Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 20)
( ...continued from File 19)
Sermon 20. Of Christ's Humiliation unto Death, in his first 
preparative Act for it. 
John 17: 11. 
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I 
come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom 
thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. 
    We now come to the last and lowest step of Christ's 
humiliation, which was in his submitting to death, even the death of 
the cross. Out of this death of Christ the life of our soul springs 
up; and in this blood of the cross, all our mercies swim to us. The 
blood of Christ runs deep to some eyes; the judicious believer sees 
multitudes, multitudes of inestimable blessings in it. By this 
crimson fountain I resolve to sit down; and concerning the death of 
Christ, I shall take distinctly into consideration the preparations 
made for it; the nature and quality of it; the deportment and 
carriage of dying Jesus; the funeral solemnities with which he was 
buried; and lastly, the blessed designs and glorious ends of his 
    The preparatives for his death were six;. Three on his own 
part, and three more by his enemies. The preparations made by 
himself for it, were the solemn recommendation of his friends to his 
Father; the institution of a commemorative sign, to perpetuate and 
refresh the memory of his death in the hearts of his people, till he 
come again. And his pouring out his soul to God, by prayer in the 
garden; which was the posture he chose to be found in, when they 
should apprehend him. 
    This scripture contains the first preparative of Christ for 
death, whereby he sets his house in order, prays for his people, and 
blesses them before he dies. The love of Christ was ever tender and 
strong to his people; but the greatest manifestation of it was at 
parting. And this he manifested two ways especially; viz. in leaving 
singular supports, and grounds of comfort with them in his last 
heavenly sermon, in chap. 14, 15, 16, and in pouring out his soul 
most affectionately to the Father for them in this heavenly prayer, 
chap. 17. In this prayer he gives them a specimen, or sample, of 
that his glorious intercession-work, which he was just then going to 
perform in heaven for them. Here his heart overflowed, for he was 
now leaving them, and going to the Father. The last words of a dying 
man are remarkable, how much more a dying Saviour? I shall not 
launch out into that blessed ocean of precious matter contained in 
this chapter, but take immediately into consideration the words that 
I read, wherein I find a weighty petition, strongly followed and set 
home with many mighty arguments. 
    1. We have here Christ's petition, or request in behalf of his 
people, not only those on the place, but all others that then did, 
or afterwards should believe on him. And the sum of what he here 
requests for them is, that his Father would keep them through his 
name. Where you have both the mercy, and the means of attaining it. 
The mercy is to be kept. Keeping implies danger, And there is a 
double danger obviated in this request; danger in respect of sin, 
and danger in respect of ruin and destruction. To both these the 
people of God lie open in this world. 
    The means of their preservation from both is the name, i.e. the 
power of God. This name of the Lord is that "strong tower to which 
the righteous fly, and are safe," Prov. 18: 10. Alas! It is not your 
own strength or wisdom that keeps you; but ye are kept by the mighty 
power of God. This protecting power of God, does not, however, 
exclude our care and diligence, but implies it; therefore it is 
added, "Ye are kept by the mighty power of God, through faith, unto 
salvation," 1 Pet. 1: 5. God keeps his people, and yet they are to 
keep themselves in the love of God, Jude, ver. 21. to keep their 
hearts with all diligence, Prov. 4: 23. This is the sum of the 
    2. The arguments with which he urgeth and presses on this 
request, are drawn partly from his own condition, "I am no more in 
the world;" i.e. I am going to die; within a very few hours I shall 
be separated from them, in regard of my corporeal presence. Partly 
from their condition: "but these are in the world;" i.e. I must 
leave them in the midst of danger; and partly from the joint 
interest his Father and himself had in them; "Keep those that thou 
hast given me:" with several other most prevalent pleas, which, in 
their proper places, shall be anon produced, and displayed, to 
illustrate and confirm this precious truth which this scripture 
affords us, 
    Doct. That the fatherly care, and tender love of our Lord Jesus 
    Christ, was eminently discovered in that pleading prayer he 
    poured out for his people at his parting with them. 
    It pertained to the priest and father of the family to bless 
the rest, especially when he was to be separated from them by death. 
This was a rite in Israel. When good Jacob was grown old, and the 
time was come that he should be gathered to his fathers, then "he 
blessed Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, God, before whom my 
fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life 
long unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless 
the lads", Gen. 48: 15, 16. This was a prophetical and patriarchal 
blessing: not that Jacob could bless as God blesses; he could speak 
the words of blessing, but he knew the effect, the real blessing 
itself depended upon God. And though he blessed authoritatively, yet 
not potestatively; i. e. he could as the mouth of God, pronounce 
blessings, but could not confer them. Thus he blessed his children, 
as his father Isaac had also blessed him before he died, Gen. 28: 3. 
and all these blessings were delivered prayer-wise, 
    Now when Jesus Christ comes to die, he will bless his children 
also, and therein will discover how much dear and tender love he had 
for them: "Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved 
them to the end," John 13: 1. The last act of Christ in this world, 
was an act of blessing, Luke 24: 50, 51. 
    To prepare this point for use, I will here open, First, The 
mercies which Christ requested of the Father for them. Secondly, The 
arguments used by him to obtain these mercies. Thirdly, Why he thus 
pleaded for them when he was to die. Fourthly, and lastly, How all 
this gives full evidence of Christ's tender care and love to his 
    First, We will enquire what those mercies and special favours 
were, which Christ begged for his people, when he was to die. And, 
we find, among others, these five special mercies desired for them, 
in this context. 
    1. The mercy of preservation, both from sin and danger: so in 
the text; "Keep, through thine own name, those whom thou hast given 
me", which is explained, ver. 15. "I pray not that thou shouldst 
take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from 
the evil." We, in ours, and the saints that are gone, in their 
respective generations, have reaped the fruit of this prayer. How 
else comes it to pass, that our souls are preserved amidst such a 
world of temptations, and these assisted and advantaged by our own 
corruptions? How is it else, that our persons are not ruined and 
destroyed amidst such multitudes of potent and malicious enemies, 
that are set on fire of hell? Surely, the preservation of the 
burning bush, of the three children amidst the flames; of Daniel in 
the den of lions; are not greater wonders, than these our eyes do 
daily behold. As the fire would have certainly consumed, and the 
lions, without doubt, have rent and devoured, had not God, by the 
interposition of his own hand, stopped and hindered the effect; so 
would the sin that is in us, and the malice that is in others, 
quickly ruin our souls and bodies, were it not that the same hand 
guards and keeps us every moment. To that hand, into which this 
prayer of Christ delivered your souls and bodies, do you owe all 
your mercies and salvations, both temporal and spiritual. 
    2. Another mercy he prays for, is the blessing of union among 
themselves. This he joins immediately with the first mercy of 
preservation, and prays for it in the same breath, verse 11. "That 
they may be one, as we are." And well might he join them together in 
one breath; for this union is not only a choice mercy in itself, but 
a special means of that preservation he had prayed for before: their 
union with one another, is a special means to preserve them all. 
    3. A third desirable mercy that Christ earnestly prayed for, 
was, that his "joy might be fulfilled in them," verse 13. He would 
provide for their joy, even when the hour of his greatest sorrow was 
at hand; yea, he would not only obtain joy for them, but full joy: 
"that my joy might be fulfilled in them." It is as if he had said, O 
my Father, I am to leave these dear ones in a world of troubles and 
perplexities; I know their hearts will be subject to frequent 
despondencies; O let me obtain the cordials of divine joy for them 
before I go: I would not only have them live, but live joyfully; 
provide for fainting hours reviving cordials. 
    4. And as a continued spring to maintain all the aforementioned 
mercies, he prays "they all may be sanctified through the word of 
truth, verse 17. i. e. more abundantly sanctified than yet they 
were, by a deeper radication of gracious habits and principles in 
their heart. This is a singular mercy in itself, to have holiness 
spreading itself over and through their souls, as the light of the 
morning. Nothing is in itself more desirable. And it is also a 
singular help to their perseverance, union and spiritual joy, which 
he had prayed for before, and are all advanced by their increasing 
    5. And lastly, as the complement and perfection of all 
desirable mercies, he prays, "that they may be with him, where he 
is, to behold his glory," verse 24. This is the best and ultimate 
privilege they are capable of. The end of his coming down from 
heaven, and returning thither again, all runs into this, to bring 
many sons and daughters unto glory. You see Christ asks no trifles, 
no small things for his people; no mercies, but the best that both 
worlds afford, will suffice him on their behalf. 
    Secondly, Let us see how he follows his requests, and with what 
arguments he pleads with the Father for these things: and, among 
others, I shall single out six choice ones, which are urged in this 
text, or the immediate context. 
    The first argument is drawn from the joint interest, that both 
himself, and his Father, have in their persons, for whom he prays, 
"All mine are thine, and thine are mine," verse 10. As if he should 
say, Father, behold, and consider the persons I pray for, they are 
not aliens, but Christians: yea, they are thy children as well as 
mine: the very same on whom thou hast set thy eternal love, and in 
that love hast given them to me; so that they are both thine and 
mine: great is our interest in them, and interest draws care and 
tenderness. Every one cares for his own, provides for, and secures 
his own. Property, (even amongst creatures) is fundamental to our 
labour, care, and watchfulness; they would not so much prize life, 
health, estates, or children, if they were not their own. Lord these 
are thine own by many ties or titles: O therefore keep, comfort, 
sanctify, and save them, for they are thine. What a mighty plea is 
this? Surely, Christians, your intercessor is skilful in his work, 
your advocate wants no eloquence or ability to plead for you. 
    The second argument, and that a powerful one, treads as I may 
say, upon the very heel of the former, in the next words, "And I am 
glorified in them;" q. d. my glory and honour are infinitely dear to 
thee; I know thy heart is entirely upon the exalting and glorifying 
of thy Son. Now, what glory have I in the world, but what comes from 
my people? Others neither can, nor will glorify one; nay, I am daily 
blasphemed and dishonored by them: these are they from whom my 
active glory and praise in the world must rise. It is true, both 
thou and I have glory from other creatures objectively; the works 
that we have made, and impress our power, wisdom and goodness upon, 
do so glorify us: and honour we have from our very enemies 
accidentally; their very wrath shall praise us: but for active and 
voluntary praise, whence comes this but from the people that were 
formed for that very purpose? Should these then miscarry and perish, 
where shall my manifestative and active glory be? and from whom 
shall I expect it? So that here his property and glory are pleaded 
with the Father, to prevail for those mercies; and they are both 
great, and valuable things with God. What dearer, what nearer to the 
heart of God? 
    Arg. 3. And yet, to make all fast and sure, he adds, in the 
beginning of this verse 11 a third argument, in these words, "And 
now I am no more in the world." Where we must consider the sense of 
it, as a proposition, and the force of it, as an argument. This 
proposition, "I am no more in the world," is not to be taken simply 
and universally, as if, in no sense, Christ should be any more in 
this world: but only respectively, as to his corporeal presence; 
this was, in a little time, to be removed from his people, which had 
been a sweet spring of comfort to them,, in all their troubles. But 
now it might have been said to the pensive disciples, as the sons of 
the prophets said to Elisha, a little before Elijah's translation, 
"Know ye not that your master shall be taken from your heads today?" 
This comfortable enjoyment must be taken from them; this is the 
sense. And here lies the argument; Father, consider the sadness and 
trouble I shall leave my poor children under. Whilst I was with 
them, I was a sweet relief to their souls, whatever troubles they 
met with; in all doubts, fears, and dangers, they could repair to 
me, and in their straits and wants I still supplied them; they had 
my counsels to direct them, my reproofs to reduce them, and my 
comforts to support them; yea, the very sight of me was an 
unspeakable joy and refreshment to their souls: but now the hour is 
come, and I must be gone. All the comfort and benefit they had from 
my presence among them, is cut off. and, except thou do make up all 
this to them another way, what will become of these children, when 
their Father is gone? What will be the case of the poor sheep, and 
tender lambs, when the shepherd is smitten? Therefore, O my Father, 
look thou after them, see to them, for they are thine as well as 
mine; I am glorified in them, and now leaving them, and removing out 
of this world from them. 
    Arg. 4. And yet, to move and engage the Father's care and love 
for them, he subjoins another great consideration, in the very next 
words drawn from the danger he leaves them in; "But these are in the 
world." The world is a sinful, infecting, and unquiet place; it lies 
in wickedness: And a hard thing it will be for such poor, weak, 
imperfect creatures to escape the pollutions of it; or, if they do, 
yet the troubles, persecutions, and strong oppositions of it they 
cannot escape. Seeing therefore I must leave thine own dear 
children, as well as mine, and those from whom the glory is to rise, 
in the midst of a sinful, troublesome, dangerous world, where they 
can neither move backward nor forward, without danger of sin or 
ruin: O, since the case stands so, look after them, provide for 
them, and take special care for them all. Consider who they are, and 
where I leave them. They are thy children, to be left in a strange 
country; thy soldiers, in the enemies quarters; thy sheep, in the 
midst of wolves; thy precious treasure, among thieves. 
    Arg. 5. And yet he has not done, for he resolves to strive hard 
for the mercies he had asked, and will not come off with a denial; 
and therefore adds another argument in the next words, And I come to 
thee. As his leaving them was an argument, so his coming to the 
Father is a mighty argument also. There is much in these words, I 
come to thee. [I,] thy beloved Son, in which thy soul delighteth; I, 
to whom thou never deniedst any thing. It is not a stranger, but a 
son; not an adopted, but thine only begotten Son. It is I that 
[come.] I am now coming to thee apace, my Father. I come to thee 
swimming through a bloody ocean. I come, treading every step of my 
way to thee in blood, and unspeakable sufferings; and all this for 
the sake of those dear ones I now pray for; yea, the design and end 
of my coming to thee, is for them. I am coming to heaven in the 
capacity of an advocate, to plead with thee for them. And I come to 
[Thee] my Father, and their Father; my God, and their God. Now then, 
since I, that am so dear, come through such bitter pangs, to thee, 
so dear, so tender-hearted a Father; and all this on their score and 
account: Since I do but now, as it were, begin, or give them a 
little taste of that intercession work, which I shall live for ever 
to perform for them in heaven; Father, hear, Father, grant what I 
request. O give a comfortable earnest of those good things which I 
am coming to thee for, and which I know thou wilt not deny me. 
    Arg. 6. And, to close up all, he tells the Father how careful 
he had been to observe, and perform that trust which was committed 
to him; "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy 
name; those that thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is 
lost, but the son of perdition ver. 12. 
    And thus lies the argument: Thou committedst to me a certain 
number of elect souls, to be redeemed by me; I undertook the trust, 
and said, if any of these be lost, at my hand let them be required, 
I will answer for them every one to thee. In pursuance of which 
trust, I am now here on the earth, in a body of flesh. I have been 
faithful to a point. I have redeemed them (for he speaks of that as 
finished and done, which was now ready to be done) I have kept them 
also, and confirmed them hitherto; and now, Father, I commit them to 
thy care. Lo, here they are, not one is lost, but the son of 
perdition, who was never given. With how great care have I been 
careful for them! O let them not fail now; Let not one of them 
    Thus you see what a nervous, argumentative, pleading prayer 
Christ poured out to the Father for them at parting. 
    Thirdly, The next enquiry is, why he thus prayed and pleaded 
with God for them, when he was to die? 
    And certainly it was not because the Father was unwilling to 
grant the mercies he desired for them: No, they came not with 
difficulty, nor were they wrestled by mere importunity, out of the 
hand of an unwilling and backward person. For, he tells us, John 16: 
27. "The Father himself loveth you," i. e. he is propense enough of 
his own accord to do you good. But the reasons of this exceeding 
importunity, are, 
    1. He foresaw a great trial then at hand, yea, and all the 
aftertrials of his people as well as that. He knew how much they 
would be sifted, and put to, in that hour, and power of darkness, 
that was coming. He knew their faith would be shaken, and greatly 
staggered by the approaching difficulties, when they should see 
their Shepherd smitten, and themselves scattered, the Son of man 
delivered into the hands of sinners, and the Lord of life hang dead 
upon the tree, yea, sealed up in the grave. He foresaw what straits 
his poor people would fall into, betwixt a busy devil, and a bad 
heart; therefore he prays and pleads with such importunity and 
ardency for them, that they might not miscarry. 
    2. He was now entering upon his intercession-work in heaven, 
and he was desirous in this prayer to give us a specimen, or sample, 
of that part of his world, before he left us; that by this we might 
understand what he would do for us, when he should be out of sight. 
For this being his last prayer on earth, it shows us what affections 
and dispositions he carried hence with him, and satisfies us, that 
he who was so earnest with God on our behalf, such a mighty pleader 
here, will not forget us, or neglect our concerns in the other 
world. Yet, reader, I would have thee always remember, that the 
intercession of Christ in heaven is carried much higher than this; 
it is performed in a way more suitable to that state of honour to 
which he is now exalted. Here he used prostrations of body, cries 
and tears in his prayers: there, his intercession is carried in a 
more majestic way, and with more state, becoming an exalted Jesus. 
But yet in this he has left us a special assistance, to discover 
much of the frame, temper, and working of his heart, now in heaven 
towards us. 
    3. And lastly, he would leave this as a standing monument of 
his father-like care, and love to his people, to the end of the 
world. And for this it is conceived Christ delivered this prayer so 
publicly, not withdrawing from the disciples to be private with God, 
as he did in the garden; but he delivers it in their presence, 
"These things which I speak in the world," ver. 13. This, with the 
circumstances of place, [in the world], does plainly speak it to be 
a public prayer. And not only was it publicly delivered, but it was 
also, by a singular providence, recorded at large by John, though 
omitted by the other evangelists; that so it might stand to all 
generations, for a testimony of Christ's tender care and love to his 
    Fourthly, If you ask how this gives evidence of Christ's tender 
care and love to his people? which is the last enquiry; I answer, in 
few words, for the thing is plain and obvious; it appears in these 
two particulars. 
    1. His love and care was manifested in the choice of mercies 
for them. He does not pray for health, honour, long life, riches, 
&c. but for their preservation from sin, spiritual joy in God 
sanctification and eternal glory. No mercies but the very best in 
God's treasure will content him. He was resolved to get all the best 
mercies for his people; the rest he is content should be dispenses 
promiscuously by Providence: but these he will settle as an heritage 
upon his children. O see the love of Christ! look over all your 
spiritual inheritance in Christ, compare it with the richest, 
fairest, sweetest inheritance on earth; and see what poor things 
these are to yours. O the care of a dear father! O the love of a 
tender Saviour! 
    2. Besides, what an evidence of his tenderness to you, and 
great care for you, was this, that he should so intently, and so 
affectionately mind, and plead your concerns with God, at such a 
time as this was, even when a world of sorrow encompassed him on 
every side; a cup of wrath mixed, and ready to be delivered into his 
hand: at that very time when the clouds of wrath grew black, a storm 
coming, and such as he never felt before; when one would have 
thought, all his care, thoughts, and diligence, should have been 
employed on his own account, to mind his own sufferings? No, he does 
as it were forget his own sorrows, to mind our peace and comfort. O 
love unspeakable! 
    Corollary 1. If this be so, that Christ so eminently discovered 
his care and love for his people, in this his parting hour; then 
hence we conclude, The perseverance of the saints is unquestionable. 
Do you hear how he pleads! how he begs! how he fills his mouth with 
arguments! how he chooses his words, and sets them in order, how he 
winds up his spirit to the very highest pitch of zeal and fervency? 
and can you doubt of success? Can such a Father deny the 
importunity, and strong seasonings and pleading of such a Son; O, it 
can never be! he cannot deny him: Christ has the art and skill of 
prevailing with God: He has (as in this appears) the tongue of the 
learned. If the heart or hand of God were hard to be opened, yet 
this would open them; but when the Father himself loves us, and is 
inclined to do us good, who can doubt of Christ's success? "That 
which is in motion, is the more easily moved" The cause Christ 
manageth in heaven for us is just and righteous. The manner in which 
he pleads is powerful and therefore the success of his suit is 
    The apostle professeth, 2 Cor. 1: 3. "We can do nothing against 
the truth." He means it in regard of the bent of his heart; he could 
not move against truth and righteousness. And if a holy man cannot, 
much less will a holy God. If Christ undertake to plead the cause of 
his people with the Father, and use his oratory with him, there is 
no doubt of his prevailing. Every word in this prayer is a chosen 
shaft, drawn to the head by a strong and skilful hand; you need not 
question but it goes home to the white, and hits the mark aimed at. 
Does he pray, "Father, keep, through thine own name, those thou hast 
given me?" Sure they shall be kept, if all the power in heaven can 
keep them. Think on this, when dangers surround your souls or 
bodies, when fears and doubts are multiplied within: when thou art 
ready to say in thy haste, All men are liars, I shall one day perish 
by the hand of sin or Satan; think on that encouragement Christ gave 
to Peter, Luke 22: 31. "I have prayed for thee." 
    Corollary 2. Again, hence we learn, that argumentative prayers 
are excellent prayers. The strength of every thing is in its joints; 
there lies much of the strength of prayer also: how strongly 
jointed, how nervous and argumentative was this prayer of Christ. 
Some there are indeed, that think we need not argue and plead in 
prayer with God, but only present the matter of our prayers to him, 
and let Christ alone (whose office it is) to plead with the Father; 
as if Christ did not present our pleas and arguments, as well as 
simple desires to God; as if the choicest part of our prayers must 
be kept back, because Christ presents our prayers to God. No, no, 
Christ's pleading is one thing, ours another: "His and ours are not 
opposed, but subordinate;" his pleading does not destroy, but makes 
ours successful. God calls us to plead with him, Isa. 1: 18. "Come 
now let us reason together." "God (as one observes) reasoneth with 
us by his word and providences outwardly, and by the motions of his 
Spirit inwardly: let we reason with him by framing (through the help 
of his Spirit) certain holy arguments, grounded upon allowed 
principles, drawn from his nature, name, word, or works." And it is 
condemned as a very sinful defect in professors, that they did not 
plead the church's cause with God; Jer. 30: 13. "There is none to 
plead thy cause that thou mayest be bound up." What was Jacob's 
wrestling with the angels but his holy pleading and importunity with 
God? and how well it pleased God, let the event speak, Gen. 32: 24. 
Hos. 12: 4. "As a prince he prevailed, and had power with God." On 
which instance, a Worthy thus glosseth: "Let God frown, smite or 
wound, Jacob is at a point, a blessing he came for, and a blessing 
he will have; I will not let thee go, (saith he) unless thou bless 
me. His limbs, his life might go, but there is no going from Christ 
without a pawn, without a blessing." This is the man, now what is 
his speed? The Lord admires him, and honours him to all generations. 
"What is thy name?" saith he; q. d. I never met with such a man, 
titles of honour are not worthy of thee: thou shalt be called, not 
Jacob a shepherd with men, but Jacob a prince with God. Nazianzen 
said of his sister Gorgonia, That she was modestly impudent with 
God; there was no putting her off with a denial. The Lord, on this 
account, has honoured his saints with the title of, His recorders, 
men fit to plead with him as that word [maskir] signifies: Isa. 62: 
6. "Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, give him no 
rest." It notes the office of him that recorded all the memorable 
matters of the king, and used to suggest seasonable items and 
memorandums of things to be done. 
    By these holy pleadings, "the King is held in his galleries," 
as it is Cant. 7: 5. I know we are not heard, either for our much 
speaking, or our excellent speaking; it is Christ's pleading in 
heaven that makes our pleading on earth available: but yet surely, 
when the Spirit of the Lord shall suggest proper arguments in 
prayer, and help the humble suppliant to press them home believingly 
and affectionately, when he helps us to weep and plead, to groan and 
plead, God is greatly delighted in such prayers. "Thou hast said, I 
will surely do thee good," said Jacob, Gen. 32: 12. It is thine own 
free promise; I did not go on mine own head, but thou badest me go, 
and encouragedst me with this promise. O this is pleasing to God, 
when by his spirit of adoption we can come to God, crying, Abba 
Father; Father, hear, forgive, pity, and help me. Am I not thy 
child, thy son, or daughter? To whom may a child be bold to go, with 
whom may a child have hope to speed, if not with his father? Father, 
hear me. The fathers of our flesh are full of bowels, and pity their 
children, and know how to give good things to them, when they ask 
them. When they ask bread or clothes, will they deny them? And is 
not the Father of spirits more full of bowels, more full of pity? 
Father, hear me. This is that kind of prayer, which is melody in the 
ears of God. 
    Corollary 3. What an excellent pattern is here, for all that 
have the charge and government of others committed to them, whether 
magistrates, ministers, or parents, to teach them how to acquit 
themselves towards their relations, when they come to die? 
    Look upon dying Jesus, see how his care and love to his people 
flamed out, when the time of his departure was at hand. Surely, as 
we are bound to remember our relations every day, and to lay up a 
stock of prayers for them in the time of our health, so it becomes 
us to imitate Christ in our earnestness with God for them, when we 
die. Though we die, our prayers die not with us: they out-live us, 
and those we leave behind us in the world, may reap the benefit of 
them, when we are turned to dust. 
    For my own part, I must profess before the world, that I have a 
high value for this mercy, and do, from the bottom of my heart, 
bless the Lord, who gave me a religious and tender father, who often 
poured out his soul to God for me: he was one that was inwardly 
acquainted with God; and being full of bowels to his children, often 
carried them before the Lord, prayed and pleaded with God for them, 
wept and made supplications for them. This stock of prayers and 
blessings left by him before the Lord, I cannot but esteem above the 
fairest inheritance on earth. O it is no small mercy to have 
thousands of fervent prayers lying before the Lord, filed up in 
heaven for us. And O that we would all be faithful to this duty! 
Surely our love, especially to the souls of our relations, should 
not grow cold when our breath does. O that we would remember this 
duty in our lives, and, if God give opportunity and ability, fully 
discharge it when we die; considering, as Christ did, we shall be no 
more, but they are in this world, in the midst of a defiled, 
tempting, troublesome world; it is the last office of love that ever 
we shall do for them. After a little while we shall be no longer 
sensible how it is with them; for, (as the church speaks Isa 63: 16. 
"Abraham is ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledgeth us not") what 
temptations and troubles may befall them, we do not know. O imitate 
Christ your pattern. 
    Corollary 4. To conclude; Hence we may see, what a high esteem 
and precious value Christ has of believers; this was the treasure 
which he could not quit, he could not die till he had secured it in 
a safe hand; "I come unto thee, holy Father, keep through thine own 
name those whom thou hast given me". 
    Surely believers are dear to Jesus Christ; and good reason, for 
he has paid dear for them: let his dying language, this last 
farewell, speak for him, how he prized them. The Lord's portion "is 
his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance," Deut. 32: 9. "They 
are a peculiar treasure to him, above all the people of the earth," 
Exod. 19: 5. What is much upon our hearts when we die, is dear to us 
indeed. O how precious, how dear should Jesus Christ be to us! Were 
we first and last upon his heart; did he mind us, did he pray for 
us, did he so wrestle with God about as, when the sorrows of death 
compassed him about? How much are we engaged, not only to love him, 
and esteem him, whilst we live, but to be in pangs of love for him, 
when we feel the pangs of death upon us! to be dying him, when our 
eye-strings break! To have hot affections for Christ, when our hands 
and feet grow cold! The very last whisper of our departing souls 
should be this, 
                  Blessed be God for Jesus Christ. 

(continued in file 21...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-20.txt