By Horatius Bonar
"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away."-- Song of Solomon 2:10,13
THE speaker is the heavenly Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is his voice we hear; the voice which is as the sound of many waters; which spake the "gracious words" the like of which were never uttered on earth. It is to his bride he speaks; "the bride, the Lamb's wife;" his chosen, redeemed, called, sanctified one; given him of the Father before the world began; his one spouse, his "love, his dove, his undefiled;" of whom it is written, "Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it." Of the saints of all ages is this "bride," this "body," composed; all of them washed in the same blood, and clothed with the same righteousness.
1. It is the voice of love. "My love" is his name for his church. Other names of endearment he has for her, but this is chief. All in him betokens love. All that he is, and says, and does, intimates love; a love that passeth knowledge; a love stronger than death and the grave; a love which many waters cannot quench nor the floods drown. It is in tender love that the Bridegroom thus addresses the Bride.
2. It is the voice of admiration. "My fair one " is his name for her. Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee. The "fairest among women, "is his name for her, even as her name for him is the "chiefest among ten thousand." The heart of the Bridegroom is full of admiration for the beauty and perfection of his bride. She is "perfect through the comeliness which he has put upon her." He has ravished our heart, and we have ravished his.
3. It is the voice of authority. The husband is the head of the wife; so is Christ the head of the church; and though it is love that speaks, it is authoritative love. "Arise," "come away." Obedience is our true position; and no amount of love in him can ever alter this. It is not bondage; but it is obedience. It is not sternness on his part, yet it is authority. Our Bridegroom is Jehovah, Immanuel, King of kings, and Lord of lords. Shall we treat his voice as that of an inferior or an equal; or as the voice of him whom no amount of condescension and endearment, and admiration, can ever make less truly the Head of the church, Head of principalities and powers, the Head of the universe, of whom it is said to the church, "He is thy Lord, worship thou him."
But when and in what circumstances does he speak these words to his church? Doubtless at his second coming, when calling her to the honour and glory prepared for her.
I. When he calls her up into the clouds to meet him in the air. He comes for her; and he finds her in the grave. He speaks to her as once before to Lazarus, Come forth; "thou shalt call, and I will answer;" awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust." He summons her from the tomb; he summons her up into the clouds, into his pavilion, where the marriage is celebrated-- "Come up hither." He speaks, she hears, and goes up to meet him for whom she had waited so long. "Arise, my love."
II. When he calls her into the marriage chamber. The marriage follows the ascension. She goes in with him to the marriage; blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper; she goes in and sits down beside him as his bride, his queen, in gold of Ophir. "Arise, my love."
III. When he calls her into the new Jerusalem. Out of the marriage chamber they come. They rise up from the feast. They enter the city. He calls her into the city which he has prepared,--the place which he had gone to prepare for her,-- the "many mansions." "Arise, my love."
IV. When he calls her up to his throne. This is the final act of blessing. Come sit with me on my throne; come reign with me over a redeemed creation. Now the crown is put upon her head; and the royal robes invest her. The everlasting kingdom is now hers. She is heir of God, and joint heir with Christ Jesus. "Arise, my love."
Thus he shall speak to his church in the day of his coming glory; for then shall the song of songs be realised to the full.
Meanwhile he speaks thus to us singly. As he said to Abraham in Ur, Get thee out of this land, so does he speak to each of his Abrahams, his chosen ones,--Come out and be separate; arise, shine, for thy light is come; arise, leave the world; become a pilgrim; arise, quit thy sins, become holy; arise, take up thy cross and follow me. He spoke thus to each of us at first; he speaks thus to each of us still each day; for each day is a repetition of the first message on his part, and the first obedience on ours. Arise,--come away,--follow me. He speaks as the Saviour, and as the Bridegroom. Let us hear, let us follow. Upward, still upward; onward, still onward, is his beckoning. This is no place of tarrying; no congenial air or climate or company for the bride, the Lamb's wife. This is not our rest; this is not the resurrection-land; nor the marriage- hall, nor the new Jerusalem, nor the kingdom. We must not tarry here. We have foretastes here, but that is all; the Lord's supper reminds us of the marriage supper. It is well to sit for an hour at the earthly table, but it is better to sit down forever at the eternal table. With such a summons and such a hope, let us not sleep as do others; let us awake and arise, and come away; away from sin, and dearth, and sorrow; away to the everlasting hills, the everlasting city, the everlasting glory. We are joint-heirs with him; partakers of his throne and crown.