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