13. The Excellencies of Christ

 •  13 min. read  •  grade level: 6
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Oh! Christ He is the Fountain,
The deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above:
There, to an ocean fullness,
His mercy Both expand,
And glory―glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
“Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” ―Psalm 73:2525Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. (Psalm 73:25)
“What is thy Beloved more than another?... My Beloved is... the chiefest among ten thousand.... He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my friend.”
Christ and His Fullness
Who knoweth how far it is to the bottom of our Christ’s fullness, and to the ground of our heaven? Who ever weighed Christ in a pair of balances? Who hath seen the foldings and plies, and the heights and depths of that glory which is in Him, and kept for us?
He is every way higher, and deeper, and broader than the shallow and ebb handbreadth of my short and dim light can take up; and, therefore, I would that my heart could be silent, and sit down in the learnedly ignorant wondering at the Lord, whom men and angels cannot comprehend. I know that the noonday light of the highest angels, who see Him face to face, seeth not the borders of His infiniteness. They apprehend God near hand; but they cannot comprehend Him.... Oh, let this bit of love of ours, this inch and half-span length of heavenly longing, meet with Thy infinite Love! Oh, if the little I have were swallowed up with the infiniteness of that excellency which is in Christ!... Our wants should soon be swallowed up with His fullness.
Christ and His Excellencies
“Come and see” maketh Christ to be known in His excellency and glory.... It is little to see Christ in a book, as men do the world in a card. They talk of Christ by the book and the tongue, and no more; but to come nigh Christ, and hause1 Him, and embrace Him, is another thing.
Look into those depths (without a bottom) of loveliness, sweetness, beauty, excellency, glory, goodness, grace, and mercy, that are in Christ; and ye shall then cry down the whole world, and all the glory of it, even when it is come to the summer bloom; and ye shall cry, “Up with Christ, up with Christ’s Father, up with eternity of glory!”
Christ and His Love
His love hath neither brim nor bottom; His love is like Himself, it passeth all natural understanding. I go to fathom it with my arms; but it is as if a child would take the globe of sea and land in his two short arms.
They are happy evermore who are over head and ears in the love of Christ, and know no sickness but love-sickness for Christ, and feel no pain but the pain of an absent and hidden Well-beloved. We run our souls out of breath and tire them, in coursing and galloping after our night-dreams (such are the rovings of our miscarrying hearts), to get some created good thing in this life, and on this side of death. We would fain stay and spin out a heaven to ourselves, on this side of the water; but sorrow, want, changes, crosses, and sin are both woof and warp in that ill-spun web. Oh, how sweet and dear are those thoughts that are still upon the things that are above! and how happy are they who are longing to have little sand in their glass, and to have time’s thread cut, and can cry to Christ, “Lord Jesus, have over; come and fetch the dreary passenger!” I wish that our thoughts were more frequently than they are upon our country. Oh, but heaven casteth a sweet smell afar off to those who have spiritual smelling! God hath made many fair flowers; but the fairest of them all is heaven, and the Flower of all flowers is Christ.... Alas, that there is such a scarcity of love, and of lovers, to Christ amongst us all! Fy, fy, upon us, who love fair things, as fair gold, fair houses, fair lands, fair pleasures, fair honors, and fair persons, and do not pine and melt away with love to Christ!... If those frothy, fluctuating, and restless hearts of ours would come all about Christ, and look into His love, to bottomless love, to the depth of mercy, to the unsearchable riches of His grace, to inquire after and search into the beauty of God in Christ, they would be swallowed up in the depth and height, length and breadth of His goodness.... God send me no more, for my part of paradise, but Christ: and surely I were rich enough, and as well heavened as the best of them, if Christ were my heaven.
Hiding of His face is wise love. His love is not fond, doating, and reasonless.... Nay, His bairns must often have the frosty cold side of the hill, and set down both their bare feet among the thorns. His love hath eyes, and, in the meantime, is looking on. Our pride must have winter weather to rot it.... The seasick passenger shall come to land; Christ will be the first to meet you on the shore.... Keep the King’s highway. Go on (in the strength of the Lord), in haste, as if ye had not leisure to speak to the innkeepers by the way. He is over beyond time, on the other side of the water, who thinketh long for you.
Put Christ’s love to the trial, and put upon it our burdens, and then it will appear love indeed. We employ not His love, and therefore we know it not.
Would to God that all cold-blooded, faint-hearted soldiers of Christ would look again to Jesus, and to His love; and when they look, I would have them to look again and again, and fill themselves with beholding of Christ’s beauty; and I dare say then that Christ would come into great court and request with many.... But when I have spoken of Him, till my head rive, I have said just nothing.... Set ten thousand thousand new-made worlds of angels and elect men, and double them in number, ten thousand, thousand, thousand times; let their heart and tongues be ten thousand thousand times more agile and large, than the heart and tongues of the seraphim that stand with six wings before Him, when they have said all for the glorifying and praising of the Lord Jesus, they have but spoken little or nothing; His love will abide all possible creatures’ praise.... I am confounded with His incomparable love, and that He doth so great things for my soul, and hath got never yet anything of me worth the speaking of.
Running-over love (that vast, huge, boundless love of Christ) is the only thing I most fain would be in hands with. He knoweth that I have little but the love of that love; and that I shall be happy, suppose I never get another heaven but only an eternal, lasting feast of that love. But suppose my wishes were poor, He is not poor: Christ, all the seasons of the year, is dropping sweetness. If I had vessels, I might fill them; but my old, riven, and running-out dish, even when I am at the Well, can bring little away. Nothing but glory will make tight and fast our leaking and rifty vessels.
I want nothing but ways of expressing Christ’s love. A full vessel would have a vent.... Oh! it is a pity that there were not many imprisoned for Christ, were it for no other purpose than to write books and love songs of the love of Christ. This love would keep all created tongues of men and angels in exercise, and busy night and day to speak of it. Alas! I can speak nothing of it, but wonder at three things in His love: First, freedom. O that lumps of sin should get such love for nothing! Secondly, the sweetness of His love. I give over either to speak or write of it; but those that feel it, may better bear witness what it is. But it is so sweet, that, next to Christ Himself, nothing can match it.... And, thirdly, what power and strength are in His love!... it can climb a steep hill; and swim through water and not drown; and sing in the fire and find no pain; and triumph in losses, prisons, sorrows, exile, disgrace, and laugh and rejoice in death.... Oh, when will we get our day, and heart’s fill of that love!... O time, time! how dost thou torment the souls of those that would be swallowed up of Christ’s love, because thou movest so slowly!... I know it is far after noon, and nigh the marriage-supper of the Lamb; the table is covered already. O Well-beloved, run, run fast! O fair day, when wilt thou dawn! O shadows, flee away!
Oh, that our souls would so fall at odds with the love of this world, as to think of it as a traveler Both of a drink of water, which is not any part of his treasure, but goeth away with the using! for ten miles’ journey maketh that drink to him as nothing. Oh, that we had as soon done with this world, and could as quickly dispatch the love of it! But as a child cannot hold two apples in his little hand, but the one putteth the other out of its room, so neither can we be masters and lords of two loves. Blessed were we, if we could make ourselves master of that invaluable treasure, the love of Christ; or rather suffer ourselves to be mastered and subdued to Christ’s love, so as Christ were our “all things,” and all other things our nothings, and the refuse of our delights.
His love came upon a withered creature, whether I would or not; and yet by coming it procured from me a welcome. A heart of iron, and iron doors, will not hold Christ out. I give Him leave to break iron locks and come in, and that is all.
Keep yourself in the love of Christ, and stand far back from the pollutions of the world.
My prayer to our Lord is, that ye may be sick of love for Him, who died of love for you―I mean your Savior Jesus. And O sweet were that sickness to be soul-sick for Him!
Christ, the Same
Jesus, who upon earth ate and drank with publicans and sinners, and spake with harlots, and put up His holy hand and touched the leper’s filthy skin, and came evermore nigh sinners, even now in glory, is yet the same Lord. His honor and His great court in heaven hath not made Him forget His poor friends on earth. In Him honors change not manners, and He doth yet desire your company.
Our love to Him should begin on earth, as it shall be in heaven; for the bride taketh not, by a thousand degrees, so much delight in her wedding garment as she doth in her bridegroom; so we, in the life to come, howbeit clothed with glory as with a robe, shall not be so much affected with the glory that goeth about us, as with the bridegroom’s joyful face and presence.
Love would have the company of the party loved; and my greatest pain is the want of Him, not of His joys and comforts, but of a near union and communion.
Christ Beyond Compare
Keep your first love with Jesus, fairer than all the children of men.... There is none like Him; I would not exchange one smile of His lovely face with kingdoms. Let others take their silly, feckless heaven in this life. Envy them not; but let your soul... cast at all things and disdain them, except one only: either Christ or nothing.
I know not a thing worth the buying but heaven; and my own mind is, if comparison were made betwixt Christ and heaven, I would sell heaven with my blessing, and buy Christ.
The saints, at their best, are but strangers to the weight and worth of the incomparable sweetness of Christ.
Oh, what price can be given for Him. Angels cannot weigh Him. Oh, His weight, His worth, His sweetness, His over-passing beauty! If men and angels would come and look to that great and princely One, their ebbness could never take up His depth, their narrowness could never comprehend His breadth, height, and length. If ten thousand worlds of angels were created, they might all tire themselves in wondering at His beauty, and begin again to wonder.
O consider His loveliness and beauty, and that there is nothing which can commend and make fair heaven, or earth, or the creature, that is not in Him in infinite perfection; for fair sun and fair moon are black, and think shame to shine upon His fairness.2... Be homely, and hunger for a feast and fill of His love; for that is the borders and march of heaven. Nothing hath a nearer resemblance to the color, and hue, and luster of heaven than Christ loved, and to breathe out love-words and love-sighs for Him. Remember what He is. When twenty thousand millions of heaven’s lovers have worn their hearts threadbare of love, all is nothing, yea―less than nothing, to His matchless worth and excellency. Oh, so broad and so deep as the sea of His desirable loveliness is! Glorified spirits, triumphing angels, the crowned and exalted lovers of heaven, stand without His loveliness, and cannot put a circle on it.... I but spill and lose words in speaking highly of Him who will bide and be above the music and songs of heaven, and never be enough praised by us all.
The discourses of angels, or love-books written by the congregation of seraphim (all their wits being conjoined and melted into one), would forever be in the nether side of truth, and of plentifully declaring the thing as it is. The infiniteness, the boundlessness of that incomparable excellency that is in Jesus, is a great word.
If I had as many angels’ tongues as there have fallen drops of rain since the creation, or as there are leaves of trees in all the forests of the earth, or stars in the heaven, to praise, yet my Lord Jesus would ever be behind with me.
Put the beauty of ten thousand thousand worlds of paradises, like the garden of Eden, in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness, in one: oh, what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Oh, but Christ is heaven’s wonder, and earth’s wonder! What marvel that His bride saith, “He is altogether lovely!”
The Bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory,
But on my King of Grace―
Not at the crown He gifteth,
But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.