Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
Song of Solomon (Canticles)
Introduction to Song of Songs
This Book takes up the Jew, or at least the remnant, in quite another aspect. It tells of the affections that the King can create in their heart, and by which He draws them to Himself. However strong these affections may be. they are not developed according to the position in which christian affections, properly so called, are formed. They differ in this respect. They do not possess the profound repose and sweetness of an affection that flows from a relationship already formed, known, and fully appreciated, the bonds of which are formed and recognised, that counts upon the full and constant acknowledgment of the relationship, and that each party enjoys, as a certain thing, in the heart of the other. The desire of one who loves, and is seeking the affections of the beloved object, is not the sweet, entire, and established affection of the wife, with whom marriage has formed an indissoluble union. To the former the relationship is only in desire, the consequence of the state of heart; to the latter the state of heart is the consequence of the relationship. Now, although the marriage of the Lamb is not yet come, nevertheless, on account of the revelation which has been made to us, and of the accomplishment of our salvation, this latter character of affection is that which is proper to the assembly. Praise and glory be to God for it! We know whom we have believed. The strength and energy of desire is, however, still maintained, because glory and the marriage of the Lamb are yet future. What a position is that of the assembly! The entire confidence of the relationship on the one hand, the ardent expectation of the betrothed of the Lord on the other, whose love, however, is well known; an expectation that is linked with the glory in which He will come to receive her to Himself, to be for ever with Him.
This is not the position of the Jew. The point for him is to know that his Beloved is his. That is the question. That there is a principle in common is true. Christ loves His assembly, He loves His earthly people, He loves the soul that He draws to Himself. So that there is a moral application to ourselves which is very precious. Nevertheless it is important that we distinguish and do not apply to the assembly that which relates to Israel. Otherwise we shall not have the right character of affection, and shall fail in that which is due to Christ.
The Song of Songs gives then the re-establishment of the relations between Christ and the remnant, in order that by exercise of heart-necessary on account of their position-they may be confirmed in the assurance of His love, and in the knowledge that all is of grace, and a grace that can never fail. Then is He fully known as Solomon. His heart becomes like the chariot of His willing people (Ammi-nadib), which carries Him away.
Sol 8:1 affords us a passage which may serve to express the state of mind treated in the book. "Oh that thou wert as my brother! when I should find thee without I would kiss thee!" Nevertheless, the Spirit of God desiring to assure the heart of the remnant of the Saviour's love, we see that the expression of the heart's desire to possess its Beloved does not cease until it has gained its object. The heart assures itself according to the operation of the Spirit of prophecy; for in fact Christ is for the remnant, and the remnant is for Him. The whole is based on this. But the heart needs to be reassured, as in a similar case we observe in other passages.
Having thus given the general idea, we shall point out some features that are developed in the course of this book, and that possess a moral import of great interest to ourselves.