Sermon 1943. Love Joying In Love
A SHORT ADDRESS TO A FEW FRIENDS AT MENTONE,
AT THE BREAKING OF BREAD,
ON LORD'S-DAY AFTERNOON, JANUARY 9, 1887, BY C. H. SPURGEON.
"I am come into My garden, My Sister, My Spouse: I have gathered My myrrh with My spice; Ihave eaten Myhoneycomb with Myhoney;Ihave drunk My wine with My milk: eat, O friends; drink, yes, drink abundantly, O Beloved." Song of Solomon 5:1.
No sooner does the spouse say, "Let my Beloved come into His garden," than her Lord answers, "I am come into My garden." "Beforethey call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." When we desire our Lord Jesus to come to us, He hasalready come, in a measure-our desire is the result of His coming! He meets us in all our desires, for He waits to be gracious.Our, "Come," is no sooner uttered than it is lost in His, "Behold, I come quickly!"
When we perceive that the Bridegroom has come, we perceive, also, that He has done exactly what He was asked to do. How cheeringto find that our mind is in harmony with His mind! Our heart says, "Let my Beloved come into His garden and eat His pleasantfruits." His heart replies, "I have gathered My myrrh with My spice; I have eaten My honeycomb with My honey; I have drunkMy wine with My milk." "Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart." The Lord Jesusmakes the desires of His saints to be the foreshadowing of His own actions-"The secret of the Lord is with them that fearHim." His secret counsel is made known in the believing soul by desires inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Note well that the Bridegroom kindly takes to Himself as His own all that is in the garden. His spouse spoke of, "His pleasantfruits," and He acknowledges the least and most homely of them to be His own. He repeats the possessive particle-"My." "Mymyrrh, My spice, My honeycomb, My honey, My wine, My milk." He disdains nothing which the garden of His bride produces. Heis fond of the notion of joint-heirship, even as in another place He said, "My Father, and your Father, My God, and your God."Let us also value the personal possessive pronouns-the sweetness of the promises lies in them. These are our arms with whichwe embrace the promises.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, is it not charming to see our Lord appropriating us-all that we are, all thatwe have, all that grows within us-and all the varied forms of His Grace which are the outcome of His own work within our hearts?Within us, certain things are bitter, but wholesome-and He says, "My myrrh." Some things are sweet, though homely-and He says,"My honey." Some things are of a rarer sort and He says, "My spice"-while others are commonplace enough-and He says, "My milk."Our Lord takes no exception to any one of the true growths of the garden, whether it is myrrh or milk. And He asks for nothingmore than the garden may be expected to yield. He is content without the butter of cows, or flesh of fed beasts-satisfyingHimself with honey fresh from the hive.
I note, with much delight, that matters which seem inconsistent with perfection are not refused by the heavenly Bridegroom.As the Lord did not refuse for an offering the leavened cakes of the first fruits, so in this instance He says, "I have eatenMy honeycomb with My honey." The honey would be purer without the comb, but as it is incident thereto, He takes the one withthe other. He graciously accepts not only our heart's desire, but the very mode in which our weakness works towards that desire!It is as if He delighted in the words of our prayers as well as in the essence of our prayers and prized the notes of oursongs as well as the meaning of them. Yes, I believe our Lord puts our tears as well as our sorrows into His bottle and hearsour groans as well as our desires! The honeycomb which contains the honey is precious to Him! After He had risen from thegrave, He ate a piece of a honeycomb and I doubt not that He had a reason for choosing that
food-sweet gathered from sweets, yet not without wax. Our Lord accepts our services without nicely noting and critically rejectingthe infirmity which goes with them.
I note, also, that He, Himself, gathers what He enjoys-"I have gathered My myrrh with My spice." Many a holy thing which wehave not in detail offered to Him in set form, He knows to have been given in the gross and so He takes with His own handswhat He knows we have, by a comprehensive covenant, made over to Him. How sweetly does He fill up our blanks and believe inour consecration, even when we do not repeat the form of it!
Moreover, He makes mixtures out of our fruits, for He gathers myrrh with balsam and drinks wine with milk, thus taking therarer with the more common. He knows how to make holy compounds out of the Graces of His people, thus increasing their excellence.He is the best judge of what is admirable and He is the best fashioner and mixer of character-He is using His skill upon us.Often by our mingled experiences He accomplishes an increase of virtue in us. Some Graces are the result of work and wisdom,as wine which must be trod from the grapes. Others are natural, like milk which flows from living fountains without art ofman. But the Lord accepts them both and so combines them that they are pleasant to Him to a high degree. Simple faith andexperimental prudence make up a sacred milk and wine-and the like may be seen in rapturous love and calm patience which blendmost deliciously! The Lord loves us and makes the most of us. He is pleased with all that is the true produce of His Graceand finds no faults with it-on the contrary, He says, "I have eaten My honeycomb with My honey."
Having made these observations upon the Lord's fulfilling the prayer of the spouse, I should like to deliver the followingremarks upon the text-
It is evident that the Lord Jesus is made happy by us. These poetical sentences must mean that He values the Graces and worksof His people. He gathers their myrrh and spice because He values them! He eats and drinks the honey and the milk becausethey are pleasant to Him. It is a wonderful thought that the Lord Jesus Christ has joy in us! We cost Him anguish, even untodeath, and now He finds a reward in us. This may seem a small thing to an unloving mind, but it may well ravish the heartwhich adores the Well-Beloved! Can it be true that we afford joy to the Son of God, the Prince Emmanuel? The King has beenheld in the galleries! He has been charmed by us! Our first repentance made Him call together His friends and His neighbors.The first gleam of faith He ever saw in us made His heart rejoice and all that He has seen in us ever since of His own image,worked by His Grace, has caused Him to see of the travail of His soul! Never has a farmer taken such pleasure in the growthof his choice plants as our Lord has taken in us! "The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear Him; in those that hope in Hismercy." That is a thought to be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel! Yes, the Lord's Church is His Hephzibah, for, Hesays, "My delight is in her."
The second thought is that the Lord Jesus will not and cannot be happy by Himself-He will have us share with Him. Note howthe words run-"I have eaten." "Eat, O friends!" "I have drunk." "Drink, yes, drink abundantly, O Beloved." His union withHis people is so close that His joy is in them, that their joy may be full. He cannot be alone in His joy! That verse of ourquaint hymn is always true-
"And this I do find, we two are so joined, He'll not be in Glory and leave me behind." He will not be happy anywhere withoutus. He will not eat without our eating and He will not drink without our drinking. Does He not say this in other words inthe Revelation-"If any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and He with me"?The inter-communion is complete-the enjoyment is for both. To make our Lord Jesus happy, we must also be happy. How can theBridegroom rejoice if His bride is sad? How can the Head be content if the members pine? At this table of fellowship, Hischief concern is that we eat and drink. "Take, eat," He says. And again, "Drink you, all of it." I think I hear Him now say-"Ihave eaten and I have drunk. And although I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it newin the Kingdom of God; yet eat you, O friends: drink, yes, drink abundantly, O Beloved!" Thus we have seen, first, that Christis made happy by us and, secondly, that He insists upon our sharing His joy with Him.
If we have already enjoyed happy fellowship with Him, the Lord Jesus calls upon us to be still more happy. Though we may saythat we have eaten, He will again say, "Eat, O friends!" He presses you to renew, repeat and increase your participation withHim. It is true we have drunk out of the chalice of His love, but He again invites us, saying, "Drink, yes, drink abundantly,O Beloved!" Of other wines it would be bad to say, "Drink abundantly," but of this wine the Lord
says, with an emphasis, "Drink abundantly, O Beloved!" Oh, for Grace to renew all former enjoyments with greater zest anddeeper intensity! It has been sweet even to taste and sip-what must it be to eat and drink abundantly?
Must it not mean that though we know the Lord Jesus, we should try to know more of Him, yes, to know all that can be knownof that love which passes knowledge? Should we not labor to realize more of HIM, taking in the whole Truth of God concerningHis Person and love by meditation, contemplation, understanding and reverent simplicity? Let nothing lie by-let us eat anddrink all the stores of the banquet of love!
As the mouth with which we eat is faith, does not the Savior seem to cry, "Believe on Me. Trust Me. Confide in Me abundantly"?Eat and drink with large appetite, by receiving into your heart's belief all that can be received. Oh, for Grace to appropriatea whole Christ and all the love, the Grace, the Glory that is laid up in Him!
Does it not also mean have greater enjoyment of Divine things? Partake of them without stint. Do not restrict yourself asthough you could go too far in feeding upon the Lord Jesus! Do not be afraid of being too happy in the Lord, or of being toosure of His salvation, or of having too much assurance, or too much devout emotion! Dread not the excitements which come fromfellowship with Christ! Do not believe that the love of Jesus can be too powerfully felt in the soul. Permit the full sweepand current of holy joy in the Lord to carry you away-it will be safe to yield to it. "Rejoice in the Lord always and again,I say, Rejoice."
Beloved, let us now take our fill of Christ. Since we believe, let us believe more unreservedly! If we enjoy, let us enjoymore thoroughly! If we have life, let us have it more abundantly. In this case we may eat and our soul shall live! We maydrink and not only forget our misery, but drink again and enter into bliss! Our Lord beckons us from the shore to the sea.He calls us from the lower seat to come up higher. He would have us more glad, stronger, fuller, holier! He presses the provisionsof His love upon us, like a host whose joy lies in seeing all his guests feasting. Do not hold back! Be not satisfied withlittle believing, scant enjoying and cool feeling-but let us enter fully into the joy of our Lord!
True, we are unworthy, but He invites us! We shall be wise to yield to His loving pressure. We may not have such another feast,just yet, and possibly we may have to go for 40 days into the wilderness on the strength of this meal. Therefore let us keepthe feast heartily! Our Lord, in His invitation, challenges our friendship and our love. He says-"Eat, O friends!" Prove yourselvesfriends by being free at His table. "Drink, yes, drink abundantly, O Beloved!" If this is His way of testing us, let us notbe slow in accepting it. Let us show our love by joying in Him as He joys in us! Amen.