Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a new favorite

Could it be that I have found a book to replace my first love, A.W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God? I think, my friends, that I have.

I am devouring Joseph Alleine's book A Sure Guide to Heaven (originally published as An Alarm to the Unconverted.)

From the first couple of chapters contrasting true Christian repentance with false christiany guilt.

It is one thing to have sin alarmed only by convictions, and another to have it crucified by converting grace. Many, because they have been troubled in conscience for their sins, think well of their case, miserably mistaking conviction for conversion...You may have forsaken a troublesome sin, and have escaped the gross pollutions of the world, and yet in all this not have changed your carnal nature.

You may take a crude mass of lead and mould it into the more comely proportion of a plant, and then into the shape of an animal, and then into the form and features of a man; but all the time it is still lead. So a man may pass through various transmutations, from ignorance to knowledge, from profanity to civility, then to a form of religion, and all this time he is still carnal and unregenerate, his nature remains unchanged.

Contrast that with the true believer:
He that could see little sin in himself, and could find no matter for confessions, now sees the rottenness of his heart, the desperate and deep pollution of his whole nature. He cries "Unclean! Unclean! Lord, purge me with hyssop, was me thoroughly, create in me a clean heart." He sees himself altogether filthy, corrupt both root and branch...Hitherto, he saw no form nor comeliness in Christ, no beauty that he should desire Him; but now he find the Hidden Treasure, and will sell all to buy this field. Christ is the Pearl he seeks.

His hatred boils, his anger burns against sin. He has no patience with himself; he calls himself fool, and beast, and thinks any name too good for himself,when his indignation is stirred up against sin. He could once wallow in it with much pleasure; now he loathes the though of returning to it as much as of licking up the filthiest vomit.

The great inquiry is, whether the judgment and will are steadily determined for God above all other good, real or apparent. If so, and if the affections do sincerely follow their choice and conduct, though it be not so strongly and feelingly as is to be desired, there is no doubt but the change is saving.


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