August 21, 2009

"How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds"

John Newton wrote the following hymn in 1779 based on the passage in Song of Solomon: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.

I am so pleased that Newton and so many of the other men of God did not hold this opinion (see the following quote) about the Song of Solomon or the Church would have never been blessed by God honoring, Christ exalting, soul enriching sermons, hymns, and poems that were inspired by men who could see Christ everywhere in this beautiful book of the Bible.

"I emphatically agree with those who say the Song of Solomon is not mere allegory. It is best understood when we take it at face value, like any other text of Scripture. Many interpreters whom I otherwise hold in high esteem (including Spurgeon and most of the Puritans) have unfortunately done more to confuse than clarify the Song's message by treating it in a purely allegorical fashion that eliminates its primary meaning.

Solomon's Song is, as I've said from the outset, a love poem between Solomon and his bride, celebrating their mutual love for one another, including the delights of the marriage bed. To interpret this—or any other portion of Scripture—in a purely allegorical fashion is to treat the interpreter's own imagination as more authoritative than the plain meaning of the text." John MacArthur (Pulpit Magazine - April 16, 2009)

And here is the song that John Newton wrote as a result of his understanding of the text. Be careful, however, according to John MacArthur, reading this may do more to confuse you than anything else:


How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer's ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
'Tis manna to the hungry soul
And to the weary, rest.

Dear name! The Rock on which I build,
My Shield and Hiding-place;
My never-failing Treasury filled
With boundless stores of grace.

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain
Although with sin defiled.
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am owned a child.

Jesus, my Shepherd, Guardian, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest, and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I'll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath;
And may the music of Thy name
Refresh my soul in death.



Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. Song of Solomon 1:2-3

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