Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 15.
( ...continued from File 14)
Sermon 15. Of the blessed Inheritance purchased by the Oblation of 
Christ, being the second Effect or Fruit of his Priesthood. 
Gal. 4: 4, 5. 
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, 
made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under 
the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 
This scripture gives us an account of a double fruit of Christ's 
death, viz. the payment of our debt, and the purchase of our 
    1. The payment of our debt, expressed by our redemption, or 
buying us out from the obligation and curse of the law, which has 
been discoursed in the last exercise. 
    2. The purchase of an inheritance for those redeemed ones, 
expressed here by their receiving the adoption of sons, which is to 
be our present subject. Adoption is either civil, or divine. Of the 
first, the civil law gives this definition: that it is, 
    "A lawful act, an imitation of nature, invented for the comfort 
of them that have no children of their own. Divine adoption is that 
special benefit whereby God, for Christ's sake, accepteth us as 
sons, and makes us heirs of eternal life with him." 
    Betwixt this civil and sacred adoption, there is a twofold 
agreement, and disagreement. They agree in this, that both flow from 
the pleasure and good-will of the adoptant; and in this, that both 
confer a right to privileges, which we have not by nature: but in 
this they differ, one is an act imitating nature, the other 
transcends nature; the one was found out for the comfort of them 
that had no children; the other for the comfort of them that had no 
father. This divine adoption is, in scripture, either taken properly 
for that act or sentence of God, by which we are made sons, or for 
the privileges with which the adopted are invested: and so it is 
taken Rom. 8: 23, and in this scripture now before us. We lost our 
inheritance by the fall of Adam; we receive it, as the text speaks, 
by the death of Christ, which restores it again to us by a new and 
better title. The doctrine hence, is this, 
    Doct. That the death of Jesus Christ has not only satisfied for 
    our debts, but over and above purchased a rich inheritance for 
    the children of God. 
    "For this end, or cause, he is the Mediator of the New 
Testament; that, by means of death, for the redemption of the 
transgressions that were under the first Testament, they which are 
called, might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance," Heb. 
9: 15. 
    We will here, First, See what Christ paid. Secondly, What he 
purchased. Thirdly, For whom. 
    First, that Christ paid. Our divines comprise the virtue and 
fruits of the priesthood of Christ in these two things, viz. Solutio 
debiti, et acquisitio haereditatis, payment and purchase. 
Answerable, the obedience of Christ has a double relation, relatio 
legalis justitiae, the relation of a legal righteousness; and 
adequate and exactly proportioned price. And it has also in it ratio 
superlegalis meriti, the relation of a merit over and beyond the 
    To object (as some do) "the satisfaction of Christ was more 
than sufficient", according to our doctrine, "and therefore could 
not be intended, for the payment of our debt," is a senseless cavil. 
For surely, if Christ paid more than was owing, he must needs pay 
all that was owing to Divine Justice. And truly it is but a bad 
requital of the love of Jesus Christ, who, beside the payment of 
what he owed, would manifest his bounty by the redundancy of his 
merit, which he paid to God to purchase a blessed inheritance for 
us. This over plus of satisfaction (which was the price of that 
inheritance I am now to open) is not obscurely hinted, but plainly 
expressed twice in Rom. 5: 15. "But not as the offence, so also is 
the free gift: for if through the offence of one many be dead, 
'pollo mallon', much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace, 
which is by one man, Jesus Christ, 'eperisseuse'" has abounded or 
flowed abundantly unto many." So ver. 17. "For if by one man's 
offence, death reigned by one, 'pollo mallon', much more they which 
receive 'ten perisseian', the overflowing, or abundance of grace, 
and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus 
Christ." In both which places Christ and Adam are compared as the 
two roots or common heads of mankind, both agreeing in this property 
of communicating their conditions to those that are theirs; yet 
there is a great deal of difference betwixt them! for in Christ the 
power is all divine, and therefore infinitely more active and 
effectual: He communicates abundantly more to his, than they lost in 
Adam; so that his blood is not only sufficient to redeem all those 
that are actually redeemed by it, but even the whole world also. And 
were there so many worlds of men as there are men in the world, it 
would be sufficient for them also; and yet still there would be an 
over plus of value: for all those worlds of men would rise but to a 
finite bulk; but this blood is infinite in its worth and dignity. 
Since then there is not a whole world, no not half, but the far less 
part redeemed by the blood of Christ, which was sufficient for so 
many; great must be the surplusage and redundancy of merit? Here our 
divines rightly distinguish betwixt the substance and accidents of 
Christ's death and obedience. Consider Christ's suffering, as to the 
substance of it, it was no more than what the law required; for, 
neither the justice, nor love of the Father would permit that Christ 
should suffer more than what was necessary for him to bear, as our 
Surety; but, as to the circumstances, the person of the sufferer, 
the cause and efficacy of his sufferings, &c. it was much more than 
sufficient: a superlegale meritum, a merit above and beyond what the 
law required; for, though the law required the death of the sinner, 
who is but a poor contemptible creature, it did not require that 
one, perfectly innocent, should die, it did not require that God 
should shed his blood: it did not require blood of such value and 
worth as this was. I say, none of this the law required, though God 
was pleased, for the advancement and manifestation of his justice 
and mercy in the highest, to admit, and order this, by way of 
commutation, admitting him to be our 'antipsuchos', or ransomer, by 
dying for us. And, in(teed, it was a most gracious relaxation of the 
law, that admitted of such a commutation as this; for hereby it 
comes to pass, that justice is fully satisfied, and yet we live and 
are saved; which, before, was a thing that could not be imagined. 
Yea, now we are not only redeemed from wrath, by the adequate 
compensation made for our sins by Christ's blood and sufferings, 
substantially considered; but entitled to a most glorious 
inheritance, purchased by his blood, considered as the blood or an 
innocent, as the blood of God, and therefore as most excellent and 
efficacious blood, above what the law demanded. And this is the 
meaning of Athanasius, when he saith, "That Christ recompensed, or 
made amends for small things with great:" he means not, that sin, 
considered absolutely, and in itself, is small, O no, but compared 
with Christ's blood, and the infinite excellency and worth of it, it 
is so. And Chrysostom, to the same purpose, "Christ paid much more 
(saith he) than he owed and so much more, as the immense ocean is 
more than a small drop." So that it was rightly determined by holy 
Anselm: "No man (saith he) can pay to God what he owes him; Christ 
only paid more than he owed him." By this you see, how rich a 
treasure lies in Christ, to bestow in a purchase for us, above what 
he paid to redeem us; even as much as his soul and body were more 
worth than ours, for whom it was sacrificed; which is so great a 
sum, that all the angels in heaven, and men on earth, can never 
compute and sum up, so as to show us the total of it. And this was 
that inexhaustible treasure that Christ expended, to procure and 
purchase the fairest inheritance for believers. Having seen the 
treasure that purchased, let us next enquire into the inheritance 
purchased by it. 
    Secondly, This inheritance is so large, that it cannot be 
surveyed by creatures: nor can the boundaries and limits thereof be 
described, for it comprehends all things; 1 Cor. 3: 22. "All is 
yours, ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Rev. 21: 7. "He that 
overcomes shall inherit all things". And yet I do not think, or say, 
that Dominium fundatur in gratia, that temporal dominion is founded 
in grace: no, that is at the cast and disposal of Providence. But 
Christ, by his death, has restored a right to all things to his 
    But, to be more particular, I shall distribute the saints 
inheritance, purchased by Christ, into three heads; all temporal 
good things, all spiritual good things, and all eternal good things 
are theirs. 
    1. All temporal good things. 1 Tim. 6: 7. "He hath given us all 
things richly to enjoy". Not that they have the possession, but the 
comfort and benefit of all things: others have the sting, gall, 
wormwood, baits and snares of the creature; saints only have the 
blessing and comfort of it. So that this little that a righteous man 
has, is (in this among other respects) better than the treasures of 
many wicked: which is the true key to open that dark saying of the 
apostle, 2 Cor. 6: 10. "As having nothing, and yet possessing all 
things." They only possess, others are possessed by the world. The 
saints utuntur mundi, et fruuntur Deo, "use the world, and enjoy 
God" in the use of it. Others are deceived, defiled, and destroyed 
by the world; but these are refreshed and furthered by it. 
    2. All spiritual good things are purchased by the blood of 
Christ for them; as Justification, which comprises remission of sins 
and acceptance of our persons by God: Rom. 3: 24. "Being justified 
freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ." 
Sanctification is also purchased for them; yea, both initial and 
progressive sanctification: for of "God, he is made unto us, not 
only wisdom and righteousness, but sanctification also," 1 Cor. 1: 
30. These two, viz. our justification and sanctification, are two of 
the most rich and shining robes in the wardrobe of free grace. How 
glorious and lovely do they render the soul that wears them! These 
are like the bracelets, and jewels Isaac sent to Rebecca. Adoption 
into the family of God is purchased for us by his blood; "For ye are 
all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ," Gal. 3: 26. 
Christ, as he is the Son, is haeres natus,, "the heir by nature;" as 
he is Mediator, he is haeres constitutus, "the heir by appointment," 
appointed heir of all things, as it is, Heb. 1: 2. By the Sonship of 
Christ, we being united to him by faith, become sons; and if sons, 
then heirs. "O what manner of love is this, that we should be called 
the sons of God", 1 John 3: 1. That a poor beggar should be made an 
heir, yea, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ! Yea, that 
very faith, which is the bond of union, and consequently, the ground 
of all our communion with Christ, is the purchase of his blood also: 
2 Pet. 1: 1. "To them that have "obtained like precious faith with 
us, through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." 
This most precious grace is the dear purchase of our Lord Jesus 
Christ; yea, all that peace, joy, and spiritual comfort, which are 
sweet fruits of faith, are with it purchased for us by this blood. 
    So speaks the apostle in Rom. 5: 1, 2, 3. "Being justified by 
faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ," &c. 
Moreover the Spirit himself, who is the author, fountain, and spring 
of all graces and comforts, is procured for us by his death and 
resurrection: Gal. 3: 13, 14. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse 
of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, cursed is 
every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might 
come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive 
the promise of the Spirit through faith." That Spirit that first 
sanctified, and since has so often sealed, comforted, directed, 
resolved, guided, and quickened your souls, had not come to perform 
any of these blessed offices upon your hearts, if Christ had not 
    3. All eternal good things are the purchase of his blood. 
Heaven, and all the glory thereof is purchased for you that are 
believers, with this price. Hence that glory, whatever it be, is 
called "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not 
away, reserved in heaven for you": To the lively hope whereof you 
are begotten again, "by the resurrection of Christ from the dead," 1 
Pet. 1: 3, 4. Not only present mercies are purchased for us, but 
things to come also, as it is, 1 Cor. 3: 22. Man is a prudent and 
prospecting creature, and is not satisfied that it is well with him 
for the present, unless he have some assurance it shall be well with 
him for time to come. His mind is taken up about what shall be 
hereafter; and from the good or evil things to come, he raiseth up 
to himself vast hopes or fears. 
    Therefore to complete our happiness, and fill up the uttermost 
capacity of our souls, all the good of eternity is put into the 
account and inventory of the saints estate and inheritance. This 
happiness is ineffably; it is usually distinguished into what is 
essential, and what is accessory to it. The essentials of it, as far 
as we in our embodied state can conceive, is either the objective, 
subjective, or formal happiness to be enjoyed in heaven. 
    The objective happiness is God himself, Psal. 73: 25. "Whom 
have I in heaven but thee?" If it could be supposed (saith one) that 
God should withdraw from the saints in heaven, and say, Take heaven, 
and divide it among you; but as for me, I will withdraw from you; 
the saints would fall a weeping in heaven, and say, Lord, take 
heaven, and give it to whom thou wilt; it is no heaven to us, except 
thou be there: Heaven would be very Bochim to the saints without 
God. In this, our glory in heaven consists, to be ever with the 
Lord, 1 Thess. 4: 17. God himself is the chief part of a saint's 
inheritance; in which sense, as some will understand, Rom. 8: 1. 
they are called heirs of God. 
    The subjective glory and happiness is the attemperation and 
suiting of the soul and body to God. This is begun in 
sanctification, and perfected in glorification. It consists in 
removing from both all that is indecent, and inconsistent with a 
state of such complete glory and happiness, and in superinducting 
and clothing it with all heavenly qualities. 
    The immunities of the body are its freedom from all nature 
infirmities; which as they come in, so they go out with sin. 
Thenceforth there shall be no diseases, deformities, pains, flaws, 
monstrosities; their good physician death has cured all this, and 
their vile bodies shall be made like unto Christ's glorious body, 
Phil. 3: 21. and be made a spiritual body, 1 Cor. 15: 44. For 
agility, like the chariots of Aminadab; for beauty, as the top of 
Lebanon; for incorruptibility, as if they were pure spirits. 
    The soul also is discharged and freed from all darkness and 
ignorance of mind, being now able to discern all truths in God, that 
crystal ocean of truth. The leaks of the memory stopt for ever; the 
roving of the fancy perfectly cured; the stubbornness and reluctance 
of the will for ever subdued, and retained in due and full 
subjection to God. So that the saints in glory shall be free from 
all that now troubles them; they shall never sin more nor be once 
tempted so to do, for no serpent hisses in that paradise; they shall 
never grieve nor groan more, for God shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes. They shall never be troubled more, for God will then 
recompense tribulation to their troublers, and to them that are 
troubled, rest; they shall never doubt more, for fruition excludes 
    The formal happiness is the fulness of satisfaction resulting 
from the blessed sight and enjoyment of God, by a soul so attempered 
to him, Psal. 17: 15. "When I awake I shall be satisfied with thy 
likeness." This sight of God, in glory, called the beatifical 
vision, must needs yield ineffable satisfaction to the beholding 
soul, inasmuch as it will be an intuitive vision. The intellectual 
or mental eye shall see God, 1 John 3: 2. The corporeal glorified 
eye shall see Christ, Job 19: 26, 27. What a ravishing vision will 
this be! and how much will it exceed all reports and apprehensions 
we had here of it! Surely one half was not told us. It will be a 
transformative vision, it will change the beholder into its own 
image and likeness. "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as 
he is," 1 John 3: 2. As iron put into the fire, becomes all fiery; 
so the soul, by conversing with God, is changed into his very 
similitude. It will be an appropriative vision; "Whom I shall see 
for myself," Job 19: 26, 27. In heaven interest is clear and 
undoubted, fear is cast out: no need of marks and signs there; for 
what a man sees and enjoys, how can he doubt of? It will be a 
ravishing vision; these we have by faith are so, how much more those 
in glory? How was Paul transported, when he was in a visional way 
wrapt up into the third heaven, and heard the unutterable things, 
though he was not admitted into the blessed society, but was with 
them, as the angels are in our assemblies, a stander by, a 
looker-on. If a spark do so inflame, what is it to lie down like a 
Phoenix in her bed of spices! Like a Salamander to live and move in 
the fire of love! It will also be an eternal vision; vacabimus et 
videbimus, (as Augustinus said) we shall then be at leisure for this 
employment, and have no diversions from it for ever. No evening is 
mentioned to the seventh day's sabbath; no night in the new 
Jerusalem. And therefore, 
    Lastly, It will be a fully satisfying vision: God will then be 
all in all, Etiam ipsa curiositas satietur, "Curiosity itself will 
be satisfied." The blessed soul will feel itself blessed, filled, 
satisfied in every part. Ah, what a happiness is here! to look and 
love, is drink and sing, and drink again at the fountain head of the 
highest glory! And if at any time its eye be turned from a direct to 
a reflex sight upon what it once was, how it was wrought on, how 
fitted for his glory, how wonderfully distinguished by special grace 
from them that are howling in flames, whilst himself is shouting 
aloud upon his bed of everlasting rest; and this will enhance the 
    And so also will the accessories of this blessedness be; The 
place where God is enjoyed, the empyrean heaven, the city of God, 
whither Christ ascended, where the great assembly are met. Paradise 
and Canaan were but the types of it; more excelling and transcending 
the royal palaces or earthly princes, than they do a pigeon-hole. 
The company also with whom he is enjoyed, adds to the glory. A 
blissful society indeed! store of good neighbours in that city. 
There we shall have familiar converse with angels, whose appearances 
now are insupportable by poor mortals. There will be sweet and full 
closings also betwixt the saints; Luther and Zwinglius are there 
agreed. Here they could not fully close with one another, and no 
wonder, for they could not fully close with themselves. But there is 
perfect harmony and unity; all meeting and closing in God, as lines 
in the centre. This is a blessed glimpse of your inheritance. 
    Thirdly, All this is purchased for believers: hence it is 
called, "the inheritance of the saints in light," Col. 1: 12. "All 
is yours, for ye are Christ's," that is the tenure, 1 Cor. 3: 23. So 
Rom. 8: 30. "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom 
he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he 
also glorified." Only those that are sons, are heirs, Rom. 8: 17. 
The unrighteous shall not inherit, 1 Cor. 6: 9. "It is the Father's 
good pleasure, to give the kingdom to the little flock," Luke 12: 
    Inf. 1. Has Christ not only redeemed you from wrath, but 
purchased such an eternal inheritance also by the overplus of his 
merit for you? O how well content should believers then be with 
their lot of providence in this life, be it what it will! Content 
did I say? I speak too low; overcome, ravished, filled with praises 
and thanksgivings; how low, how poor, how afflicted soever for the 
present they are. O let not such things as grumbling, repining, 
fretting at providence, be found, or once named among the expectants 
of this inheritance! Suppose you had taken a beggar from your door, 
and adopted him to be your son, and made him heir of a large 
inheritance, and after this he should contest and quarrel with you 
for a trifle; could you bear it? How to work the spirit of a saint 
into contentment with a low condition here, I have laid down several 
rules in another discourse, to which, for the present I refer the 
    Infer. 2. With what weaned affections should the people of God 
walk up and down this world, content to live, and willing to die? 
For things present are theirs if they live, and things to come are 
theirs if they die. Paul expresses himself in a frame of holy 
indifference, Phil. 1: 23 "Which to chose I know not." Many of them 
that are now in fruition of their inheritance above, had vitam in 
patientia, mortem in desiderio, "Life in patience, and death in 
desire," while they tabernacled with us. "O (cried one) what would I 
give to have a bed made to my wearied soul in Christ's bosom? " - I 
cannot tell you what sweet pain and delightful torments are in his 
love; I often challenge time for holding us asunder; I profess to 
you, I have no rest till I be over head and ears in love's ocean. If 
Christ's love (that fountain of delights) were laid open to me as I 
would wish, O how overcome would this my soul be! I half call his 
absence cruel; and the mask and vail on his face a cruel covering, 
that hideth such a fair, fair face from a sick soul. I dare not 
challenge himself, but his absence is a mountain of iron upon my 
heavy heart. O when shall we meet! How long is the dawning of the 
marriage-day! O sweet Lord Jesus, take wide steps! O my Lord, come 
over mountains at one stride! O my beloved, flee like a roe, or 
young hart upon the mountains of separation! O if he would fold the 
heavens together like an old cloak, and shovel time and days out of 
the way, and make really in haste the Lamb's wife for her husband! 
Since he looked upon me, my heart is not mine own." 
    Who can be blamed for desiring to see that fair inheritance 
which is purchased for him! But, truly, should God hold up the soul 
by the power of faith, from day to day, to such sights as these, who 
would be content to live a day more on earth! How should we be ready 
to pull down the prison walls, and not have patience to wait till 
God open the door! As the Heathen said, "Victurosque dii celant, ut 
vivere durent." And truly the wisdom of God is in this specially 
remarkable, in giving the new creature such an admirable crisis, and 
even temper, as that scripture, 2 Thess. 3: 5. expresses, "The Lord 
direct your hearts into the love of God and patient waiting for 
Christ." Love inflames with desire, patience allays that fervour. So 
that fervent desires (as one happily expresses it) are allayed with 
meek submission; mighty love with strong patience. And had not God 
twisted together these two principles in the Christian's 
constitution, he had framed a creature to be a torment to itself, to 
live upon a very rack. 
    Inf. 3. Hence we infer the impossibility of their salvation 
that know not Christ, nor have interest in his blood. Neither 
Athens, nor merely nominal Christians, can inherit heaven. I know 
some are very indulgent to the Heathen, and many formal Christians 
are too much so to themselves: but union by faith with Jesus Christ, 
is the only way revealed in scripture, by which we hope to come to 
the heavenly inheritance. I know it seems hard, that such brave men, 
as some of the Heathens were, should be damned: but the scripture 
knows no other way to glory, but Christ put on, and applied by 
faith. And it is the common suffrage of modern sound divines, that 
no man, by the sole conduct of nature, without the knowledge of 
Christ, can be saved. There is but one way to glory for all the 
world, John 14: 6. "No man cometh to the Father but by me." Gal. 3: 
14. "The blessing of Abraham comes upon the Gentiles through faith." 
Scripture asserts the impossibility of being or doing, any thing 
that is truly evangelically good, out of Christ, John 15: 5. 
"Without me ye can do nothing." And Heb. 11: 6. "Without faith it is 
impossible to please God." 
    Scripture every where connects and chains salvation with 
vocation, Rom. 8: 30. and vocation with the gospel, Rom. 10: 14. To 
those that plead for the salvation of Heathens, and profane 
Christians. we may apply that tart rebuke of Bernard, that while 
some labour to make Plato a Christian, he feared they therein did 
prove themselves to be Heathens. 
    Inf. 4. How greatly are we all concerned to clear up our title 
to the heavenly inheritance! It is horrible to see how industrious 
many are for an inheritance on earth, and how careless for heaven. 
By which we may plainly see how vilely the noble soul is depressed 
by sin, and sunk down into flesh, minding only the concernments of 
the flesh. Hear me, ye that labour for the world, as if heaven were 
in it; what will ye do when at death you shall look back over your 
shoulder, and see what you have spent your time and strength for, 
shrinking and vanishing away from you? When you shall look forward, 
and see vast eternity opening its mouth to swallow you up; O then 
what would you give for a well-grounded assurance of an eternal 
    O, therefore if you have any concernment for your poor souls; 
if it be not indifferent to you what becomes of them, whether they 
be saved, or whether they be damned, "give all diligence to make 
your calling and election sure," 2 Pet. 1: 10. "Work out your own 
salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you 
both to will and to do of his own good pleasure," Phil. 2: 12. 
Remember it is salvation you work for, and that is no trifle. 
Remember, it is your own salvation, and not another's. It is for thy 
own poor soul that thou art striving; and what hast thou more? 
    Remember, now God offers you his helping hand; now the Spirit 
waits upon you in the means, but of the continuance thereof you have 
no assurance; for it is of his own good pleasure, and not at yours. 
To your work, souls, to your work. Ah, strive as men that know what 
an inheritance in heaven is worth. 
    And, as for you that have solid evidence that it is yours; O, 
that with hands and eyes lifted up to heaven, you would adore that 
free grace, that has entitled a child of wrath to a heavenly 
inheritance! Walk as becomes heirs of God, and joint heirs with 
Christ. Be often looking heavenward when wants pinch here. O look to 
that fair estate you have reserved in heaven for you, and say, I am 
hastening home; and when I come thither, all my grants shall be 
supplied. Consider what it cost Christ to purchase it for thee; and 
with a deep sense of what he has laid out for thee, let thy soul 
        Blessed be God for Jesus Christ. 

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