By R.C. Chapman
“If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.” Song of Solomon 1:8
Thine heart, O my Lord! inclines Thine ear to hear. Thou hast compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way. Thou knewest no darkness of error; Thou wast holy, and art the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)
Thou art our near kinsman; thy love and grace made the stoop; thou wast made flesh, and art the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Thou lovest to show us the bosom of the Father, all whose counsels are in Thee fulfilled, and whose utmost glory is manifest in Thee.
Thou art my Prophet, thou Lamb of God! I love to learn, because of the lesson, and because of the Teacher. Lord, my soul hangeth upon Thy lips; I cannot know my path but by Thy light, nor pursue my way but as Thou dost sustain my feebleness and check my wandering.
My need compels me, Thy love constrains me, therefore I draw near; I boast no wisdom; I confess my foolishness, and Thou upbraidest me now; rather dost Thou commend me, for by my poverty Thy riches are manifest, and Thou delightest to show me all the lovingkindness of Thine heart.
Behold me, Lord! The work of Thine hands—not Thy creature only, Thy new creature also, quickened when dead in trespass and sins, without will or power to take hold of Thee, to look unto Thee, or to touch even the hem of Thy garment.
Now, by Thy Spirit quickened and created anew, behold me, wrought by Thyself after Thine own image. Forsake not, then, the work of Thine own hands! Thou wilt not leave me; Thine eyes look with joyfulness upon me, as with a heart above a mother’s; Thou, abiding in Thine own peace, dost consider me, and watchest over me with tenderness divine.
Thou dost in equal truth and love entitle Thy sister-spouse the fairest among women; each member fair and lovely in Thy sight, and I, among the rest, can say: “Though black, I am comely” (Song of Solomon 1:5). But, “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest” (Song of Solomon 1:7). I know Thou hearest me; what then is Thine answer? Hear it, O my soul; thy Lord, thy Beloved, bids the go thy way by the footsteps of the flock.
Hast thou dreamed a dream of a bed of roses and path of flowers? Through much tribulation must thou enter the kingdom. Start now aside; see the footprints of thy Lord. Such was His cup as only He Himself could drink and drain, full of gall and wormwood of thy sin and curse: and now, thou art forever free.