CHRIST “ALTOGETHER LOVELY”

In calling the Lord Jesus “altogether lovely,” the Church asserts that she sees nothing in Him which she does not admire. The world may rail at His cross and call it shameful; to her it is the very center and soul of glory. A proud and scornful nation might reject their King because of His manger cradle and peasant garb, but to her eye the Prince is glorious in this poor apparel. He is never without beauty to her; never is His visage marred or his glory stained. She presses His pierced feet to her bosom and looks upon their wounds as jewels. Fools stand by His cross and find full many a theme for jest and scorn; she discovers nothing but solemn reason for reverent adoration and unbounded love. Viewing Him in every office, position, and relationship, she cannot discover a flaw: in fact, the thought of imperfection is banished far away. She knows too well His perfect Godhead and His spotless manhood to offer a moment’s shelter to the thought of a blemish in His immaculate person; she abominates every teaching that debases Him; she spurns the most gorgeous drapery that would obscure His beauteous features; yea, so jealous is she of His honor, that she will hear no spirit which does not witness to His praise. A hint against His undefiled conception or His unsullied purity would stir her soul to holy wrath, and speedy would be her execration, and relentless her execution of the heresy. Nothing has ever aroused the ire of the Church so sully as a word against her Head. To all true believers this is high treason and an offense which cannot be treated lightly. Jesus is without a single blot or blemish, “altogether lovely.” Yet this negative praise, this bold denial of fault, is far from representing the fullness of the loving admiration of the Church. Jesus is positively lovely in her eyes. Not barely comely, nor merely fair, His beauties are attracting beauties, and His glories are such as charm the heart. Love looks forth from those “eyes of doves… washed with milk, and fitly set”; it flows from those “lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh,” and it sparkles on those, hands which are full of “gold rings, set with the beryl.” But although this utterance of the Church is the very climax of the language of praise and was doubtless intended as the acme of all description, yet it is not possible that this one sentence, even when expanded by the most careful meditation, should be able to express more than a mere particle of the admiration felt. Like a son of Anak, the sentence towers above all others; but its stature fails to reach the towering height of Heaven-born love. It is but a faint symbol of unutterable affection, a choice pearl washed on shore from the deep seat of love.