Walking with God through Nature: An Examination of John Flavel’s Behavioural Instructions on Matters Related to Christian Piety

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Date
2016-07-26
Authors
Van Straten, Paul
Keyword
John Flavel , Christian , Mystical , Piety , Puritan , History , Devotion , Ritual , Spirituality , Wilderness , Prayer , Meditation
Abstract
John Flavel was a Reformed Puritan of the seventeenth-century who wrote a series of devotional guides that offered instructions drawn from Christian mystical traditions on how to improve religious activities as a means of ecstatically encountering God. Evaluating the efficacy of these instructions from a scientifically-based behavioural perspective, this study has found that Flavel’s techniques were likely helpful to his readers in facilitating socially normative ecstatic experiences through ordinary Christian practice. Furthermore, discovering that Flavel promoted the use of these techniques for engaging with ecological materials in the wilderness and country-side, this essay proposes that Flavel introduced his readers to effectual manners that could help them ecstatically encounter God during the practice of meditational nature-based walks.
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