A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 8 – Conclusion

I cannot properly express the privilege it has been to present the work of Joseph Alleine on this blog.  This is not a book that you would most likely put on your must read list.  I want to encourage all to present this book to the leadership of your church and challenge them to preach this from the pulpit or at least talk about it.  Encourage everyone you know to read it including your leadership.  I believe God will use this to reveal many deceptions among those that think they are right with God, but are not.

In an age where most churches feel the need to be relevant and courageous, biblical teaching on conversion and repentance is no longer en vogue, the greatest mission field today is sitting within the walls of “churches”.  The greatest challenge in evangelism today comes from those that profess Christ.  The preaching is watered down, so not to offend, and the gospel is compromised to keep the unregenerate in the seats.  This should not be the case.  I urge you friends to challenge them; it just might have them understand their desperate situation.


Do you remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when they make it into the room where the chalice of Christ is located?  They must choose which cup and drink from the water to give them eternal life?  What an interesting representation of our lives.  We must choose wisely and live or choose foolishly and perish.  The cross stands before us today to look to it and be saved or stay in our sin and die.


In the conclusion of A Sure Guide to Heaven, Joseph Alleine makes his final appeal to turn to Christ and live.

And now, beloved, let me know your mind.  What do you intend to do?  Will you go on and die, or will you turn and lay hold on eternal life?  How long will you linger in Sodom?  How long will you halt between two opinions?  Have you not yet resolved whether Christ or Barabbas, whether bliss or torment, whether this vain and wretched world, or the paradise of God, be the better choice?

How long will you rest in idle wishes and fruitless purposes?  When will you come to a fixed, firm, and full resolve?  Do you not see how Satan cheats you by tempting you to delay?  How long has he drawn you on in the way of perdition!

Well, do not put me off with a dilatory answer; tell me not later.  I must have your immediate consent.  If you are not now resolved, while the Lord is treating with you and inviting you, much less likely are you to be later, when these impressions are worn off, and you are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Page 141

Remember, you are now upon your good behaviour [sic] for everlasting; if you do not make a wise choice now, you are undone for ever [sic].  What your present choice is, such must be your eternal condition. Page 142

Hear, O ye drunkards, how long will you be drunk?  Put away your wine.  Though you have rolled in filthiness of your sin, give yourselves unto Christ, to live soberly, righteously, and godly; embrace His righteousness; accept His government; and though you have been vile, He will wash you (Rev i 5). Page 146

And now bear witness that mercy has been offered you. ‘I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that you may live’ (Deut xxx 19).  I can only entreat you and warn you.  I cannot otherwise compel you to be happy; if I could, I would.  What answer will you send me with to my Master?

If you are not the despisers of grace, and would not shut the doors of mercy against yourselves, repent and be converted. Page 147

Alleine leaves us with the answer.  Repent and be converted.

How simple… how easy…

But why is this impossible for the hardened human heart? The call is clear.  Man is responsible for his failure to receive Christ.  If you don’t turn and live you will die in your sins and trespasses.  Today I appeal to your conscience, turn and live.

If you are a Believer, preach the word!


A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 7 – The motives to conversion


This is my last full length article on A Sure Guide to Heaven.  I will wrap up next week with the conclusion.  This is a fascinating work and one that will benefit all that put the energy into reading it.

What motivates you?

A motive as defined by Merriam-Webster is something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.

Are you motivated by money, prestige, and respect, what gets you excited, what really trips your trigger?  Are you motivated by the things of the world, or are you motivated to rid yourself of your bondage to sin?  Are you motivated to win souls to Jesus Christ?

The things that motivate you define who you are.

Believer how do you see people?  They are either a redeemed child of the King or someone headed to hell for eternal punishment.  Do we have compassion for them?  Do we desire for them to know the glories of being a follower of Jesus Christ?  I hope you are stirred to speak and share the good news, it might be the only chance they have.

The motives to conversion

Men and brethren, heaven and earth call upon you; yea, hell itself preaches the doctrine of repentance unto you.  The ministers of the churches labour for you.  The angels of heaven wait for you, for your repenting and turning unto God.  O sinner, why should devils laugh at your destruction, and deride your misery, and sport themselves with your folly?  This will be your case, except you turn. Page 130

O rock! O adamant! What, not moved yet?  Not yet resolved to turn forthwith and to close with mercy?  I will try yet once again.  If one were sent to you from the dead, would you be persuaded?  Why, hear the voice from the dead, from the damned, crying to you that you should repent: ‘I pray thee that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house; for I have five brethren; that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment; if one went to them from the dead, they will repent’ (Lk xvi 27-28).  Hear, O man; your predecessors in impenitence preach to you from the infernal flames, that you should repent.

O lay your ear to the door of hell.  Do you hear the curses and blasphemies, the weepings and wailings, how they lament their follies and curse their day?  How do they roar and gnash their teeth! How deep their groans! How inconceivable their miseries!

And of their moans and miseries this is the piercing, killing emphasis and burden, ‘For ever! For ever!’ Page 132

1: The God that made you most graciously invites you

His most sweet and merciful nature invites you.  O the kindness of God, His boundless compassion, His tender mercies!  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts. ‘He is full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy’ (Ps lxxxvi 15).

Sinners do not fail in that they have too high thoughts of God’s mercies, but in that they overlook His justice, or they promise themselves mercy out of God’s way.

Are you willing to come in? Page 133

O melting, gracious words: the voice of God, and not of a man!  This is not the manner of men, for the offended sovereign to sue to the offending, traitorous rebel.  O how does mercy follow you, and plead with you!  Is not our heart broken yet?  O that today you would hear His voice! Page 134

2: The doors of heaven are thrown open to you

Let me say to you, as Paul to Agrippa, ‘Believest thou the prophets?’

O ye sons of folly, will you embrace the dunghill and refuse the kingdom? Page 135

3: God will give you unspeakable privileges in this life

He will give you grace and glory, and withhold no good thing from you.  He will take you for His sons and daughters, and make you heirs of His promises, and establish His everlasting covenant with you  He will justify you from all that law, conscience and Satan can charge upon you.  He will give you free access into His presence, and accept your person, and receive your prayers. Page 137

4: The terms of mercy are brought as low as possible to you

God has stooped as low to sinner as with honour He can.  He will not be the author of sin, nor stain the glory of His holiness; and how could He come lower than He has, unless He should do this?

He declares Himself to have received a ransom, and that He expects nothing but that you should accept His son, and He shall be righteousness and redemption to you.  If you come in His Christ, and set your heart to please Him, making this your chief concern, He will graciously accept you. Page 138

O sinner, return and live; why should you die when life is to be had for the taking, when mercy entreats you to be saved? Page 139

5: God offers all needed grace to enable you

God commands you to know Him, and to fear Him.  Do you say, ‘Yes but my mind is blinded, and my heart is hardened from His fear?’  I answer that God offers to enlighten your mind, and to teach you His fear.

God invites you to be made clean, and entreats you to yield to Him.  O accept His offers, and let Him do for you, and in you, what you cannot do for yourselves. Page 140

My dear friends I hope that today you consider the powerful words of this book.  If you know Christ, share the gospel with all you can.  If you don’t know Christ, see yourself as a miserable wretch and know He is your only hope.  Turn and live.


A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 6 – Directions to the unconverted


I finished my prep work this afternoon before starting to write and I sent my cousin a text message “A Sure Guide to Heaven should be required reading for anyone that thinks they know Christ.”  What else could I say, why won’t the places that call themselves churches preach like this anymore?

Do they teach like this?

Do people understand their wretchedness to a Holy God?  Would they require this book in the newcomer orientation classes?  I almost laugh myself silly when I think about the pizza, Pepsi and “oh here you go, we want you to read this book…”  “Say what?”

As I was reading the sixth chapter and attempting to digest the truth pouring off the pages my head was swimming, am I really saved?  And I believe that I’m saved…  I can still remember how I felt when I came to the realization I’d been a false convert my whole adult life.  What should I do?  Can it be true, have I really just been saved?  Did God really show me my sin?  What else could I do, but fall to my knees and praise Him for His grace and mercy.

To my dear friends and readers, if this study has not made an impact on you, there is something wrong and I hope you will examine yourself in that light.

You’ve either taken my admonishment to read this book or you haven’t and I’ve either inspired you to want to read it or I’ve lost you by now, so if you have stuck with me, I praise God for your diligence and I trust you have been blessed.

Directions to the unconverted

Before you read these directions, I advise you, yea, I charge you before God and His holy angels, that you resolve to follow them, as far as conscience shall be convinced of their agreeableness to God’s Word and your state; and call in  His assistance and blessing that they may succeed. Page 100

Again Ailleen appeals to God’s Word as the source of truth as he lays out sixteen directives for the unconverted.

1: Set it down with yourself as an undoubted truth, that it is impossible for you ever to get to heaven in this your unconverted state

Can any other but Christ save you? And He tells you He will never do it except you be regenerated and converted. Page 101

2: Labour to get a thorough sight and lively sense and feeling of your sins

Till men are weary and heavy laden, and pricked at the heart, and quite sick of sin, they will not come to Christ for cure, nor sincerely enquire, ‘What shall we do?’ Page 101

The loathsome carcase does not more hatefully swarm with crawling maggots, than an unsanctified soul with filthy lusts.  They fill the head, the heart, the eyes and mouth of him.  Look backward; where was ever the place, what was ever the time, in which you did not sin? Page 102

The least sinful word or thought lays you under the infinite wrath of God. Page 103

3: Strive to affect your heart with a deep sense of your present misery

Read over the previous chapter again and again, and get it out of the book into your heart. [emphasis mine]  Remember when you lie down, that for all you know, you may awake in flames; and when you rise up, that by the next night you may make your bed in hell. Page 105

4: Settle it in your heart that you must look out of yourself and away from your own doings for help

Do not think your praying, reading, hearing, confessing, or amending, will effect the cure.  These must be attended to, but you are undone if you rest in them.  You are a lost man if you hope to escape drowning on any other plank but Jesus Christ. Page 106

5: Henceforth renounce all your sins

If you yield yourself to the practice of any sin, you are undone.  In vain do you hope for life by Christ, except you depart from iniquity.  Forsake your sins, or you cannot find mercy.  You cannot be married to Christ except you be divorced from sin.

Your sins must die, or you must die for them. Page 107

6: Make a solemn choice of God for your portion and blessedness

Take up your rest in God.   Sit down under His shadow.  Let His promises and perfections turn the scale against all the world.

Poor sinner, you have fallen off from God, and have engaged His power and wrath against you; yet know, that of His abundant grace He offers to be your God again in Christ. Page 108 & 109

7: Accept the Lord Jesus in all His offices as yours

Sinner, you have undone yourself, and are plunged into the ditch of most deplorable misery, out of which you are never able to escape; but Jesus Christ is able and ready to help you, and He freely tenders Himself to you.

The Lord Jesus calls you to look to Him and be saved.

I tell you, nothing can undo you but your own unwillingness.  Speak, man; will you give your consent? Page 113

8: Resign all your powers and faculties, and your whole interest to be His

In a word, you must give Him yourself, and all that you have without reservation, or else you can have no part in Him. Page 115

9: Choose the laws of Christ as the rule of your words, thoughts and actions

This is the true convert’s choice.  …there is no getting to heaven by a partial obedience.  It is not enough to take up the cheap and easy part of religion, and let alone the duties that are costly and self-denying, and oppose the interests of the flesh; you must take all or none. Page 115

10: Let all this be completed in a solemn covenant between God and your soul

Set apart some time, more than once, to be spent in secret before the Lord – in seeking earnestly His special assistance and gracious acceptance of you – in searching your heart, whether you are sincerely willing to forsake all your sins, and to resign yourself, body and soul, unto God and His service; to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life. Page 117

11: Take heed of delaying your conversion, but make a speedy, an immediate surrender of your heart to God

Remember and tremble at the sad instance of the foolish virgins who did not come till the door of mercy was shut, and of a convinced Felix who put off Paul to another season, but we do not find that he had another season. Page 120

12: Attend conscientiously upon the Word, as the means appointed for your conversion

Come to every sermon you hear with this thought: ‘O I hope God will now come in; I hope this day may be the time this may be the man by whom God will bring me home.’ Page 121

13: Strike in with the Spirit when He begins to work upon your heart

When He works convictions, O do not stifle them, but join in with Him, and beg the Lord to give you saving conversion.  ‘Quench not the Spirit.’  Do not reject Him, do not resist Him. Page 121

14: Set upon the constant and diligent use of serious and fervent prayer

He that neglects prayer is a profane and unsanctified sinner. Page 122

15: Forsake your evil company, and forbear the occasions of sin

You will never be turned from sin till you decline and forego the temptations of sin.

And, of all temptations, one of the most fatal and pernicious is evil companions. Page 122 & 123

16: Set apart a day to humble your soul in secret by fasting and prayer, to work a sense of your sins and miseries upon your heart

…so make a catalogue of your sins, and with shame and sorrow spread them before the Lord.

Thus, I have told you what you must do to be saved.  Will you now obey the voice of the Lord?  Will you arise and set to the work?  O man, what answer will you make, what excuse will you have, if you perish at last through very willfulness, when you have known the way of life? Page 124


Ah! Wretched man that I am! What a condition have I brought myself into by sin! Oh! I see my heart has deceived me all this while, in flattering me that my condition was good.  I see, I see, I am but a lost and undone man, for ever undone, unless the Lord help me out of this condition.  My sins! My sins! Lord, what an unclean, polluted wretch I am! More loathsome and odious to Thee than the most hateful venom or noisome carcase can be to me.  Oh! What a hell of sin is in this heart of mine, which I have flattered myself to be a good heart!  Lord, how universally am I corrupted, in all my parts, powers, and performances!  All the imaginations of my heart are only evil continually. Page 125

I can’t imagine most evangelical pastors standing up and giving this type of a message today.  Can you just see the place emptying before your eyes?  It would have the same effect as Jesus when he preached His sermon from John 6:32-68.  Then Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

Do you understand these are the words of eternal life?


A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 5 – The miseries of the unconverted


As I continue to study this book by Joseph Alleine, I stand in awe of the power of this man’s words.  These are not the powerful words of a man that talks because he loves the sound of his own voice.  You know the type don’t you?

This is a man that is passionate for unbelievers to see their misery.  I think of the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were pleading through us:  we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

He is pleading and begging for them to see their state of unbelief.  Do we do this with the one’s we love?  Do we do this with anyone?  If you are a believer, unbeliever, unsure or unwittingly deceived, I hope you will spend some time and contemplate these words.  Alleine does not rely on his own strength, but the power of God’s Word to convince, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering those in opposition. (2 Timothy 4:2)

So unspeakably dreadful is the case of every unconverted soul, that I have sometimes thought if I could only convince men that they are still unregenerate, the work were more than half done.  But I find by sad experienced that such a spirit of sloth and slumber possesses the sanctified that, though they are convinced that they are yet unconverted, often they carelessly sit still.  Through the love of sensual pleasure, or the hurry of worldly business, or the noise and clamour of earthly cares and lusts and affections, the voice of conscience is drowned, and men go no farther than some cold wishes and general purposes of repenting and amending.

It is therefore of high necessity that I not only convince men that they are unconverted, but that I also endeavour to bring them to a sense of the fearful misery of this state.  Page 80

But I must proceed, as I am amble, to unfold that misery which, I confess, no tongue can unfold, no heart can sufficiently comprehend.  Know therefore that while you are unconverted: Page 83

1: the infinite God is engaged against you

As much as heaven is above the earth, omnipotence above impotence, so much more terrible is it to fall into the hands of the living God, than into the paws of bears and lions, yea, furies or devils.  God Himself will be your tormentor; your destruction shall come from the presence of the Lord (2 Thess i 9). Page 84

                [1] His face is against you.  ‘The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them’ (Ps xxxiv 16)).

                [2] His heart is against you.  He hates all the workers of iniquity.  Man, does not your heart tremble to think of your being an object of God’s hatred?

                [3] All His attributes are against you.  His justice is like a flaming sword unsheathed against you.  ‘If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to mine adversaries, and will reward them that hate me;  I will make mine arrows drunk with blood’  (Deut xxxii 41-42).

So exact is justice that it will by no means clear the guilty.  God will not discharge you, He will not hold you guiltless, but will require the whole debt in person from ou, unless you can make a Scripture claim to Christ and His satisfaction.  When the enlightened sinner looks on justice, and sees the balance in which he must be weighed and the sowrd by which he must be executed, he feels an earthquake in his breast; but Satan keeps this out of sight and persuades the soul, while he can, that the Lord is all made upo of mercy, and so lulls it asleep in sin.  Divine justice is exact; it must have satisfaction to the utmost farthing.  It denounces ‘indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish to every soul that doeth evil’ (Rom ii 8-9). Page 85

The holiness of God is against you.  He is not only angry with you – so He may be with His children – but He has a fixed habitual displeasure against you.  God’s nature is infinitely contrary to sin, and so He cannot delight in a sinner out of Christ.  Page 86

He sees how you will come down mightily in a moment, how you will wring your hands, and tear your hair, and eat your flesh, and gnash your teeth for anguish and astonishment of heart, when you see you are fallen irremediably into the pit of destruction. Page 87

2: The whole creation of God is against you.

The very air would say, ‘Lord, must I give this man breath, to set his tongue against heaven, and scorn Thy people, and vent his pride and wrath, and filthy talk, and belch out oaths and blasphemy against Thee? Page 89

3: Satan has his full power over you.

Not that you intend to do him homage.  They will be ready to defy him, and him that should say so of them; but all this while they serve him, and live under his government.  ‘His servants ye are to whom ye obey’ (Rom vi 16).  O how many then will be found to be the real servants of the devil, who take themselves for no other than the children of God!

If he forbids you to read or pray, you hearken to him, and therefore his servants you are. Page 90

Do you live in the willful practice of any known sin?  Know that you are of the devil.  Do you live in strife, or envy, or malice?  Verily he is your father.  O dreadful case! Page 91

4: The guilt of all your sins lies like a mountain upon you.

However you may make light of it now, you will one day find the guilt of unpardoned sin to be a heavy burden. Page 92

5: Your raging lusts miserably enslave you.

Who would serve such a master, who work is drudgery, whose wages are death? Page 93

6: The furnace of eternal vengeance is heated ready for you.

If the burning furnace heated in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery rage, when he commanded it to be made seven times hotter, was so fierce as to burn up even those that drew near to throw the three children in, how hot is that burning of the Almighty’s fury!  Surely this is seventy times seven more fierce.

In a word, when the smoke of your torment shall ascend for ever and ever, and you shall have no rest day and night, no rest in your conscience, no ease in your bones; but you shall be an execration and astonishment, and a curse and a reproach, for evermore (Jer xliii 18)? Page 94

7: The law discharges all its threats and curses at you.

Its words are as drawn swords, and as the sharp arrows of the mighty.  It demands satisfaction to the utmost, and cries, Justice! Justice!  It speaks blood, and war, and wounds, and death, against you.

8: The gospel itself binds the sentence of eternal damnation upon you.

Hear the terror of the Lord. ‘He that believeth not shall be damned.’ ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all perish.’  ‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.’ (MK xvi 16; Lk xiii 3, Jn iii 19). Page 95 & 96

O sinners, do you make light of the wrath to come?  I am sure there is a time coming when you will not make light of it.  Why! The very devils believe and tremble.  What! are you more hardened than they?

Awake! Awake!  O sinner, arise and take your flight.  There is but one door that you may flee by, and that is the narrow door of conversion and the new birth. Page 97

If the Lord has not spoken by me, regard me not; but if it is the very word of God that all this misery lies upon you, what a state you are in! Page 98

Oh, do not then contend with God.  Repent and be converted, so none of this shall come upon you.  ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon’ (Is lv 6-7). Page 99

Friends if God does not punish unrighteousness then He is not righteous.  I find much hope in these words and I hope you do as well.  You will either be affirmed or convicted.  Humble yourself today under His mighty hand.


A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 4 – The marks of the unconverted

It is with the greatest humility I write this article today.  I’m overcome by God’s grace as I reflect on the person I was before He did the converting work in my life.  I was a wreck and by all appearances to most seemed to be together.  If you ask anyone that knows me personally I can almost be certain they will say that I’m “nice”.  I know lots of nice people in this world and just like many who are nice, that doesn’t get you to Heaven.  In fact so many are deceived in their “niceness” it’s an opiate that can condemn them to hell.   It matters little what people think of your demeanor, it matters eternally what God’s Word says about your heart.


That is why this chapter is so important.  I was the nicest guy you ever knew that was on a crash course with an eternity of misery, and the church I was attending was holding my hand as they walked me down the wide road that was leading to my destruction.  If you will humbly evaluate your life by the truth of scripture and overlay the words of Joseph Alleine God may show you the “christianity” you think you have may not be the Christianity the Lord Jesus Christ calls us to.

Please join me in this study of “The marks of the unconverted”.  I really appreciate how simply Alleine makes his case.  He is clearly a man that God has blessed to show truth and exposing the hearts of the deceived.

Few will, in words, deny the necessity of the new birth; but they have a self-deluding confidence that the work is not to be done now.  And because they know themselves to be free from that gross hypocrisy which takes up religion merely for a colour to deceive others and for covering wicked designs, they are confident of their sincerity, and do not suspect that more close hypocrisy, in which the greatest danger lies and by which a man deceives his own soul.  But man’s deceitful heart is such a matchless cheat, and self-delusion so reigning and so fatal a disease, that I do not know which is the greater, the difficulty or the necessity of the undeceiving work that I am now upon.  Page 68

This must be premised before we proceed, that it is most certain that men may have a confident persuasion that their hearts and states are good while ye they are unsound.

Who better persuaded of his state than Paul, while he yet remained unconverted? (Rom vii 9).

They that have no better proof than barely a strong persuasion that they are converted, are certainly as yet strangers to conversion.  Page 69

Can you prove your conversion?  Do you know when it happened and your testimony?  Are you certain God did a work in you?  Not your strong persuasions.

Alleine argues there are two types of unconverted, one he says carry the marks on their foreheads and some in their hands, more covertly.  I really like this analogy.  I didn’t have, open in your face, sin leading up to my salvation; I was a sneaky kind of heathen.  I could fool nearly anybody but under that surface of deceit and niceness was anger, bitterness, backbiting and on and on and on…

Those with the marks on their foreheads include what many in the days of this writing were pretty obviously sins.    Alleine is pointing to Ephesians 5:5-6, Revelation 21:8 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Today these aren’t even considered sins that would exclude you from God’s kingdom.

I want to focus my attention on those that sit in churches today and are deceived about their eternal destination.  I think this should be a primary mission field for the 21st Century.  Those, just like me, that are deceived thinking they have it all figured out but lack true conversion.  This chapter is so rich and so heavy with biblical truth I cannot fit it all into this one post, so I will condense them to primarily Alleine’s (12) points and urge you to read this chapter if you read none other in this book.

But I must tell you that there is another sort of unsanctified persons, who carry their mark not in their foreheads but more secretly and covertly.  These frequently deceive themselves and others, and pass for good Christians, when they are all the while unsound at heart.  Many pass undiscovered till death and judgment bring all to light.  These self-deceivers seem to come to heaven’s gate with confidence for their admission, and yet are turned away at last (Mt vii 22).  I beseech you deeply to lay to heart and firmly retain this awakening consideration, that multitudes perish by the hand of some secret sin, that is not only hidden from others, but from want of observing their own hearts, is hidden even from themselves.  A man may be free from open pollutions, and yet die at last by the hand of some unobserved iniquity; and there are these twelve hidden sins, through which should go down by the numbers into the chambers of eternal death.  Page 72

1. Gross willful ignorance (Hos iv 6)

… when they suspect nothing, and do not see the hand that destroys them.  You shall find, whatever excuses you make for ignorance, that it is a soul-ruining evil (Is xxvii 11, 2 Thess I 8; 2 Cor iv 3) Page 73

2. Secret reserves in closing with Christ

They never come to be entirely devoted to Christ, nor to be fully resigned to Him.    Many take Christ thus, and never consider His self-denying terms,nor count the cost; and this error in the foundation mars all, and ruins them forever (Lk xiv 28-33) Page 73

3. Formality in religion

Many rest in the outside of religion and in the external performance of holy duties. Page 73

4. The prevalence of wrong motives in holy duties

Oh how many a poor soul is undone by this, and drops into hell before he discerns his mistake!  He performs his ‘good duties’ and so thinks all is well, but does not perceive that he is actuated by carnal motives all the while. Page 73

5. Trusting in their own righteousness

This is a soul-ruining mischief.  When men trust in their own righteousness they do indeed reject Christ’s

… when a man trusts to these as his righteousness before God, for satisfying His justice, appeasing His wrath, procuring His favour, and obtaining His pardon.  This is to put Christ out of office, and make a Saviour of our own duties and graces.  Page 74 & 75

6. A secret enmity against the strictness of religion

Many moral persons, punctilious in their formal devotions, have yet a bitter enmity against strictness and zeal, and hate the life and power of religion.  They do not like forwardness, nor that men should make such a stir in religion.  They condemn the strictness of religion as singularity, indiscretion, and intemperate zeal, and with them a zealous preacher or fervent Christian is but a wild enthusiast.  These men do not love holiness as holiness (for then they would love the height of holiness), and therefore are undoubtedly rotten at heart, whatever good opinion they have of themselves.  Page 75

7. The resting in a certain degree of religion

When they have so much as will save them, as they suppose, they look no farther, and so show themselves short of true grace, which always sets men aspiring to perfection (Phil iii 13; Prov iv 18).  Page 75

8. The predominant love of the world

Yea, such a power of deceit is there in this sin that many times, when everybody else can see the man’s worldliness and covetousness, he cannot see it himself, but has so many excuses and pretences for his eagerness after the world, that he blinds his own eyes and perishes in self-deceit.   How many professing Christians are there with whom the world has more of their hearts and affections than Christ, ‘who mind earthly thing’, and thereby are evidently after the flesh, and likely to end in destruction (Rom viii 5; Phil iii 19).  Yet ask these men, and they will tell you confidently they prize Christ above all; for they do not see their own earthly-mindedness…  Page 74

… their greatest care and main endeavor are to get and secure the world, which are the certain signs of an unconverted sinner.  Page 74 & 75

9. Reigning malice and envy against those that disrespect them, and are injurious to them

Doubtless, where this evil is kept boiling in the heart, and is not hated, resisted, and mortified, but habitually prevails, that person is in the very gall of bitterness, and in a state of death (Mt xviii 32-35, 1 Jn iii 14-15).  Page 76

10. Unmortified pride

Oh how secretly does this live and reign in many hearts, and they know it not, but are very strangers to themselves (Jn ix 40). Page 76

11. The prevailing love of pleasure

When men give the flesh the liberty that it craves and pamper and please it, and do not deny and restrain it; when their great delight is in gratifying their bellies and pleasing their sense; whatever appearances they may have of religion, all is unsound.  Page 76

12. Carnal security

Or a presumptuous confidence that their condition is already good.  Many cry, ‘Peace and safety’, when sudden destruction is coming upon them. 

Are you at peace?  Show me upon what grounds your peace is maintained.  Is it Scripture peace?  Can you show the distinguishing marks of a sound believer?  Can you evidence that you have something more than any hypocrite in the world ever had?  Page 77


By this time I think I hear my readers crying out, with the disciples, ‘Who then shall be saved?’ 

How few will be the sheep that shall be left, when all these shall be separated and set among the goats

And now, conscience, do your work.  Speak out, and speak home to him that hears or reads these lines.  If you find any of these marks upon him, you must pronounce him utterly unclean.  Do not take a lie into your mouth.  Do not speak peace to him to whom God speaks no peace.  Page 78

Make a mistake here, and you perish.

Go to God to search you and try you, to examine you and prove your reins.  If other helps do not suffice to bring all to an issue, but you are still at a loss, consult some godly and faithful minister or Christian friend.  Do not rest till you have put the business of our eternal welfare out of doubt.  ‘O Searcher of hearts, set this soul searching, and help him in his search.’  Page 79

My dear friends and readers, I couldn’t possibly say this better than Alleine, but I beg you to be honest with yourself.  Repent, fall on the finished work of Christ and be saved if you are under conviction this day.  Do it now while you can.