As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.—Song 2:3.
My soul! if the Church found so much blessedness in making comparisons between her Lord and any of the beautiful objects of nature around her, see if thou canst raise a subject for thy meditation, this evening, from the statement she hath made in this lovely verse. Why should not Jesus be in thy view as in hers? Doth he not infinitely transcend all sons, of whatever descriptions or character, that can be found? Angels, no doubt, by creation may be called “the sons of God;” and when God had finished the works of his hands, we are told that “the morning-stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” But Jesus as far excels all angels of light as the apple-tree the trees of the wood: for “he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Neither did God at any time say unto the angels, “Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” But to our Jesus he said, “Thy throne, O God! is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” And to show at once the infinite superiority of the Lord Jesus, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, “And let all the angels of God worship him.” Therefore if by sons it could be supposed that angels are meant, well might the Church declare Jesus her beloved to be above them. And if by sons the sons of men be meant, what is the whole Church of saints compared to Jesus? Though the Church, by the comeliness her Lord hath put upon her, shines like a beautiful constellation among the heavenly bodies, yet all her glory and lustre is derived from Jesus, the Sun of righteousness. Pause, my soul, over this view of thy Lord. And when thou hast feasted thyself with the sweet subject, go on, and mark some of the many beauties contained in this comparison between the apple-tree and the trees of the wood. In our cold country, the apple-tree, in its best appearance, affords but a poor resemblance to what naturalists relate of the pome-citron, as it is called, of the warm Eastern climates. It is said of the apple-tree of those countries, that it is a lofty, majestic, stately tree, abundantly fruitful, and yielding both shade and fruit to the traveller. Some assert that it continues bearing fruit the whole year, and is never without blossom. If so, without going farther, we may discover enough to understand the beautiful allusion the Church hath made of it, in this verse, to her Lord. Jesus is all this, and infinitely more. He is indeed the Tree of Life, in the midst of the Paradise of God. And he bears fruit every month, and the leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations. Precious Jesus! thou art the fairest and the chiefest among ten thousand! Be thou to me, Lord, as the fruitful bough which the dying patriarch blessed by the well, whose branches ran over the wall. And, oh! do thou give strength to my poor, feeble faith, to gather all the rich fruits of thy righteousness for the healing of my soul, that I may daily sit down under thy shadow with great delight, and thy fruit be sweet to my taste!