Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 12.
( ...continued from File 11)
Sermon 12. Of the Excellency of our High-Priest's Oblation, being 
the first Act or Part of His Priestly Office. 
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are 
After this more general view and consideration of the priesthood of 
Christ, method requires that we come to a nearer and more particular 
consideration of the parts thereof, which are his oblation and 
intercession, answerable to the double office of the High-priest, 
offering the blood of the sacrifices without the holy place, which 
typed out Christ's oblation, and then once a year bringing the blood 
before the Lord into the most holy place, presenting it before God, 
and with it sprinkling the mercy-seat, wherein the intercession of 
Christ (the other part or act of his priesthood) was in a lively 
manner typified to us. 
    My present business is to open and apply the oblation of 
Christ; the efficacy and excellency whereof is excellently 
illustrated, by a comparison with all other oblations, in the 
precedent context, and with a singular encomium commended to us in 
these words, from the singularity of it. It is but one offering; one 
not only specifically, but one numerically considered; but once 
offered, and never more to be repeated: for Christ dies no more, 
Rom. 6: 9. He also commends it from the efficacy of it; by it he has 
perfected it, i.e. not only purchased a possibility of salvation, 
but all that we need to our full perfection. It brings in a most 
entire, complete and perfect righteousness: all that remains to make 
us perfectly happy, is but the full application of the benefits 
procured by this oblation for us. Moreover, it is here commended 
from the extensiveness of it; not being restrained to a few, but 
applicable to all the saints, in all the ages and places of the 
world: for this indefinite, them that that sanctified, is equivalent 
to a universal, and is as much as if he had said, To all and every 
saint, from the beginning to the end of the world. Lastly, He 
commends it from its perpetuity; it perfects for ever, that is, it 
is of everlasting efficacy: it shall abide as fresh, vigorous and 
powerful to the end of the world, as it was the first moment it was 
offered up. All runs into this sweet truth: 
    Doct. That the oblation made unto God by Jesus Christ, is of 
    unspeakable value, and everlasting efficacy, to perfect all 
    them that are, or shall be sanctified, to the end of the world. 
    Out of this fountain flow all the excellent blessings that 
believers either have, or hope for. Had it not been for this, there 
had been no such things in rerum natura, as justification, adoption, 
salvation, &c. peace with God and hopes of glory, pardon of sin, and 
divine acceptation: these and all other our best mercies, had been 
but so many entia, rationis, mere conceits. A man, as one saith, 
might have happily imagined such things as these, as he may golden 
mountains, and rivers of liquid gold, and rocks of diamonds: but 
these things could never have had any real existence extra mentem, 
had not Christ offered up himself a sacrifice to God for us. It is 
"the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered up 
himself without spot to God, that purges the conscience from dead 
works," Heb. 9: 14. that is, from the sentence of condemnation and 
death, as it is reflected by conscience, for our works sake. 
    His appearing before God as our priest, with such an offering 
for us, is that which removes our guilt and fear together: "He 
appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," Heb. 9: 29. 
Now, forasmuch as the point before us is of so great weight in 
itself, and so fundamental to our safety and comfort, I shall 
endeavour to give you as distinct and clear an account of it, as can 
consist with that brevity which I must necessarily use. And 
therefore, reader, apply thy mind attentively to the consideration 
of this excellent Priest that appears before God, and the sacrifices 
he offers, with the properties and adjuncts thereof; the person 
before whom he brings, and to whom he offers it; the persons for 
whom he offers; and the end for which this oblation is made. 
    First, The Priest that appears before God with an oblation for 
us, is Jesus Christ, God-man: the dignity of whose person dignified, 
and derived an inestimable worth to the offering he made. There were 
many priests before him, but none like unto him, either for the 
purity of his person, or the perpetuity of his priesthood: they were 
sinful men, and offered for their own sins, as well as the sins of 
the people, Heb. 5: 3. "but he was holy, harmless, undefiled, 
separate from sinners," Heb. 7: 2. He could stand before God, even 
in the eye of his justice, as a lamb without spot. Though he made 
his soul an offering for sin, "yet he had done no iniquity, nor was 
any guile found in his mouth," Isa. 53: 9. and indeed his offering 
had done us no good, if the least taint of sin had been found on 
him. They were mortal men, that "continued not by reason of death," 
Heb. 7: 25, but Christ is "a Priest for ever," Psal. 110: 4. 
    Secondly, The oblation or offering he made, was not the blood 
of beasts, but his own blood, Heb. 9: 12. And herein he transcended 
all other priests, that he had something of his own to offer; he had 
a body given him to be at his own dispose, to this use and purpose, 
Heb. 10: 10. he offered his body: "yea, not only his body, but his 
soul was made an offering for sin," Isa. 53: 10. We had made a 
forfeiture of our souls and bodies by sin, and it was necessary the 
sacrifice of Christ should be answerable to the debt we owed. And 
when Christ came to offer his sacrifice, he stood not only in the 
capacity of a priest, but also in that of a surety: and so his soul 
stood in the stead of ours, and his body in the stead of our bodies. 
Now the excellency of this oblation will appear in the following 
adjuncts and properties of it. This oblation being for the matter of 
it, the soul and body of Jesus Christ, is therefore, 
    1. Invaluably precious. So the apostle styles it, 1 Pet. 1: 19. 
"Ye were redeemed "timioi aimati", with the precious blood of the 
Son of God:" and such it behoved him to offer. For it being offered 
as an expiatory sacrifice, it ought to be equivalent, in its own 
intrinsic value to all the souls and bodies that were to be redeemed 
by it. And so it was, and more also for there was a redundancy of 
value, an over plus of merit, which went to make a purchase for the 
redeemed, as will be opened in its place. So that, as one rich 
diamond is more worth than a thousand pebbles: one piece of gold, 
than many counters; so the soul and body of one Christ, are much 
more excellent than all the souls and bodies in the world. 
    And yet I dare not affirm, as some do, that by reason of the 
infinite preciousness of Christ's blood, one drop thereof had been 
sufficient to have redeemed the whole world: for if one drop had 
been enough, why was all the rest, even to the last drop, shed? Was 
God cruel, to exact more from him than was needful and sufficient: 
Besides, we must remember, that the passions of Christ, which were 
inflicted on him as the curse of the law, these only are the 
passions which are sufficient for our redemption from the curse of 
the law; now it was not a drop of blood, but death which was 
contained in the curse: this therefore was necessary to be 
inflicted. But surely as none but God can estimate the weight and 
evil of sin, so none but he can comprehend the worth and 
preciousness of the blood of Christ, shed to expiate it. And being 
so infinitely precious a thing which was offered up to God, it must, 
    2. Needs be a most complete and all-sufficient oblation, fully 
to expiate the sins of all for whom it was offered, in all ages of 
the world. The virtue of this sacrifice reacheth backward as far as 
Adam, and reacheth forward to the last person of the elect springing 
from him. That the efficacy of it thus reacheth back to Adam, is 
plain: for, on the account thereof, he is stiled "The Lamb slain 
from the foundation of the world," Rev. 13: 8. 
    And to the same sense a judicious expositor understands those 
words of Christ, John 8: 58. "Before Abraham was, I am." And, look, 
as the sun at midday extends his light and influence, not only 
forward towards the West, but also backward towards the East, where 
he arose; so did this most efficacious sacrifice reach all the elect 
in the virtue of it, who died before Christ came in the flesh. It is 
therefore but a vain cavil, that some make against the satisfaction 
of Christ, to render it needless, when they say, many were saved 
without it, even as many as were saved before the death of Christ. 
For they say, the effect cannot be before the cause, which is true 
of physical, but not of moral causes; and such was Christ's 
satisfaction. As for example, a captive is freed out of prison from 
the time that his surety undertakes for him, and promises his 
ransom; here the captive is actually delivered, though he ransom 
that delivered him be not yet actually paid. So it was in this case; 
Christ had engaged to the Father to satisfy for them, and upon that 
security they were delivered. 
    And the virtue of this oblation not only reaches those 
believers, that lived and died before Christ's day, but it extends 
itself forward to the end of the world. Hence Heb. 13: 8. Christ is 
said to be "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever;" i.e. "He is 
not so a Saviour to us that now live, as that he was not their 
Saviour also, that believed in him, before us, from the beginning: 
yet not so a Saviour both to them and us, as that he shall not be 
the same to all that shall believe on him to the world's end." 
    To the same sense are those words, Heb. 11: 40. rightly 
paraphrased, "God having provided some better thing for us, that 
they without us should not be made perfect:" q. d. God has appointed 
the accomplishment of the promise of sending the Messiah, to be in 
the last times, that they (viz. that lived before Christ, should not 
be perfected, that is, justified and saved by any thing done in 
their time, but by looking to our time, and Christ's satisfaction 
made therein; whereby they and we are perfected together. No tract 
of time can wear out the virtue of this eternal sacrifice. It is as 
fresh, vigorous, and potent now, as the first hour it was offered. 
And though he actually offer it no more, yet he virtually continues 
it by his intercession now in heaven; for there he is still a 
Priest. And therefore, about sixty years after his ascension, when 
he gave the Revelation to John, he appears to him in his priestly 
garment, Rev. 1: 13. "Clothed in a garment down to the feet, and 
girt about the paps with a golden girdle:" in allusion to the 
priestly ephod, and curious girdle. 
    And as the virtue of this oblation reaches backward and 
forward, to all ages, and to all believers, so to all the sins of 
all believers, which are fully purged and expiated by it: this no 
other oblation could do. The legal sacrifices were no real 
expiations, but rather remembrances of sins, Heb. 9: 9, 12. Heb. 10: 
3. And all the virtue they had, consisted in their typical relation 
to this sacrifice, Gal. 3: 23. Heb. 9: 13. And, separate from it, 
were altogether weak, unprofitable, and insignificant things, Heb. 
7: 18. But this blood cleanseth from all sins, 1 John 1: 7. and sin, 
originating, or originated, or actual, flowing from them both. It 
expiates all fully, without exception, and finally, without 
revocation. So that by his being made sin for us, we are made not 
only righteous, but "the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. 5: 21. 
    3. And lastly, to name no more; being so precious in itself, 
and so efficacious to expiate sin, it must needs be a most grateful 
oblation to the Lord, highly pleasing and delightful in his eyes. 
And so indeed it is said, Eph. 5: 2. "He gave himself for us, an 
offering, and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour." Not 
that God took any delight or content in the bitter sufferings of 
Christ, simply and in themselves considered; but with relation to 
the end for which he was offered, even our redemption and salvation. 
    Hence arose the delight and pleasure God had in it; this made 
him take pleasure in bruising, him, Isa. 53: 10. God smelled a 
savour of rest in this sacrifice. The meaning is, that as men are 
offended with a stench, and their stomachs rise at it, and on the 
contrary delighted with sweet doors and fragrances; so the blessed 
God speaking after the manner of man, is offended, and filled with 
loathing, and abhorrence by our sins; but infinitely pleased and 
delighted in the offering of Christ for them, which came up as an 
odour of sweet smelling savour to him, Whereof the costly perfumes 
under the law were types and shadows. This was the oblation. 
    Thirdly, This oblation he brings before God, and to him he 
offers it up: So speaks the apostle, Heb. 9: 14. "Through the 
eternal Spirit he offered himself without spot to God." As Christ 
sustained the capacity of a surety, so God of a creditor, who 
exacted satisfaction from him; that is, he required from him, as our 
surety, the penalty due to us for our sin. And so Christ had to do 
immediately with God, yea, with a God infinitely wronged, and 
incensed by sin against us. To this incensed Majesty, Christ our 
High priest approached, as to a devouring fire, with the sacrifice. 
    Fourthly, The persons for whom, and in whose stead he offered 
himself to God, was the whole number of God's elect, which were 
given him of the Father, neither more nor less: So speak the 
scriptures. He laid down his life for the sheep, John 10: 15. for 
the church, Acts 20: 28. for the children of God, John 11: 50, 51, 
52!. It is confessed, there is sufficiency of virtue in this 
Sacrifice to redeem the whole world, and on that account some 
divines affirm he is called the "Saviour of the world," John 4: 42 
et alibi. We acknowledge also, that he purchased the services of 
others, besides the elect, to be useful to them, as they many ways 
are. In which sense others take those scriptures that speak so 
universally of the extent of his death. We also acknowledge that the 
elect being scattered in all parts, and among all ranks of men in 
the world, and unknown to those that are to tender Jesus Christ to 
men by the preaching of the gospel; the stile of the gospel (as it 
was necessary) is by such indefinite expressions suited to the 
general tenders they are to make of him: but that the efficacy and 
saving virtues of this all-sufficient sacrifice, is co-extended with 
God's election, so that they all, and no others can, or shall reap 
the special benefits of it, is too clear in the scriptures to be 
denied, Eph. 5: 23. John 17: 2, 9, 19, 20. John 10: 26, 27, 28. 1 
Tim. 4: 10. 
    Fifthly, The design and end of this oblation was to atone, 
pacify, and reconcile God, by giving him a full and adequate 
compensation or satisfaction for the sins of these his elect: so 
speaks the apostle, Col. 1: 20. "And having made peace, through the 
blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by 
him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." 
So 2 Cor. 5: 19. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to 
himself." Reconciliation is the making up of that breach caused by 
sin, between us and God, and restoring us again to his favour and 
friendship. For this end Christ offered up himself to God; I say, 
not for this end only, but more especially; hence it is called 
"hilasmos", a propitiation; and so the Seventy render that place, 
Numb. 15: "hilasmos krios", the propitiating ram. But here I would 
not be mistaken, as though the reconciliation were made only between 
us and God the Father, by the blood of the cross; for we were 
reconciled by it to the whole Trinity. Every sin being made against 
the divine Majesty, it must needs follow, that the three Persons, 
having the same divine essence, must be all offended by the 
commission, and so all reconciled by the expiation and remission of 
the same. But reconciliation is said to be with the Father, because, 
though the works of the Trinity, ad extra, be undivided, and what 
one does, all do; and what is done to one, is done to all; yet by 
this form and manner of expression (as a learned man well observes), 
the scriptures point out the proper office of each Person. The 
Father receives us into favour; the Son mediates, and gives the 
ransom which procures it; the Spirit applies and seals this to the 
persons and hearts of believers. However, being reconciled to the 
Father, we are also reconciled to the Son, and Spirit, as they are 
one God in three Persons. And if it be objected, that then Christ 
offered up a sacrifice, or laid down a price to reconcile us to 
himself; I shall more fairly and directly meet with, and satisfy 
that objection, when I come to speak of Christ's satisfaction, which 
is one of the principal fruits of this excellent oblation. For the 
present, this may inform you about the nature and precious worth of 
Christ's oblation. The uses whereof follow in these five practical 
    Inference 1. Hence it follows, That actual believers are fully 
freed from the guilt of their sins, and shall never more come under 
    The obligation of sin is perfectly abolished by the virtue of 
this sacrifice. When Christ became our sacrifice, he both bare, and 
bare away our sins. First, They were laid upon him, then expiated by 
him; so much is imported in that word, Heb. 9: 28. "Christ was once 
offered to bear the sins of many". To bear, the word is a full and 
emphatical word, signifying not only to bear, but to bear away. So 
John 1: 29. "Behold the Lamb of God, "ho arion", that taketh away 
the sins of the world;" not only declaratively, or by way of 
manifestation to the conscience; but really, making a purgation of 
sin, as it is in Hebrews 1: 3, "katarismon poiesamenos", word for 
word, a purgation being made, and not declared only. Now, how great 
a mercy is this, "that by him, all that believe should be justified 
from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of 
Moses," Acts 13: 39. What shall we call this grace? surely, we 
should do somewhat more than admire it, and faint under the sense of 
such a mercy. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose 
sin is covered," Psal. 32: or, O the blessedness or felicities of 
him that is pardoned! who can express the mercies, comforts, 
happiness of such a state as this? Reader, let me beg thee, if thou 
be one of this pardoned number, to look over the cancelled bonds, 
and see what vast sums are remitted to thee. Remember what thou wast 
in thy natural estate: possibly thou wast in that black bill, 1 Cor. 
6: 3. What, and yet pardoned! full and finally pardoned, and that 
freely, as to any hand that thou hadst in the procurement of it! 
what can't thou do less, than fall down at the feet of free grace, 
and kiss those feet that moved so freely towards so vile a sinner? 
It is not long since thy iniquities were upon thee, and thou pinedst 
away in them. Their guilt could by no creature power be separated 
from thy soul. Now they are removed from thee, as far as the East 
from the West, Psal. 103: 11. So that, when the East and West, which 
are the two opposite points of heaven, meet, then thy soul and its 
guilt may meet again together. 
    O the unspeakable efficacy of Christ's sacrifice, which extends 
to all sins! 1 John 1: 7. "The blood of Christ cleanseth from all 
sins, sins past and present, without exception. And some divines of 
good note affirm, all sins to come also; for, (saith Mr. Paul 
Blains), original sin, in which all future sins are, as fruits in 
the root, is pardoned; and if these were not pardoned, they would 
void and invalidate former pardons. And lastly, it would derogate 
from the most plenary satisfaction of Christ. But the most say, and 
I think, truly, that all the past sins of believers are pardoned, 
without revocation, all their present sins without exception; but 
not their sins to come by way of anticipation: and yet for them 
there is a pardon of course, which is applied on their repentance, 
and application, of Christ's blood; so that none of them shall make 
void former pardons. O let these things slide sweetly to thy melting 
    Inf. 2. From this oblation Christ made of himself to God for 
our sins, we infer the inflexible severity of divine Justice, which 
could be no other way diverted from us, and appeased, but by the 
blood of Christ. If Christ had not presented himself to God for us, 
Justice would not have spared us: And if he do appear before God as 
our surety, it will not spare him; Rom. 8: 32. "He spared not his 
own Son, but delivered him up to death for us all." If forbearance 
might have been expected from any, surely it might from God, "who is 
very pitiful, and full of tender mercy," James 5: 11. yet God in 
this case spared not. If one might have expected sparing mercy and 
abatement from any, surely Christ might most of all expect it from 
his own Father; yet you hear, God spared not his own Son. Sparing 
mercy is the lowest degree of mercy, yet it was denied to Christ: he 
abated him not a minute of the time appointed for his suffering, nor 
one degree of wrath he was to bear; nay, though in the garden Christ 
fell upon the ground, and sweat clodders of blood, and in that 
unparalleled agony scrued up his spirit to the highest intention, in 
that pitiful cry, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass;" 
and though he brake out upon the cross, in that heart-rending 
complaint, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" yet no 
abatement; Justice will not bend in the least; but having to do with 
him on this account, resolves upon satisfaction from his blood. If 
this be so, what is the case of thy soul, reader, if thou be a man 
or woman that has no interest in this sacrifice? For if these things 
be done in (Christ) the green tree, what will be done to (thee) the 
dry tree? Luke 23: 31 "That is, if God so deal with me, that I am 
not only innocent, but like a green and fruitful tree, full of all 
delectable fruits of holiness, yet if the fire of his indignation 
thus seize upon me, what will be your condition, that are both 
barren and guilty, void of all good fruit, and full of all 
unrighteousness," and so like dry scary wood, are fitted as fuel to 
the fire? Consider with thyself, man, how canst thou imagine thou 
canst support that infinite wrath that Christ grappled with in the 
room of God's elect! He had the strength of a Deity to support him, 
Isa. 42: 1. "Behold my servant whom I uphold." He had the fulness of 
his Spirit to prepare him, Isa. 61: 11. He had the ministry of an 
angel, who came post from heaven to relieve him in his agony, Luke 
22: 43. He had the ear of his Father to hear him, for he cried, "and 
was heard in that he feared," Heb. 5: 7. He was assured of the 
victory, before the combat; he knew he should be justified, Isa. 50: 
8. and yet for all this he was sore amazed, and sorrowful even to 
death, and his heart was melted like wax in the midst of his bowels. 
If the case stood thus with Christ, notwithstanding all these 
advantages he had to bear the wrath of God for a little time; how 
dost thou think, a poor worm as thou art, to dwell with everlasting 
burnings, or contend with devouring fire? Luther saw ground enough 
for what he said, when he cried, out, "I will have nothing to do 
with an absolute God," i. e. with a God out of Christ: for, "it is a 
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Wo and alas 
for evermore to that man who meets a just and righteous God without 
a Mediator! Whoever thou art that readest these lines, I beseech 
thee, by the mercies of God, by all the regard and love thou hast to 
thy own soul, neglect not time, but make quick and sure work of it. 
Get an interest in this sacrifice quickly, what else will be thy 
state when vast eternity opens to swallow thee up? what wilt thou 
do, man, when thine eye-strings and heart strings are breaking? O 
what a fearful shriek will thy conscience give, when thou art 
presented before the dreadful God, and no Christ to screen thee from 
his indignation! Happy is that man who can say in a dying hour, as 
one did, who being desired, a little before his dissolution, to give 
his friends a little taste of his present hopes, and the grounds of 
them, cheerfully answered, I will let you know how it is with me: 
then stretching forth his hand, said, 
    "Here is the grave, the wrath of God, and devouring flame, the 
just punishment of sin, on the one side: and here am I, a poor 
sinful soul, on the other side: but this is my comfort, the covenant 
of grace, which is established upon so many sure promises, has saved 
all. There is an act of oblivion passed in heaven: I will forgive 
their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more. This is 
the blessed privilege of all within the covenant, among whom I am 
one." O it is sweet at all times, especially at such a time, to see 
the reconciled face of God, through Jesus Christ, and hear the voice 
of peace through the blood of the cross. 
    Inf. 3. Has Christ offered up himself a sacrifice to God for 
us? Then let us improve, in every condition, this sacrifice, and 
labour to get hearts duly affected with such a sight as faith can 
give us of it. Whatever the condition or complaint of any Christian 
is, the beholding the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the 
world, may give him strong support, and sweet relief. Do you 
complain of the hardness of your hearts, and want of love to Christ? 
Behold him as offered up to God for you; and such a sight, (if any 
in the world will do it) will melt your hard hearts. Zech. 12: 10. 
"They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn." 
It is reported of Johannes Milieus, that he was never observed to 
speak of Christ and his sufferings, but his eyes would drop. Art 
thou too little touched and unaffected with the evil of sin? Is it 
thy complaint, Christian, that thou canst not make sin bear so hard 
upon thy heart as thou wouldst? Consider but what thou hast now 
read; realise this sacrifice by faith, and try what efficacy there 
is in it to make sin for ever bitter as death to thy soul. Suppose 
thine own Father had been stabbed to the heart with such a knife, 
and his blood were upon it, wouldst thou delight to see, or endure 
to use that knife any more? sin is the knife that stabbed Christ to 
the heart; this shed his blood. Surely, you can never make light of 
that which lay so heavy upon the soul and body of Jesus Christ. 
    Or is your heart pressed down even to despondency, under the 
guilt of sin, so that you cry, how can such a sinner as I be 
pardoned? my sin is greater than can be forgiven? "Behold the Lamb 
of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." Remember that no sin 
can stand before the efficacy of his blood. 1 John 1: 7. "The blood 
of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." This sacrifice makes unto 
God full satisfaction. 
    Are you at any time staggering through unbelief filled with 
unbelieving suspicions of the promises? Look hither, and you shall 
see them all ratified and established in the blood of the cross, so 
that hills and mountains shall sooner start from their own basis and 
centres, than one little of the promise fail. Heb. 9: 17, 18, 19. 
    Do you at any time find year hearts fretting, disquieted, and 
impatient under every petty cross and trial? See how quietly Christ 
your sacrifice came to the altar, how meekly and patiently he stood 
under all the wrath of God and men together This will silence, 
convince, and shame you. 
    In a word, here you will see so much of the grace of God, and 
love of Christ, in providing and becoming a sacrifice for you: you 
will see God taking vengeance against sin, but sparing the sinner: 
you will see Christ standing as the body of sin alone; for, "he was 
made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in 
him:" that whatever corruption burdens, this, in the believing 
application, will support; whatever grace is defective, this will 
revive it. 
         Blessed be God for Jesus Christ. 

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