One of the best books every penned by a man, Joseph Alleine's "Alarm to the Unconverted" is a must read for anyone wanting to know their true state before God. There is no other book so plain, thorough, Bible-or trying-as this time-honored Puritan classic.
Though the author, who lived during the 1600's, lost his life at the tender age of 34, he accomplished much in a relatively short time. The impact of his powerful evangelistic book, which unflinchingly lays out the marks of both the godly and unconverted, continues to be felt centuries after his death.
As the author points out, two of the most notable marks of the ungodly are (Trait #1) reigning malice and envy against those who disrespect them. In the words of Alleine, "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." Rather than seeking vengeance, believers should leave that work to the all-knowing judge of the earth-focusing their efforts on striving to be like Jesus and repaying evil with good. Trait #2 relates to the prevailing love of pleasure. In the words of Alleine, "when men give the flesh the liberty that it craves...when their great delight is in gratifying their bellies and pleasing their senses; whatever appearances they may have of religion, all is unsound."
Though written almost four centuries ago, "Alarm for the Unconverted" is just the medicine needed by Christians today. A heart-searching book, it should be read slowly-with much meditation. Those who read closely will understand clearly the difference between those who merely "profess" and those who actually "possess" true Christianity. The conviction of sin is just what is missing in many churches today. With the Holy Spirit to guide, this book will provide just that.
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