Table Charismata Matters

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

John Flavel's Supernatural Experience

(originally posted 10/8/15)

According to one article, the following account by John Flavel is probably autobiographical and told in the third person in a similar way Paul spoke in the third person in 2 Cor. 12:1ff.

1. Mediate, in, and by the previous use and exercise of faith, heart-examination, &c. The Spirit of God concurring with, and blessing such duties as these, helps the soul by them to a sight of its interest in Christ, and the glory to come; which being gained, joy is no more under the soul's command. I have, with good assurance, this account of a minister, "Who being alone in a journey, and willing to make the best improvement he could of that day’s solitude, set himself to a close examination of the state of his soul, and then of the life to come, and the manner of its being, and living in heaven, in the views of all those things which are now pure objects of faith and hope. After a while, he perceived his thoughts begin to fix, and come closer to these great and astonishing things than was usual; and as his mind settled upon them, his affections began to rise with answerable liveliness and vigour."

"He therefore (while he was yet master of his own thoughts) lifted up his heart to God in a short ejaculation that God would so order it in his providence, that he might meet with no interruption from company, or any other accident in that journey; which was granted him: For, in all that day's journey, he neither met, overtook, or was overtaken by any. Thus going on his way, his thoughts began to swell, and rise higher and higher, like the waters in Ezekiel's vision, till at last they became an overflowing flood. Such was the intention of his mind, such the ravishing tastes of heavenly joys, and such the full assurance of his interest therein, that he utterly lost a sight and sense of this world, and all the concerns thereof; and, for some hours, knew no more where he was, than if he had been in a deep sleep upon his bed. At last he began to perceive himself very faint, and almost cloaked with blood, which running in abundance from his nose, had coloured his clothes and his horse from the shoulder to the hoof. He found himself almost spent, and nature to faint under the pressure enjoy unspeakable and insupportable; and at last, perceiving a spring of water in his way, he, with some difficulty, alighted to cleanse and cool his face and hands, which were drenched in blood, tears, and sweat."

"By that spring he sat down and washed, earnestly desiring, if it were the pleasure of God, that it might be his parting place from this world: He said, death had the most amiable face in his eye, that ever be beheld, except the face of Jesus Christ, which made it so; and that he could not remember (though he believed he should die there) that he had one thought of his dear wife, or children, or any other earthly concernment."

"But having drank of that spring, his spirits revived, the blood stanched, and he mounted his horse again; and on he went in the same frame of spirit, till he had finished a journey of near thirty miles, and came at night to his inn, where, being come, he greatly admired how he came thither, that his horse, without his direction had brought him thither, and that he fell not all that day, which passed not without several trances, of considerable continuance."

"Being alighted, the innkeeper came to him, with some astonishment, (being acquainted with him formerly) O Sir, said he, what is the matter with you? You look like a dead man. Friend, replied he, I was never better in my life. Show me my chamber, cause my cloak to be cleansed, burn me a little wine, and that is all I desire of you for the present. Accordingly it was done, and a supper sent up, which he could not touch; but requested of the people that they would not trouble or disturb him for that night. All this night passed without one wink of sleep, though he never had a sweeter night's rest in all his life. Still, still the joy of the Lord overflowed him, and he seemed to be an inhabitant of the other world. The next morning being come, he was early on horseback again, fearing the divertissement in the inn might bereave him of his joy; for he said it was now with him, as with a man that carries a rich treasure about him, who suspects every passenger to be a thief. But within a few hours he was sensible of the ebbing of the tide, and before night, though there was a heavenly serenity and sweet peace upon his spirit, which continued long with him, yet the transports of joy were over, and the fine edge of his delight blunted. He many years after called that day one of the days of heaven, and professed he understood more of the light of heaven by it, than by all the books he ever read, or discourses he ever had entertained about it." This was indeed, an extraordinary foretaste of heaven for degree, but it came in the ordinary way and method of faith and meditation.
 Pneumatologia:Treatise of the Soul of Man by John Flavel [direct link to chapter]

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