by John Flavel
This is the unabridged version of this text, taken from the first part of Flavel's The Fountain of Life.
The excelling glory of Jesus Christ dazzles all apprehension, swallows up all expression. When we have borrowed metaphors from every creature that has any excellency or lovely property in it, until we have stripped the whole creation bare of all its ornaments, and clothed Christ with all that glory; when we have even worn out our tongues, in ascribing praises to him, alas! we have done nothing, when all is done. Yes, woe is me! how do I every day behold reasonable souls most unreasonably disaffected to my lovely Lord Jesus! denying love to One, who is able to compel love from the stoniest heart! yes, though they can never make so much of their love (would they set it to sale) as Christ bids for it. It is horrid and amazing to see how the minds of many are captivated and ensnared by every silly trifle; and how others can indifferently turn them with a kind of spontaneity to this object, or to that (as their fancy strikes) among the whole universe of beings, and scarce ever reluctate, recoil, or nauseate, until they be persuaded to Christ. In their unconverted state, it is as easy to melt the obdurate rocks into sweet syrup, as their hearts into divine love. How do the great men of the world ambitiously court the honors and pleasures of it? The merchants of the earth trade, and strive for the dear-bought treasures of it; while the price of Christ (alas! ever too low) falls every day lower and lower upon the exchange of this world! I speak it as a sad truth, if there were no quicker a trade (as dead as they say it is) for the perishing treasures of the earth, than there is for Christ this day in England, the exchange would quickly be shut up, and all the trading companies dissolved. Dear Sir, Christ is the peerless pearl hid in the field, Mat. 13:46. Will you be that wise merchant, that resolves to win and compass that treasure, whatever it shall cost you? Ah, Sir, Christ is a commodity that can never be bought too dear. My dear kinsman, my flesh, and my blood; my soul thirsts for your salvation, and the salvation of your family. Shall you and I resolve with good Joshua that whatever others do, "we and our families will serve the Lord;" that we will walk as the redeemed by his blood, showing forth his virtues and praises in the world? that as God has made us one in name, and one in affection, so we may be one in Christ, that it may be said of us, as it was of Austin and Alippous long ago, that they were glued together by the blood of Christ. For my own part, I have given in my name to him long since; woe to me, if I have not given in my heart also; for, should I deceive myself in so deep a point as that, how would my profession as a Christian, my calling as a minister, yea, these very sermons now in your hands, rise in judgment to condemn me? which God forbid. And doubtless, Sir, your eyes have seen both the vanity of all creatures, and the necessity and infinite worth of Christ. You cannot forget what a vanity the world appeared to you, when in the year 1668, you were summoned by the messengers of death (as you and all that were about you then apprehended) to shoot the gulf of vast eternity, when a malignant fever and pleurisy (whereof your physician has given an account to the world) did shake the whole frame of the tabernacle wherein your soul through mercy yet dwells; and long may it dwell there, for the service and praise of your great Deliverer. I hope you have not, nor ever will forget how vain the world appeared to your eye, when you looked back (as it were over your shoulder) and saw how it shrunk away from you; nor will you ever forget the awful apprehensions of eternity that then seized your spirit, or the value you then had for Christ; which things, I hope, still do, and ever will remain with you. And for you, dear cousin, as it becomes a daughter of Sarah, let your soul be adorned with the excellencies of Christ, and beauties of holiness. A king from heaven makes suit for your love; if he espouse your soul now he will fetch it home to himself at death in his chariot of salvation; and great shall be your joy, when the marriage of the Lamb is come. Look often upon Christ in this glass; he is fairer than the children of men. View him believingly, and you cannot but like and love him.
Table of Contents
To the Christian Reader
Sermon 1. The Excellency of the Subject.
Sermon 2. Christ in his essential and primeval Glory.
Sermon 3. The Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Redeemer.
Sermon 4. The Amazing Love of God in Giving His Own Son for Us.
Sermon 5. Christ's Wonderful Person.
Sermon 6. The Authority by which Christ, as Mediator, Acted.
Sermon 7. The Solemn Consecration of the Mediator.
Sermon 8. The Nature of Christ's Mediation.
Sermon 9. The first Branch of Christ's Prophetic Office, consisting in the Revelation of the Will of God.
Sermon 10. The Second Branch of Christ's Prophetical Office, consisting in the Illumination of the Understanding.
Sermon 11. The Nature and necessity of the Priesthood of Christ.
Sermon 12. The Excellency of our High-Priest's Oblation, being the first Act or Part of His Priestly Office.
Sermon 13. The Intercession of Christ our High-priest, being the second Act or Part of his Priestly Office.
Sermon 14. A Vindication of the Satisfaction of Christ, as the first Effect or Fruit of his Priesthood.
Sermon 15. The blessed Inheritance purchased by the Oblation of Christ, being the second Effect or Fruit of his Priesthood.
Sermon 16. The Kingly Office of Christ, as it is executed spiritually upon the Souls of the Redeemed.
Sermon 17. The Kingly Office of Christ, as it is providentially executed in the World, for the Redeemed.