His mouth is most sweet: yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
We apply these words to the Lord Jesus Christ, and affirm that they are true of him. May he grant us grace to see that they are so! And we remark -
I. THAT WHETHER WE BELIEVE THEM OR NOT, THEY ARE ASSUREDLY TRUE. All generations have confessed them true. The hero of one age is not the hero of another; but Christ is the Beloved of all ages. Abraham saw his "day and was glad." Prophets and psalmists beheld him, and to them all it was a beatific vision. They sang of him as "fairer than the children of men;" they exhausted all imagery of beauty and delight to tell of him. And since he came, apostles, martyrs, and generation after generation of those who have loved and toiled, and often died, for him, have confessed the truth of our text. And today myriads of souls are aglow with love to him, and gladly take up the same confession. "The goodly fellowship of the prophets, the glorious company of the apostles, the noble army of martyrs, the holy Church throughout all the world, doth acknowledge" him. And so will all ranks and classes of men. The rich and the poor, the lofty and the low, have met together in this confession. And all ages, the young and the old. And all lands, north, south, east, and west. And all characters and dispositions. See how varied the characters of those who gathered round our Lord, and of the saints of the Bible, and of all ages. And seen in all aspects, he still receives the same confession. As a child, as a man, as a teacher, as a sufferer, in his death, in his resurrection, in his intercession for us in heaven. With the choicest works of art, with the fairest scenes of nature, with the most glorious buildings that men have reared, all depends on the point of view from which we behold them. Seen from the right standpoint, they are beautiful and glorious; seen from another, they excite no admiration, they may appear the reverse of beautiful. And so with the characters of men. They may be excellent in some things, but the best of men are but men at the best. There are faults and flaws in the fairest human soul. But with our Lord, see him how, when, and whence we may, to the heart that loves him he is still "altogether lovely." The testimony has come from every quarter, from every age; it is full, clear, complete, varied, reiterated, and has been tested and tried and found true always and everywhere. The holiest saints gaze on the perfect loveliness of their Lord as the one model to which they would be conformed, but from which they own they are far removed. His enemies themselves being judges confess that "they find no fault in him." He is as a lamb without blemish and without spot. But, alas! to many he is not this; they see in him no form or comeliness, no beauty that they should desire him. Therefore we say of these words of our text -
II. THAT SINCE THEY ARE TRUE WE OUGHT TO SEE THEM TO BE TRUE. If beautiful music, or works of art, or scenes in nature, do not impress men with their beauty, we pity such persons, we deem them lacking in a great good. And if they have no appreciation of moral beauty, we do not merely pity, but we Blame. What, then, must we ray of those who fail to see any beauty in him who is "altogether lovely"? But what is it that hinders in any soul that fails to see in Christ what the holiest and best of men always and everywhere have seen in him? Well, if men will not look they will not see. And this is one hindrance. The portraiture of Christ is given perfectly in the Gospels, but if men will not look into them, read them, and consider them, what wonder that they fail to see? And to see him as altogether lovely, that demands that we look long and attentively, that we study the portraiture that is given, and that we seek to be rid of all that would hinder the truth of cur seeing. But these persons never do this. Moreover, to see him as he is, we must stay with him. You cannot know a fellow man by a short interview. To know a man you must live with him. And so if we would really know Christ and see him as his saints have seen him, we must live with him, keep in his company, commune with him and be in daily intercourse with him. And we must be in right relationship to him; we must serve him, for that is his due. And then as we work for him, his true character will dawn upon us more and more; and we, too, shall come to see him as altogether lovely. Therefore -
III. LET US RESOLVE THAT WE WILL THUS SEE HIM. To encourage us herein let us think of the results and recompenses of such beholding him. We shall come:
1. To resemble him. For we shall come to love him, and nothing so assimilates character as love.
2. To rejoice in him. Of common earthly things the well known line says, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." But of our Lord to behold him, it is the very joy of heaven. For there "they shall see his face."
3. Rest. The worries and frets of life will vanish in that beatific vision, like as even an unlovely landscape looks beautiful when the bright sun shines upon it. And so will it be with what is unlovely in life, that in itself irks and distresses us. If we see his face, if that vision of perfect loveliness shines before us, all will share more or less in that.
4. Reap for him, as never we did before. With our souls full of his love, even the stammering tongue will become eloquent, and our words will tell, and we shall wonder and rejoice to see how our children, our people, our friends and neighbours, listen to us and believe, and turn to him from whom we cannot and would not turn away. And at last we shall be:
5. Received by him into his own blessed presence, where we shall own that "the half was not told" us, and even the best of our seeing was but as through a glass, darkly. - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.