Verse 10. Hearken, O daughter, and consider. Ever is this the great duty of the church. Faith cometh by hearing, and confirmation by consideration. No precept can be more worthy of the attention of those who are honoured to be espoused to Christ that that which follows. And incline thine ear. Lean forward so that no syllable may be unheard. The whole faculties of the mind should be bent upon receiving holy teaching. Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. To renounce the world is not easy, but it must be done by all who are affianced to the Great King, for a divided heart he cannot endure; it would be misery to the beloved one as well as dishonour to her Lord. Evil acquaintances, and even those who are but neutral, must be forsaken, they can confer no benefits, they must inflict injury. The house of our nativity is the house of sin -- we were shapen in iniquity; the carnal mind is enmity against God, we must come forth of the house of fallen nature, for it is built in the City of Destruction. Not that natural ties are broken by grace, but ties of the sinful nature, bonds of graceless affinity. We have much to forget as well as to learn, and the unlearning is so difficult that only diligent hearing, and considering, and bending of the whole soul to it, can accomplish the work; and even these would be too feeble did not divine grace assist. Yet why should we remember the Egypt from which we cam out? Are the leeks and the garlic, and the onions anything, when the iron bondage, and the slavish tasks, and the death dealing Pharaoh of hell are remembered? We part with folly for wisdom; with bubbles for eternal joys; with deceit for truth; with misery for bliss; with idols for the living God. O that Christians were more mindful of the divine precept here recorded; but, alas! worldliness abounds; the church is defiled; and the glory of the Great King is veiled. Only when the whole church leads the separated life will the full splendour and power of Christianity shine forth upon the world.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. Three alls I expect you to part with, saith Christ.
- All your sinful lusts, all the ways of the old Adam, our Father's house. Ever since Adam's apostasy, God and man have parted houses. Ever since, our Father's house is a house of ill manners, a house of sin and wickedness.
- All your worldly advantages. "If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." He that hath all these must be ready to part with all; they are joined not disjunctively but copulatively.
- All self, self will, self righteousness, self sufficiencies, self confidence, and self seekings. Lewis Stuckley.
Verse 10. Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. If you see a bee leave a fair flower and stick upon another, you may conclude that she finds most honey dew in that flower she most sticks upon: so here God's people would never leave so many fair flowers in the world's garden, had they not some other in which they find most sweetness. Christ hath his garden, into which he brings his beloved, and there she finds other manner of flowers than any the world hath, in which there is sweetness of a higher nature, even the honey dew of the choice mercy and goodness and blessing of God himself: if God's people do leave the full breasts of the world, it is because they have found the breasts of consolation from which they have sucked other manner of sweetness than the breast of the world can afford. Jeremiah Burroughs, in "Moses, his self denial." 1649.
Verse 10. Forget. If thou be on the mountain, have no love to look back to Sodom. If thou be in the ark, fly not back to the world, as the raven did. If thou be set on Canaan, forget the flesh pots of Egypt. If marching against Midian, forget stooping to the waters of Harod. Judges 7:1-25 . If on the house top, forget that is below thee. Mark 13:15 . If thy hand be put to the plough, forget that is behind thee. Luke 9:62 . Themistocles desired rather to learn the art of forgetfulness than of memory. Philosophy is an art of remembering, divinity includes in it an art of forgetting. The first lesson that Socrates taught his scholars was, Remember; for he thought that knowledge was nothing else but a calling to remembrance of those things the mind knew ere it knew the body. But the first lesson that Christ teacheth his scholars is, Forget: Forget thine own people; "Repent" Matthew 4:17 ; first, "eschew evil," 1 Peter 3:11 . Thomas Adams.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The connections of the Bridegroom are to be remembered, those of the Bride to be forgotten.
Verse 10. "Christ the best husband: or, an earnest invitation to young women to come and see Christ." George Whitefield's "Sermon, Preached to a Society of Young Women, in Fetter Lane."