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Firft, That it excludes all unlovelinefs, and diftaftefulness, from Jefus Chrift. So + Vatablus; "There is nothing in him "which is not amiable:" The excellencies of Jefus Chrift are perfectly exclufive of all their oppofites; there is nothing of a contrary nature, or quality found in him, to alloy, or debale his excellency. And in this refpect Chrift infinitely tranfcends the most excellent and lovelieft creatures. For whatsoever loveliness is found in them, it is not without a distasteful tang; the fairest pictures must have their shadows: The most orient, and tranfplendent ftones, muft have their foils to fet off their beauty; the beft creature is but a bitter fweet, at beft: If there be somewhat "pleafing, there is alfo fomewhat diftafting; if there be gracious and natural excellencies in the fame perfon, to delight us, yet there is, alfo, fome natural corruption intermixed with it, to dif taste us. But it is not fo in our altogether lovely Chrift; his excellencies are pure, and unmixed; he is a fea of sweetness, without, one drop of gall.
Secondly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) as there is nothing unlovely found in him, fo all that is in him is wholly lovely; as every ray of God is precious, fo every thing that is in Chrift is precious: Who can weigh Christ in a pair of balances, and tell you what his worth is?"His price is above rubies, and all that thou "canft defire is not to be compared with him," Prov. viii. 11.
Thirdly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) He is comprehenfive of all things that are lovely; he feals up the fum of all loveliness: Quae faciunt divifa beatum, in hoc mixta fluunt; Things that thine as fingle stars, with a particular glory, all meet in Chrift, as a glorious conftellation. Col. i. 19. "It pleafed the Father "that in him fhould all fulness dwell." Caft your eyes among all created beings, furvey the univerfe, obferve ftrength in one, beauty in a fecond, faithfulness in a third, wifdom in a fourth; but you fhall find none excelling in them all, as Chrift doth. Bread hath one quality, water another, raiment another, phyfic another; but none hath all in itself, as Chrift hath: He is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a garment to the naked, healing to the wounded; and whatever a foul can defire, is found in him, I Cor. i. 30.
Fourthly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) Nothing is lovely in oppofition to him, or in feparation from him. If he be altogether lovely, then whatsoever is oppofite to, or feparate from him, can
+ Nihil in eo quod non eft amabile.
The more excellent he is, the more is he to be fought after by earnest prayers and defires. Brightman.
have no lovelinefs in it; take away Chrift, and where is the loveliness of any enjoyment? The best creature-comfort out of Chrift, is but a broken ciftern; it cannot hold one drop of true comfort, Pfal. lxxiii. 26. It is with the creature, the sweetest and loveliest creature, as with a beautiful image in the glass: turn away the face, and where is the image? Riches, honours, and comfortable relations, are sweet, when the face of Chrift fmiles upon us through them; but without him, what empty trifles are they all?
Fifthly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) Tranfcending all created excellencies, in beauty and lovelinefs; fo much it fpeaks. If you compare Chrift and other things, be they never fo lovely, never fo excellent, and defirable; Chrift carries away all lovelinefs from them: "He is (faith the apoftle) before all things,' Col. i. 17. Not only before all things, in time, nature and order; but before all things, in dignity, glory, and true excellency: In all things he must have the pre-eminence. For let us but compare Chrift's excellency with the creatures, in a few particu lars, and how evidently will the tranfcendent lovelinefs of Jefus Christ appear! For,
First, All other loveliness is derivative and secondary; but the loveliness of Chrift is original and primary. Angels and men, the world, and all the desirables in it, receive what excel. ency they have from him; they are streams from the fountain : But as the waters, in the fountain itself, are more abundant; fo more pure and pleasant than the streams: And the farther any thing departs and is removed from its fountain and original, the lefs excellency there is in it.
Secondly, The loveliness and excellency of all other things, is but relative, and refpective, confifting in its reference to Chrift, and fubferviency to his glory; but Chrift is lovely, confidered abfolutely in himself: He is defirable for himself, other things
are fo for him.
Thirdly, The beauty and loveliness of all other things, is fading and perishing; but the loveliness of Chrift is fresh to all eternity: the fweetness of the beft creatures is a fading flower; if not before, yet certainly at death, it muft fade away. Job iv. 21. "Doth not their excellency, which is in them, go away?" Yes, yes, whether natural excellencies of the body, or acquired endowments of the mind, lovely features, amiable qualities, attracting Tt 2
Dulcius ex ipfo fonte bibuntur aqua. Waters drink more pleafantly from the fountain itself.
excellencies; all thefe, like pleasant flowers, are withered, faded, and deftroyed, by death; but Chrift is ftill the fame, yefter"day, to day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8.
Fourthly, The beauty and lovelinefs of creatures are ensnaring, and dangerous; a man may make an idol thereof, and dote, beyond the bounds of moderation, upon them; but there is not danger of excefs in the love of Chrift: The foul is then in the healthieft frame and temper, when it is molt fick of love to Chrift,
Cant. v. 8.
Fifthly, The loveliness of every creature is of a cloying and glutting nature; our eftimation of it abates, and finks by our nearer approach to it, or longer enjoyment of it; creatures, like pictures, are faireft at a due diftance: but it is not fo with Chrift; the nearer the foul approacheth him, and the longer it lives in the enjoyment of him, ftill the more fweet and defirable is he.
Sixthly, and Laftly, All other lovelinefs is unfatisfying, and ftraitening to the foul of man; there is not room enough in any one, or in all the creatures, for the foul of man to dilate and expatiate itself; but it ftill feels itfelf confined, and narrowed within thofe ftrait limits *: And this comes to pafs from the inadequatenefs, and unfuitablenefs of the creature, to the nobler and more excellent foul of man; which like a fhip in a narrow river, hath not room to turn; and, befides, is ever, and anon, ftriking ground, and foundering in thofe fhallows. But jefus Chrift is every way adequate to the vaft defires of the foul; in him it hath fea room enough; there it may spread all its fails, no fear of touching the bottom. And thus you fee what is the importance of this phrafe, Altogether lovely.
Secondly, Next I promised to fhew you in what respects Je fus Chrift is altogether lovely. And,
First, He is altogether lovely in his perfon; a Deity dwel ling in flesh, John i. 14. The wonderful union and perfection of the divine and human nature in Chrift, render him an object of admiration, and adoration to angels and men, 1 Tim. iii. 16. God never prefented to the world fuch a vifion of glory before And then, confider how the human nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift is replenished with all the graces of the Spirit, fo as never
*Unus Pellao juveni non fufficit orbis;
Eftuar infelix angufio in limite mundi.
One world is not fufficient for the Macedonian youth; (viz. Alex; ander) he frets for being confined within the narrow boundary of the world.
any of all the faints was filled; O how lovely doth this render him! John iii. 34. "God giveth not the Spirit by measure un
to him" This makes him fairer than the children of men, grace being poured into his lips, Pfal. xlv. 2. If a small mea fure of grace in the faints, makes them fich fweet and defirable companions; what must the riches and fuluefs of the Spirit of grace, filling Jefus Chrift without measure, make him in the eyes of believers? Ô what a glory and a lustre must it stamp upon him!
Secondly, He is altogether lovely in his offices: for let us but confider the fuitablenets, fulness, and comfortablenefs of them. Firft, The fuitablenefs of the offices of Chrift to the miferies and wants of men; and we cannot but adore the infinite wifdom of God in his inveftiture with them; we are, by nature, blind and ignorant, at best but groping in the dim light of nature after God, Acts xvii. 27: Jefus Chrift is a light to lighten the Gentiles, Ifa. xlix. 6. When this great prophet came into the world, then did the day-fpring from on high vifit us, Luke i. 78. The ftate of nature is a fate of alienation from, and en mity against God; Chrift comes into the world an attoning facrifice, making peace by the blood of his crofs, Col. i. 20. All the world, by nature, are in bondage and captivity to Satan, a Lamentable thraldom; Christ comes, with a kingly power, to rescue finners, as a prey from the mouth of the terrible one.
Secondly, Let the fulness of his offices be also confidered, by reafon whereof he is able" to fave to the uttermoft, all that
come to God by him," Heb. vii. 25. The three offices, comprifing in them all that our fouls do need, become an univerfal relief to all our wants; and therefore,
Thirdly, Unfpeakably comfortable muff the offices of Chrift be to the fouls of finners. If light be pleafant to our eyes, how pleasant is that light of life fpringing from the Sun of righteouf nefs! Mal. iv. 2. If a pardon be sweet to a condemned malefactor, how fweet must the sprinkling the blood of Jefus be to the trembling confcience of a law-condemned finner? If a rescue from a cruel tyrant be fweet to a poor captive, how sweet must it be to the ears of enslaved finners, to hear the voice of liberty and deliverance proclaimed by Jefus Chrift? Out of the feveral offices of Chrift, as out of fo many fountains, all the promises of the new covenant flow, as fo many foul-refreshing ftreams of peace and joy all the promises of illumination, counfel and direction flow out of the prophetical office; all the promises of re conciliation, peace, pardon and acceptation flow out of the priefly office, with the fweet streams of joy, and spiritual com
forts depending thereupon: all the promises of converting, increafing, defending, directing, and fupplying grace, flow out of the kingly office of Chrift; indeed, all promiles may be reduced to the three offices: fo that Jefus Christ must needs be altogether lovely in his offices.
Thirdly, Jefus Chrift is altogether lovely in his relations. First, He is a lovely Redeemer. Ifa. Ixi. 1. He came to open the prifon-doors to them that are bound. Needs muft this Redeemer be a lovely one, if we confider the depth of mifery from which he redeemed us, even "from the wrath to come,"
Theff. i. 10. How lovely was Titus, in the eyes of the poor
enthralled Greeks, whom he delivered from their bondage! this endeared him to them unto that degree, that when their liberty was proclaimed, they even trod one another to death to fee the herald that proclaimed it; and all the night following, with inftruments of mufic, danced about his tent, crying with united voices," a Saviour, a Saviour." Or, whether we confider the numbers redeemed, and the means of their redemption. Rev. v. 9." And they fang a new fong, faying, Thou art worthy to "take the book, and to open the feals thereof: for thou waft "flain, and haft redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of eve
ry kindred and tongue, and people, and nation." He redeemed us not with filver and gold, but with his own precious blood, by way of price, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. with his out-ftretched and glorious arm, by way of power, Col. i. 13. he redeemed us freely, Eph. i. 7. fully, Rom. viii. 1. feafonably, Gal. iv. 4. and out of fpecial and peculiar love, John.xvii. 9. In a word, he hath redeemed us for ever, never more to come into bondage, 1 Pet. i. 5. John x. 28. O how lovely is Jefus Chrift in the relation of a Redeemer to God's elect!
Secondly, He is a lovely bridegroom to all that he espouses to himself. How doth the church glory in him, in the words following in my text; "This is my Beloved, and this is my "Friend, O ye daughters of Jerufalem !" q. d. Heaven and earth cannot fhew fuch another: which needs no fuller proof than the following particulars.
First, That he espouses to himself, in mercy and in lovingkindness, fuch deformed, defiled, and altogether unworthy fouls as we are; who have no beauty, no excellency to make us defirable in his eyes: all the fprings of his love to us are in his own breast, Deut. vii. 7, he chufeth us, not because we were, but that he might make us lovely, Eph. v. 27. he paffed by us when we lay in our blood, and faid unto us, Live; and that was the time of love, Ezek. xvi. 5.