"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes."Song ii. 15.
My soul, mark the sweetness and tenderness of this precept. Foxes no doubt resemble, in this scripture, the subtle, less open, less discovered sins and corruptions which lurk in us, like these cunning creatures, under a covering, and perhaps sometimes under a fair covering. Moreover, they may mean also false but fair teachers. "Oh Israel," said the Lord, "thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts;" crafty, designing, malignant, and filthy. And in proportion as they put on a more fair and specious appearance, the more are they to be dreaded. Satan never more artfully, nor perhaps more effectually deceives, than when he is transformed into an angel of light. Moreover, the precept is enforced by that important consideration, that vines, by which no doubt are meant believers, have tender grapes. What more tender than a weak conscience? And what more liable to be wounded than the tender principles of young beginners in a life of grace? My soul, look up to Jesus, the Lord of the vineyard, for grace to be on the look out against these destructive enemies to thy welfare. And, conscious that all thy vigilance, without his watchful eye over thee, would never protect thee from foes so shrewd and artful, beg of Jesus himself to take these foxes for thee, and destroy them before thine eyes. Lord, I would say, keep me from every enemy which doth evil in thy sanctuary, and preserve alive, in flourishing circumstances, all those tender graces of thy Spirit bestowed upon me, that I may bring forth fruit to the praise of thy holy name, and may flourish and spread abroad as the cedar in Lebanon."From THE POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.