Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.Spiritual Transports
Song of Solomon 6:12
What is the meaning of 'the chariots of Amminadib'? It may perhaps be best regarded as a proverbial expression by which swift and splendid chariots are described. The rendering of the Revised Version doubtless gives us the substantial idea of the comparison: 'Or ever I was aware, my soul set me among the chariots of my princely people'. Whatever the immediate reference may be, it is a remarkable description of the mystical experiences of a soul.
I. The Christian Believer has Transports.—The religion of the Bible is a religion of transports. All deep and spiritual religion is emotional. Beware of a piety so severely 'practical' that it has no experience of the transport comparable to 'the chariots of Amminadib'. A Christianity that does not transport the soul is certainly not ancient Christianity. A faith which never flashes into ecstasy is surely not the faith of the Scriptures.
II. The Christian's Transports are Spiritual.—'My soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.' It is the soul that was thrilled. The natural man cannot understand the spiritual; it is still 'foolishness' to him. But 'he that is spiritual judgeth all things,' and he knows how truly spiritual his rapturous experiences are. He can differentiate between the emotionalism of the flesh and of the soul. And these transports make the soul for the time being dominant.
III. Spiritual Transports are often Sudden.—'Or ever I was aware.' Before I had realized, I was borne as on Amminadib's chariots. This is, indeed, a parable of what often happens in the life mystical. How sudden our transports are wont to be! God delights to surprise His children.
IV. Spiritual Transports are very Glorious.—They are likened to 'the chariots of my princely people'—splendid, exhilarating, every way delightsome. Unutterableness and transcendency are ever notes of Christian experiences.
V. Spiritual Transports Assume Many Forms.—How many chariots were there? No one knows. The chariots, doubtless, were very varied. Verily there is no monotony in the soul's transports.
Sometimes we have had a transport in Bible reading. Often a transport of prayer delights the believing suppliant There are transports of meditation. And are there not transports of reading? So it is at times in public worship.
VI. Spiritual Transports Demand a Preparative State.—'I went down into the garden' and there 'or ever I was aware, my soul set me among the chariots of my princely people'. 'The garden' is often the sphere of and the preparation for the transport It is the quietude, the meditative, the seclusive, that is the essential preparative for transportive spiritual experiences.
VII. Spiritual Transports should be Testified to.—The singer in this drama recounts to all generations this great experience. It is true modesty, if you have had great transports of soul, to glorify God by recording those experiences. Your testimony will have evidential worth. It may be an apologetic.
Conversion may be a sudden transport. What men call death is a transport to the Christian.
—Dinsdale T. Young, Unfamiliar Texts, p. 54.
References.—VI. 12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No. 1155. S. Baring-Gould, Sermon Sketches, p. 51. VI. 13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No. 593; vol. xxx. No. 1794. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii. p. 256.
My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.
Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.
As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.
There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.
Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
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.