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WHO shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breasts of my mother, that I may find thee without, and kiss thee, and now no man may despise me?

Ver. 1.  Mother.  The synagogue continues to pray for Christ's coming.  W.


--- Her request has been heard, and He has assumed our nature; so that we may receive from him all the marks of tenderness, and none but the carnal will shew any signs of contempt.  The spouse wishes to manifest her love without restraint, and to be delivered from the shame of sterility, (C.) or the Church desires to see Christ in heaven, and to praise him.  M.

2 I will take hold of thee, and bring thee Into my mother's house: there thou shalt teach me, and I will give thee a cup of spiced wine and new wine of my pomegranates.

Ver. 2.  Teach me economy, on which subject Xenophon represents the newly married entertaining themselves.


--- Wine.  Mar. xv. 23.  Os. xiv. 8.  Nectar was of this description, (C.) being composed of wine, honey, and odoriferous flowers.  The best was made at Babylon.  Athen. i. 25. and ii. 2.


--- These liquors intimate all the virtues, which Christ has taught; the practice of which affords him the greatest satisfaction.  Jo. xiv. 23.  They are best learnt in retirement, (C.) and from our great teacher.  Mic. iv. 2.  M.

3 His left hand under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me. 4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up, nor awake my love till she please.

Ver. 4.  Jerusalem.  Sept. add, "by the armies and powers of the field," as c. ii. 7. and iii. 5.  H.


--- The spouse presently awakes after the sixth night, and goes out.  C.


--- Christ admonishes all not to disturb those who would serve him.  W.

5 Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple tree I raised thee up: there thy mother was corrupted, there she was defloured that bore thee.

Ver. 5.  Flowing.  Thus speak the companions of the spouse; and the bridegroom, turning to her alone, reminds her of an adventure.  The Jews would put this in the mouth of the spouse.  C.


--- Corrupted.  Heb. and Sept. "fell in labour, there she was delivered who bore thee."  H.


--- Christ redeemed Eve, who had been seduced to eat the forbidden fruit, and by his sacred blood on the cross, awoke and healed our fallen nature.  C.


--- The court of heaven admires the Church of the Gentiles, and every pious soul ascending from this world, particularly the blessed Virgin.  The synagogue was corrupt, when she called for the death of the Son of God, and said, His blood be upon us, &c.  We have no king but Cæsar.  W.


--- Grace must go before, that our free-will may also walk forward.  M.

6 Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.

Ver. 6.  Arm.  Working by charity.  Gal. v. 6.  H.


--- Women in the east imprint what they like most on their bosom and arms, or carry bracelets and gems on those parts, with similar inscriptions.  Os. ii. 2.  Is. iii. 20.  S. Clem. Pæd. ii. 11.


--- Christ must live in us.  C.


--- Tota ejus species exprimatur in nobis.  S. Amb. Isaac viii.


--- Jealousy.  That is, zealous and burning love.  Ch.


--- Hell.  Or the grave, which subdues all.  Love is a violent passion.  C.


--- Nullus liber erit, si quis amare velit.  Prop. ii.


--- Christ gave his life to redeem mankind, and the martyrs have joyfully endured torments and death, to evince their love.  C.


--- Flames.  Heb. "a flame of God," or most vehement.  H.

7 Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

Ver. 7.  Drown it.  As other fires may be extinguished.  He who sinks under persecution, has not real charity.  Temptation does not weaken a person, but shews what he is.  Ecclus. xxxiv. 9.  C.


--- He shall.  Worldlings will ridicule his parting with temporal delights, for those which do not appear: but the true lover will make no account of the former.  C.

8 Our sister is little, and hath no breasts. What shall we do to our sister in the day when she is to be spoken to?

Ver. 8.  Our sister.  Christ styles the Church his own and the synagogue's sister, promising her many benefits.  W.


--- The relations of the spouse wish to have her married, though she seemed young.  Ezec. xvi. 7.


--- Spoken to, concerning marriage, or its consummation.  Gen. xxxiv. 6.  Dan. xiii. 57.  C.


--- The synagogue had but few to give her proper instructions.  M.


--- But Christ would provide her, if she were not wanting to herself.  H.

9 If she be a wall: let us build upon it bulwarks of silver: if she be a door, let us join it together with boards or cedar.

Ver. 9.  Cedar.  Procuring for her a rich and steady husband to protect her.  These are the words of the bridegroom.  The Christian Church seemed weak at first.  But her pastors and martyrs caused her to triumph over all the powers of hell.  C.


--- Those who correspond with the first grace, are furnished with others.  M.

10 I am a wall: and my breasts are as a tower since I am become in his presence as one finding peace. 11 The peaceable had a vineyard, in that which hath people: he let out the same to keepers, every man bringeth for the fruit thereof a thousand pieces of silver.

Ver. 11.  The.  The bridegroom, in the character of a countryman, asserts that he would not give his vineyard or spouse (C.) for all the king's riches.

12 My vineyard is before me. A thousand are for thee, the peaceable, and two hundred for them that keep the fruit thereof.

Ver. 12.  Before me.  I am satisfied with my spouse.


--- The peaceable.  Heb. and Sept. "Solomon."  H.


--- Retain them, and also pay the keepers their wages.  I envy not all the treasures of the world; nor would put them in competition with my vineyard, or spouse.  The synagogue of Moses and Solomon degenerated, while the Church of Christ has continued faithful, and has always some good workmen.  S. Greg.  Ven. Bede, &c.  C.

13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the friends hearken: make me hear thy voice.

Ver. 13.  Hearken.  The seventh morning is come, and I must depart to the mountains.  C. ii. 17. and iv. 6.  Christ, before his ascension, exhorts his Church to present her petitions.  He is always ready to hear her, and to grant her aid, in every emergency.  See S. Amb. de Virg. xvi. 99.


--- The virtuous pray that her requests may be granted, (H.) and are eager to know what they are.  M.

14 Flee away, O my beloved, and be like to the roe, and to the young hart upon the mountains of aromatical spices.

Ver. 14.  Flee.  The Church consents that her beloved should ascend to heaven, as he still remains with her.  Ven. Bede.  S. Bern. ser. ix.  Qui habitat.  C.


--- The whole Church militant requests that he would ascend thither, for the good of all his servants, begging for an abundant supply of grace, that we may ascend the high mountains of perfect charity, and zeal for God's honour; and that eh would make our souls such hills and gardens, adorned with all the flowers and fruits of virtue, in which he may vouchsafe to dwell.  Amen.  W.


--- Flee to heaven, and draw me with thee.  C. i. 4.  M.

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