John Flavel was an English Puritan who became a non conformist minister after the ‘great ejection’ of 1662. He became licensed to preach ten years after the ejection and then only in his own home. He wrote on many subjects during the ten years including this particular little book. This is a classic on union and fellowship with God and is based upon the text in Proverbs 4 v 23. “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life’. The book is practical throughout, applying this text exhaustively in a variety of ways. “The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward: it is the seat of principles, and the foundation of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God; and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God’. In the manner typical of the puritan writers Flavel looks at what keeping the heart means, why we should take this commission seriously and particular times when we need to be especially wary of being distracted from our goal. The Puritans were skilled in understanding the human soul and he shows how we can increase in the knowledge of God and keep our hearts in tune with Him. The advice and counsel given in this little book is never out of date. The style of writing may be a bit foreign to some readers as also the systematic approach that is taken. However, there is such sensitivity and wisdom manifested here bringing us back to the central responsibility of the Christian believer.
KEEPING THE HEART
Last modified: May 14, 2012