John Flavel, The Fountain of Life 
The Fountain of Life opened up: 
A Display of Christ in his essential and mediatorial glory. 
Containing forty-two sermons on various texts. 
Scanned from: 
The Works of John Flavel, Volume I 
The Banner of Truth Trust, 3 Murray field Road, Edinburgh EHI2 6EL, 
PO Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, U.S.A. 
First published by W. Baynes and Son, 1820 
Reprinted by The Banner of Truth Trust 1968 
Second reprint 1982 
ISBN 0 85151 060 4 
Printed and Bound in Great Britain by Fakenham Press Limited, 
Fakenham, Norfolk 
(reprinted by photolithography) 
TO the Christian Readers, 
The Fountain of Life 
 Sermon 1.  Opens the Excellency of the Subject. 
 Sermon 2.  Sets forth Christ in his essential en primeval Glory. 
 Sermon 3.  Opens the Covenant of Redemption betwixt the Father and 
            the Redeemer. 
 Sermon 4.  Opens the admirable love of God in giving his own Son for 
 Sermon 5.  Of Christ's wonderful Person. 
 Sermon 6.  Of the Authority by which Christ, as Mediator, acted. 
 Sermon 7.  Of the Solemn Consecration of the Mediator. 
 Sermon 8.  Of the Nature of Christ's Mediation. 
 Sermon 9.  The first Branch of Christ's Prophetical Office, 
            consisting in the Revelation of the Will of God. 
 Sermon 10. The second Branch of Christ's Prophetical Office, 
            consisting in the Illumination of the Understanding. 
 Sermon 11. The Nature and necessity of the Priesthood of Christ. 
 Sermon 12. Of the Excellency of our High-Priest's Oblation, being 
            the first Act or Part of His Priestly Office. 
 Sermon 13. Of the Intercession of Christ our High-priest, being the 
            second Act or Part of his Priestly Office. 
 Sermon 14. A Vindication of the Satisfaction of Christ, as the 
            first Effect or Fruit of his Priesthood. 
 Sermon 15. Of the blessed Inheritance purchased by the Oblation of 
            Christ, being the second Effect or Fruit of his 
 Sermon 16. Of the Kingly Office of Christ, as it is executed 
            spiritually upon the Souls of the Redeemed. 
 Sermon 17. Of the Kingly Office of Christ, as it is providentially 
            executed in the World, for the Redeemed. 
 Sermon 18. Of the Necessity of Christ's Humiliation, in order to 
            the Execution of all these his blessed Offices for us; 
            and particularly of his Humiliation by Incarnation. 
 Sermon 19. Of Christ's Humiliation in his Life. 
 Sermon 20. Of Christ's Humiliation unto Death, in his first 
            preparative Act for it. 
 Sermon 21. The second preparative Act of Christ for his own Death. 
 Sermon 22. The third preparative Act of Christ for his own Death. 
 Sermon 23. The first Preparation for Christ's Death, on his Enemies 
            Part, by the treason at Judas. 
 Sermon 24. The second and third Preparatives for the Death of 
            Christ, by his illegal Trial and Condemnation. 
 Sermon 25. Christ's memorable Address to the Daughters of 
            Jerusalem, in his Way to the Place of his Execution. 
 Sermon 26. Of the Nature and Quality of Christ's Death. 
 Sermon 27. Of the signal Providence, which directed and ordered the 
            Title affixed to the cross of Christ. 
 Sermon 28. Of the manner of Christ's Death, in respect to the 
            Solitariness thereof. 
 Sermon 29. Of the manner of Christ's Death, in respect of the 
            Patience thereof. 
 Sermon 30. Of the Instructiveness of the Death of Christ, in his 
            seven last Words; the first of which is here illustrated. 
 Sermon 31. The second excellent Word of Christ upon the Cross, 
 Sermon 32. The third of Christ's last Words upon the Cross, 
 Sermon 33. The fourth excellent Saying of Christ upon the Cross, 
 Sermon 34. The fifth excellent Saying of Christ upon the Cross, 
 Sermon 35. The sixth excellent Saying of Christ upon the Cross, 
 Sermon 36. The seventh and last Word with which Christ breathed out 
            his Soul, illustrated. 
 Sermon 37. Christ's Funeral illustrated, in its Manner, Reasons, 
            and excellent Ends. 
 Sermon 38. Wherein four weighty Ends of Christ's Humiliation are 
            opened, and particularly applied. 
 Sermon 39. Wherein the Resurrection of CHRIST, with its influences 
            upon the Saints Resurrection, is clearly opened, and
            comfortably applied, being the first Step of his 
 Sermon 40. The Ascension of Christ illustrated, and variously 
            improved, being the Second Step of his Exaltation. 
 Sermon 41. The Session of Christ at God's right-hand explained and 
            applied, being the third Step of his glorious Exaltation. 
 Sermon 42. Christ's Advent to Judgement, being the fourth and last 
            Degree of his Exaltation, illustrated and improved. 
To his much honoured and beloved Kinsman, Mr. John Flavel, of 
London, Merchant, and his virtuous Consort, the Author wisheth 
Grace, Mercy, and Peace. 
    My dear and honoured friends 
    If my pen were both able, and at leisure, to get glory in 
paper, it would be but a paper glory when I had gotten it; but if by 
displaying (which is the design of these papers) the transcendent 
excellency of Jesus Christ, I may win glory to him from you, to whom 
I humbly offer them, or from any other into whose hands providence 
shall cast them, that will be glory indeed, and an occasion of 
glorifying God to all eternity. 
    It is not the design of this epistle to compliment, but to 
benefit you; not to blazen your excellencies, but Christ's; not to 
acquaint the world how much you have endeared me to yourselves, but 
to increase and strengthen the endearments betwixt Christ and you, 
upon your part. I might indeed (this being a proper place for it) 
pay you my acknowledgements for your great kindnesses to me and 
mine; of which, I assure you, I have, and ever shall have, the most 
grateful sense: but you and I are theatre enough to one another, and 
can satisfy ourselves with the inclosed comforts and delights of our 
mutual love and friendship. But let me tell you, the whole world is 
not a theatre large enough to show the glory of Christ upon, or 
unfold the one half of the unsearchable riches that lie hid in him. 
These things will be far better understood, and spoken of in heaven, 
by the noon-day divinity, in which the immediately illuminated 
assembly do there preach his praises, shall by such a stammering 
tongue, and scribbling pen as mine, which does but mar them. 
    Alas! I write his praises but by moon-light; I cannot praise 
him so much as by halves. Indeed, no tongue but his own (as 
Nazianzen said of Basil) is sufficient to undertake that task. What 
shall I say of Christ? The excelling glory of that object dazzles 
all apprehension, swallows up all expression. When we have borrowed 
metaphors from every creature that has any excellency or lovely 
property in it, till we have stript the whole creation bare of all 
its ornaments, and clothed Christ with all that glory; when we have 
even worn out our tongues, in ascribing praises to him, alas! we 
have done nothing, when all is done. 
    Yes, wo is me! how do I every day behold reasonable souls most 
unreasonably disaffected to my lovely Lord Jesus! denying love to 
One, who is able to compel love from the stoniest heart! yea, though 
they can never make so much of their love (would they set it to 
sale) as Christ bids for it. 
    It is horrid and amazing to see how the minds of many are 
captivated and ensnared by every silly trifle; and how others can 
indifferently turn them with a kind of spontaneity to this object, 
or to that (as their fancy strikes) among the whole universe of 
beings, and scarce ever reluctate, recoil, or nauseate, till they be 
persuaded to Christ. In their unconverted state, it is as easy to 
melt the obdurate rocks into sweet syrup, as their hearts into 
divine love. 
    How do the great men of the world ambitiously court the honours 
and pleasures of it? The merchants of the earth trade, and strive 
for the dear-bought treasures of it; whilst the price of Christ 
(alas! ever too low) falls every day lower and lower upon the 
exchange of this world! I speak it as a sad truth, if there were no 
quicker a trade (as dead as they say it is) for the perishing 
treasures of the earth, than there is for Christ this day in 
England, the exchange would quickly be shut up, and all the trading 
companies dissolved. 
    Dear Sir, Christ is the peerless pearl hid in the field, Mat. 
13: 46. Will you be that wise merchant, that resolves to win and 
compass that treasure, whatever it shall cost you? Ah, Sir, Christ 
is a commodity that can never be bought too dear. 
    My dear kinsman, my flesh, and my blood; my soul thirsteth for 
your salvation, and the salvation of your family. Shall you and I 
resolve with good Joshua that whatever others do, "we and our 
families will serve the Lord;" that we will walk as the redeemed by 
his blood, shewing forth his virtues and praises in the world? that 
as God has made us one in name, and one in affection, so we may be 
one in Christ, that it may be said of us, as it was of Austin and 
Alippous long ago, that they were sanguine Christi conglutinati, 
glued together by the blood of Christ. 
    For my own part, I have given in my name to him long since; wo 
to me, if I have not given in my heart also; for, should I deceive 
myself in so deep a point as that, how would my profession as a 
Christian, my calling as a minister, yea, these very sermons now in 
your hands, rise in judgement to condemn me? which God forbid. 
    And doubtless, Sir, your eyes have seen both the vanity of all 
creatures, and the necessity and infinite worth of Christ. You 
cannot forget what a vanity the world appeared to you, when in the 
year 1668, you were summoned by the messengers of death (as you and 
all that were about you then apprehended) to shoot the gulph of vast 
eternity, when a malignant fever and pleurisy (whereof your 
physician has given an account to the world) did shake the whole 
frame of the tabernacle wherein your soul through mercy yet dwells; 
and long may it dwell there, for the service and praise of your 
great Deliverer. I hope you have not, nor ever will forget how vain 
the world appeared to your eye, when you looked back (as it were 
over your shoulder) and saw how it shrunk away from you; nor will 
you ever forget the awful apprehensions of eternity that then seized 
your spirit, or the value you then had for Christ; which things, I 
hope, still do, and ever will remain with you. 
    And for you, dear cousin, as it becomes a daughter of Sarah, 
let your soul be adorned with the excellencies of Christ, and 
beauties of holiness. A king from heaven makes suit for your love; 
if he espouse your soul now he will fetch it home to himself at 
death in his chariot of salvation; and great shall be your joy, when 
the marriage of the Lamb is come. Look often upon Christ in this 
glass; he is fairer than the children of men. View him believingly, 
and you cannot but like and love him. "For (as one well saith) love, 
when it sees, cannot but cast out its spirit and strength upon 
amiable objects and things loveworthy. And what fairer things than 
Christ! O fair sun, and fair moon, and fair stars, and fair flowers, 
and fair roses, and fair lilies, and fair creatures! but, O ten 
thousand, thousand times fairer Lord Jesus! Alas, I wronged him in 
making the comparison this way. O black sun and moon; but O fair 
Lord Jesus! O black flowers, and black lilies and roses; but O fair 
fair, ever fair Lord Jesus! O all fair things, black, deformed, and 
without beauty, when ye are set beside the fairest Lord Jesus! O 
black heaven, but O fair Christ! O black angels, but O surpassingly 
fair Lord Jesus." 
    I hope you both are agreed with Christ, according to the 
articles of peace propounded to you in the gospel; and that you are 
every day driving on salvation work, betwixt him and you, in your 
family, and in your closets. 
    And now, my dear, friends, if these discoveries of Christ, 
which I humbly offer to your hands, may be any way useful to your 
souls, to assist them either in obtaining, or in clearing their in 
merest in him, my heart shall rejoice, even mine; for none under 
heaven can be more willing, though many are more able, to help you 
thither, than is 
         Your affectionate and obliged, 
                            kinsman and servant 
    From my Study at Dartmouth,              John Flavel. 
    March 14th, 1671. 
TO the Christian Readers, 
Especially those in the Town and Corporation of Dartmouth, and Parts 
adjacent, who have either befriended, or attended these Lectures. 
Honoured and worthy Friends, 
    Knowledge is man's excellency above the beasts that perish, 
Psal. 32: 9. the knowledge of Christ is the Christian's excellency 
above the Heathen, 1 Cor. 1: 23, 24. Practical and saving knowledge 
of Christ is the sincere Christian's excellency above the self- 
cozening hypocrite, Heb. 6: 4, 6. but methodical and well digested 
knowledge of Christ is the strong Christian's excellency above the 
weak, Heb. 5: 13 , 14. A saving, though an immethodical knowledge of 
Christ, will bring us to heaven, John 17: 2, but a regular and 
methodical, as well as a saving knowledge of him, will bring heaven 
into us, Col. 2: 2, 3. 
    For such is the excellency thereof, even above all other 
knowledge of Christ, that it renders the understanding judicious, 
the memory tenacious, and the heart highly and fixedly joyous. How 
it serves to confirm and perfect the understanding, is excellently 
discovered by a worthy divine of our own, in these words: 
    A young ungrounded Christian, when he sees all the fundamental 
truths, and sees good evidence and reasons of them, perhaps may be 
yet ignorant of the right order and place of every truth. It is a 
rare thing to have young professors to understand the necessary 
truths methodically: and this is a very great defect: for a great 
part of the usefulness and excellency of particular truths 
consisteth in the respect they have to one another. This therefore 
will be a very considerable part of your confirmation, and growth in 
your understandings, to see the body of the Christian doctrine, as 
it were, at one view, as the several parts of it are united in one 
perfect frame; and to know what aspect one point has upon another, 
and which are their due places. There is a great difference betwixt 
the sight of the several parts of a clock or watch, as they are 
disjointed and scattered abroad, and the seeing of them conjointed, 
and in use and motion. To see here a pin and there a wheel, and not 
know how to set them all together, nor ever see them in their due 
places, will give but little satisfaction. It is the frame and 
design of holy doctrine that must be known, and every part should be 
discerned as it has its particular use to that design, and as it is 
connected with the other parts. 
    By this means only can the true nature of Theology, together 
with the harmony and perfection of truth, be clearly understood. And 
every single truth also will be much better perceived by him that 
sees its place and order, than by any other: for one truth 
exceedingly illustrates and leads another into the understanding. - 
Study therefore to grow in the more methodical knowledge of the same 
truths which you have received; and though you are not yet ripe 
enough to discern the whole body of theology in due method, yet see 
so much as you have attained to know, in the right order and placing 
of every part. As in anatomy, it is hard for the wisest physician to 
discern the course of every branch of the veins and arteries; but 
yet they may easily discern the place and order of the principal 
parts, and greater vessels, (and surely in the body of religion 
there are no branches of greater or more necessary truth than these) 
so it is in divinity, where no man has a perfect view of the whole, 
till he comes to the state of perfection with God; but every true 
Christian has the knowledge of all the essentials, and may know the 
orders and places of them all. 
    And as it serves to render the mind more judicious, so it 
causes the memory to be more tenacious, and retentive of truths. The 
chain of truth is easily held in the memory, when one truth links in 
another; but the loosing of a link endangers the scattering of the 
whole chain. We use to say, order is the mother of memory; I am sure 
it is a singular friend to it: hence it is observed, those that 
write of the art of memory, lay so great a stress upon place and 
number. The memory would not so soon be overcharged with a multitude 
of truths, if that multitude were but orderly disposed. It is the 
incoherence and confusion of truths, rather than their number, that 
distracts. Let but the understanding receive then regularly, and the 
memory will retain them with much more facility. A bad memory is a 
common complaint among Christians: all the benefit that many of you 
have in hearing, is from the present influence of truths upon your 
hearts; there is but little that sticks by you, to make a second and 
third impression upon them. I know it may be said of some of you, 
that if your affections were not better than your memories, you 
would need a very large charity to pass for Christians. I confess it 
is better to have a well ordered heart, than a methodical head; but 
surely both are better than either. And for you that have constantly 
attended these exercises, and followed us through the whole series 
and deduction of these truths, from text to text, and from point to 
point; who have begun one sabbath where you left another, it will be 
your inexcusable fault, if these things be not fixed in your 
understanding and memories, as nails fastened in a sure place: 
especially as providence has now brought to your eyes, what has been 
so often sounded in your ears, which is no small help to fix these 
truths upon you, and prevent that great hazard of them, which 
commonly attends bare hearing; for now you may have recourse as 
often as you will to them, view and review them, till they become 
your own. 
    But though this be a great and singular advantage, yet is not 
all you may have by a methodical understanding of the doctrines of 
Christ: it is more than a judicious understanding them, or faithful 
remembering them, that you and I must design, even the warm, vital, 
animating influences of these truths upon our hearts, without which 
we shall be never the better; yea, much the worse for knowing and 
remembering them. 
    Truth is the sanctifying instrument, John 17: 17. the mould 
into which our souls are cast, Rom. 6: 17. according therefore to 
the stamps and impressions it makes upon our understandings, and the 
order in which truths lie there, will be the depth and lastingness 
of their impressions and influences upon the heart; as, the more 
weight is laid upon the seal, the more fair and lasting impression 
is made upon the wax. He that sees the grounds and reasons of his 
peace and comfort most clearly, is like to maintain it the more 
    Great therefore is the advantage Christians have by such 
methodical systems. Surely they may be set down among the desiderata 
Christianorum, The most desired things of Christians. 
    Divers worthy modern pens have indeed undertaken this noble 
subject before me, Some more succinctly, others more copiously: 
these have done worthily, and their praises are in the churches of 
Christ; yet such breadth there is in the knowledge of Christ, that 
not only those who have written on this subject before me, but a 
thousand authors more may employ their pens after us, and not 
interfere with, or straiten another. 
    And such is the deliciousness of this subject, that, were there 
ten thousand volumes written upon it, they would never cloy, or 
become nauseous to a gracious heart. We use to say, one thing tires, 
and it is true that it does so, except that one thing be virtually 
and eminently all things, as Christ is; and then one thing can never 
tire; for such is the variety of sweetness in Christ, who is the 
deliciae humani generis, the delights of the children of men, that 
every time he is opened to believers from pulpit or press, it is as 
if heaven had furnished them with a new Christ; and yet he is the 
same Christ still. 
    The treatise itself will satisfy you, that I have not boasted 
in another man's line, of things made ready to my hand; which I 
speak not in the least to win any praise to myself from the 
undertaking, but to remove prejudice from it; for I see more defects 
in it, than most of my readers will see, and can forethink more 
faults to be found in it, than I now shall stand to tell thee of, or 
answer for. It was written in a time of great distractions; and 
didst thou but know how oft this work has died and revived under my 
hand, thou wouldst wonder that ever it came to thine. 
    I am sensible it may fall under some censorious (it may be, 
envious) eyes, and that far different judgements will pass upon it; 
for pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli: And no wonder if a 
treatise of Christ be, when Christ himself was to some, "a stone of 
stumbling, and a rock of offence." I expect not to please every 
reader, especially the envious; magna debet esse eloquentie, quae 
invitis placet. It is as hard for some to look upon other men's 
gifts without envy, as it is to look upon their own without pride; 
nor will I be any further concerned with such readers, than to pity 
them; well knowing that every proud, contemptuous and envious 
censure is a grenado that breaks in the hand of him that casts it. 
    But to the ingenuous and candid reader, I owe satisfaction for 
the obscurity of some part of this discourse, occasioned by the 
conciseness of the stile; to which I have this only to say, that I 
was willing to crowd as much matter as I could into this number of 
sheets in thy hand, that I might therein ease thee both in thy pains 
and thy purse. I confess the sermons were preached in a more relaxed 
stile, and most of these things were enlarged in the pulpit, which 
are designedly contracted in the press, that the volume might not 
swell above the ability of common readers. And it was my purpose at 
first to have comprised the second part, viz., The application of 
the redemption that is with Christ unto sinners, in one volume, 
which occasioned the contraction of this; but that making a just 
volume itself, must await another season to see the light. If the 
reader will be but a little the more intent and considerate in 
reading, this conciseness will turn to his advantage. 
    This may suffice to show the usefulness of such composure, and 
prevent offence; but something yet remains with me, to say to the 
readers in general, to those of this town in special, and to the 
flock committed by Christ to my charge more especially. 
    1. To readers in general, according as their different states 
and conditions may be; there are six things earnestly to be 
requested of them. 
    (1.) If you be yet strangers to Christ, let these things begin, 
and beget your first acquaintance with him. I assure thee, reader, 
it was a principal part of the design thereof; and here thou wilt 
find many directions, helps, and sweet encouragements, to assist a 
poor stranger as thou art, in that great work. Say not, I am an 
enemy to Christ, and there is no hope of reconciliation; for here 
thou wilt see, how "God was in Christ reconciling the world to 
himself." Say not, all this is nothing except God had told thee so, 
and appointed some to treat with thee about it; "for he has 
committed unto us the word of this reconciliation." Say not, yea, 
that may be from your own pity and compassion for us, and not from 
any commission you have for it; for we "are ambassadors for Christ," 
2 Cor. 5: 20. 
    Say not, O but my sins are greater than can be forgiven: the 
difficulties of my salvation are too great to be overcome, 
especially by a poor creature as I am, that am able to do nothing, 
no, not to raise one penny towards the discharge of that great debt 
I owe to God. For here thou wilt find, upon thy union with Christ, 
that there is merit enough in his blood, and mercy enough in his 
bowels, to justify and save such a one as thou art. Yea, and I will 
add for thine encouragement, that it is a righteous thing, with God 
to justify and save thee, that canst not pay him one penny of all 
the vast sums thou owest him; when, by the same rule of justice, he 
condemns the most strict, self-righteous Pharisee, that thinks 
thereby to quit scores with him. It is righteous for a judge to cast 
him that has paid ninety-nine pounds of the hundred, which he owed, 
because the payment was not full; and to acquit him, whose surety 
has paid all, though himself did not, and freely confess that he 
cannot pay one farthing of the whole debt. 
    (2.) If thou be a self deceiving soul, that easily takest up 
thy satisfaction about thine interest in Christ, look to it, as thou 
valuest thy soul, reader, that a fond and groundless conceit of 
thine interest in Christ do not effectually and finally obstruct a 
true and saving, interest in him. This is the common and fatal error 
in which multitudes of souls are ensnared and ruined: for look as a 
conceit of great wisdom hinders many from the attaining of it; so a 
groundless conceit that Christ is already thine, may prove the 
greatest obstacle between Christ and thee: but here thou will meet 
with many rules that will not deceive thee, trials that will open 
thy true condition to thee. 
    Thou sometimes reflectest upon the state of thy soul, and 
enquirest, is Christ mine? may I depend upon it, that my condition 
is safe? Thy heart returns thee an answer of peace, it speaks as 
thou wouldst have it. But remember, friend, and mark this line, Thy 
final sentence is not yet come from the mouth of thy Judge; and what 
if, after all thy self-flattering hopes and groundless confidence, a 
sentence should come from him quite cross to that of thine own 
heart? where art thou then? what a confounded person wilt thou be? 
Christless, speechless, and hopeless, all at once! 
    O therefore build sure for eternity; take heed lest the loss of 
thine eternal happiness be at last imputed by thee to the 
deceitfulness and laziness of thine own heart: lest thy heart say to 
thee in hell, as the heart of Apollodorus seemed in his sufferings 
to say to him, I am the cause of all this misery to thee. 
    (3.) If thou be one whose heart is eagerly set upon this vain 
world, I beseech thee take heed, lest it interpose itself betwixt 
Christ and thy soul, and so cut thee off from him for ever. O 
beware, lest the dust of the earth, getting into thine eyes, so 
blind thee, that thou never see the beauty or necessity of Christ. 
The god of this world so blinds the eyes of them that believe not. 
And what are sparkling pleasures that dazzles the eyes of some, and 
the distracting cares that wholly divert the minds of others, but as 
a napkin drawn by Satan over the eyes of them that are to be turned 
off into hell? 1 Cor. 4: 3, 4. 
    Some general aims, and faint wishes after Christ you may have; 
but alas! the world has centered thy heart, intangled thy 
affections, and will daily find new diversions for them from the 
great business of life; so that, if the Lord break not this snare, 
thou wilt never be able to deliver thy soul. 
    (4.) If thou be a loose and careless professor of Christ, I 
beseech thee, let the things thou shalt read in this treatise of 
Christ, convince, shame, reclaim thee from thy vain conversation. 
Here thou wilt find how contrary thy conversation is to the grand 
designs of the death and resurrection of Christ. Oh, rethinks as 
thou art reading the deep humiliation, and unspeakable sorrows 
Christ underwent for the expiating of sin, thou shouldest 
thenceforth look upon sin as a tender child would look upon that 
knife that stabbed his father to the heart! thou shouldst never whet 
and sharpen it again to wound the Son of God afresh. To such loose 
and careless professors, I particularly recommend the last general 
use of this discourse, containing many great motives to reformation 
and strict godliness in all that call upon the name of the Lord 
    (5.) If thou hast been a profane and vain person, but now art 
pardoned, and dost experience the superabounding riches of grace, my 
request to thee is, that thou love Jesus Christ with a more fervent 
love than ever yet thou hadst for him. Here thou wilt find many 
great incentives, many mighty arguments to such a love of Christ. 
Poor soul, consider what thou hast been, what the morning of thy 
life was, what treasures of guilt thou laidst up in those days; and 
then think, can such a one as I receive mercy, and that mercy not 
break my heart? Can I read my pardon, and mine eyes not drop? What! 
mercy for such a wretch as I! a pardon for such a rebel! O what an 
ingenuous thaw should this cause upon my heart! if it do not, what a 
strange heart is thine. 
    Did the love of Christ break through so many impediments to 
come to thee? Did it make its way through the law, through the wrath 
of God, through the grave, through thine own unbelief and great 
unworthiness, to come to thee? O what a love was the love of Christ 
to thy soul; And is not thy love strong enough to break through the 
vanities and trifles of this world, which entangle it, to go to 
Christ? How poor, how low and weak is thy love to Christ then? 
    (6.) Lastly, Art thou one that hast through mercy at last 
attained assurance, or good hope, through grace, of thy interest in 
Christ? Rejoice then in thy present mercy, and long ardently to be 
with thine own Christ in his glory. There be many things dispersed 
through this treatise, of Christ, to animate such joy, and excite 
such longings. It was truly observed by a worthy author, (whose 
words I have mentioned more freely than his name in this discourse) 
That it is in a manner as natural for us to leap when we see the new 
Jerusalem, as it is to laugh when we are tickled: Joy is not under 
the soul's command when Christ kisseth it. And for your desires to 
be with Christ, what consideration can you find in this world strong 
enough to rein them in? O when you shall consider what he has done, 
suffered, and purchased for you, where he is now, and how much he 
longs for your coming, your very hearts should groan out those 
words, Phil. 1: 23, "I desire to be dissolved, and to be with 
Christ." The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into 
the patient waiting for of Christ. 
    2. Having delivered my message to the reader in general, I have 
somewhat more particularly to say to you of this place. 
    You are a people that were born under, and bred up with the 
gospel. It has been your singular privilege, above many towns and 
parishes in England, to enjoy more than sixty years together an able 
and fruitful ministry among you. The dew of heaven lay upon you, as 
it did upon Gideon's fleece, when the ground was dry in other places 
about you; you have been richly watered with gospel-showers; you, 
with Capernaum, have been exalted to heaven in the means of grace. 
And it must be owned to your praise, that you testified more respect 
to the gospel than many other places have done, and treated Christ's 
ambassadors with more civility, whilst they prophesied in sackcloth, 
than some other places did. These things are praise-worthy in you. 
But all this, and much more than this, amounts not to that which 
Jesus Christ expects from you, and which in his name I would now 
persuade you to. And O that I (the least and unworthiest of all the 
messengers of Christ to you) might indeed prevail with all that are 
Christless among you, (1 ) To answer the long continued calls of God 
to you, by a thorough and sound conversion, that the long-suffering 
of God may be your salvation, and you may not receive all this grace 
of God in vain. O that the damned might never be set a wondering, to 
see a people of your advantages for heaven, sinking as much below 
many of themselves in misery, as you now are above them in means and 
    Dear friends, my heart's desire and prayer to God for you is 
that you may be saved. O that I knew how to engage this whole town 
to Jesus Christ, and make fast the marriage-knot betwixt him and 
you, albeit after that I should presently go to the place of 
silence; and see men no more, with the inhabitants of the world. Ah 
sirs! me thinks I see the Lord Jesus laying the merciful hand of a 
holy violence upon you: methinks he calls to you, as the angel to 
Lot saying, "Arise, lest ye be consumed; And "while he lingered, the 
men laid hold upon his hand, the Lord being merciful unto him. And 
they brought him without the city, and said, Escape for thy life, 
stay not in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be 
consumed," Gen. 19: 15. How often (to allude to this) has Jesus 
Christ in like manner laid hold upon you in the preaching of the 
gospel, and will you not flee for refuge to him? Will you rather be 
consumed, than to endeavour an escape? A beast will not be driven 
into the fire, and will you not be kept out? The merciful Lord 
Jesus, by his admirable patience and bounty, has convinced you how 
loth he is to leave or lose you. To this day his arms are stretched 
forth to gather you, and will you not be gathered? Alas for my poor 
neighbours! Must so many of them perish at last? What shall I do for 
the daughter of my people? 
    Lord, by arguments shall they be persuaded to be happy? What 
will win them effectually to thy Christ? They have many of them 
escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the 
Lord and Saviour. They are a people that love thine ordinances, they 
take delight in approaching to God; thou hast beautified many of 
them with lovely and obliging tempers and dispositions. Thus far 
they are come, there they stick; and beyond this no power but thine 
can move them. O thou, to whose hand this work is and must be left, 
put forth thy saving power and reveal thine arm for their salvation; 
Thou hast glorified thy name in many of them; Lord, glorify it 
    (2.) My next request is, that you will all be persuaded, 
whether converted or unconverted, to set up all the duties at 
religion in your families, and govern your children and servants as 
men that must give an account to God for them in the great day. O 
that there were not a prayerless family in this town! How little 
will their tables differ from the manger, where beasts feed 
together, if God be not owned and acknowledged there, in your eating 
and drinking? And how can you expect blessings should dwell in your 
tabernacles, if God be not called on there? Say not, you want time 
for it, or that your necessities will not allow it; for, had you 
been more careful of these duties, it is like you had not been 
exposed to such necessities: besides, you can find time to be idle, 
you can waste a part of every day vainly; Why could not that time be 
redeemed for God? Moreover, you will not deny but the success of all 
your affairs at home and abroad depends upon the blessing of God; 
and if so, think you it is not the right way, even to temporal 
prosperity, to engage his presence and blessing with you, in whose 
hands your all is? Say not, your children and servants are ignorant 
of God, and therefore you cannot comfortably join with them in those 
duties, for the neglect of those duties is the cause of their 
ignorance; and it is not like they will be better, till you use 
God's means to make them so. 
    Besides, prayer is a part of natural worship, and the vilest 
among men are bound to pray, else the neglect of it were none of 
their sin. O let not a duty, upon which so many and great blessings 
hang, fall to the ground, upon such silly (not to say wicked) 
pretences to shift it off. Remember, death will shortly break up all 
your families, and disband them; and who then think you will have 
most comfort in beholding their dead? The day of account also 
hastens, and then who will have the most comfortable appearing 
before the just and holy God? Set up, I beseech you, the ancient and 
comfortable duties of reading the scriptures, singing of psalms, and 
prayer, in all your dwelling-places. And do all these 
conscientiously, as men that have to do with God; and try the Lord 
herewith, if he will not return in a way of mercy to you, and 
restore even your outward prosperity to you again. However, to be 
sure, far greater encouragements than that lie before you, to oblige 
you to your duties. 
    (3.) More especially, I have a few things to say to you that 
have attended on the ministry, or are under my oversight in a more 
particular manner, and then I have done. And, 
    1st, I cannot but observe to you the goodness of our God, yea, 
the riches of his goodness: 
    Who freely gave Jesus Christ out of his own bosom for us, and 
has not withheld his Spirit, ordinances and ministers, to reveal and 
apply him to us. Here is love that wants an epithet to match it: 
    Who engaged my heart upon this transcendent subject in the 
course of my ministry among you: a subject which angels study and 
admire, as well as we: 
    Who so signally protected and overshadowed our assemble in 
those days of trouble, wherein these truths were delivered to you. 
You then sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit 
was sweet to your taste: his banner over you was love; your bread 
was then sure, and your waters failed not: Yea, such was his 
peculiar indulgence, and special tenderness to you, that he suffered 
no man to do you harm; and it can hardly be imagined any could 
attempt it that had but known this, and no worse than this, to be 
your only design and business: 
    Who made these meditations of Christ a strong support, and 
sweet relief to mine, now with Christ, and no less to me, under the 
greatest exercises and tries that ever befel me in this world; 
preserving me yet (though a broken vessel) for some farther use and 
service to your souls: 
    Who in the years that are past left not himself without witness 
among us, blessing my labours, to the conversion and edification of 
many; Some of which yet remain with us, but some are fallen asleep: 
    Who has made many of you that yet remain, a willing and 
obedient people, who have in some measure supported the reputation 
of religion by your stability and integrity in days of abounding 
iniquity: my joy and my crown; so stand ye fast in the Lord! 
    Who after all the days of fears and troubles, through which we 
have past, has at last given us and his churches rest; "that we 
being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him 
without fear in righteousness and holiness (which doing, this mercy 
may be extended to us) all the days of our life." 
    In testimony of a thankful heart for these invaluable mercies, 
I humbly and cheerfully rear up this pillar of remembrance, 
inscribing it with EBEN-EZER, and JEHOVAH-JIREH! 
    2dly, As I could not but observe these things to you, so I have 
a few things to request of you, in neither of which I can bar 
denial, so deeply Christ's, your own, and my interest lie in them. 
    (1.) Look to it, my dear friends, that none of you be found 
Christless at your appearance before him. Those that continue 
Christless now, will be left speechless then. God forbid that you 
that have heard so much of Christ, and you that have professed so 
much of Christ, should at last fall into a worse condition than 
those that never heard the name of Christ. 
    (2.) See that you daily grow more Christ-like by conversing 
with him, as you do, in his precious ordinances. Let it be with your 
souls, as it is with a piece of cloth, which receives a deeper dye 
every time it is dipt into a vat. If not, you may not expect the 
continuance of your mercies much longer to you. 
    (3.) Get these great truths well digested both in your heads 
and hearts, and let the power of them be displayed in your lives, 
else the pen of the scribe, and the tongue of the preacher, are both 
in vain. These things, that so often warmed your hearts from the 
pulpit, return now to make a second impression upon them from the 
press. Hereby you will recover and fix those truths, which, it is 
like, are in great part already vanished from you. 
    This is the fruit I promise myself from you: and whatever 
entertainment it meets with from others in this Christ-despising 
age, yet two things relieve me; one is, that future times may 
produce more humble and hungry Christians than this glutted age 
enjoys, to whom it will be welcome: the other is, that duty is 
discharged, and endeavours are used to bring men to Christ,, and 
build them up in him: wherein he does and will rejoice, who is a 
well-wisher to the souls of men. 
                        John Flavel. 

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