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
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
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
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
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’.