Posted in Authentic Christianity

Reasonings by John Flavel (1627-1691)

“Unbelief queries the will of God, and questions whether He will now be gracious, though He has been so formerly. If troubles or dangers grow to a height and we see nothing but ruin and misery in the eye of reason before us, now unbelief becomes importunate and troublesome to the soul. Now where are your prayers, your hopes, yea, where is now your God?” “Unbelief maintains the impossibility of relief in deep distresses. ‘Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? … Can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people?’ Psalm 78:19-20. Oh vile and unworthy thoughts of God which proceed from our measuring the immense and boundless power of God by our own line and measure … because we do not see which way relief should come.”

“Is it indeed for the saints’ advantage, to be weaned from love of and delight in ensnaring earthly vanities; to be quickened and urged forward with more haste to heaven; to have clearer discoveries of their own hearts; to be taught to pray more fervently, frequently, spiritually; to look and long for the rest to come, more ardently? If these be for their advantage, experience teaches us that no condition is ordinarily blessed with such fruits as these, like an afflicted condition. Is it well then to repine and droop because your Father consults the advantage of your soul rather than the gratification of your humors? Because he will bring you to heaven by a nearer way than you are willing to go? Is this a due requital of his love, who is pleased so much to concern himself in your welfare? Who does more for you than he will do for thousands in the world upon whom he will not lay a rod or dispense an affliction to them for their good? (Hosea 4:17). But alas! We judge by sense and reckon things good or evil according to our present taste. Take heed that you overlook not the many precious mercies which the people of God enjoy amidst all their trouble. It is a pity that our tears on account of our troubles, should so blind our eyes, that we should not see our mercies. I will not insist upon the mercy of having your life given you “for a prey,” (Jeremiah 39:18); nor upon the many outward comforts which you enjoy, even above what were enjoyed by Christ and his precious servants, of whom the world was not worthy. But what say you to pardon of sin; interest in Christ; the covenant of promise; and an eternity of happiness in the presence of God, after a few days are over?”

“Heart-work is hard work indeed. To shuffle over religious duties with a loose and heedless spirit will cost no great pains; but to set yourself before the Lord and tie up your loose and vain thoughts to a constant and serious attendance upon him; this will cost you something. To attain a facility and dexterity of language in prayer and put your meaning into apt and decent expressions is easy; but to get your heart broken for sin, while you are confessing it; melted with free grace, while you are blessing God for it; to be really ashamed and humbled through the apprehensions of God’s infinite holiness and to keep your heart in this frame, not only in but after duty, will surely cost you some groans and pains of soul. To repress the outward acts of sin and compose the external part of your life in a laudable manner is no great matter; even carnal persons by the force of common principles can do this: but to kill the root of corruption within, to set and keep up an holy government over your thoughts, to have all things lie straight and orderly in the heart, this is not easy.”

To keep the heart necessarily supposes a previous work of sanctification, which has set the heart right, by giving it a new spiritual inclination; for as long as the heart is not set right by grace, as to its habitual frame, no means can keep it right with God. Self is the poise of the unsanctified heart, which biasses and moves it in all its designs and actions; and as long as it is so, it is impossible that any external means should keep it with God.”

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Author:

Slave of Christ. Reformed Baptist. Mama of many blessings. Homemaker. Homeschooler. Author. Blogger. I write about practical Christian living, womanhood, and domestic violence awareness (with a few other topics thrown in). Passionate about Christ's glory, my children, homemaking, writing, the church, helping those in abusive situations, reading, and animals. Lover of good coffee.

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