048-04 Heavenly Mystery Of The Song Of Songs Part 4
The Goal Of Divine Love
Song 1:4
Charles D. Alexander
All By Grace
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Draw me, we will run after thee:
The king hath brought me into His chambers;
We will be glad and rejoice in thee.
We will remember thy love more than wine:
The upright love thee. (Chapter 1: verse 4)

We have seen in verse three of our study something of the beauty and meaning of that Name which is as ointment poured forth. When the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, the whole mystery of God began to be unfolded. What then began to be revealed became as ointment poured forth. The alabaster box must needs be shattered before the full glory of holy and divine love overflows to fill not only earth, but heaven itself, with the odour of the divine Name. Christ must be crucified, and His great life poured out in the ultimate sacrifice and dedication of love, ere Creation can fully know her God and Lord. Divine love is a love which begets love. Hence the Song proceeds to show the stirring of that answering love in the mystical Church in her cry, “Draw me, we will run after thee.”

The singular and the plural pronouns, “Me” and “We,” are to be noted, especially as they are repeated in the next clause, “The king has brought me into his chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee...” They indicate that which we must continue to show, that the Bride of the Song is the Church, not the individual soul, though we of course allow that the individual believer truly enters into the inheritance of the holy love of God, and in learning the secret of the mystery of Christ joins in the chorus of praise which ever ascends from the Church to Him who sits upon the Throne.

The entire ‘movement’ of the Godhead in creation is to love and be loved - to give Itself wholly in the act of redemption and to receive in return the fulness of devotion from the redeemed Church. Almost beyond thought is the aim of the holy God who will not reign alone, but who will and must have - a Bride. It is not enough to have a subject people to assemble before the throne and acknowledge the mysterious wisdom of Him who reigns over all. The King of all must have His people as His Bride, to become partner with Him in His throne, and with Him to reign evermore in perfect love. God and Man become one in Christ.

“Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on Him the seed of Abraham”.
(Hebrews 2:16)


But love in its very nature must be freely rendered - else it is not love, for love cannot be constrained. The entire message of the Song of Songs is to portray this. We find therefore in the Song the crisis of love. Love is put to the test. By no easy road is the goal realised. No doubt our theologians have done an essential work, but too often they have avoided, or have not even considered, the great question which lies behind Creation, and hence their theologies have savoured more of the academy than the marriage chamber. Love eternal…. love challenged and tried..... love suffering and dying and paying the incredible price of life itself, that it might fulfill itself in the purchase (by the very horrors of death) of that Bride without whose partnership there should be neither kingdom nor reign - this is Theology, and nothing else is Theology.

The failure of so many of our theologians to win for Christ the worship of the Church lies just there. Theology has no validity unless it stirs the soul and raises the praise and devotion of redeemed hearts.

The Lord is concerned not only with the administration of the universe, or with the accumulation of a specific number of its favoured inhabitants as being marked for eternal life. He is concerned with the proving of His own great life as worthy of the praise and adoration of a new creation, brought into being at infinite cost (which He alone must bear) from the disaster of sin and death.

It required no trial of His strength or wisdom to fashion a measureless universe of starry galaxies and blazing suns. A word called them into being. God spake and it was done - He commanded and it stood fast. But to redeem even one soul from sin and death called forth the utmost sacrifice of the divine love and wisdom. God must be true to Himself. The Creator must prove to all creation His worthiness to be the Creator. This He could only do by paying the utmost price of His own life, to redeem and save from death that which was lost by sin. “I am come to seek and to save that which was lost” declared the Son of God. (Luke 19:10 )

That He must pay the full price of this triumphant exercise is as essential as the life of God Himself. To Him must be drawn, not as a matter of duty, but infinitely higher than that, of free love and adoration, the consent and the worship of a redeemed world. Hence in the Book of Revelation we hear the Song of the countless number of the redeemed in heaven: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour and glory and blessing.” (Rev. 5:12)

The first creation proclaimed the wisdom and the Almightiness of God. The new creation proclaimed that God is Love and wondrous love, and only love, with no admixture of contrasting elements.

It is essential that we be cautioned against a distorted view of the divine sovereignty on the one hand, or, on the other, the sovereignty of the human will. The temptation is only too strong, on the one hand to assert a form of the divine sovereignty in which man becomes a mere puppet of the divine will; or on the other a sovereignty of the human will which represents the great Creator of all things as being dependent upon human volition in carrying out the purposes of creation. The apostle Paul was much more modest than most of our theologians when he declared, “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then, face to face: now I know in part; then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Cor. 1 3:12)

The method of the divine calling of the Church is clearly shown in our verse. The holy sovereignty of God works not by compulsion but by persuasion. Divine absolutism must not be separated front the methods of eternal wisdom, for the decrees of God proceed only from the depths of His holy love. Not without love were we created, and not without love are we redeemed. Not without love is the Bride animated in her response to the call. Perhaps here lies the reason for so much profession - so little fruit - the arts of preachers in producing results which wither away when the burning sun of trial and affliction arises.

The over-ruling purpose of the Song of Songs is to show how God and Man are brought together in a perfect oneness - a unity of love eternal, imperishable, complete - the entire object and aim of the holy life of God. Here is something beyond theology, or rather; here is the goal, the secret, the purpose, the meaning of that which we call theology - not as that term is commonly used, a mere classification of the divine being and purpose, but as the achievement and fulfillment of the whole purpose of the divine life. That purpose is the union of God with His own creation by the incredible means of His own incarnation. By becoming man the Creator realises the fulness of His own life and reveals Himself in such a way as to ensure the rapturous perfection of the creature. That which He made in His own image and likeness is at last raised with Himself to the eternal throne and the everlasting glory.

The crude theology (now current) of the divine sovereignty as an exercise in clemency, comes short by whole continents, of explaining the full intention of the incarnation. We may not rest there. So far we have arrived only at the outposts of the divine mystery.

Soaring high above the common theory of redemption - even as heaven is high above the earth - is the revelation of the true goal of the divine life. What does God live for? What is the nature of His wisdom? What was it in the divine life which required as the inevitable goal of that life, that God should become man? What is the meaning of that incredible descent and self-abnegation by which God made Himself the Victim of His own creation? What lay behind that dreadful exercise by which He must expiate the offence of sin and becoming the scape-goat of it all, be hurled into incredible sorrow and awful death as the only means by which the Eternal Creator could realise the meaning and purpose of His own great life?

The answer does not lie in our formal theology. It lies ultimately in the Song of Songs, that deliberately inspired holy lyric in which the divine Being gives all to possess a Bride - the partner of His life for all eternity, to rank with Himself in glory, sharing with Him the holy and eternal ecstasy of the three superlatives of Love, Joy and Peace.

That God became Man so that man might be partaker of the divine nature, who can deny?
(See 2 Peter 1:4)

He who possesses all, takes to Himself a Bride who is destitute of all except love, so that in the ecstasy of an eternal moment which never begins and will never end, Man becomes partaker of the divine life, just as surely as God by becoming man, exhausted to the full the entire capacity of the Godhead in Love, dissolving Himself in death that He might take again life eternal in the unity of God and Man.

The final task of theology is the adjustment of redemption to this ultimate destiny of God with Man. The function of that theology lies beyond all the limitations of our formal schemes which are concerned mainly with finding logical ground for an assured future. What we must now be seeking in these last of days is something far above those formal researches, not indeed to the invalidation of hard-won principles of knowledge of the divine, the consequences of much travail in the Church: but the sublimation of them in that mystic crown of Manhood proudly worn for all eternity by the Son of God who shares His everlasting throne with the Bride given to Him by the Eternal Father in the Oneness of that Spirit through whom He (the Bridegroom) offered Himself without spot on the awful Tree.
(Hebrews 9:14)

It is in the Song of Songs that we enter into the full mystery of that divine love. The figures used are so daring, exalted and moving, as to be incredible to the mind which has lingered overlong in the shadow of those theories which have done duty for exegesis.

This is what the Song teaches us. It is the record, in exquisite poetic vision, of the eternal purpose of God to unveil and reveal Himself as the divine and holy lover who will not reign alone in His own creation. There will be no subjects in heaven unless they are those glorious angelic beings who have their destiny as the courtiers around the Throne. The redeemed will reign with Christ as His Bride - a Bride who is the partner of His Royal throne - reigning (dare we say it ) as of equal dignity and right with Him who still bears in His dazzling body the marks of eternal love in hands, feet and side – “those dear tokens of His passion” as Charles Wesley has so exquisitely described. In true marriage there are equal rights and mutual possession. The giving of Oneself to the Other dissolves all independent rights and hence the apostle is able to say:

“Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)


If King Solomon failed to any degree in his own personal life, what has this to do with that immeasurable inspiration which was his, whether in his unsullied youth or in the bitter recollections of old age when he took up his laboured pen yet once more, dipped in the gall of his own penitence, to describe as never man before him, or since, the mystery of the holy ecstasy of divine love? After all, his Ecclesiastes could only have been written in the crisis of a late repentance when he perceived the vanity of all things below, and rose from his exercise of true repentance to warn all generations, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

Not in despair of himself or of mankind, but as the prelude to the glorious unveiling of the heart of God in the Song of Songs did Solomon write his inspired Ecclesiastes. That enigmatic exercise was designed as the prelude to the triumph of God’s holy love described in the Song of Songs. God becomes Man so as to take upon Himself the failure of man, and thus brings back to the world, life, light, love and hope, by the sacrifice of Himself.

The Song of Songs could never have been written during the fires of youth. Only the prophetic fire of God could transport Solomon’s mature soul into those elevations where he saw the answer not only to his own guilt and shame, but to that cry of the penitent the world over and in every age, “God be merciful to me, a sinner” - and arose to behold in heavenly vision the final triumph of love over evil.

The Bride speaks for herself and for all her companions when she pleads, “Draw me, we will run after thee.” To so high a dignity as marriage with the Eternal Son, whose Name is Jehovah, she feels her inadequacy, and therefore pleads for His strength to bring her through to her destiny.

Love is free, else it is not love. Man also is free, else he is not Man. It is a mark of the brute creation that such creatures have no moral choice. They are guided and governed by an instinct peculiar to their species, and beyond those fixed boundaries they cannot stray. They have no moral judgment and no real choice of action - no reflective faculty or conscience of right and wrong. But to deny that Man has a sovereign choice is to deny that he is Man.

It is a grave situation to resolve all theology into the concept of an arbitrary determinism which over-rides, and even renders quite irrelevant, the faculty of choice and of judgment in the human race (and by consequence in the angelic creation also).

It is equally grave to deny the mystery of the divine providence and the ability of the great Creator to achieve all He has set Himself to do in creation. But to assert that we get to heaven without our choice, or to deny to the wicked their own choice of maintaining their rebellion, is to deny the righteousness of God, and expose oneself to serious error. No small part of the glory of creation is the faculty of moral choice vested in man and angel. What mysterious providences lie behind the yearning of the soul for union with God; what mysterious movements of the divine Spirit moving the will without doing violence to that faculty of choice which separates man from the brute creation - what mind is capable of resolving these mysteries? The Lord’s way is in the sea and His path in the great waters, so that His footsteps are not known (Psalm 77:19). He giveth not account of any of His matters (Job 33:13).

The Bride in the Song is not an automaton responding blindly to mechanical impulses. She is moved by the mystery of love, as her entire being responds to the wooing of the Spirit. She yearns for the fulness of divine love yet is so handicapped by her own feeble responses that she is constrained to cry out for the mighty impulses of the divine love – “Draw me! We will (then) run after thee.”

The perfect wisdom and love of God is invoked by her inability to overcome the handicap under which she labours - the handicap of a heart which, though yearning for that love which only God can impart, yet cannot rise as with eagles wings to heaven’s gate unless there is imparted a strength and a purpose beyond her own powers.

Similar to this her dilemma of love-weakness is the passage in Hosea which describes the remonstrance of the Lord when faced with Israel’s apostasy – “I drew them with the cords of a man, with bands of love....” (Hosea 11:4) Yet did Israel turn away from the divine and holy love of God. The Church is in a healthy state when she feels her own weakness and cries the more vehemently – “Draw me! We will run after thee.”

What mysterious providences lie behind this yearning for union with God! What mysterious movements of the divine Spirit affect the will without doing violence to the integrity of choice! Who indeed can trace the course of this mystic stream?

We conclude therefore that life in Christ spells for those who partake thereof, more - far more - than deliverance from the wrath to come. It is positive new life which the renewed soul enjoys. Heaven is not just a refuge for escaped sinners. It is a full realisation of the purpose of life - union with God - an ecstasy of love by which the full meaning of life is realised.

“Draw me” she cries, who is already being drawn. The word assures us that Salvation - which is life eternal - is never forced. It is the pure and universal desire of the Church in her members, that she and Christ should be one. Christ will have no Bride but she who comes with blessed willingness, and eagerness to be united with Him in bonds which are eternal - bonds of love which naught can sever.


We have said that the salvation of the soul is more than an evangelical deliverance from judgment. The eternal purpose of God is the winning of a Bride for the Son - a union of the redeemed with the Son of God, so that man becomes partaker of the divine nature in a marriage of perfect love. The Song of Songs was composed under the holy inspiration of the Spirit of God to make this plain. No bride worthy of the name can be united with her bridegroom except on the ground of love answering to love. Neither party has anything to give the other except love’s total surrender and sacrifice.

"Thou gavest all for me – I give myself to thee.” So sang Miss Havergal

This is the secret goal of creation, the purpose hidden from all eternity in the heart of God, but now in Christ fully revealed and realised. The soul in its love for Christ must be free, or creation becomes a mere charade.

Truly and wonderfully unfolded is this mystery in Solomon’s immortal Song. We have seen already in our study of the preceding verses of the Song how the Bride, the Church, longs in her restricted Old Testament condition for the personal appearance of the Bridegroom. Origen has taught us how the types, shadows and promises of the Old Dispensation cannot satisfy the Bride. She longs for that close intimacy expressed in the words, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth, for thy love is better than wine.” The New Testament with its full revealing of Christ was ever the Church’s goal, and her weary pilgrimage in Old Testament times terminated at last at the Manger Bed of Bethlehem; on still to the resurrection joy, the ascension, the promised mighty episodes of subsequent history through which the Bride has traveled, sometimes with bleeding feet, often with toil and tribulation, being put to shame for His dear sake who bore all shame for her. The way of true love is ever that way, for only when love suffers does she show fully her patience and her faithfulness. Always her cry has been:

“Draw me....we will run after thee.”

Far down the ages now,
Her journey well-nigh done,
The pilgrim Church pursues her way,
And longs to reach her crown.

No wider is the gate.
No broader is the way,
No smoother is the ancient path
That leads to light and day.

No feebler is the foe,
No slacker grows the fight,
Nor less the need of armour tried,
Of shield and helmet bright.
Thus onward still we press,
Through evil and through good,
Through pain, or poverty, or want,
Through peril or through blood.

Still faithful to our GOD,
And to our captain true,
We follow where He leads the way,
The kingdom still in view.

So richly sang Horatius Bonar,


Only in the process of redemption is the Godhead fully manifest. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

As love awakens and evokes love, so we love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

There is no distinction to be observed between the Persons of the Godhead except in the processes of love and the part which each plays in the manifestation of the divine nature. Love gives itself totally to that which is its object. “The Father so loved that He gave His only begotten Son...” (John 3: 16) “The Son of God loved me (says Paul) and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The Holy Spirit is likened in the Scripture to the Dove - the Bird of Love - and so at the baptism of Christ the Holy Spirit descended and abode upon Christ ‘in the form of a dove’. (John 1:32-34) Again, “The fruit of the Spirit is love....” (Ga1.5:22)

We must be careful not to exclude any part of creation from the holy love of God. Angels and men alone can exclude themselves from participation in God’s holy love.

The Church knows her Lord. From the beginning, the heavenly marriage with the glorious Son of God has been the goal of her theology. This has been the one great and yearning desire of her long history. Why then should she cry out to Him she adores, “Draw me...” as though there were some contrary disposition in her, making it hard for her to pursue her quest after union with her Beloved? The answer must lie in the exalted nature of that union after which she aspires. Something - Someone - greater than herself, greater than all, is leading her to a destiny which so transcends all thought that she feels her own inadequacy and weakness. She recognises her unworthiness of so great a destiny. Where is her King leading her? To heaven surely. But heaven already has a glorious population of angelic dignities, numerous as the stars, their brightness outshining all the wonders of the natural creation. Is the Bride going there just to mingle with those angelic beauties? Nay, rather she is going to outshine them all in beauty and privilege. They will be the courtiers serving the eternal Throne. She will be upon the Throne, reigning with Him who sought her and bought her by the outpouring of His own glorious life. So high a destiny! So incredible and unsurpassable her elevation! She perceives the inadequacy of her own self-effort. So great and glorious a condition - yet unattainable by any human effort - casts the Church in her weakness, upon the divine resources. She longs for perfect union with Christ, and at the same time recognises that so great a destiny as to be the Bride of the Only Begotten Son of God, requires from her a response for which her own resources are woefully inadequate. To be lifted up to so high a destiny as to share with the Beloved His eternal throne and reign with Him there forever, requires more than she can give. Without the aid of divine power she cannot move from so lowly a condition to so transcendent a dignity.

She speaks therefore for all her daughters, that is, the individual churches which together form the one true and great church, the Bride of Christ “Draw me , we will run after thee.”

Overwhelmed by the love of One who is Himself Love, and without whom there is no love, she sees her pitifully weak condition. Scarcely can she allow herself to name as “love” that which is all she can offer to One who is Himself Love, eternal, unchanging, unspeakably glorious - Love which gives itself, without reserve, even to awful death, for her whom He has loved from all eternity. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3) So we understand her words, “Draw me…we will run after thee.”


Christ will have no bride but a willing and desiring bride. He knows the soul which He has made. Love cannot attain its goal by decree, for love is not love except it be free. It is by revealing Himself - as the crucified One that love is called forth from the Church. “Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” demanded the risen Lord at the lakeside after the miraculous draught of fishes had enforced upon the disciples the fact that the Law had ended its reign, and the gospel was now coming in. The careful numbering of the fish - 153 in all, great and small - was designed to teach the apostles that the times of the gentiles had begun. The only other occurrence of the number 153 in the Bible, is found in the numbering of the gentile labourers employed by Solomon at the building of the temple, taking one for a thousand
(2 Chronicles 2:17-18). (The balance of 600 overseers could not be reckoned in the clear number of 153,000 when the unit was one for a thousand. One cannot have six - tenths of a fish or of an overseer!).

Following that remarkable draught and the bearing it has on the building of the spiritual Temple, the Church, and with the leadership of Peter amongst the disciples to be taken into account, we are ready to perceive the pathos and the purpose of the Lord’s threefold demand upon Peter – “Lovest thou me?” He who had denied the Lord thrice on the eve of the crucifixion now is required to confess three times that love which he had betrayed. Will any say that Peter loved Christ only because of a divine decree before the foundation of the world? Of what value would that be to the crucified and risen Saviour? This was no stage-managed farce in which Peter’s grief (if he had any) was part of the script. Nay! If ever man revealed his real self under the combined pressures of shame and love, that man was Peter. Let his shame and grief speak for the reality of his confession of Christ, and his readiness henceforth to go forth in the Name above all names, until the inevitable day when his love passed the final test of martyrdom for Christ.

Let none take from the reality of Peter’s love, lest our own someday be brought to the test. More important still is it for us to perceive how destructive it would be not only of Peter’s confession, but of the glory of our great Redeemer and Lord, if it were ever asserted (on the ground of a creedal dogma) that no-one ever suffered for Christ’s sake, or ever would, unless a divine decree had compelled it. The one thing that no-one must deny is the freeness of holy love - His love for us, and ours (however pitiful and feeble the flame) for Him.

Love is free; else it is not love - a watchword which we do well to keep ever in mind. Peter’s threefold confession would not have been worth one of the dead fish that lay around the shore that unforgettable morning if it had not been the genuine confession of his poor troubled heart, as the shadow of his great denial fell with excruciating agony across his burdened conscience. How artificial and unreal would that confession of love have been to the Saviour, and how worthless the threefold challenge to Peter’s troubled soul, if the crestfallen apostle’s confession of love represented only the product of an emotion which originated not with himself, but was the result of a divine decree for which he could bear no manner of responsibility? Superficial theologians invading fields they are not qualified to enter, have no relevance to such a Book as the Song of Songs. God made man free to love, and free to deny.

To what end was the threefold confession of love brought forth from the abject apostle in his wretchedness, if not to assure us that the Almighty God seeks just that from us? The reality of it is the very element of heaven, where the Lord Himself will meet His redeemed bride on the steps of the eternal Throne and lead her to the highest place in heaven to seat her there beside Himself - because He will not reign alone.

We have no wish to be mere meddlers with theology. There is too much at stake for that. But we believe with Paul that there is a great deal more theology awaiting us in heaven than we shall ever discover on earth. There, where we no longer see through a glass darkly, but face to face, we shall be in a better position to observe the reality and the freeness of love, than we are ever likely to attain here on earth.

The Bride of the Song of Songs felt only the inadequacy of her own love and the weakness of her own faith, when she cried, “Draw me! We will run after thee.” We shall do well if at least we get as far as she, in the consciousness born in upon the sincere and seeking soul, that our love for Christ is but a feeble flickering flame beside His, who loved us and gave Himself for us. And we hope we shall be able to stand with Peter, guilty and weak as we are, even as he was, and say from the depths of our being, contemplating the Lord’s great love for us, “Lord, thou knowest all things - Thou knowest that I love thee.”

In the Song, however, it is the Church (and the Churches) in her ministry of the Spirit, which declares on behalf of a whole world of redeemed sinners – “Draw me, we will run after thee.” And how does the Lord answer that prayer? Surely by revealing Himself through the ministry of the divine Word. It is to be feared that the Church’s voice is thin and wan in these decadent times. '”We see not our signs. There is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long” mourns the faithful Asaph as he surveys the desolation of the sanctuary (Psalm 74:9). When the Church has lost its faithful pastors, and its pulpits are served by ambitious men who seek their own fame, and lord it over the congregation of the Lord, true religion mourns in her desolation like a disconsolate widow. As Christ is uplifted and glorified, and the rich ministry of His Name above all names is heard, the Church in her eagerness to worship her Lord gives back to heaven the cry – “Draw me! We will run after thee.” But when the preachers exalt themselves, or are more concerned with their own success (as they flit from pulpit to pulpit and from church to church, in the quest to be famous) then the Church languishes. She longs to hear of Christ, and the mystery of His glorious love. She adores the Name above all names before which every knee must bow, in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2: 6-11)

This then is the meaning of our verse. By this means the King brings His Church into His chambers - the place of love, where His honour dwells - and she sighs in her relief, “We will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine, for the upright love thee.”


Thus far our verse, but that is not the end. Vistas which are dazzling in their brightness appear. What we are seeing is a new creation arising out of the old: the emergence of all the wisdom and grace of God as He unfolds in the course of time the secret of His own life. Unlike the first creation, this one is not an affair of suns and moons, galaxies and constellations. The new creation is the Church, the Bride of Christ. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Throne of God remains and redeemed Man is to join his Saviour and Redeemer there. Unlike the first creation this one commences with the deliberate consecration of the holy Being of God to raise through suffering and death, and shame and agony a new and spiritual creation which can never fail, because the Great Creator, in a supreme act of love, has made it one with Himself.

“Consent” is the great end of the Holy Spirit’s work in the soul. God must be willingly served. He must be “run after.” Yet the impotence of the Church without this inner divine impulse must not be overstretched. The first person usage, “Draw me...” - should warn us of this. If it is true that none will come save they who are drawn by the Lord, it is equally true that none are drawn save those who long for union with the Lord and who learn to cry, “Draw me...” It is the Bride who voices this cry of desire. She who is the Church feels not only the necessity for a divine impulse, but yearns for it, for the grace and love of God are her true element.

It is the voice of love which is calling, “Draw me”. This is the self-surrender of the Bride - this her ardent desire - for the company of the Bridegroom. Nowhere will she rest but in His presence - yet there is here a modest submission to the holy will of the Beloved, knowing as she does that the initiative is with Him.

For the heart only dwells, truly dwells with its treasure,
And the languor of love captive hearts can unfetter;
And they who love God cannot love Him by measure,
Their love is but hunger to love Him still better.

God loves to be longed for - He loves to be sought,
For He sought us Himself with such longing and love;
He died for desire of us, marvelous thought!
And He yearns for us now to be with Him above. - F. W. Faber.

The inspired Solomon is not describing (in the verse we are studying) the conversion of the individual soul. This is the self-surrender of the Bride, the Church; her ardent desire for the company and the manifestation of the Bridegroom. Nowhere will she rest but in His presence. There is in her a modest submission to the holy will of the Beloved, knowing as she does, that the initiative is with Him. The immediate assumption of the plural – “We will run after thee” - is clear proof that we are not to seek here, individual experience. The entire goal of God is that He should be worshipped and adored freely. It is a matter of love and not of fear; of joyful assent and not of compulsion. Christ will have no Bride save one who gives herself freely to Him for the worth of His own great love and sacrifice.

There can be no true conquest of love without consent. Love which does not give itself, which does not seek, or which is only created by constraint, is no love. Love cannot be imposed. It can only be won. Here is the secret and meaning of creation itself.

The Song of Songs was written (beyond all doubt) to show to the Church that there is far more in redemption than rescue from the misery and penalty of sin. It surely begins there, but its end is to be united in eternal love, to Christ. In redemption, love answers to love. The love of God is eternal - never induced. The love of the Bride is a growing thing arising from the faintest of beginnings to the towering heights of the final glorious union. Love grows through knowledge and through contact of the parties.

Who is this who commands such love - who inspires the Church with such adoration? And who are these who gather from the four corners of the earth at the sound of His Name, to drink at the fountain of love, and to hear with delight all that His love has led Him to do and to endure for His Bride?

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” - thus the Saviour in His last words to His apostles ere He went forth to suffer and to die. (John 15:13)

Love must be free, or it is artificial. If our love for Him were automatically implanted in us it would be worthless. Let love be free, or it is nothing. Hence the Saviour’s request to Simon Peter – “Lovest thou me?” We have endeavoured to show that Peter’s confession was not induced or implanted. It was the suffering, troubled confession of one who knew he had betrayed love, and could no longer forgive himself or hold up his head in the presence of the One he had wronged. His very fall is the proof that love is free. Let no unhallowed theology stand between Christ and Peter, taking from one of the greatest events in the history of man, the glow and the wonder of a love which cannot die, even if it betrays itself for fear of man. Let us remember how “Peter went out and wept bitterly” when one of God’s humbler heralds gave voice – “Immediately the cock crew.”

Let love therefore be what it is - the greatest thing in heaven or in earth - that all-conquering expression of the life of God - love which was just as real from all eternity in that abode where Three Persons in one indivisible essence dwelt in love and created all things - created not to destroy but to redeem, and to win by the ultimate outpouring of Itself even to the death of the cross.

“The Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” says the Saviour in rebuke to the two disciples who were anxious to command fire to come down from heaven to destroy the unbelieving Samaritans, after the example of Elijah. (Luke 9:51-56) “Ye know not what manner of Spirit ye are of ....”


Not in vain, O Lord, thou hast created all things. The evil which defiled the first creation was not of Thee, for thou canst not be touched or defiled by that which is contrary to love (which Thou art). Thou couldst not create a world of intelligent beings in Thine own image unless their allegiance to Thyself were freely rendered by them in worship and loving obedience. Their offence was foreseen, but not because it was foreordained. There must have been a great and wonderful reason why thou shouldst create man despite the foreseen ruin. Taking advantage of that which Thou didst foresee, Thou didst perceive that only by becoming creation’s Victim could Thine act of creation be justified, and not contrary to Thine infinite love. Thou hast no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their evil ways and live. The love and fealty of a New Covenant must be freely rendered in answering love to Eternal Love’s sacrifice of Itself, for, “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

The wisdom of God in the creation of the universe will be proven to have been worthwhile. Redemption will fill eternity with song, and in the midst He will appear, who is God manifest in our flesh, the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father, in the unity of the Eternal Spirit – “Our God contracted to a span - incomprehensibly made Man” (as Charles Wesley magnificently wrote). Thou art the Everlasting Word - the Father’s only Son. Thy very breathing of Love is the Eternal Spirit by whom thou didst offer Thyself without spot to the Father. (Hebrews 9:14)

In the awesome light of such love Thy Church reaches out in helplessness to Thee, unable to rise to such heights of love by her own strength, but crying out for love she prays - in all generations of her pilgrimage – “Draw me....We will run after Thee.”

What she is saying is, “We cannot attain to such love as Thine. We cannot scale such heights. But draw me - draw us - and we will run after Thee.” So the Church cries out and she speaks for all who follow in her train – “We will run after Thee.”

Deity has, through the incarnation, wrought the impossible - placed itself in the hands of the creature - imprisoned Itself in the womb of the Virgin - nourished Itself at a maiden’s bosom - a helpless and dependant babe - to grow, to acquire knowledge, to astonish the Temple doctors when only 12 years of age, by sitting amongst them, hearing and asking them questions. “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” replies He to the Virgin Mother’s remonstrance. But who told Him that Joseph was not his Father? The mother had said, “Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” Fully aware even in His early boyhood that He was the Eternal Son of God, uncreated, yet the Son of Man by incarnation - He is fully possessed as to the nature of that mission which required that He leave the Eternal Throne and become Man. His tender years notwithstanding, He contemplates with holy eagerness, the task for which the Father sent Him into the world - a mission which brought Him from heaven’s Throne to that Temple which all along had been designed to exhibit who He was, and (by His own appointment in the remote centuries past) to prepare the way for that sacrifice which Only He could make, for the sins of the whole world.

“How is it that ye sought me?” He asks of the anxious mother, and His reputed father (though both were perfectly aware that He was incarnate not by man, but by the Holy Spirit of God).

So early did He prepare Himself for what awaited Him on that same Temple ground 20 years later, when He would be arrested, smitten, put to shame, condemned in that holy vicinage in accordance with His commission to bear in His own body on the Tree, the sin of the whole world. “My Father’s business,” He called it.

How marvelous then was that perfect comprehension He had from the beginning, of the part He only could play in the drama of redemption, bringing a lost world back to God, and by His own merit and obedience unto death, introducing a New Creation which can never fall (as the first creation fell) because now it is founded not on the frailty of men or angels, but the rock of His own Eternal Sonship.


There is only one measure by which the immensity of God can be spanned - the measure of the Cross with its “two arms outstretched to save.” A torture invented by man to supply the maximum torment and shame lo the criminal and the outcast, becomes the symbol of the all-embracing love of God. Those “two arms outstretched to save’ invite and welcome a world of sinners lost and ruined by the Fall.

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Dr. Ryle (first Bishop of Liverpool) has warned us not to put a false restriction on that word ‘world’ as though the sacrifice of Christ were limited to the elect, and the love of God to a favoured few. He reminds us that the word ‘world’ in Holy Scripture is never used of the Church.


Hengstenberg observes, “The drawing, points to the superhuman nature of the heavenly Solomon, who, as God, exercises a secret power over our minds and works in us both the willingness and the accomplishment ...” This verse in the Song has given rise to a considerable amount of quotation in the Holy Scriptures, as in Hosea (Chapter 2 verse 4): “I drew them with the cords of a man, with bands of love;” and-Jeremiah 31 verse 3; “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Hengstenberg reminds us of the words of the Lord Jesus in John 6:44, “No man can come to me except the Father who hath sent me, draw him.” Again in John 12, “I if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me.”

Hengstenberg also quotes Psalm 119:32 “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” He says it is a mystery which those who seek to reduce the Song to a personal and individual basis, must vainly try to solve, when they encounter the change of pronouns in verse 4: “Draw me, we will run after thee.”

“The only explanation of this unusual change” he adds, “is that the person who speaks is a model or ideal person who in reality represents a plurality of persons. Frequently in the Psalms, behind the ideal oneness real multiplicity is hidden.” He refers particularly to Psalm 69:26; and 71:20, and comments, “In these psalms the connection with the entire Church is unmistakable.”


Our verse proceeds – “The King hath brought me into his chambers.” The first occurrence of the word “king” in Holy Scripture is significantly the appearance to Abraham of the mystic king Melchizedek (Hebrew for “King of Righteousness”) - when Abraham was returning from the slaughter of the kings (Genesis 14). The use made by Paul in Hebrews 7 concerning this mysterious encounter shows that Melchizedek was none other than Christ in one of the most significant of His pre-incarnation appearances. To this mysterious monarch Abraham gave tithes of all the spoil taken from the heathen kings. This pre-incarnation appearance of Christ in human form is shown by Paul in the 7th chapter of Hebrews to be a foreshadowing of the passing of the Old Covenant to make way for the New and Everlasting Covenant of Grace brought in by the death and resurrection of our Saviour Christ, or in other words, to mark the passing of the legal dispensation to make way for the Gospel. This we shall examine as we proceed.

So early in this great Song of Songs is “the King” introduced and there is a five-fold reference throughout the Song to this regal representation of Messiah - in chapter 1 v. 4; 1 v. 12; 3 v. 9; 3 v. 11; and 7 v. 7. The two references in the third chapter identify the King as Solomon, yet, according to the genius of poetry, the name Solomon is only the ideal name of the expected Messiah. We have seen in the first chapter of our commentary, how the name Solomon is derived from the basic prophecy of the “Shiloh” of Jacob’s great deathbed utterance in Genesis 49.

The kingship of Messiah was always the expectation of Israel in the Old Testament, yet when He came in lowly state, with none of the trappings of earthly monarchy, He was despised and rejected a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53). Divine kingship requires none of the gaudy display of earthly monarchy.

That Messiah should be King over all, was plainly taught in Scripture, first of allin the fundamental prophecy of the Shiloh, (Genesis 49:10) from which the inspiration of Solomon took its rise. Already the kingship of the Messiah had been wonderfully anticipated by King David, the father of Solomon, in his inspired psalms. In Psalm 2 David describes the downfall of all the combined powers of this world in their conspiracy to destroy Christ and to overthrow His kingdom.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision.”
(Psalm 2:1-4)

The decree is already pronounced -

“I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession....” (Verses 6-8)

In the first uprising of the power of this world to destroy the infant Church, the people came together in prayer - and the whole of that prayer was really a repetition of the 2nd Psalm (See Acts 4: 23-30).

“And when they had prayed the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.”

The external manifestation of the power of Christ as King over His people was once more manifest in Philippi (Acts 16) when the great earthquake shook the prison where the apostle Paul, and his companion Silas, were detained. God’s servants are not always so delivered from their foes, or there would be no martyrs, but the terrifying effect of the power of heaven’s King for the deliverance of His servants in Philippi, was a token of that latent power of God by which the Church has been carried through all her tribulations on earth as an assurance that God has set “His King” upon the holy hill of Z Ion, and all the power of earth and hell combined is but as dross before the whirl wind of divine wrath.

Heaven’s King has assured us that He is ever with us, and though it does not please Him always to deliver His people from the powers of earth and hell, the assurance that the King is ever with us is enough for faith to go forward with boldness in that Name which is above all names. “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”. (Matthew 28:20)


The encounter of Abraham with Melchizedek following the slaughter of the kings is not to be understood as a courtesy encounter between Abraham and a somewhat shadowy local monarch who disappears from history almost as quickly as he enters it. Were it not for Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews we might have been pardoned for regarding the encounter as being scarcely worth the mentioning. But Paul lifts the event out of the realm of ordinary history, and shows us that this was a heavenly encounter in which Abraham, the greatest and most significant figure of ancient times, acknowledges the awesome superiority of this mysterious monarch.

Alas that John Owen, the most eminent of all the Puritans, should throw the great weight of his own prestige on the side of the theory that Melchizedek was but a local kinglet of most obscure origin, to whom Abraham owed a large slice of the spoils of a war (in which this strange king took no part), in acknowledgement of Abraham’s having fought a brilliant night battle against an army of marauders on the doorstep of his kingdom.

We do not see it that way. Nor does the apostle Paul. Writing “The Hebrews” the great apostle bids us “consider how great this man (Melchizedek) was, to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave the tenth part of the spoils” (Heb. 7). Paul asserts that this Melchizedek has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but being made ‘like unto the Son of God’ abideth a priest continually (v.3). Paul notes that Melchizedek’s blessing of Abraham was proof of his superiority over the patriarch – “Without all contradiction, the less is blessed of the better” Moreover from the “order” of this mysterious king,Christ Himself derives His priesthood (Heb. 7:16).

A priest who never dies can never have a successor -which is precisely Paul’s argument as to the perpetual priesthood of Christ “after the order of Melchizedek.” The idea that Paul should have been guilty of so elementary a folly as to describe Melchizedek as without beginning of days or end of life, on the sole ground that these natural events were never recorded; and thus to build upon the circumstance that this ancient person is still a priest somewhere in the universe, when all the time he knew that Melchizedek was an ancient nobody on whose tiny empire a battle was fought, and therefore, though he took no part in the war, was entitled to a tithe of the immense spoils left behind by the defeated foe - this is so incredible, if not absurd, that one is amazed at the facility with which good men can so easily miss their way.

Only one person can fit the description of Melchizedek, and that Person is Christ, the Priest-King of His people, whose off ice as High Priest and Mediator was established before the world was, confirmed in His appearance to Abraham, and established before ever there was an Israel to serve generations of earthly priests who were not suffered to continue by reason of death; whose priesthood terminated 2,000 years ago in the flames of Jerusalem.

We find it hard to account for the readiness of great and good men like Dr. Owen, to avoid that which is obvious, and to put a false statute of limitations on the deliberate assertion by Paul that this Man was without beginning of days or end of life, but made like unto the Son of God so that he abideth ever.

Who - on reflection - can doubt that the extraordinary appearance of Melchizedek was an advance token that the earthly posterity of Abraham with its Mosaic covenant of works, its earthly priesthood and monarchy, were but signposts pointing to the day when the Old Testament order would cease and an eternal priesthood and monarchy would be established in the Person of One who had neither beginning of days nor end of life - a great Priest-King who was none other than the Son of God? Melchizedek was truly one of those mysterious appearances of Christ which anticipated the fulness of the divine intervention for the salvation of the world: “Then, said he, Lo I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second”. (Hebrews 10:9)

The centuries rolled by and at last these two great kings of Israel, David and Solomon, in due time appeared to anticipate the coming of Messiah. The former in his great Second Psalm saw Him as the all-conquering king, and later, in his 45th Psalm the heavenly Bridegroom, divinely clothed and furnished to go forth conquering and to conquer, and at His side the Queen “in gold of Ophir.”

Solomon takes up the theme where David left off, and sees the whole glorious purpose of Creation consummated in the mystic marriage of Christ and the Church. His five-fold reference to “the King” in his heavenly Song leaves no doubt as to the identity of the One who was to come, for whom the Church had waited long, and would have to wait after Solomon, for yet another thousand years before the long-awaited fulfillment. Yet because the King was eternal, without beginning of days or end of life, it was fitting in Solomon’s inspired Song that the King should always be there, sought after, eagerly anticipated in age after age, and so assuredly present with His people from the beginning, that the Bride of the Song could, while yet in her Old Testament state, anticipate the coming majesty of the bridal festival in her prophetic cry – “The King hath brought me into His chambers - we will be glad and rejoice in thee - we will remember thy love more than wine - the upright love thee.”

Yet how mysteriously and secretly did the King come to His Bride when at last the long awaited day began to dawn! It was at the Jordan. The Baptist was there. Forty days before, John had baptised the One whom he knew to be the Son of God, in the same stream where the people of God in the days of Joshua had crossed dryshod. Now they must be baptised, and the multitudes were thronging there, amongst them the first five men to be called to the apostleship. The Lord had been baptised by John 40 days previously. The mysterious conflict between the Son of God and Satan had taken place in the howling wilderness where the people of God had journeyed for forty years in the days of Moses. The Son of God now mingles with the crowd, but is detected by the Baptist who pointed Him out to two of his disciples. One of the two was Andrew. The other clothes himself in anonymity but we know him to be John. The days follow in quick succession. Nathanael is there. The Lord receives the young man with words which indicate He can read the very secret thoughts of the mind, and Nathanael’s eyes are opened – “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou -art the king of Israel”. To Nathanael was the privilege given of being the first to name the Man of Galilee as THE KING. He (Nathanael) never enters into the Scripture again by name except after the resurrection when he is one of the Seven who accompany Peter on the last fishing expedition in Galilee (John 21). We know him best by his confession of Christ as King of Israel. Blessed man indeed, so readily to see that the One who stood before him in rough homespun was none other than the Son of God, the King eternal, immortal, who yet must die that by His life laid down and raised again, a new day dawned which shall never know of a sunset.

To acknowledge, first of them all, that here was the King, who was also the Son of God for whom the world had waited and travailed for so long, was a distinction which will always attach to this man’s name. He has long since entered the Chambers of the King. It is the goal of all our striving as it was likewise for her who far down the ages past, spoke for Nathanael and for, us and for all who compose the Bride – “The king hath brought me into his chambers, we will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will remember thy love more than wine.”


We must not forget Pilate who three years after Nathanael’s call refused to alter the wording nailed above the Saviour on the Cross – “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.” The governor repulsed those barking dogs, the chief priests of the Jews, who would have the governor not to be so explicit. “Write: He said, I am the king of the Jews,” they barked. Let it be to the credit of the Roman Governor, that he repudiated the request of those barking dogs, with a piece of resolution not to be despised – “What I have written, I have written” - which meant, as we believe, Pilate was more than half convinced it truly meant, that this was indeed THE KING OF THE JEWS. What was passing through the tortured mind of the Roman we scarcely know, but sometimes we think he could not have been far from the Kingdom of God. Was his fault greater or less than the crime of those who, under no such pressure as the awful dilemma of Pilate, and with their eyes open, crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame? (Hebrews 6:6)

Spare a thought therefore for Pilate upon whom a strange light appeared to be shining when the accusers warned him, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard that saying he was the more afraid, and returned to the judgment hall to enquire of the Lord, “Whence art thou?” (John 19)

Before heaven’s King what power can stand? But did He not die on the Cross? Yes, indeed! But that death was His triumph over death, in order that we might be able to join with Paul in saying, “O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory ....”

For that is the manner of King which Christ is. No earthly monarchy for Him. He who in death, laid death low, that His people might live eternally, is the only King we can ultimately desire. And this is the King of whom the inspired Solomon wrote in his immortal Song. The Bride speaks in delight – “The King has brought me into his chambers...” His chambers are always those resting places in which the Church safely reposes, in the enjoyment of His presence.

“We shall be glad and rejoice in thee” - indeed we shall, even in this present evil world concerning which He said long ago – ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33)

That was the last word which Christ spoke to His disciples, before He uttered that most glorious and mysterious of prayers, faithfully recorded by John (John’s Gospel, chapter 17) from that indelible recollection of its word for word utterance, inscribed on his memory so that all succeeding generations might by it be carried in awe up to the Eternal Throne. By this prayer the Redeemer assures His people that all must be well. Fear not the world and all the evil it can do to the Church down the ages.

“There is a calm, a safe retreat – ‘tis found beneath the Mercy Seat”.

These are the Chambers of knowledge and assurance, of comfort and blessing, into which Christ welcomes His Church. Here is her resting place as her Beloved, in answer to her prayer, which admits her to the place of calm repose in His presence. There, despite the rage and fury of the foe, she abides in the delight of His presence, and by faith overcomes the world.

“We will remember thy love more than wine,” declares the Bride, for the Bridegroom must be absent for a season when she will be sustained by the hallowed remembrance of her acceptance with Him. Here she remembers His love ‘more than wine’. All the deceits and the indulgences of the present sinful world are to her as nothing. Her consolation lies far beyond this present scene. She will be sustained by the recollection of His love, until the day comes when all shadows flee away and she - the complete Bride - will be ready and eager to meet Him beyond this present scene - ready to mount the Eternal Throne and with Him to reign evermore - and all heaven will rejoice.

“The upright love thee.” Those who have obtained the righteousness which is by faith - these are the true Church. They are the Bride. To her is promised the inheritance of all that He is. They who are numbered together as His Bride are marked with this indelible inscription –



The Bible is rich in its references to the Kingship of Christ. Notable is the prophecy of Balaam, who against his will was compelled to pronounce a blessing upon Israel in terms of most moving eloquence: “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and THE SHOUT OF A KING is among them”. (Numbers 23:21)

Psalm 2:6  “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion...”

Psalm 24:7 “Lift up your heads O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in...”

Psalm 72:1 “Give the king thy judgments O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s Son.”

Isaiah 6:5  “Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Isaiah 33:17 “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty.”

Isaiah 33:22 “The Lord is our king; he will save us.”

Isaiah 43:15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.”

Jeremiah 23:5-6 “I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper...and this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jehovah Tzidkenu).”

Micah 2:13 “Their king shall pass before thee, and the Lord on the head of them.”

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion: Behold thy king cometh unto thee, lowly and riding upon an ass...”

Zechariah 14:9 “The Lord shall be king over all the earth.”
(See also Luke 19:38; John 12:15; 18:37; 19:14-15)

1 Timothy 1:17 “Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible….”

1 Timothy 6:14-15 “Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the blessed and only potentate, The king of kings and Lord of lords.”

Luke 23:42 “Lord remember me when thou comest into they kingdom.”

From the Samuel Rutherford poem of 19 verses, by Mrs. A. R. Cousins, we quote the following which ought to be better known amongst the Lord’s people:

The King there in His beauty
Without a veil is seen:
It were a well-spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between.
The Lamb with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory – glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

They’ve summoned me before them,*
But there I may not come –
My Lord says, ‘Come up hither,’
My Lord says, ‘Welcome home!’
My kingly King, at His white throne,
My presence doth command
Where glory – glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

* The authorities in Scotland sent to arrest him, as one of the Covenanters, who would by them have been executed, but was already on his deathbed and died before their day came.