5:17. Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou most beautiful among women?
whither is thy beloved turned aside, and we will seek him with thee?
Canticle of Canticles Chapter 6
The spouse of Christ is but one: she is fair and terrible.
6:1. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the bed of aromatical spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
My beloved is gone down into his garden... Christ, pleased with the good works of his holy and devout servants labouring in his garden, is always present with them: but the words is gone down, are to be understood, that after trying his Church by permitting persecution, he comes to her assistance and she rejoices at his coming.
6:2. I to my beloved, and my beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies.
6:3. Thou art beautiful, O my love, sweet and comely as Jerusalem terrible as an army set in array.
6:4. Turn away thy eyes from me, for they have made me flee away. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from Galaad.
6:5. Thy teeth as a flock of sheep, which come up from the washing, all with twins, and there is none barren among them.
6:6. Thy cheeks are as the bark of a pomegranate, beside what is hidden within thee.
6:7. There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and young maidens without number.
6:8. One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her.
One is my dove, etc... That is, my church is one, and she only is perfect and blessed.
6:9. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?
Who is she, etc... Here is a beautiful metaphor describing the church from the beginning. As, the morning rising, signifying the church before the written law; fair as the moon, shewing her under the light of the gospel: and terrible as an army, the power of Christ's church against its enemies.
6:10. I went down into the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the valleys, and to look if the vineyard had flourished, and the pomegranates budded.
6:11. I knew not: my soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab.
6:12. Return, return, O Sulamitess: return, return that we may behold thee.
Canticle of Canticles Chapter 7
A further description of the graces of the church the spouse of Christ.
7:1. What shalt thou see in the Sulamitess but the companies of camps?
How beautiful are thy steps in shoes, O prince's daughter! The joints of thy thighs are like jewels, that are made by the hand of a skilful workman.
How beautiful are thy steps, etc... By these metaphors are signified the power and mission of the church in propagating the true faith.
7:2. Thy navel is like a round bowl never wanting cups. Thy belly is like a heap of wheat, set about with lilies.
7:3. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
7:4. Thy neck as a tower of ivory. Thy eyes like the fishpools in Hesebon, which are in the gate of the daughter of the multitude. Thy nose is as the tower of Libanus, that looketh toward Damascus.
7:5. Thy head is like Carmel: and the hairs of thy head as the purple of the king bound in the channels.
Thy head is like Carmel... Christ, the invisible head of his church, is here signified.
7:6. How beautiful art thou, and how comely, my dearest, in delights!
7:7. Thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
7:8. I said: I will go up into the palm tree, and will take hold of the fruit thereof: and thy breasts shall be as the clusters of the vine: and the odour of thy mouth like apples.
7:9. Thy throat like the best wine, worthy for my beloved to drink, and for his lips and his teeth to ruminate.
7:10. I to my beloved, and his turning is towards me.
7:11. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field, let us abide in the villages.
7:12. Let us get up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vineyard flourish, if the flowers be ready to bring forth fruits, if the pomegranates flourish: there will I give thee my breasts.
7:13. The mandrakes give a smell. In our gates are all fruits: the new and the old, my beloved, I have kept for thee.
Canticle of Canticles Chapter 8
The love of the church to Christ: his love to her.
8:1. Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breasts of my mother, that I may find thee without, and kiss thee, and now no man may despise me?
8:2. I will take hold of thee, and bring thee into my mother's house: there thou shalt teach me, and I will give thee a cup of spiced wine and new wine of my pomegranates.
8:3. His left hand under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me.
His left hand, etc... Words of the church to Christ. His left hand, signifying the Old Testament, and his right hand, the New.
8:4. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up, nor awake my love till she please.
8:5. Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple tree I raised thee up: there thy mother was corrupted, there she was defloured that bore thee.
Who is this, etc... The angels with admiration behold the Gentiles converted to the faith: coming up from the desert, that is, coming from heathenism and false worship: flowing with delights, that is, abounding with good works which are pleasing to God: leaning on her beloved, on the promise of Christ to his Church, that the gates of hell should not prevail against it; and supported by his grace conferred by the sacraments. Under the apple tree I raised thee up; that is, that Christ redeemed the Gentiles at the foot of the cross, where the synagogue of the Jews (the mother church) was corrupted by their denying him, and crucifying him.
8:6. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.
8:7. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.
8:8. Our sister is little, and hath no breasts. What shall we do to our sister in the day when she is to be spoken to?
Our sister is little, etc... Mystically signifies the Jews, who are to be spoken to: that is, converted towards the end of the world: and then shall become a wall, that is, a part of the building, the church of Christ.
8:9. If she be a wall: let us build upon it bulwarks of silver: if she be a door, let us join it together with boards of cedar.