Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 26.
( ...continued from File 25)
Sermon 26. Of the Nature and Quality of Christ's Death. 
Acts 2:23 
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of 
God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. 
Having considered, in order, the preparative acts for the death of 
Christ, both on his own part, and on his enemies part, we now come 
to consider the death of Christ itself, which was the principal part 
of his humiliation, and is the chief pillar of our consolation. Here 
we shall in order consider, 
    First, The kind and nature of the death he died. 
    Secondly, The manner in which he bare it, viz. patiently, 
solitarily, and instructively; dropping divers holy and instructive 
lessons upon all that were about him, in his seven last words upon 
the cross. 
    Thirdly, The funeral solemnities at his burials 
    Fourthly, and lastly, The weighty ends and great designs of his 
death. In all which particulars, as we proceed to discuss and open 
them, you will have an account of the deep debasement and 
humiliation of the Son of God. 
    In this text, we have an account of the kind and nature of that 
death which Christ died: as also of the causes of it, both principal 
and instrumental. 
    First, The kind and nature of the death Christ died, which is 
here described more generally, as a violent death, Ye have slain 
him: and more particularly, as a most ignominious, cursed, 
dishonourable death; ye have crucified him. 
    Secondly, The causes of it are here likewise expressed: and 
that both principal and instrumental. The principal cause, 
permitting, ordering, and disposing all things about it, was the 
determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God. There was not an 
action or circumstance but came under this most wise and holy 
counsel and determination of God. 
    The instruments effecting it were their wicked hands. This 
fore-knowledge and counsel of God, as it did no way necessitate or 
enforce them to it; so neither does it excuse their fact from the 
least aggravation of its sinfulness. It did no more compel or force 
their wicked hands to do what they did, than the mariner's hoisting 
up his sails, to take the wind to serve his design, compels the 
wind. And it cannot excuse their action from one circumstance of 
sin; because God's end and manner of acting was one thing, their end 
and manner of acting another. His, most pure and holy; theirs, most 
malicious and daringly wicked. Idem quod duo faciunt, non est idem. 
To this purpose a grave divine well expresses it. 
    In respect of God, Christ's death was justice and mercy. In 
respect of man, it was murder and cruelty. In respect of himself, it 
was obedience and humility. Hence our note is, 
    Doct. That our Lord Jesus Christ was not only put to death, but 
    to the worst of deaths, even the death of the cross. 
    To this the apostle gives a plain testimony, Phil. 2: 8. "He 
became obedient to death, even the death of the cross;" where his 
humiliation is both specified; he was humbled to death; and 
aggravated by a most emphatical reduplication, even the death of the 
cross. So Acts 5: 30. "Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree;" 
q.d. it did not suffice you to put him to a violent death, but you 
also put him to the most base, vile and ignominious death; "you 
hanged him on a tree." 
    On this point we will discuss these three particulars, viz. The 
nature or kind, the manner and reasons of Christ's death upon the 
    1. I shall open the kind or nature of his death, by shewing you 
that it was a violent, painful, shameful, cursed, slow, and 
succourless death. 
    First, It was a violent death that Christ died. Violent in 
itself, though voluntary on his part. "He was cut off out of the 
land of the living," Is 53: 8. And yet "he laid down his life of 
himself; no man took it from him," John 10: 17. I call his death 
violent, because he died not a natural death, i.e. he lived not till 
nature was consumed with age, as it is in many who live till their, 
balsamum radicale, "radical moisture," like the oil in the lamp, be 
quite consumed, and then go out like an expiring lamp. It was not so 
with Christ: for he was but in the flower and prime of his time when 
he died. And indeed, he must either die a violent death, or not die 
at all; partly, because there was no sin in him, to open a door to 
natural death; as it does in all others. Partly, because else his 
death had not been a sacrifice acceptable and satisfactory to God 
for us. That which died of itself was never offered up to God; but 
that which was slain, when it was in its full strength and health. 
The temple was a type of the body of Christ, John 2: 19. Now, when 
the temple was destroyed, it did not drop down as an ancient 
structure decayed by time, but was pulled down by violence, when it 
was standing in its full strength. Therefore he is said to suffer 
death, and to be put to death for us in the flesh, 1 Pet. 3: 18. 
That is the first thing. It was a violent, though a voluntary death. 
For violent is not opposed to voluntary, but to natural. 
    Secondly, The death of the cross was a most painful death. In 
deed in this death were many deaths, contrived in one. The cross was 
a rack as well as a gibbet. The pains which Christ suffered upon the 
cross, are by the apostle emphatically stiled "tas odinas tou 
tanatou", Acts 2: 24. "The pains of death:" but properly they 
signify the pangs of travail: yea, the birth-pangs, the most acute 
sorrows of a travailing woman. His soul was in travail, Isa. 53, his 
body in bitter pangs; and being as Aquinas speaks, optime 
complectionatus, of the most excellent crests, exact and just 
temperament; his senses were more acute and delicate than ordinate; 
and all the time of his suffering, so they continued; not in the 
least blunted, dulled, or rebated, by the pains he suffered. 
    "The death of Christ, doubtless, contained the greatest and 
acutest pains imaginable: because these pains of Christ alone, were 
intended to equalise all that misery which the sin of men deserved," 
all that pain which the damned shall, and the elect deserve to feel. 
Now, to have pains meeting at once upon one person, equivalent to 
all the pains of the damned; judge you what a plight Christ was in. 
    Thirdly, The death of the cross was a shameful death: not only 
because the crucified were stripped quite naked, and so exposed as 
spectacles of shame, but mainly, because it was a kind of death 
which was appointed for the basest, and vilest of men. 
    The free-men when they committed capital crimes, were not 
condemned to the cross. No, that was looked upon as the death 
appointed for slaves. Tacitus calls it servile supplicium, the 
punishment of a slave: and to the same sense Juvenal speaks, pone 
crucem servo, put the cross upon the back of a slave. As they had a 
great esteem of a free man, so they manifested it, even when they 
had forfeited their lives, in cutting them off by more honourable 
kinds of death. This, by hanging on the tree, was always accounted 
most ignominious. To this day we say of him that is hanged, He dies 
the death of a dog: and yet it is said of our Lord Jesus, Heb. 12: 
2. He not only endured the cross, but also despised the shame. 
Obedience to his Father's will, and zeal for our salvation, made him 
digest the shame of it, and despise the baseness that was in it. 
    Fourthly, The death of the cross was a cursed death. Upon that 
account he is said to be "made 'katara', a curse for us; For it is 
written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree," Gal. 3: 13. 
"His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt 
in any wise bury him that day; for he that is hanged is accursed of 
God." The very symbol of lifting them up betwixt heaven and earth 
carried much shame in it. For it implies this in it, that the person 
so used, was so execrable, base, and vile, that he deserved not to 
tread upon the earth or touch the surface of the ground any more. 
And the command for burying them that day, does not at all mitigate, 
but rather aggravates this curse: speaking the person to be so 
abominable, that as he is lifted up into the air, and hanging 
between heaven and earth, as unworthy ever to set foot more upon the 
earth; so when dead, they were to hasten to bury him, that such an 
abominable sight might be removed as soon as might be, from before 
the eyes of men; and that the earth might not be defiled, by his 
lying on the surface of it, when taken down. 
    However, as the learned Junius has judiciously observed, this 
curse is only a ceremonial curse; for otherwise it is neither in it 
self, nor by the law of nature, or by civil law, more execrable than 
any other death. And the main reason why the ceremonial law attached 
the curse to this, rather than to any other death, was principally 
with respect to the death Christ was to die. And therefore, reader, 
see and admire the providence of God, that Christ should die by a 
Roman, and not by a Judaic law. For crucifying, or hanging on a 
tree, was a Roman punishment, and not in use among the Jews. But the 
scriptures cannot be broken. 
    Fifthly, The death of the cross was a very slow and lingering 
death. They died leisurely. Which still increaseth and aggravateth 
the misery of it. If a man must die a violent death, it is a favour 
to be dispatched: as they that are pressed to death, beg for more 
weight. And it is a favour to those that are hanged, to be smitten 
on the breast, or plucked by the heels by their friends. On the 
contrary, to hang long in the midst of tortures, to have death 
coming upon us with a slow pace, that we may feel every tread of it, 
as it comes on, is a misery. 
    The tyrant that heard the poor martyr was dead under his first 
torments, said, as one disappointed, Evasit, "He has escaped me." 
For he intended to have kept him much longer under torments. And it 
was the cruel counsel of another to his executioner; "Let him die so 
as he may feel himself how he dies." And surely in this respect it 
was worse for Christ, than any other that ever was nailed to the 
tree. For all the while he hanged there, he remained full of life 
and acute sense. His life departed not gradually, but was whole in 
him to the last. Other men die gradually, and, towards their end, 
their sense of pain is much blunted. They falter, and expire by 
degrees, but Christ stood under the pains of death in his full 
strength. His life was whole in him. This was evident by the mighty 
out-cry he made when he gave up the ghost, which argued him to be 
full of strength, contrary to the experience of all other men. Which 
made the centurion when he heard it, to conclude, "Surely this was 
the Son of God," Mark 15: 37, 39. 
    Sixthly, It was a succourless and helpless death to Christ. 
Sometimes they gave to malefactors amidst their torments, vinegar 
and myrrh, to blunt, dull, and stupefy their senses. And if they 
hanged long, would break their bones to dispatch them out of their 
pains. Christ had none of this favour. Instead of vinegar and myrrh, 
they gave him vinegar and gall to drink, to aggravate his torments. 
And for the breaking of his bones he prevented it, by dying before 
they came to break his legs. For the scriptures must be fulfilled, 
which say, Not a bone of him shall be broken. 
    This now was the kind and nature of that death he died. Even 
the violent, painful, shameful, cursed, slow, and succourless death 
of the cross. An ancient punishment both among the Romans and 
Carthaginians. But in honour of Christ, who died this death, 
Constantine the Great abrogated it by law, ordaining that none 
should ever be crucified any more, because Christ died that death. 
    Secondly, As to the manner of the execution. They that were 
condemned to the death of the cross, (saith a learned Antiquary of 
our own) bare their cross upon their own shoulders, to the place of 
execution. They were stripped of all their clothes, for they 
suffered naked. And then were fastened to the cross with nails. 
    The manner how that was done, one gives us in these swords, 
They stretched him out (meaning Christ) like another Isaac upon his 
own burden, the cross; that so they might take measure of the holes. 
And though the print of his blood upon it, gave them the true length 
of his body; yet how strictly do they take it longer than the truth. 
Thereby at once to crucify and rack him. Then being nailed, like as 
Moses lifted up the serpent, so was the Son of man lifted up. And 
when the cross, with the Lord fastened on it, fell into its socket, 
or basis, it jerked the whole, and every part of his sacred body. 
And the whole weight hanging upon his nailed hands, the wounds by 
degrees grew wider and wider: till at last he expired in the midst 
of those tortures. 
    And that the equity of their proceedings might the better 
appear to the people, the cause of the punishment was written in 
capital letters, and fixed to the tree over the head of the 
malefactor. Of this appendant to this kind of death, I shall speak 
distinctly in the next sermon, before I come to handle the manner of 
his death: there being so much of providence in that circumstance, 
as invites us to spend more than a few transient thoughts upon it. 
Meanwhile, in the next place, 
    Thirdly, We will enquire briefly into the reasons why Christ 
died this, rather than any other kind of death. And amongst others, 
these three are obvious. 
    First, Because Christ must bear the curse in his death, and a 
curse by law was affixed to no other kind of death, as it was to 
    The learned Masius upon Joshua 2: 29. commenting upon the death 
of king Ai, who was hanged upon the tree, until the evening, tells 
us, "That the principal reason of the malediction and execrableness 
of his death was, because the death of Christ was prefigured in that 
mystery." Christ came to take away the curse from us by this death; 
and so must be made a curse. On him must all the curses of the moral 
law lie, which were due to us. And that nothing might be wanting to 
make it a full curse, the very death he died, must also have a 
ceremonial curse upon it. 
    Secondly, Christ died this, rather than any other kind of 
death; to fulfil the types, and prefiguration that of old were made 
with respect to it. All the sacrifices were lifted up from the 
earth, upon the altar. But especially the brazen serpent prefigured 
this death, Numb. 19: 9. Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it 
upon a pole. And, saith Christ, John 3: 14. "As Moses lifted up the 
serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up," 
that so he might correspond with that lively type, made of him in 
the wilderness. 
    Thirdly, Christ died this, rather than any other death, because 
it was predicted of him, and in him must all the predictions, as 
well as types, be fully accomplished. The psalmist spake in the 
person of Christ, of this death, as plainly as if he had rather been 
writing the history of what was done, than a prophecy of what was to 
be done, so many years afterwards, Psal. 22: 16, 17. "For dogs have 
compassed me about, the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: 
they pierced my hands and feet; I may tell all my bones; they look 
and stare upon me." Which has a manifest reference to the distension 
of all his members upon the tree, which was a rack to him. So Zech. 
12: 10. "They shall look upon me, whom they have pierced." Yea, 
Christ himself had foretold the death he should die, in the 
forecited, John 3: 14. saying, "He must be lifted up," i.e. hanged 
between heaven and earth. And the scriptures must be fulfilled. 
    Thus you have a brief account both of the kind, manner, and 
reasons of this death of Christ. The improvement of it, you have in 
the following inferences of truth, deducible from it. 
    Inference 1. Is Christ dead? and did he die the violent, 
painful, shameful, cursed, slow, and succourless death of the cross? 
Then surely there is forgiveness with God, an plenteous redemption 
for the greatest of sinners, that by faith apply the blood of the 
cross to their poor guilty souls. So speaks the apostle, Col. 1: 14. 
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness 
of sins." And 1 John 1: 7. "The blood of Christ cleanseth us from 
all sin." Two things will make this demonstrable. 
    First, That there is a sufficient efficacy in this blood of the 
cross, to expiate the greatest sins. 
    Secondly, That the efficacy of it is designed and intended by 
God for believing sinners. How clearly do both these propositions 
lie in the word? 
    First, That there is sufficient efficacy in the blood of the 
cross, to expiate and wash away the greatest sins. This is manifest, 
for it is precious blood, as it is called, 1 Pet. 1: 18. "Ye were 
not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with 
the precious blood of the Son of God." This preciousness of the 
blood of Christ riseth from the union it has with that person, who 
is over all, God blessed for ever. And on that account is stiled the 
blood of God, Acts 20: 28: and so it becomes royal, princely blood: 
Yea, such for the dignity, and efficacy of it, as never was created, 
or shall ever run in any other veins but his. The blood of all the 
creatures in the world, even a sea of human blood bears no more 
proportion to the precious. and excellent blood of Christ, than a 
dish of common water, to a river of liquid gold. On the account of 
its invaluable preciousness, it becomes satisfying and reconciling 
blood to God. So the apostle speaks, Col. 1: 20. "And (having made 
peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile all things 
to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or 
things in heaven." The same blood which is redemption to them that 
dwell on earth, is confirmation to them that dwell in heaven. Before 
the efficacy of this blood, guilt vanishes, and shrinks away as the 
shadow before the glorious sun. Every drop of it has a voice, and 
speaks to the soul that sits trembling under its guilt better things 
than the blood of Abel, Heb. 10: 24. It sprinkles us from all evil, 
i.e. an unquiet and accusing conscience, Heb. 10: 22. For having 
enough in it to satisfy God, it must needs have enough in it to 
satisfy conscience. 
    Conscience can demand no more for its satisfaction, nor will it 
take less than God demands for his satisfaction. And in this blood 
is enough to give both satisfaction. 
    Secondly, As there is sufficient efficacy in this blood to 
expiate the greatest guilt; so it is as manifest, that the virtue 
and efficacy of it, is intended and designed by God for the use of 
believing sinners. Such blood as this washed, without doubt, for 
some weighty end, that some might be the better for it. Who they are 
for whom it is intended, is plain enough from Acts 13: 39. "And by 
him all that believe, are justified from all things, from which they 
could not be justified by the law of Moses." 
    That the remission of the sins of believers was the great thing 
designed in the pouring out of this precious blood of Christ, 
appears from all the sacrifices that figured it to the ancient 
church. The shedding of that typical blood, spake a design of 
pardon. And the putting of their hands upon the head of the 
sacrifice, spake the way and method of believing, by which that 
blood was then applied to them in that way; and is still applied to 
us in a more excellent way. Had no pardon been intended, no 
sacrifices had been appointed. 
    Moreover, let it be considered, this blood of the cross is the 
blood of a surety; that came under the same obligations with us, and 
in our name or stead shed it: and so of course frees and discharges 
the principal offender, or debtor, Heb. 7: 22. Can God exact 
satisfaction from the blood and death of his own Son, the surety of 
believers, and yet still demand it from believers? It cannot be. 
"Who (saith the apostle) shall lay any thing to the charge of God's 
elect? It is God that justifieth. Who shall condemn? It is Christ 
that died," Rom. 8: 33, 34. And why are faith and repentance 
prescribed as the means of pardon? Why does God every where in his 
word, call upon sinners to repent, and believe in this blood? 
encouraging them so to do, by so many precious promises of 
remission; and declaring the inevitable and eternal ruin, of all 
impenitent, and unbelieving ones, who despise and reject this blood? 
What, I say, does all this speak, but the possibility of a pardon 
for the greatest of sinners; and the certainty of a free, full, and 
final pardon for all believing sinners? O what a joyful sound is 
this! What ravishing voices of peace, pardon, grace, and acceptance, 
come to our ears from the blood of the cross? 
    The greatest guilt that ever was contracted upon a trembling, 
shaking conscience, can stand before the efficacy of the blood of 
Christ no more, than the sinner himself can stand before the justice 
of the Lord, with all that guilt upon him. 
    Reader, the word assures thee, whatever thou hast been, or art, 
that sins of as deep a dye as thine, have been washed away in this 
blood. "I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, injurious; but I obtained 
mercy," saith Paul, 1 Tim. 1: 13. But it may be thou wilt object; 
this was a rare and singular instance, as it is a great question 
whether any other sinner shall find the like grace that he did. No 
question of it at all, if you believe in Christ as he did; for he 
tells us, ver. 16. "For this cause I obtained mercy that in me 
first, Jesus Christ might show forth all long suffering, for a 
pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life 
everlasting." So that upon the same grounds he obtained mercy, you 
may obtain it also. 
    Those very men who had a hand in the shedding of Christ's 
blood, had the benefit of that blood afterwards pardoning them, Acts 
2: 36. There is nothing but unbelief and impenitence of heart can 
bar thy soul from the blessings of this blood. 
    Inf. 2. Did Christ die the cursed death of the cross for 
believers, then though there be much of pain, there is nothing of 
curse in the death of the saints. It still wears its dart, by which 
it strikes; but has lost its sting, by which it hurts and destroys. 
A serpent that has no sting, may hiss and affright, but we may take 
him in our hand, without danger. Death poured out all its poison, 
and lost its sting in Christ's side, when he became a curse for us. 
    But what speak I of the innocence and harmlessness of death to 
believers? It is certainly their friend and great benefactor. As 
there is no curse, so there are many blessings in it. "Death is 
yours," 1 Cor. 3: 22. Yours as a special privilege and favour. 
Christ has not only conquered it, but is more than a conqueror; for 
he has made it beneficial, and very serviceable to the saints. When 
Christ was nailed to the tree, then he said as it were to death, 
which came to grapple with him there, "Death, I will be thy plague; 
O grave, I will be thy destruction:" and so he was; for he swallowed 
up death in victory, spoiled it of its power. So that, though it may 
now affright some weak believers, yet cannot hurt them at all. 
    Inf. 3. If Christ died the cursed death of the cross for us, 
how cheerfully should we submit to, and bear any cross for Jesus 
Christ? He had his cross, and we have ours; but what feathers are 
ours compared with his? His cross was a heavy cross indeed, yet how 
patiently and meekly did he support it! "he endured his cross," we 
cannot endure or bear ours, though they be not to be named with his. 
Three things would marvellously strengthen us to bear the cross of 
Christ, and bring up a good report upon it in the world. 
    First, That we shall carry it but a little way. Secondly, 
Christ bears the heaviest end of it. Thirdly, Innumerable blessings 
and mercies grow upon the cross of Christ. 
    First, We shall bear it but a little way. It should be enough 
to me (saith a holy one) that Christ will have joy and sorrow 
halfers of the life of the saints. And that each of them should have 
a share of our days, as the night and day are kindly partners of 
time, and take it up betwixt them. But if sorrow be the greediest 
halfer of our days here, I know joy's day shall dawn, and do more 
than recompense all our sad hours. 
    Let my Lord Jesus, (since he will do so) weave my bit-and-span 
length of time with white and black; well and woe. - Let the rose be 
neighbour with the thorn. - "When we are over the water, Christ 
shall cry, down crosses, and up heaven for evermore; down hell, and 
down death, and down sin, and down sorrow; and up glory, up life, up 
joy for evermore. It is true, Christ and his cross are not separable 
in this life; howbeit Christ and his cross part at heaven's door: 
for there is no house room for crosses in heaven. One tear, one 
sigh, one sad heart, one fear, one loss, one thought of trouble 
cannot find lodging there." - Sorrow and the saints are not married 
together! or suppose it was so, heaven shall make a divorce. Life is 
but short, and therefore crosses cannot be long. Our sufferings are 
but for a while, 1 Pet. 5: 10. They are but the sufferings of the 
present time, Rom. 8: 18. 
    Secondly, As we shall carry the cross of Christ but a little 
way, so Christ himself bears the heaviest end of it. And as one 
happily expresses, he saith of their crosses, half mine. He divideth 
sufferings with them, and takes the largest share to himself. "O how 
sweet a sight (saith one sweetly) is it to see a cross betwixt 
Christ and us. To hear our Redeemer say, at every sigh, at every 
blow, and eatery loss of a believer, half mine. For they are called 
the sufferings of Christ, and the reproach of Christ, Col. 2: 24. 
Heb. 11: 26. As when two are partners or owners of a ship, half of 
the gain, and half of the loss, belongeth to either of the two. So 
Christ in our sufferings, is half gainer, and half loser, with us: 
yea, the heaviest end of the black tree lieth on your Lord. It 
falleth first upon him, and but rebounds from him upon you:" "The 
reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me," Psal. 
69: 9. Nay, so speak as the thing is, Christ does not only bear 
half, or the better part, but the whole of our cross and burden. 
Yea, he bears all, and more than all; for he bears us and our burden 
too, or else we would quickly sink, and faint under it. 
    Thirdly, As we have not far to carry it, and Christ carries the 
heaviest part; yea, all the burden for us; yea, us and our burden 
too; so, in the last place, it is reviving to think what an 
innumerable multitude of blessings and mercies are the fruit and 
offspring of a sanctified cross. Since that tree was so richly 
watered with the blood of Christ; what store of choice, and rich 
fruits does it bear to believers? 
    Our sufferings (saith one) are washed in the blood of Christ, 
as well as our souls. "For Christ's merits bought a blessing to the 
crosses of the sons of God. Our troubles owe us a free passage 
through him. Devils, and men, and crosses, are our debtors; and 
death, and all storms are our debtors, to blow our poor tossed bark 
over the water freight free: and to set the travellers in their own 
known ground. Therefore we shall die, and yet live. - I know no man 
has a velvet cross, but the cross is made of what God will have it; 
but verily, howbeit, it be no warrentable market to buy a cross, yet 
I dare not say, O that I had liberty to sell Christ's cross, lest 
therewith also I should sell joy, comfort, sense of love, patience, 
and the kind visits of a bridegroom. I have but small experience of 
sufferings for Christ, but let my Judge and witness in heaven, lay 
my soul in the balance of justice; if I find not a young heaven, and 
a little paradise of glorious comforts, and soul-delighting 
love-kisses of Christ in suffering for him and his truth. - My 
prison is my palace, my sorrow is with child of joy; my losses are 
rich losses, my pain easy pain, my heavy days are holy days and 
happy days. I may tell a new tale of Christ to my friends. O what 
owe I to the file, and to the hammer, and to the furnace of my Lord 
Jesus! who has now let me see how good the wheat of Christ is, that 
goes through his mill, and his oven, to be made bread for his own 
table. Grace tried is better than grace, and more than grace. It is 
glory in its infancy." 
    "Who knows the truth of grace without a trial. - O how little 
getteth Christ of us, but what he winneth (to speak so) with much 
toil and pains? And how soon would faith freeze without a cross? 
Bear your cross therefore with joy." 
    Inf. 4. Did Christ die the death, yea, the worst of deaths for 
us? Then it follows, that our mercies are brought forth with great 
difficulty; and that which is sweet to us in the fruition, was 
costly, and hard to Christ in the acquisition. Surely, upon every 
mercy we have this motto written, The price of Blood, Col. 1: 14. 
"In whom we have redemption through his blood:" Upon which a late 
neat writer delivers himself thus. "The way of grace is here 
considerable; life comes through death; God comes in Christ; and 
Christ comes in blood: the choicest mercies come through the 
greatest miseries; prime favours come swimming in blood to us. 
Through a red sea Israel came to Canaan. Many a man lost his life, 
and much blood shed; the very land flowing with milk and honey was 
first made to flow with blood, ere Israel could inherit the promise. 
Seven nations were destroyed, ere the land of Canaan was divided to 
the Israelites, Acts 13: 19. - "Sin makes mercy so deadly hard to 
bring forth. To christen every precious child, every Benjamin 
Benoni, every son of God's right-hand, a son of sorrow and death to 
her that brings him forth. Adam's sweets had no bitter till he 
transgressed God's will: one mercy did not die to bring forth 
another, till he died. But oh! how should this raise the value of 
our mercies? What, the price of blood, the price of precious blood, 
the blood of the cross! O what an esteem should this raise!" 
    "Things (as the same ingenious author adds) are prized rather 
as they come, than as they are. Far fetched and dear bought makes 
all the price, and gives all the worth with us weak creatures. Upon 
this ground the scripture, when it speaks of our great fortune, 
tells the great price it cost, as eyeing our weakness, who look more 
at what things cost, than at what they are. And as knowing if any 
thing will take with us, this will, To him that loved us and washed 
us from sins in his own blood," Rev. 1: 5. 
    "Man is a legal creature, and looks much at what is given for a 
thing. What did this cost? Why, it cost Christ's own blood. Colour 
is more than the cloth with us, and scarlet colour is a general 
taking colour with us: and therefore is Christ's garment dipped in 
blood, and he admired in this habit. Who is this that comes from 
Edom, with garments dyed red from Bozra?" 
    Beware then you abuse not any of the mercies that Christ 
brought forth with so many bitter pangs and throes. And let all this 
endear Christ more than ever to you, and make you in a deep sense of 
his grace and love, to say, 
                 Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 

(continued in file 27...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-26.txt