Looking unto Jesus

“Quod difficili intellectua, dilectabile inquisitu”

The above quote “Quod difficili intellectua, dilectabile inquisitu” translates loosely as “That which is hard to understand, is delightful to be dived into”. It is a quote from Isaac Ambrose’s[1] puritan classic “Looking unto Jesus.”

“It is a worthy study to make farther and farther discovery of this blessed mystery ; and it were to be wished that all the ministers of Christ would spend themselves in the spelling, and reading, and understanding of it. Looking at some great point doth require the abilities of many scholars (and all little enough when joined together) to make a good discovery thereof: such is this high point, this holy, sacred, glorious mystery, worthy of the pains of all the learned ; and if they would all bring their notes together, and add all their studies together, (which I have in some measure endeavoured in the following treatise) they should find still but a little of this mystery known, in comparison of what remains, and is unknown ; only this they should know, Quod difficili intellectua , dilectabile inquisitu , (as Bernard said) “That which is hard to understand, is delightful to be dived into,” and so I found it. For the act of looking unto Jesus, as it is comprehensive of knowing, desiring, hoping, believing, loving, so also of joying ; how then should I but be filled with joy unspeakable and glorious, whilst I was studying, writing, and especially acting my soul in the exercise of this looking? If there be any duty on earth, resembling the duty of the saints in heaven, I dare say, this is it.”

I must admit that when I was given a second-hand copy of the book, I was not very enthusiastic. It looked a thick book with small print. However, after a few days I sort of reluctantly picked it up and started to read the Recommendation and the Introductory – “To the Reader” and became thoroughly hooked.

The subject matter is Jesus, so it’s inevitable that any lover of Jesus will enjoy the book, and will find that love grow as the pages encourage us to look and keep on looking unto Jesus, looking away from everything that distracts and detracts from the exhortation.

What really thrills me about Ambrose’s work is that he has segmented it into easily managed portions. His intention is that the reader would use it Morning and Evening during their devotions. So that over the course of about three months the whole work would be read. Genius! I thought.

I’ll quote Isaac Ambrose once more, “In this knowledge of Christ there is an excellency above all other knowledge in the world. There is nothing more pleasing and comfortable, more animating and enlivening. Christ is the sun and centre of all divine and revealed truths: we can preach nothing else as the object of our faith, which doth not some way or other either meet in Christ or refer to Christ. Only Christ is the whole of man’s happiness; the sun to enlighten him, the physician to heal him, the wall of fire to defend him, the friend to comfort him, the pearl to enrich him, the ark to support him, the rock to sustain him.”

[1] Isaac Ambrose (1604–1664)