Flavel, John

Flavel, John a nonconformist divine and writer of practical works, was born in Worcestershire, England, in 1627. He was in early life religiously educated by his father, and completed his public education at Oxford. Having devoted himself to the Gospel ministry, he was settled at Deptford in 1650 as curate to Mr. Walplate, and on his death succeeded to the rectory. In 1655 he accepted a. unanimous and' pressing call to remove to Dartmouth, where be received a much smaller stipend, but had a larger field of usefulness. In 1662 he was ejected from his living for nonconformity; he did not, however, forsake his flock, but seized every opportunity of ministering-to their spiritual necessities.' His colleague dying soon after, the whole care devolved on him. On the execution of the Oxford Act he was compelled to remove five miles from Dartmouth, to Slapton, where he was out of the reach of legal disturbance, and where many of his former flock, in spite of the severity of the laws, resorted to him, and he at times stole into the town to, visit them. Once, while preaching in a wood, he was just entering on his discourse, when the soldiers suddenly rushed in and dispersed the conventicle. Several of the fugitives were apprehended and fined; but the remainder, rallying after the effects of their first surprise had subsided, conveyed Mr. Flavel to a more retired spot, where he resumed his sermon. In 1687, when James II dispensed with the penal laws, Mr. Flavel came forth from obscurity, and renewed his self-sacrificing labors. He took a lively interest in the proposed union between the Presbyterian and Independent churches, which was effected in 1601, and,; like many a good man in those days, fondly anticipated from. that consummation a season of ecclesiastical peace and concord which never arrived. He died June 26, i 69 ., leaving behind him the name of a most faithful minister. Flavel's writings are valued more for their pungent and practical earnestness than for any other qualities. His Whole Works were published in London in 1820 (6 vols. 8vo). The American Tract Society publishes, in cheap form, his Fountain of Life, Method of Grace, Christ knocking at the Door, On keeping the Heart, and Touchstone of Sincerity.--Jamieson, Religious Biography, s.v.; Jones, Christian Biography, s.v.; Bogue and Bennett, History of Dissenters, i, 340.

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