John Flavel, The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption 
3 Murrayfield Road, Edinburgh EH12 6EL 
PO Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, U.S.A. 
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ISBN 0 85151 060 4 
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Fakenham Press Limited, Fakenham, Norfolk 
The Method Of Grace In The Gospel Redemption 
The Epistle Dedicatory 
    To the Worshipful John Upton of Lupton, Esq. and the most 
accomplished and virtuous Lady, his dear Consort, the Author wishes 
Grace, Mercy, and Peace. 
Honoured and worthy Friends. 
    It was a comfortable expression, which Ambrose used in his 
funeral orations at the death of Theodosius; "what though he were 
gone, yet he was not wholly gone; for he had left Honorius, with 
others of his children, behind him, in whom Theodosius still lived." 
Your renowned and worthy ancestors are gone, yet (blessed be God) 
they are not wholly gone; whilst the prudence, piety, and publicness 
of their spirits, still live and flourish in you, the top branch of 
a renowned and religious Family. It is a great truth, which Philo 
Jude us recommends to the observation of all posterity, "That it is 
not a natural descent from the most honourable and illustrious 
progenitors, nor the greatest affluence of riches and pleasures that 
makes a man either honourable or happy; but the habitation of God in 
his soul, as in his temple, tho' (saith he) those that never tasted 
religion, nor have seen its glory, will not credit this assertion." 
"The soul which is filled with God, (saith Plotinus) and brings 
forth the beautiful fruits of righteousness, this is the truly noble 
soul:" Our new birth makes us more honourable than our natural 
birth, let our birth-right dignities be what they will. The children 
of nobles are, by nature, the children of wrath, even as others: 
Omnis Sanguis concolor, all blood is of one colour: it is all 
tainted in Adam, and mingled together in his posterity. "There is no 
king, saith Seneca, which rose not from a servant; there is no 
servant which rose not from a king: these things have been blended, 
and jumbled to and fro in a long issue of changes, ever directed by 
an all wise Providence. 
    But though the privileges of natural birth signify nothing as 
to eternal salvation, yet in civil and political respects and 
considerations, those that by birth, education, or estate, possess 
an higher station in the world, differ from the vulgar, as stars of 
greater magnitude and lustre: their interest and influence are great 
in these things, and the welfare of kingdoms greatly depends upon 
    It is therefore a great design of the enemy of mankind, to 
corrupt persons of eminent rank and quality both in religion and 
morality; and by their influence and example, to infect and poison 
the whole body politic; and his success herein deserves to be 
greatly lamented and bewailed. Persons of eminency are more 
especially obliged to shun base and sordid actions. Hierom professed 
he saw nothing desirable in nobility, except this, that such persons 
are bound by a certain kind of necessity, not to degenerate from the 
probity, or stain the glory of their ancestors. But alas! how many 
in our times have not only exposed Christianity to contempt, but 
obscured the glory of their own families, and the kingdom in which 
they had their birth and breeding; so that if you will take right 
marks of your way to heaven you will have little direction from 
those of your own rank. As mariners take their direction at sea, by 
looking up to the heavens, so must you. In this general corruption 
it is very hard to escape infection; many (as Salvian complained) 
are compelled to be evil, lest they should be accounted vile, and 
incur the offence of God, to avoid the slights and censures of men. 
Although there is no more reason why they should be offended at the 
rational and religious pleasures you and other pious gentlemen take 
in the ways of godliness, than there is, that you should envy the 
sinful pleasures they take in the ways of wickedness. It was an 
excellent apology that Tertullian made for the Christians of his 
time, against the Gentiles "Wherein (saith he) do we offend you, if 
we believe there are other pleasures? if we will not partake with 
you in your delights, it is only for our own injury: we reject your 
pleasures, and you are not delighted with ours." 
    But by how much the infection spreads and prevails among those 
of your order, by so much the more we have reason to value you, and 
all those that remain sound and untainted, both in religion and 
morality, as persons worthy of singular respect and honour: and 
blessed be God there is yet a number of such left. 
    Sir, It was a special happiness, which Chrysostom earnestly 
recommended to persons of quality, that they would so order their 
conversations, that their parents might rather glory in them, than 
they in their parents; "Otherwise (saith he) it is better to rise to 
honour from a contemptible parent, than to be contemptible from an 
honourable parent; but blessed be God, you and your worthy ancestors 
reflect honour upon each other. 
    Had God suffered you to degenerate, as many do, it would have 
been but a poor consolation to have said, My progenitors were men of 
honour, the love and delight of their country. This, as one 
excellently expresseth it, would be the same thing, as if one that 
is blind himself, should boast what a sharp and piercing sight his 
father had or one that is lame himself, should glory in those feats 
of activity his grandfather performed; but God (to whose bounty 
therefore you are doubly obliged) has made you the inheritor of 
their virtues, as well as of their lands, and therein fulfilled many 
thousand prayers, which have been poured out to God upon your 
account. But I must forbear, lest I provoke others to envy, and draw 
upon myself the suspicion of flattery. What has been already said 
may serve far a sufficient reason of this dedication. I know the 
agreeableness of such discourses to the pious dispositions of your 
souls, is of itself sufficient to make it welcome to you. It is a 
treatise of Christ, yea, of the Method of Grace, in the application 
of Christ; than which no subject can be more necessary to study, or 
sweet to experience. All goodness is attractive, how powerfully 
attractive then must Jesus Christ be, who is the ocean of all 
goodness, from whom all streams of goodness are derived, and into 
whom they all empty themselves? If Pindarus could say of the lovely 
Theoxenus, that whosoever saw that august and comely face of his, 
and was not surprised with amazement, and inflamed with love, must 
have an heart of adamant or brass; what then shall we resemble that 
man's heart unto, that has no ferverous affections kindled in it by 
the incomparable beauty of Christ! a beauty, which excels in lustre 
and brightness, that visible light which so dazzles our eyes, as 
that light does darkness itself; as Plato speaks of the divine light 
Christ is "huperkallontos kalos", inexpressible beauty, and all 
other beauties are but "eikon, kai skia", an image, nay, a shadow of 
his beauty. How was holy Ignatius ravished with desires after 
Christ, when he cried out, O how I long to be thrown into the jaws 
of those lions, which I hear roaring for me! and if they will not 
dispatch me the sooner, "kai orostiasomai" I will enforce them to it 
by violence, that I may enjoy the sight of my blessed Jesus. O my 
heart, (saith another, how is it thou art not drawn up by the very 
root, by thy desires after Christ? The necessity, and the trial of 
our union with, and interest in, this lovely LORD JESUS, the main 
subject of this discourse. Without the personal application of 
Christ by faith, our hopes of heaven are but deluding dreams, Heb. 
3: 11. "I sware in my wrath, "ei eiseleusontai", if they shall enter 
into my rest:" What then? Nay, there is all: but it is a dreadful 
Aposiopesis (as one calls it) such a pause as may justly shake every 
vein of the unbeliever's heart: If they shall enter: as if he had 
said, If ever they come into my glory, then say, I am no God, for I 
have sworn the contrary. 
    I will not be tiresome, but conclude all in a few requests to 
you and to God for you both. That which I request of you is, 
    (1.) That you will search and try your own hearts by these 
truths, especially now, when so great trials are like to be made of 
every man's root and foundation in religion. Account that your first 
work, which Bellarmine calls "the first error of Protestants", to 
make sure your interest in Christ; every thing is as its foundation 
is: a true diamond will endure the smartest stroke of the hammer, 
but a false one will fly. 
    (2.) That you be humble under all that dignity and honour, 
which God has put upon you; be ye clothed with humility. It was the 
glory of the primitive Christians, that they did not speak but live 
great things: humility will be the lustre of your other 
excellencies: estates and honours are but appendants and fine 
trappings, which add not any real worth, yet how are some vain minds 
puffed up with these things! But ye have not so learned Christ. 
    (3.) That you steadily persevere in those good ways of God, in 
which you have walked, and beware of heart, or life-apostasy. You 
expect happiness whilst God is in heaven, and God expects holiness 
from you whilst you are on earth. It was an excellent truth which 
Tossanus recommended to his posterity in his last will and 
testament, from his own experience: "I beseech you, (smith he) my 
dear children and kindred, that you never be ashamed of the truths 
of the gospel, either by reason of scandals in the church, or 
persecutions upon it: truth may labour for a time, but cannot be 
conquered, and I have often found God to be wonderfully present with 
them that walk before him in truth, though for a time they may be 
oppressed with troubles and calumnies." 
    (4.) Lastly, that you keep a strict and constant watch over 
your own hearts, lest they be ensnared by the tempting, charming, 
and dangerous snares attending a full and easy condition in the 
world. There are temptations suited to all conditions. Those that 
are poor and low in estate and reputation, are tempted to cozen, 
cheat, lie, and flatter, and all to get up to the mount of riches 
and honours; but those that were born upon that mount, though they 
be more free from those temptations, yet lie exposed to others no 
less dangerous, and therefore we find, "Not many mighty, not many 
noble are called," 1 Cor. 1: 26. Many great and stately ships, which 
spread much sail, and draw much water, perish in the storms, when 
small barks creep along the shore under the wind, and get safe into 
their port. Never aim at an higher station in this world than that 
you are in: Some have wished in their dying hour, they had been 
lower, but no wise man ever wished himself at the top at honour, at 
the brink of eternity. 
    I will conclude all with this hearty wish for you, that as God 
has set you in a capacity of much service for him in your 
generation, so your hearts may be enlarged for God accordingly, and 
that you may be very instrumental for his glory on earth, and may go 
safe, but late to heaven. That the blessings of heaven may be 
multiplied upon you both, and your hopeful springing branches: and 
that you may live to see your children's children, and peace upon 
Israel. In a word, that God will follow these truths in your hands 
with the blessing of his Spirit; and that the manifold infirmities 
of him that ministers them, may be no prejudice or bar to their 
success with you, or any into whose hands they shall come; which is 
the hearty desire of 
              Your Most Faithful Friend, 
                   and Servant in Christ, 
                        JOHN FLAVEL. 
The Epistle To The Reader 
    Every creature, by the instinct of nature, or by the light of 
reason, strives to avoid danger, and get out of harm's way. The 
cattle in the fields presaging a storm at hand, fly to the hedges 
and thickets for shelter. The fowls of heaven, by the same natural 
instinct, perceiving the approach of winter, take their timely 
flight to a warmer climate. This naturalists have observed of them, 
and their observation is confirmed by scripture testimony. Of the 
cattle it is said, Job 37: 6, 7, 8. "He saith to the snow, Be thou 
on the earth, likewise the small rain, and the great rain of his 
strength; then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places." 
And of the fowls of the air it is said, Jer. 8: 7. "The stork in the 
heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle, and the crane, 
and the swallow, observe the time of their coming." 
    But man being a prudent and prospecting creature has the 
advantage of all other creatures in his foreseeing faculty: "For God 
has taught him more than the beasts of the earth, and made him wiser 
than the fowls of heaven," Job 35: 11. "And a wise man's heart 
discerneth both time and judgement," Eccl. 8: 5. For as there are 
natural signs of the change of the weather, Matt. 16: 3, so there 
are moral signs of the changes of times and providence, yet such is 
the supineness and inexcusable regardlessness of most men, that they 
will not fear till they feel, nor think any danger very 
considerable, till it become inevitable. 
    We of this nation have long enjoyed the light of the glorious 
gospel among us; it has shone in much clearness upon this sinful 
island, for more than a whole century of happy years: but the 
longest day has an end, and we have cause to fear our bright sun is 
going down upon us; for the shadows in England are grown greater 
than the substance, which is one sign of approaching night, Jer. 6: 
4. "The beasts of prey creep out of their dens and coverts," which 
is another sign of night at hand, Psal. 104: 20. "And the workmen 
come home apace from their labours, and go to rest," which is as sad 
a sign as any of the rest, Job 7: 1, 2. Isa. 57: 1, 2. Happy were 
it, if, in such a juncture as this, every man would make it his work 
and business to secure himself in Christ from the storm of God's 
indignation, which is ready to fall upon these sinful nations. It is 
said of the Egyptians, when the storm of hail was coming upon the 
land, Exod. 9: 20. "He that feared the word of the Lord made his 
servants and cattle flee into the houses." It is but an odd sight to 
see the prudence of an Egyptian out-vying the wisdom and 
circumspection of a Christian. 
    God, who provides natural shelter and refuge for all creatures, 
has not left his people unprovided with, and destitute of defence 
and security, in the most tempestuous times of national judgements. 
It is said, Mic. 5: 5. "This man (meaning the man Christ Jesus) 
shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and 
when he shall tread in our palaces." And Isa. 26: 20. "Come, my 
people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; 
hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation 
be overpast." 
    My friends, let me speak as freely, as I am sure I speak 
seasonably. A sound of judgement is in our ears; "The Lord's voice 
crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear 
ye the rod, and who has appointed it," Mic. 6: 9. All things round 
about us seem to posture themselves for trouble and distress. Where 
is the man of wisdom that does not foresee a shower of wrath and 
indignation coming? "We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, 
and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man does travail 
with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his 
loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into 
paleness? Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it; it 
is even the day of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be delivered out of 
it," Jer. 30: 5, 6, 7. 
    Many eyes are now opened to see the common danger, but some 
foresaw it long ago; when they saw the general decay of godliness 
every where, the notorious profanity and atheism that overspread the 
nations; the spirit of enmity and bitterness against the power of 
godliness wherever it appeared: and though there seemed to be a 
present calm, and general quietness, yet those that were wise in 
heart could not but discern the distress of nations, with great 
perplexity, in these seeds of judgement and calamity: but as the 
ephah fills more and more, so the determined wrath grows more and 
more visible to every eye; and it is a fond thing to dream of 
tranquillity in the midst of so much iniquity. Indeed, if these 
nations were once swept with the besom of reformation, we might hope 
God would not sweep them with the besom of destruction; but what 
peace can be expected, whilst the highest provocations are 
    It is therefore the great and present concernment of all to 
provide themselves of a refuge before the storm overtakes them; for, 
as Augustin well observes, None facile inveniuntur praefidia in 
adversitate, quae non fuerint in pace quaesita. O take up your 
lodgings in the attributes and promises of God before the night 
overtake you; view them often by faith, and clear up your interest 
in them, that you may be able to go to them in the dark, when the 
ministers and ordinances of Christ have taken their leave of you, 
and bid you good night. 
    Whilst many are hastening on the wrath of God by profaneness, 
and many by smiting their fellow servants; and multitudes resolve, 
if trouble come, to fish in the troubled waters for safety and 
preferment, not doubting, (whensoever the overflowing flood comes) 
but they shall stand dry. O that you would be mourning for their 
sins, and providing better for your own safety. 
    Reader, it is thy one thing necessary to get a cleared interest 
in Jesus Christ; which being once obtained, thou mayest face the 
storm with boldness, and say, come troubles and distresses, losses 
and trials, prisons and death, I am provided for you; do your worst, 
you can do me no harm: let the winds roar, the lightnings flash, the 
rains and hail fall never so furiously, I have a good roof over my 
head, a comfortable lodging provided for me; "My place of defence is 
the munition of rocks, where bread shall be given me, and my waters 
shall be sure," Isa. 33: 16. 
    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 
    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

The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
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