Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Year One, September 27

Blessed Is the One Whose Transgression Is Forgiven1
After David had received a sense of pardon, he sang that sweet gospel Psalm, the thirty-second.
  
Psalm 32
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Yes, even a great sinner may be blessed. When his sin is effectively hidden by the great propitiation,2 he is as blessed as if he had never sinned. Have all the members of this family experienced this blessing? Sin has cursed all of us. Has pardon blessed all of us?
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
The person who is released from his guilt is also cleansed from scheming or deceiving. David had been very crafty in his efforts to hide his crime. He felt greatly relieved to escape from the tangled way of living that came from trying to cover up his sin.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.     Selah.
As long as sin remains unconfessed it grows in the heart and is like mental torture. When God adds to this by applying his pressure from the outside, the sinner’s unhappy predicament becomes even worse. These are the feelings, to one degree or another, experienced by everyone who seeks the Lord.
5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.     Selah.
Forgiveness followed on the heels of David’s confession, because Christ’s atonement had already taken place in eternity’s future. If anyone admits their sin before the Lord, the blood of Jesus will put it all away immediately and forever.
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.     Selah.
David was overcome with sighs before he prayed to the Lord. Now he is overcome with songs. If we want to be happy, we must be pardoned. If we want to be pardoned, we must confess our iniquities and look to Jesus who covers all our sin.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
Men who have been forgiven should have tender hearts and be afraid to sin again. We should not need to be treated roughly, like a stubborn animal, but should be sensitive to the slightest touch of the Lord’s hand.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Those who begin with holy weeping shall end with holy rejoicing. If there is someone in this family who is unforgiven, let him or her go to the heavenly Father and cry for that gracious forgiveness that is given to all who believe in Jesus. It is not given as a reward for good works. It is not given because of any efforts of our own. It is the free gift of God in Christ Jesus. Paul says that David is describing “blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works.”3 The apostle clearly says that our salvation is not a matter of merit but of grace. The very worst and most horrible sins will be freely and immediately forgiven if we will confess them to the Lord and trust in the infinite worthiness of his dear Son. Do not wait! Rush, right now, to the open fountain of Jesus’ blood.
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1 Psalm 32:1
2 propitiation - The act of satisfying someone’s demands and changing that someone from an enemy into a friend. When Jesus Christ died on the cross he satisfied the demand of God the Father that a sacrifice for sin must be made to him. The wrath or anger of God was used up on Christ so that God’s justice was satisfied and we who were once the enemies of God became his friends.
3 Romans 4:6

Monday, September 25, 2017

Year One, September 26

Cleanse Me From My Sin1
Psalm 51
David’s conscience experienced great pain as a result of his great sin. Psalm 51 is often called “The Sinner’s Guide.” It is one of the penitential psalms2 that David composed.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
 David appealed to God’s great tenderness. Penitence has a sharp eye for the loving and merciful qualities of God. Let us also look to them.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
He could not bear to be contaminated by sin. His heart longed for complete pardon.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Sin clashes with God. Sin boldly defies God. It wants to be on the throne of our lives and drive God away. David had wronged Bathsheba and Uriah, but his greatest misery was that he had offended his God. Those who do not have the grace of God in their lives do not care if their actions dishonor the Almighty.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
David’s outward act of evil led him to look within and see that his innermost self was disgusting. He was a direct descendant of the first Adam whose fall in the Garden of Eden extends to the entire human race. When our falls lead us to discover and mourn over the sin within us, we are on the sure way to recovery.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
This is the wonderful voice of faith. The humbled soul, while mourning over its sin, yet trusts in the cleansing blood, and believes that it can remove all stain. Bad as I am yet I am not too filthy for the precious blood of atonement! The blood of Jesus can remove every kind of sin and blasphemy.)
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Sin destroys! Grace must create a new heart. Penitents who are sincere are not satisfied with only a pardon. Their heart’s desire is to be holy in the future.
11 Cast me not away from your presence.
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
No one can teach about the power of forgiving love as well as those who have personally experienced it. Pardoned sinners are the best preachers to their rebellious fellow men.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
David’s deep experience led him away from the mere practice of religion to the true spirit of the gospel. A real sense of sin will never allow someone to be satisfied with only ceremonies and forms of worship. They want the Lord himself to accept their spiritual worship and to accept their penitent cries for mercy.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
David was delighted to be able to reverse the disgrace he had brought to the church and build up the walls of honor he had pulled down by his bad example.
May the Lord be pleased to keep us from being the reason his name or people suffer. Amen. 
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1 Psalm 51:2
2 penitential psalms - Seven psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 & 143) attributed to David which express penitence, repentance, regret, sorrow, grief, guilt or pangs of conscience over sin.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Year One, September 25

He Will Gather the Lambs in His Arms1
2 Samuel 12:15-23
15Then Nathan went to his house.
And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. (God is true to his word, whether he threatens or promises.) 16David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. (We are allowed to pray about difficulties that are about to happen. If David was not forbidden to pray for mercy even after the Lord had declared what he was going to do, how much more may we plead to God when his will is still unknown?) 17And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. (They feared for his health, but he was ready to sacrifice himself for his poor suffering baby. He was a tender father. It pierced him to the heart to see his child suffering because of the father’s sin. Perhaps it was during this time that David came to the point of fully repenting and getting back the smile of his heavenly Father)
18On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshipped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
While the child was still alive David pleaded for its life. But after he died David immediately submitted to the divine will. He also seems to have been aware that God had pardoned him through his faith in the atoning sacrifice. He went again to the house of the Lord to worship in humble appreciation of his God. Some persons mourn so long after the loss of a child that they appear to be angry with God and to be carrying on a rebellion against him. This was not the way David acted.
21Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” (People who have not been taught by God cannot understand why a believer acts the way he does. The believer does not rejoice the way the world does and does not mourn the way the world does. His feelings have full play, but those feelings understand that God is always in control. Dependable Christians are not overly influenced by outward circumstances and this makes them appear odd and strange.) 22He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
A great deal is suggested by the words, “I shall go to him.” David could not have thought his child had been annihilated. David’s hope was not for annihilation. Even less could David have imagined that the child was suffering in hell. He did not expect to be in hell when he died. David believed that his baby was in heaven and that he would meet him there. We also believe that all the dear little ones who die in infancy are in glory. We say all the little ones, because this child was the offspring of shame, and if it is where David is now, we feel sure that all other departed infants are there also.
“Millions of infant souls compose the family above.”2
By the death of his baby the first blow of the rod fell upon David, and throughout the remainder of his life his trials increased.
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1 Isaiah 40:11
2 These words are from a hymn written by Samuel Stennett (1727-1795) that is found in a Selection of Hymns compiled by John Rippon in 1787. John Rippon preceded Spurgeon as pastor of his church in London.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Year One, September 24

Have Mercy Upon Us, O LORD1
2 Samuel 12:1-10; 13-14
1And the LORD sent Nathan to David. (This kind of sin could not remain unpunished. The Lord sent the same messenger to rebuke David who had previously come to bless him. It was great mercy on God’s part to send a faithful preacher to David. If he did not love him, he might have left him to his own hardness of heart. We should be thankful to God when he sends an honest person to deliver his divine message to us, whether that message is sweet or bitter.) He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” (Little did he realize that he had just judged himself. We are ready enough to condemn others, but, ah! how slow to see sin in ourselves.)
7Nathan said to David, “You are the man! (The parable was full of wisdom and Nathan showed great courage to apply it to the king. How David’s color must have changed! How loudly did his conscience say “Amen”2 to everything the prophet said. Nathan went on to describe David’s sin so he could see more of its blackness and be wholeheartedly sincere in his repentance.) Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife’”
This was harsh medicine, but it was for a putrid disease. If we sin, we must pay the price for it. The Lord’s beloved cannot escape the rod if they disobey his commands. In David’s case, as in most others, the punishment matched the sin. He had killed Uriah with the sword and now the sword was to visit his own family.
13David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” (A child of God may sin, but he cannot continue in it. If there had been no grace in David, he would have been angry with Nathan. But the spiritual life within him caused David to repent immediately and greatly. Many sin, as David did; but never repent, as he did.) And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
How quickly the pardon came! “Confess, and live” is God’s word to the guilty. The Lord our God delights in mercy. Let us go to him and acknowledge our transgressions at once, and find immediate pardon.
14“Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.” (David will live, but he will be struck in a tender place. God forgives his children, but he will not allow them to think lightly of sin. He will strike them heavily, though not to the point of death. Oh Lord, keep us from sin.)
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1 Psalm 123:3
2 amen - So be it, it is so, it is true, truly.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Year One, September 23

Pray That You May Not Enter Into Temptation1
2 Samuel 11:1-3; 6-10; 12-17; 26-27
1In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
Perhaps David had begun to give in to a life of ease and decided to allow the battles of his country to be fought by others. If this is the case, then it teaches us that laziness is the helper of wrongdoing.
2It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, (Had he been sleeping in until so late in the day? Had he become that self-indulgent? If so, is it any wonder that he fell?) that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” (David sent for her at once and took her to himself, thus committing the grossest sin. Alas! Alas! how far the mighty have fallen!)
In a short time David found that his sin would be discovered. So he came up with an excuse to have Uriah return home from the battle in an attempt to hide his shameful sin.
6So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. 8Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” (Uriah answered that he would not go home to sleep in comfort while the ark of the covenant and his fellow soldiers were in tents, or encamped in the open field.)
Here we find a common soldier being self-disciplined and self-denying, while the famous psalmist had become pleasure seeking and shameless.
12Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. (David deliberately got Uriah drunk. This was a very wicked thing to do. But with all of his cleverness, David did not succeed in covering up his crime. This led him to act even more wickedly. Now he would become guilty of murder. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!”2 “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”3)
14In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died.
The man after God’s own heart had fallen so low that he had become both an adulterer and a murderer! In those days, other kings did these kinds of things repeatedly and their people would not dare to complain about it. But king David was a chosen servant of God and it was a disgustingly evil thing for him to commit such crimes.
26When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (The sinner may have dreamed that he had cleverly hidden his crime, but this last sentence was the signal that announced the death of his secret. If our actions displease the Lord, nothing else in our life will win his approval.)
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1 Matthew 26:41
2 Isaiah 14:12
3 1 Corinthians 10:12

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Year One, September 22

There Is a Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother1
2 Samuel 9
1And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Good men are thankful men. Jonathan had shown David great kindness, and therefore David looked for a way to be kind to Jonathan’s descendants. Someone who is not loyal to his friends is probably someone who is not loyal to the Savior. 
2Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David. And the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” 3And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” 4The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” (He was living far away from the city. He may have been afraid that David wanted to kill him because he was an heir of king Saul. We often fear the very men who will turn out to be our best friends.)
5Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. 6And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. (He was both awed by the splendor of the court and nervous because he thought the king might want to injure him. But David was kind to him and quickly put him at ease.) And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold I am your servant.” 7And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” 8And he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?”
9Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master’s grandson. 10And you and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him and shall bring in the produce, that your master’s grandson may have bread to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s grandson shall always eat at my table.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. (Mephibosheth was the grandson of a king. Ziba, his sons, and his servants made up a good court for a descendant of royalty.)
11Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. 12And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.
From this story, we learn to remember those who have been kind to us. If someone has shared with us when he was prosperous, we should return his kindness if we ever see him or his children in need. Never let it be said that a child of God is ungrateful to his fellow men. If we are to show kindness to those who treat us badly, how much more are we obligated to repay the favors of those who have been our friends.
Another lesson may be learned here. David and Jonathan had made a covenant and David kept it. Jonathan’s son was not well known, he was poor, and he was deformed. None of these things stopped David from keeping his promise. The Lord is also true to his covenant. He will not abandon those who put their trust in him. Many of God’s people are, spiritually, as disabled as Mephibosheth, but he remembers them, and invites them to sit at his table and fellowship with him. The Father is not ashamed of the poor and helpless friends of Jesus. Because he loves their Lord and Master, he accepts them at the king’s table, even though both their feet are crippled.
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1 Proverbs 18:24

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Year One, September 21

His Glory Is Great Through Your Salvation1
In this Psalm we find King David rejoicing in the mercy of the Lord his God.
  
Psalm 21
This has been called the Royal Triumphal Ode or the Song of Great Victory. If we can see King Jesus in it, our reading will be rewarded even more.
1 O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices,
and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.     Selah.
Souls are saved by Jesus. He enriches his people with all spiritual blessings and this makes King David rejoice greatly.
3 For you meet him with rich blessings;
The word “meet” includes the idea of preceding or going before and Jehovah most certainly preceded his Son with blessings. Before Jesus died, saints were saved by the anticipated merit of his death. The Father is so willing to give blessings through his Son, that instead of waiting to give his grace, his mercy goes ahead of the Mediator on his journey to his death. “The Father himself loves you.”2
you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
Jesus wore the crown of thorns, but now wears the crown of glory. His new crown points to his royal nature, kingly power, well-earned honor, glorious victory and divine authority. The crown is made from the richest, rarest, most brilliant and long lasting metal. Gold! Pure gold. The most valuable gold, to indicate the superiority of his kingdom. The crown is set on his head by Jehovah himself to declare that no one can remove it.
4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him,
length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great through your salvation;
splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6 For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the LORD,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
No one will escape from the Great King when he comes in his righteous anger. We are commanded to accept his love before it is too late.
9 You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight;
you will aim at their faces with your bows.
Opposing Jesus will be useless. He will defeat his enemies with a frightening victory. Do not be found among them in that day.
13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
This whole Psalm is meant to proclaim the praises of the Lord Jesus. Isaac Ambrose writes:3 “I remember a dying woman who heard some sermon about Jesus Christ; ‘Oh,’ said she, ‘speak more of this, let me hear of this, do not be weary of telling his praise. I want to see him and therefore I love to hear about him!’ Surely I cannot say too much of Jesus Christ. On this blessed subject no man can possibly exaggerate. If I had the tongues of men and angels, I could never fully describe Christ. It is impossible for the creature to fully understand his Creator. Suppose all the sands on the seashore, all the flowers, herbs, leaves, twigs of trees in woods and forests, all the stars of heaven, were all rational creatures; and that they had wisdom, and tongues of angels to speak of the loveliness, beauty, glory, and excellency of Christ, as gone to heaven, and sitting at the right-hand of his Father, they would, in all their expressions, stay millions of miles on this side of Jesus Christ. Oh, the loveliness, beauty, and glory of his face! Can I speak, or you hear of such a Christ? And are we not all in a blazing love, in a angelic love, or at least in love like a bride for her husband? Oh my heart, how is it you are not lovesick? Why is it that you have not earnestly asked the daughters of Jerusalem as the spouse did? ‘I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.’”4
  
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1 Psalm 21:5
2 John 16:27
3 Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664).
4 Song of Solomon 5:8