Written to comfort and help those who have lost loved ones.
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It is not my purpose to exasperate your troubles, but to heal them. For that purpose, I have written these chapters and I hope they will be of use to you, since they are the product of my own troubles. These are not things that I have recommended to you from another hand, but things that I have, in some measure, proved and tasted in my own trials.
To be above feelings and emotions is a condition equal to the angels and to be in a state of sorrow without the sense of sorrow is a disposition beneath the beasts. But to correctly regulate our sorrows and bind our passions under suffering is the wisdom, duty, and excellency of a Christian.
Even though you and your afflictions had a sad meeting, I desire that you and they may have a comfortable parting. If your afflictions do the work in your hearts that God sent them for, I have no doubt you will give them a fair testimony when they leave. What you endured with fear, you will dismiss with praise. How sweet it is, when God is loosing his hands, to hear the afflicted soul say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted!”
– John Flavel
About the Author
John Flavel (c.1628-1691) was born into an England wracked by political, social, and religious upheaval. Two civil wars and unstable leadership framed the political landscape. Economic hardships and a resurgence of plague further distressed the nation. The church, too, was in turmoil. Flavel, a pastor of one of the many independent churches persecuted by the government, was forced from his church in Dartmouth. In secret and under stress, he continued preaching, writing, and shepherding his flock. He suffered the death of three of his four wives and at least one child. He continued preaching until his sudden death in 1691.