And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.…
I. IT IMPELS TO ALL EARTHLY AND MORAL PROGRESS. Arts, sciences, literature, commerce, civilization, are obviously the results of that dissatisfaction with things present and possessed, which urges the soul abroad to discover new fields of thought, new prizes of ambition. We call it disappointment; but it is only the loosing of the dry husk from the swelling germ of life; only the fading of the flower-leaf around the forming fruit-bud; only the breaking of the shell from the stir of glorious wings. Without it man might be sportive as the lamb amid the green fields of earth, but could not soar as the eagle through the firmament of heaven; and therefore everything elevating society above the lowest level of unaspiring savage life — these great cities on the land, those rich argosies on the sea, these homes of peace, these treasures of plenty, these libraries of literature, these galleries of art are all, all only the blossoms and fruit of the bitter root of discontent, the achievements of the restless soul going forth to the battle and keeping step to the music of this plaintive psalm of life, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
II. AN INTIMATION, AN INCITANT IN REGARD OF THE IMMORTAL. The beauties and glories for which man strives in the race and battle are delusions. The glittering rainbow which, to a child, seems a very out-cropping along a black mountain side of metalliferous veins of treasure, is at best but the false show of cold vapour exhaled from some stagnant marsh, and he reaches at it only to grasp chilling and mocking rain-drops. And thus is it with all the fair, bright objects of earth's love and labour. They do not only disappoint, they deceive us. Visions of ravishing beauty rise before our affections, and the heart presses on to them, and bows to them in adoration, delighting to break alabaster vases and scatter costliest incense; but presently all their charm, and beauty, and glory fade away, and we find that our lot on earth is ever "only to make idols and to find them clay." And thus every way and in every condition deceived, our outcry is in bitter anguish, "Alas! poor, beguiled, cheated child of immortality, all your earthly flowers fade, all your heavenly rainbows vanish away." And yet in all this, I say, we may see, if we will, a Divine meaning of love unto immortals. This very deception of our senses, our reason, our affections is a beneficent part of our discipline in their development for the higher life.
(C. Wadsworth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.