Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 16.
( ...continued from File 15)
Sermon 16. Of the Kingly Office of Christ, as it is executed 
spiritually upon the Souls of the Redeemed. 
2 Cor. 10: 5. 
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself 
against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every 
thought to the obedience of Christ. 
We now come to the Regal office, by which our glorious Mediator 
executes and dischargeth the undertaken design of our redemption. 
Had he not, as our Prophet, opened the way of life and salvation to 
the children of men, they could never have known it; and if they had 
clearly known it, except, as their Priest, he had offered up 
himself, to impetrate and obtain redemption for them, they could not 
have been redeemed virtually by his blood; and if they had been so 
redeemed, yet had he not lived in the capacity of a King, to apply 
this purchase of his blood to them, they would have had no actual, 
personal benefit by his death; for what he revealed as a Prophet, he 
purchased as a Priest; and what he so revealed and purchased as a 
Prophet and Priest, he applies as a King: first subduing the souls 
of his elect to his spiritual government; then ruling them as his 
subjects, and ordering all things in the kingdom of Providence for 
their good. So that Christ has a twofold kingdom, the one spiritual 
and internal, by which he subdues and rules the hearts of his 
people; the other providential and external, whereby he guides, 
rules, and orders all things in the world, in a blessed 
subordination to their eternal salvation. I am to speak from this 
text of his spiritual and internal kingdom. 
    These words are considered two ways, either relatively or 
absolutely. Considered relatively, they are a vindication of the 
apostle from the unjust censures of the Corinthians, who very 
unworthily, interpreted his gentleness, condescension, and winning 
affability, to be no better than a fawning upon them for self-ends; 
and the authority he exercised, no better than pride and 
imperiousness. But hereby he lets them know, that as Christ needs 
not, so he never used such carnal artifices: The weapons of our 
warfare (saith he) are not carnal, but mighty, through God, &c. 
    Absolutely considered, they hold forth the efficacy of the 
gospel, in the plainness and simplicity of it, for the subduing of 
rebellious sinners to Christ: and in them we have these three things 
to consider, 
    1. The oppositions made by sinners against the assaults of the 
gospel, viz. imaginations, or reasonings, as the word "logismous" 
may be fitly rendered. He means the subtleties, slights, excuses, 
subterfuges, and arguing of fleshly-minded men; in which they 
fortify and entrench themselves against the convictions of the word: 
yea, and there are not only such carnal seasonings, but many proud, 
high conceits with which poor creatures swell, and scorn to submit 
to the abasing, humble, self denying way of the gospel. These are 
the fortifications erected against Christ by the carnal mind. 
    2. We have here the conquest which the gospel obtains over 
sinners, thus fortified against it; it casts down and overthrows, 
and takes in these strong holds. Thus Christ spoils Satan of his 
armour in which he trusted, by shewing the sinner that all this can 
be no defence to his soul against the wrath of God. But that is not 
all: in the next place, 
    3. You have here the improvement of the victory. Christ does 
not only lead away these enemies spoiled, but brings them into 
obedience to himself, i.e. makes them, after conversion, subjects of 
his own kingdom, obedient, useful, and serviceable to himself; and 
so is more than a conqueror. They do not only lay down their arms, 
and fight no more against Christ with them; but repair to his camp, 
and fight for Christ, with those reasons of theirs that were before 
employed against him: as it is said of Jerome, Origin, and 
Tertullian, that they came into Canaan, laden with Egyptian gold; 
i.e. they came into the church full of excellent learning and 
abilities, with which they eminently served Jesus Christ. "O blessed 
victory, where the conqueror, and conquered, both triumph together!" 
And thus enemies and rebels are subdued, and made subjects of the 
spiritual kingdom of Christ. Hence the doctrinal note is, 
    Doct. That Jesus Christ exercises a Kingly power over the souls 
    of all whom the gospel subdues to his obedience. 
    No sooner were the Colossians delivered out of the power of 
darkness, but they were immediately translated into the kingdom of 
Christ, the dear Son, Col. 1: 13. 
    This kingdom of Christ, which is our present subject, is the 
internal spiritual kingdom, which is said to be within the saints, 
Luke 17: 20, 21. "The kingdom of God is within you." Christ sits as 
an enthroned king in the hearts, consciences, and affections of his 
willing people, Psal. 110: 3. And his kingdom consists in 
"righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," Rom. 14: 17. and 
it is properly monarchical, as appears in the margin. 
    In the prosecution of this point, I will speak doctrinally to 
these three heads. 
    First, How Christ obtains the throne in the hearts of men. 
    Secondly, How he rules in it, and by what acts he exercises his 
kingly authority. 
    Thirdly, What are the privileges of those souls over whom 
Christ reigns. And then apply it. 
    First, We will open the war and manner in which Christ obtains 
a throne in the hearts of men, and that is by conquest: for though 
the souls of the elect are his by donation, and right of redemption; 
the Father gave them to him, and he died for them; yet Satan has the 
first possession: and so it fares with Christ, as it did with 
Abraham, to whom God gave the land of Canaan by promise and 
covenant, but the Canaanites, Perizites, and sons of Anak, had the 
actual possession of it, and Abraham's posterity must fight for it, 
and win it by inches, before they enjoy it. The house is conveyed to 
Christ by him that built it, but the strong man armed keeps the 
possession of it, till a stronger than he comes and ejects him, Luke 
11: 20, 21, 22. Christ must fight his way into the soul, though he 
have a right to enter, as into his dearly purchased possession. And 
so he does; for when the time of recovering them is come, he sends 
forth his armies to subdue them; as it is Psal. 110: 3. "Thy people 
shall be willing in the day of thy power." The Hebrew may as fitly 
be rendered, and so is by some, "in the day of thine armies;" when 
the Lord Jesus sent forth his armies of prophets, apostles, 
evangelists, pastors, teachers, under the conduct of his Spirit, 
armed with that two edged sword, the word of God, which is sharp and 
powerful, Heb. 4: 12. But that is not all: he causes armies of 
convictions, and spiritual troubles, to begird and straiten them on 
every side, so that they know not what to do. These convictions, 
like a shower of arrows, strike, point blank, into their 
consciences; Acts 2: 37. "When they heard this, they were pricked to 
the heart, and said, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Christ's 
arrows are sharp in the hearts of his enemies, whereby the people 
fall under him, Psal. 45: 5, 6. By these convictions he batters down 
all their loose vain hopes, and levels them with the earth. 
    Now all their weak pleas and defences, from the general mercy 
of God, the example of others, &c. prove but as paper walls to them. 
These shake their hearts, even to the very foundation, and overturn 
every high thought there, that exalts itself against the Lord. This 
day, in which Christ sits down before the soul, and summons it by 
such messengers as these, is a day of distress within: yea, such a 
day of trouble, that none is like it. But though it be so, yet Satan 
has so deeply entrenched himself in the mind and will, that the soul 
yields not at the first summons, till its provisions within are 
spent, and all its towers of pride, and walls of vain confidence, be 
undermined by the gospel, and shaken down about its ears: and then 
the soul desires a parley with Christ. O now it would be glad of 
terms, any terms, if it may but save its life: let all go as a prey 
to the conqueror. Now it sends many such messengers as these to 
Christ, who is come now to the very gates of the soul; mercy, Lord, 
mercy, O were I but assured thou wouldest receive, spare, and pardon 
me, I would open to thee the next moment! Thus the soul is shut up 
to the faith of a Christ, as it is, Gal. 3: 23. and reduced now to 
the greatest strait and loss imaginable; and now the merciful King, 
whose only design is to conquer the heart, hangs forth the white 
flag of mercy before the soul, giving it hopes it shall be spared, 
pitied, and pardoned, though so long in rebellion against him, if 
yet it will yield itself to Christ. Many staggering, hesitations, 
irresolutions, doubts, fears, scruples, half-resolves, reasonings 
for and against, there are at the council table of man's own heart, 
at this time. Sometimes there is no hope; Christ will slay me, if I 
go forth to him, and then it trembles. But then, who ever found him 
so that tried him? Other souls have yielded, and found mercy beyond 
all their expectations. O but I have been a desperate enemy against 
him. Admit it, yet thou hast the word of a King for it; "Let the 
wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and 
let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our 
God, for he will abundantly pardon him", Isa. 55: 7. 
    But the time of mercy is past, I have stood out too long: yet 
if it were so, how is it that Christ has not made short sock, and 
cut me off? set fire, hell fire to my soul, and withdrawn the siege? 
Still he waiteth that he may be gracious, and is exalted that he may 
have compassion. A thousand such debates there are, till, at last, 
the soul considering, if it abide in rebellion, it must needs 
perish; if it go forth to Christ, it can but perish: and being 
somewhat encouraged by the messages of grace sent into the soul, at 
this time, such as in Heb. 8: 25. "Wherefore he is able to save to 
the uttermost, all that come unto God by him;" and, John 6: 37. "He 
that cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out;" and in Matt. 11: 28. 
"Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden and I will 
give you rest." It is, at last, resolved to open to Christ; and 
saith, "Stand open ye everlasting gates, and be ye opened ye 
everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in." Now, the 
will spontaneously opens to Christ: that royal fort submits and 
yields; all the affections open to him. The will brings Christ the 
keys of all the rooms in the soul. Concerning the triumphant 
entrance of Christ into the soul, we may say, as the Psalmist 
rhetorically speaks concerning the triumphant entrance of Israel 
into Canaan, Psal. 114: 5, 6. "The mountains skipped like rams, and 
the little hills like lambs; what aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou 
fleddest? Thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?" So here, in a 
like rhetorical triumph, we may say, the mountains and hills skipped 
like rams, and the fixed and obstinate will, starts from its own 
basis and centre; the rocky heart rends in twain. A poor soul comes 
into the word, full of ignorance, pride, self-love, desperate 
hardness, and fixed resolutions to go on in its way: and, by an 
hour's discourse, the tide turns, Jordan is driven back. What aileth 
thee, thou stout will, that thou surrenderest to Christ! thou hard 
heart, that thou relents, and the waters gush out? And thus the soul 
is won to Christ; he writes down his terms, and the soul willingly 
subscribes them. Thus it comes in to Christ by free and hearty 
submission, desiring nothing more than to come under the government 
of Christ, for the time to come. 
    Secondly, Let us see how Christ rules in the souls of such as 
submit to him. And there are six things in which he exerts his 
kingly authority over them. 
    1. He imposes a new law upon them, and enjoins them to be 
severe and punctual in their obedience to it. The soul was a 
Belialite before, and could endure no restraint; its lusts gave it 
laws. "We ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, serving 
diverse lusts and pleasures," Tit. 3: 3. Whatever the flesh craved, 
and the sensual appetite whined after, it must have, cost what it 
would; if damnation were the price of it, it would have it, provided 
it should not be present pay. Now, it must not be any longer "anomos 
Theoi, all' ennomos toi Christoi", without law to God; but under law 
to Christ. Those are the articles of peace which the seal willingly 
subscribes in the day of its admission to mercy, Mat. 11: 29. "Take 
my yoke upon you, and learn of me." This "Law of the spirit of life 
which is in Christ Jesus makes them free from the law of sin and 
death," Rom. 8: 2. Here is much strictness, but no bondage; for the 
law is not only written in Christ's statute-book, the bible, but 
copied out by his spirit upon the hearts of his subjects, in 
correspondent principles; which makes obedience a pleasure, and 
self-denial easy. Christ's yoke is lined with love, so that it never 
galls the necks of his people: 1 John 5: 3. "His commandments are 
not grievous." The soul that comes under Christ's government, must 
receive law from Christ; and under law every thought of the heart 
must come. 
    2. He rebukes and chastises souls for the violations and 
transgressions of his law. That is another act of Christ's regal 
authority: "whom he loves he rebukes and chastens," Heb. 12: 6, 7. 
These chastisements of Christ are either by the rod of providence 
upon their bodies, and outward comforts, or upon their spirits and 
inward comforts. Sometimes his rebukes are smart upon the outward 
man, 1 Cor. 11: 30. "for this cause, many among you are weakly and 
sick, and many sleep." They had not that due regard to his body that 
became them, and he will make their bodies to smart for it. And he 
had rather their flesh should smart, than their souls should perish. 
Sometimes he spares their outward, and afflicts their inner man, 
which is a much smarter rod. He withdraws peace, and takes away joy 
from the spirits of his people. The hidings of his face are sore 
rebukes. however, all is for emendation, not for destruction. And it 
is not the least privilege of Christ's subjects to have a seasonable 
and sanctified rod to reduce them from the ways of sin: Psal. 23: 3. 
"Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." Others are suffered to go 
on stubbornly in the way of their own hearts; Christ will not spend 
a rod upon them for their good, will not call them to account for 
any of their transgressions, but will reckon with them for all 
together in hell. 
    3. Another regal act of Christ, is the restraining and keeping 
back his servants from iniquity, and withholding them from those 
courses which their own hearts would incline, and lead them to; for, 
even in them, there is a spirit bent to backsliding, but the Lord in 
tenderness over them, keeps back their souls from iniquity, and that 
when they are upon the very brink of sin: "My feet were almost gone, 
my steps were well nigh slipt," Psal. 73: 2. Then does the Lord 
prevent sin, by removing the occasion providentially, or by helping 
them to resist the temptation, graciously assisting their spirits in 
the trial, so that no temptation shall befall them, but a way of 
escape shall be opened, that they may be able to bear it, 1 Cor. 10: 
13. And thus his people have frequent occasions to bless his name 
for his preventing goodness, when they are almost in the midst of 
all evil. And this I take to be the meaning of Gal. 5: 16. "This, I 
say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of 
the flesh;" tempted by them, you may be, but fulfil them ye shall 
not; my spirit shall cause the temptation to die, and wither away in 
the womb, in the embryo of it, so that it shall not come to a full 
    4. He protects them in his ways, and suffers them not to 
relapse from him into a state of sin, and bondage to Satan and more. 
Indeed, Satan is restless in his endeavours to reduce them again to 
his obedience; he never leaves tempting and soliciting for their 
return; and where he finds a false professor he prevails; but Christ 
keeps his, that they depart not again. John 17: 12. "All that thou 
hast given me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of 
perdition." They are "kept by the mighty power of God, through faith 
unto salvation," 1 Pet. 1: 5. Kept, as in a garrison, according to 
the importance of that word. None more solicited, none more safe 
than the people of God. They are "preserved in Christ Jesus," Jude 
1. It is not their own grace that secures them, but Christ's care, 
and continual watchfulness. "Our own graces left to themselves would 
quickly prove but weights, sinking us to our own ruin," as one 
speaks. This is his covenant with them, Jer. 32: 4. "I will put my 
fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Thus, as 
a king he preserves them. 
    5. As a king he Regards their obedience, and encourages their 
sincere service. Though all they do for Christ be duty, yet he has 
united their comfort with their duty; "this I had, because I kept 
thy precepts," Psal. 119: 56. They are engaged to take this 
encouragement with them to every duty, that he whom they seek "is a 
bountiful rewarder of inch as diligently seek him", Heb. 11: 6. O 
what a good master do the saints serve! Hear how a king expostulates 
with his subjects, Jer. 2: 31. "Have I been a barren wilderness, or 
a land of darkness to you?" q. d. Have I been such a hard master to 
you? Have you any reason to complain of my service? To whomsoever I 
have been strait-handed, surely I have not been so to you. You have 
not found the ways or wages of sin like mine. 
    6. He pacifies all inward troubles, and commands peace when 
their spirits are tumultuous. This "peace of God rules in their 
hearts" Col. 3: 15. it does "brabeuein" act the part of an umpire, 
in appeasing strife within. When the tumultuous affections are up, 
and in a hurry; when anger, hatred, and revenge begin to rise in the 
soul, this hushes and stills all. "I will hearken (saith the church) 
what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, 
and to his saints," Psal. 75: 8. He that saith to the raging sea, be 
still, and it obeys him; he can only pacify the disquieted spirit. 
They say of frogs, that if they be croaking never so much in the 
night, bring but a light among them, and they are all quiet: such a 
light is the peace of God among our disordered affections. These are 
Christ's regal acts. And he puts them forth upon the souls of his 
people, powerfully, sweetly, suitably. 
    (1.) Powerfully: whether he restrains from sin, or impels to 
duty, he does it with a soul determining efficacy: for "his kingdom 
is not in word, but in power," 1 Cor. 4: 20. And those whom his 
Spirit leads, go bound in the spirit, to the fulfilling and 
discharge of their duties, Acts 20:22. And yet, 
    (2.) He rules not by compulsion, but most sweetly. His law is a 
law of love, written upon their hearts. The church is the Lamb's 
wife, Rev. 19: 7. "a bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking 
flax he shall not quench," Isa. 42: 2, 3. "I beseech you by the 
meekness and gentleness of Christ," saith the apostle, 2 Cor. 10: 1. 
For he delighteth in free, not in forced obedience. He rules 
Children, not slaves; and so his kingly power is mixed with fatherly 
love. His yoke is not made of iron, but gold. 
    (3.) He rules them suitably to their natures in a rational way; 
Hos. 11: 4. "I drew them with the cords of man, with bands of love;" 
i.e. in a way proper to convince their reason, and work upon their 
ingenuity. And thus his eternal kingdom is administered by his 
Spirit, who is his prorex, or vicegerent in our hearts. 
    Thirdly, and lastly, we will open the privileges pertaining to 
all the subjects of this spiritual kingdom. And they are such as 
    1. These souls, over whom Christ reigns, are certainly and 
fully set free from the curse of the law. "If the Son makes you 
free, then are you free indeed," John 8: 36. I say not, they are 
free from the law as a rule of life; such a freedom were no 
privilege to them at all: but free from the rigorous exactions, and 
terrible maledictions of it; to hear our liberty proclaimed from 
this bondage, is the joyful sound indeed, the most blessed voice 
that ever our ears heard. And this all that are in Christ shall 
hear, "If we be led by the Spirit, we are not under the law," Gal. 
5: 18. "Blessed are the people that hear this joyful sound," Psal. 
89: 15. 
    2. Another privilege of Christ's subjects, is, freedom from the 
dominion of sin. Rom. 6: 14. "Sin shall not reign over them; for 
they are not under the law, but under grace." One heaven cannot bear 
two suns; nor one soul two kings: when Christ takes the throne, sin 
quits it. It is true, the being of sin is there still; its defiling 
and troubling power remains still; but its dominion is abolished. O 
joyful tidings! O welcome day! 
    3. Another privilege of Christ's subjects, is, protection in 
all troubles and dangers to which their souls or bodies are exposed. 
"This man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our 
land, and when he shall tread in our palaces," Mic. 5: 5. Kings owe 
protection to their subjects: none so able, so faithful in that work 
as Christ; all "thou gavest me, I have kept, and none is lost," John 
17: 12. 
    4. Another privilege of Christ's subjects, is, a merciful and 
tender bearing of their burdens and infirmities. They have a meek 
and patient king; "Tell the daughters of Sion, thy king cometh meek 
and lowly;" Mat. 21: 5. Mat. 11: 29. "Take my yoke, and learn of me, 
for I am meek and lowly." The meek Moses could not bear the 
provocations of the people, Numb. 11: 12. but Christ bears them all: 
"He carries the lambs in his arms, and gently leads them that be 
with young," Isa. 42: 11. He is one that can have compassion upon 
the ignorant, and them that are out of the way. 
    5. Again, Sweet peace, and tranquillity of soul, is the 
privilege of the subjects of this kingdom: for this kingdom 
"consisteth in peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," Rom. 14: 17. And 
till souls come under his sceptre, they shall never find peace: 
"Come unto me, ye that are weary, I will give you rest." Yet do not 
mistake, I say not, they have all actual peace, at all times: no, 
they often break that peace by sin; but they have the root of peace, 
the ground work and cause of peace. If they have not peace, yet they 
have that which is convertible into peace at any time. They also are 
in a state of peace, Rom. 5: 11. "Being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God." This is a feast every day, a mercy which they only 
can duly value, that are in the depths of trouble for sin. 
    6. And lastly, everlasting salvation is the privilege of all 
over whom Christ reigns. Prince and Saviour are joined together, 
Acts 5: 31. He that can say, "thou shalt guide me with thy 
counsels," may add what follows, "and afterwards bring me to glory," 
Psal. 73: 24. Indeed, the kingdom of grace does but breed up 
children for the kingdom of glory. And to speak as the thing is, it 
is the kingdom of heaven here begun. The difference betwixt them is 
not specifical, but only gradual: and therefore this, as well as 
that, bears the name of the kingdom of heaven. The king is the same, 
and the subjects the same. The subjects of this are shortly to be 
translated to that kingdom. Thus I have named, and indeed but named, 
some few of those inestimable privileges of Christ's subjects. We 
next apply it. 
    Inference 1. How great is their sin and misery who continue in 
bondage to sin and Satan and refuse the government of Christ! Who 
had rather sit under the shadow of that bramble, than under the 
sweet and powerful government of Christ. Satan writes his laws in 
the blood of his subjects, grinds them with cruel oppression, wears 
them out with bondage to divers lusts, and rewards their service 
with everlasting misery. And yet how few are weary of it, and 
willing to come over to Christ! "Behold (saith one of Christ's 
heralds) Christ is in the fields sent of God to recover his right 
and your liberty. His royal standard is pitched in the gospel, and 
proclamation made, that if any poor sinners, weary of the Devil's 
government, and laden with the miserable chains of his spiritual 
bondage, (so as these irons of his sins enter into his very soul, to 
afflict it with the sense of them) shall thus come and repair to 
Christ, he shall have protection from God's justice, the Devil's 
wrath, and sin's dominion; in a word, he shall have rest, and that 
glorious," Isa. 11: 10. 
    And yet how few stir a foot towards Christ, but are willing to 
have their ears bored, and be perpetual slaves to that cruel tyrant? 
O when will sinners be weary of their bondage, and sigh after 
deliverance! If any such poor soul shall read these lines, let them 
know, and I do proclaim it in the name of my royal Master, and give 
him the word of a King for it, he shall not be rejected by Christ, 
John 6: 37. Come, poor sinner, come, the Lord Jesus is a merciful 
King, and never did, nor will hang up that poor penitent, that puts 
the rope about his own neck, and submits to mercy. 
    Inf. 2. How much does it concern us to enquire and know whose 
government we are under, and who is king over our souls; Whether 
Christ or Satan be in the throne, and sways the sceptre over our 
    Reader, the work I would now engage thy soul in, is the same 
that Jesus Christ will thoroughly and effectually do in the great 
day. Then will he gather out of his kingdom every thing that 
offends, separate the tares and wheat, divide the whale world into 
two ranks or grand divisions, how many divisions and subdivisions 
soever there be in it now. It nearly concerns thee therefore to know 
who is Lord and King in thy soul. To help thee in this great work, 
make use of the following hints; for I cannot fully prosecute these 
things as I would. 
    1. "To whom do you yield your obedience? His subjects and 
servants ye are to whom ye obey," Rom. 6: 16. It is but a mockery to 
give Christ the empty titles of Lord and King, whilst ye give your 
real service to sin and Satan. What is this but like the Jews, to 
bow the knee to him, and say, Hail master, and crucify him? "Then 
are ye his disciples, if ye do whatsoever he commands you," John 15: 
14. He that is Christ's servant in jest, shall be damned in earnest. 
Christ does not compliment with you; his pardons, promises, and 
salvation are real; O let your obedience be so too! Let it be 
sincere and universal obedience; this will evidence your unfeigned 
subjection to Christ. Do not dare to enterprise any thing, till you 
know Christ's pleasure and will, Rom. 12: 2. Enquire of Christ, as 
David did of the Lord, 1 Sam. 23: 9, 10. 11. Lord, may I do this or 
that? or shall I forbear? I beseech thee tell thy servant. 
    2. Have you the power of godliness, or a form of it only? There 
be many that do but trifle in religion, and play about the skirts 
and borders of it; spending their time about jejune and barren 
controversies: but as to the power of religion, and the life of 
godliness, which consist in communion with God in duties and 
ordinances, which promote holiness, and mortify their lusts, they 
concern not themselves about these things. But surely "the kingdom 
of God is not in words, but in power," 1 Cor. 4: 20. It is not meat 
and drink, (i. e. dry disputes about meats and drinks) "but 
righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; for he that in 
these things serves Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of 
men," Rom. 14: 17, 18. O I am afraid when the great host of 
professors shall be tried by these rules, they will shrink up into a 
little handful, as Gideon's host did. 
    3. Have ye the special saving knowledge of Christ? All his 
subjects are translated out of the kingdom of darkness, Col 1: 13. 
The devil, that ruleth over you in the days of your ignorance, is 
called the ruler of the darkness of this world; his subjects are all 
blind, else he could never rule them. As soon as their eyes are 
opened, they run out of his kingdom, and there is no retaining them 
in subjection to him any longer. O enquire then whether you are 
brought out of darkness into this marvellous light! do you see your 
condition, how sad, miserable, wretched it is by nature? do you see 
your remedy, as it lies only in Christ, and his precious blood? Do 
you see the true way of obtaining interest in that blood by faith? 
does this knowledge run into practice, and put you upon lamenting 
heartily your misery by sin? thirsting vehemently after Christ and 
his righteousness? striving continually for a heart to believe and 
close with Christ? This will evidence you indeed to be translated 
out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ. 
    4. With whom do you delightfully associate yourselves? Who are 
your chosen companions? You may see to whom you belong by the 
company you join yourselves to. What do the subjects of Christ among 
the slaves of Satan? If the subjects of one kingdom be in another 
king's dominion, they love to be together with their own countrymen 
rather than the natives of the place; so do the servants of Christ, 
They are a company of themselves, as it is said, Acts 4: 23. "They 
went to their own company." I know the subjects of both kingdoms are 
here mingled, and we cannot avoid the company of sinners except we 
go out of the world, 1 Cor. 5: 10. but yet all your delights should 
be in the saints and in the excellent of the earth, Psal. 16: 3. 
    5. Do you live holy and righteous lives? If not, you may claim 
interest in Christ as your King, but he will never allow your claim. 
"The sceptre of his kingdom is a sceptre of righteousness," Psal. 
45: 6. If ye oppress, go beyond, and cheat your brethren, and yet 
call yourselves Christ's subjects, what greater reproach can you 
study to cast upon him? What is Christ the King of cheats? Does he 
patronise such things as these? No, no, pull off your vizards, and 
fall into your own places; you belong to another prince, and not to 
    Inf. 3. Does Christ exercise such a kingly power over the souls 
of all them that are subdued by the gospel to him? O then let all 
that are under Christ's government walk as the subjects of such a 
King. Imitate your King; the examples of kings are very influential 
upon their subjects. Your King has commanded you not only to take 
his yoke upon you, but also to learn of him, Matth. 11: 29. Yea, and 
"if any man say that he is Christ's, let him walk even as Christ 
walked," 1 John 2: 6. Your King is meek and patient, Isa. 53: 7. as 
a lamb for meekness: shall his subjects be lions for fierceness? 
Your King was humble and lowly; Matth. 21: 5. "Behold thy King 
cometh meek and lowly." Will you be proud and lofty? Does this 
become the kingdom of Christ? Your King was a self-denying King; he 
could deny his outward comforts, ease, honour, life, to serve his 
Father's design, and accomplish your salvation, 2 Cor. 8: 9. Phil. 
2: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. shall his servants be self-ended, and 
self-seeking persons, that will expose his honour, and hazard their 
own souls for the trifles of time? God forbid. Your king was 
painful, laborious, and diligent in fulfilling his work, John 9: 3. 
Let not his servants be lazy and slothful. O imitate your King, 
follow the pattern of your King: this will give you comfort now, and 
boldness in the day of judgement, if as he was, so ye are in this 
world, 1 John 4: 17.

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file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-16.txt