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John Flavel.

The fountain of life opened, or, A display of Christ in his essential and mediatorial glory : containing 42 sermons on various texts ... online

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THE



FOUNTAIN OF LIFE;



OR,



A DISPLAY OF CHRIST



HIS ESSENTIAL AND MEDIATORIAL GLORY.



BY REV. JOHN FLAVEL.

A. D. 1671 .



PUBLISHED BY THE

AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,

150 NASSAtr-aTREET, NEW-YORK.



D. Fan«h&w. PrinUr.



1 ^,Cfy .^Q

- J



This Edition has been carefully revised, and slightly abridged,
with some changes of obsolete words.



m



CONTENTS.



PAGE.

Sketch of the Author's Life, 8

CHAPTER I THE EXCELLENCY OF THE SUBJECT.

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save
Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2. 9

CHAPTER H. — cnarsT in his essential and primeval glory.
Then I was by him, as one brought up with him : and I was
daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. Prov. 8 : 30. 21

CHAPTER HI. — THE COVENANT OF REDEMPTION BETWEEN THE
FATHER AND THE REDEEMER.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he
shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath
poured out his soul unto death : and he was numbered with
the transgressors ; and he bare the sin of many, and made
intercession for the transgressors." Isa. 53 : 12. 30

CHAPTER IV. — THE AD.MIRABLE love of god in giving HIS OWN
SON FOR US.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten

Son. John, 3 : 16. 39

CHAPTER V. — OF CHRIST'S WONDERFUL PERSON.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. John,

1 : 14. 49

CHAPTER VI.— OF THE authority dy which christ as mediator

ACTED.

For him hath God the Father sealed. John, 6 : 27. 61

CHAPTER VH. — of the solemn consecration of the mediator.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself." John, 17 : 19. 73

CHAPTER VIII.— of the nature of Christ's mediation.
And one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus. 1 Tim. 2 : 5. 85

CHAPTER IX. — the first branch of Christ's prophetical office,
consisting in the revelation of the will of god.

A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your
brethren, like unto mc ; him shall ye hear in all things,
whatsoever he shall say unto you. Acts, 3 : 22. 97

CHAPTER X. — THE second branch of Christ's prophetical office —
illumination of the understanding.

Then opened he their understandings, rh:it they might under-
stand the Scriptures. Luke, 24 : 45. 112



4 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XI.— NATURE AND NECESSITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the
heavens should be purified with these ; but the heavenly-
things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Heb.
9 : 23. 12G

CHAPTER XII. — EXCELLENCY OF OUR HIGH PRIEST'S OBLATIO.M.
THE FIRST PART OF HIS PRIESTLY OFFICE.

For by one oflTering he hath perfected for ever them that are
sanctified. Heb. 10 : 14. 139

CHAPTER XIII. — INTERCESSION OF CHRIST. TFIE SECOND PART OF
HIS PRIESTLY OFFICE.

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that
come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make in-
tercession for them. Heb. 7 : 25. 1.50

CHAPTER XIV. — THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST. THE FIRST ElfECT
OF HIS PRIESTHOOD.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, b^ing
made a curse for us. Gal. 3 : 13. 16'2

CHAPTER XV. — THE INHERITANCE PUKCHASTD CY THF, OKLATION OF
CHRIST. THE SECOND EI FECT OF HIS PRIESTHOOD.

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth
his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to re-
deem them that were under the law, that we might receive
the adoption of sons. Gal. 4 : 4, 5. 172

CHAPTER XVI. KINGLY OFFICE OF CHRIST AS EXECUTED SPIRIT-
UALLY UPON THE SOULS OF THE REDEEMED,

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing thatcxalt-
eth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivitv every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor.
10:5. 180

CHAPTER XVII.— THE KINGLY OFFICE OF CHRIST, AS PROVIDEN-
TIALLY EXECUTED FOR THE REDEEMED.

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the
head over all things to the church. Eph. 1 :22. 195

CHAPTER XVIII. — CHRIST'S humiliation in his incarnation.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross. Phil. 2:8. 209

CHAPTER XIX. — Christ's humiliation — in his life. •
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross. Phil. 2: 8. 222

CHAPTER XX. — Christ's humiliation unto death, his first

PREPARATIVE ACT.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the



CONTENTS 5

Tvorld, 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. John, 17 : 11. 233

CHAPTER XXL— SECOND preparative act of christ for his

OWN DEATH. LORD'S SUPPER.

The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed,
took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it,
and said, Take, eat : this is my body, which is broken for
you : this do in remembrance of me. After the same man-
ner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This
cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft
as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. I Cor. 11 ; 33-25. 248

CHAPTER XXU.— THIRD PREPARATIVE ACT OF CHRIST FOR HIS
OWN DEATH. AGONY IN THE GARDEN.

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, end
kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be will-
ing, remove this cup from me : nevertheless not my will,
but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him
from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony,
he prayed more earnestly : and his sweat was as it were
great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke,
32 : 41-44. 261

CHAPTER, XXIH. — first preparative for Christ's death on

HIS enemies' part. treason of JUDAS.

And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came,
and with him a great multitude Avith swords and staves,
from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he
that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever
I shall kiss, that same is he ; hold him fast. And forth-
with he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master 5 and kissed
him. Matt. 2C : 47-49. 273

CHAPTER XXIV. — the second and third preparatives for Christ's

death. HIS illegal trial AND CONDEMNATION.

And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he
might "^be crucified : and the voices of them, and of the
chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it
should be as they required. Luke, 23 : 23, 24. 287

CHAPTER XXV. — Christ's address to the daughters of jerusale.m.

And there followed him a great company of people, and of
women, Avhich also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus
turning unto them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not
for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
Luke, 23 : 27, 28, &c. 301

CHAPTER XXV'I. — the nature of Christ's death.

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and fore-



b CONTENTS.

knowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands
have crucified and slain. Acts, 2 : 23. 31 3

CHAPTER XXVII. — the title affixed to the cross of christ.

And a superscription also was written over him, in letters of
Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This is the King of the
Jews. Luke, 23 : 38. 324

CHAPTER XXVIII.— solitariness of Christ's death.

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man
that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts : smite the shep-
herd, and the sheep shall be scattered ; and I will turn
mine hand upon the little ones. Zech. 13:7. 336

CHAPTER XXIX.— THE patience of Christ's death.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his
mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a
sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his
mouth. Isa. 53 : 7. 350

CHAPTER XXX.— THE instructiveness of Christ's death in his
seven last words; — the first — "father, forgive them."

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them : for they know not
what they do. Luke, 23 : 34. 362

CHAPTER XXXI.— second excellent word of christ upon
the cross — "behold thy mother."

Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother ! John,

19 : 27. 376

CHAPTER XXXII.— third of Christ's words upon the cross-
to the penitent thief.

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee. To-day
shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke, 23 : 43. 387

CHAPTER XXXIII. — fourth saying of christ on the cross —

" MY GOD, MY god."

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, say-
ing, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani 7 that is to say, My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me ■? Matt. 27 : 46. 403

CHAPTER XXXIV.— FIFTH saying of christ on the cross -
" I thirst."

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accom-

Jlished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst."
ohn, 19 : 28. 414

CHAPTER XXXV. — sixth saying of christ on the cross— " it
is finished."

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is
finished : and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
John, 19 : 30. 4Z{



CONTENTS. 7

CHAPTER XXXVI.— SEVENTH and last saying of CHRIST ON THE
CROSS.

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father,
into thy hands I commend my spirit : and having said thus,
he gave up the ghost." Luke, 23 : 46. 437

CHAPTER XXXVn. — Christ's funeral illustrated-

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen
clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to
bury. Now in the place where he was crucified, there was
a garden ; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was
never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore, be-
cause of the Jews' preparation-day; for the sepulchre was
nigh at hand. John, 19 : 40-42. 450

CHAPTER XXXVIII.— FOUR weighty ends of Christ's

HUMILIATION.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.

Isaiah, 53:11. 463

CHAPTER XXXIX. — the resurrection of christ.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the
place where the Lord lay. Matt. 28 : G. 482

CHAPTER XL.— the ascension of christ.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not ; for I am not yet ascend-
ed to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto
them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to
my God and your God. John, 20 : 17. 496

CHAPTER XLI.— the session of christ at god's right hand.

When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the
right hand of the Majesty on high. Heb. 1 : 3. 509

CHAPTER XLII.— Christ's advent to judgment.

And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to tes-
tify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge
of quick and dead. Acts, 10 : 42. 519

Concluding Appeal 532



THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE.



CHAPTER L

THE EXCELLENCY OF THE SUBJECT.

"/'Vr I determined not to kiwio any thing among you., save Jesiti
Christ, and him crucified.''^ — 1 Cor. 2:2.

The former verse contains an apology for the plain
and familiar manner of the apostle's preaching, which
was '^ not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom :"
he studied not to gratify their curiosity with rhetorical
strains, or philosophical niceties ; for he says, '' I de-
termined not to know^ any thing among you, save Jesus
Christ, and him crucified."

'' / determined not to kriow.''' The meaning is not,
that he despised or contemned all other knowledge ;
but so far only as it might stand in competition with,
or opposition to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. As if
he had said, "It is my stated, settled judgment; not a
hasty, inconsiderate censure, but the result of my most
serious inquiries. After I have well weighed the case,
viewed it exactly on every side, balanced all advantages
and disadvantages, pondered all things that are fit to
come into consideration about it 3 this is the issue and
final determination, that all other knowledge, how pro-
fitable, how pleasant soever, is not worthy to be named
in comparison wath the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
This, therefore, I resolve to make the scope and end of
my ministry, and the end regulates the means ; such
pedantic toys and airy notions as injudicious ears af*
1*



10 THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. Ch. 1.

feet, would rather obstruct than promote my grand
design among you ; therefore, wholly waving that way,
I applied myself to a plain, popular, unaffected dialect,
fitted rather to pierce the heart and convince the con-
science, than to please the fancy.

' '* I determined not to know any things'' — to study
nothing myself, to teach nothing to you, but 'Jesus
Christ.' Christ shall be the centre to which all the
lines of my ministry shall be drawn. I have spoken
and written of many other subjects in my sermons and
epistles, but it is all as consequent upon preaching and
making known Jesus Christ : of all the subjects in
the world, this is the sweetest ; if there be any thing,
on this side heaven, worthy our time and studies, this
is it." Thus he magnifies his doctrine, from the ex-
cellency of its subject, accounting all other doctrines
but airy things, compared with this.

" Jesus Christ and him crucijied.^^ This topic he
singled out from all the rest of the excellent truths of
Christ, on which to spend the main strength of his
ministry : Christ as crucified : and the rather, because
hereby he would obviate the vulgar prejudice raised
against him upon the account of his cross ; for Christ
crucified was " to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to
the Greeks foolishness." 1 Cor. 1 : 23. This also best
suited his end, to draw them on to Christ ; as Christ
above all other subjects, so Christ crucified above all
things in Christ.

The manner in which he discoursed on this trans-
cendent subject to them, is also remarkable ; he not
only preached Christ crucified, but he preached him
assiduously and plai?ily. He preached Christ frequently,*
" and whenever he preached of Christ crucified, he
preached him in a crucified style." This is the sum of
the words; to let them know that his spirit was intent
upon this subject, as if he neither knew nor cared to



Ch. 1. EXCELLENCir OF THE SUBJECT. 11

speak of any other. All his sermons were so full of
Christ, that his hearers might have thought he was ac-
quainted with no other doctrine. Hence,
J^o doctrine is more excellent^ or necessary to be preached
and studied^ than Jesus Christy and him crucified.

All other knowledge, how much soever it be mag-
nified in the world, is, and ought to be, esteemed but
dross, in comparison with the excellency of the know-
ledge of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:8. "In whom are hid
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Col. 2 : 3.
Eudoxus was so affected with the glory of the sun, that
he thought he was born only to behold it : much more
should a christian judge himself born only to behold
.and delight in the glory of the Lord Jesus.

I. Consider the excellency of the knowledge of Christ
in itseJfi

1. It is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scrip -
tures; the scope and centre of all divine revelations.
The ceremonial law is full of Christ, and all the Gospel
is full of Christ : the blessed lines of both Testaments
meet in him; and how they both harmonize, and sweetly
concentre in Jesus Christ, it is the chief scope of the
excellent epistle to the Hebrews to unfold ; for we may
call that epistle the sweet harmony of both Testaments,
This argues the unspeakable excellency of this doc-
trine, the knowledge whereof must needs, therefore, be
a key to unlock the greatest part of the sacred Scrip-
tures. For it is in the understanding of Scripture,
much as in the knowledge of logic and philosophy : if
a scholar once come to understand the foundation-prin-
ciple, upon which, as upon its hinge, the controversy
turns, the true knowledge of that principle shall carry
him through the whole controversy, and furnish him
with a solution to every argument. Even so the right
knowledge of Jesus Christ, like a clue, leads you through
the whole laliyrinth of the Scriptures.



12 THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. Ch. 1.

2. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is a fundamental
knowledge; and foundations are most useful, though
least seen.

It is fundamental to all graces; they all begin in know-
ledge. "The new man is renewed in knowledge." Col.
3 : 10. As the old, so the new creation begins in light ;
the opening of the eyes is the first work of the Spirit :
and as the beginnings of grace, so all its growth de-
pends upon this increasing knowledge ; " But grow in
grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour."
2 Pet. 3:18. See how these two, grace and knowledge,
keep equal pace in the soul of a christian ; in what de-
gree the one increases, the other increases also.

It is fundamental to all duties. The duties, as well as the
graces of all christians, are all founded in the knowledge
of Christ. Must a christian believe \ that he can never
do without the knowledge of Christ : faith is so much
dependent on his knowledge, that it is denominated by
it, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify
many," Isa. 53 : 11 ; and hence, John, 6 : 4-0, seeing and
believing are made the same thing. Would a man ex-
ercise hope in God 1 that he can never do without the
knowledge of Christ, for he is the author of that hope,
1 Pet. 1 : 3; he is also its object, Heb. 6 : 19, its ground-
work and support. Col. 1 : 27. And as you cannot be-
lieve or hope, so neither can you pray acceptably with-
out a competent degree of this knowledge. The very
heathen could say, " Men must not speak of God with-
out light." The true way of conversing with, and
enjoying God in prayer, is by acting faith on him
through a Mediator. Oh, then, how indispensable is
the knowledge of Christ to all who address themselves
to God in any duty !

It is fundamental to all comforts: all the comforts of
believers are streams from this fountain. Jesus Christ
is the very object of a believer's joyj "We rejoice in



Ch. 1. EXCELLEiNCY OF THE SUBJECT. 13

Christ Jesus." Phil. 3 : 3. Take away the knowledge
of Christ, and christians would be the most sad and
melancholy beings in the world : again, let Christ but
manifest himself, and dart the beams of his light into
their souls, it will make them kiss the stake, sing in the
flames, and shout in the pangs of death, as men that
divide the spoil.

This knowledge is fundamental to the denial happi-
ness of souls : as we can perform no duty, enjoy no
comfort, so neither can we be saved without it, " This
is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John, 17 :
3. And if it be life eternal to know Christ, then it is
eternal damnation to be ignorant of Christ : as Christ is
the door that opens heaven, so knowledge is the key
that opens Christ. The excellent gifts and renowned
parts of the moral heathen, though they purchased to
them great esteem and honor among men, yet left
them in a state of perdition, because of this great de-
fect, that they were ignorant of Christ. 1 Cor. 1 : 21.

3. The knowledge of Christ is profound and large:
all other sciences are but shadows; this is a boundless,
bottomless ocean ; no creature hath a line long enough
to fathom the depth of it \ there is height, length, depth,
and breadth ascribed to it, Eph. 3 : 18 ; yea, it passeth
knowledge. There is a manifold wisdom of God in
Christ. Eph. 3 : 10. It is indeed simple, pure, and un-
mixed with any thing but itself, yet it is manifold in
degrees, kinds, and administrations. Though some-
thing of Christ be unfolded in one age, and something
in another, yet eternity itself cannot fully unfold him.
I see something, said Luther, which blessed Augustine
saw not; and those that come after me, will see that
which I see not. It is in the studying of Christ, as in
the planting of a new-discovered country; at first men
sit down by the sea-side, upon the skirts and borders



14 THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. Ch. 1.

of the land, and there they dwell ; but by degrees they
search further and further into the heart of the country.
Ah, the best of us are j^et but upon the borders of this
vast continent !

4. The study of Jesus Christ is the most noble subject
that ever a soul spent itself upon* The angels study
this doctrine, and stoop down to look into this deep
abyss. What are the truths discovered in Christ, but
the very secrets that from eternity lay hid in the bosom
of God 1 Eph. 3 : 8, 9. God's heart is opened to men
in Christ, John, 1:18; this makes the Gospel such a
glorious dispensation, because Christ is so gloriously
revealed therein, 2 Cor, 3:9; and the studying of
Christ in the Gospel, stamps such a heavenly glory
upon the contemplating soul. Verse 18,

5. It is the most sweet and. comfortable knowledge^
To be studying Jesus Christ, what is it but to be digging
among all the veins and springs of comfort \ and the
deeper you dig, the more do these springs flow upon
you. How are hearts enraptured with the discoveries
of Christ in the Gospel! what ecstasies, meltings, trans-
ports, do gracious souls meet there !

II. Let us compare this knowledge with all other
knowledge.

1. All other knowledge is natural, but this wholly
supernatural, " No man knoweth the Son, but the
Father ; neither knoweth any the Father, save the Son,
and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Matt.
11 : 27. The wisest heathen could never make a dis-
covery of Christ by their deepest searches into nature ;
the most eagle-eyed philosophers were but children in
knowledge, compared with the most illiterate christians.

2. Other knowledge is unattainable by many. All
the helps and means in the world would never enable
some christians to attain the learned arts and languages;
men of the brightest parts are most excellent in these;



Ch. 1. EXCELLE.NCY OF THE SUBJECT. 15

but here is the mystery and excellency of the know-
ledge of Christ, that men of most blunt, dull, and con-
temptible parts attain, through the teaching of the Spirit,
to this knowledge, in which the more acute and inge-
nious are utterly blind : '^ I thank thee, Father, Lord
of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto
babes." Matt. 11 : 25. "Ye see your calling, brethren,
how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many
mighty, not many noble, are called : but God hath chosen
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise."
1 Cor. 1 : 26, 27.

3. Other knowledge, though you should attain the
highest degree of it, would never bring you to heaven,
the principal thing, namely Christ, being wanting. Other
knowledge is also defective, in the purity of its nature :
the learned heathens grew vain in their imaginations,
Rom. 1:21; and in its efficacy and influence on the
heart and life : they held the truth in unrighteous-
ness : their lusts were stronger than their light, Rom. 1 :
18. But this knowledge has most powerful influences,
changing souls into its own image, 2 Cor. 3 : 18, and so
proves a saving knowledge unto men. 1 Tim. 2 : 4.

Inference 1. The sufficiency of the doctrine of Christ,
to make men wise unto salvation. Paul desired to know
nothing else ; and, indeed, nothing else is of absolute
necessity to be known. A little of this knowledge, if
saving and effectual upon thy heart, will do the soul
more service than all the vain speculation and pro-
found parts in which others so much glorj'-. Poor
christian, be not dejected, because thou seest thyself
outstript and excelled by so many in other parts of
knowledge ; if thou know Jesus Christ, thou knowest
enough to comfort and save thy soul. Many learned
philosophers are now in hell, and many illiterate chris-
tians in heaven.



16 THE FOU^-TAIN OF LIFE. Ch. 1.

2. If there be such excellency in the knowledge of
Christ, let it humble all^ both saints and sinners, that
we have no more of this clear and effectual knowledge
in us, notwithstanding the excellent advantages we have
had for it. Sinners, concerning you I may sigh, and say
with the apostle, " Some have not the knowledge of
Christ ; I speak this to your shame." 1 Cor. 15 : 34.
This, oh! this is the condemnation. And even for you
that are enlightened in this knowledge, how little do
you know of Jesus Christ, in comparison of what you
might have known of him ! What a shame is it, that
you should need to be taught the very first truths,
^^ when for the time you might have been teachers of



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