The Invitation to the Beloved
by James Smith, 1860
The Lord Jesus is the object of the heart's love of every believer. None can, for one moment, compare with him. He is the chief among ten thousand. He is the altogether lovely one. Everything in Christ is precious, and everything connected with Christ is esteemed. His name is as ointment poured forth, and his presence is felt to be a real Heaven. We could go anywhere with Christ. We could do anything for Christ. We feel an interest in all that belongs to Christ. These thoughts have been awakened by the language of the song, "I am my Beloved's, and his desire is toward me. Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourishes, whether the tender grapes appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give you my love!" Song of Songs 7:10-12
"Come, my Beloved." The first word is taken out of
Christ's mouth. He always invites first. Invited by him — we come to him;
coming to him — we are saved by him; being saved by him — we realize union
to him, and communion with him; and realizing union and communion — we long
and seek to be always with him — desiring and seeking to be always with him.
As we cannot go to him as yet, we invite him to come and dwell with us:
"Come, my Beloved." Jesus has won the heart. He has gained the soul.
There is, therefore none like him. He is . . .
the beloved One,
the object of desire,
the source of joy, and
the center of the affections.
"Let us go forth into the field." The field is the world. It is a field that needs cultivating. There is much work to be done there. The Beloved claims it — but an enemy has seized it. It has run waste. The desire is to recover, reclaim, and make it fit for the Lord. She was willing to work — but wanted her Savior's company and sanction. She would labor — but desires to be a laborer together with God.
"Let us lodge in the villages." The parts adjacent. Let us begin home missionary work first. Let us preach the gospel to the poor. Let us seek to win the illiterate, the neglected, the despised. Let us seek the simple ones. Let us lodge with them for a time, not merely pay a hasty visit, that we may save the more.
"Let us get up early into the vineyards." The little churches. Little separated, cultivated, fruitful spots. The representatives of the one vineyard of red wine, where grow the Lord's pleasant plants, where the great gardener loves to work, and walk.
"Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field," where there is so much to be done.
"Let us lodge in the villages," among the poor who have been so long neglected.
"Let us get up early into the vineyards," the
little spots enclosed by grace, and planted with the plants of the Lord's
right hand planting.
"Let us see if the vines flourish." Let us see if sinners are converted, if believers are added to the church, if the saints grow in grace. God's plants have life. They are planted in a good soil. They are expected to grow. Not merely to grow — but to flourish, to look healthy, become vigorous and strong; be ornamental and fruitful.
"Let us see if the tender grapes appear." Let us look for the blossoms of hope, the fruits of faith and love. Let us see if there are indications of the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, and faith. Or the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and to the glory of God.
"Let us see if the pomegranates bud forth."
Let us see if those who have gifts, use them for the good of the
church. Let us see if ministers preach Christ, set forth the great
atonement, and keep the nourishment of the church before her. Let us see if
the church is healthy and orderly, if believers are fruitful and
happy, if ministers are holy and useful. Let us see by personal inspection,
by active examination.
"There I will give you my love." There I will afresh
. . .
surrender my heart to you,
fix my affections upon you, and
give utterance to my feelings before you.
There will I sing you songs of love, the praises of the heart.
There will I offer up prayers that will please and gratify you.
There will I exercise loving confidence in you.
There will I show loving zeal for your glory and obedience to your will. I will profess my love to you in the field, the world, before those who neglect or hate you.
I will confess my love to you in the villages, among the rustics who listen to the word.
I will prove my love to you in the vineyards, by my attention to, and concern for your pleasant plants.
My whole heart and soul shall be set upon you, every gift and grace shall be employed for you, and my entire person shall be devoted to you.
"There I will give you my love." There shall be no more reason to doubt my sincerity, or the whole-heartedness of my affection and attachment; for I will be for you, for you entirely, for you only, for you eternally — and you shall be for me.
Friend, if we are inviting Jesus to out heart, or our
home, or to go forth with us to labor in his cause — it is the effect
of his having invited us . . .
to his feet, to find rest;
to his cross, to enjoy pardon; and
to his throne to obtain grace.
Our religion begins with Christ. It always begins with him. He is always first. "We love him — because he first loved us."
Real religion is never selfish. As soon as we are blessed ourselves, we desire to bless others. If we enjoy the love of Jesus — we want all to enjoy it. We would have the whole field cultivated, or the whole world know and love Jesus. We would have the villages made happy and holy — we would have the churches all prosperous and faithful. Just in proportion as we are sanctified — we become unselfish.
Young Christians always evince much zeal. They are often deficient in knowledge — they must be; but they will be zealous. Nor should we endeavor to check their zeal — but only to regulate it. God approves of their zeal, and therefore they are generally very useful. Jesus approves of their zeal, and accompanies them in their work, and therefore they are very happy.
Jesus deserves our love, and the confession of it. We
should love him . . . .
for his glorious nature,
for his sublime perfections,
for his perfect character.
But if we cannot rise as high as this — then we should
love him . . .
for what he has done for us,
for what he has procured for us,
and for what he has promised us.
We should love him — for his love to us.
Nor should we fear to confess our love to him. But, before his friends and his foes, we should acknowledge that he is the highest object of our love. What a blessed assurance Paul gives us, "If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead — you shall be saved: for with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." What a precious promise himself makes us, "Whoever, therefore, shall confess me before men — him will I confess before my Father who is in Heaven." But what a fearful threatening follows, "But whoever shall deny me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in Heaven!"
Reader, do you love Jesus? Is he your Beloved? Have you
ever had him revealed in you, and so endeared to you? Do you
know . . .
the sweetness of his presence,
the power of his grace, and
the glory of his salvation?
Do you daily invite him to accompany you into the world — to preserve, protect, and assist you; and into the church — to comfort, crown, and bless you?