By R.C. Chapman
“Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun has looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” (Song of Solomon 1:6)
The entrance of Thy words, my Lord and Savior, giveth light; Thou art the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), and wherefore this? Because Thou art the Lamb of God, Thy blood speaks peace, purging the conscience. To the mourner Thou sayest, “Be of good cheer,” and for such as cast themselves at Thy feet, Thou hasts looks of love, of pity, and condescension, which turn all sorrow into joy.
But, Lord, when Thou lookest upon me, I see and hate all within me which is mine. Thy work within me is good and lovely; but the flesh I loathe, with all its deeds, be they foul or fair. My soul is self-abased as Thou shinest upon me—my faith knows nothing, boasts in nothing, but the Cross of my Lord.
The offence of the cross has not ceased; no sooner did I know Thee, and confess Thee, than I became a stranger to the sons of Hagar, who genders only to bondage, whose child I was by nature. Thy love drew me aside from the path of the worldling, whether wicked or devout; I became an offence to those I forsook, even those of my own flesh and blood. And wherefore were they angry? Because in taking my cross I became witness against them by my boasting only in Thee, and counting all who are of the works of the law to be under the curse.
Thou knowest, Lord, their revilings were loud and bitter; their tongue was like a sharp sword; but Thou wast with me and I said, “Let them curse, my Lord hath bidden them” (2 Samuel 16:11). Reviled, I reviled not again; I was dumb, because Thou didst it. They moved me not to anger; my bowels yearn over them; I besought of Thee, I returned blessing for cursing; and my prayer returned unto my own bosom.
They thought to turn me from following after Thee, but Thou makest the wrath of man to praise Thee; they did but drive me to Thee for wisdom and strength, for grace, peace, and joy. They, walking in their own pride, would be their own keepers, and would have me also abide with who are of the works of the law; but, Lord, my heart cries out, “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe” (Psalm 119:117); lead me, teach me to go, taking me by the arms; compass me about with Thy grace and glory; be a wall of fire round about me; gather me in Thine arms; in time of sorrow carry me in Thy bosom, and let Thy cross be my boast and song all the day.
In very deed all this Thou performest for me tenderly and faithfully. I know my safety; and this causes me to delight in Thee, and to cleave still more steadfastly to Thee, counting all things but loss that I may win Thee.
Excerpt from Meditations on the Song of Solomon, Kindle Edition, Loc. 174