“My beloved is white and ruddy.”—Song of Solomon 5:10
Pause, my soul, and contemplate thy Redeemer this morning under this engaging description of his person. It opens a delightful subject for meditation, in several points of view. Jesus is white and ruddy, if considered in his human nature only, He might be said to be white, in reference to the immaculate holiness of his body, underived as it was from a sinful stock like ours. He was born of the Virgin Mary by the miraculous conception of the Holy Ghost, and therefore emphatically called, that HOLY THING: agreeably to all which, his whole life was without sin or shadow of imperfection. “Such an High Priest become us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” Hence Jesus was truly white, as the Lamb of God, without blemish, and without spot. And was he not ruddy also, in his bloody sufferings, when his head was crowned with thorns, and his side pierced on the cross? Was he not ruddy in the garden, when his agony was so great as to force blood through all the pores of his sacred body, which fell in great drops on the ground. Behold, my soul, thy beloved in both these views, and say,—Is he not white and ruddy? But do not stop here. Look at him again, and contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Christ of God, in his two natures, divine and human, and say in the union of both—Is he not white and ruddy? What can set forth the glories of the Godhead to our apprehension more lovely than the purity of whiteness, which, as in the mount of transfiguration, became a brightness too dazzling for mortal sight to behold? And what can represent the human nature more strikingly than the ruddiness of the countenance? Adam, the first mall, takes his very name from hence; for Adam, or Adamah, signifies red earth. And such, then, was Jesus. And is he then, my soul, white and ruddy to thy view? And is he also thy beloved? Oh then, let him be thy morning, noon-day, evening, midnight meditation; and let him be sweet to thee, as he is to his church and people—the beloved who is white and ruddy?
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."