Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be you like a roe or a young hart on the mountains of Bether.
I. A SOUL ONCE TRULY MARRIED TO CHRIST, WILL FROM THENCEFORTH LOOK ON THE LIFETIME IN THIS WORLD AS A NIGHT-TIME, A SHADOWY ONE, AS INDEED IT IS.
II. TO THOSE THAT ARE TRULY MARRIED TO CHRIST, THE DAY WILL BREAK IN THE OTHER WORLD, AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY; AND THEY SHOULD LIVE IN THE COMFORTABLE EXPECTATION OF IT. Consider the day's breaking, and the shadows fleeing away thereupon. I am to speak of the day's breaking in the other world to those that are married to Christ. And here I shall show what a day will break to them there. A clear and bright day (Isaiah 60:1, 2). A fair day and calm. There are no storms nor tempests, no blustering winds nor rains in Immanuel's land (Revelation 21:4). A glad and joyful day (Psalm 126:5). An eternal day. Let us next see how this day will break there to those who are married to Christ. As coming near their night-journey's end, they enter the passage betwixt the two worlds, the darkness and shadowiness of the night will come to a pitch. For as the darkest hour ordinarily goes before daybreak, so is it here, the hour of death is so in a signal manner, "the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4). As soon as they are got over to the other side, immediately the day breaks, and it is fair daylight to them. I proceed to consider the shadows, upon this breaking of the day, fleeing away. What is that fleeing away of the shadows? The utter removal of everything interposing betwixt God and them, and intercepting the light of His countenance (Revelation 21:3). The removal of all dark, gloomy, and melancholy things out of their condition (Matthew 25:23). The removal of all imperfection of light, and whatsoever gives but a faint and shadowy representation of Christ and the glories of the other world (1 Corinthians 13:12; Revelation 22:4). What are the shadows that will flee away when that day breaks? The shadow of this world will then flee away (1 Corinthians 7:31). The shadow of sin (Hebrews 12:23). The shadow of temptations (Romans 16:20). The shadow of outward troubles will flee away, of troubles on your bodies, relations, names, affairs, etc. (Job 3:17). The shadow of inward spiritual troubles, through desertions, and hidings of the Lord's face. The shadow of ordinances will flee away (Revelation 21:23). The shadow of all manner of imperfections (1 Corinthians 13:12). I shall now confirm this point, That the day will break, and the shadows flee away, as to those who are married to Christ. It was so with their Head and Husband, and the procedure with them must be conformable to that with Him (Hebrews 12:2). The nature of God's work of grace in them; it cannot be left unperfected (Psalm 138.). The bounty and goodness of God to His people. God is essentially good, and He is good to them in Christ His Son. It is inconsistent with the goodness of His nature to keep them always in the darkness of the night, and horror of shadows. The nature of the covenant, which is everlasting, and cannot be broken. Consider believers living in the comfortable expectation of the day's breaking to them in the other world and the shadows fleeing away. It implies these following things:(1) Their looking on themselves as travellers only through this world, who are not to stay in it (Hebrews 11:13).
(2) Their laying their account with the continuance of the night and gloomy shades, while they are here.
(3) A contentedness to leave this world, and go to the other (Luke 2:29).
(4) A faith of the day, the clear and bright day that is in the other world (Hebrews 9:13).
(5) A desire to be there in the other world, where the day break, s and the shadows flee away (Philippians 1:23).
(6) A hope and expectation of the day s breaking to them there, and the shadows fleeing away (Romans 8:23, 24).
(7) A comforting themselves in this world with the prospect of the other world (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).
III. IT WILL BE THE GREAT CONCERN OF THOSE MARRIED TO CHRIST DURING THEIR NIGHT-JOURNEY IN THIS WORLD, THAT HE MAY TURN AND COME TO THEM, TILL THE DAY BREAKING AND THE SHADOWS FLEEING AWAY, THEY GET TO HIM IN THE OTHER WORLD.
1. I am to show what is Christ's turning and coming to those married to Him, that will be their great concern to have.
(1) His affording them His presence. That will be their great concern to enjoy during their night-journey; that if they must have a dark and shadowy night-journey of it through the world, He would not leave them, but be with them in it (Exodus 33:15).
(a) His seen or sensible presence with them, of the want of which Job complains (Job 23:8, 9), and in the enjoyment of which the Psalmist triumphs (Psalm 23:4).
(b) His operative or efficacious presence in them (Philippians 3:8, 10).
(2) His affording them His countenance, the shining of His face, and the manifestation of His favour (Psalm 6:6).
2. The import of this concern of those married to Christ, that He may turn and come to them, till the day's breaking and the shadows' fleeing away, they get to Him in the other world.
(1) That during the night-journey in this world, Christ sometimes turns away and withdraws from His people; so that seeking Him they cannot find Him (Song of Solomon 3:1).
(2) The travellers to Zion, when Christ is away, though it be night, they readily miss Him (Song of Solomon 3:3).
(3) A holy dissatisfaction with all things while He is away.
(4) A holy resolution to give Him a welcome reception, if He will turn and come again; then the doors should be cast wide open to receive Him (Song of Solomon 8:1, 2).
(5) Earnest outgoings of the heart after Him in desires for His return (Isaiah 69:1).
(6) A holy restlessness in the soul, till He turn and come again (Song of Solomon 3:1).
3. The reasons of this concern in those married to Christ, that He may turn and come to them.
(1) Their superlative love to Christ (Song of Solomon 1:3, 4).
(2) Their comfort in their night-journey depends on it; without it they must go drooping, for nothing will make up the want thereof.
(3) Their experience of the desirableness of His presence and countenance in their night-journey (Psalm 63:1-3).
(4) Their felt need of it; they know not how they will ever make out the night-journey without it (Exodus 33:15).
(a) The sense of their liableness to mistake their way, that they need Him for their direction and guidance (Jeremiah 10:23).
(b) The sense of their weakness for the journey, that they need to go leaning on Him, as a weak woman on her husband (Song of Solomon 8:5).
(c) The sense of the great opposition and difficulty to be met with in the way (Ephesians 6:12, 13).
4. We shall now confirm this point, That it will be the great concern of those married to Christ, during their night-journey in this world, that He may turn and come to them till the day breaking and the shadows fleeing away, they get to Him in the other world.
(1) Christ their Lord and Husband has got their heart above all other, and it rests in Him.
(2) They are partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), partakers of Christ, of His Spirit, His grace, His image; and like draws to like; the carnal worldling to the world, and the Christian to Christ.
(3) All believers may be observed to be great miscounters of time, when Christ is turned away from them in their night-journey (Isaiah 54:7).
(4) When they are themselves, they are resolute for His presence and countenance (Ephesians 6:15.)
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.