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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life in a Year:

Nonetheless there are places, albeit few, where to interpret the passage or book literally requires the reader to interpret it allegorically. In his commentary on the Song of Solomon, James Durham (c. 1622-1658) affirms its literal meaning (“one sense”), but he also notes:

“that literal meaning is not immediate, and that which first looketh out, as in Historical Scriptures, or others which are not figurative, but that which is spiritually and especially meant by these allegorical and figurative speeches, is the literal meaning of the Song. So that its literal sense is mediate, representing the meaning, not immediately from the Words, but mediately from the scope, that is, the intention of the Spirit, which is couched under the figures and allegories, here made use of: For, a literal sense…is that which floweth from such a place of Scripture as intended by the Spirit in the words, whether properly or figuratively used, and is to be gathered from the whole complex expression together, applied thereunto, as in the exposition of parables, allegories and figurative scriptures is clear; and it were as improper and absurd to deny a figurative sense (though literal) to these, as it were to fix figurative expositions upon plain Scriptures, which are properly to be taken.”

Not wishing to depart from the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1.9), Durham clearly argues that to affirm the literal meaning in the Song of Solomon necessarily means affirming it as an allegory–the allegory, of course, being a picture of Christ’a communion with believers.

(A Puritan Theology, p. 34)

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