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Archive for the ‘Flavel, John’ Category

John Flavel, in 1678, instructs readers to see God as the author of all circumstances in life, including suffering:

Set before you the sovereignty of God. Eye Him as the Being infinitely superior to you, at whose pleasure you and all your have subsist (Psalm 115:3), which is the most conclusive reason and argument for submission (Psalm 46:10). For if we, all we have proceeded from His will, how right is it that we be resigned up to it!

Set the grace and goodness of God before you in all afflictive providences. O see Him passing by you i the cloudy and dark day, proclaiming His name, ‘The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious’ (Exodus 34:6).

Eye the wisdom of God in all your afflictions. Behold it in the choice of the kind of your affliction, this, and not another; the time, now and not at another season; the degree, in this measure only, and not in a greater; the supports offered you under it, not left altogether helpless; the issue to which it is overruled, it is to your good, not ruin.

Set the faithfulness of the Lord before you under the saddest providences. 
O what quietness will this breed! I see my God will not lose my heart, if a rod can prevent it. he would rather hear me groan here than howl hereafter. His love is judicious, not fond. He consults my good rather than my ease.

Eye the all-sufficiency of God in the day of affliction. See enough in Him still, whatever is gone. Here is the fountain still as full as ever, though this or that pipe is cut off, which was wont to convey somewhat of it to me.

Lastly, eye the immutablity of God. Look on Him as the Rock of ages, ‘The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17). Eye Jesus Christ as ‘the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.’

The Mystery of Providence, 1678, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), 130-132

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Grace is in no sense contingent upon or dependent upon what man does.

Source: D. M. Lloyd Jones

No repentance, obedience, self-denial, prayers, tears, reformation or ordinances, without the new creation, avail any thing to the salvation of thy soul.

Source: John Flavel

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The opening of your hearts to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is not a work done by any power of your own, but the arm of the Lord is revealed therein.

Source: John Flavel, The Method Of Grace

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Happy were it, if puzzled and perplexed Christians would turn their eyes from the defects that are in their obedience, to the fulness and completeness of Christ’s obedience; and see themselves complete in him, when most lame and defective in themselves.

Source: John Flavel, ‘Opens the Covenant of Redemption betwixt the Father and the Redeemer’. John Flavel (1628-1691) was the son of a Puritan minister who died in prison for non-conformity.

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Source: A sermon by John Flavel in 1671 on Isaiah 53:12

Doctrine: That the business of man’s salvation was transacted upon covenant terms, between the Father and the Son, from all eternity.

The persons transacting and dealing with each other in this covenant are great persons, God the Father, and God the Son.

The business, transacted between them; and that was the redemption and recovery of all God’s elect …

For the manner, or quality of the transaction, it was federal, or of the nature of a covenant; it was by mutual engagements and stipulations, each Person undertaking to perform his part in order to our recovery.

[The Father] promiseth to invest [Christ], and anoint him to a threefold office, answerable to the misery that lay upon the elect; for, if ever man be restored to that happiness, the blindness of his mind must be cured, the guilt of sin expiated, and his captivity to sin led captive. Christ must, "of God, be made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." And he is made so to us as our Prophet, Priest, and King.

Blindness – Prophet (a light to the Gentiles – Isaiah42) – Wisdom

Guilt – Priest (of the order of Melchizedek – Psalm 110) – Sanctification

Captivity to sin – King (over enemies – Psalm 2) – Redemption

When was this compact made between the Father and the Son? I answer, it bears date from eternity. Before this world was made, then were his delights in us, while as yet we had no existence, but only in the infinite mind and purpose of God, who had decreed this for us in Christ Jesus, as the apostle speaks, 2 Tim 1:9. What grace was that which was given us in Christ before the world began, but this grace of redemption, which was from everlasting thus contrived and designed for us, in that way which hath been here opened?

Andrew’s comment. We are very loved people when you think that as long as God has existed, we have existed in the mind of God. He has always, as long as he has existed loved us and our creation and redemption are merely God’s love in history. But as long as he has existed he has loved us knowing all our weakness and failures. This is love … not that we loved him but that he loved us!

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God is in control of His universe.

God is working out His perfect purposes.

God is not my servant.

God’s ways are far more mysterious and wonderful than I can understand.

God is good — all the time, I can trust Him — all the time.

God’s timetable is not the same as mine.

God is far more interested in what I become than what I do.

Freedom from suffering is no part of the Christian Gospel.

Suffering is an integral part of the Christian life.

God works through suffering to fulfill His purposes in me.

God’s purposes, not mine, are what will bring Him glory.

God guides me by enabling me to read His providences though the lenses of His Word.

I have few greater pleasures than to read His providences than tracing the wonders of God’s ways.

Source: Ferguson, ‘The Mystery of Providence’ in The Devoted Life – An Invitation to the Puritan Classics, 222-223.

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John Flavel provides an example of how God’s providence might ordain suffering as a means of preserving his people from sin and temptation.

Basil was sorely grieved with an inveterate headache; he earnestly prayed it might be removed; God removed it. No sooner was he freed of this clog, but he felt the inordinate motions of lust, which made him pray for his headache again.

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