I am black, but lovely!

(Henry Law, "The Song of Solomon" 1879)

"I am black, but lovely!" Song of Solomon 1:5

The believer 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!"