Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 23: The Song of Songs & Hymns, by Watchman Nee

III. A LIFE OF LOVE (4:16—5:1)

A. The Spouse’s Answer (4:16)

In the preceding section, we saw the beauty of the new creation (vv. 1-5), the deeper determination of the maiden (v. 6), and her relationship with Christ in ascension (vv. 7-15). It describes the King’s satisfaction with the maiden as well as His satisfaction in their mutual relationship.

Verse 16 says, "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." Her answer is twofold. The north wind is cold, bitter, and biting, whereas the south wind is warm, gentle, and refreshing.

The maiden realizes that the King considers her a garden, and she is aware of the many fruits and graces that she has received from the Holy Spirit. She does not ask for peace in the environment. On the contrary, she is prepared to give forth Christ’s fragrance in whatever environment she may be put. She has reached the stage where she realizes that all problems come from within and not from without. If there is a fragrance inside, outward circumstances, whether the north wind or the south wind, will only serve to bring out the smell of the fragrance. She no longer lives according to her environment. She can now live in any kind of circumstances. She knows that as long as she is filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, she can happily live in any environment. She can say as Paul said, "I have to be abased, to abound" (Phil. 4:11-12); "Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death" (Phil. 1:20). Her call is an indication of her submission and faith. The north wind and the south wind are two different environments that the Holy Spirit uses to train believers. She has given herself to the training of the Holy Spirit. Although the south wind is pleasant and the north wind is fierce, a person who lives in heaven does not feel the difference. He knows that his circumstances only serve to manifest the grace of the Holy Spirit (all circumstances being controlled by the Holy Spirit). The maiden single-mindedly looks to the Holy Spirit to do the perfecting work in the environment.

Other than what she has expressed to the Holy Spirit, she no longer speaks as much as before. With so many herbs and spices planted already, she now allows the Holy Spirit to blow on them. "Since my Lord has planted me as His garden and has given me the grace to produce the fruits, I should allow Him to come into the garden to enjoy the fruits produced." The maiden first says "my garden" and then "his garden." My garden is now His garden. Everything is for Him, and the fruits are for Him. The fruit of the Spirit is not for the believers’ adornment or boast. Although it grows within the believers, it is for the Lord’s enjoyment and for God’s glory. Once again, she unconditionally offers the Lord’s own work on the earth back to Him.

B. The Lord’s Answer (5:1)

Verse 5:1 says, "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." Although this garden belongs to the Lord, this verse shows us that He does not come into His garden all the time. Rather, He only comes at special requests. We have to remember that although we belong to the Lord after we have consecrated ourselves to Him, it is a constant consecration that brings the Lord into our garden. Hence, we should not be self-satisfied with the fact that we belong to the Lord. We have to tell ourselves this fact repeatedly and tell the Lord the same thing repeatedly. Otherwise, without our consciously declaring it, the Lord will not come into His garden.

The Lord accepts every consecration. As soon as the maiden makes an invitation, the Lord responds. If I am not mistaken, this is perhaps the one prayer that will receive the most ready answer. The Lord reckons everything as His. The word "my" appears at least nine times. "My garden, my sister, my myrrh with my honeycomb with my wine with my milk." He receives everything except the payment for a harlot and the price for a dog (Deut. 23:18). The significance of this is pure enjoyment.

At this point, the Lord has occupied His place, the place that He had not occupied in the first section. By this time, He has truly gained something and seen the fruit of His labor.

We have to note that the consecration and the acceptance in this verse are different from the ordinary consecration and acceptance. Formerly, consecration was the offering of ourselves into His hand for Him to do something in us. The consecration in this verse, however, comes after the Lord has done His work. It is not for the purpose of taking something from His hand. The maiden is filled with the Lord’s work already, and this joy, this fruit, and this glory should go back to the Lord. Therefore, this is a consecration of the fragrance of the fruit. The same is true with the acceptance here. Formerly, the Lord’s acceptance was for the purpose of gaining some ground to plant something. Now the acceptance is not for planting, because "all the chief spices" are in the garden already. Now the acceptance is for pure enjoyment. Formerly, we were a barren ground, and there was no way to till it. We consecrated ourselves at that time to His hand and allowed Him to work and make us a perfect garden. Now to whom does the garden belong? Experienced believers often find that the latter consecration is harder than the first consecration. Yet it is more glorious than the first. Only this consecration will give the Lord the fruit of His labor.

"Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved." Who do the friends and the beloved refer to? As Savior and Lord, the Lord now enjoys everything in the garden. Hence, the friends and the beloved must refer to the Triune God who is participating in the enjoyment. (If they refer to the sinners, it would not say "beloved," and if they refer to believers, they cannot be the consecrated one and can only be the companions of the consecrated one. Yet the Lord deserves all the enjoyment here; there is no room for other believers’ participation.)

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 23: The Song of Songs & Hymns, Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)