Awake, O north wind
These words, according to some F12, are the words of the church continued, praying for the spirit; to which sense the order and connection of the words seem to incline; though the language suits best with Christ, who has the command of the winds, and a right and property in the garden, the church: nor does it seem so agreeable, that the church should petition Christ to let loose the north wind upon her, if by that are meant afflictive dispensations of Providence; but agrees well enough with Christ, since these come not without his will and order, and by him made to work together for good; by which he nips the corruptions of his people, tries their graces, and causes them to come forth into exercise: though some F13 think this is a command to the north wind to remove, and be gone, and blow no longer, since it was spring, ( Song of Solomon 2:11 ) ; and would be harmful to the plants in the garden; and the verb "blow" is singular, and only in construction with the south wind; and, besides, winds diametrically opposite F14 cannot blow together in the same horizon, with a continued blast: though others F15 are of opinion, that both winds are designed, being both useful to gardens; the one to scatter the clouds, and make the air clear and wholesome, and restrain the luxuriance of the plants; and the other, being moist and warming, of use to bring plants and fruits to maturity; and both may design the Spirit of God, in his different operations and effects, through the law and the terrors of it, and by the Gospel and its comforting doctrines; and come, thou south, blow upon my garden;
the church, Christ's property, as she asserts in the latter part of the verse: the Spirit of God is intended by the "south", or south wind; who is compared to the "wind", because it blows like that, freely, and as he pleases, when, where, and on whom, and imperceptibly, powerfully, and irresistibly, ( John 3:8 ) ; and to the "south wind", because it is a warm wind, brings serenity, and makes fruitful with showers of rain: so the Spirit of God warms the cold heart of a sinner; thaws his frozen soul, and comforts with the discoveries of divine love; brings quietness and peace into the conscience; and makes fruitful in grace and good works, by causing the rain of Gospel doctrines to descend and distil upon men. The end to be answered is, [that] the spices thereof may flow out;
the spices in the garden, the odoriferous plants, might emit a fragrant smell; though Virgil F16 represents the south wind as harmful to flowers; so it might be in Italy, where it dried them up, as Servius on the place observes; and yet be useful to them in Palestine, where it blew from the sea, and is sometimes so called, ( Psalms 107:3 ) . Spices denote the graces of believers, rare, precious, and odorous; and their "flowing out" the exercise of them, their evidence, increase, and the ripening of them; when they diffuse a sweet odour to Christ and others, and make it delightful to walk in his garden; as it is to walk in one after a delightful shower of rain, and when the wind gently blows upon it. And hence what is prayed for being granted, the church speaks again, and invites Christ, saying; let my beloved come into his garden;
which "coming" is to be understood, not of Christ's first, nor of his second coming; but of his spiritual coming, to visit his people, grant his presence, and manifest his love; which is very desirable by them; and, when granted, is reckoned a great favour, and is an instance of the condescending grace of Christ, ( John 14:22 ) ; the church is "his garden" by his own choice, his Father's gift, the purchase of his blood, and the power of his grace: and here he is invited to come, and eat his pleasant fruits;
meaning either the graces of the Spirit, which are his fruits; and called Christ's, because they come from him, and are exercised on him, and he is the author and finisher of them: or the good works of believers, which are performed by virtue of union to him, and abiding in him; are done in his strength, and designed for his glory: and both are "pleasant", that is, well pleasing and acceptable to him; the graces of the Spirit, when in exercise, as appears from ( Song of Solomon 4:9 Song of Solomon 4:10 ) ; and good works, when done in faith, from a principle of love, and to his glory: and he may be said to eat them when he expresses his well pleasedness with them, and acceptation of them.
F12 So Cocceius, Marckius, Michaelis.
F13 Foliot, Sanctius, & Tig. Not. in loc. So Ambrose is Psal. i. 5. p. 686.
F14 Aristot. Meteorolog. l. 2. c. 6.
F15 Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc.
F16 "Floribus austrum perditus", Bucolic. Eclog. 2. v. 58.