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Sure Guide to Heaven (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – January 1, 1960
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'If you're interested in Puritan evangelism, or just evangelism for that matter, this is one book that you have to read. This is Puritan evangelism at its best; the cream of the Puritan evangelistic crop.' --Jonathan Bunnett
About the Author
Joseph Alleine (1634-1668) was born at Devizes in Wiltshire and 'set forth in the Christian race' from the age of eleven. Educated at Oxford (Lincoln and Corpus Christi) from 1649 under men such as John Owen and Thomas Goodwin, he took his BA in 1651 and became a tutor and subsequently chaplain to the College.
In 1655 Alleine accepted an invitation to become assistant to George Newton, vicar in Taunton, Somerset, and in the same year married his cousin, Theodosia. His ministry in Taunton was very fruitful until his ejection in 1662, but he continued to preach at every opportunity. His health was affected by the privations of two confinements in prison, and he died at the age of thirty-four.
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Alleine begins with an in-depth definition of conversion; what it is and what it is not. This is most necessary considering a common misunderstanding of conversion that consists in the exercise of faith only without repentance, or too much emphasis on the former while neglecting the latter. The heart surgery happens primarily in the chapter where he lists the marks and the miseries of the unconverted. Two groups bearing the marks are considered here; the first being those displaying their state blatantly and the other invisibly, or as Alleine puts it, "some of the unconverted carry their marks in their forehead more openly, and some in the hands more covertly" (p. 69). He then lists what these "marks on the forehead" are (p.70-72) and what the hidden marks of the unregenerate are (p. 73-77). This section is perhaps the most important part of the book, equally important to the gospel call (p.100-129) which he does so compassionately. It is natural to think that just because one considers himself or herself a Christian, there is no need to go through all this, which I believe is a dangerous mistake. 2 Pet 1:10 urges diligence to make our calling and election sure. There is a danger in carnal security and formality every believer is liable to and this is why books like this are timelessly valuable. Don't get offended when reading a gospel presentation by Puritan ministers. They tell us how bad we are for our good. Receive their warning with meekness, pay attention to it, pray and do something about it. They are in the business of saving souls. Though it is not they who save, but they do a marvelous job on this greatest task ever given to men, to warn them and direct them for their soul to be saved. Don't accuse them of being obnoxious when they urge us to examine ourselves whether we are in the faith and that without delay (2 Cor 13:5).
"...I find by sad experience that such a spirit of sloth and slumber possesses the unsanctified that, though they are convinced that they are unconverted, often they are carelessly sit still. Through the love of sensual pleasure, or the hurry of worldly business, or the noise and clamor of earthly cares and lusts and affections, the voice of conscience is drowned, and men go no further than some cold wishes and general purposes of repenting and amending" (p. 80).
Thank God for Puritan ministers. They are highly-disciplined godly men. I wish one of them, people like Joseph Alleine were my pastor and mentor. I would talk often to them, let them probe me and get as much counsel from them as possible. I cherish dearly their books and sermons and commend them unreservedly to the readers.
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This book, which is a part of the well known Puritan Paperback series from Banner of Truth is very short (160 pages), but a...Read more