Wednesday 16 April 2008

John Flavel

Though he was one of the later Puritans, Flavel ranks high as one of the best known among many fine candidates. Of all Puritan writings his 'The Mystery of Providence' has been enduringly popular, although not as 'heavyweight' as some. This is perhaps because he touches upon christian experience with earnest sympathy, and yet with the particular aim of leading the reader to glorify God by meditating upon his providence. 'Divine Conduct' was the original title of this book when printed in 1677. How great he is in working all things, small and great, together for good to all his people! Banner of Truth have this book still in print, last in 2006 with a new cover to accompany the price rise to £5.75 (Puritan Paperbacks series). However, Flavel seems to have become 'typecast' on this one book. Next up offering from Banner is the full 6 vol set of his Works for £85.00 !
Other than this, Christian Focus Publications have done 'Keeping the Heart' in their Christian Heritage series, a practical treatise which they have subtitled 'A Puritan's view of how to maintain your love for God'. Costs £4.99. However this was followed up by Flavel by 'Touchstone of Sincerity' which is about heart searching, and detection of signs of grace or hypocrisy. We can supply this and the previous book from Gospel Mission for £4.50.
Gospel Mission also reproduced 'The Righteous Man's Refuge', written in troubled national times to help 'direct the gracious soul to its rest in God'. This costs £4.95.
For less than £5 each we also stock the two Baker reprints Gospel Mission took over. These are 'The Fountain of Life', all about the person and work of Christ in a heartwarming set of meditations. Then 'The Method of Grace' which does a thorough study in the same vein about the Holy Spirit and his applying of redemption's blessings. Flavel refers to 'gospel offers', but at least he is clear in outlining who he means them to be for - the self-condemned sinner. Also he maintains a high view of the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit's operations upon the souls of men, which is a good antidote to today's epidemic of Arminian teaching within supposed Calvinistic circles.
To come full circle, if you feel you need an easy to read version of 'The Mystery of Providence', then 'God Willing' is an option provided from Grace Publications. Costs just £2.95.

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