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John Owen Picture

October 2011

 from  John Owen

John Owen (1616-1683) is widely regarded as a prince among the Puritans. He studied at Oxford University, where later in his life he was appointed Vice-Chancellor. His writings fill many volumes, still in print and read today. The second volume of his Works treats Communion with God. In the course of this treatise, Owen opens up the second part of chapter 5 of the Song of Songs. The following extract deals with the description of the Lord Jesus Christ in 5:16 as ‘altogether lovely’.

  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 has appointed to his people, whereby they draw nigh and have communion with him and his Father.
  Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he takes, and will finally execute, upon the stubborn enemies of himself and his people.
  Lovely in the pardon he has purchased and dispenses, in the reconciliation he has established, in the grace he communicates, in the consolations he administers, 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’.