When once I had got a view of Christ's transcendent loveliness!
(Thomas Doolittle, "Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!" 1693)
The prophet Isaiah, speaking of graceless men as disliking, not desiring, nor loving Christ — brings them in as saying, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him!" Isaiah 53:2
What! No loveliness in Him who is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person!" Yes! there was, there is — but they had no eyes to see it! It is as if a blind man should say that the sun is dark, because he has no eyes to behold it's light. It was, because in seeing — they did not see. How could they look upon Him with an eye of love — when they did not discern Him with an eye of faith?
But a holy soul, whose eyes are divinely opened, so sees that superlative goodness, beauty, and excellency in Christ — that all other things, which are good with an inferior goodness, seem to him as dross and dung! "But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things! I consider them rubbish," things cast to dogs, or dog's-food, "that I may gain Christ!" Philippians 3:7-8
The holy man, whose mind is savingly enlightened, can say: I see that goodness in the Savior, which far surpasses all the goodness of the creature! Though the stars in the coldest night might be seen — yet when the sun arises, they all disappear. Just so, in the night of ignorance, when my mind was blind, my heart hard, and my affections frozen — I was bewitched with the goodness of riches, of honors, and of worldly pleasures. Yet when the Sun of righteousness with His radiant rays shined into my soul, and with His warming influences thawed my benumbed frozen heart — when Christ the day-star arose in my soul — then, O then, the glory of these things which once dazzled my eyes, presently vanished and withered away! When once I had got a view of Christ's transcendent loveliness — then in comparison to Christ, I saw . . .
an emptiness and vanity — in all the creature's fullness;
beggary — in all the world's nobility;
shame — in all the world's glory;
poverty — in all the world's riches;
the world's greatest resplendent luster — to be darkness;
the world's wisdom — to be folly;
the world's beauty — appeared to me no better than deformity!
Yes, the soul whose love is fixed upon Christ, sees the superlative goodness, beauty, and excellency in Christ.
"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16