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First, That it excludes all unloveliness, and distastefulness, from Jesus Christ. So + Vatablus ; " There is nothing in him " which is not amiable :” The excellencies of Jesus Christ are perfectly exclusive 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 respect Christ infinitely transcends the most excellent and loveliest creatures. For whatsoever loveliness is found in them, it is not without a distasteful tang; the fairelt pictures must have their fbadows : The most orient, and tranfplendent stones, must have their foils to set off their beauty; the best creature is but a bitter sweet, at best: If there be somewhat pleasing, there is also somewhat distasting ; if there be gracious and natural excellencies in the same perfon, to delight us, yet there is, also, fome natural corruption intermixed with it, to diltaste us.
But it is not so in our altogether lovely Christ ; his excellencies are pure, and vomixed; he is a sea of sweetness, without one drop of gall.
Secondły, Altogether lovely, (i.e.) as there is nothing unlove. ly found in him, to all that is in him is wholly lovely; as every ray of God is precious, so every thing that is in Christ 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 " canlt defire is not iu be compared with him,”. Prov. viii. 11.
Thirdly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) He is comprehensive of all things that are lovely; he feals up the sum of all loveliness : Quae faciunt divisa beatum, in hoc mixta fluunt; Things that thine as single stars, with a particular glory, all meet in Christ
, as a glorious constellation. Col. i. 19.
Col. i. 19. “It pleased the Father " that in him should all fulness dwell.” Caft your eyes among all created beings, furvey the univeric, oblerve Itrength in one, beauty in a second, faithfulness in a third, wisdom in a fourth ; but you shall find none excelling in them all, as Chrift doth. Bread hath one quality, water another, raiment another, physic another;
but none hath all in itself, as Christ 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 de fire, is found in him, i Cor. i. 30.
Fourthly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) Nothing is lovely in oppoption to him, or in feparation from him. If he lie altogether lovely, then whatsoever is oppofite to, or separate from him, can
+ Nihil'in eo quod non eft amabile.
I The more excellent he is, the more is he to be sought after by earnest prayers and desires. Brightman.
have no loveliness in it; take away Christ, and where is the loveliness of any enjoyment? The best creature-comfort out of Christ, is but a broken cistern ; it cannot hold one drop of true comfort, Psal. Ixxiii. 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 Christ smiles upon us through them; but without him, what empty trifles are they all ?
Fifthly, Altogether lovely, (i. e.) Transcending all created excellencies, in beauty and loveliness; so much it speaks. If you compare Christ and other things, be they never so lovely, never so excellent, and desirable; Christ carries away all loveliness from them : “ He is (faith che apostle) before all things,” Col. i. 17. Not only before all things, in time, nature and order ; but before all things, in digoity, glory, and true excellency: la all things he must have the pre-eminence. For let us but compare Christ's excellency with the creatures, in a few particu. lars, and how evidently will the transcendent loveliness of Jesus Christ appear! For,
, First, All other loveliness is derivative and secondary; but the loveliness of Christ 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; fu more pure and I pleasant than the streams : And the farther any thing departs and is removed from its fountain and original, the less excellency there is in it.
Secondly, The loveliness and excellency of all other things, is but relative, and respective, consisting in its reference to Christ, and fubferviency to his glory ; but Christ is lovely, considered absolutely in himself: He is desirable for himself, other things are so for him.
Thirdly, The beauty and loveliness of all other things, is fad. ing and perishing; but the loveliness of Christ is fresh, to all eteroity: the sweetness of the best creatures is a fading flower; if pot before, yet certainly at death, it must fade away. Job iv. 21. " Doth not their excellency, which is in them, go away!" Yes, yes, whether patural excellencies of the body, or acquired endowments of the mind, lovely features, amiable qualities, attractiog
Dulcius ex ipfo fonte bibuntur aque. Waters drink more pleaSanuy from the fountain itself.
excellencies ; all these, like pleasant flowers, are withered, faded, and destroyed, by death ; " but Christ is fill the same, yelter
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 dorę, be yond the bounds of moderation, upon them ; but there is no danger of excels in the love of Chritt: The foul is then in the healthiest 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 estimation of it abates, and sinks by our pearer approach to it, or longer enjoyment of it; creatures, like pictures, are faireft at a due distance : but it is not fo with Chrift; the nearer the soul approacheth him, aod the longer it lives in the enjoyment of him, fill the more Iweet and defirable is he.
Sixthly, and Lastly, All other loveliness is unsatisfying, and ftraitening to the foul of man; there is not room cough in any one, or in all the creatures, for the soul of man to dilare and expatiate itself; but it Bill feels itself confined, and narrowed within those strait limits * : And this comes to pass from the inadequateness, and upsuitableness of the creature, to the nobler and more excellent foul of man ; which like a ship in a narrow river, hath not room to turn; and, besides, is ever, Striking ground, and foundering in those shallows. But Jefus Christ is every way adequate to the vast desires of the soul; in him it hath fea room enough ; there it may spread all its fails, po fear of touching the bottom. And thus you see what is the importance of this phrase, Altogether lovely.
Secondly, Next I promised to shew you in what respects je sus Christ is altogether lovely. And,
First, He is altogether lovely in his person ; a Deity dwel. ling in flesh, John i. 14. The wonderful union and perfection of the divine and human nature in Christ, render him an object of admiration, and adoration to angels and men, 1 Tim. iii. 16, God never presented to the world such a vision of glory before ; And then, consider how the human nature of our Lord Jesus Christ is replenished with all the graces of the Spirit, so as never
* Unus Pellaa juveni non fufficit orbis;
Æftuat infælix angufto in limite inundi. One world is not sufficient for the Macedonian youth; (viz. Alex, ander) he frets for being confined within the narrow boundary of the world.
any of all the saints was filled ; O how lovely doth this render him! John iii. 3.4. “God giveth not the Spirit by measure un“ to him:" This makes hin fairer than the children of men, grace being poured into his lips, Psal. xlv. 2. If a small mea. sure of grace in the faigts, makes them such sweet and desirable companions; what must the riches and foluels of the Spirit of grace, filling Jesus Christ without measure, make him in the eyes of believers ? O what a glory and a lustre must it stamp up
Secondly, He is altogether lovely in his offices : for let us bot consider the suitablenels, fulness, and comfortabledels of them.
First, The suitableness of the offices of Christ to the miseries and wants of men, and we cannot but adore the infipite wisdom of God in his investiture with them; we are, by nature, blind and ignorant, at best but groping in the dim light of nature after God, Acts xvii. 27: Jesus Christ 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 visit us, Luke i. 78. The state of nature is a late of alienation from, and ens mily against God; Chrift comes into the world an attoning fa. crifice, making peace by the blood of his crois, Col. i. 20. All the world, by nature, are io bondage and captivity to Satan, a lamentable thraldom; Christ comes, with a kingly power, to rescue sioners, as a prey from the mouth of the terrible one.
Secondly, Let the fulness of his offices be also confidered, by reason whereof he is able " to fave to the uttermolt, all that
come to God by him," Heb. vii. 25. The three offices, com prising in them all that our fouls do need, become ad univerfal relief to all our wants; and therefore,
Thirdly, Uospeakably comfortable must the offices of Christ be to the souls of finners. If light be pleafant to our eyes, how pleasant is that light of life springing from the Sun of righteousnefs ! Mal. iv. 2. If a pardon be sweet to a condemned inalefactor, how sweet muft the sprinkling the blood of Jelus be to the trembling conscience of a law-condemned Ginner? If a rescue from a cruel tyrant be sweet to a poor captive, how sweet must it be to the ears of enslaved fingers, to hear the voice of liberty and deliverance proclaimed by Jesus Chrift? Out of the feverat offices of Christ, 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, countel and die rection flow out of the prophetical office; all the promises of re. conciliation, peace, pardon and acceptation Aow out of the priestly office, with the sweet Streams of joy, and spiritual com:
forts depending thereupon: all the promises of converting, incrcasing, defending, directing, and supplying grace, fluw out of the kingly office of Chrift; indeed, all promiles may be reduced to the three offices : so that Jesus Christ must needs be altogether lovely in his offices.
Thirdly, Jelus Christ is altogether lovely in his relations.
First, He is a lovely Redeemer. Ifa. Ixi, 1. He came to open the prilon-doors to them that are bound. Needs must this Redeemer be a lovely one, if we consider the depth of misery from which he redeemed us, even “ from the wrath to come,” i Thess. 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 uoto that degree, that when their liberty was proclaimed, they even trod one another to deaiki to see the herald that proclaimed it; and all the night followiog, with instruments of music, danced about his tent, crying with united voices, “a Saviour, a Saviour." Or, whether we consider the numbers redeemed, and the means of their redernption. Rev. vi 9. “ And they faog a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to “ take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou walt “ Nain, and halt redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of eve
ry kindred and tongue, and people, and nation.” He redeemed us not with silver and gold, but with his owo precious blood, by way of price, i 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. Jeasonably, Gal. iv. 4: and out of special 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 Jesus Christ 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 texı; “ This is my Beloved, and this is my
Friend, o ye daughters of Jerusalem!" 9.d. Heaven and earth cannot shew such aaother : 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 up worthy fouls as we are ; who have no beauty, no excellency to make us desirable in his eyes : all the springs of his love to us are in his own brealt, Deut. vii. 7. he chuseth us, not because we were, but that he might make us lovely, Eph. v. 27. he passed by us, when we lay in our blood, and said unto us, Live; and that was the time of love, Ezek. xvi. 5..