A distinguishing savour
‘Thy name is as ointment poured forth.’ Song of Solomon 1:3
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Isaiah 61:1–3
Ointments were used in feasts (Luke 7:46; hence Psalm 23:5), and the name of Jesus is a precious banquet to the believing soul. This fills him as with marrow and fatness; this puts an honour and a beauty upon him; therefore (verse 4) more than wine.
Precious ointments have a savour, a perfumed smell, which distinguishes the person that bears them. So this ointment of the name of Jesus, when poured into a believer’s heart, it makes him smell as a field which the Lord has blessed. It is this communication of grace and holiness which they have received from their beloved which makes them known to each other and distinguishes them from the world.
Who have a right to the bread and wine? Even all those who see the value and long to know more of the virtue of this ointment. Fear not, ye who seek Jesus, but come. Are you wounded? Are you fainting? Let not this keep you away, but rather constrain you. You cannot do without it.
By Thee my prayers acceptance gain
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain
And I am owned a child.
Yes, dear Mrs Barham is gone home. She lived honourably and died peaceably. Were I to preach a funeral sermon, I should say but little about her; but I would make the people stare, if I could, by telling them what a wonderful Friend she had; one who paid all her debts, and was so attentive to her that his eye was never off her by night or day for a long number of years; one who, by looking at her, could sweeten her pains, renew her strength, and fill her with wisdom, grace and peace. She is gone to see her best Friend; and I hope, one day to see her with him.92
John Newton to William Bull, 13 October 1781
SERMON: SONG OF SOLOMON 1:3 [3/5]