Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 10.
( ...continued from File 9)
Sermon 10. The second Branch of Christ's Prophetical Office, 
consisting in the Illumination of the Understanding. 
Luke 24: 45. 
Then opened he their understandings, &c. 
    Knowledge of spiritual things is well distinguished into 
intellectual and practical: the first has its seat in the mind, the 
latter in the heart. This latter, divines call a knowledge peculiar 
to saints; and, in the apostle's dialect, it is "huperechon tes 
gnoseos Christou Iesou", Phil. 3: 8. "The eminency, or excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ." 
    And indeed, there is but little excellency in all those petty 
notions which furnish the lips with discourse, unless by a sweet and 
powerful influence they draw the conscience and will to the 
obedience of Christ. Light in the mind is necessarily antecedent to 
the sweet and heavenly motions and elevations of the affections: For 
the farther any man stands from the light of truth, the farther he 
must needs be from the heat of comfort. Heavenly quickening are 
begotten in the heart, while the sun of righteousness spreads the 
beams of truth into the understanding, and the soul sits under those 
its wings; yet all the light of the gospel spreading and diffusing 
itself into the mind, can never savingly open and change the heart, 
without another act of Christ upon it; and what that is, the text 
informs you; "Then opened he their understandings, that they might 
understand the scriptures". 
    In which words we have both an act of Christ upon the 
disciples' understandings, and the immediate end and scope of that 
    1. Christ's act upon their understandings: He opened their 
understandings. By understanding is not here meant the mind only, in 
opposition to the heart, will, and affections, but these were opened 
by and with the mind. The mind is to the heart, as the door to the 
house: what comes in to the heart, comes in at the understanding, 
which is introductive to it; and although truths sometimes go no 
farther than the entry, never penetrate the hearts, yet, here, this 
effect is undoubtedly included. 
    Expositors make this expression parallel to that in Acts 16: 
14. "The Lord opened the heart of Lydia." And it is well observed, 
that it is one thing to open the scriptures, that is, to expound 
them, and give the meaning of them, as Paul is said to do in Acts 
18: 3, and another thing to open the mind or heart, as it is here. 
There are, as a learned man truly observes, two doors of the soul 
barred against Christ; the understanding by ignorance; and the heart 
by hardness: both these are opened by Christ. The former is opened 
by the preaching of the gospel, the other by the internal operation 
of the Spirit. The former belongs to the first part of Christ's 
prophetical office, opened in the foregoing sermon: the latter, to 
that special internal part of his prophetical office, to be opened 
in this. 
    And that it was not a naked act upon their minds only, but that 
their hearts and minds did work in fellowship, being both touched by 
this act of Christ, is evident enough by the effects mentioned, ver. 
52, 53. "They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were 
continually in the temple, praising and blessing God." It is 
confessed, that before this time Christ had opened their hearts by 
conversion; and this opening is not to be understood simply, but 
secundum quid, in reference to those particular truths, in which, 
till now, they were not sufficiently informed, and so their hearts 
could not be duly affected with them. They were very dark in their 
apprehensions of the death and resurrection of Christ; and 
consequently their hearts were sad and dejected about that which had 
befallen him, ver. 17. But when he opened the scriptures and their 
understandings and hearts together, then things appeared with 
another face, and they returned, blessing and praising God. 
    2. Here is farther to be considered, the design and end of this 
act upon their understandings: That they might understand the 
scriptures: Where let it be marked, reader, that the teachings of 
Christ, and his Spirit, were never designed to take men off from 
reading, and studying, and searching the scriptures, as some vain 
notionists, have pretended, opposing those things which are 
subordinated, but to make their studies and duties the more 
fruitful, beneficial, and effectual to their souls: or that they 
might this way receive the end or blessing of all their duties. God 
never intended to abolish his Word, by giving his Spirit; and they 
are true fanatics (as Calvin upon thus place calls them) that think, 
or pretend so. By this means he would at once impart more light, and 
make that they had before more operative and useful to them, 
especially in such a time of need as this was. Hence we observe, 
    Doct. That the opening of the mind and heart, effectually to 
    receive the truths of God, is the peculiar prerogative and 
    office of Jesus Christ. 
    One of the great miseries under which lapsed nature labours, is 
spiritual blindness. Jesus Christ brings that eye-salve which only 
can cure it. Rev. 3: 18. "I counsel thee to buy of me eye-salve, 
that thou mayest see." Those to whom the Spirit has applied it, can 
say, as it is 1 John 5: 20. "We know that the Son of God is come, 
and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is 
true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ: 
this is the true God, and eternal life. 
    "To the spiritual illumination of a soul, it suffices not that 
the object be revealed, nor yet that man, the subject of that 
knowledge have a due use of his own reason; but it is further 
necessary that the grace and special assistance of the holy Spirit 
be superadded, to open and mollify the heart, and so give it a due 
taste and relish of the sweetness of spiritual truth." By opening 
the gospel, he reveals truth to us, and, by opening the heart, in 
us. Now, though this cannot be without that, yet it is much more 
excellent to have truth revealed in us, than to us. This divines 
call praecipuum illud "apogelesma" muneris prophetici; "the 
principal perfective effect of the prophetical office," the special 
blessing promised in the new covenant, Heb. 8: 10. "I will put my 
laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts." 
    For explication of this part of Christ's prophetical office, I 
shall as in the former, show what is included in the opening of 
their understanding, and by what acts Christ performs it. And, 
    First, Give you a brief account of what is included in this act 
of Christ; take it in the following particulars. 
    1. It implies the transcendent nature of spiritual things, far 
exceeding the highest flight and reach of natural reason. Jesus 
Christ must by his Spirit open the understandings of men, or they 
can never comprehend such mysteries. Some men have strong natural 
parts, and by improvement of them are become eagle-eyed in the 
mysteries of nature. Who more acute than the heathen sages? Yet, to 
them the gospel seemed foolishness, 1 Cor. 1: 20. Austin confesses, 
that before his conversion, he often felt his spirit swell with 
offence and contempt of the gospel; and he despising it, said 
dedignabar esse parvulus; "he scorned to become a child again." 
Bradwardine, that profound doctor, learned usque ad stuporem, even 
to a wonder, professes that when he read Paul's epistles, he 
condemned them, because in them he found not a metaphysical wit. 
Surely, it is possible a man may, with Berengarius, be able to 
dispute de omni scibili, of every point of knowledge; to unravel 
nature from the cedar in Lebanon, to the hyssop on the wall; and yet 
be as blind as a bat in the knowledge of Christ. Yes, it is possible 
a man's understanding may be improved by the gospel, to a great 
ability in the literal knowledge of it, so as to be able to expound 
the scriptures orthodoxly, and enlighten others by them, as it is 
Mat. 7: 22. The Scribes and Pharisees were well acquainted with the 
scriptures of the Old Testament; yea, such were their abilities, and 
esteem among the people for them, that the apostle stiles them the 
princes of this world, 1 Cor. 2: 8. And yet notwithstanding Christ 
truly calls them blind guides, Mat. 23. Till Christ open the heart, 
we can know nothing of him, or of his will, as we ought to know it. 
So experimentally true is that of the apostle, 1 Cor. 2: 14, 15. 
"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for 
they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual, judgeth all 
things; yet he himself is judged of no man." The spiritual man can 
judge and discern the carnal man, but the carnal man wants a faculty 
to judge of the spiritual man: as a man that carries a dark lantern, 
can see another by its light, but the other cannot discern him. Such 
is the difference betwixt persons whose hearts Christ has, or has 
not opened. 
    2. Christ's opening the understanding, implies the 
insufficiency of all external means, how excellent soever they are 
in themselves, to operate savingly upon men, till Christ by his 
power opens the soul, and so makes them effectual. What excellent 
preachers were Isaiah and Jeremiah to the Jews? The former spake of 
Christ more like an Evangelist at the New than a Prophet of the Old 
Testament; the latter was a most convictive and pathetical preacher: 
yet the one complains, Isa. 53: 1, "Who has believed our report? and 
to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" The other laments the 
successlessness of his ministry, Jer. 6: 18. "The bellows are burnt, 
the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain." 
Under the New Testament, what people ever enjoyed such choice helps 
and means, as those that lived under the ministry of Christ and the 
apostles? Yet how many remained still in darkness? Matt. 11: 27. "We 
have piped to you, but ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, 
but ye have not lamented". Neither the delightful airs of mercy, nor 
the doleful ditties of judgement, could effect or move their hearts. 
    And indeed if you search into the reason of it, you will be 
satisfied, that the choicest of means can do nothing upon the heart, 
until Christ by his Spirit open it, because ordinances work not as 
natural causes do: for then the effect would always follow unless 
miraculously hindered; and it would be equally wonderful, that all 
that hear should not be converted, as that the three children should 
be in the fiery furnace so long, and yet not be burned: no, it works 
not as a natural, but as a moral cause, whose efficacy depends on 
the gracious and arbitrary concurrence of the Spirit. "The wind 
bloweth where it listeth," John 3: 8. The ordinances are like the 
pool of Bethesda, John 5: 4. At a certain time an angel came down 
and troubled the waters, and then they had a healing virtue in them. 
So the Spirit comes down at certain times in the word, and opens the 
heart; and then it becomes the power of God to salvation. So that 
when you see souls daily sitting under excellent and choice means, 
and remain dead still, you may say as Martha did to Christ of her 
brother Lazarus, Lord, if thou hadst been here they had not remained 
dead. If thou hadst been in this sermon, it had not been so 
ineffectual to them. 
    3. It implies the utter impotency of man to open his own heart, 
and thereby make the word effectual to his own conversion and 
salvation. He that at first said, "let there be light," and it was 
so, must shine into our hearts, or they will never be savingly 
enlightened, 2 Cor. 4: 4, 6. A double misery lies upon a great part 
of mankind, viz. Impotency and Pride. They have not only lost the 
liberty and freedom of their wills, but with it have so far lost 
their understanding and humility as not to own it. But, alas! Man is 
become a most impotent creature by the fall; so far from being able 
to open his own heart, that he cannot know the things of the Spirit, 
1 Cor. 2: 14. cannot believe, John 6: 44. cannot obey, Rom. 8: 7. 
cannot speak one good word, Matt. 12: 34, cannot think one good 
thought, 2 Cor. 3: 5, cannot do one good act, John 15: 5. O what a 
helpless, shiftless thing is a poor sinner! Suitably to this state 
of impotence, conversion is in scripture called regeneration, John 
3: 3, a resurrection from the dead, Eph. 2: 5. a creation, Eph. 2: 
10. a victory, 2 Cor. 10: 5. Which does not only imply man to be 
purely passive in his conversion to God, but a renitency, and 
opposition made to that power which goes forth from God to recover 
    Lastly, Christ's opening the understanding imports his divine 
power, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself. Who but 
God knows the heart? Who but God can unlock and open it at pleasure? 
No mere creature, no not the angels themselves, who for their large 
understandings are called intelligences, can command or open the 
heart. We may stand and knock at men's hearts, till our own ake; but 
no opening till Christ come. He can fit a key to all the cross wards 
of the will, and with sweet efficacy open it, and that without any 
force or violence to it. These things are carried in this part of 
his office, consisting in opening the heart: which was the first 
thing propounded for explication. 
    Secondly, In the next place, let us see by what acts Jesus 
Christ performs this work of his, and what way and method he takes 
to open the hearts of sinners. 
    And there are two principal ways, by which Christ opens the 
understandings and hearts of men, viz. by his Word and Spirit. 
    1. By his word; to this end was Paul commissioned and sent to 
preach the gospel, Acts 26: 18. "To open their eyes, and turn them 
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God." The 
Lord can, if he pleases, accomplish this immediately; but though he 
can do it, he will not do it ordinarily without means, because he 
will honour his own institutions. Therefore you may observe, that 
when Lydia's heart was to be opened, "there appeared unto Paul a man 
of Macedonia, who prayed him, saying, come over into Macedonia, and 
help us," Acts 19: 9. God will keep up his ordinances among men: and 
though he has not tied himself, yet he has tied us, to them. 
Cornelius must send for Peter: God can make the earth produce corn, 
as it did at first, without cultivation and labour; but he that 
shall now expect it in the neglect of means, may perish for want of 
    2. But the ordinances in themselves cannot do it, as I noted 
before; and therefore Jesus Christ has sent forth the Spirit, who is 
his Prorex, his vicegerent, to carry on this work upon the hearts of 
his elect. And when the Spirit comes down upon the souls in the 
administration of the ordinances, he effectually opens the heart to 
receive the Lord Jesus, by the healing of faith. He breaks in upon 
the understanding and conscience by powerful convictions and 
compunctions? so much that word, John 16: 8. imports, "He shall 
convince the world of sin;" convince by clear demonstration, such as 
enforces assent, so that the soul cannot but yield it to be so; and 
yet the door of the heart is not opened, till he has also put forth 
his power upon the will, and, by a sweet and secret efficacy, 
overcome all its reductions, and the soul be made willing in the day 
of his power. When this is done, the heart is opened: saving light 
now shines in it; and this light set up, the Spirit in the soul is, 
    1. A new light in which all things appear far otherwise than 
they did before. The names Christ and sin, the words heaven and hell 
have another sound in that man's ears, than formerly they had. When 
he comes to read the same scriptures, which possibly he had read a 
hundred times before, he wonders he should be so blind as he was, to 
overlook such great, weighty, and concerning things as he now 
beholds in them; and saith, Where were mine eyes, that I could never 
see these things before? 
    2. It is a very affecting light; a light that has heat and 
powerful influences with it, which makes deep impressions on the 
heart. Hence they whose eyes the great Prophet opens, are said to be 
"brought out of darkness into his marvellous light," 1 Pet. 2: 9. 
The soul is greatly affected with what it sees. The beams of light 
are contracted and twisted together in the mind; and being reflected 
on the heart and affections, soon cause them to smoke and burn. "Did 
not our hearts burn within us, whilst he talked with us, and opened 
to us the scriptures?" 
    3. And it is a growing light, like the light of the morning 
which "shines more and more unto the perfect day," Prov. 4: 18. When 
the Spirit first opens the understanding, he does not give it at 
once a full sight of all truths, or a full sense of the power, 
sweetness and goodness of any truth; but the soul in the use of 
means grows up to a greater clearness day by day: its knowledge 
grows extensively in measure, and intensively in power and efficacy. 
And thus the Lord Jesus by his Spirit opens the understanding. Now 
the use of this follows in five practical deductions. 
    Inference 1. If this be the work and office of Jesus Christ, to 
open the understandings of men; hence we infer the miseries that lie 
upon those men, whose understandings, to this day, Jesus Christ has 
not opened; of whom we may say, as it is, Deut. 24: 4. "To this day 
Christ has not given them eyes to see." Natural blindness, whereby 
we are deprived of the light of this world, is sad; but spiritual 
blindness is much more so. See how dolefully their case is 
represented, 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to 
them that are lost: whose eyes the God of this world has blinded, 
lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of 
God, should shine unto them:" he means a total and final concealment 
of the saving power of the word from them. Why, what if Jesus Christ 
withhold it, and will not be a prophet to them, what is their 
condition? Truly no better than lost men. It is hid "tois 
apollumenois", to them that are to perish, or be destroyed. This 
blindness, like the covering of the face, or tying the handkerchief 
over the eyes, is in order to their turning off into hell. More 
particularly, because the point is of deep concernment, let us 
    1. The judgement inflicted, and that is spiritual blindness. A 
sore misery indeed! Not an universal ignorance of all truths, O no! 
in natural and moral truths they are oftentimes acute, and sharp 
sighted men; but in that part of knowledge which wraps up eternal 
life, John 17:2, there they are utterly blinded: as it is said of 
the Jews, upon whom this misery lies, that blindness in part is 
happened to Israel. They are learned and knowing persons in other 
matters, but they know not Jesus Christ; there is the grand and sad 
    2. The subject of this judgement, the mind, which is the eye of 
the soul. If it were put upon the body, it would not be so 
considerable; this falls immediately upon the soul, the noblest part 
of man, and upon the mind, the highest and noblest faculty of the 
soul, whereby we understand, think, and reason. This in scripture is 
called "pneuma", the spirit, the intellectual, rational faculty, 
which the philosophers call "to hegemonikon", the leading directive 
faculty; which is to the soul what the natural eye is to the body. 
Now the soul being the most active and restless thing in the world, 
always working, and its leading, directive power blind, judge what a 
sad and dangerous state such a soul is in; just like a fiery, 
highmettled horse, whose eyes are out, furiously carrying his rider 
up on rocks, pits and dangerous precipices. I remember Chrysostom, 
speaking of the loss of a soul, saith that the loss of a member of 
the body is nothing to it; for, saith he, If a man lose an eye, ear, 
hand or foot, there is another to supply its want: Omnia Deus dedit 
duplicia, "God has given us those members double;" animam vero unam, 
"but he has not given us two souls," that if one be lost, yet the 
other may be saved. Surely it were better for thee, reader, to have 
every member of thy body made the seat and subject of the most 
exquisite racking torments, than for spiritual blindness to befal 
thy soul. Moreover, 
    3. Consider the indiscernableness of this judgement to the soul 
on whom it lies: they know it not, no more than a man knows that he 
is asleep. Indeed it is "the spirit of a deep sleep poured out upon 
them from the Lord," Isa. 29: 10. like that which befal Adam when 
God opened his side, and took out a rib. This renders their misery 
the more remediless: "Because ye say you see, therefore your sin 
remaineth," John 9: 41. Once more, 
    4. Consider the tendency and effects of it. What does this tend 
to but eternal ruin? for hereby we are cut off from the only remedy. 
The soul that is so blinded, can never see sin, nor a Saviour; but, 
like the Egyptians, during the palpable darkness, sits still, and 
moves not after its own recovery. And as ruin is that to which it 
tends, so in order thereto, it renders all the ordinances and duties 
under which that soul comes, altogether useless and ineffectual to 
its salvation. He comes to the word, and sees others melted by it, 
but to him it signifies nothing. O what a heavy stroke of God is 
this! Most wretched is their case, to whom Jesus Christ will not 
apply this eye-salve, that they may see. Did you but understand the 
misery of such a state, if Christ should say to you, as he did to 
the blind man, Mat. 20: 33. That wilt thou that I should do for 
thee?" You would return as he did, "Lord, that my eyes may be 
    Infer. 2. If Jesus Christ be the great Prophet of the church, 
then surely he will take special care both of the church and the 
under shepherds appointed by him to feed them: else both the objects 
and instruments upon and by which he executes his office, must fail 
and consequently this glorious office be in vain. Hence he is said 
"to walk among the golden candlesticks," Rev. 1: 13: and Rev. 2: 1. 
"to hold the stars in his right hand." Jesus Christ instrumentally 
opens the understandings of men by preaching of the gospel; and 
whilst there is an elect soul to be converted, or a convert to be 
farther illuminated, means shall not fail to accomplish it by. 
    Infer. 3. Hence you that are yet in darkness, may be directed 
to whom to apply yourselves for saving knowledge. It is Christ that 
has the sovereign eye-salve, that can cure your blindness; he only 
has the key of the house of David; he opens, and no man shutteth. O 
that I might persuade you to set yourselves in his way, under the 
ordinances, and cry to him, "Lord, that my eyes may be opened." 
Three things are marvellously encouraging to you so to do 
    1. God the Father has put him into this office, for the cure of 
such as you be, Isa. 49: 6. "I will give thee for a light to the 
Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth". 
This may furnish you with an argument to plead for a cure. Why do 
you not go to God, and say, Lord, didst thou give Jesus Christ a 
commission to open the blind eyes? Behold me, Lord, such a one am I, 
a poor, dark, ignorant soul. Didst thou give him to be thy salvation 
to the ends of the earth? No place nor people excluded from the 
benefit of that right; and shall I still remain in the shadow of 
death? O that unto me he might be a saving light also? The best and 
most excellent work that ever thou wroughtest, brings thee no glory 
till it comes into the light! O let me see and admire it! 
    2. It is encouraging to think, that Jesus Christ has actually 
opened the eyes of them that are as dark and ignorant as you are. He 
has revealed those things to babes, that have been hid from the wise 
and prudent, Mat. 11: 25. "The law of the Lord is perfect, making 
wise the simple," Psal. 19: 7. And if you look among those whom 
Christ has enlightened, you will not find "many wise after the 
flesh, many mighty or noble; but the foolish, weak, base, and 
despised; these are they op whom he has glorified the riches of his 
grace," 1 Cor. 1: 26, 27. 
    3. And is it not yet farther encouraging to you that hitherto 
he has mercifully continued you under the means of light? Why is not 
the light of the gospel put out? Why are times and seasons of grace 
continued to you, if God have no farther design of good to your 
souls? Be not therefore discouraged, but wait on the Lord in the use 
of means, that you may yet be healed. 
    Quest. If you ask, What can we do to put ourselves into the way 
of the Spirit, in order to such a cure? 
    Sol. I say, though you cannot do any thing, that can make the 
gospel effectual, yet the Spirit of God can make those means you are 
capable of using effectual, if he please to concur with them. And it 
is a certain truth, that your inability to do what is above your 
power, does no ways excuse you from doing what is within the compass 
of your power to do. I know no act that is saving, can be done 
without the concurrence of spiritual grace; yea, and no act that has 
a remote order and tendency thereto, without a more general 
concourse of God's assistance: but herein he is not behind hand with 
you. Let me therefore advise, 
    1. That you diligently attend upon an able, faithful, and 
searching ministry. Neglect no opportunity God affords you; for how 
know you but that may be the time of mercy to your soul? If he that 
lay so many years at the pool of Bethesda, had been wanting but that 
hour when the angel came down and troubled the waters, he had not 
been healed. 
    2. Satisfy not yourselves with hearing, but consider what ye 
hear. Avow time to reflect upon what God has spoken to you. What 
power is there in man more excellent, or more appropriate to the 
reasonable nature, than its reflective and self-considering power? 
There is little hope of any good to be done upon your souls, till 
you begin to go alone, and become thinking men and women: Here all 
conversion begins. I know, a severer task can hardly be imposed upon 
a carnal heart. It is a hard thing to bring a man and himself 
together upon this account: but this must be, if ever the Lord do 
your souls good. Psal. 4: 4. "Commune with your own hearts." 
    3. Labour to see, and ingenuously confess the insufficiency of 
all your other knowledge to do you good. What if you had never so 
much skill and knowledge in other mysteries? What if you be never so 
well acquainted with the letter of the scripture? What if you had an 
angelical illumination? This can never save thy soul. No, all thy 
knowledge signifies nothing till the Lord show thee by special light 
the deplorable sight of thy own heart, and a saving sight of Jesus 
Christ, thy only remedy. 
    Inf. 4. Since then there is a common light, and special saving 
light, which none but Christ can give, it is therefore the 
concernment, of every one of you to try what your light is. "We 
know, (saith the apostle, 1 Cor. 8: 1.) that we all have knowledge." 
O but what, and whence is it? Is it the light of life springing from 
Jesus Christ, that bright and morning star, or only such as the 
devils and damned have? These lights differ, 
    1. In their very kind and natures. The one is heavenly, 
supernatural, and spiritual, the other earthly, and natural, the 
effect of a better constitution or education, James 3: 15, 17. 
    2. They differ most apparently in their effects and operations. 
The light that comes in a special way from Christ, is humbling, 
abasing, and soul-emptying light: by it a man sees the vileness of 
his own nature and practice, which begets self-loathing in him; but 
natural light, on the contrary, puffs up, exalts, and makes the 
heart swell with self-conceitedness, 1 Cor. 8: 1. 
    The light of Christ is practical and operative, still urging 
the soul, yet lovingly constraining it to obedience. No sooner did 
it shine into Paul's heart, but presently he asks, "Lord, what wilt 
thou have me to do?" Acts 9: 13. It brought forth fruit on the 
Colossians, from the first day it came to them, Col. 1: 6; but the 
other spends itself in impractical notions, and is detained in 
unrighteousness, Rom. 1: 18. The light of Christ is powerfully 
transformative of its subjects, changing the man, in whom it is, 
into the same image, from glory to glory, 2 Cor. 3: 18. But common 
light leaves the heart as dead, as carnal and sensual, as if no 
light at all were in it. 
    In a word, All saving light endears Jesus Christ to the soul; 
and as it could not value him before it saw him, so when once he 
appears to the soul in his own light, he is appreciated and endeared 
unspeakably: then none but Christ; all is but dung, that he may win 
Christ: none in heaven but him, nor in earth desirable in comparison 
of him. But no such effect flows from natural common knowledge. 
    3. They differ in their issues. Natural common knowledge 
vanisheth, as the apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 13: 8. It is but a 
Mayflower, and dies in its month. "Does not their excellency that is 
in them go away?" Job 4: 21. But this that springs from Christ is 
perfected, not destroyed by death: it springs up into everlasting 
life. The soul in which it is subjected, carries it away with it 
into glory. John 17: 2. this light is life eternal. Now turn in, and 
compare yourselves with these rules: let not false light deceive 
    Inf. 5. Lastly, How are they obliged to love, serve, and honour 
Jesus Christ, whom he has enlightened with the saving knowledge of 
himself? O that with hands and hearts lifted up to heaven, ye would 
adore the free grace of Jesus Christ to your souls? How many round 
about you have their eyes closed, and their hearts shut up! How many 
are in darkness, and there are like to remain, till they come to the 
blackness of darkness, which is reserved for them? O what a pleasant 
thing is it for your eyes to see the light of this world! But what 
is it for the eye of your mind to see God in Christ? To see such 
ravishing sights as the objects of faith are? and to have such a 
pledge as this given you of the blessed visions of glory? for in 
this light you shall see light. Bless God, and boast not: rejoice in 
your light, but be proud of it; and beware ye sin not against the 
best and highest light in this world. If God were so incensed 
against the Heathens for disobeying the light of nature, what is it 
in you to sin with eyes clearly illuminated with the purest light 
that shines in this world? You know, God charges it upon Solomon, 1 
Kings 11: 9. that he turned from the way of obedience after the 
Lord, had appeared, to him twice. Jesus Christ intended when he 
opened your eyes, that your eyes should direct your feet. Light is a 
special help to obedience, and obedience is a singular help to 
increase your light. 

(continued in file 11...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-10.txt