Friends as I begin this endeavor today I have a sweet joy of anticipation and excitement. The more I’ve studied the words of this incredible man the more I see the beauty of God that gifts those whom He chooses to perform His good pleasures. Joseph Alleine is a man that had a passion for winning souls. I hope his words will profoundly affect you as they have me. I will once again encourage you to join with me if you have not. Here is the link A Sure Guide to Heaven
As I began reading about Joseph Alleine, I’m immediately struck by God’s promises to parents that raise their children in fear and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), that it produces fruit and righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:24-25). Alleine had a passion for God’s Word from a very young age. Being born and raised in a Puritan family he desired to pursue a life of ministry.
Alleine’s years at Oxford were characterized by piety and diligent study. His warm disposition found him many friends, but if their visits interrupted his studying time ‘he had no leasure to let them in, saying, “It is better that they should wonder at my rudeness than that I should lose my time; for only a few will take notice of the rudeness, but many may feel my loss of time.”’ As a chaplain he labored to evangelize country villages around Oxford and also preached ot the prisoners in the gaol every fortnight. Such was his training for this future ministry. Not yet twenty-one, he had already learned to be ‘infinitely and insatiably greedy for the conversion of souls and to this end he poured out his very heart in prayer and in preaching’. Page 8
In a day when most Christians spend little time in prayer and little time in study of the word, Alleine was ravenous for the study of God’s Word and the conversion of souls.
When the week began he would say, ‘Another week is now before us, let us spend this week for God’, and each morning, ‘Now let us live this one day well!’ ‘All the time of his health’, writes his wife, ‘he did rise constantly at or before four o’clock, and on the Sabbath sooner, if he did wake; he would be much troubled if he heard any smiths, or shoemakers, or such tradesmen, at work at their trades before he was in his duties with God; saying to me after, “O how this noise shames me! doth not my master deserve more than theirs?” From four till eight he spent in prayer, holy contemplation, and signing of psalms, which he much delighted in, and did daily practice alone, as well as in his family.’ (Page 8 and 9)
A Sure Guide to Heaven has influenced many of the greatest evangelists of all of time including George Whitefield and Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Speaking of Spurgeon; when he was a child, his mother would often read a piece of Allein’s Alarm to them as they sat round the fire on a Sunday evening, and when brought under conviction of sin it was to this old book he turned. ‘I remember’, he writes, ‘when I used to awake in the morning, the first thing I took up was Alleine’s Alarm or Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted. (Page 11)
Introduction – An earnest invitation to sinners to turn to God
We can grasp Alleine’s passion for winning souls in his opening call to his readers.
But from where shall I fetch my argument? With what shall I win them? O that I could tell! I would write to them in tears, I would weep out every argument, I would empty my veins for ink, I would petition them on my knees. O how thankful should I be if they would be prevailed with to repent and turn. (Page 15)
He quickly turns to the gospel for the answer to his question.
There is no entering into heaven but by the strait passage of the second birth; without holiness you shall never see God (Heb xii 14). Therefore give yourselves unto the Lord now. Set yourselves to seek Him now. Set up the Lord Jesus in your hearts, and set Him up in your houses….
I am not playing the orator to make a learned speech to you, nor dressing the dish with eloquence in order to please you. These lines are upon a weighty errand indeed – to convince, and convert, and save you. I am not baiting my hook with rhetoric, nor fishing for your applause, but for your souls. My work is not to please you, but to save you; nor is my business with your fancies, but with your hearts….
…if we cannot get your consent to arise and come away, you will perish for ever. No conversion – no salvation! I must get your good-will, or leave you miserable. (Page 16 & 17)
In this day of ear tickling, man centered, feel good gospel Alleine quickly gets to the point. He had no interest in whether they liked the message or not, only to plead with them and to diligently show them the truth. Without conversion there is no salvation, a message which desperately needs to be heard today just as it needed to be heard in his day.
What is biblical conversion?
Some of you do not know what I mean by conversion, and in vain shall I attempt to persuade you to that which you do not understand. Therefore for your sakes I will show what conversion is.
Others cherish secret hopes of mercy, though they continue as they are. For them I must show the necessity of conversion.
Others are likely to harden themselves with a vain conceit that they are converted already. To them I must show the marks of the unconverted.
Others, because they feel no harm, fear none, and so sleep as upon the mast. To them I shall show the misery of the unconverted.
Others still sit still, because they do not see the way of escape. To them I shall show the means of conversion.
And finally, for the quickening of all, I shall close with the motives to conversion.
If this is a new concept for you, I plead with you to continue in this exploration with me and let’s understand this thing called the second birth and biblical conversion, if you are saved or if you think you are saved I urge you to look critically at your own life and examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Is there anything that could possibly matter more?