BOWELS OPENED; OR, A DISCOVERY OF THE NEAR AND DEAR LOVE, UNION AND COMMUNION, BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE CHURCH THE SPOUSE, HER EARNEST DESIRE AFTER CHRIST, AND CONSEQUENTLY BETWEEN HIM AND EVERY BELIEVING SOUL BEING EXPOSITORY SERMONS ON SONG OF SONGS..Sibbes preached 20 sermons on The Song of Songs that tell of Christ and the church. Some might think this a bit strange, prefering the more popular Mark Driscoll angle that says its just about human relationships. It is that, but more too. Sibbes says: "Only our care must be not to look so much on the colours as the picture, and not so much on the picture as on the person itself represented; that we look not so much to the resemblance as to the person resembled."
"The Holy Spirit has chosen this way in this song, by elevating and raising our affections and love, to take it off from other things, that so it might run in its right channel."What is God seeking to do through this book:
"Let God's stooping to us occasion our rising up unto him... the communion betwixt Christ and his church, is set out in the familiar comparison of a marriage, that so we might the better see it in the glass of comparison, which we cannot so directly conceive of; as we may see the sun in water, whose beams we cannot so directly look upon... "This sermon turns to the call of the husband to the wind to blow on his garden:
Song 4:16 "'Awake, north wind'" - "Christ then answers those desires by commanding the winds to blow upon her"What does this mean for us?
1. 'The wind blows where it wants,' as it is John 3:8. So the Spirit of God blows freely, and opens the heart of some, and pours grace plentifully in them.What happens as Christ blows the Spirit upon his people. The Spirit stirs us above all to desire Christ - and the Song is a place where this happens:
2. ...the Spirit of God purges our hearts 'from dead works to serve the living God, making us partakers of the divine nature,' 2 Pet. 1:4.
3. ...the Spirit disperse such clouds as corruption and Satan rises up in the soul, that we may clearly see the face of God in Jesus Christ.
4. ...the Spirit of God allays the unnatural heats of the soul in fiery temptations, and brings it into a good temper.
5. ...the Spirit is of a searching nature, and discerns betwixt the joints and the marrow, betwixt the flesh and the Spirit, etc., searching those hidden corruptions that nature could never have found out.
6. ...the Spirit is a quickening and a cherishing Spirit, and makes the heart, which is as a barren wilderness, to be fruitful.
7. ...the Spirit in the word conveys the seeds of grace and comfort from one to another. It draws out what sweetness is in the spirits of men, and makes them fragrant and delightful to others.
"the Spirit first kindles a holy fire, and then increases the flame... We must first take in, and then send out; first be cisterns to contain, and then conduits to convey. The wind first blows, and then the spices of the church flow out. We are first sweet in ourselves, and then sweet to others... The Spirit in the spouse is always saying to Christ, 'Come.' The church never has enough of him... the church, after it is once blown upon, is not satisfied without a further presence. It is from the Spirit that we desire more of the Spirit, and from the presence of Christ that we desire a further presence and communion with him."