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stand the harmonious agreement of the divine attributes, in the economy of our salvation, and to restore men to the image and favour of God. They are now admitted into the enlightened and purified society above, where the immense volumes of the divine wisdom are laid open, and, by one glance of an eye, they discover more per fectly the glorious and wonderful works of God in heaven and earth, than the most diligent inquirers can do here, in a thousand years' study, though they had the sagacity of Solomon. By the light of glory, they see the face of God, and are satisfied with his likeness for ever.
• It is a high honour to you, that Mr. Boyle and Mr. Baxter should by their last will nominate you amongst their executors. It was the saying of a wise Roman, Molo divi Augusti judicium, quam beneficium: I had ra
ther have the esteem of the Emperor Augustus than his ‘gifts :' For he was an understanding prince, and his esteem was very honourable to a person. That two, who so excelled in wisdom and goodness, should commit to your trust the disposal of their estates, for the uses of piety and charity, is a more noble testimony of their esteem of your prudence and inviolable integrity, than if they had bequeathed to you rich legacies.
It is a satisfaction to me, that I have complied with Mr. Baxter's desire in preaching his funeral sermon, and with your's in publishing. I shall unfeignedly recommend yourself, your excellent lady and virtuous children, to the divine mercies; and remain, with great respect,
• WILIAM BATES.'
MR. JOHN FLAVEL was born in Worcestershire. He was religiously educated by his father, and, having profited well at the grammar schools, was sent early to Oxford, and settled a commoner in University College. He plied his studies hard, and exceeded many of his contemporaries in university learning.
Soon after his commencing bachelor of arts, Mr. Walplate, the minister of Deptford in the county of Devon, was rendered incapable of performing his office by reason of his age and infirmity, and sent to Oxford for an assistant; Mr. Flavel, though but young, was recommended to him as a person duly qualified, and was accordingly settled there by the standing committee of Devon, April 27, 1650, to preach as a probationer and assistant to Mr. Walplate.
Mr. Flavel, considering the weight of his charge, applied himself to the work of his calling with great diligence; and being assiduous in reading, meditation and prayer, he increased in ministerial knowledge daily, so that he attained to an high degree of eminency and reputation for his useful labours in the church.
About six months after his settling at Deptford, he heard of an ordination to be at Salisbury, and therefore went thither with his testimonials, and offered himself to be examined and ordained by the Presbytery there : They appointed him a text, upon which he preached to their general satisfaction; and having afterwards examined him as to his learning, &c. they set him apart to the work of the ministry, with prayer and imposition of hands, on the 17th day of October 1650.
Mr. Flavel, being thus ordained, returned to Deptford, and after Mr. Walplate's death succeeded in the rectory. To avoid all incumbrances from the world, and avocations from his studies and ministerial work, he chose a person of worth and reputation in the parish, (of whom he had a good assurance, that he would be faithful to himself, and kind to his parishioners) and let him the whole tithes much below the real value, which was very well pleasing to his people. By this means he was the better able to deal with them in private, since the hire of his labours was no way a hindrance to the success of them.
Whilst he was at Deptford he married one Mrs. Joan Randal, a pious gentlewoman, of a good family, who died in travail of her first child, without being delivered. His year of mourning being expired, his acquaintance and intimate friends advised him io marry a second time, wherein he was again very happy. Her name was Elizabeth Morrice. Some time after this second marriage, the people of Dartmouth (formerly under the charge of the reverend Mr. Anthony Hartford, deceased) unanimously chose Mr. Flavel to succeed him. They urged him to accept their call, 1. Because there were exceptions made
against against all the other candidates, but none against him. 2. Because, being acceptable to the whole town, he was the more like to be an instrument of healing the breaches among the good people there. 3. Because Dartmouth, being a considerable and populous town, required an able and eminent minister, which was not so necessary for a country parish, that might besides be more easily supplied with another pastor than Dartmouth.
That which made them more pressing and earnest with Mr. Flavel, was this: At a provincial synod in that county, Mr. Flavel, though but a young man, was voted into the chair as moderator, where he opened the assembly with a most devout and pertinent prayer: He examined the candidates who offered themselves to their trials for the ministry with great learning ; stated the cases and questions proposed to them with much acuteness and judginent; and in the whole demeaned himself with that gravity, piety, and seriousness, during his presidency, that all the ministers of the assembly admired and loved him. The reverend Mr. Hartford, his predecessor at Dartmouth, took particular notice of him, from that time forward contracted a strict friendship with him, and spoke of him anong the magistrates and people of Dartmouth, as an extraordinary person, who was like to be a great light in the church. This, with their having several times beard him preach, occasioned their importunity with Mr. Flavel to come and be their minister; upon which, haring prayed over the matter, and submitted it to the decision of his neighbouring ministers, he was prevailed upon to remove to Dartmouth, to his great loss in temporals, the rectory of Deptford being a much greater benefice.
Mr. Flavel being settled at Dartmouth by the election of the people, and an order from Whitehall by the commissioners for approbation of public preachers, of the 19th of December 1656, he was associated with Mr. Allen Gear, a very worthy but sickly man. The ministerial work was thias divided betwixt them: Mr. Flavel was to preach on the Lord's day at Townstall, the mother church, standing upon a hill without the town; and every fortnight in his turn at the Wednesday's lecture in Dartmouth. Here Gov crowned his labours with many conversions. One of his judicious hearers expressed himself thus concerning him: I could say much, though not enough, of the ' excellency of his preaching; of his seasonable, suitable, ' and spiritual matter; of his plain expositions of Scrip“ ture; his taking method, his genuine and natural de
ductions, his convincing arguments, his clear and powerful demonstrations, his heart-searching applications, and his comfortable supports to those that were afilicted in conscience. In short, that person must have a very soft head, or a very hard heart, or both, that could sit under his ministry unaffected.'
By his unwearied application to study, he had acquired a great stock both of divine and human learning. He was master of the controversies betwixt the Jews and Christians, Papists and Protestants, Lutherans and Calvinists, and betwixt the Orthodox, and the Arminians and Socinians: He was likewise well read in the controversies about church-discipline, infant baptism, and antinomianism. He was well acquainted with the school divinity, and drew up a judicious and ingenious scheme of the whole body of that theology in good Latin, which he presented to a person of quality; but it was never printed. He was singularly well versed and exact in the oriental languages. He had one way of improving his knowledge, which is very proper for young divines; whatever remarkable passage he heard in private conference, if he was familiar with the relater, he would desire him to repeat it again, and insert it into his Adversaria. By these methods he acquired a vast stock of proper materials for his popular sermons in the pulpit, and his more elaborate works for the press.
He had an excellent gift of prayer, and was never at a loss in all his various occasions for suitable matter and words; and, which was the most remarkable of all, he always brought with him a broken heart and moving affections ; his tongue and spirit were touched with a live coal from the altar, and he was evidently assisted by the Holy Spirit of grace and supplication in that divine ordinance. Those who lived in his family, say, • That he
was always full and copious in prayer, seemed constantly to exceed himself, and rarely made use twice of the same expressions.'
When the act of uniformity turned him out with the rest of his non-conforming brethren, he did not thereupon quit his relation to his church; he thought the souls of his flock to be more precious than to be so tamely neglected: He took all opportunities of ministering the word and sacraments to them in private meetings, and joined with other ministers in solemn days of fasting and humiliation, to pray that God would once store the free ministration of the Gospel. About four months after that fatal Bartholomew-day, his reverend colleague Mr. Allen Gear, died ; so that the whole care of the flock devolved upon Mr. Flavel, which, though a heavy and pressing burden, he undertook very cheerfully.
Upon the execution of the Oxford act, which banished all non-conformist ministers five miles from any towns which sent members to parliament, he was forced to leave Dartmouth, to the great sorrow of his people, who followed him out of town; and at Townstall church-yard they took such a mournful farewell of one another, as the place might very well have been called Bochin. He removed to Slapton, a parish five miles from Dartmouth, or any other corporation, which put him out of the legal reach of his adversaries. Here he met with signal instances of God's fatherly care and protection, and preached twice every Lord's day to such as durst adventure to hear him, which many of his own people and others did, notwithstanding the rigour and severity of the act against conventicles. He many times slipped privately into Dartmouth, where, by preaching and conversation, he edified his flock, to the great refreshment of his own soul and theirs, though with very much danger, because of his watchful adversaries, who constantly laid wait for him, so that he could not make any long stay in the town.
In those times, Mr. Flavel being at Exeter, was invited to preach by many good people of that city, who for safety chose a wood about three miles from the city to be the place of their assembly, where they were broke up by their enemies, by that time the sermon was well begun. Mr. Flavel, by the care of the people, made his escape through the middle of his enraged enemies : And though many of his hearers were taken, carried before Justice Tuckfield, and fined, yet the rest, being nothing discouraged, re-assembled, and carrying Mr. Flavel to another wood, he preached to them without any disturbance; and, after he had concluded, rode to a gentleman's house near the wood, who, though an absolute stranger to Mr. Flavel, entertained him with great civility that night, and the next day he returned to Exeter in safety. Amongst those taken at this time, there was a tanner, who had a numerous family, and but a small stock; he was fined notwithstanding in forty pounds, at which he was nothing discouraged; but told a friend, who asked him how he bore up under his loss, " That he took the
spoiling of his goods joyfully, for the sake of his Lord