by John Flavel
In the Methods of Grace, Flavel gives a thorough exposition of the work of God's Holy Spirit in applying the redemptive work of Christ to the believer. It will cause the reader to search their hearts deeply and find their faith both challenged and enriched. In the true classic English Puritan tradition, by an author who disgnoses the issues surrounding the eternal destiny of the soul.
The design of the ensuing treatise is to assist thee in this great work; and though it was promised to the world many years past, yet providence has reserved it for the fittest season, and brought it to thy hand in a time of need.
It contains the method of grace in the application of the great redemption to the souls of men, as the former part contains the method of grace in the interpretation thereof by Jesus Christ. The acceptation God has given the former part, signified by the desires of many, for the publication of this, has at last prevailed with me (notwithstanding the secret consciousness of my inequality to so great an undertaking) to adventure this second part also upon the ingenuity and candour of the reader.
And I consent the more willingly to the publication of this, because the design I first aimed at, could not be entire and complete without it; but especially, the quality of the subject matter, which (through the blessing and concurrence of the Spirit) may be useful both to rouse the drowsy consciences of this sleepy generation, and to assist the upright in clearing the work of the Spirit upon their own souls. These considerations have prevailed with me against all discouragements.
And now, reader, it is impossible for me to speak particularly and distinctly to the case of thy soul, which I am ignorant of, except the Lord shall direct my discourse to it in some of the following suppositions.
If thou be one that hast sincerely applied, and received Jesus Christ by faith, this discourse (through the blessing of the Spirit) may be useful to thee, to clear and confirm thy evidences, to melt thy heart in the sense of thy mercies, and to engage and quicken thee in the way of thy duties. Here thou wilt see what great things the Lord has done for thy soul, and how these dignities, as thou art his son or daughter, by the double title of regeneration and adoption, do oblige thee to yield up thyself to God entirely, and to say from thy heart, Lord, whatever I am, I am for thee, whatever I can do, I will do for thee; and whatever I can suffer, I will suffer for thee; and all that I am, or have, all that I can do or suffer, is nothing to what thou hast done for my soul.
If thou be a stranger to regeneration and faith; a person that makes a powerless profession of Christ; that has a name to live, but are dead; here it is possible thou mayest meet with something that will convince thee how dangerous a thing it is to be an old creature in the new creature's dress and habit; and what is it that blinds thy judgement, and is likeliest to prove thy ruin; a seasonable and full conviction whereof will be the greatest mercy that can befall thee in this world, if thereby at last God may help thee to put on Christ, as well as the name of Christ.
If thou be in darkness about the state of thy own soul, and willing to have it faithfully and impartially tried by the rule of the word, which will not warp to any man's humour or interest, here thou wilt find some weak assistance offered thee, to clear and disentangle thy doubting thoughts, which, through thy prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, may lead thee to a comfortable settlement and inward peace.
If thou be a proud, conceited, presumptuous soul, who has too little knowledge, and too much pride and self-love, to admit any doubts or scruples of thy state towards God, there are many things in this treatise proper for thy conviction and better information; for woe to thee, if thou shouldst not fear, till thou begin to feel thy misery, if thy troubles do not come on till all thy hopes are one off.
I know all these things are performed by me with much infirmity; and that the whole management is quite below the dignity of the subject. But when I consider that the success of sermons and books in the world has but little relation to the elegancy of language, and accuracy at method, and that many may be useful, who cannot be excellent, I am willing, in all humility and sincerity to commit it to the direction of Providence, and the blessing of the Spirit.
One thing I shall earnestly request of all the people of God, into whose hands this shall fall, that now at last they will be persuaded to end all their unbrotherly quarrels and strifes among themselves, which have wasted so much precious time, and decayed the vital spirits of religion, hindered the conversion of multitudes, and increased and confirmed the atheism of the times, and now at last opened a breach, at which the common enemy is ready to enter and end the quarrel to our cost. O put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercy, and a spirit of charity and forbearance, if not for your own sakes, yet for the church's sake: Si non vis tibi parcere, parce Carthagini.
I remember it is noted in our English history as a very remarkable thing, that when the Severn overflowed part of Somersetshire, it was observed that dogs and hares, cats and rats, to avoid the common destruction, would swim to the next rising ground, and abide quietly together in that common danger, without the least discovery of their natural antipathy.
The story applies itself, and O that Christians would everywhere depose their animosities, that the hearts of the fathers might be turned to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest God come and smite the earth with a curse. O that you would dwell more in your closets, and be more frequently and fervently upon your knees. O that you would search your hearts more narrowly, and sift them more thoroughly than ever, before the day pass as the chaff; and the Lord's fierce anger come upon you: look into your Bibles, then into your hearts, and then to heavens for a true discovery of your conditions; and if this poor mite may contribute any thing to that end, it will be a great reward of the unworthy labours of
Thy Servant in Christ, John Flavel
Table of Contents
The Epistle Dedicatory
Epistle to the Reader
Sermon 1: The General Nature of Effectual Application Stated
Sermon 2: Wherein the Union of the Believer with Christ, as a Principal Part of Effectual
Sermon 3: Of the Nature and Use of the Gospel-Ministry, as an External Means of Applying Christ.
Sermon 4: Concerning the Work of the Spirit, as the Internal, and Most effectual Means of the Application of Christ.
Sermon 5: Of the Work of the Spirit more particularly, by which the Soul is enabled to apply Christ.
Sermon 6: Of that Act on our Part, by which we do Actually and Effectually Apply Christ to our own Souls.
Sermon 7: But as Many as Received Him, to them gave He Power to become the Sons of God
Sermon 8: Setting forth the Believer's Fellowship With Christ, the next End of his Application to them.
Sermon 9: Containing the First General Use of Exhortation, Inviting all Men to Apply Jesus Christ.
Sermon 10: Wherein the General Exhortation is Enforced by one Motive drawn from the first Title of Christ.
Sermon 11: Containing the Second Motive to Enforce the General Exhortation, from a second Title of Christ.
Sermon 12: Containing a third Motive to enliven the general Exhortation from a third Title of CHRIST.
Sermon 13: Alluring the Hearts of Men to come to Christ, by a fourth Motive contained in another Title of Christ.
Sermon 14: Containing the fifth Motive to apply Christ, drawn from another excellent Title of Christ.
Sermon 15: Opening the Sixth Motive to Come to Christ, contained in the sixth and last Title of Christ.
Sermon 16: Enforcing the general Exhortation, by a seventh Motive drawn from the first Benefit purchased by Christ.
Sermon 17: Opening the eighth Motive to come to CHRIST, drawn from the sixth Benefit purchased by Christ for Believers.
Sermon 18:The Liberty of Believers opened and stated.
Sermon 19: The Saints coming home to GOD by Reconciliation and Glorification, opened and applied.
Sermon 20: The great usefulness of the Law or Word of GOD, in order to the Application of CHRIST.
Sermon 21: The great usefulness of the Law or Word of GOD, in order to the Application of CHRIST. Part II
Sermon 22: The Teachings of God opened, in their Nature and Necessity.
Sermon 23: The Teachings of God opened, in their Nature and Necessity. Part II
Sermon 24: Of the Manner and Importance of the Spirit's Indwelling.
Sermon 25: Of the Nature and Necessity of the New Creature.
Sermon 26: Of the Nature and Necessity of the New Creature. Part II
Sermon 27: Of the Nature, Principle, and Necessity of Mortification.
Sermon 28: Of the Nature, Principle, and Necessity of Mortification. Part II
Sermon 29: Of the Imitation of Christ in holiness of Life, and the necessity of it in Believers.
Sermon 30: Of the Imitation of Christ in holiness of Life, and the necessity of it in Believers.
Sermon 31: Of the State of Spiritual Death, and the Misery thereof.Sermon 32: The Condemnation of Unbelievers, illustrated and applied.
Sermon 33: Of the Aggravation of the Sin, and Punishment of Unbelief under the light of the Gospel.
Sermon 34: The blinding Policies of Satan opened, as the cause of Unbelief, and Forerunner of Destruction.
Sermon 35: The blinding Policies of Satan opened, as the cause of Unbelief, and Forerunner of Destruction.