Walking with John Flavel

John Flavel, like many of the best evangelical ministers at the time, was expelled from his church in 1662 for refusing to subscribe to the government's new prayer book. From Worcestershire, but ministering down to Devon, he preached even when it was illegal to do so. In woods three miles out of Exeter, in houses after midnight, even on an island in the Salcombe Estuary, he faithfully spoke to all who would hear him. Several times he had to flee Devon for fear of his life, and his effigy was once burnt in Dartmouth where he had once ministered. Knowing the kind of life he lived, I listened to his series The Righteous Man's Refuge (1682). He suggested that the Lord allowed our times on earth to be trying that we might look with keener eye to our rest above. Just as a hard winter destroys the many weeds multiplied by a prosperous summer, so earthly hardships destroy our pride and personal evil.

Here are some of the man’s own words:

“Suppose that by revenge you might destroy one enemy; yet, by exercising the Christian's temper you might conquer three‌–‌your own lust, Satan's temptation, and your enemy's heart.”

“The carnal person fears man, not God. The strong Christian fears God, not man. The weak Christian fears man too much, and God too little.”

“Christ, the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is congregation or meeting-place of all waters in the world: so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet. . . .”

Photo Credit: Banner of Truth (adapted)