“Even a brief glance at Flavel’s history gives some indication of his outstanding character. Of his influence, Wood, the Royalist historian, observes that he had more disciples than either John Owen or Richard Baxter.
One who was intimately acquainted with him, John Galpine of Totnes, draws attention in his memoir of Flavel to three characteristics: his diligence, his longing for the conversion of souls, and his peaceable and healing spirit.
In addition to the incidents recorded in his own writings, there are some remarkable examples of the effects of Flavel’s ministry. Luke Short was a farmer in New England who attained his hundredth year in exceptional vigour though without having sought peace with God.
One day as he sat in his fields reflecting upon his long life, he recalled a sermon he had heard in Dartmouth as a boy before he sailed to America.
The horror of dying under the curse of God was impressed upon him as he meditated on the words he had heard so long ago and he was converted to Christ– eighty-five years after hearing John Flavel preach.”
–Michael Boland, “Introduction” in John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1678/2002), 11.
“Only he who knows the greatness of wrath will be mastered by the greatness of mercy. All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to His, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it.
When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners’, then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.
The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross.”
–John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 109-110.
“There is nothing that keeps wicked men, at any one moment, out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.”
–Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Sermons and Discourses: 1739-1742, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 22, Ed. Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 405. Preached in Enfield, Connecticut on July 8, 1741.