Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 9.
( ...continued from File 8)
Sermon 9. The first Branch of Christ's Prophetical Office, 
consisting in the Revelation of the Will of God. 
Acts 3: 22. 
A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your 
brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever 
he shall say unto you. 
    Having, in the former discourses, shown you the solemn 
preparations, both on the Father's part, and on the Son's, for the 
blessed design of reconciling us by the meritorious mediation of 
Christ: and given you a general prospect of that his mediation, in 
the firmer sermon; method now requires, that I proceed to show how 
he executes this his mediation, in the discharge of his blessed 
offices of Prophet, Priest and King. 
    His prophetical office consists of two parts; one external, 
consisting in a true and full revelation of the will of God to men, 
according to John 17: 6. "I have manifested thy name to the men thou 
gavest me." The other in illuminating the mind, and opening the 
heart to receive and embrace that doctrine. The first part is 
contained in the words before us; "A prophet shall the Lord your God 
raise up," &c. 
    Which words are those of Moses, recorded in Deut. 18: 15. And 
here, by Peter, pertinently applied to Christ, to convince the 
incredulous Jews, that he is the true and only Messiah, and the 
great Prophet of the church; whose doctrine it was highly dangerous 
to condemn, though out of the mouths of such (otherwise 
contemptible) persons as he and John were. And it is well observed 
by Calvin, he singles out this testimony of Moses, rather than any 
other, because of the great esteem they had for Moses, and his 
writings, beyond any others. Now in the words themselves are two 
general parts. 
    First, Christ, according to the prophetical office, described. 
    Secondly, Obedience to him, as such a prophet, strictly 
    First, You have here a description of Christ in his prophetical 
office; "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your 
brethren, like unto me." Where Christ is described, 
    1. By his title, Prophet, and that, princeps prophetarum, the 
prince of the prophets, or the great and chief shepherd, as he is 
stiled, Heb. 13: 10. 1 Pet. 5: 4. It belongs to a prophet to expound 
the law, declare the will of God, and foretell things to come: all 
these meet, and that, in a singular and eminent manner, in Christ 
our prophet, Matth. 5: 21, &c. John 1: 18. 1 Pet. 1: 11. 
    2. He is described by his type; a prophet like unto Moses, who 
therein typified and prefigured him. But is it not said of Moses, in 
Deut. 34: 10. "that there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like 
unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face?" True, of mere men 
there never arose so great a prophet in Israel, as Moses was, either 
in respect of his familiarity with God, or of his miracles which he 
wrought in the power of God: but Moses himself was but a star to 
this sun. However, in these following particulars, Christ was like 
him. He was a prophet that went between God and the people, carried 
God's mind to them, and returned theirs to God, they not being able 
to hear the voice of God immediately, Deut. 18: 16, 17. "According 
to all that thou desires of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of 
the assembly, sayings Let me not again hear the voice of the Lord my 
God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not." 
And upon this their request, God makes the promise which is cited in 
the text; verse 17, 18. "They have well spoken that which they have 
spoken. I will raise them up a prophet like unto thee," &c. Moses 
was a very faithful prophet, precisely faithful, and exact in all 
things that God gave him in charge, even to a pin of the tabernacle. 
"Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a 
testimony of those things which were to be spoken after: but Christ 
as a Son over his own house," Heb. 3: 5, 6. Again, Moses confirmed 
his doctrine by miracles, which he wrought in the presence, and to 
the conviction of gainsayers. Herein, Christ our Prophet is also 
like unto Moses, who wrought many, mighty, and uncontrolled 
miracles, which could not be denied, and by them confirmed the 
gospel which he preached. Lastly, Moses was that prophet which 
brought God's Israel out of literal Egypt, and Christ his out of 
spiritual Egypt, whereof that bondage was a figure. Thus he is 
described by his likeness to Moses, his type. 
    3. He is described by his stock and original, from which, 
according to his flesh, he sprang; "I will raise him up from among 
thy brethren. Of Israel, as concerning the flesh, Christ came," Rom. 
9: 5. And "it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah," Heb. 7: 
14. He honoured that nation by his nativity. Thus the prophet is 
    Secondly, Here is a strict injunction of obedience to this 
Prophet, Him shall ye hear in all things, &c. By hearing, understand 
obedience. So words of sense are frequently put in scripture, to 
signify those affections that are moved by, and use to follow those 
senses. And this obedience is required to be yielded to this prophet 
only, and universally, and under great penalties. It is required to 
be given to him only, for so [him] in the text must be understood, 
as exclusive of all others. It is true, we are commanded to obey the 
voice of his ministers, Heb. 13: 17. But still it is Christ speaking 
them, by whom we pay our obedience: He that heareth you, heareth me: 
We obey them in the Lord, i.e. commanding or forbidding in Christ's 
name and authority. So when God said, Deut. 6: 13, ["Thou shalt 
serve him,"] Christ expounds it exclusively, Matth. 4: 10. "Him only 
shalt thou serve." He is the only Lord, Jude 4. and therefore to him 
only our obedience is required. And as it is due to him only, so to 
him universally; "Him shall ye hear in all things:" his commands are 
to be obeyed, not disputed. A judgement of discretion indeed is 
allowed to Christians, to judge whether it be the will of Christ or 
no. We must "prove what is that holy, good, and acceptable will," 
Rom. 12: 2. "His sheep hear his voice, and a stranger they will not 
follow: they know his voice, but know not the voice of strangers," 
John 10: 4, 5. But when his will is understood and known, we have no 
liberty of choice, but are concluded by it, be the duty commanded 
never so difficult, or the sin forbidden never so tempting: and this 
is also required severely, under penalty of being destroyed from 
among the people, and of God's requiring it at our hands, as it is 
in Deut. 18, i.e. of revenging himself in the destruction of the 
disobedient. Hence the observation. 
    Doct. That Jesus Christ is called and appointed by God to be 
    the great Prophet and teacher of the Church. 
    He is anointed to preach good tidings to the meek, and sent to 
bind up the broken hearted, Isa. 61: 1. When he came to preach the 
gospel among the people, then was this scripture fulfilled, Matt. 
11: 27. "Yea, all things are delivered him of his Father; so as no 
man knoweth whom the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son 
will reveal him." All light is now collected into one body of light, 
the Sun of righteousness; and he "enlighteneth every man that comets 
into the world," John 1: 9. And though he dispensed knowledge 
variously, in times past, speaking in many ways and divers manners, 
to the fathers; yet now the method and way of revealing the will of 
God to us is fixed and settled in Christ: In these last times he has 
spoken to us by his Son 
    Twice has the Lord solemnly sealed him to this office, or 
approved and owned him in it, by a miraculous voice from the most 
excellent glory, Matth. 3: 17 and Matth. 17: 5. 
    In this point there are two things doctrinally to be discussed 
and opened, viz. What Christ's being a Prophet to the church 
implies: and how he executes and discharges this his office. 
    First, What is implied in Christ's being a Prophet to the 
church: And it necessarily imports these three things. 
    1. The natural ignorance and blindness of men in the things of 
God. This shows us that "vain man is born as the wild ass's colt." 
the world is involved in darkness: The people sit as in the region 
and shadow of death till Christ arise upon their souls, Matt. 4: 15, 
16,17. It is true, in the state of innocence man had a clear 
apprehension of the will of God, without a Mediator: but now that 
light is quenched in the corruption of nature, "and the natural man 
receiveth not the things of God," 1 Cor. 2: 14. These things of God 
are not only contrary to corrupt and carnal reason, but they are 
also above right reason. Grace indeed uses nature, but nature can do 
nothing without grace. The mind of a natural man has not only a 
native blindness, by reason whereof it cannot discern the things of 
the Spirit, but also a natural enmity, Rom. 8: 7, and hates the 
light, John 3: 19, 20. So that until the mind be healed, and 
enlightened by Jesus Christ, the natural faculty can no more discern 
the things of the Spirit, than the sensitive faculty can discern the 
things of reason. The mysteries of nature may be discovered by the 
light of nature; but when it comes to supernatural mysteries, there, 
omnis Platonicorum caligavit subtilitus, as Cyprian somewhere 
speaks, the most subtle, searching, penetrating wit and reason, is 
at a loss. 
    2. It implies the divinity of Christ, and proves him to be true 
God, forasmuch as no other can reveal to the world, in all ages, the 
secrets that lay hid in the heart of God, and that with such 
convincing evidence and authority. He brought his doctrine from the 
bosom of His Father; John 1: 18. "The only begotten Son, Who is in 
the bosom of the Father, he has revealed him." The same words which 
his Father gave him he has given us, John 17: 8. He spake to us that 
which he had seen with his Father, John 8: 38. What man can tell the 
bosom-counsels and secrets of God? Who but he that eternally lay in 
that bosom can expound them? 
    Besides, other prophets had their times assigned them to rise, 
shine, and set again by death, Zech. 1: 5. "Your fathers, where are 
they? And do the prophets live for ever?" But Christ is fixed and 
perpetual sun, that gives light in all ages of the world: for he is 
"the same yesterday, today, and for ever," Heb. 13: 8. Yea, and the 
very beams of his divinity shone with awfulness upon the hearts of 
them that heard him; so that his very enemies were forced to 
acknowledge, that, "never any man spake like him," John 7: 46. 
    3. It implies Christ to be the original and fountain of all 
that light which is ministerially diffused up and down the world by 
men. Ministers are but stars, which shine with a borrowed light from 
the sun: so speaks the apostle, 2 Cor. 3: 6, 7. "For God, who 
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined into our 
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in 
the face of Jesus Christ." Those that teach men, must be first 
taught by Christ. All the prophets of the Old, and all the prophets, 
pastors, and teachers of the New-Testament, have lighted their 
candles at his torch: it was Christ that "gave them a mouth and 
wisdom," Luke 21: 15. What Paul received from the Lord, he delivered 
to the church, 1 Cor. 11: 23 Jesus Christ is the chief Shepherd, 1 
Pet. 5: 4. and all the under-shepherds receive their gifts and 
commissions from him. These things are manifestly implied in 
Christ's prophetical office. 
    Secondly, We shall next enquire how he executes and discharges 
this his office, or how he enlightens and teacheth men the will of 
God. And this he has done variously, gradually, plainly, powerfully, 
sweetly, purely, and fully. 
    1. Our great Prophet has revealed unto men the will of God 
variously; not holding one even and constant tenor in the 
manifestations of the Father's will, but as the apostle speaks, 
"polumeros kai polutropos", at sundry times, and in divers manners, 
Heb. 1: 1. Sometimes he taught the church immediately, and in his 
own person, John 18: 20. He declared God's righteousness in the 
great congregation, Psal. 22: 22. And sometimes mediately, by his 
ministers and officers, deputed to that service by him. So he 
dispensed the knowledge of God to the church before his incarnation; 
it was Christ that in the time, and by the ministry of Noah, went 
and preached to the spirits in prison, as it is 1 Pet. 3: 19, that 
is, to men and women then alive, but now separated from the body, 
and imprisoned in hell for their disobedience. And it was Christ 
that was with the church in the wilderness, instructing and guiding 
them by the ministry of Moses and Aaron, Acts 7: 37, 38; and so he 
has taught the church since his ascension. He cannot now be 
personally with us, having other business to do for us in heaven; 
but, however, he will not be wanting to teach us by his officers, 
whom, for that end, he has set and appointed in the church, Eph. 4: 
11, 12. 
    2. He has dispensed his blessed light to the church gradually. 
The discoveries of light have been "polumeros", that is, in many 
parts or parcels; sometimes more obscure and cloudy; as to the Old- 
Testament believers, by visions dreams, Urim, Thummim, vocal 
oracles, types, sacrifices, &c. which, though comparatively, were 
but a weak glimmering light, and had no glory compared to that which 
now shines, 2 Cor. 3: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. yet it was sufficient for the 
instruction and salvation of the elect in those times, but now is 
light sprung up gloriously in the gospel-dispensation: "And we all 
with open face, behold as in a glass, the glory of the Lord." It is 
to us not a twilight, but the light of a perfect day; and still is 
advancing in the several ages of the world. I know more (saith 
Luther) than blessed Austin knew; and they that come after me, will 
know more than I know. 
    3. Jesus Christ, our great Prophet, has manifested to us the 
will of God plainly and perspicuously. When he was on earth himself, 
he taught the people by parables, and "without a parable he spake 
nothing," Matt. 13: 3, 4. He clothed sublime and spiritual mysteries 
in earthly metaphors, bringing them thereby to the low and dull 
capacities of men, speaking so familiarly to the people about them, 
as if he had been speaking earthly things to them, John 3: 12. And 
so (according to his own example) would he have his ministers 
preach, "using great plainness of speech," 2 Cor. 3: 12. and by 
manifestation of the truth, "commending themselves to every man's 
conscience," 1 Cor. 4: 2. Yet not allowing them to be rude and 
careless in expression, pouring out undigested, crude, immethodical 
words; no, a holy serious, strict, and grave expression befits the 
lips of his ambassadors: and who ever spake more weightily, more 
logically, persuasively than that apostle, by whose pen Christ has 
admonished us to beware of vain affections and swelling words of 
vanity? But he would have us stoop to the understandings of the 
meanest, and not give the people a comment darker than the text; he 
would have us rather pierce their ears, than tickle their fancies; 
and break their hearts than please their ears. Christ was a very 
plain preacher. 
    4. Jesus Christ discovered truth powerfully, speaking "as one 
having authority, and not as the Pharisees," Matt. 7: 29. They were 
cold and dull preachers, their words did even freeze betwixt their 
lips; but Christ spake with power; there was heat as well as light 
in his doctrine: and so there is still, though it be in the mouth of 
poor contemptible men, 2 Cor. 10: 4. "The weapons of our warfare are 
not carnal, but mighty through God, to the casting down of 
strongholds: it is still quick and powerful, sharper than a two 
edged sword; and piercing, to the dividing asunder of soul and 
spirit, and of joints and marrow," Heb. 4: 12. The blessed apostle 
imitated Christ; and being filled with his spirit, spake home and 
freely to the hearts of men. So many words, so many claps of 
thunder, (as ones said of him) which made the hearts of sinners 
shake and tremble in their breasts. All faithful and able ministers 
are not alike gifted in this particular; but, surely, there is a 
holy seriousness and spiritual grace and majesty in their doctrine, 
commanding reverence from their hearers. 
    5. This Prophet, Jesus Christ, taught the people the mind of 
God in a sweet, affectionate, and taking manner; his words made 
their hearts burn within them, Luke 24: 32. It was prophesied of 
him, Isa. 42: 2. "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice 
to be heard on high. A bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking 
flax he shall not quench. He knew how to speak word in season to the 
weary soul," Isa. 61: 1. "He gathered the Lambs with his arms, and 
gently led those that were with young," Isa. 4: 11. How sweetly did 
his words slide to the melting hearts about him! he drew with cords 
of love, with the bands of a man: he discouraged none, upbraided 
none that were willing to come to him: his familiarity and free 
condescensionds to the most vile and despicable sinners, were often 
made the matter of his reproach. Such is his gentle and sweet 
carriage to his people, that the church is called the Lamb's wife, 
Rev. 19: 7. 
    6. He revealed the mind of God purely to men; his doctrine had 
not the least dash of error to debase it; his most enviously 
observant hearers could find nothing to charge him with: he is "the 
faithful and true witness," Rev. 1: 5, and he has commanded his 
ministers to preserve the simplicity and purity of the gospel, and 
not to blend and sophisticate it, 2 Cor. 4: 2. 
    7. And lastly, He revealed the will of God perfectly and fully, 
keeping back nothing needful to salvation. So he tells his 
disciples, John 15: 15. "All things that I have heard of my Father, 
I have made known unto you." He was "faithful as a Son over his own 
house," Heb. 3: 6. Thus you have a brief account of what is implied 
in this part of Christ's prophetical office, and how he performed 
    Inference 1. If Jesus Christ, who is now passed into the 
heavens, be the great Prophet and Teacher of the church; hence we 
may justly infer the continual necessity of a standing ministry of 
the church: for by his ministers he now teacheth us, and to that 
intent has fixed them in the church, by a firm constitution, there 
to remain to the end of the world, Matt. 28: 20. He teacheth men 
more personally, but ministerially. His ministers supply the want of 
his personal presence, 2 Cor. 5: 10. "We pray you in Christ stead." 
These officers he gave the church at his ascension, i.e. when he 
ceased to teach them any longer with his own lips; and so set them 
in the church that their succession shall never totally fail: for so 
the word "etheto", he has set, 1 Cor. 12: 28. plainly implies. They 
are set by a sure establishment, a firm and unalterable 
constitution, even as the times and seasons, which the Father hath 
put ["etheto"] in his own power: it is the same word, and it is well 
they are so firmly set and fixed there; for how many adversaries in 
a}I ages have endeavoured to shake the very office itself? 
pretending that it is needless to be taught by men, and wresting 
such scriptures as these to countenance their error, Joel 2: 28, 29, 
"I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and 
daughters shall prophesy," &c. And Jer. 31: 34. "These shall teach 
no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, 
Know the Lord; for they shall all know me from the least of them to 
the greatest of them." As to that of Joel, it is answered, That if 
an Old-Testament prophecy may be understood according to a 
New-Testament interpretation, then that prophecy does no way oppose, 
but confirm the gospel ministry. How the apostle understood the 
prophet in that his prophecy, may be seen in Acts 2: 17, when the 
Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost upon the apostles. And 
surely he must be a confident person indeed, that thinks not an 
apostle to be as good an expositor of the prophet, as himself. And 
for that in Jer. 31 we say, 
    1. That if it conclude against ministerial teachings, it must 
equally conclude against Christian conferences. 
    2. We say that cannot be the sense of one scripture which 
contradicts the plain sense of other scriptures: but so this would, 
Eph. 4: 11,12. 1 Cor. 12: 28. 
    3. And we say, the sense of that text is not negative, but 
comparative. Not that they shall have no need to be taught any 
truth, but no such need to he taught the first truths: That there is 
a God, and who is this true God: They shall no more teach every "man 
his brother, saying, allow the Lord! for they shall all "know me." 
To conclude, God has given ministers to the church for the work of 
conversion and edification, "till we all come into the unity of the 
faith, to a perfect man," Eph. 4: 11, 12. So that when all the elect 
are converted, and all those converts become perfect men; when there 
is no error in judgement or practice, and no seducer to cause it, 
then, and not till then, will a gospel ministry be useless. But (as 
it is well observed) there is not a man that opposes a gospel 
ministry, but the very being of that man is a sufficient argument 
for the continuance of it. 
    Inf. 2. If Christ be the great Prophet of the church, and such 
a Prophet; then it follows, that the weakest Christians need not be 
discouraged at the dullness and incapacity they find in themselves: 
for Christ is not only a patient and condescending teacher, but he 
can also, as he has often done, reveal that to babes, which is hid 
from the wise and learned, Matth. 11: 25. "The testimonies of the 
Lord are sure, making wise the simple," Psal. 19: 7. Yea, and such 
as you are, the Lord delights to choose, that his grace may be the 
more conspicuous in your weakness, 1 Cor. 1: 26, 27. You will have 
nothing of your own to glory in; you will not say, as a proud wretch 
once said, Ego et Deus meus; "I and my God did this." Jesus Christ 
affects not social glory, he will not divide the praise with any. 
Well then, be not discouraged; others may know more, in other things 
than you, but you are not incapable of knowing so much as shall save 
your souls, if Christ will be your teacher, in other knowledge they 
excel you: but if ye know Jesus Christ, and the truth as it is in 
him, one drop of your knowledge is worth a whole sea of their gifts: 
one truth sucked in faith and prayer from the breast of Christ is 
better than ten thousand dry notions beaten out by racking the 
understanding. It is better in kind, the one being but natural, the 
other super natural, from the saving illuminations and inward 
teachings of the Spirit: and so is one of those better things that 
accompany salvation. It is better in respect of effects; other 
knowledge leaves the heart as dry, barren, and unaffected, as if it 
had its seat in another man's head; but that little you have been 
taught of Christ, sheds down its gracious influence upon your 
affections, and slides sweetly to your melting hearts. So that as 
one "preferred the most despicable work of a plain rustic Christian, 
before all the triumphs of Alexander and Caesar;" much more ought 
you so prefer one saving manifestation of the Spirit, to all the 
powerless illuminations of natural men. 
    Inf. 3. If Christ be the great Prophet and teacher of the 
church; it follows, That prayer is a proper mean for the increase of 
knowledge: Prayer is the golden key that unlocks that treasure. When 
Daniel was to expound that secret which was contained in the king's 
dream, about which the Chaldean magicians had racked their brains to 
no purpose; what course does Daniel take? Why, "he went to his 
house, (saith the text, Dan. 2: 17, 18) and made the thing known to 
Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah his companions; that they would 
desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning his secret." And then 
was the secret revealed to Daniel. Luther was wont to say, "Three 
things made a divine; meditation, temptation, and prayer." Holy Mr. 
Bradford was wont to study upon his knees. Those truths that are got 
by prayer, leave an unusual sweetness upon the heart. If Christ be 
our teacher, it becomes all his saints to be at his feet. 
    Inf. 4. If Christ be the great Prophet and teacher of the 
church, We may thence discern and judge of doctrines, and it may 
serve us as a test to try then by. For such as Christ is, such are 
the doctrines that flow from him; every error pretends to derive 
itself from him; but as Christ was holy, humble, heavenly, meek, 
peaceful, plain and simple, and in all things alien, yea, contrary 
to the wisdom of the world, the gratifications of the flesh, such 
are the truths which he teacheth. They have his character and image 
engraven on them. Would you know then whether this or that doctrine 
be from the Spirit of Christ or no? Examine the doctrine itself by 
this rule. And whatsoever doctrine you find to encourage and 
countenance sin, to exalt self, to be accommodated to earthly 
designs and interests, to wrap and bend to the humours and lusts of 
men; in a word, what doctrine soever directly, and as a proper cause 
makes them that profess it carnal, turbulent, proud, sensual, &c. 
you may safely reject it, and conclude this never came from Jesus 
Christ. The doctrine of Christ is after godliness; his truth 
sanctifies. There is a Gustus spirituals judicii, a spiritual taste, 
by which those that have their senses exercised, can distinguish 
things that differ. "The spiritual man judgeth all things," 1 Cor. 
2: 15. "His ear tries words, as his mouth tasteth meats," Job 34: 3. 
Swallow nothing (let it come never so speciously) that has not some 
relish of Christ and holiness in it. Be sure, Christ never revealed 
any thing to men, that derogates from his own glory, or prejudices 
and obstructs the ends of his own death. 
    Inf. 5. And as it will reeve us for a test of doctrines, so it 
serves for a test of ministers; and hence you may judge who are 
authorised and sent by Christ the great Prophet, to declare his will 
to men. Surely those whom he sends have his Spirit in their hearts, 
as well as his words in their mouths. And according to the measures 
of grace received, they faithfully endeavour to fulfil their 
ministry for Christ, as Christ did for his Father: "As my Father 
has sent me (saith Christ) so send I you," John 20: 21. They take 
Christ for their pattern in the whole course of their ministration, 
and are such as sincerely endeavour to imitate the great Shepherd, 
in these six particulars following: 
    1. Jesus Christ was a faithful Minister, the "faithful and true 
witness," Rev. 1: 5. He declared the whole mind of God to men. Of 
him it was prophetically said, Psal. 40: 10. "I have not hid thy 
righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness, and 
thy salvation; I leave not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy 
truth from the great congregation." To the same sense, and almost in 
the same words, the apostle Paul professed, in Acts 20: 20. "I have 
kept back nothing that was profitable unto you; and ver. 35. "I have 
shewed you all things." Not that every faithful minister does in 
course of his ministry, anatomise the whole body of truth, and fully 
expound and apply each particular to the people: No, that is not the 
meaning, but of those doctrines which they have opportunity of 
opening, they do not out of fear, or to accommodate and secure base 
low ends, with hold the mind of God, or so corrupt and abuse his 
words, as to subject truth to their own, or other men's lusts: "They 
preach not as pleasing men, but God," 1 Thess. 2: 4. "For if we yet 
please men, we cannot be the servants of Christ," Gal. 1: 10. Truth 
must be spoken, though the greatest on earth be offended. 
    2. Jesus Christ was a tender-hearted Minister, full of 
compassion to souls. He was sent to bind up the broken in heart, 
Isa. 61: 1. He was full of bowels to poor sinners. "He grieved at 
the hardness of men's hearts, Mark 3: 5. He mourned over Jerusalem, 
"and said, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! how oft would I have gathered thy 
children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings!" Matth. 23: 
27. His bowels yearned when he saw the multitude, as sheep having no 
shepherd, Matth. 9: 37. These bowels of Christ must be in all the 
under shepherds. "God is my witness, (saith one of them) how greatly 
I long after you all, in [or after the pattern of] the bowels of 
Christ Jesus," Phil. 1: 8. He that shows a hard heart, unaffected 
with the dangers and miseries of souls, can never show a commission 
from Christ to authorise him for ministerial work. 
    3. Jesus Christ zeal a laborious painful Minister, he put a 
necessity on himself to finish his work in his day; a work 
infinitely great, in a very little time; John 9: 4. "I must work the 
works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comets, when 
no man can work." O how much work did Christ do in a little time on 
earth! "He went about doing good," Acts 10: 38. He was never idle. 
When he sits down at Jacob's well, to rest himself, being weary, 
presently he falls into his work, preaching the gospel to the 
Samaritaness. In this must his ministers resemble him; "striving 
according to his working, that worketh in them mightily" Col. 1: 28, 
29. An idle minister seems to be a contradictions in adjecto; as who 
should say, a dark light. 
    4. Jesus Christ delighted in nothing more than the success of 
his ministry; to see the work of the Lord prosper in his hand, this 
was meat and drink to him. When the seventy returned, and reported 
the success of their first embassy, "Lord, even the devils are 
subject to us through thy name!" "Why, (saith Christ) I beheld Satan 
fall as lightning from heaven." As if he had said, You tell me no 
news, I saw it when I sent you out at first: I knew the gospel would 
make work where it came. "And in that hour Jesus rejoiced in 
spirit," Luke 10: 17, 18, 21. And is it not so with those sent by 
him? do not they value the success of their ministry at a high rate? 
It is not (saith one) the expense, but the recoiling of our labours 
back again upon us, that kills us. Ministers would not die so fast, 
nor be grey-headed so soon, could they but see the travail of their 
souls. "My little children, (saith Paul) of whom I travail again in 
birth, "palin odino", till Christ be formed in you", Gal. 4: 19. As 
for those that have the name of shepherds only, who visit the flock 
only once a year, about shearing time; who have "the instruments of 
a foolish shepherd," (forcipes et mulctra) the shears and pail, 
Zech. 11: 15, woeful will be their condition at appearing of this 
great Shepherd. 
    5. Jesus Christ was a minister that lived up to his doctrine: 
his life and doctrine harmonised in all things. He pressed to 
holiness in his doctrine, and was the great pattern of holiness in 
his life, Matt. 11: 28 "Learn of me, I am meek and lowly." And such 
his ministers desire to approve themselves, Phil. 4: 9. "What ye 
have heard, and seen in me, that do." He preached to their eyes, as 
well as ears, His life was a comment on his doctrine. They might see 
holiness acted in his life, as well as sounded by his lips. He 
preached the doctrine, and lived the application. 
    6. And lastly, Jesus Christ was a minister that minded and 
maintained sweet, secret communion with God, for all his constant 
public labours. If he had been preaching and healing all the day, 
yet he would redeem time from his very sleep to spend in secret 
prayer; Matt. 14: 23. "When he had sent the multitude away, he went 
up into a mountain apart to pray, and was there alone." O blessed 
pattern! Let the keepers of the vineyards remember they have a 
vineyard of their own to keep, a soul of their own that must be 
looked after as well as other men's. Those that, in these things, 
imitate Christ, are surely sent to us from him, and are worthy of 
double honour: They are a choice blessing to the people. 

(continued in file 10...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-09.txt