by Charles H. Spurgeon

The Good Shepherdess
Charles H. Spurgeon
Song of Solomon 1:7-8

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? 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.

The bride was most unhappy and ashamed because her personal beauty had been sorely marred by the heat of the sun. The fairest among women had become swarthy as a sunburnt slave. Spiritually it is so full often with a chosen soul. The Lord's grace has made her fair to look upon, even as the lily; but she has been so busy about earthly things that the sun of worldliness has injured her beauty. The bride with holy shamefacedness exclaims, "Look not upon me, for I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me." She dreads alike the curiosity, the admiration, the pity, and the scorn of men, and turns herself alone to her Beloved, whose gaze she knows to be so full of love that her swarthiness will not cause her pain when most beneath His eye. This is one index of a gracious soul-that whereas the ungodly rush to and fro, and know not where to look for consolation, the believing heart naturally flies to its Well-beloved Savior, knowing that in Him is its only rest.

It would appear from the preceding verse that the bride was also in trouble about a certain charge which had been given to her, which burdened her, and in the discharge of which she had become negligent of herself. She says, "They made me the keeper of the vineyards," and she would wish to have kept them well, but she felt she had not done so, and that, moreover, she had failed in a more immediate duty-"Mine own vineyard have I not kept." Under this sense of double unworthiness and failure, feeling her omissions and her commissions to be weighing her down, she turned round to her Beloved and asked instruction at His hands. ...

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