“Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song 2:15).
This is the Bride’s prayer that all the defects and faults connected with her life may be utterly removed, that she may have not only a personal fitness to meet her Lord, but also be found full of good fruit, unspoiled by blight from any earthly creature. Great, destructive savage beasts and serpents represent Satan and demons, but the fox is not such a savage beast, and especially little foxes, which are more like puppies and kittens, and full of play, for these represent not the vices of sin, but little shortcomings, little silly thoughts, or words, little negligences of prayer, of obedience, of right manners, of not doing good, little blemishes that spoil the bloom on the perfect ripe fruit.
The true saint cannot bear these little foxes that seem to other Christians so harmless, and yet they are sufficiently of the flesh to hinder the perfection of devotion, and that deep, constant communion of the heart with Christ, that marks the perfect ripening of all the graces. Though her Bridegroom is hid in those high clefts in the steep places, yet she knows He has power, through the Holy Spirit, to destroy those little foxes that hinder the full growth of the tender grapes.
“My beloved is mine, and I am His.” This verse opens to us another rich thought in this Love Song, and that is the mutual ownership between Christ and His saints. This intense passion of proprietorship is universal, and belongs to God and all His creatures, even to the lower animals, who will fight for the ownership of a grain of corn. Now, when Adam fell every normal instinct in the human soul was perverted and exaggerated, hence sin has utterly filled with the passion for ownership, and made it the unspeakable curse of the world in covetousness. When we are regenerated and thoroughly purified from inward sin, this instinct of proprietorship is restored back to God, and then under the full baptism of the Spirit, and by a life of prayer, we are brought to that blessed place where we see and feel that God is our own, and especially He is our own in Christ, for it is only through the blessed Jesus that we can seize upon the living God, and appropriate Him as altogether ours. On the other hand, we belong to Christ by creation, and by redemption, and when He transforms us and fills us with Himself, we become still more His own, not only as a piece of property, but as joined with Him in His very life and graces and destiny. This expression occurs three times in this divine Song, and each time it is on a rising scale, containing a wonderful suggestion of the steps in this proprietorship, and showing that we are to sink out of the thought of our ownership, and be lost in that great ocean of the ownership which our Lord has in us, and all things.
Now, just notice how the three expressions are used: The first is “My beloved is mine and I am His,” in which you notice that the Bride puts her ownership first, and her Bridegroom’s ownership in her comes next. Again, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song 6:3). Here you notice she puts the Bridegroom’s ownership first, and her ownership in Him comes last, for you see the ownership which Christ has in us is far beyond any ownership we can have in Him, for we are His absolutely and beyond our thoughts. The third time, the words are “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is toward me.” (Song 7:10). Here you see the Bride sees nothing except her Lord’s ownership in her, and that all His love and desire is toward her, and she forgets to mention her own proprietorship, or else the very thought of her ownership is lost in that sea of love where everything is sunk into Christ, and His blessed ownership swallows all things in its vastness and sacred keeping. Thus the “me”, and the “my”, gradually, or by distinct steps, sink away into being lost in a loving gaze upon our God, and that we do not mention our rights, or our possession, but only see that Christ is all and in all.