R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:16

By Robert C. Chapman

 

“My beloved is mine, and I am His: He feeds among the lilies.” (Song of Solomon 2:16)

 

How large your pasture, O my soul! Fair and pleasant! In Him all fullness dwells! Immanuel is the express image of the Father, the brightness of His glory: Jesus’ name, how excellent!

The heavens and the earth are the work of His hands: They all will grow old as a garment; as a piece of clothing He will fold them up; and they will be changed by a ward of His power at the last day.

He Himself is the same, and His years have no end! This glorious One, this treasure infinite, is mine by title everlasting! My Lord, the Lamb of God, has bound me to Himself in everlasting bonds! He delights in me: His church is His garden of lilies, where my beloved continually resorts.  It pleased Him to set His heart upon me! When will You manifest Yourself to me! I know You are mine! You are my Beloved, Holy One! Eternal Almighty One! My portion!  O give me to see You, to be filled with the knowledge of you, obedience to You, worship of You, delight in You: these fruits of Your Spirit will be sweet to Your taste, a banquet to my glorious Lord.

 


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Christian Love 37: Majesty of Meekness

By Hugh Binning

 

Having, then, such a Teacher and Master, sent to us from heaven, shouldn’t we then glory in our Master?  But some may suppose, that he who came down from heaven, filled with all the riches and treasures of heavenly wisdom, should reveal in his school unto his disciples, all the mysteries and profound secrets of nature and art, about which the world has plodded since the first taste of the tree of knowledge, and beaten out their brains to the frustration of all their spirits, without any fruit, but the discovery of the impossibility of knowing, and the increase of sorrow by searching. Who would not expect, when the Wisdom of God descends among men, but that he should show unto the world that wisdom, in the understanding of all the works of God, which all men have been pursuing in vain; that he by whom all things were created, and so could uncover and manifest all their hidden causes and virtues, all their admirable and wonderful qualities and operations, as easily by a word, as he made them by a word; who would not expect, I say, but that he should have made this world, and the mysteries of it, the subject of all his lessons, the more to illustrate his own glorious power and wisdom?

And yet see, those who came into his school and heard this Master and Doctor teach his scholars, they who had been invited to come, through the fame and report of his name, would have stood astonished and surprised to hear the subject of his doctrine; one come from on high to teach so low things as these, “Learn of me, I am meek and lowly.” Other men that are masters of professions, and authors of sects or orders, aspire to some singularity in doctrine to make them famous.  But behold our Lord and Master, this is the doctrine he vents!  It has nothing in it that sounds high, and looks big in the estimation of the world.  In regard of the wisdom of the world, it is foolishness, a doctrine of humility from the most High!  A lesson of lowliness and meekness from the Lord and Maker of all! There seems, at first, nothing in it to allure any to follow it. Who would travel so far as the college of Christianity to learn no more but this, when every man pretends to be a teacher of it?

But truly there is a majesty in this lowliness and there is a singularity in this commonness.  If you would stay and hear a little longer, and enter into a deep search of this doctrine, we would be surcharged and overcome with wonders.  It seems shallow till you enter but it really has no bottom.  Christianity does not make great noise, but it runs the deeper.  It is a light and superficial knowledge of it, a small smattering of the doctrine of it, that makes men despise it and prefer other things, but the deep and solid apprehension of it will make us adore and admire, and drive us to an O altitudo! “O the depth both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).  As the superficial knowledge of nature makes men atheists, but the profound understanding of it makes men seek God so all other things, vilescit scientia, “grow more contemptible by the knowledge of them.” It is ignorance of them which is the mother of that devout admiration we bear to them. But Christianity only, vilescit ignorantia, clarescit scientia, is common and low, because it is not known.  And that is no disparagement at all to it, that there is no one who despises it, but the one who doesn’t know it, and anyone who knows it, can do nothing but despise all things it once knew other than it.

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:15

By R.C. Chapman

 

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song of Solomon 2:15)

I am troubled and ashamed, as this warning strikes the ear, this precious warning voice of my Beloved! Alas! My neglected spirit, what has it not cost me! When I should have been watching my affections with all jealousy of love to my Lord, I have been hindered with much serving; I have been of a doubtful mind; and keeping the heart with all diligence has been forgotten.

How much of the proud Pharisee cleaves to me still, who washes the outside of the cup and the platter, heedless of that which is within! (Matthew 23:25; Luke 11:39)

O my soul! Are you not ashamed! Think to yourself, that, as Jesus is the church’s Husband, so it is the greatest duty of the bride, the Lamb’s wife, to give Him her heart! Watch therefore, against those things which take from Him of your love.  Your husband, who His own self bore your sins in His own body on the tree, is now in heaven to present you to the Father: so you are holy and blameless before Him in love! Do not refrain, therefore, to search for those little foxes, those subtle sins that cheat you with a flattering smile, those foxes that have their holes in the depths of the heart.

Jesus Himself, is the light to show you these little enemies that do you so grievous trouble.  Beware, I charge you, of descending without His lamp into the dark caverns.  You will only be bewildered there, unless Jesus goes with you:  You will be terrified, instead of humbled; confounded, instead of instructed.  Therefore, let Jesus be wisdom to you in the blood of His cross, that precious blood, which blotted out all your iniquities, will bring to light your hidden evils! By its sprinkling, you will discern the humble cloak of pride, you will see how the heart can be puffed up with wind, and feed upon the east wind of empty thoughts, instead of Christ! You will see the guilt of neglecting the whispers of the Lord’s love, through self sufficiency in your dealing with little matters without the help and fellowship of your Lord, of ungentle behavior toward brothers, and of the lack of tenderness toward the ungodly.

These things, and other numberless things, you will perceive and hate; and if the tender grapes of your inward grace and comfort have suffered loss, and Jesus has withdrawn Himself, you will justify Him and say: Lord, my heart sins have grieved You, and in all Your correction You are holy and full of love.

 


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Christian Love 36: Learning Meekness

By Hugh Binning

 

Humility is the root of charity, and meekness the fruit of both.  There is no solid and pure ground of love to others, except that the worthlessness of self-love be first cast out of the soul; and when that excessive evil is cast out, then charity has a solid and deep foundation: “The end of the command is charity out of a pure heart,” (1st Timothy 1:5).  It is only such a purified heart, cleansed from that poison and infection of pride and self-conceit which can send out such a sweet and wholesome stream, to the refreshing of the spirits and hearts of the church of God.  If self-glory and pride have deep roots fastened into the soul, they draw all the sap and virtue downward, and send little or nothing at all up to the tree of charity, which makes it barren and unfruitful in the works of righteousness, and fruits of mercy and meekness.  There are obstructions in the way of that communication, which only can be removed by the plucking up of these roots of pride and self-conceit, which prey upon all, and incorporate all in themselves and their own benefit, yet, like the lean cows who devoured the fat ones, are never the fatter or more well-favored.

It is no wonder, then, that these are the first principles that we must learn in Christ’s school, the very A-B-C s of Christianity: “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls,” (Matthew 11:29).  This is the great Prophet sent by the Father into the world to teach us, whom he has, with a voice from heaven, commanded us to hear: “This is my well-beloved Son, hear him.” Shouldn’t the fame and report of such a Teacher move us? He was testified of very honorably, long before he came, that he had the Spirit above measure, that he had “the tongue of the learned;” (Isaiah 1:4).  He was a greater prophet than Moses, (Deuteronomy 18: 15,18) that is, the wonderful counselor of heaven and earth (Isaiah 9:6) the ““Witness to the people,” a Teacher and “Leader to the people.” And then, when he came, he had the most glorious testimony from the most glorious persons, the Father and the Holy Ghost, in the most solemn manner that the world ever heard of, (Matthew 17:5) “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” Now, this is our Master, our Rabbi, (Matthew 23:8).  This is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession (Hebrews 3:1)  “the light of the world and life of men,” (John 8:12 and 6:33,51)

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:14

By R.C. Chapman

 

“O my dove, that is in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see your countenance, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your countenance is comely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14)

Does it make you moan, O my soul, complaining, that, while Jesus calls you His dove, you are still so much like the beast of the forest, the men of this world; who, like their father, Satan, are full of pride, envy, self-will, discontent, and coveting?  These things, to your grief, hurry you away from Jesus; and so fickle are you, so movable your ways, that when He banquets you with his smile, then you are most close to forsaking Him!  O what dirtiness is in you!  Dirtiness on you!  Yet do not be cast down, O my soul; neither be anxious within me; for, listen!  The voice of your Beloved!  Though in your own eyes some fierce wolf or filthy swine, your Lord calls you His dove! And He will never take away His Holy Spirit from you.  Do not think because He will prove you with truth, and open to you the secret chambers of your heart, that He will, therefore, cast you off.  He hates putting away; He bids you to call to mind the safety in the clefts of the rock.

I charge you, do not dishonor Him by unbelief, as though He were capable of change! Behold the mountains, they may depart; and the hills, they may be removed that seem to stand fast for ever, showing defiance to the power of earthquake  and tempest, yes, even of time itself! But Jesus!  He is the mighty God, and His kindness will not depart from you.  He is Alpha, Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending.  His name is I am!  Behold your Rock, smitten by the hand of God the Father, from Whom gushed out the waters.  Of these waters drink forever, O my soul!  The wounds of Jesus are your everlasting life.  The blind world didn’t know your access within the holiest of all, for they didn’t come to the blood of sprinkling: but, O do not be unmindful of your high calling!  Jesus Himself invites you!  He does not delight only in the songs above, those who see Him face to face: He would have you humbly bold to speak with Him, who says, “Let me hear your voice; for sweet is your voice, and your countenance is comely.”

 


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Christian Love 35: Love Covers Sins

By Hugh Binning

 

“Charity covers a multitude of sins,” (1st Peter 4:8) and therefore “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves,” he says.  What is above prayer and watching to the end, above carefulness? Indeed, in reference to fellowship with God, these are above all; but in relation to comfortable fellowship one with another in this world, this is above all, and the crown or cream of other graces.  He whose sins are covered by God’s free love, cannot think it a hard thing to spread the garment of his love over his brother’s sins.  Hatred stirs up strife, all uncharitable affections, such as envy, and wrath.  It stirs up contentions, and makes a spreading fire of  men’s infirmities.  But “love covers all sins,” conceals them from all to whom the knowledge of them does not belong, (Proverbs 10:12)

Love in a way does not attempt to know the bad it knows, or at least to remember it much.  It will sometimes hoodwink itself to a favorable esteeming of others.  It will pass by an infirmity and flaw, but many stand still and commune with the infirmity and flaws of others.  But the one who  covers a transgression seeks love to bury offences in.  Silence is a notable way to preserve agreement and harmony, and bring forth true warmth and friendship.  The keeping of faults long above ground unburied, makes them cast forth an evil smell that will away separate friends.  Therefore, the wise man says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love: but he who repeats a matter separates close friends,” (Proverbs 17) Covering faults in a Christian way, will make a stranger a friend; but repeating and spreading of them will make a friend not only a stranger, but also an enemy.

Yet this is not to the say that we have no Christian duty of reproving and admonishing one another, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11) Love commands us to reprove in the “spirit of meekness,” (Galatians 6:1) as a man would restore an arm out of joint.  Therefore you “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.  You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. ” (Leviticus 19:17) And he who reproves his brother in this manner out of love, and in meekness and wisdom, “will afterwards find more favor from him than the one who flatters with his tongue,” (Proverbs 28:23).

To cover and hide grudges and jealousies in our hearts, is to nourish a flame in our hearts, which only waits to vent, and will at one time or another burst out.  But to look too narrowly to every step, and to write up a registry of men’s petty faults, especially so as to make them known to the world; this is inconsistent with the rule of love. And truly, it is a token of one “destitute of wisdom to hate his neighbor; but a man of understanding will hold his peace.” He who has most defects himself, will find the most in others, and strive to vilify them one way or another; but a wise man can pass by frailties, yes, even offences done to him, and be silent, (Proverbs 11:12).

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:13

By R.C. Chapman

“The fig tree putts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song of Solomon 2:13)

 

My soul, how watchful is Jesus to mark any good thing in you! Whatever your growth in the knowledge of Him, be it much or little, whether He sees you as a fruitful branch heavily loaded with full ripe fruit, or a corn waiting for the sickle, or whether as yet there is nothing much to maturity, the work is the work of His own hands! He esteems it precious beyond heaven and earth!

“The king’s daughter,” says He, “is all glorious within”. (Psalm 45:13) She is created anew in Christ Jesus, whose image within her is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit of God.  She sees herself comely, by the comeliness the Spirit has put on her; yet black, because of sin that dwells in her.

The eyes of her King and Husband, meanwhile, are fixed upon her beauty, and He says, in the gladness of His heart, “You are all fair, my love!”. (Song of Solomon 4:7)  He labors to cheer her by His praises and admiration of His good work within her.

Lord Jesus! You have bowels of compassion never failing; You say, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you”. (Isaiah 66:13) Upon the weak, the young, and the tender, You, like some nursing mother, give Your gentlest care!

Your lambs, Shepherd of the sheep, You gather them in Your arms; Your fainting, halting ones, You carry next to your heart: and You would have them to know, that all their sighing after You is sweet to Your ear; their groaning is not hid from You, and all their desire is before You! When their heart by power of Your Spirit is full of zeal and love, You smile graciously, with infinite humbling of yourself, I found no city to live in, I wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way.

In the good and set time You spoke to me, saying, “This is the rest where you may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing”. (Isaiah 28:12) And how sweet are Your words: “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you”. (Matthew 9:2) How precious in the sight of the Lamb of God!  And How how glorious the robe of righteousness, hiding all my sin and pollution from the holy eyes of my Judge!

Then the lame man leaped as a deer, and the tongue of those who could not speak sang.  In Jesus crucified, in You, my Lord, my soul found rest, and in the heart of Your love.

It is true, I still have griefs, and tears still stand in my eyes; but, Lord, I love my griefs and welcome my tears: for now I know You, my Brother born for adversity!  And when, Oh,  when are You so near, as when Your tender heart takes part in Your peoples’ sorrow! Nor would I trade my bitter cup (which my Lord’s love makes so sweet) for a world of carnal joys.

If I did not know You, I would have no place of rest for my soul; my every cistern proven broken.  I’d have no faithful Friend such as You, almighty, all wise, unchangeable, to soothe my grief and bear my burden.  But in all that dismal path I now see Your hand! I was under the curse, but your truth has made me free. (John 8:32) The winter is past, for I am in Christ Jesus: walking no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit, the rain is over and gone.

I don’t grieve as I once did, for You show me Your hands and feet! You make me that I don’t mourn with terrors and hopeless sorrow, but for You whom I pierced, and for sin which made for You Your crown of thorns! I am troubled in the troubles of my brothers, and because of the transgressions of the wicked.  Moreover, I ponder ; (Isaiah 25:9) and You will say to Zion,”Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away”. (Song of Solomon 2:10) How Long, Lord? You will hasten in in Your time.

 


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Christian Love 34: Love is No Tale Bearer

By Hugh Binning

 

Charity is no tale bearer. It does not go about as a slander to reveal a secret, though true, (Proverbs 20:19) It is of a faithful spirit to conceal the matter. (Proverbs 11:13) Another man’s good name is as a pledge laid down in our hand, which every man should faithfully restore, and take heed how he lose it, or alienate it by back-biting.  Some would have nothing to say, if they didn’t have other’s faults and frailties to passionately speak on, but it would be better that such were always made silent, that either they had no ears to hear of them or know them, or had no tongues to vent them.  If they do not lie grossly in it, they think they do no wrong.  But let them judge it in reference to themselves. “A good name is better than precious ointment,” (Ecclesiastes 7:1) “and rather to be chosen than great riches,”. (Proverbs 22:1)

And isn’t it wrong, to defile that precious ointment, and to rob or steal away that jewel more precious than great riches? There is a strange connection between these. “Do not go about spreading slander among your people.  Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life” it is a kind of murder, because it kills that which is as precious as life to an innocent heart. “The words of a tale bearer are as wounds, and they go down to the innermost parts of the belly,” (Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22).  They strike a wound to any man’s heart, that can hardly be cured, and there is nothing that is such a seed of contention and strife among brethren as this. It is the oil to feed the flame of alienation.  Take away a tale-bearer, and strife will cease, (Proverbs 26:20).

There are some who seem to have no other occupation than to whisper into the ears of brethren, and suggest evil apprehensions of them, they will separate best friends, as we see it in daily experience,  (Proverbs 16:28). “Revilers” are among these who are excluded out of the kingdom of God, (1st Corinthians 6:10).  And therefore, as the Holy Spirit gives general precepts for the profitable and edifying improvement of the tongue, that so it may indeed be the glory of a man, (which truly is no small point of religion, as James expresses, in Chapter 3:2 “If anyone doesn’t stumble in word, the same is a perfect man,”) so that same spirit gives us particular directions about this, “ Do not speak evil one of another, brethren.  He who speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law,” (James 4:11) because he puts himself in the place of the Lawgiver, and his own judgment and desire in place of the law, and so he judges the law.

And therefore the Apostle Peter makes a wise and significant connection,”Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (1st Peter 2:1) Truly, evil speaking of our brethren, though it may be true, yet it proceeds out of the abundance of these, in the heart, of deceit, hypocrisy, and envy.  While we catch at a name of piety from censuring others, and build our own reputation upon the ruins of another’s good name, hypocrisy and envy are too predominant.

If we would indeed grow in grace by the word, and taste more how gracious the Lord is, we must lay these aside, and become as little children, without deceit, and without bitterness.  Many account it excuse enough, that they did not invent evil tales, or were not the first tellers of them; but the Scripture joins both together.

The man that “shall abide in his tabernacle” must neither vent nor invent them, neither cast them down nor take them up, “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others;” (Psalm 15:3) or neither receives nor endures it, as in the margin.  He neither gives it nor receives he it, doesn’t have a tongue to speak of others’ faults, nor an ear to hear them.  Indeed he has a tongue to confess his own, and an ear open to hear another confess his faults, according to that precept, “Confess your faults one to another.”

We are forbidden to have much society or fellowship with tale-bearers; and it is added, “He who goes about as a tale-bearer reveals secrets; therefore don’t keep company with him who opens wide his lips.” (Proverbs 20:19) as indeed commonly those who reproach the absent, flatter the present; a backbiter is a face-flatterer.  And therefore we should not only not meddle with them, but drive them away as enemies to human society. Charity would in such a case protect itself, if I may so say, by “an angry countenance,” an appearance of anger and real dislike. “As the north wind drives away rain,” so that hearers would drive away a “backbiting tongue,” (Proverbs 25:23)  If we would discredit it, backbiters will be discouraged to open their pack of news and reports: and indeed the receiving readily of evil reports of brethren, is a partaking in the unfruitful works of darkness, which we should rather reprove, (Ephesians 5:11).  To join with the teller is to complete the evil report; for if there were no receiver there would be no teller, no tale-bearer.

 


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