Flavel's "The Method of Grace"


You have all your hearts can wish!

"My God will supply all your needs according to His
 riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

O say with a melting heart—I have a full Christ,
and He is filled for me! I have . . .
  His pure and perfect righteousness to justify me,
  His holiness to sanctify me,
  His wisdom to guide me,
  His comforts to refresh me,
  His power to protect me,
  His all-sufficiency to supply me.

O be cheerful, be thankful—you have all your
hearts can wish!
And yet be humble—it is all
from free-grace to empty and unworthy creatures!

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No sin startles less—or damns surer!

Unbelief is man's great sin, and condemnation is
his great misery. How dreadful a sin is the sin of
unbelief, which brings men under the condemnation
of the great God. No sin startles less—or damns
Unbelief is a sin which does not affright the
conscience as some other sins do, but it kills the soul
more certainly than any of those sins. Other sins could
not damn us were it not for unbelief, which fixes the
guilt of them all upon us. Unbelief is the sin of sins;
and when the Spirit comes to convince men of sin,
He begins with this as the capital sin.

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Only fully understood in hell

Condemnation is a word of deep and dreadful
signification. It is a word whose deep sense and
emphasis are only fully understood in hell.
Condemnation is the judgment or sentence of
God, condemning a man to bear the punishment
of His eternal wrath for sin.

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O the blessed chemistry of heaven!

The Lord makes use even of your sins and
to do you good. By these, He . . .
  humbles you,
  beats you off from self-dependence,
  makes you admire the riches of grace,
  makes you long more ardently for heaven,
  causes you to entertain sweeter thoughts of death.

Does not the Lord then make blessed fruits to spring
up from such a bitter root? O the blessed chemistry
of heaven
—to extract such mercies out of such miseries!

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O what a hell will it be!

"For what is the hope of the hypocrite—when
 God takes away his soul?" Job 27:8

Nothing more aggravates a man's damnation,
than to sink suddenly into it from amid so many
hopes and such high confidence of safety. For
a man to find himself in hell when he thought
himself within a step of heaven—O what a
hell will it be!
The higher vain hopes lifted
men up—the more dreadful must their fall be.

"The hypocrite's hope shall perish!" Job 8:13

"The expectation of the wicked shall perish!"
    Proverbs 10:28

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Adorn the gospel

"That they may adorn the doctrine of God
 our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10

Your duty is to adorn the gospel by your life.
The words signify to deck or adorn the gospel,
to make it attractive and lovely to the eyes of
beholders. When there is a beautiful harmony
and lovely proportion between Christ’s doctrine
and our practice—then do we walk suitably to
the Lord of glory.

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The mirth of unregenerate men!

How groundless is the mirth of unregenerate men!
They feast in their prison and dance in their fetters.
O the madness that is in their hearts! If men did but
realize that they are condemned already, it would be
impossible for them to live in vanity as they do. And is
their condition less dangerous because it is not understood?
Surely not, but much more so! O poor sinners, perhaps you
have found out a way to prevent your present troubles. It
would be infinitely better if you could find out how to
prevent eternal misery! But it is easier for a man to stifle
conviction, than to prevent damnation. Your mirth prevents
repentance and increases your future torment. O what a hell
will theirs be—who drop into it out of all the sinful pleasures
of this world!

"In hell, where he was in torment." Luke 16:23

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Does it not deserve a tear?

As death takes the believer from many sorrows, and
brings him to the vision of God, to a state of freedom
and full satisfaction; so it drags the unregenerate
from all his sensual delights to the place of torment!

Death is the king of terrors—a serpent with a deadly
sting to every man who is out of Christ.

How lamentable is the state of unregenerate persons!
Were this truth heartily believed, we could not but mourn
over them with the most tender compassion and sorrow.
If our husbands, wives, or children are dying a natural
death—how are our hearts rent with pity and sorrow for
them; what cries, tears, and wringing of hands show the
deep sense we have of their misery! O Christians, is all
the love you have for your relatives spent upon their
? Are their souls of no value? Is spiritual death
no misery? Does it not deserve a tear? May the Lord
open your eyes, and affect your hearts with the
wretchedness of spiritual death.

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In a deep sleep!

The Christless and unregenerate world are in a deep
A spirit of slumber and security is fallen upon
them, though they lie immediately exposed to eternal
wrath, ready to drop into hell every moment!

A man fast asleep in a house on fire, and while the
consuming flames are round about him, having his
imagination sporting itself in some pleasant dream,
is a very accurate picture of the unregenerate soul.

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 The old has gone, the new has come!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
 the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor. 5:17

All the faculties of the soul
are renewed by regeneration.

The understanding was dark—but now is light in the Lord.

The conscience was dead, or full of guilt and horror—but
is now become tender, watchful, and full of peace.

The will was rebellious and inflexible—but is now obedient
to the will of God.

The desires once pursued vanities—now they are set upon God.

Love once doated upon earthly things—now it is swallowed
up in the infinite excellencies of God and Christ.

Joy was once in trifles—now his rejoicing is in Christ Jesus.

Fear once was about worldly things—now God is the
object of his reverence, and sin the object of his dread.

The expectations were once only from this world—but
now are from that to come.

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Poor toys and empty bubbles

Saints and sinners are wonders one to the other.

It is the wonder of the world to see Christians
glorying in reproaches; they wonder that the
saints run not with them into the same excess
of riot. And it is a wonder to believers how such
poor toys and empty bubbles should keep
the sinner from Jesus Christ and their
everlasting happiness in Him.

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The astonishing wonder of the whole world!

How wonderful was the love of Christ the Lord of
glory—to be so abased and humbled for us vile
and sinful dust! It is astonishing to conceive that
ever Jesus Christ should strip Himself of His robes
of glory—to clothe Himself with the lowly garment
of our flesh. If the sun had been turned into a
wandering atom, if the most glorious angel in
heaven had been transformed even into a fly—it
would be nothing compared to the abasement of
the Lord of glory. This act of Christ's love, is the
astonishing wonder of the whole world!

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One step beyond the state of this mortality

Christ cures all outward troubles in His people by
death, which is their removal from the place of
sorrows—to peace and rest for evermore. Then
God wipes all tears from their eyes, and the days
of their mourning are at an end. They then put off
the garments and spirit of mourning, and enter into
peace. They come to that place and state where
tears and sighs are unknown.

One step beyond the state of this mortality
brings us quite out of the sight and hearing of all
troubles and lamentations.

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The scale

What is guilt, but the obligation of the soul to
everlasting punishment and misery? It puts the
soul under the sentence of God to eternal wrath
—the condemning sentence of the great and
awesome God! Nothing is more dreadful and
insupportable than this! Put all pains, all poverty,
all afflictions, all miseries in one scale—and God’s
wrath in the other; and you weigh but so many
feathers against a ton of lead.

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The louder our groans

Grace never appears grace—until sin appears to be sin.
The deeper our sense of the evil of sin—the deeper will
be our apprehensions of the free grace of God in Christ.
The louder our groans have been under the burden
of sin—the louder will our acclamations and praises be
for our salvation from it by Jesus Christ!

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I was upon the brink of hell

Acceptance with God brings you to heaven hereafter,
but assurance will bring heaven into your souls now!
O, what a life of delight and pleasure does the assured
believer live! What pleasure is it to him to look back
and consider where he once was—and where he now is;
to look forward, and consider where he now is—and
where shortly he shall be!

"I was in my sins—I am now in Christ! I am in Christ
 now—I shall be with Christ, and that forever, after a
 few days! I was upon the brink of hell—I am now
 upon the very borders of heaven!"

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Why is this to such a worm as I?

The heart that receives Jesus Christ is in a frame
of deep humiliation and self-abasement. O, when
a man begins to apprehend the first approaches
of grace, pardon, and mercy by Jesus Christ to his
soul; when he is convinced of his utter unworthiness
and desert of hell, and can scarcely expect anything
from the just and holy God but damnation—how do
the first dawnings of mercy melt and humble him!

"O Lord, what am I, that you should feed me and
preserve me; that you should but for a few years
spare me! But that ever Jesus Christ should love me,
and give Himself for me; that such a wretched sinner
 as I should obtain union with his person, pardon,
peace, and salvation by his blood! Lord, why is this
to such a worm as I?
And will Christ indeed bestow
Himself on me? Shall so great a blessing as Christ,
ever come to such a soul as mine? Will God in very
deed be reconciled to me in his Son? What, to me
—to such an enemy as I have been? Shall my sins,
which are so many, so horrid, so much aggravated
beyond the sins of most men, be forgiven? O, what
am I
, vile dust, base wretch, that ever God should
do this for me!"

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Supernatural and astonishing

Now for a soul to renounce and deny self, in all
its forms, modes, and interests, as everyone does
who comes to Christ; to disclaim and deny natural,
moral, and religious self; and come to Christ as a
poor, miserable, wretched, empty creature, to live
upon His righteousness forever, is as supernatural
and astonishing
as to see the hills and mountains
start from their bases and centers, and fly like
wandering atoms in the air!

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Till God draws

"No one can come to Me unless the Father
 who sent Me draws him." John 6:44

All the preaching in the world can never effect
the new birth—unless a supernatural and mighty
power goes forth with it. Let the angels of heaven
be the preachers, till God draws—the soul
comes not to Christ.

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At last reach heaven

As nothing can comfort a man that must
go to hell at last; so nothing should deject
a man that shall, through many troubles,
at last reach heaven.

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The great change

Conversion is the great change which the
Spirit causes upon the soul, turning it by a
sweet, irresistible efficacy, from the power
of sin and Satan—to God in Christ.

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Those who see God in the clearest light

"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but
 now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself,
 and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6

Those who see God in the clearest light, abhor
themselves in the deepest humility. If the Lord had
effectually opened your eyes by a discovery of your
state by nature, and the course of your life under
the influence of continual temptations and corruptions
—how would your pride fall.

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A white hand—and a very foul heart

The crucifixion of sin does not consist in the
suppression of the external acts of sin only;
for sin may reign over the souls of men, while
it does not break forth in open actions. Many
a man shows a white hand who has a very
foul heart.

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The consolation of believers

"As many as I love I rebuke and chasten." Revelation 3:19

 Are outward afflictions the ground of dejection and trouble?
How do our hearts fail and our spirits sink, under the many
smarting rods of God upon us! But our relief and consolation
under them all is in Christ Jesus; for the rod that afflicts us
is in the hand of Christ who loves us! His design in affliction
is our profit. Hebrews 12:10. That design of His for our good
shall certainly be accomplished—and after that no more
afflictions forever!
"God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes." Revel. 21:3. Thus two things are most evident:

1. Nothing can comfort the soul without Christ. He is the soul
that animates all comforts; they would be dead without him.
Temporal enjoyments, riches, honors, health, relations, yield
not a drop of true comfort without Christ. Spiritual enjoyments,
ministers, ordinances, promises, are fountains sealed and springs
shut up until Christ opens them; a man may go comfortless in
the midst of them all.

2. No troubles or afflictions can deject the soul which Christ
comforts. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." 2 Corin. 6:10.
A believer may walk with a heart full of comfort amidst all the
troubles of the world. So that the conclusion stands firm—that
Christ, and Christ only, is the consolation of believers.

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Though Satan pulls hard

"I give them eternal life, and they will never
 perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of
 My hand." John 10:28

Though Satan pulls hard, yet he will never
be able to pluck them out of Jesus' hand! O
what relief is this!

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Places of worship

The presence of Jesus Christ gives a more
real and excellent glory to places of worship
than any external beauty whatever can bestow
upon them.

Our eyes, like the disciples, are apt to be dazzled
with the goodly stones of the temple, and in the
mean time to neglect and overlook that which
gives it the greatest honor and beauty.

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All your sorrows and tears for sin

All your sorrows and tears for sin cannot
obtain God's mercy. Could you shed as many
tears for any sin you have committed, as all the
children of Adam have shed since the creation
of the world—they would not purchase the
pardon of that one sin.

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The cure of the dominion of sin

As Jesus cures the guilt of sin by pouring out
His blood for us; so He cures its dominion by
pouring out His Spirit upon us. Justification is
the cure of guilt; sanctification is the cure of
the dominion of sin

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Go to a filthy puddle

How unreasonable and wholly inexcusable in believers
is the sin of backsliding from Christ. Have you found
rest in Him, when you could not find it in any other?
Did He receive you, and give peace to your soul when
all other persons and things were physicians of no value?
And will you after this backslide from Him? O what
madness! No man in his right mind would leave the
pure, cold, refreshing stream of a crystal fountain—to
go to a filthy puddle or an empty cistern! Such are
the best enjoyments of this world in comparison with
Jesus Christ.

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If there is justice in heaven, or fire in hell

"The one who believes in the Son has eternal life,
 but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will
 not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on
 him." John 3:36

There are dreadful threatenings denounced by the
Spirit in the word against all who refuse or neglect
to come to Christ, which are of great use to engage
and quicken souls in their way to Christ. If there is
justice in heaven, or fire in hell
, every soul who
does not come to Christ must perish to all eternity!
Upon your own heads be the destruction of your
own souls forever if you will not come to him.

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The necessities of our souls

"You are complete in Him." Colossians 2:10

Christ is virtually and eminently all that the
necessities of our souls
require: bread to
the hungry, and clothing to the naked.

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Do you not teach yourself?

"You, then, who teach others, do you not
 teach yourself?
" Romans 2:21

O, it is
far easier to study and press a thousand
truths upon others, than to feel the power of one
truth upon our own hearts! It is easier to teach
others duties to be done, than duties by doing them.

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The disordered soul

Man, by the apostasy, has become a most disordered
and rebellious creature, opposing his Maker—
  as the First Cause, by self-dependence;
  as the Chief Good, by self-love;
  as the Highest Lord, by self-will;
  and as the Last End, by self-seeking.
Thus he is quite disordered, and all his actions are irregular.

But by regeneration the disordered soul is set right;
this great change being, the renovation of the soul
after the image of God, in which—
  self-dependence is removed by faith;
  self-love, by the love of God;
  self-will, by subjection and obedience to the will of God;
  and self-seeking by self-denial.
The darkened understanding is illuminated,
the refractory will sweetly subdued,
the rebellious appetite gradually conquered.
Thus the soul which sin had universally depraved,
is by grace restored.