John Flavel

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John Flavel.

John Flavel (c. 1627 – 1691) was an English Presbyterian clergyman and theologian.


  • It is the duty of the saints, especially in times of straights, to reflect upon the performances of Providence for them in all the states and through all the stages of their lives.
    • The Mystery of Providence
  • When God gives you comforts, it is your great evil not to observe His hand in them.
    • The Mystery of Providence
  • They foresaw that the concession of a Providence would impose an eternal yoke upon their necks, by making them accountable for all they did to a higher tribunal, so that they must necessarily 'pass the time of their sojourning here in fear', while all their thoughts, words and ways were strictly noted and recorded, for the purpose of an account by an all-seeing and righteous God. They therefore laboured to persuade themselves that what they had no mind for did not exist.
    • The Mystery of Providence
  • The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God and after conversion to keep it with Him.
    • A Saint Indeed
  • Here you may suppose the Father to say when driving His bargain with Christ for you. The Father speaks. "My Son, here is a company of poor, miserable souls that have utterly undone themselves and now lay open to my justice. Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them." The Son responds. "Oh my Father. Such is my love to and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally I will be responsible for them as their guarantee. Bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee. Bring them all in, that there be no after-reckonings with them. At my hands shall thou require it. I would rather choose to suffer the wrath that is theirs then they should suffer it. Upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt." The Father responds. "But my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite. Expect no abatement. Son, if I spare them... I will not spare you." The Son responds. "Content Father. Let it be so. Charge it all upon me. I am able to discharge it. And though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures... I am content to take it."
    • The Works of John Flavel, Vol.1, "A Display of Christ in His Essential and Mediatorial Glory", 42 Sermons, Sermon Number 3, "The Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Redeemer", Use 6.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • God kills thy comforts from no other design but to kill thy corruptions; wants are ordained to kill wantonness, poverty is appointed to kill pride, reproaches are permitted to destroy ambition.
    • P. 7.
  • When a man begins to apprehend the first approach of grace, pardon, and mercy by Jesus Christ to his soul; when he is convinced of his utter unworthiness and desert of hell, and can never expect any thing from a just and holy God but damnation, how do the first dawnings of mercy melt and humble him!
    • P. 85.
  • No friend sympathizes so tenderly with his friend in affliction as does Jesus. "In all our afflictions, He is afflicted." He feels all our sorrows, wants, and burdens as His own. Whence it is that the sufferings of believers are called the sufferings of Christ.
    • P. 92.
  • You are not to come to Christ because you are qualified, but that you may be qualified with whatever you want; and the best qualification you can bring is a deep sense that you have no worth or excellency at all in you.
    • P. 152.
  • See that you receive Christ with all your heart. As there is nothing in Christ that may be refused, so there is nothing in you from which He must be excluded.
    • P. 158.
  • Consult the honor of religion more, and your personal safety less. Is it for the honor of religion (think you) that Christians should be as timorous as hares to start at every sound?
    • P. 166.
  • Faith is the bond of union, the instrument of justification, the spring of spiritual peace and joy, the means of spiritual peace and subsistence.
    • P. 228.
  • There are three acts of faith, assent, acceptance, and assurance.
    • P. 226.
  • We must not think that faith itself is the soul's rest; it is only the means of it. We cannot find rest in any work or duty of our own, but we may find it in Christ, whom faith apprehends for justification and salvation.
    • P. 236.
  • Faith, considered as a habit, is no more precious than other gracious habits are; but considered as an instrument to receive Christ and His righteousness, it excels them all; and this instrumentality of faith is noted in the phrases, "by faith," and "through faith."
    • P. 236.
  • Alas! that Christians should stand at the door of eternity having more work upon their hands than their time is sufficient for, and yet be filling their heads and hearts with trifles.
    • P. 255.
  • Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards.
    • P. 280.
  • How much better it is to see men live exactly than to hear them argue with subtlety!
    • P. 315.
  • As the blood of Christ is the fountain of all merit, so the Spirit is the fountain of all spiritual life; and until He quickens us, imparts the principle of divine life to our souls, we can put forth no vital act of faith to lay hold upon Jesus Christ.
    • P. 319.
  • After regeneration the Spirit works upon a complying and willing mind — we work, and He assists. It is therefore an error that sanctified persons are not bound to strive in the way of duty without a sensible impulse of the Spirit.
    • P. 320.
  • They that know God will be humble,
    They that know themselves cannot be proud.
    • P. 329.
  • The law sends us to Christ to be justified, and Christ sends us to the law to be regulated.
    • P. 375.
  • The soul that rightly receives Christ is in a longing condition; never did the hart pant for the water brooks, never did the hireling desire the shadow, never did a condemned person long for a pardon more than the soul longs for Christ.
    • P. 390.
  • Christ is not sweet till sin be made bitter to us.
    • P. 398.
  • It is easier to declaim like an orator against a thousand sins in others than to mortify one sin in ourselves; to be more industrious in our pulpits than in our closets; to preach twenty sermons to our people than one to our own hearts.
    • P. 476.
  • Christ bounds and terminates the vast desires of the soul; He is the very Sabbath of the soul.
    • P. 559.
  • Two things a master commits to his servant's care — the child and the child's clothes. It will be a poor excuse for the servant to say, at his master's return, "Sir, here are all the child's clothes, neat and clean, but the child is lost." Much so of the account that many will give to God of their souls and bodies at the great day. "Lord, here is my body; I am very grateful for it; I neglected nothing that belonged to its contents and welfare; but as for my soul, that is lost and cast away forever. I took and thought about it."
    • P. 560.
  • Unbelief makes a man guilty of the vilest contempt of Christ, and the whole design of redemption by Him.
    • P. 607.
  • Christ imparts to all believers all the spiritual blessings that He is filled with, and withholds none from any that have union with Him, be these blessings never so great, or they that receive them never so weak and contemptible in outward respects. .
    • P. 608.
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