by James Smith, 1860
It is very refreshing to the spiritual mind, to meet with people who are asking the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward. To hear people inquiring about the Lord Jesus, and his glorious salvation. No doubt the church of old found it so, when the daughters of Jerusalem inquired of her, respecting her Beloved, "Where has your Beloved gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your Beloved turn — that we may look for him with you?" Song of Songs 6:1
WHO Makes this Inquiry?They are called, "the daughters of Jerusalem," and they represent those who have been affected with the descriptions of Christ which they have heard — who are impressed with a sense of the beauty and excellency of the Savior — and who begin to feel interested in all that they hear respecting the person and work of Jesus. They feel a desire to know him, and enjoy him, working within them. They also perceive the loveliness of the Church, as the bride of Christ; to them, or in their estimation, the Lord's people are the excellent of the earth, and occupy the most enviable position. They are convinced of the excellency and worth of Jesus, and therefore they ask, "Where has your Beloved gone, most beautiful of women?"
Of WHOM Is this Inquiry Made?Of the Lord's people — the bride, the Lamb's wife. Observe the title given her, "most beautiful of women." To the quickened and enlightened soul, the Lord's people always appear lovely. In this they sympathize with Christ, and it is one of the first proofs that they are becoming like-minded with him. It is an evidence that the Spirit of Christ is with them.
Mark the conduct of the Church. She was seeking to enjoy the presence and favor of the Savior. She had been attempting to describe him, and set forth his excellencies. Her whole heart and soul was set upon him. To her he was the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely one. Let us notice then,
For WHOM Do They Inquire?For the Beloved! The lovely One. He who had so won the heart of the spouse — and divorced her from all others. Yes, it is for Jesus, that the seeking soul inquires.
His person is supremely lovely.
His presence is satisfying and delighting.
His absence is unbearable.
Jesus is incomparable!
Therefore, Jesus is altogether desirable. Having heard of him, having witnessed her intense concern about him, they are prepared to seek him.
WHAT Then Do They Ask?"Where is your Beloved gone?" They know not where he is — but they would like to know; therefore they ask, for information. Every one who is born of the Spirit, has . . .
What Is the DESIGN of this Inquiry?Not to gratify curiosity, or merely to inform the mind — but that "we may seek him with you." As if they had said, "We wish to seek Jesus, for we feel our need of him! We long to see him; we wish to know him; we would also be united to him. We are sure we should be happy, could we but enjoy a saving interest in him."
They were prepared to accompany her in her search for
him, though she was deserted, despised, opposed, censured, and exposed. This
manifested . . .
humility — the proud heart was humbled;
strong desire — for a painful sense of need was felt in the soul;
and the working of faith, hope, and love.
Faith, for they believed that he was, and was all the church declared him to be.
Hope, for they expected that if they sought him in company with his church — they would find him.
Love, for if there had been no love, there had been no desire, no inquiry, no proposing to seek him.
If we therefore are taught by the Holy Spirit . . .
we also shall feel our need of Christ;
we shall long to see him;
we shall wish to know him;
we shall desire to be united to him;
and shall feel persuaded that we shall only be happy, if we possess and enjoy a saving interest in him.
Reader, are you one of these inquirers? Are you seeking for Jesus? Is the desire of your soul to him, and the remembrance of his name? If you do not feel your need of Christ, and so feel it, as not to be able to live without him — then you are not under the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ always . . .
teaches man his need of Christ;
shows him that he is wretched, miserable, poor, and blind, and naked, without Christ;
produces an all-conquering desire to know and possess Christ;
leads the soul out to seeking for Christ, and
at length brings it into union and communion with Christ.
Have you experienced this? Have you found Jesus? Have you
found him as your own Savior, your own beloved? Have you felt . . .
the sweets of full pardon;
the peace that flows from justification;
the overflowing love, produced by a sense of personal interest in all Christ is, and has?
If ever you have found Jesus, you know it, you cannot have forgotten it. The day of our espousals, is a day we never forget, even when under temptation, or when harassed with doubts and fears.
Do you enjoy Jesus now? Is he your Beloved? Do you daily find that no substitute can be found for Jesus, or his gracious presence?
If our hearts are right — then Christ is precious — most precious — and we are prepared to part with anything — before we part with him; and to give up anything — for the enjoyment of his presence and his love. He who finds Jesus — finds life, and obtains favor of the Lord. Yes, life, a life of peace and comfort here on earth — and a life of perfect holiness and happiness in Heaven!
But, friend, if you are a stranger to Christ — if you have never discovered his beauty — if you have never felt your need of him — if you have never made any inquiry about him — if you have never sought him — or if you have not found him — then you are in a sad state indeed! You have no one to save you from the wrath to come!
You have no real happiness in life!
You will have no good hope in death!
Nor will you have any Heaven beyond the grave!
If you are a Christless sinner, you are in a fearful state, in a most dangerous situation. Seek Jesus, Seek Jesus — and seek him until you find him!
When strangers stand and hear me tell
What beauties in the Savior dwell;
Where he is gone, they fain would know,
That they may seek and love him too.
My best-beloved keeps his throne
On hills of light, in worlds unknown;
But he descends, and shows his face
In the young garden of his grace.
O may my spirit daily rise
On wings of faith above the skies,
Until death shall make my last remove
To dwell forever with my Love!