Look not on me, because I am black, because the sun has looked on me: my mother's children were angry with me…
I. First, then, the loving title of our text is to be considered as expressing RHETORIC OF THE LIP. The text calleth Christ, "Thou whom my soul loveth." Let us take this title and dissect it a little. One of the first things which will strike us when we come to look upon it, is the reality, of the love which is here expressed. Reality, I say; understanding the term "real," not in contradistinction to that which is lying and fictitious, but in contrast to that which is shadowy and indistinct. Suppose an infant taken away from its mother, and you should seek to foster in it a love to the parent by constantly picturing before it the idea of a mother, — and attempting to give it the thought of a mother's relation to the child. Indeed, I think you would have a difficult task to fix in that child the true and real love which it ought to bear towards her who bore it. But give that child a mother; let it hang upon that mother's real breast; let it derive its nourishment from her very heart: let it see that mother; feel that mother; put its little arms about that mother's real neck and you have no hard task to make it love its mother. So is it with the Christian. We want Christ — not an abstract, doctrinal, pictured Christ — but a real Christ. It is not the idea of disinterestedness; it is not the idea of devotion; it is not the idea of self-consecration that will ever make the Church mighty: it must be that idea incarnate, consolidated, personified in the actual existence of a realized Christ in the camp of the Lord's host. I do pray for you, and pray you for me, that we may each one of us have a love which realizes Christ, and which can address Him as "Thou whom my soul loveth." But, again, look at the text and you will perceive another thing very clearly. The Church, in the expression which she uses concerning Christ, speaks not only with a realization of His presence, but with a firm assurance of her own love. Many of you, who do really love Christ, can seldom get further than to say, "O Thou whom my soul desires to love! O Thou whom I hope I love I" But this sentence saith not so at all. This title hath not the shadow of a doubt or a fear upon it: "O Thou whom my soul loveth!" Is it not a happy thing for a child of God when he knows that he loves Christ? when he can speak of it as a matter of consciousness? — a thing out of which he is not to be argued by all the reasonings of Satan? — a thing concerning which he can put his hand upon his heart, and appeal to Jesus and say, "Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee"? Now, notice something else equally worthy of our attention. The church, the spouse, in thus speaking of her Lord, thus directs our thoughts not merely to her confidence of love, but the unity of her affections with regard to Christ. She hath not two lovers, she hath but one. She doth not say, "O ye on whom my heart is set!" but "O Thou!" She hath but one after whom her heart is panting. She has gathered her affections into one bundle, she hath made them but one affection, and then she hath cast that bundle of myrrh and spices upon the breast of Christ. He is to her the "Altogether Lovely," the gathering up of all the loves which once strayed abroad. She has put before the sun of her heart, a burning-glass, which has brought all her love to a focus, and it is all concentrated with all its heat and vehemence upon Christ Jesus Himself. Come, do we love Christ after this fashion? Do we love Him so that we can say, "Compared with our love to Jesus, all other loves are but as nothing"? If you will look at the title before us, you will have to learn not only its reality, its assurance, its unity; but you will have to notice its constancy, "O Thou whom my soul loveth." Not, "did love yesterday;" or, "may begin to love to-morrow;" but, "Thou whom my soul loveth," — "Thou whom I have loved ever since I knew Thee, and to love whom has become as necessary to me as my vital breath or my native air." The true Christian is one who loves Christ for evermore. In our text you will clearly perceive a vehemence of affection. The spouse saith of Christ, "O Thou whom my soul loveth." She means not that she loves Him a little, that she loves Him with an ordinary passion, but that she loves Him in all the deep sense of that word. Oh! you should see Love when she hath her heart full of her Saviour's presence, when she cometh out of her chamber! Indeed, she is like a giant refreshed with new wine. I have seen her dash down difficulties, tread upon hot irons of affliction and her feet have not been scorched; I have seen her lift up her spear against ten thousand, and she has slain them at one time. I have known her give up all she had, even to the stripping of herself, for Christ; and yet she seemed to grow richer, and to be decked with ornaments as she unarrayed herself, that she might cast her all upon her Lord, and give up all to Him. Do you know this love, Christian brethren and sisters?
II. Now let me come to THE LOGIC OF THE HEART, which lies at the bottom of the text. My heart, why shouldest thou love Christ? With what argument wilt thou justify thyself? Our hearts give for their reason why they love Him, first, this: We love Him for His infinite loveliness. When you see Christ you look up, but you do more, you feel drawn up; you do not admire so much as love; you do not adore so much as embrace; His character enchants, subdues, o'erwhelms, and with the irresistible impulse of its own sacred attraction — it draws your spirit right up to Him. But still, love hath another argument why she loveth Christ, namely, Christ's love to her. One more reason does love give us yet more powerful still. Love feels that she must give herself to Christ, because of Christ's suffering for her. .This is love's logic. I may well stand here and defend the believer's love to his Lord. I wish I had more to defend than I have. I dare stand here and defend the utmost extravagancies of speech, and the wildest fanaticisms of action, when they have been done for love to Christ. I say again, I only wish I had more to defend in these degenerate times. Has a man given up all for Christ? I will prove him wise if he has given up for such an one as Christ is. Has a man died for Christ? I write over his epitaph that he surely was no fool who had but the wisdom to give up his heart for one who had His heart pierced for him.
III. Rhetoric is good, logic is better, but A POSITIVE DEMONSTRATION is the best. Let the world see that this is not a mere label to you — a label for something that does not exist, but that Christ really is to you "Him whom your soul loves."
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath 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.