls which cannot appreciate the majesty of his love, God help you! God help you! and bring you yet to know and rejoice in him. The more your love grows, beloved, the more insatiable will be your desire that others should love him, till it will come to this that you will be, like Paul, |in labors more abundant,| spending and being spent that you may bring the rest of Christ's elect body into union with their glorious head.
II. But, secondly, THE SOUL CLINGETH TO CHRIST, AND SHE HATH GOOD REASON FOR SO DOING, for her own words are |A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| We will take the myrrh first, and then consider the bundle next.
1. Jesus Christ is like myrrh. Myrrh may be well the type of Christ for its preciousness. It was an exceedingly expensive drug. We know that Jacob sent some of it down into Egypt as being one of the choice products of the land. It is always spoken of in Scripture as being a rich, rare, and costly substance. But no myrrh could ever compare with him, for Jesus Christ is so precious, that if heaven and earth were put together they could not buy another Savior. When God gave to the world his Son, he gave the best that heaven had. Take Christ out of heaven, and there is nothing for God to give. Christ was God's all, for is it not written, |In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily?| Oh! precious gift of the whole of deity in the person of Christ! How inestimably precious is that body of his which he took of the substance of the virgin! Well might angels herald the coming of this immaculate Savior, well might they watch over his holy life, for he is precious in his birth, and precious in all his actions. How precious is he, dear friends, as myrrh in the offering of his great atonement! What a costly sacrifice was that! At what a price were ye redeemed! Not with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. How precious is he too, in his resurrection! He justifies all his people at one stroke -- rising from the dead -- that glorious sun scatters all the nights of all his people by one rising. How precious is he in his ascension, as he leads captivity captive, and scattereth gifts among men! And how precious to-day in those incessant pleadings of his through which the mercies of God come down like the angels upon Jacob's ladder to our needy souls! Yes, he is to the believer in every aspect like myrrh for rarity and excellence.
Myrrh, again, was pleasant. It was a pleasant thing to be in chamber perfumed with myrrh. Through the nostrils myrrh conveys delight to the human mind; but Christ gives delight to his people, not through one channel, but through every avenue. It is true that all his garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, but he hath not spiritual smell alone, the taste shall be gratified too, for we eat his flesh and drink his blood. Nay, our feeling is ravished, when his left hand is under us and his right hand doth embrace us. As for his voice it is most sweet, and our soul's ear is charmed with its melody. Let God give him to our sight, and what can our eyes want more? Yea, he is altogether lovely. Thus every gate of the soul hath commerce with Christ Jesus in the richest and rarest commodities. There is no way by which a human spirit can have communion with Jesus which doth not yield unto that spirit fresh and varied delights. O beloved, we cannot compare him merely to myrrh. He is everything which is good to look upon, or to taste, or to handle, or to smell -- all put together in one, the quintessence of all delights. As all the rivers run into the sea, so all delights center into Christ. The sea is not full, but Jesus is fall to the very brim.
Moreover, myrrh is perfuming. It is used to give a sweet smell to other things. It was mingled with the sacrifice, so that it was not only the smoke of the fat of kidneys of rams, and the flesh of fat beasts, but there was a sweet fragrance of myrrh, which went up with the sacrifice to heaven. And surely, beloved, Jesus Christ is very perfuming to his people. Does not he perfume their prayers, so that the Lord smelleth a sweet savor? Doth he not perfume their songs, so that they become like vials full of odour sweet? Doth he not perfume our ministry, for is it not written, |He causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.| Our persons are perfumed with Christ. Whence get we our spikenard but from him? Whither shall we go to gather camphire which shall make our persons and presence acceptable before God but to him? |For we are accepted in the beloved.| |Ye are complete in him| -- |perfect in Christ Jesus| -- |for he hath made us kings and priests unto our God, and we shall reign for ever and ever.|
Myrrh has preserving qualities. The Egyptians used it in embalming the dead: and we find Nicodemus and the holy women bringing myrrh and aloes in which to wrap the dead body of the Savior. It was used to prevent corruption. What is there which can preserve the soul but Christ Jesus? What is the myrrh which keeps our works, which in themselves are dead, and corrupt, and rotten -- what, I say, keeps them from becoming a foul stench in the nostrils of God, but that Christ is in them? What we have done out of love to Christ, what we have offered through his mediation, what has been perfumed by faith in his person, becomes acceptable. God looketh upon anything we say, or anything we do, and if he seeth Christ in it, he accepteth it; but if there be no Christ, he putteth it away as a foul thing. See to it then, beloved, that you never pray a prayer which is not sweetened with Christ. I would never preach a sermon -- the Lord forgive me if I do -- which is not full to overflowing with my Master. I know one who said I was always on the old string, and he would come and hear me no more; but if I preached a sermon without Christ in it, he would come. Ah! he will never come while this tongue moves, for a sermon without Christ in it -- a Christless sermon! A brook without water; a cloud without rain; a well which mocks the traveler; a tree twice dead, plucked up by the root; a sky without a sun; a night without a star. It were a realm of death -- a place of mourning for angels and laughter for devils. O Christian, we must have Christ! Do see to it that every day when you wake you give a fresh savor of Christ upon you by contemplating his person. Live all the day, trying as much as lieth in you, to season your hearts with him, and then at night, lie down with him upon your tongue. It is said of Samuel Rutherford, that he often did fall asleep talking about Christ, and was often heard in his dreams, saying sweet things about his Savior. There is nothing which can preserve us and keep us from sin, and make our works holy and pure, like this |bundle of myrrh.|
Myrrh again, was used as a disinfectant. When the fever is abroad, we know people who wear little bags of camphor about their necks. They may be very good; I do not know. But the Orientals believed that in times of pest and plague, a little bag of myrrh worn between the breasts would be of essential service to whoever might carry it. And there doubtless is some power in myrrh to preserve from infectious disease. Well, brethren, certain I am it is so with Christ. You have to go into the world which is like a great lazar-house; but if you carry Christ with you, you will never catch the world's disease. A man may be worth never so much money, he will never get worldly if he keepeth Christ on his heart. A man may have to tug and toil for his livelihood, and be very poor, he will never be discontented and murmuring if he lives close to Christ. O you who have to handle the world, see to it that you handle the Master more than the world. Some of you have to work with drunken and swearing men; others are cast into the midst of frivolities -- O take my Master with you! and sin's plagues can have no influence upon your moral nature.
But myrrh was believed by the ancient physicians to do more than this -- it was a cure -- it did not merely prevent, but it healed. I do not know how many diseases are said to be healed by the use of myrrh, nor do I altogether suppose that these Oriental physicians spoke from facts, for they were too much given to ascribe qualities to drugs, which those drugs did not possess; however even modern physicians believe myrrh to have many valuable medical properties. Certain is it that your Christ is the best medicine for the soul. His name is Jehovah Rophi -- |I am the Lord that healeth them.| When we see Luke called |the beloved physician,| we almost grudge him the name. I will take it from him and give it to my Master, for he deserves it far more than Luke. The beloved physician! he touched the leper, and he was made whole. He did but look upon those who were lame. and they leaped as a hart. His voice startled the silence of Hades, and brought back the soul to the body. What cannot Christ do? He can heal anything. You who are sick this morning, sick with doubts and fears, you who are sick with temptation, you who struggle with an angry temper, or with the death-like sleep of sloth, get Christ, and you are healed. Here all things meet, and in all these things we may say, |A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.|
I have not done yet, for myrrh was used in the East as a beautifier. We read of Esther, that before she was introduced to Ahasuerus, she and the virgins were bidden to prepare themselves, and among other things, they used myrrh. The belief of Oriental women was, that it removed wrinkles and stains from the face, and they used it constantly for the perfecting of their charms. I do not know how that may be, but I know that nothing makes the believer so beautiful as being with Christ. He is beautiful in the eyes of God, of holy angels, and of his fellow-men. I know some Christians whom it is a great mercy to speak to: if they come into your cottage, they leave behind them tokens of remembrance, in the choice words they utter. To get them into the Church is a thousand mercies, and if they join the Sunday-school, of what value they are! Let me tell you that the best gauge of a Christian's usefulness will be found in the degree in which he has been with Jesus and learned of him. Do not tell me it is the scholar, do not say to me it is the man of eloquence, do not say it is the man of substance -- well we would have all these consecrate what they have to Christ -- but it is the man of God who is the strong man; it is the man who has been with Jesus who is the pillar of the Church; and a light to the world. O brethren, may the beauty of the Lord be upon us through being much with Christ.
And I must not close this point without saying that myrrh might well be used as an emblem of our Lord from its connection with sacrifice. It was one of the precious drugs used in making the holy oil with which the priests were anointed and the frankincense which burned perpetually before God. It is this, the sacrificial character of Christ, which is at the root and bottom of all that Christ is most precious to his people. O Lamb of God our sacrifice, we must remember thee.
2. Now there has been enough, surely, said about the myrrh. Have patience while we just notice that he is called a bundle of myrrh, or as some translate it, a bag of myrrh, or a box of myrrh.
There were three sorts of myrrh; there was the myrrh in sprigs, which being burnt made a sweet smell; then there was myrrh, a dried spice; and then thirdly, there was myrrh a flowing oil. We do not know to which there is reference here. But why is it said |a bundle of myrrh?| First, for the plenty of it. He is not a drop of it, he is a casket full. He is not a sprig or flower of it, but a whole bundle full. There is enough in Christ for my necessities. There is more in Christ than I shall ever know -- perhaps more than I shall understand even in heaven.
A bundle again, for variety; for there is in Christ not only the one thing needful, but |ye are complete in him;| there is everything needful. Take Christ in his different characters, and you will see a marvellous variety -- prophet, priest, king, husband, friend, shepherd. Take him in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, second advent, take him in his virtue, gentleness, courage, self-denial, love, faithfulness, truth, righteousness -- everywhere it is a bundle. Some of God's judgments are manifold, but all God's mercies are manifold, and Christ being the sum of God's mercies, hath in fold upon fold of goodness. He is |a bundle of myrrh| for variety.
He is a bundle of myrrh again, for preservation -- not loose myrrh to be dropped on the floor or trodden on, but myrrh tied up, as though God bound up all virtues and excellencies in his Son: not myrrh spilt on the ground, but myrrh in a box -- myrrh kept in a casket. Such is Christ. The virtue and excellence which goeth out of Christ is quite as strong today as in the day when the woman touched the hem of his garment and was healed. |Able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God through him,| is he still unto this hour.
A bundle of myrrh again, to shew how diligently we should take care of it. We must bind him up, we must keep our thoughts of him and knowledge of him as under lock and key, lest the devil should steal anything from us. We must treasure up his words, prize his ordinances, obey his precepts, tie him up and keep him ever with us as a precious bundle of myrrh.
And yet again, a bundle of myrrh for speciality, as if he were not common myrrh for everybody. No, no, no; there is distinguishing, discriminating grace -- a bundle tied up for his people and labelled with their names from before the foundation of the world. No doubt there is an allusion here to the scent bottle used in every land. Jesus Christ is a bottle of myrrh, and he doth not give forth his smell to everybody but to those who know how to draw forth the stopper, who understand how to get into communion with him, to have close dealings with him. He is not myrrh for all who are in the house but for those who know how to put the bottle to their nostrils and receive the sweet perfume. Oh! blessed people whom the Lord hath admitted into his secrets! Oh! choice and happy people who are thus made to say |A bottle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.|
But I am afraid I tire you, especially those of you who do not know anything about my subject. There are some such here who know no more about what I am talking of than if they were Mahometans. They are listening to a new kind of religion now. The religion of Christ is as high above them as is the path of the eagle above that of the fish, and as much hidden from them as the way of the serpent on the rock from the eye of man. This is a path which the eagle's eye hath not seen, nor hath the lion's whelp trodden it; but I trust there are some here who know it.
III. Our third remark was to be -- that with a sense of Christ's preciousness is combined A CONSCIOUSNESS OF POSSESSION. It is |my well-beloved.| My dear hearer, is Christ your well-beloved? A Savior -- that is well; but my Savior -- that is the best of the best. What is the use of bread if it is not mine? I may die of hunger. Of what value is gold, if it be not mine? I may yet die in a workhouse. I want this preciousness to be mine. |My well-beloved.| Have you ever laid hold on Christ by the hand of faith?
Will you take him again this morning, brethren, in Jesus? I know you will. Would that those who never did take him, would take him now and say, |My saviour.| There stands his atonement, freely offered to you, may you have the grace to take it, and say, |My Savior, my Savior,| this morning. Has your heart taken him? It is well for us to use both hands, not only the hand of faith, but the hand of love, for this is the true embrace when both arms meet around our beloved. Do you love him? O souls, do you LOVE Christ, with an emphasis upon the word. Do not talk to me about a religion which dwells in the head and never gets into the heart. Get rid of it as quickly as you can; it will never bring you to heaven. It is not |I believe this and that| merely, but |I love.| Ah! some who have been great fools in doctrine have been very wise in love. We tell our children to learn things |by heart.| I think you can, you love Jesus, and if you cannot you must confess as I do,
|A very wretch, Lord, I should prove,
Had I no love to thee;
Sooner than not my Savior love,
O may I cease to be.|
But that is not the only word. |A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| That is not a redundant expression, |unto me.| He is not so to many. Ah! my Lord is a root out of a dry ground to multitudes. A three-volume novel suits them better than his Book. They would sooner go to a play or a dance than they would have any fellowship with him. They can see the beauties upon the cheeks of this Jezebel world, but they cannot see the perfections of my Lord and Master. Well! well! well! Let them say what they will, and let them think as they please, every creature hath its own joy, but |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me| -- unto me -- unto me, and if there is not another who finds him so, yet |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| I would it were not with others as it is -- I would that others did think so also of him; but let them say what they will, they shall not drive me out of my knowledge of this -- |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| The infidel saith, |There is no God.| The atheist would altogether laugh me to scorn. They shall say what they will, but |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| Even bishops have been found who will take away a part of his Book, and so rend his garments, and rob him; and there be some who say his religion is out of date, and grace has lost his power; and they go after philosophy and vain conceit, and I know not what, but |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| They may have no nostril for him, they may have no desire after him; so let it be, but |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| I know there are some who say they have tried him and not found him sweet, and who have turned away from him and gone back to the beggarly elements of the world because they see nothing in Christ that they should desire him; but |a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.| Ah! Christian, this is what you want, a personal experience, a positive experience; you want to know for yourself; for there is no religion which is worth a button which is not burnt into you by personal experience; and there is no religion worth a straw which does not spring from your soul, which does lay not hold upon the very vitals of your spirit. Yes, you must say -- I hope you can say as you go down those steps this morning, and enter again to-morrow into that busy, giddy world -- you must say, |Let the whole world go astray, a bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me.'|
IV. Now the practical point closes it. A SENSE OF POSSESSION AND A SENSE OF ENJOYMENT WILL ALWAYS LEAD THE CHRISTIAN TO DESIRE CONSTANT FELLOWSHIP. |He| or rather |it shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.| The Church does not say, |I will put this bundle of myrrh on my shoulders| -- Christ is no burden to a Christian. She does not say, |I will put this bundle of myrrh on my back| -- the Church does not want to have Christ concealed from her face. She desires to have him where she can see him, and near to her heart. The bundle of myrrh shall lie all night upon my heart. The words |All night| are not in the original; I do not know how they got into the translation. He is to be always there, not only all night but all day. It would be always night if he were not there, and it cannot be night when he is there, for
|Midst darkest shade, if he appear,
My dawning has begun.|
He shall always be upon our heart. I think that expression just means these three things. It is an expression of desire -- her desire that she may have the consciousness of Christ's love continually. Do not you feel the same desire. O Christian, if thou hast ever been made like the chariots of Amminadib, it will be ill for thee if thou canst be content to be otherwise. If thou hast but once tasted Christ, thou wilt wait to feed upon him all day and all night, and as long as thou livest. My desire is that Jesus may abide with me from morn till even, in the world and in the Church, when I awake, when I sleep, when I go abroad, and when I come home into the bosom of my family. Is not that your desire that he may be always with you?
But then, it is not only her desire, but it is also her confidence. She seems to say, |He will be with me thus.| You may have a suspension of visible fellowship with Christ, but Christ never will go away from people really. He will be all night betwixt your breasts; he will at all times abide faithful to you. He may close his eyes and hide his face from you, but his heart never can depart from you. He has set you as a seal upon his heart, and increasingly will make you sensible of it. Recollect there is no suspension of Christ's union with his people, and no suspension of those saving influences which always make his people to stand complete in him.
To conclude, this is also a resolve. She desires, she believes, and she resolves it. Lord, thou shalt be with me, thou shalt be with me always. I appeal to you, brethren, will you not make this resolve in God's strength this morning to cling close to Christ. Do not go talking, as you go home, about all sorts of nonsense; do not spend this afternoon in communion with folly and vanity, but throughout this day let your soul keep to Christ, to nothing but Christ. This evening we shall come to his table, to eat bread and drink wine, in remembrance of him, let us try if we can, that nothing shall make us give up Christ all this day. Have you got him, hold him and do not let him go till you bring him to your mother's house, to the chamber of her who bare you. Then there will be the family prayer at night. O, seek to keep him till you put your head upon the pillow. And then, on Monday morning, some of you have to go to work, and as soon as you get into the workshop or the factory, you say, |Now I must lose my Master.| No, do not lose him. Hold him fast when your hand plies the hammer, and when your fingers hold the needle, still cling to him, in the market or in the exchange, on board ship, or in the field, do not let him go. You may have him with you all day. The Mahometan usually wears a piece of the Koran round his neck, and one, when converted to Christianity, put his New Testament in a little silken bag, and always wore it there. We need not such outward signs, but let us always have the Savior there; let us hang him about our neck as a charm against all evil; seek his blessed company, place him as a star upon your breast to be your honor and joy.
Well, I have done, but I must have a word with the unconverted. There are some who can say, |I will have Christ always on my tongue.| Away with tongue religion. You must have him on your heart. Ah! there are some who say, |I hope I shall have Christ on my heart in all eternity.| You cannot have Christ in eternity if you do not have him in time. If you despise him to-day -- in this life, he will reject you to-morrow in the world to come; and if he call and you refuse, one day you will call and he refuse. Do not put up with desires merely, dear friends -- some of you have desires, and nothing more. Do not only desire Christ, but get him. Do not stop short with saying, |I should like to have him in my heart;| give no sleep to your eyes nor slumber to your eyelids, till by humble faith you have taken Christ to be your all in all. May the Lord bless these poor words, for Jesus' sake. Amen.