“More On Heart Preparation”
1. Our text for this evening is Acts 2.37: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
2. There is a difference between the way a lost man responds to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit for his sins and the way a converted man responds to the chastisement of God for his sins.
3. Let me first address the condition of the lost man’s preparation by the Holy Spirit. The sorrow of the soul in this work of preparation occurs when the Word of God is so applied by the Spirit of God that there is left an impression upon the lost man’s heart.
4. Think of your sinful heart as being like a patient on the operating table, capable only of receiving the cuts and thrusts of the Spirit. In such a situation you have the sinner’s heart on one hand, with the Spirit of God’s overpowering force on the other hand forcing the sinner’s heart to receive the impact of God’s Word.
5. This is what gives rise to those places in the Bible where such words as “wounded,” “pierced,” “pricked,” and other such words are used, always in the passive voice, always receiving the action of the verb. And this is because the soul is being acted upon as the Lord, by His powerful Spirit, breaks in upon the sinner’s soul.
6. This sorrow of the heart’s preparation, then, is a sorrow worked on the sinner, rather than any work coming from any spiritual ability in the sinner. Envision, then, that this sorrow in the preparation of the heart for Christ comes about when the sinner is like a passive patient, wherein the sinner receives the work of the Spirit, and is forced by the Spirit to react in a certain way to the guiltiness of sin. Thus, his heart is pricked, stabbed, torn, rent, pierced through.
7. A saved man also has sorrow for sin, but it’s entirely different in source and result. You see, the Christian is the recipient of God’s saving grace, while the unconverted man is not. So the sorrow that the Christian experiences for his sin flows from a spiritual principle of grace, and from that power which the heart has already received from God’s indwelling Spirit. It comes from within instead of from outside the man.
8. Perhaps the best example of the saved man’s sorrow for sin can be found in Second Corinthians 7.8-11, where Paul responds to the Corinthians after they had been made sorrowful by his stern rebukes in First Corinthians:
8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
9. This kind of sorrowing for sin is a part of that process called sanctification, which comes after justification (when the sinner comes to Christ), after the soul has received saving faith and saving grace. This happens only in the heart that has a new power given to it, from the indwelling Holy Spirit. As we see in this passage, the Christian’s heart is able to take actions that are holy and commendable to God.
10. Sorrow in preparation, then, is a work that is brought on the sinner, and the sinner is like a patient in passively enduring it. The lost man has no spiritual power to do anything of himself, but must understand that it is the Spirit of God working on him, and that to resist such work is to grieve the Holy Spirit.
11. When we last explored this subject of the preparation of the heart I used three passages of Scripture to answer a question I had raised the week before: “Must everyone who comes to Christ be prepared in this way?” The answer to that question is “Yes,” with reasons given at that time why a sinner’s heart must be prepared for Christ.
12. Now let me take the conclusions we have reached to draw out your thinking on this subject of getting the heart prepared for Christ.
13. If a man’s sins are his god, and if a man can only serve one god, not two, then those corruptions of the heart which the man serves must of necessity be cast out to make room for God. But if the heart will not part with sin until it is weary of it, and that only comes with godly sorrow, then it is a matter of necessity that the heart must be pierced, and there must be a separation between sin and the soul before the sinner will turn from sin to Christ. Otherwise the sinner will vainly attempt to serve two masters by trying to bow down to both of them in his heart, which cannot be. Is this not evangelical Christianity, which is not real Christianity at all?
14. Some of you may say, “But this never happened to me.” I warn you, that though this preparation of the heart can take place in many different ways, it must of necessity take place. Your heart must have been somehow prepared to come to Christ, or else you are not a Christian.
15. The manner of preparing a sinner’s heart may vary from one fellow to the next. But so long as the heart is prepared to see its sinfulness and to turn from sin to Christ, so long as the heart is pricked, the sinner will then come to Christ.
16. Imagine two men being pricked in the heart, but the one is pricked with a pin, while the other is pricked with a spear. Or, two men are cut, the one being cut with a penknife, the other being cut with a sword. In like fashion the Lord deals kindly and gently with one soul, and roughly and bruisingly with another. This is how a person can be genuinely converted without realizing that her heart was pricked. She was pricked with a pin or a penknife rather than with a sword or a spear, but she was pricked. So, it is a mistake to think that some men’s hearts are pricked while others’ are not. All sinner’s hearts must be prepared for Christ.
17. Sometimes God terrifies a sinner’s spirit. When the proud resist Him He will counteract so as to make their sturdy hearts buckle under the weight of the hammer of God. However it happens with each case, there must be a clear sight of sin and the heart must be wearied with the vileness of sin, and be content to part with it. This is the end result in all who get converted.
18. But there is nothing in the Bible which demands the same extreme of all sinners as with some sinners. God is not bound to ignore that there is a difference among different sinners concerning what is required to prick their hearts and persuade them to turn from their sins.
19. Let me lay out four different cases before you as examples: First, there is the fellow who is a scandalous liver, an opposer of God and His grace. This is a fellow who has set himself against the Lord Jesus Christ, and has spoken against heaven, and openly professes himself to be an enemy to God and His truth. The second is a man who has a filthy heart, and has continued in sin for many years. He is a secret adulterer, continuing in his sexual sinning for a long time. Third, we have a lost man who has been confident in the living of a moral and upright life of Church going and propriety. Finally, there is the man God has great plans for when he gets converted. In all four of these cases God lays a heavy blow on the sinner’s heart, and commonly the nature of these types of people requires it.
20. First, when anyone has been an opposer of God and His grace, if the Lord should deal gently with him in preparing his heart for Christ, then other vile wretches will say, “He has become a Christian, though he was this way and that. Yet the Lord dealt lovingly with him. I guess that means that even though I am much the same way, I too shall do okay in the end.”
21. Don’t fool yourself. The Lord will bruise such a sinner as that, and tear his heart, and make him seek out a preacher of the type he despised to guide him to Christ. And the world will then know what it is to oppose God and to persecute His children, just like when He broke Paul’s heart and made him say, “beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it,” Galatians 1.13. The Lord will not usually show mercy to such sinners as these are in secrecy, but will make the world see their humiliation, just as the world has seen their rebellion and opposition. Openly proud, they will be openly humiliated, if they want to be converted.
22. When the Lord deals with the secret thief and the sneaking adulterer, it is likely that He will yank away his corruption and make him own up to his hidden sins. Then he will say, “These are my sins, and this heart of mine is hardened by continually doing them.” So, the Lord works in this manner with this type of sinner.
23. But what if the sinner is some fellow who was raised up in a Christian home, among godly parents, and he lived under a good Gospel preaching ministry, where he learned that you cannot go to heaven by being good and you can’t be a Christian if you won’t faithfully attend Church? If a man lived under such a ministry and generally kept his nose clean, the Lord may break his heart secretly and save this fellow without the world ever seeing it.
24. Would you like to see a Biblical example of this contrast between two types of heart preparation? Turn to Acts 16, where we will see the conversion of Lydia and the conversion of the Philippian jailor. Though Lydia was a sinful woman, God opened her eyes and melted her heart kindly. Acts 16.14: “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
25. The jailor, on the other hand, was an outrageous, rebellious wretch. When Paul and Silas were arrested and committed to prison, he laid them up in stocks and thrust them into the inner prison. Much work was required to bring this man home. While Paul and Silas were singing psalms there came an earthquake which made the prison doors fly open and the prisoner’s shackles fall off, but the jailer’s heart still would not shake. At last the Lord shook his heart, too, and he came trembling, and was ready to commit suicide, because he thought the prisoners had fled. But Paul yelled to him, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.” At that point he brought them out and, trembling, fell down before them and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30.
26. I conclude with these remarks: All sinners are naturally locked up in their unbelief. When the Lord opens hearts, it’s like each heart is a lock, with some locks that are fresh and new and well oiled, being easier to open, and other hearts like locks that are old and rusty and dry, having to be opened with a great deal of force. So it is with some men’s hearts.
27. Sin prevails over the hearts of moral men, and they are full of pride. Yet their hearts are kept clear from rusting by God’s restraining grace. The Lord will draw that man by the key of His Spirit, and will kindly withdraw him from his sin.
28. But if a man has been an old rusty drunkard, or an adulterer, or an openly profane man, no key is going to open his heart. It’ll really take something to do the deed with this kind of fellow. More than a word here and there is required to break his heart. What this one needs is for the Lord to break open the door by a strong hand, by awakening his conscience, and breaking him so much that it’s known to one and all.
29. In the Bible unsaved men’s hearts are likened to stone. Some stone is soft, and you can crush it to pieces with your hands. Other kinds of stone are hard, like flint, and it takes many blows before they will break. So it is with the heart. When a sinner’s heart has not been melted and softened by humility, the Lord must break it open by force.
30. The same comparison can be made with a tree, where some branches are young and smooth, without knots, and some are old ones, and full of knots. You can come every day and give a little cut at the tender branch until, at last, it will come off fairly easily. That’s one sinner come to Christ. But you can’t cut down an old tree with a pocket knife. With an old, grizzled tree you will need an ax, swung hard and true, making enough noise for the whole town to hear, to bring that tree down. That’s what it takes for a profligate sinner to be converted.
31. Every sinner comes up from the same root, which is Adam’s rebellion. But some are young, and have not yet grown knotty from a lifetime of rebellion. Every Sunday during the sermons the Lord gives a cut at him by His wisdom, and by His threatenings, and by His promises. At last, the tender branch falls off, and the sinner is content to part with his sins, and to rest upon Christ for mercy.
32. Another, however, is a sturdy, vile wretch; a fornicator whose heart is blinded in sin. For this fellow to be converted God will have to come at him with a strong hand, and with His book of the Law. God must lay into his soul, blow after blow, until at last he begins to forsake his wickedness. How can you tell when such a man is turned, that the Lord has brought him home? He seeks the council of the preacher of the Gospel for direction, and he goes to God’s people instead of the devil’s people for comfort. If the fornicator doesn’t seek the council of the preacher or comfort from the genuinely converted then it’s not likely he ever got truly converted.
33. One last comment before brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song. When God works gently to prepare a sinner for Christ, it may be that he is hardly aware of what God has done to prepare him. It is certain, however, that wherever Christ is, there preparation was. If ever a man gets saved, Christ has first made him see his lost estate.
34. Do you want to see a Christian who walks with more care and conscience, and has more comfort coming to him, and gives more glory to God, than most Christians? It will be that sinner whose heart was soundly broken, whose soul was run through with sorrow. So, if you want to be converted and to forever be strong in the Christian faith, then work hard to see your sin. Because once you are deceived in this matter, it is questionable whether you will ever recover.
35. Brother Isenberger now comes as we stand to sing before this evening’s sermon.
1. This will be the last sermon I expect to preach to some of you. Tuesday night I will deliver a message at the watch night service, and I will continue to preach to those I am presently seeking to guide to Christ, but I think I have a clear conscience about praying for and knotting my gut up for those of you who continue in your stubborn defiance and refusal to admit your condition and face up to the reality that you are lost.
2. Though I love each and every person here, at some point in my ministry I have to move on. And from this point on I am reluctantly directing my attention outward, in at attempt to save this Church. I and those in this Church who are converted, who are the ones who will follow my lead, will alter forever the course and direction of this congregation from being an inward and introspective congregation to an outward looking evangelistic Church. We will always have time for you, but we will no longer seek you out.
3. See us no longer as a group gathered around a camp fire in the cold, huddled together against the cold, turned inward with our hands toward the warmth of the flames. Rather, look at us now as a congregation gathered around a camp fire in the cold, huddled together against the cold, but turned outward with our hands toward the warmth of the flames.
4 Why the change in orientation? Our concern is for others, not exclusively ourselves. Our future is others, and this Church will die if we keep our inwardly directed orientation. And we will leave you behind, as the thrust of this ministry changes from the feeling that the Christian home and family unit is the end and the goal, to the reality that the Christian home and family unit is a means to the end of a vibrant and outwardly directed Church that is committed to bringing the lost to Christ.
5. We can only focus on reaching unsaved Church people for so long. At some point we simply must redirect our efforts, refocus our prayers, overhaul the essential thrust of the sermons. So, this will be the last sermon prepared for some of you. After tonight you will just have to be content with the scraps that fall from the table that is prepared for others.
6. In one, final, attempt to dislodge you from your insistence that you are converted, when those who know you best think you are not, and when God knows you are not, let me quickly rehearse to you Joseph’s Alleine’s marks of the unconverted.
1A. ALLEINE FIRST LISTS THOSE PROFANE WHO ARE OBVIOUSLY KNOWN TO BE LOST
1B. First, The unclean.
2B. Next, The covetous. These are ever branded for idolaters, and the doors of the kingdom are shut against them by name.
3B. Third, Drunkards. (Galatians 5.21: “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”).
4B. Fourth, Liars. (Revelation 21.8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”)
5B. Fifth, Swearers. (James 5.12: “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”).
6B. Sixth, Railers and backbiters. (Psalm 15.1, 3: “LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? . . . He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”).
7B. Seventh, Thieves, extortioners, oppressors, that grind the poor, or defraud their brethren when they have opportunity. These must know that God is the avenger of all such (1 Thessalonians 4.6: “That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”).
8B. Eighth, All that do ordinarily live in the profane neglect of God’s worship, that do not hear His Word, that do not call on His name, that restrain prayer before God, that do not mind their own nor their families’ souls, but live without God in the world.
9B. Ninth, Frequenters and lovers of vain company. God has declared that He will be the destroyer of all such, and that they shall never enter into the hill of His rest (Proverbs 9.6: “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding,” and 13.20: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”).
10B. Tenth, Scoffers at religion, that make a scorn of precise living, and mock at the messengers and diligent servants of the Lord, and at their holy profession, and make themselves merry with the weakness and failings of professing Christians. “Hear, ye despisers,” hear your dreadful doom (Proverbs 19.29: “Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”; 2 Chronicles 36.16: “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”).
2A. ALLEINE THEN LISTS THOSE WHO ARE JUST AS LOST, ONLY LESS OBVIOUSLY SO, BECAUSE THEY ARE SELF-DECEIVED HYPOCRITES
How are they to be identified? By these characteristics:
1B. First, Gross willful ignorance (Hosea 4.6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”). O how many poor souls does this sin kill in the dark, while they think verily they have good hearts, and are all set for heaven. This is the murderer that dispatches thousands in a silent manner, 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 (2 Thessalonians 1.8: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”; 2 Corinthians 4.3: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”).
2B. Next, Secret reserves in closing with Christ. To forsake all for Christ, to hate father and mother, yea, a man’s own life for Him, “This is a hard saying” (Luke14.26). Some will do much, but they will not have the religion that will save them. They never come to be entirely devoted to Christ, nor to be fully resigned to Him. They must have the sweet sin; they mean to do themselves no harm; they have secret exceptions for life, liberty, or estate. 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 (Luke 14.28-33: “28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”).
3B. Third, Formality in religion. Many rest in the outside of religion and in the external performance of holy duties. They hear, they fast, they pray, they give alms, and therefore will not believe but their case is good. Whereas, resting in the work done, and coming short of the heart-work and the inward power and vitality of religion, they fall at last into the burning fire of Hell, from the flattering hope and confident persuasion of their being all set on the way to heaven. Oh dreadful case, when a man’s religion shall serve only to harden him, and effectually to delude and deceive his own soul!
4B. Fourth, 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.
5B. Fifth, Trusting in their own righteousness. This is a soul-ruining mischief. When men trust in their own righteousness they do indeed reject Christ’s. Beloved, you need to be watchful on every hand, for not only your sins, but your duties may undo you. It may be you never thought of this; but so it is, that a man may as certainly perish by his seeming righteousness and supposed graces as by gross sins. When you have done most and best, be sure to go out of yourselves to Christ; reckon your own righteousness as filthy rags (Philippians 3.9: “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”; Isaiah 64.6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”).
6B. Sixth, A secret enmity against the strictness of religion. Many moral persons, punctilious in their formal devotions, have yet a bitter enmity against strictness, and hate the life and power of religion. They do not like that men should make such a stir in religion. They condemn the strictness of religion. These men do not love holiness as holiness, and therefore are undoubtedly rotten at heart, whatever good opinion they have of themselves.
7B. Seventh, 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 (Philippians 3.13: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”; Proverbs 4.18: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”).
8B. Eighth, The predominant love of the world. This is the sure evidence of an unsanctified heart. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2.15). But how often does this sin lurk under the fair cover of forward profession. 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 pretenses for his eagerness after the world, that he blinds his own eyes and perishes in his self-deceit. How many professing Christians are there with whom the world has more of their hearts and affections than Christ, “who mind earthly things”, and thereby are evidently after the flesh, and likely to end in destruction (Romans 8.5: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”; Philippians 3.19: “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”). Yet ask these men, and they will tell you confidently they prize Christ above all; for they do not see their own earthly-mindedness for want of a strict observance of the workings of their own hearts. Did they but carefully search, they would quickly find that their greatest satisfaction is in the world, and that their greatest care and main endeavor are to get and secure the world, which are the certain signs of an unconverted sinner. May the professing part of the world take earnest heed lest they perish by the hand of this sin unobserved. Men may be, and often are, kept off from Christ as effectually by the inordinate love of lawful comforts, as by the most unlawful courses.
9B. Ninth, Reigning malice and envy against those that disrespect them, and are injurious to them. Oh how do many that seem to be religious, remember injuries and carry grudges, rendering evil for evil, loving to take revenge, wishing evil to them that wrong them. This is directly against the rule of the Gospel, the pattern of Christ, and the nature of God.
10B. Tenth, Unmortified pride. When men love the praise of men more than the praise of God, and set their hearts upon men’s esteem, applause, and approbation, it is most certain that they are yet in their sins, and strangers to true conversion (John 12.43: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”; Galatians 1.10: “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”).
11B. Eleventh, The prevailing love of pleasure. This is a black mark. 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 senses; whatever appearances they may have of religion, all is unsound. A flesh-pleasing life cannot be pleasing to God. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh,” (Galatians 5.24) and are careful to keep it under as their enemy (1 Corinthians 9.25-27: “25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”).
12B. Twelfth, Carnal security, or a presumptuous confidence that their condition is already good. Many cry, Peace and safety, when sudden destruction is coming upon them. This was that which kept the foolish virgins sleeping when they should have been working -- upon their beds when they should have been at the markets. They did not perceive their lack of oil till the bridegroom was come; and while they went to buy, the door was shut. And oh that these foolish virgins had no successors! Where is the place, yea, where is the house almost, where these do not dwell? Men are willing to cherish in themselves, upon ever so slight grounds, a hope that their condition is good, and so are not concerned about a change, and by these means perish in their sins. 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? If not, fear this peace more than any trouble; and know that a carnal peace commonly proves the most mortal enemy of the soul, and whilst it smiles and kisses and speaks fairly, it fatally smites, as it were, under the fifth rib.
1. Alleine then writes, “By this time I think I hear my readers crying out, with the disciples, “Who then shall be saved?” Set out from our congregations all those ten ranks of the profane on the one hand, and then take out all these twelve classes of self-deceiving hypocrites on the other hand, and tell me whether it is not a remnant that shall be saved.”
2. “How few will be the sheep that shall be left, when all these shall be separated and set among the goats. For my part, of all my numerous hearers, I have no hope to see any of them in heaven that are to be found among these twenty-two classes that are here mentioned, except by sound conversion they are brought into another condition.”
3. “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. Do not let sense bribe you, or self-love or carnal prejudice blind you. I summon you from the court of heaven to come and give evidence.”
4. “How long shall this soul live in uncertainty? O conscience, bring in your verdict. Is this man a new man, or is he not? How do you find it? Has there passed a thorough and mighty change upon him, or not? When was the time, where was the place, or what were the means by which this thorough change of the new birth was wrought in his soul? Speak, conscience. Or if you cannot tell the time and place, can you show Scripture evidence that the work is done? Has the man ever been taken off from his false foundation, from the false hopes and false peace in which once he trusted? Has he been deeply convinced of sin, and of his lost and undone condition, and brought out of himself, and off from his sins, to give himself up entirely to Jesus Christ?”
5. “Beloved, do not be your own betrayers. Do not deceive your own hearts. Make a mistake here, and you perish. Satan is a master of deceit. There is nothing which he cannot imitate. You cannot wish for any grace, but he can fit you with a counterfeit. Trust not even your own heart. Go to God to search you and try you. Consult some godly and faithful minister or Christian friend. Do not rest till you have put the business of your eternal welfare out of doubt.”
 Jeremiah 23.29
 Joseph Alleine, An Alarm To The Unconverted, (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1959), pages 44-53.