The Sincere Convert by Thomas Shepard

Available in ePub and .mobi formats

The knowledge of divinity is necessary for all sorts of men - both to settle and establish the good, and to convert and fetch in the bad. God's principles pull down Satan's false principles set up in man's head, loved and believed with men's hearts, and defended by their tongues. Whilst strongholds remain unshaken, the Lord Jesus is kept off from conquering of the soul.

Now, spiritual truths are either such as tend to enlarge the understanding, or such as may work chiefly upon the affections. I pass by (in this knowing age) the first of these, and, being among a people whose hearts are hard enough, I begin with the latter sort; for the understanding, although it may literally, yet it never savingly, entertains any truth, until the affections be herewith smitten and wrought upon.

I shall, therefore, here prosecute the unfolding of these divine principles: -

First, that there is one most glorious God.
Secondly, that this God made all mankind at first in Adam in a most glorious estate.
Thirdly, that all mankind is now fallen from that estate into a bottomless gulf of sin and misery.
Fourthly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only means of redemption of this estate.
Fifthly, that those that are saved out of this woeful estate by Christ are very few, and that these few are saved with much difficulty*.

Sixthly, that the greatest cause why so many die and perish in this estate is from themselves: either, -

1. By reason of their bloody ignorance, they know not their misery; or, -
2. By reason of their carnal security, they feel not, they groan not under their sin and misery.
3. By reason of their carnal confidence, they seek to help themselves out of their misery by their own duties, when they see or feel it; or, -
4. By reason of their false faith, whereby they catch hold upon, and trust unto, the merits of Christ too soon, when they see and feel they cannot help themselves.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

To the Christian Reader

Introduction

CHAPTER 1

There is a God, and this God is most glorious

Four grounds to prove there is a God

Objections answered

God most glorious in his essence

God most glorious in his attributes

Attributes of God stated and explained

God glorious in his person

God glorious in his works

CHAPTER 2

God made all mankind at first in a most glorious and happy state, like unto himself

The image of God in man appeared in four particulars, in his understanding, in his affections, in his will, and in his life

Horrible nature of Adam's sin, and the occasion every man has to lament his fallen state

The subject speaks comfort to God's people

The subject reproves such as are ashamed of holiness

The subject reproves such as hate holiness

The subject reproves such as are contented with a certain measure of holiness

Three rules to get the image of God renewed

CHAPTER 3

All mankind fallen by sin into a most woful and miserable condition

Man's misery by the fall, in regard to sin and its consequences

The best of actions of unrenewed men are sinful

Objection answered

Man's present misery in regard to the consequences of sin in seven particulars

Future misery in consequence of sin

A general judgment proved

How the judgment shall be

The wrath of God, what?

CHAPTER 4

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only means of redemption and deliverance

How Christ redeemeth men shown in four particulars

Christ is offered to all

Four sorts of people that reject Christ

Rejecting Christ a dangerous sin in five respects

The danger of security

CHAPTER 5

Those that are saved are few, and are saved with much difficulty

The small number of true believers in all places

A use of exhortation to all

Objections and pleas answered

Unregenerate men live in some known sin, and are never poor in spirit

Those that are saved, saved with difficulty

Four strait gates described

Nine easy ways to heaven, all which lead to hell

CHAPTER 6

The cause of man's eternal ruin is from himself

The ways in which men ruin themselves --- by ignorance

Two sorts of people ignorant of their misery

False principles by which men are deceived

Seven distempers in the mind whereby men are deceived

Mistaking some light sorrow for sin for true repentance

Mistaking compunctions of conscience for striving against sin

Mistaking the exercises of the heart

How false peace is bred in the soul

By Satan, in five ways

By false teachers

By a false spirit, five several ways

By a false application of the true promises

Corruptions and distempers of the will, the cause of self-deception, three ways

Carnal security is another reason of man's ruin

Reasons of this security seen in ten particulars

An exhortation to awake out of security

Instructions how to get a broken heart

Carnal confidence is another reason of man's ruin

Carnal confidence seen in their resting in duties shown in ten particulars

Why men rest in their duties, four reasons

Signs of a man's resting in his duties, six particulars

The insufficiency of all duties to save man

The end of our good duties

Presumption or false faith another way of man's ruin

 

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