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"Consider that the trials and troubles, the calamities and miseries, the crosses and losses that you meet with in this world, are all the hell that ever you shall have."

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The Touchstone of Christian Sincerity or The Trial of True and False Religion by John Flavel (2012 Paperback Book Edition)


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The Touchstone of Christian Sincerity
or The Trial of True and False Religion

by John Flavel (Author)

About the Author:

Rev. John Flavel, 1627-1691, Puritan Preacher and Minister of the Gospel at Dartmouth, England.

Book Description: (back cover info)

"Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith." 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Doubtless, many who profess faith in Jesus Christ are dangerously mistaken in regard to their own character, and although they draw around themselves the form of Christianity, they are strangers to its transforming efficacy, its living influence, and heavenly consolations. The trial of our graces or religious affections is all-important—for as they are, so is our prospect for a happy and glorious eternity. We must judge of our faith by examining its foundation; we must scrutinize our hearts in the light of divine truth and ascertain and demonstrate whether our affections are holy. To the test we must come and by the truth, we must be judged. Our eternal happiness stands or falls with our sincerity; bring your hearts, therefore, to the trial.

With the vivid, exhortative style distinctive of the English Puritans, John Flavel's Touchstone offers a straightforward and biblical aid to discerning true Christian graces, from false.

The Touchstone of Christian Sincerity by John Flavel (2012 Paperback Book Edition) Paperback Edition Details:

2012 Edition: Edited and updated from the 1814 Edition. Additional footnotes added.

Publisher:  Hail & Fire

Page Count:  172 pages

Book Binding:  Paperback (US Trade Paperback)

Product Size:  5" x 8" x .39" inches

Interior Color:  Black and White

Language(s):  English

ISBN-10:  0982804369

ISBN-13/EAN13:  9780982804360 (978-0-9828043-6-0)

BISAC Category:  Religion / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: The Lukewarm Church of Laodicea - page 1.

Their Moral Disease is Exposed

A Remedy is Prescribed


Chapter 2: The Self-Deception of Many Professed Christians - page 11.

Evidences that Many Are False Christians

More Professed Christians than Converts

Many Professed Christians Practice Only the Externals of Religion

Professed Christians Multiply in Prosperity, but in Adversity they Fall Away

Many Professed Christians Indulge Secret Sins

Many Professed Christians Neglect Private Devotions

Religion is not the Chief Concern of Many Professed Christians

Causes of their Delusions & Dissimulation

Deceitfulness of the Heart

Workings & Deceptions of Satan

Comparing Themselves Among Themselves

Do Not Conclude all Christians are False

Do Not Be High Minded, But Fear

Concluding Thoughts

Chapter 3: The Exceeding Value of True Holiness or Saving Grace - page 39.

Evidences of its Exceeding Value

Perfect Holiness in the Fear of God

Chapter 4: True Holiness or Saving Grace Endures All Tests - page 53.

Trials of Men’s Graces or Religious Affections

Signs & Tests of Christian Character

Trials of Worldly Prosperity

Trials of Prosperity on the Ungodly

Trials of Prosperity on the Godly

Chapter 5: Trials of Adversity on Men’s Hearts - page 67.

Effects of Adversity Common to All

Effects of Adversity on the Unsanctified

Effects of Adversity on the Sanctified

Chapter 6: Discovering the State of the Heart through its View of Sin - page 77.

Reasons the Ungodly Abstain from Sin

Reasons the Godly Abstain from Sin

Reasons the Ungodly Sometimes Hate Sin

Reasons the Godly Hate Sin

Reasons the Ungodly Sometimes Sorrow for Sin

Reasons the Godly Sorrow for Sin

Power of Sin in the Godly & Ungodly

Dominion of Sin in the Ungodly

Dominion of Righteousness in the Godly

Opposition to Sin in the Godly & Ungodly

Chapter 7: Discovering the State of the Heart through the Performance of Religious Duties - page 97.

Chapter 8: Trials of Suffering for Faith and Religion - page 107.

Trials that Separate True Christians from False

Why these Trials Separate True Christians from False

Advantages of True Holiness in Suffering

Chapter 9: God’s Purpose in Appointing Trials for His People - page 117.

Benefits Arising from Trials - page 117.

Chapter 10: Only True Holiness Endures these Trials - page 125.

Chapter 11: Trials Will & Must Come—Examine Yourselves - page 133.

Offences Must Come

Examine Yourselves, Prove Yourselves

Chapter 12: Discovering Sincerity & Detecting Hypocrisy - page 141.

Discovering Sincerity

Detecting Hypocrisy

Some Last Words of Advice

Quotations and Excerpts: (from this book)

quotation markTrue piety can, by no means, entirely lay itself open to the eyes of men; public actions and appearance may support its credit, but secret exercises must maintain its life, and supply its purest enjoyment.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Sincere Christian Piety.


quotation markA man destitute of real faith, if left to his own choice, would prefer sin to affliction, and consider sin the lesser evil. He can contemplate the defilement of his soul with composure, rather than suffer the loss of his goods, his pleasures, or his present ease; and thus, the unsoundness of his heart is revealed. The saints on the contrary, will never knowingly consent to the commission of sin, even if it might prevent ever so much personal suffering or loss.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Fake Christians Prefer Sin over Affliction.


quotation markProsperity multiplies false professors, but by adversity the church is disencumbered of them; they are removed from their steadfastness, as dry leaves are carried away by a tempest. 'They go out from us, that it may be made manifest that they were not of us.' 'When tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, they are quickly offended.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on False Christians in Prosperity and Adversity.

quotation markRemember, that whether prepared or unprepared, whether saints or sinners, you must ere long stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and be approved or condemned. Therefore examine and prove yourselves now, and be willing that God should try you as he pleases in this world, that confusion and woe may not overwhelm you at last.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Judgement Day and Self-Examination.


quotation markSometimes good men, indulging groundless fears of hypocrisy, are blind to the clearest evidences of their gracious state; but more frequently, the wicked, regardless of consequences, close their eyes upon the proofs of their guilt and jeopardy. This is an evil in regard to both, but less hazardous in one case, than in the other. For he that does not see his own graces, and does not realize his privileges, does but deprive himself of quiet and enjoyment for a short time; whereas he that shuts his eyes against the evidences of his sin and condemnation procures the endless destruction of his soul.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Fearful Saints & Presumptuous Sinners.


quotation markInstead of making one man or one set of men a test for the trial of another, God has established his Word as the only standard of character, and by this, those who are saints indeed form an opinion of themselves.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Scripture (Sola Scriptura).

quotation markSaints wish to know the truth respecting themselves, whatever it may be, and no matter how difficult its attainment. Those who prefer that their supposed grace should not be tried are secretly conscious of its falseness, and of their insincerity. Reader, I do not know your case, but if your heart is in any measure right in the sight of God, you will desire to know the worst of yourself. After making the most thorough trial of which you are capable, you will be disposed to submit to the scrutiny of Him who cannot err: if such is not your case, you have but too much reason to class yourself among the rejected Laodiceans.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Christian Self-Examination.


quotation markLet none who hope for salvation, think to pass through this life in quietness, exempt from this searching experience. You may please yourselves with the ideal felicity of living at ease, but it is the delusion of hell, and if God loves you, he will in some way most certainly try and prove you: such has ever been the economy of his dealings with those whom he delights to honor, and who at last, being purified as gold, shall inherit his kingdom.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Trials of Faith and Sincerity.


quotation markMake religion the business of every day; let it regulate all your conduct, and engross your affections. Consider well the motives of your actions; maintain a constant watch over your propensities; and especially when visited by sickness or trouble, give vigilant heed to the admonitions of conscience.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Diligent Pursuit of Godliness.


quotation markThe reputation that a man’s piety may have gained among Christians will by no means prove that he does not deceive himself—he may have a name to live while dead. Nor will the respect that he may show to the servants of God avail, for this may spring from selfish and unholy motives.quotation mark

~ The Touchstone

Quote on Reputation and Hypocrisy.