Your cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, your neck with chains of gold.
I. THE GRACES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE THAT ADORNING OF THE CHURCH WHICH IS VISIBLE TO ALL SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT. Faith itself is a very choice jewel, but we are to have rows of jewels — faith in exercise; faith, as a principle, honouring Christ; as a hand, laying hold of Christ; as an eye, beholding His beauty; as a warrior, conquering all that opposes Christ — faith victorious over the world — the grace of faith. The next jewel the apostle mentions is hope. We must take care we do not get it exchanged for a pebble, or some portion of mud, as formalists, and hypocrites, and profane persons do, hoping that they will be saved, hoping that God will forgive them, and that they will get to heaven and the like. Pass on to mark another brilliant jewel — love. Not only the love of God shed abroad in the heart, though that is very blessed, but love as a grace of the Holy Spirit. Then we go on to another jewel, a very lovely one, though frequently out of sight — humility. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble;" He giveth it first, and giveth grace to supply it. Another jewel in close connection with humility is meekness. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." He was meek and lowly of heart, and enjoins His disciples to imitate Him, that they may find rest to their souls. Another very brilliant jewel is zeal. I do not want the meekness and humility of the Christian to dwindle down into Laodicean carelessness — that would tarnish his jewels; but I want the zeal of the Lord of Hosts, which is said to have eaten up my glorious Master, to eat me up also. I want, as He was, to be clothed with zeal, as with a cloak. I will mention another jewel, making seven on this side of the face. It is a quiet jewel, but a very important one. I mean patience. "In patience possess ye your souls." "Let patience have her perfect work." I might lengthen this row of jewels, but I leave you to do it in your retirement, for I want to turn to the other cheek, and notice those jewels which are visible to the world. And when I have exhibited both cheeks to you, you may follow the advice of our Lord, "If thine enemy smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also. If they smite you on the cheek I have been naming, they will not hurt one of the jewels. Now let us look at the other. The first jewel I mention is decision. A very important one, for you must know that if you are like the Israelites, halting between two opinions, the world will laugh at you; if they find you one hour very devout in the house of God, or perhaps reading the Bible or some good book, or even holding conversation scripturally and profitably on spiritual things, and another at some silly amusement, some careless kill-time pursuit of the world, they will say your religion is all hypocrisy, and I should not wonder if they are very near the mark. Oh, for more decision! Then there is another jewel that the world will look at and admire — integrity. Oh, the disgracefulness of everything like duplicity among those who profess to belong to Christ! Oh, the dignity of a Christian being blessed with that integrity which says what it means, and means what it says — that will not, cannot, say and unsay, but is ever in the same mind as to the things which relate to God's glory, and to his own perseverance in the divine life! Mark, another prominent jewel before the world is self-denial, just the contrast of selfishness. Again, another of these visible jewels is fortitude, which bears up the soul with a holy confidence, and shows a firm front to every enemy, and causes the soul to put on the armour of God, and make its stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Circumspection must be reckoned among the jewels that are visible to the world. Hence it is written, "See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." And again, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without." But there are two more I must just mention. Devotion. The spirit of devotion is invisible to the world, but its manifestation will be seen. Just the contrast of that levity, and carelessness, and trifling that characterize so many professors. Then there is one jewel more I must name — joy "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing" This, of course, will include gratitude, which, also, is a grace; but I put them together, and just remark that we are exhorted to "rejoice in the Lord always."
II. THE BRIDE'S NECK AND ITS ORNAMENTS. The first question that arises is, What are we to understand by the neck of the Church? The neck is the part that unites the body and the head. Then it must be the covenant of grace that is the neck; the living union between Christ and His Church. It is the strength, the support, and the medium of communication. Now let us come to the ornaments. You are to recollect they are in the plural — chains. "Thy neck with chains of gold." The golden chain of doctrines. Observe, they are not detached links or rings, but they are closely linked together, and we cannot part with one link without breaking the chain. What shall I say about the chain of promises? If I take a short summary of it I would just say, that they are distinct, that they are not to be separated, and, as we before said, they are linked together. And hence we read that all the promises of God in Him (Christ) are yea, and in Him amen. Are they not well riveted? One more chain I must mention — the chain of privileges. The privilege of separation and distinction from the world — the privilege of high education, the Spirit of the Lord being the preceptor — the privilege of adoption, being at home at the Father's house — the privilege of feasting on a feast of fat things, provided and prepared by the Master of the feast, who is the Bridegroom — the privilege of attendants, servants such as you cannot find on earth. Moreover, the privilege of advocacy within the veil. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Here are chains of gold, beloved, chains to hang about the neck. I tell you of these, as of the jewels, that Jesus has put them on, and they are invaluable; though I know the carnal mind will prefer the tinsel, the toys, the gilded ornaments, the empty, light, worthless things, that look a little gaudy in external religion, rather than these gold chains.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.