There is no doctrine more excellent in itself or more necessary to be preached and studied than the doctrine of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. All other knowledge, how much so ever it be magnified in the world, is to be esteemed but dross in comparison of the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scriptures, and the scope and center of all divine revelations. The right knowledge of Jesus Christ, like a clue, leads you through the whole labyrinth of the Scriptures.
The study of Jesus Christ is the most noble subject that ever a soul spent itself upon. Those that rack and torture their brains upon other studies, like children, weary themselves at a low game. 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? (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. 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 ravished with the discoveries of Christ in the gospel! What ecstasies, meltings, transports, do gracious souls meet there! A believer could sit from morning to night to hear discourses of Christ, for "His mouth is most sweet" (Song of Solomon 5:16).
Let all that mind the honor of religion or the peace and comfort of their own souls, wholly sequester and apply themselves to the study of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The things which singly ravish and delight the souls of men are all found conjunctly in Christ. From the knowledge of Jesus Christ do bud forth all the fruits of comfort, and that for all seasons and conditions. Study to know Christ more intensively, to get the experimental taste and lively power of his knowledge upon your hearts and affections. This is the knowledge that carries all the sweetness and comfort in it. O then separate, devote, and wholly give yourself, your time, your strength to this most sweet transcendent study.
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John Flavel (1628–1691) was an English Puritan who became a non-conformist after the ‘Great Ejection’ of 1662. It was 10 years before he was licenced to preach again, and then only in his own home. His writings, when collected in the 19th century, filled 6 volumes. Flavel’s writings are known for their practical nature. He was instrumental in promoting the ‘Happy Union’ of Presbyterians and Congregationalists.