The Turtle-Dove
The dove was often offered as a sacrifice in ancient times; and was a type of our
innocent Savior, to show how he would afterwards be put to death for the guilty. The
Holy Spirit once condescended to take the form of a dove, when he rested upon Christ
at the time of his baptism. Our Savior speaks of the innocence of this bird when he
says to his disciples, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye wise as
serpents, and harmless as doves."
This bird has a very sweet but mournful voice; and this is referred to in the Bible.
Hezekiah, one of the Jewish kings, had been very sick and expected to die; but as he
lay on his bed, he prayed that God would be pleased to spare his life. God heard his
prayer, and promised that he should live fifteen years longer; and soon after he
became quite well. He was grateful to God for his goodness, and wrote a beautiful
song of praise to be sung in the temple. Among other things he told how he felt when
he lay so sick upon his bed. He says, "Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did
mourn as a dove."
The turtle-dove is a bird of passage. It appears in Judea early in the spring, when the
leaves are coming out, the flowers opening, and every thing looking lovely and
beautiful. This will explain some verses in the Song of Solomon, "Rise up, my love, my
fair one, and come away, for lo ! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the
flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of
the turtle (or turtle-dove) is heard in our land." It remains until summer is gone; and
then flies away to a warmer climate to spend the winter. It is in reference to this that
David says, "Oh ! that I had wings like a dove ! for then would I flee away, and be at
rest; lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness; I would hasten my
escape from the windy storm and tempest." You will find these beautiful verses in the
55th Psalm.
Who would not wish to be like the gentle, peaceful dove?