My Dear Friends,
Sometimes reading a Puritan author can take you into another world. The Puritans are not always the easiest of men to read, though the difficulty is often over-hyped. However, this month’s pastoral letter is essentially an extract from the Works of John Owen, Vol.2.77-78. He has been expounding the Christian’s communion with Christ, showing from the Song of Songs how surpassingly excellent he is. Owen wants us to see and to feel the grace and loveliness of our Saviour. Take the time to read the lengthy piece and see if your heart and mind are not amazed at the escalating loveliness of the Lord Christ as Owen takes us on a tour of his excellencies.
Jesus Christ is, writes Owen,
Lovely in his person, - in the glorious all-sufficiency of his Deity, gracious purity and holiness of his humanity, authority and majesty, love and power.
Lovely in his birth and incarnation; when he was rich, for our sakes becoming poor, - taking part of flesh and blood, because we partook of the same; being made of a woman, that for us he might be made under the law, even for our sakes.
Lovely in the whole course of his life, and the more than angelical holiness and obedience which, in the depth of poverty and persecution, he exercised therein; - doing good, receiving evil; blessing, and being cursed, reviled, reproached, all his days.
Lovely in his death; yea, therein most lovely to sinners; - never more glorious and desirable than when he came broken, dead, from the cross. Then had he carried all our sins into a land of forgetfulness; then had he made peace and reconciliation for us; then had he procured life and immortality for us.
Lovely in his whole employment, in his great undertaking, - in his life, death, resurrection, ascension; being a mediator between God and us, to recover the glory of God’s justice, and to save our souls, - to bring us to an enjoyment of God, who were set at such an infinite distance from him by sin.
Lovely in the glory and majesty wherewith he is crowned. Now he is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; where, though he be terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love, and compassion, towards his beloved ones.
Lovely in all those supplies of grace and consolations, in all the dispensations of his Holy Spirit, whereof his saints are made partakers.
Lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom, which he exercises in the protection, safe-guarding, and delivery of his church and people, in the midst of all the oppositions and persecutions whereunto they are exposed.
Lovely in all his ordinances, and the whole of that spiritually glorious worship which he hath appointed to his people, whereby they draw nigh and have communion with him and his Father.
Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he taketh, and will finally execute, upon the stubborn enemies of himself and his people.
Lovely in the pardon he hath purchased and doth dispense, - in the reconciliation he hath established, - in the grace he communicates, - in the consolations he doth administer, - in the peace and joy he gives his saints, - in his assured preservation of them unto glory.
What shall I say? There is no end of his excellencies and desirableness; - “He is altogether lovely. This is our beloved, and this is our friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
This indeed is our Beloved. Consider him.
With my warmest greetings as ever