Monday, November 28, 2011

Flavel on "Binge Drinking" and fearing God's displeasure more than men's

At the last Society for the Preservation of Baptist Principles and Practices meeting in Roanoke, Lloyd Sprinkle gave out a free selection from the "Pocket Puritans" series from Banner of Truth books and I picked up several.

Last week I read the title "Binge Drinking" with selections from John Flavel and C. H. Spurgeon on the spiritual dangers of drunkenness.  I was able to use a  Flavel quote in Sunday's message on Nabal from 1 Samuel 25.

The Flavel selections are taken from "A Caution to Seamen:  A Dissuasive against Several Horrid and Detestable Sins" from volume 5 of his Collected Works.  When I read through Beeke's "Building on the Rock Series," which primarily features devotional stories from the 17th-19th centuries, in our family devotions, my children picked up on the fact that many of the conversion stories were about young men who went to sea and fell into the sins of swearing and drunkenness before coming to Christ.  It was a reminder that military men, even today, are probably especially vulnerable to this temptation.

Flavel also introduces his denunciation of drinking with this interesting explanation of the dangers that minister run of offending men when they speak the truth:

"First, that if this close and plain dealing be necessary, in order to your cure, and you will be offended by it, it is better you should be offended than God.  Ministers are often put upon lamentable straits, they sail between Scylla and Charybdis--the wrath of God upon one side, if we do not speak plain and home, as the necessity of the case requires, and man's wrath if we do.  What shall we do in this strait?  Either God or you, it seems, must be offended; and it cannot be avoided, I shall rather hazard your anger than God's, and think it more tolerable" (p. 7).


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