(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
“How is your Beloved better than others?” Song of Songs 5:9
Does not our Friend as far excel all other friends . . .
as Heaven exceeds earth,
as eternity exceeds time,
as the Creator surpasses His creatures?
See all the fullness of the Godhead–dwelling in One who is as meek and mild as a child.
See His countenance beaming with ineffable glories–full of mingled majesty, condescension and love.
Hear the soul-reviving invitations and gracious words which proceed from His lips.
See that hand in which dwells everlasting strength–swaying the scepter of universal empire over all creatures and all worlds.
See His arms expanded to receive and embrace returning sinners.
While His heart, a bottomless, shoreless ocean of benevolence–overflows with tenderness, compassion, and love.
Such, O sinner, is our Beloved–and such is our Friend.
Will you not then embrace Him as your Friend? If you can be persuaded to do this–you will find that half, nay, that the thousandth part has not been told to you!
All the excellency, glory and beauty which is found in men or angels, flows from Christ–as a drop of water from the ocean, or a ray of light from the sun.
If, then, you supremely love the creature–can you wonder that Christians should love the Creator! Can you wonder that those who behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, should be sweetly drawn to Him by the cords of love, and lose their fondness for created glories? All that you love and admire and wish for in creatures, and indeed infinitely more–they find in Him!
Do you wish for a friend possessed of power to protect you?
Our Friend possesses all power in Heaven and earth, and is able to save even to the uttermost!
Do you wish for a wise friend?
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Do you wish for a tender, compassionate friend?
Christ is tenderness and compassion itself.
Do you wish for a faithful, unchangeable friend?
With Christ there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
His unchangeable love will ever prompt Him to make His people happy!
His unerring wisdom will point out the best means to promote their happiness!
His infinite power will enable Him to employ those means.
In all these respects, our Beloved is more than any other beloved!