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Written to 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’s life began sometime between 1627 and 1630 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. He was the older son of Richard Flavel, a Nonconformist minister. He was educated at home, in local grammar schools, and at University College in Oxford. He was married four times, with all four wives preceding him in death. John preached in churches in Diptford and Dartmouth, and in later years during “The Great Persecution,” he preached under the cover of darkness in the woods and in people’s homes. He died suddenly of a stroke on June 26, 1691 and was returned to Dartmouth to be buried in the churchyard.