This is under the heading of "cautions, to prevent the abuse of Providence". This is not one of Flavel's main points but rather a digression, to keep us from abusing what he has prior said. This section concerns itself with attempting an answer to delayed mercies. Often times we interpret delays as denials. Therefore, we ought to learn patience. Sometimes it is not the proper season for us to receive such a mercy. Other times we are still under afflictive circumstances because they have yet to fulfill their duty. At other times the Lord is waiting to make the deliverance all the more sweet. Yet, even though we know these things we can still become angry and confused with God. Therefore, Flavel offers 6 suggestions to keep us from doing that:
- Consider that the delay of mercies is for your advantage
- It is a greater mercy to have a heart willing to refer all to God and be at His disposal than to enjoy immediately the mercy we are most eager and impatient for. (In other words, glorifying God through patience is a greater mercy than the gifts. Godliness is better than gifts)
- Expected mercies are never nearer than when our hearts are lowest
- We are unfit for these mercies, that is why they are delayed
- Consider that the mercies that you wait for a pure graces; they are not owed to you
- Think of how many men that are as good as you are cut off from all mercies of God for eternity
Flavel has a certain way of shutting us up doesn't he?