“John Flavel was ejected from the church of England in August of 1662 . . . He was living in Slapton on a farm. We have today so much Puritan literature because they were not allowed to be in the pulpit. Because of that, they had time to write. And therefore, we have lots of wonderful works of practical divinity."
― Brian Cosby, PURITAN: All of Life to the Glory of God
John Flavel was a 17th century English Presbyterian clergyman, puritan, and author who faithfully preached and lived out the gospel. And because of the Lord's good providence even in his ejection from the church, we have much of his works to guide, instruct, and encourage us today.
“There is not such a pleasant history for you to read in all the world as the history of your own lives, if you would sit down and record from the beginning hitherto what God has been to you, and done for you; what evidences and outbreakings of his mercy, faithfulness, and love there have been in all the conditions you have passed through.”
― John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence
O that we were but acquainted with this heavenly spiritual exercise, how sweet it would make our lives, how light it would make our burdens! Ah, sirs, you live estranged from the pleasure of the Christian life, while you live in the ignorance or neglect of this duty.
Now to lead you up to this heavenly, sweet and profitable exercise, I will beg your attention to the following directions:
Labour to get as full and thorough a recognition as you are able of the providences of God concerning you from first to last.
O fill your hearts with the thoughts of Him and His ways. If a single act of Providence is so ravishing and transporting, what would many such be, if they were presented together to the view of the soul! If one star is so beautiful to behold, what is a constellation! Let your reflections therefore upon the acts and workings of Providence for you be full, extensively and intensively.
Let them be as extensively full as may be. Search backward into all the performances of Providence throughout your lives. So did Asaph: ‘I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings’ (Psalm 77:11, 12). He laboured to recover and revive the ancient providences of God’s mercies many years past, and suck a fresh sweetness out of them by new reviews of them.