“Quod difficili intellectua, dilectabile inquisitu”

I thought it would be appropriate to start this blog series with a bit of Latin, seeing these pages were populated with Lorem Ipsum before we started to build the site. Lorem Ipsum is a corrupted version of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a first-century BC text by the Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed to make it nonsensical and improper Latin.

The above quote “Quod difficili intellectua, dilectabile inquisitu” translates loosely as “That which is hard to understand, is delightful to be dived into”. It’s a quote from Isaac Ambrose’s 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. 2. 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 have to admit that when Denise brought home a second-hand copy of the book, I wasn’t very enthusiastic. It looked a thick book with pretty 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.