Now the seeking one has answered the Lord’s call to come down to the valley to become a garden. But she is still not yet a city. In a sense, the garden is close to the city; yet when we consider the Bible, the garden is far removed from the city. The garden is at the beginning of the sixty-six books, and the city is at the end. She is now a garden, growing out the things she once enjoyed of the Lord; however, even in being a garden, some kind of discrepancy between her and the Lord still exists. “I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” (5:2-3).
We have seen the discrepancy between the Lord and the seeking one in chapter two. But as we read the record in chapter five, it seems nearly the same. In chapter two, she was in the house and the Lord was outside the wall. Now, the Lord is satisfied with her as a garden, and she is content and happy. She even declares that her outward man is dead, for she declares that she sleeps outwardly. She has retired from all of her activities. Yet inwardly she is awakened. She says, “I sleep, but my heart waketh.” This poetry indicates that while she is so content, she suddenly hears the voice of the Lord. This means that she realizes the Lord is not with her. Again she is inside, and the Lord is outside.
A DEEPER EXPERIENCE OF THE CROSS
What is the reason for this discrepancy? It seems that she did nothing wrong. She is now a garden for the Lord’s enjoyment—why is there still some discrepancy? In our earlier years, we spent much time trying to understand this point. It was not until 1935, when Brother Nee was going through this book with a few of us, that this point became clear. It was then the Lord showed us that this was a deeper experience of the cross. The Lord said, “My head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.” What He means is that while the seeking one is content and satisfied. He is suffering. Such a picture in poetry depicts the suffering Christ. He is also shown in this manner in Isaiah 53:3-4. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
He is really the man of sorrows. Especially at the garden of Gethsemane, He was under the dew of the night. The Lord’s words to the seeking one reveal Himself as such a suffering one. He is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” And now He is calling her to be such a suffering one with Him.
Before the Lord became man, He was in the heavenlies. Then the time came for Him to be incarnated, and He put on our human nature as a kind of cloak. He became the “man of sorrows,” and He was suffering under the dew of the night.
Now the seeking one is in the heavenlies, and the Lord calls her to come down out of the heavenlies to put on something to suffer for Him. But she tells the Lord, “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” In other words, she is saying, “I have put off the old nature. I am in the heavenlies; therefore, how can I put it on again?”
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)