faith in action

I’m part way through a new book by Malcolm Maclean, and thinking it would be a good idea to write a review once I’m finished (but not promising, because of my abysmal rate of both reading and reviewing). It’s Royal Company, a section-by-section discourse on the Song of Solomon. In advance, although it may turn out to be in lieu, of a review, here is an excerpt, with my recommendation on everything I’ve read of it so far.

On Song 2:3, ‘As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.’


“The attitude of the woman here is a useful picture of faith being exercised by a believer. I would suggest that the order is important, in that believers need to find rest in Christ before they can feed on Christ. They need to sit down and discover afresh the rest of Jesus before they can taste his other benefits. They need to get rid of the distractions before proceeding to his attractions.

We can imagine a harassed believer being distressed by one or more of the things that we mentioned previously. He senses that he needs Jesus but cannot focus his mind on him. He needs to sit down and apply to himself appropriate promises from the Bible. As he does this, a sense of peace begins to develop.

Sometimes, the believer has been so weakened by the harassment that Jesus graciously throws, as it were, apples to the weary saint. As the Christian sits seeking rest from Jesus, he discovers that apples are faling into his lap or around him. Jesus sends to him by the Spirit specific details about himself. In this we see the compassion of Jesus.

At other times, they need to stretch out the hands of faith and choose particular pieces of fruit. Faith at times acts intelligently, choosing appropriate aspects of Christ to reflect on. It also acts innovatingly and attempts to discover new things about Jesus. Such attempts are ways to progress in the Christian life. Faith also acts increasingly because every apple on the tree is hers to enjoy, so faith moves on and picks as many apples as it can. And faith acts incessantly, because there are countless apples on this tree.”


Malcolm Maclean (2012), Royal Company: A Devotional on the Song of Solomon. Christian Focus. (Excerpt from p88.) Warmly recommended.

3 thoughts on “faith in action

  1. Does he have anything to say about the explicitly sexual nature of the book? This is the book’s attribute that has historically made the church nervous – hence a tendency to “over-spiritualize” the contents of it (I’m not saying that that’s what the author is doing). It looks like an interesting read. I’ll check to see if it’s published over here.


  2. He takes it in the older (and to me, standard!) way that it is an allegory of the relationship between Christ and the Church or individual Christian.

    Such that it contains nothing that isn’t to the edification of any believer, whatever the overwrought imagination of the not-so-historical church!

    A lot of the blatant misogyny currently flourishing in certain circles can be traced to the kind of gross misuse of this part of scripture that has been licensing the pornification of the Young, Restless, and putatively Reformed scene. Or at least to the mindset that is so ready to intrude contemporary disregard for the 7th commandment into the church and the interpretation/application of scripture with that effect. Imho…


  3. Pingback: review: Royal Company « ninetysix and ten

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