WHAT WILL YE SEE IN THE SHULAMITE?
Song 6:13

Robert Hawker
(1753-1827)


"Return, return, O Shulamite, return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies."–Song vi. 13.

It is the church that is here called upon to return, and most likely by the daughters of Jerusalem. Some have thought the church is so called, as being of Salem, or Shulem, the shortened word for Jeru-salem. And some have thought that Salem is the same with Solomon, as the feminine of Solomon, the wife. And others have supposed, that as Jerusalem means peace, the church is called so, on account of her loveliness. And no doubt, in each sense, the church may well be called so, being married to Christ; being of the "Jerusalem that is above, which is the mother of us all;" and being beautiful, peaceful, and lovely in Jesus, as Jerusalem is the praise of the whole earth, Psalm xlviii. 9. But wherefore is the Shulamite called upon to return, to be looked upon, and with such earnestness, as to cause the request to be so often repeated? The answer is very plain. If it be the inquiry immediately on a soul's conversion, the change from death to life, from sin to salvation, is so great, that every one may be supposed anxious to behold. If it be the return of the poor believer, after a state of backsliding, the blushing face of a poor soul might also be well considered as a grateful sight to all that love to behold the blessed fruits of the Holy Ghost. And if it be in the after-stages of a life of grace, when a believer, from long knowing Jesus, and long living upon him, is become most beautiful and comely in his profession, no object upon earth can be an equal object of delight, or more worthy universal attention. So that in either sense, the earnest and repeated call for her return, to be looked upon, may be well accounted for. And the church's answer is equally engaging. What would you see in me? As if she bad said," In my best and highest attainment, I am but a poor creature in myself. All my beauty is derived from Jesus. I am indeed comely in him; and he is my glory, and the lifter-up of my head. But in myself I am no other but as one contending with two armies. I feel corruption rising continually against grace; and" when I would do good, evil is present with me."' My soul! is not this thy very state? Art thou not perpetually exercised in this struggle? Precious Lord Jesus! let this view of thy church comfort me in a consciousness of a family likeness. And Oh, Lord! while I thus groan under the remains of indwelling corruption, give me to see that they are but remains. Jesus will at length, and by little and little, drive these Canaanites out of the land.

From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.


Robert Hawker



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