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Print Version Main Index : Commentaries : Wesley's Notes : Song of Songs Index : Introduction

Introduction to Song of Songs
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That this book was of Divine inspiration is so clear, that as the Jewish writers note, none ever questioned it, although some doubted of some other of Solomon's writings. And the same arguments which prove the divinity of other books, are found here, such as the quality of the pen - man, who was confessedly a man inspired by God; the excellency and fullness of the matter; the sacred and sublime majesty of the style; and the singular efficacy of it upon the hearts of sober and serious persons. The form of this book is dramatical, wherein several parts are uttered in the name of several persons, who are chiefly, the bridegroom and the bride, and the friends or companions of, the one, and of the other. And is it declared what and when each of them speak, but that is left to the observation of the prudent reader. The design of the book in general is to describe the love and happy marriage of two persons, but it is not to be understood concerning Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter, (although the occasion may be taken from that, or rather he makes an allusion to that) but concerning God, or Christ, and his church and people. This is sufficiently evident from the descriptions of this bridegroom and bride, which are such as could not with any decency be used or meant concerning Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter. There are many expressions and descriptions, which being applied to them, are absurd and monstrous. Hence it follows, that this book is to be understood allegorically concerning that spiritutal love and marriage which is between Christ, and his church. And this will be more than probable to any man who shall consider the following particulars;

  1. That the scriptures both of the Old and New Testament are full of allegorical passages; which being known and confessed, it is needless to prove:
  2. That the doctrine of Christ, being the head, and husband, of God's church or people, was well known, at least to the prophets, and the wise and pious Israelites in the time of the Old Testament:
  3. That God compares himself to a bridegroom, and his church to a bride, (Isa 62:5), and calls, and owns himself the husband of his people, (Isa 54:5,Ho 2:16,19,20). In which places, by comparing these with many other texts of scripture, by God, or the Lord, is meant Christ, the second person in the Godhead, who then was to come down, and since did come from heaven to earth, for the consummation of that eternal design of marriage between God and his people:
  4. That the forty - fifth Psalm, which is a kind of abridgment of this book, although it alludes to the marriage between Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter, was written concerning the Messiah, as all interpreters, both Christian and Jewish agree. From these considerations, and many others which might be suggested, it is sufficiently manifest, that the scope of this book is to describe the mutual love, union and communion which is between Christ and his church, in the various conditions to which it is liable in this world.

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Song of Songs Index | Table of Contents
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