1:4. "Draw me--we will run after You. The King has brought me into His chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in You; we will remember Your love more than wine--the upright love You."
The Church desires the closest communion with her Lord. She feels her inability to advance without His gentle drawing. He must invigorate her zeal; He must pour strength into her languishing powers. She earnestly solicits such constraining help, and vows, that drawn by cords of love, she will run with all alacrity. By 'plural language' (we), she intimates that she will draw others.
Can such prayer go forth in vain? Instant reply is delightedly proclaimed. Christ is recognized as her supreme Lord, and delight testifies that He has brought her into the intimacies of His favor.
The result is her overflowing delight. She avows that the exuberance of joy is centered in Him. Other gratifications vanish as empty baubles. Sensual luxury, such as the goblets of the rich banquet, present no rival pleasure. To know Jesus is to love Him supremely. His true followers, upright and sincere, give Him their undivided hearts. No other object stands in competition. Love will embrace Him with inviolate attachment. One transport is all-pervading--"We love Him because He first loved us."
1:5. "O daughters of Jerusalem, I am black, but lovely--as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon."
The Church here holds communion with her friends. Doubtless, it is the believer's high delight to maintain direct converse with the Lord. It is sweet joy to open out the heart to Him--to tell the inmost feeling, and to crave help for every hour of need. But it is pleasant, also, to unwind in the openness of Christian fellowship. Thus mutual strength is gained, and brotherly support administered. This communion of saints is ordained as a helpful staff in the heavenward course. It is well-pleasing to our Lord. They who fear Him speak often one to another. He hearkens, and a book of remembrance is written.
So the Church here turns to her associates. They are styled the daughters of Jerusalem. To them she pictures her state. It is a seeming paradox. The extremes of lowliness and greatness are combined. She presents two aspects. Deformity and loveliness compose the portrait. "I am black, but lovely." Blackness is frightful and repulsive. No eye can rest on it complacently. But blackness is the emblem of our state by nature. We are conceived and born in sin; and sin is most hideous wherever it appears. The Spirit has revealed this truth to each enlightened convert. He sees it--he feels it--he owns it--he bewails it. It is his constant misery. When he would do good, evil is present with him. He hates and loathes and abhors himself in dust and ashes. Surveying the innate corruption, which is his, he mournfully confesses, I am black--I am vile.
But he looks off to Christ. He sees the precious blood washing out every stain and obliterating the crimson dye. The blackness disappears. In Christ he is whiter than the whitest snow. He puts on Christ, and adores Him as made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He sees His pure and perfect obedience wrought out as a robe to hide his every defect, so bright, so lovely, and so glorious, that it exceeds all admiration. He feels that this righteousness is through grace imputed to him. He knows that he is lovely through divine loveliness. Thus clothed and decked, he triumphantly tells his friends, "I am black, but lovely."
To exemplify this truth, similitudes are introduced. The tents of Kedar represent nature's vile condition; the curtains of Solomon exhibit the beauteous contrast. Kedar was the progenitor of the wandering tribes which roamed throughout Arabia. They had no settled home. In search of pasture, they drove their flocks from field to field, with no fixed rest. They had their shelter under the covering of most rough and unsightly tents. These tents, exposed to every change of weather, sometimes parched by heat, sometimes shriveled in the frost, and composed of the coarsest skins, presented an appearance on which no eye could happily repose. This image of lowliness and deformity showed nature in her low estate.
Look now to Solomon's magnificent abode. It sparkled with the riches of resplendent hues. Its tapestry was elaborate in the charms of art. Its hangings dazzled in the brilliancy of beauty. What could be more choice--more lovely--more attractive! No admiration could describe its luster. These curtains shine as an emblem of the beauty of the Church clad in celestial loveliness. Each believer beholding his dual state exclaims, "O daughters of Jerusalem, I am black, but lovely, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon."