Who are these that fly as a cloud
Referring to the vast number of converts before mentioned, who are compared to a "cloud" for the number of them, covering Judea as the clouds do the heavens; and for their elevation and situation, being raised from an earthly to a heavenly state; called with a high calling, and made partakers of an heavenly one; and for their being filled with the grace of God, as clouds with water; and for their unanimity, their coming together in a body, making as it were one cloud, and that openly and publicly, professing Christ, and joining themselves to his church, in the face of the world; and so the Targum,
``who are these that come publicly as the swift clouds?''
and chiefly are they compared to a cloud for their swiftness in motion to Christ and his church; sinners; sensible of danger from the avenging justice of God, from his law, and from his wrath and displeasure, and eternal death, and being apprized of salvation and safety in Christ, make haste and flee to him as swiftly as a cloud driven by the winds; and as the doves to their windows
or "dove houses", or "lockers and holes" F3
; through which they enter, and to which they bend their course with great swiftness, when pursued by birds of prey, or through an eager desire after their young: converted persons may be compared to doves for their being a clean and cleanly creature; for their being amiable and lovely, chaste and loving; harmless and inoffensive, meek and humble, weak and timorous; mournful and disconsolate when they have lost their mate; and what dove houses are to these, Christ and his church are to converted persons, whither they flee for rest and shelter, and where they have both: the ordinances of Christ may be particularly meant by these holes or windows that doves make unto; by which, especially baptism, they enter into the church, and by means of which light is let into them, and through which Christ shows himself to them, ( Song of Solomon 2:9
) , what engages them to flee hither is their love to Christ, in order to have communion with him, and food for their faith; and when he causes them to come, or draws them by his grace, nothing can hinder; not the reproaches of the world, nor the temptations of Satan; nor objections from their own unworthiness. These words are said by the church, by way of admiration wondering at their numbers and swiftness in coming to her; see ( Isaiah 49:21
) . The Targum is
``the, captivity of Israel, who are gathered together, and come to their own land, as doves that return to their dove houses.''
F3 (Mhytwbra la) "ad columbaria sua", Montanus, Vitringa; "in suis forulis", Castalio Gataker.