The Song of Solomon 1:15-17
Commentary, Henry Law, 1879
1:15. "How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful! Your eyes are soft like doves."
Christ still most tenderly commends the Church. He views her with admiring gaze, and utters His deep feeling, "How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful!" The repetition denotes the fervor of His heart.
The believer should never close his eyes to his low estate by nature. His birth is in a vile cradle. He is shaped in iniquity--in sin his mother conceives him. His walk through life is linked to uncleanness. Transgression is his frequent rule. His weak steps totter into mire. His best righteousness is but a filthy rag. The leper's miserable state, is nature's portrait.
This sense of deep depravity should not be banished from the mind. The believer should ever be smiting on his breast, and crying for mercy as a miserable sinner. But in close connection with these humbling thoughts, the knowledge of his Lord's gracious estimate excludes despair. In the depths of self-abhorrence he hears the whisper, "How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful!"
A seeming paradox here perplexes reason. But faith by Scripture-aid can reconcile the dual aspect. As viewed in Christ, what object can be more beauteous than the blood-washed soul! Over all its defects the robe of Christ's perfect obedience is spread. The requirements of the law, which demand love in every step--in every moment--in every movement of the mind--are perfectly and gloriously fulfilled by Him. This righteousness is "unto all and upon all those who believe." In it there is no spot or stain--no blemish, nor any such thing. Jesus views His bride thus adorned and cries, "How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful!"
He marks, also, the work of the Spirit in her heart. There sovereign grace implants the seed of godly words and works. How beauteous is the holiness wrought by the Spirit! Jesus admires the blossoms and the fruit which thus flourish, and exclaims, "How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful!"
Let us diligently ponder this truth. The dark clouds of our iniquity should not conceal the splendor of this light. The vile waters of our sad course should not extinguish the brightness of Christ's work. In Him, partakers of a divine nature, we should fully recognize His goodness, and lying low at the footstool of His grace, we should adoringly give thanks, and embrace the truth, "How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful!"
An especial grace is next commended--"Your eyes are soft like doves." It is pleasing to see that gentle bird--how sweet the softness of its eye! It shows not the brilliant fire which sparkles in the majestic eagle--it exhibits not the wild ferocity of the cruel and unsparing hawk. It is sweet in the charms of softness. We here see the humility of the followers of the Lord. He was meek and lowly in heart. Let all pride and uplifted looks be cast away, and let our clothing be this lowly grace.
1:16, 17. "Behold, you are lovely, My beloved, yes, pleasant--also our bed is verdant. The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters are firs."
To give strong consolation and good hope through grace, Christ multiplies His praise. Let not such tenderness be lost. He next reveals His intimacy by representing His people as inhabitants of the same dwelling. This abode is described as built of the most costly, fragrant and enduring materials, and furnished with every apparatus for rest. The beams are cedar; the rafters fir; the bed is of most lovely hue. Intimate are they who thus are united beneath one roof.
Such are the delights which Christ provides for His people here. What must those mansions be which He is now preparing for them! They were arranged from the foundation of the world. Christ is now employed in making them ready. How wondrous is His love!