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Natural Emblems Of Spiritual Life
By A. B. Simpson
The Royal Bridegroom
My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour.
The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever." Psalms 45:1-17
THIS is a picture of Jesus Christ from the full heart of one who loved Him so well that his pen seemed to move spontaneously as his fingers wrote His name: one who loved Him so fondly that his heart constantly bubbled over with what some one has called "passionate love for Jesus." Why is there not the same intense divine love to Him among us today? Our love should have a higher meaning for Him than for our human friends. If there is with any of us a cold respectful feeling of reverence for Him with no room for tenderness, it is because we have not seen Him as this vision presents Him. He wants us to come to Him, not distantly, but with loving and believing hearts if we would know Him as David did.
I. The Bridegroom.
This Psalm presents Jesus as the King in His beauty. There are many pictures of glory and majesty touched by this hand. Here we see the King of kings and Lord of lords. Look around upon earth everywhere; there is none like Him. The beauty of Jesus! Have you seen it? Has there risen across your sky a presence, not seen, but which touched your heart when it came and lit it up with the charm of its beauty, as the sun lights up a winter atmosphere? How wonderful is this vision of the King in His beauty. The face of Christ becomes illuminated to us as we look upon Him and are not afraid of the majesty in His countenance. But all is as nothing to what we shall see when we behold Him face to face. All the light and the power, the sweetness and love, the deep spiritual radiance that have sometimes shone from human faces will be combined in the countenance of our beloved Lord. It is the glory of Heaven to see Him as He is. So glorious will be the sight that we shall be transformed into His likeness, flashing back into His face His own beauty and glory. The countenance of Jesus is fairer than the sons of men. Have you seen the King in His beauty?
Is there a song for you in these sentences? Is there music in such a thought? Beloved, let the cry go forth, "We would see Jesus." What marvelous art has decked this beautiful Spring sky. It has filled the world with blossoms and the sky with glory, and set the stars in the heavenly blue. One brush of that heavenly artist will be enough to show you Jesus, for "He shall receive of mine and shall show it; unto you." The Holy Ghost can show you Jesus so you cannot help loving Him. He made Him real to you so that you can take hold of him and know that some one is there. You may not be able to put it in painting, or in writing, but you know Jesus has been revealed to you. From this time you are able everywhere to see Him only. The charm of every face you meet will be the reflection you see in it of Christ, and if that be not there the face is dead.
2. Grace is poured into His lips. Do you not know some people who appear very lovely, but who are very distant, so you cannot get near them? They are like great mountain peaks that are very beautiful, but you cannot climb them; or like some fair marble statue you can look at and admire, but are warned to keep your hands off. It is too nice to be touched. Our Saviour is lovely, but He is gracious too. He comes down to our level. He is fairer than the sons of men, and grace is poured into His lips. Oh! the grace of Jesus how full it is and how it overflows to all His followers, for "of His fulness have all we received." Do you know the fulness of this grace? Are you a poor stinted child, afraid to ask much of your Lord, or are you reveling in His love and favor? His lips are kind, they promise very much, but more than promises, they draw you close, and breathe upon you as Jesus did upon His disciples, and fill you with the Holy Spirit, then they draw you closer still, till He kisses you with the kisses of His mouth. Let us take from Him today all the grace that is poured into His lips.
3. Jesus is full of power. David calls Him, most mighty. "Beauty and goodness are not enough without strength. Nothing can ever stop Him. No man can work like Him. The biggest trouble that ever came to you in life is not so strong as the Most Mighty. The biggest devil that ever assailed you is not so great as the Mighty. He sits above everything that can possibly attack you. Remember when trouble comes to take it to the Rock that is higher than you are.
When the battle is raging hottest, and bravery and courage seem almost gone, if the general should ride along the ranks how it cheers the soldiers and makes them lift up the heart and say, "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty," and they feel at once the battle is won. So Jesus is the pledge of victory, and as we give the battle into His hands He will become conqueror over every foe.
4. The moral qualities of our King are spoken of also; truth, meekness and righteousness, three jewels shining in His coronet. One has the sapphire's shining lustre, another the meek, soft light of the stainless peal, and the third the purity and glory of the diamond. Jesus does not struggle. He is not coarse and rough. Jesus Christ is mighty, but He has hands as soft as any mother's. He will not quench the smoking flax, yet He will not fall nor be discouraged. He has all omnipotence, but He has all sweetness of character.
5. He is conqueror not only over His foes but over the hearts of His people. There is a beautiful picture in the books of Moses that well illustrates this. There was a statute that allowed a Hebrew to win a bride from his enemies. If, in the sack of the city, he should capture some beautiful maiden, and love her, and wish to make her his bride, he should treat her gently and righteously. After the city was subdued, and he had taken away his weeping prize, he bore her to the home of his mother, where she was separated for a month until he could become known to her and win her confidence and love, the admiration of her whole life, and she was ready to accept him as her husband. He had conquered her when he had torn her away from her old home, but now he had gained another victory over her, the victory of love. So Jesus, too, is conquering His bride. "Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies." He brings us low at His feet, and then He wins our love. He first slays and then disarms us, and then He takes us to His arms. He humbles us, and then He lifts us up, so that we forget we are His subjects in the freedom and the rapture of His love.
6. The throne of Jesus is established forever. If any one doubts the divinity of Christ let him look at this passage. The Father here is saying to the Son, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever." He is a divine King, not a human bridegroom or an earthly potentate; but in Him is the divine nature. I am afraid we do not half realize what these words mean. Do we not sometimes fear to utter them lest they should be mere hollow words upon our lips? Do we realize what it means to have a friend who is no less than the Eternal God? How we are humbled at such a thought. How it would make us shrink into nothingness, and be indeed blasphemy from us if it were not revealed as a blessed truth in God's Word. If a man could somehow cease to be a man and become a crawling earthworm, his descent would not be one half so stupendous a change as for God to come down and take His place with us. He is ready to meet us with the kiss of love, but He wants from us the consecrated affection of the heart. He is knocking at its door and saying,
"Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's home.
"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty."
He is our God and our King, but He is also our husband and our brother. His throne is established forever and ever, yet He stoops to our side, to conquer us and then lift us to His arms and bless forevermore.
7. The thought of so much kingly majesty and power might weary us and oppress the mind if it were not for the next picture, which is full of the springing spirit of gladness and joy. Jesus is anointed with the spirit of delightsomeness. He is always glad and joyful. Have you ever realized how different you are from your Saviour? Christians too often look like bats who are used to the night; and as they gaze up into the face of their Lord they are frightened at Him. There is not a person so happy in all the universe as Jesus. The Lord has made Him as happy as happy can be, and as we draw near Him we can feel the atmosphere around Him just saturated with His joy. How dreadful it is to get near people and feel they are like some great owl sitting on a branch in the midst of a solemn gloom, but how quickly you can detect a joyous heart. There are some Christians who are just baptized all the time with the spirit of joyousness. They have singing birds and spring flowers with them continually.
When an April day comes it can't help bringing gladness. Every little twig is just bursting with buoyant springing life. So, when you draw near to these sunny Christians, you have such a sense of rest and homeness, and can talk on with no feeling of restraint. It is because they are anointed with the oil of gladness. But how much more is this the case as we get near to Christ. Though everything is black around us, if we only nestle up close to Him we shall find that the shadows will flee away and we shall be filled with His own sweet restful, happy spirit. Too many look upon Jesus as a kind of ogre who is keeping track of their evil deeds, and some day will bring upon them the terrible consequences. They know Him as the Judge and the keeper of righteousness, but not as the joy and sunshine of the day.
Oh, reach out your hand into these spaces and take hold of Him and know and share His joyousness of spirit. It will be the happiest hour you ever had, but even then you will not know nearly all the men that ever lived. His joy is inexhaustible. O, take this glorious King today and become His bride. Lie in His arms and taste His love and you shall sing like David, - "Thou art fairer than the children of men." "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad." There will be the smell of some bitter things amid all the sweetness. You will have some sorrow, but it will only be a cloud on which to paint a glorious rainbow.
II. - The Bride.
The next figure portrayed in this beautiful Psalm after the picture of Jesus the King and the Bridegroom, is the Bride.
1. The first thing that is spoken of her is the call extended to her by her loving Lord. "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." This call comes from afar off, and at first she seems not to listen. The word is, "Hearken!" Have you heard that call, dear friends? Have you inclined your ear unto it? Have you considered it? This may take a good while. It is well to take time to think about and weigh it well, for it is a decision that will change all your future. But then should come the time of acting. Some of you have settled this question this week and it has been none too soon. It is beautiful, this call Christ has given to some of you - hearken - consider - incline your ear. But there is something else. You are to forget your kindred and your father's house. What does that mean? Why, all the hindrances that are in your path, all the people around you that don't love Him, the whole old worldly life, the old Adam nature that is within you. That is the father's house, and you are to forget it and all the natural associations connected with it. Then Christ can take delight in you. He does not merely save us out of pity. He would rest in us and enjoy our love even as we do in Him. The King greatly desires thy beauty. It is sweet to Him, but it can only well up from a heart that is separated from everything but His beauty.
2. Therefore, the next step is the bride's consecration. "He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him." She has turned from her father's house when she heard His call, but she has not given Him the full surrender of her whole heart. Are there not Christians here today who are in the same place? Have not some of you heard the call of Jesus and turned away from your own people without fully yielding up to Him the first place in your life and love. Dear friends, you are not fulfilling this beautiful picture unless you are giving the homage of an uninvited heart, unless you are offering to Him without reserve the affection and worship of your whole being.
3. Then follows the adorning of the bride. The Holy Ghost comes and robes her for the bridal, and prepares the marriage feast.
"The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold."
"She shall be brought into the king in raiment of needlework."
These are the spiritual garments in which the bride is robed, and they are altogether divine. Gold stands for divinity.
The garments of Christians are all divine. Their righteousness is not their own. There is no good, or any possibility of good in them. Righteousness, love, faith, all are of Jesus Christ. If you are ready to be brought to the King you must have on His divine righteousness. You will notice too the garments are of wrought gold. They are made to fit each one. Your garments are made for you, not for anybody else. God wants every one of us robed in a tunic that is just our size, and He has it ready for us if we will wear it. That is, your divine holiness is for you and for no one but you. Before you are willing to take it, your soul may have to be tried in the fire, you may have to pass through great strain and agony in which perhaps you will see that your heart has not got a righteousness of its own. When once we see that He has all we need for word, or thought or action, we become clothed in the gold of His divine righteousness. Till then we have not fully forgotten our father's house and our own people. Oh, dear friends, forget the world and give yourselves wholly to Christ this day.
Then, too, the garments are wrought in little stitches. The finest threads of life are the victories we get in trial. You cannot need a thought so small but Jesus has got one ready for you. There is needlework so fine that it cannot be seen without a glass. For some embroidery needles are used so small that they can scarcely be seen. So the needlework of our spiritual garments is to be of every variety. Not for the church only, but for the warehouse, where the sleeves are rolled up and the labor is hard, for the factory where the hands are black with work, for the home, and for every place. The needlework inside must still be fine. That means it is much harder to do things right in little things than in big ones. It is harder to have the persecutors pluck out the hair than to have them kill you. God provides for the little things of life. Beloved, His grace can carry you through the world in bridal attire, so that at His coming you may be ready to go forth and meet Him.
4. The next view we have is of the bride passing in the marriage procession. Into the king's palace she and her companions are brought with gladness and rejoicing. It is the same picture that Matthew gives us when the great cry was raised, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him." Oh, if we should stand afar off and see that sight we would never forget it. Many will enter into this marriage of the Lamb, and the door will be shut upon a storm-swept world. God forbid that it should come and you be left outside.
III. - The Marriage.
Then follows the marriage of the King with His dear bride, and an allusion to the attendants at the ceremony. There is the queen mother at her right hand in gold of Ophir. Perhaps this is a reference to the old Jewish Church who found it so difficult to separate from the world, but who comes out all right in Christ at last.
Then their posterity are spoken of, for this union is not a fruitless one. Oh, dear ones, you cannot come to be heart to heart with Jesus without everyone being better for it. There is a spiritual offspring to every useful life. A benediction does rest upon a life of blessing. Do not let us be content to have every year like the last one, but a great deal better. Instead of thy father's shall be thy children." The bride of the Lamb today is not where she has been before. She is constantly moving on to higher things. This is a very solemn time we are living in. There never before was such an age. It is the world's crisis. Life means more today than ever in the past. May the dear Lord take these children instead of the fathers.
Oh, beloved, cut away from the things that are keeping you from Him, stop this terrible drifting, give up the things that are wrecking your life. Let Jesus become real to you. Let Him make of you all that is in His heart for you. Be clothed in His righteousness. Commit your life and whole being entirely into His hands, and you will be filled with wonder that He can so love and keep you, and so use you to His honor and glory and dear to the praise of His name.