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Extract from "A SAINT INDEED" by John Flavel  


John Flavel (1628-1691) was a Presbyterian minister at Dartmouth in Devon, England, whose teaching is still highly valued as most helpful and strengthening. The son of a minister who died in prison for his noncomformity, John Flavel knew what it was to suffer hardship, and in his life he showed the evangelical graces of a strong man of God. Under his influence, a union of the Presbyterian and Congregational (Independent) churches in his area was accomplished.  



Direction 2. Ponder this heart-supporting truth, in reference to Zion ’s trouble: That how many troubles soever are upon her, yet her King is in her.

What! hath the Lord forsaken his churches? Hath he sold them into the enemies hand? doth he not regard what evils befal them? that our hearts sink at this rate? Is it not too shameful an undervaluing of the great God, and too much magnifying of poor, impotent men, to fear and tremble at creatures, whilst God is in the midst of us? The church’s enemies are many and mighty; let that be granted, yet that argument with which Caleb and Joshua strove to raise their own hearts, is of as much force now as it was then: “The Lord is with us, fear them not,” Num. xiv. 9. The historian tells us, that when Antigonus over-heard his soldiers reckoning how many their enemies were, and so discouraging one another; he suddenly steps in among them with this question, ‘And how many (said he) do you reckon me for?’ Discouraged souls, how many do you reckon the Lord for? Is he not an over match for all his enemies? Is not one Almighty more than many mighties? Doth his presence stand for nothing with us? “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Rom. viii. 31. What think you, was the reason of that great exploration Gideon made in Judg. vi.? He questions, ver. 12, 13. he desires a sign, ver. 17. and after that another, ver. 36. and what was the end of all this, but that he might be sure the Lord was with him, and that he might but write this motto upon his ensign? “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” So then, if you can be well assured the Lord is with his people, you will get thereby above all your discouragements: and that he is so, you need not, with him, desire a sign from heaven; lo, you have a sign before you, even their marvellous preservation amidst all their enemies. If God be not with his people, how is it they are not swallowed up quick? Do their enemies want malice, power, or opportunity? No, but there is an invisible hand upon them. Well then, as it is Exod. xxxiii. 14. let his presence give us rest; and though the mountains be hurled into the sea, though heaven and earth mingle together, fear not, God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.  




The Works of John Flavel, Vol. 5, Banner of Truth 1982. pp 447-448.