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Keeping the Heart (Puritan Classics)

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"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."On Keeping the Heart is a discourse upon Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Flavel intended this treatise for the specific purpose of illuminating, healing, and guarding the h "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."On Keeping the Heart is a discourse upon Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Flavel intended this treatise for the specific purpose of illuminating, healing, and guarding the heart. He had the strong conviction, that saints should be marked by their holiness, therefore matters of the heart were of the utmost importance in the Christian life.


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"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."On Keeping the Heart is a discourse upon Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Flavel intended this treatise for the specific purpose of illuminating, healing, and guarding the h "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."On Keeping the Heart is a discourse upon Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Flavel intended this treatise for the specific purpose of illuminating, healing, and guarding the heart. He had the strong conviction, that saints should be marked by their holiness, therefore matters of the heart were of the utmost importance in the Christian life.

30 review for Keeping the Heart (Puritan Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    John

    This book rocked my world. It showed me how distracted my heart is, and how prone I am to wander. Flavel shows how at the center of everything we do, is our heart. Not the bodily artery, but the seat of all our emotions, desires, affections, words and actions. We are commanded in Proverbs 4:23 to keep it with all diligence. I need the Holy Spirit's help for this! "O for a better heart! O for a heart to love God more; to hate sin more; to walk more evenly with God. Lord! deny not to me such a hear This book rocked my world. It showed me how distracted my heart is, and how prone I am to wander. Flavel shows how at the center of everything we do, is our heart. Not the bodily artery, but the seat of all our emotions, desires, affections, words and actions. We are commanded in Proverbs 4:23 to keep it with all diligence. I need the Holy Spirit's help for this! "O for a better heart! O for a heart to love God more; to hate sin more; to walk more evenly with God. Lord! deny not to me such a heart; whatever thou deny me: give me a heart to fear thee, to love and delight in thee, if I beg my bread in desolate places." - John Flavel

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Brown

    Really, really good. This is the kind of book to have on hand for dark times or just "dry" spells in your faith. Short, convicting, encouraging, and easy to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Danette

    This little book begs to be read slowly. It would be a great discipleship tool as well. There are many nuggets of truth within its pages. I plan to read it again. 2019 - A book written by a Puritan

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean McGowan

    Great.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    I love reading the insight of those long ago. Those who do not have the distractions we have today. Survival and the main needs of the day were at the forefront but today, we think about what we will wear, what restraunt we will eat, go on vacation. No wonder our hearts can be far from God. This book is a detailed look at the heart. By understanding the diligent and constant use of all holy means to preseve the soul from sin...the motive...and the fears of our heart. The comfort of our our souls I love reading the insight of those long ago. Those who do not have the distractions we have today. Survival and the main needs of the day were at the forefront but today, we think about what we will wear, what restraunt we will eat, go on vacation. No wonder our hearts can be far from God. This book is a detailed look at the heart. By understanding the diligent and constant use of all holy means to preseve the soul from sin...the motive...and the fears of our heart. The comfort of our our souls much depends on the keeping of our hearts. How we understand grace comes from keeping our heart unto the Lord. We can be very careless. I saw that reading this. How careless I have been. Prayer and the heart are meant to be together. I thought it was very insightful of Flavel ..."Satan is angry and discontented spirit. He finds no rest but in restless hearts." This read is a reflection of the heart, that we would find peace and the knowledge of who God is.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cole Wright

    So so good. Will read again. “A guilty conscience is more terrified of imagined dangers, than a pure conscience is by real ones.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Ravishing

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Schmid

    Finished reading this book on Valentine's Day. :-) In this book, John Flavel writes about the importance of keeping the heart. He lists various circumstances in which the condition of the heart is in danger and then does very well to provide biblical truths and practical adivice to apply to each of those circumstances.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    This is quite like a smaller version of Ryle's "Holiness". It's very practical, and addresses as many facets as you can think of. However, while they are communicated in a way which is easy to understand, that does not mean it is easy work. I was convicted throughout the whole book. Definitely read this short book, but prepare for the knife.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is a book to read yearly, carefully, and prayerfully, if you want to do the necessary heart-work of a Christian. Subtitled, How to maintain your love for God.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    Great short book of deep thought. Practical application and so many good things that I practically underlined the whole book. Will definitely read and re-read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Edward Joseph LaRow

    “As God did not at first choose you because you were high, he will not now forsake you because you are low."

  13. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    This is a nice study by John Flavel about prayer and keeping one's heart devoted to God regardless of what life throws at you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie Nichols

    My goal in 2019 is to read some of the timeless "Christian Classics" that have made an impact on the body of Christ and are heralded as the best works in Christian literature. John Flavel's book Keeping The Heart did not disappoint. This book is not for the name it claim it crowd of modern evangelicalism but for the true child of God who needs to be reminded to "check thyself before ye wreck thyself". Steeped in Scripture, doctrine, reproof, correction, exhortation, this devotional has it all. I My goal in 2019 is to read some of the timeless "Christian Classics" that have made an impact on the body of Christ and are heralded as the best works in Christian literature. John Flavel's book Keeping The Heart did not disappoint. This book is not for the name it claim it crowd of modern evangelicalism but for the true child of God who needs to be reminded to "check thyself before ye wreck thyself". Steeped in Scripture, doctrine, reproof, correction, exhortation, this devotional has it all. I'll leave you with an excerpt that rang my bell. "Hence, to the consternation of hypocrites and formal professors, I infer: 1. That the pains and labours which many persons have undergone in religion are of no value, and will turn to no good account. Many splendid services have been performed by men, which God will utterly reject: they will not stand on record in order to an eternal acceptance, because the performers took no heed to keep their hearts with God. This is that fatal rock on which thousands of vain professors dash and ruin themselves eternally; they are exact about the externals of religion, but regardless of their hearts. O how many hours have some professors spent in hearing, praying, reading and conferring! And yet, as to the main end of religion, they might as well have sat still and done nothing, the great work, I mean heart-work, being all the while neglected. Tell me, vain professor, when did you shed a tear for the deadness, hardness, unbelief or earthliness of your heart? And do you think your easy religion can save you? If so, you must invert Christ's words, and say, Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to life, and many there be that go in thereat. Hear me, ye self-deluding hypocrite; you who have put off God with heartless duties; you who have acted in religion as if you had been blessing an idol; you who could not search your heart, and regulate it, and exercise it in your performances; how will you abide the coming of the Lord? how will you hold up your head before him, when he shall say. 'O you dissembling. false-hearted man! How could you profess religion? With what face could you so often tell me that you loved me, when you knew in your conscience that your heart was not with me? O tremble to think what a fearful judgment it is to be given over to a heedless and careless heart, and then to have religions duties instead of a rattle to quiet and still the conscience!" Flavel, John. Keeping the Heart . Fig. Kindle Edition.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    I think for many of us this Proverb means a lot: "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." The Puritan writer, John Flavel, attempts to dissect what this means and how to actually live it. The contents page indicates there are 4 chapters but the 3rd one is the bulk of this short book, taking up 84 of the 118 pages. I throughly enjoyed the other 34 pages but found Chapter 3 hard going. Using story to illustrate concepts didn't seem to matter much to the Puritans and I think for many of us this Proverb means a lot: "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." The Puritan writer, John Flavel, attempts to dissect what this means and how to actually live it. The contents page indicates there are 4 chapters but the 3rd one is the bulk of this short book, taking up 84 of the 118 pages. I throughly enjoyed the other 34 pages but found Chapter 3 hard going. Using story to illustrate concepts didn't seem to matter much to the Puritans and so the going was dense and overly wordy. I found a lot of it just washed over me. In this chapter, Flavel explores different seasons in life and one can guard one's heart during each particular one. However, I found plenty in those other 34 pages and am pleased I read it as it definitely helped me better understand the intent of the verse and also how to go about living it. I did find it frustrating that in this version there were no references for the many Bible verses quoted.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steve Hazell

    4.5. The only reason I withheld a 5, is due to the monotony of the situations when the heart needs to be guarded. It seemed to go on and on. And yet, perhaps the monotony is aimed at causing the reader to realize, that there never seems to be a moment in life when the heart does not need to be kept. I think most would be hard-pressed to identify a moment in life when they couldn't identify with one of the issues that Flavel unpacked. Very helpful. Very insightful.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Herrington

    Wasn’t crazy about this one. Partly due to listening instead of reading I think. Also, he started with the statement that the most important thing for the Christian to study is his own heart. I disagree. Much better to look to Christ & His Word than merely at our own heart. Despite that statement, the book was filled with helpful truths & constant references to scripture. I think actually reading this book would have made it much easier to follow & benefit from. Wasn’t crazy about this one. Partly due to listening instead of reading I think. Also, he started with the statement that the most important thing for the Christian to study is his own heart. I disagree. Much better to look to Christ & His Word than merely at our own heart. Despite that statement, the book was filled with helpful truths & constant references to scripture. I think actually reading this book would have made it much easier to follow & benefit from.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Horn

    This is a helpful little book for self examination and a call to a deeper relationship with God. He goes through a lot of different life situations (great success, grief, persecution, etc) and gives the challenges you can expect to find with each, and how you ought to keep your heart right with God. It's a beneficial book, though it is a little bit of a difficult read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Prydden

    Flavel's work on guarding the heart is as thorough as you would expect from the writings of a Puritan. Very practical and realistic in its application, this is a very challenging call to a greater Christianity which can only be possible when purity and strength of heart is emphasized and sincerely worked upon.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Helen Griffin

    A very helpful book about how to maintain your love for God, read a few pages a day but very worthwhile.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    There were some good things here and there, but overall it was very lacking in grace and gentleness. It was very strongly worded and harsh at times and ended up sounding quite legalistic.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brad Weber

    First two chapters are great. Third felt out of place. Nonetheless, this is an excellent little book on the importance of a right heart.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Stegeman

    simply outstanding

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Flavel is a joy to read. He challenges the Christian yet writes with so much love. This book serves as a good reminder why the Christian must always be diligent in matters of the heart.

  25. 5 out of 5

    James Seow

    Simply brilliant. A depth rarely found in books by Christian authors today.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nate H

    A word in season to lift up the afflicted.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ian Hall

    Absolute Spiritual Classic . . . to be read, considered over and over again!! Wisdom indeed!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Sărban

    'The state of the whole body depends upon the soundness and vigour of the heart, and the everlasting state of the whole man upon the good or ill condition of the soul.'

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Drew

    This is a wonderful short book on one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of Christian living. John Flavel addresses the great importance of why we need to keep our hearts, in what seasons we need to be most aware of keeping our hearts, and gives instruction in how to keep our hearts all based around Proverbs 4:23. Although I enjoyed this book as a whole, I particularly appreciated the opening few chapters and the final chapter which assess the why question. The middle of the This is a wonderful short book on one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of Christian living. John Flavel addresses the great importance of why we need to keep our hearts, in what seasons we need to be most aware of keeping our hearts, and gives instruction in how to keep our hearts all based around Proverbs 4:23. Although I enjoyed this book as a whole, I particularly appreciated the opening few chapters and the final chapter which assess the why question. The middle of the book addresses different seasons in which we need to be most attentive to keeping our hearts and although very good insights are given unless you are going through one of those seasons they do not deeply resonate, at least many of them did not with me. After reading a lot of John Owen I really enjoyed how clear John Flavels writing style was. One thing I think is not the best teaching, as is the case with much of puritan writing is the lack of emphasis on our new identity in Christ. Most of the teaching is about our depravity and our need for repentance but almost nowhere is mentioned how we are seating at the right hand of God and new creations already. The teaching very much is "here is your sin, now obey by believing this." There is a lot of truth, but also missing a key part of The teaching of the New Testament which is our new identity in Jesus. Here are my three big idea take away a 1. The uttermost importance of keeping the heart This is the concept that Flavel begins and ends with. That the crux of all Christian living is keeping the heart. That is, being aware of where our affections stay from God and how sin is seeking to gain a hold in our lives. When not keeping the heart all kinds of hypocrisy is produced. "The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the fountain 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. Here lies the very force and stress of religion; here is that which makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of heaven a strait gate." "To keep the heart then, is carefully to preserve it from sin, which disorders it; and maintain that spiritual frame which fits it for a life of communion with God." 2. How to keep the heart "1. Frequent observation of the frame of the heart. 2. It includes deep humiliation for heart evils and disorders 3. It includes earnest supplication and instant prayer for purifying and rectifying grace when sin has defiled and disordered the heart. 4. It includes the imposing of strong engagement upon ourselves to walk more carefully with God, and avoid the occasions whereby the heart may be induced to sin. Well advised and deliberate vows are, in some cases, very useful to guard the heart against some special sin. 5. It includes a constant and holy jealousy over our onto hearts. 6. It includes the realising of God's presence with us, and setting the Lord always before us." 3. It is hard work but the most necessary work 1. It is the hardest work. 2. It is a constant work. The keeping of the heart is a work that is never done till life is ended. 3. It is the most important business of a Christian's life. "in keeping our hearts. The careless heart is an easy prey to Satan in the hover of temptation; his principal batteries are raised against the heart; if he wins that he wins all, for it commands the whole man: and alas! how easy a conquest is a neglected heart! It is not more difficult to surprise such a heart, than for an enemy to enter that city whose gates are open and unguarded." (269)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Tan

    Above all else, guard your heart.

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