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How To Be Converted To Christianity By Joseph Alleine

Before learning how to be converted to Christianity, keep in mind that…….

Before you read these directions, I advise you, yes, 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. And as I have sought the Lord and consulted His oracles as to what advice to give you, so must you entertain it with that awe, reverence, and purpose of obedience, which the word of the living God requires.

Now, then, attend. ‘Set your heart unto all that I shall testify unto you this day; for it is not a vain thing—it is your life’ (Deut 32:46). This is the aim of all that has been spoken hitherto, to bring you to set your heart upon turning to God. I would not trouble you, nor torment you before the time with the thoughts of your eternal misery—but in order that you may make your escape. Were you shut up under your present misery without remedy, it were but mercy to let you alone, that you might take in that little poor comfort which you are capable of in this world; but you may yet be happy, if you do not willfully refuse the means of your recovery. Behold, I hold open the door to you; arise, take your flight. I set the way of life before you; walk in it, and you shall live, and not die. It grieves me that you should be your own murderers, and throw yourselves headlong, when God and man cry out to you, as Peter in another case to his Master, ‘Spare yourself.’

The destruction of ungodly men is willful. God has made his people out to them, as Paul to the jailer when about to murder himself, ‘Do yourself no harm.’ [Acts 16:28] The ministers of Christ forewarn them, and follow them, and would gladly have them back; but alas! no expostulations or entreaties will prevail—but men will hurl themselves into perdition, while pity itself looks on.

What shall I say? Would it not grieve a person of any humanity, if, in the time of a raging plague, he should have a remedy that would infallibly cure all the country and recover the most hopeless patients, and yet his friends and neighbors should die by hundreds around him, because they would not use it? Men and brethren, though you carry the certain symptoms of death on your faces—yet I have a prescription that will cure you all infallibly. Follow these directions, and if you do not then win heaven, I will be content to lose it.

Hear, then, O sinner, and as ever you would be converted and saved, take the following counsel.

It is impossible for you ever to get to heaven in this unconverted state.

Can any other but Christ save you? And He tells you He will never do it except you are regenerated and converted. Does He not keep the keys of heaven, and can you go in without His permission? as you must, if ever you go in your natural condition, without a sound and thorough conversion.

Labor to know, sense and feel your sins.

The conten of this segment is captured in Awareness Of Sin, Then Come To Christ By Joseph Alleine

Feel with your heart a deep sense of your misery.

Read over the previous chapter again and again, and get it out of the book into your heart. 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. Is it nothing to you to live in such a fearful state, to stand tottering on the brink of the bottomless pit; and to live at the mercy of every disease that, if it but falls upon you, will send you forthwith into the burnings? Suppose you saw a condemned wretch hanging over Nebuchadnezzar’s burning fiery furnace by nothing but a thread which was ready to break every moment, would not your heart tremble for such a one? You are the man! This is your very case, O man, woman, who reads this, if you are yet unconverted. What if the thread of your life should break—and you know not but it may be the next night, yes, the next moment—where would you be then? Where would you drop? Truly, upon the breaking of this thread, you would fall into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, where you must lie while God has a being, if you die in your present state. And does not your soul tremble as you read? Do not your tears wet the paper, and your heart throb in your bosom? Do you not yet begin to smite on your bosom, and think with yourself what need you have of a change? Oh what is your heart made of? Have you not only lost all regard to God—but all love and pity to yourself?

O study your misery until your heart cries out for Christ as earnestly as ever a drowning man did for a boat—or the wounded man for a surgeon. Men must come to see the danger and feel the smart of their deadly sores and sickness—or Christ will be to them a physician of no value. The manslayer hastens to the city of refuge, when pursued by the avenger of blood; but men must be even forced and driven out of themselves—or they will not come to Christ. It was distress and extremity that made the prodigal think of returning. While Laodicea thinks herself rich, increased in goods, in need of nothing, there is little hope. She must be deeply convinced of her wretchedness, blindness, poverty, and nakedness, before she will come to Christ for His gold, raiment, and eye salve. Therefore hold the eyes of conscience open, amplify your misery as much as possible, do not flee the sight of it for fear it should fill you with terror. The sense of your misery is but as it were the festering of the wound, which is necessary to the cure. Better now to fear the torments that await you—than to feel them hereafter.

in your heart knows that you must look beyond yourself or your 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!

You must renounce your own wisdom, your own righteousness, your own strength, and throw yourself wholly upon Christ—or you cannot escape. While men trust in themselves, and establish their own righteousness, and have confidence in the flesh, they will not come savingly to Christ. You must know your gain to be but loss, your strength but weakness, your righteousness to be but rags and rottenness, before there will be an effectual closure between Christ and you. Can the lifeless body shake off its grave-clothes, and unloose the cords of death? Then may you recover yourself, who are dead in trespasses and sins, and under an impossibility of serving your Maker acceptably in this condition.

Therefore, when you go to pray or meditate—or to do any of the duties to which you are here directed, go out of yourself, and call in the help of the Spirit, as despairing to do anything pleasing to God in your own strength. Yet do not neglect duty. While the eunuch was reading, then the Holy Spirit did send Philip to him. When the disciples were praying, when Cornelius and his friends were hearing, then the Holy Spirit fell upon and filled them all.

Then 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. Give up the traitor—or you can have no peace with heaven. Keep not Delilah in your lap. You must part with your sins—or with your soul: spare but one sin and God will not spare you. Your sins must die—or you must die for them. If you allow one sin, though but a little, a secret one, though you may plead necessity, and have a hundred shifts and excuses for it, the life of your soul must go for the life of that sin. And will it not be dearly bought?

O sinner, hear and consider. If you will part with your sins, God will give you His Christ. Is this not a fair exchange? I testify unto you this day, that if you perish, it is not because there was never a Savior provided, nor life tendered—but because, with the Jews, you prefer the murderer before the Savior, sin before Christ, and love darkness rather than light. Search your heart therefore with candles, as the Jews did their houses for leaven before the Passover. Labor to find out your sins; enter into your closet, and consider … What evil have I lived in? … What duty have I neglected towards God? … What sin have I lived in against my brother? And now strike the darts through the heart of your sin, as Joab did through Absalom’s. Do not stand looking at your sins, nor rolling the morsel under your tongue—but cast it out as poison, with fear and detestation.

Alas, what will your sins do for you that you should hesitate to part with them? They will flatter you—but they will undo you and poison you while they please you, and arm the justice and wrath of the infinite God against you. They will open hell for you, and pile up fuel to burn you. Behold the gibbet that they have prepared for you. O treat them like Haman, and do upon them the execution they would else have done upon you. Away with them, crucify them and let Christ only be Lord over you.

Make a solemn choice of God for your portion and blessedness.

The content is under another article How Do We Relate To God By Joseph Alleine

Accept the Lord Jesus in all His offices as yours.

Upon these terms Christ may be had. 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 offers Himself to you. Be your sins ever so many, ever so great—or of ever so long continuance—yet you shall be most certainly pardoned and saved, if you do not wretchedly neglect the offer that in the name of God is here made to you. The Lord Jesus calls you to look to Him and be saved. Come unto Him, and He will never cast you out. Yes, He beseeches you to be reconciled. He cries in the streets; He knocks at your door. He invites you to accept Him, and live with Him. If you die, it is because you would not come to Him for life (Isa 45:22; John 6:37; 2 Cor 5:20; Prov 1:20; Rev 3:20; John 5:40).

Accept an offered Christ now, and you are made forever. Give your consent to Him now, and the match is made; all the world cannot hinder it. Do not stand off because of your unworthiness. I tell you, nothing can undo you but your own unwillingness. Speak, man; will you give your consent? Will you have Christ in all His relations to be yours—your King, your Priest, your Prophet? Will you have Him and bear His cross? Do not take Christ without consideration—but sit down first and count the cost. Will you lay all at His feet? Will you be content to run all hazards with Him? Will you take your lot with Him, fall where it will? Will you deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him? Are you deliberately, understandingly, freely determined to cleave to Him in all times and conditions? If so, you shall never perish—but you have passed from death unto life. Here lies the main point of your salvation, that you are found in your covenant-closure with Jesus Christ; and therefore, if you love yourself, see that you be faithful to God and your soul here.

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

‘They gave their own selves unto the Lord’ (2 Cor 8:5). ‘Present your bodies a living sacrifice’ (Rom 12:1). The Lord seeks not yours—but you. Resign therefore your body with its members to Him, and your soul with all its powers, that He may be glorified in your body and in your spirit, which are His.

In a right closing with Christ all your faculties are given up to Him. Your judgment says, ‘Lord, You are worthy of all acceptance, Chief of ten thousand: happy is the man who finds You. All the things that are to be desired are not to be compared with You’ (Prov 3:13-15).

The understanding lays aside its corrupt reasonings and cavils, and its prejudices against Christ and His ways. It is now past questioning, and determines for Christ against all the world. It concludes it is good to be here, and sees such a treasure in this field, such a value in this pearl, as is worth all (Matt 13:44-46). ‘O here is the richest prize that ever man was offered; here is the most sovereign remedy that ever mercy prepared. He is worthy of my esteem, worthy of my choice, worthy of my love, worthy to be embraced, adored, admired, for evermore (Rev 5:12). I approve of His articles: His terms are righteous and reasonable, full of equity and mercy.’

Again, the will resigns. It stands no longer wavering—but is peremptorily determined: ‘Lord, Your love has overcome me, You have won me, and You shall have me. Come in, Lord; to You I freely open; I consent to be saved in Your own way. You shall have anything—nay, have all, let me have but You.

The memory gives up to Christ: ‘Lord, here is a storehouse for You: out with the trash: lay in the treasures. Let me be a repository of Your truth, Your promises, Your providences.’

The conscience comes in: ‘Lord, I will ever side with You: I will be Your faithful registrar. I will warn when the sinner is tempted, and smite when You are offended. I will witness for You, and judge for You, and guide into Your ways, and will never let sin have quiet in this soul.’ The affections also come to Christ: ‘O,’ says Love, ‘I am sick for You.’

‘O,’ says Desire, ‘now I have what I sought for. Here is the Desire of nations; here is bread for me, and balm for me: all that I want.’

Fear bows the knee with awe and veneration: ‘Welcome, Lord, to You will I pay my homage. Your Word and rod shall command my actions; You will I reverence and adore; before You will I fall down and worship.’

Grief likewise puts in: ‘Lord, Your displeasure and Your dishonor, Your people’s calamities and my own iniquities, shall be what shall set me a-weeping. I will mourn when You are offended; I will weep when Your cause is wounded.’

Anger likewise comes in for Christ: ‘Lord, nothing so enrages me as my folly against You, that I should be so besotted as to hearken to the flatteries of sin and the temptations of Satan against You.’

Hatred, too, will side with Christ: ‘I protest mortal enmity to Your enemies, that I will never be a friend to Your foes. I vow an eternal quarrel with every sin. I will give no quarter, I will make no peace.’ Thus let all your powers yield to Jesus Christ.

Again, you must give up your whole interest to Him. If there is anything that you keep back from Christ, it will be your undoing (Luke 14:33). Unless you will forsake all, in preparation and resolution of your heart, you cannot be His disciple. You must hate father and mother, yes, and your own life also, in comparison with Him, and as far as it stands in competition with Him. In a word, you must give Him yourself, and all that you have without reservation—or else you can have no part in Him.

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

This is the true convert’s choice. But here remember these three rules.

1/ You must choose them all, there is no getting to heaven by 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. A sincere convert, though he makes conscience of the greatest sins and weightiest duties—yet he makes true conscience of little sins and of all duties.

2/ You must choose Christ’s laws for all times, for prosperity and adversity. A true convert is resolved in his course; he will stand to his choice, and will not set his back to the wind, and be of the religion of the times. ‘I have stuck to your testimonies; I have inclined my heart to perform your statutes always, even to the end. Your testimonies have I taken as a heritage forever. I will have respect to your statutes continually’ (Psalm 119:31,112,117).

3/ This must be done deliberately and understandingly. The disobedient son said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not. How fairly did they promise, ‘All that the Lord our God shall speak unto you we will do it!’ And it is likely they meant what they said. But when it came to the trial it was found that there was not such a heart in them as to do what they had promised (Deut 5:27,29).

If you would be sincere in closing with the laws and the ways of Christ, study the meaning, and breadth, and extent of them. Remember that they are spiritual; they reach the very thoughts and inclinations of the heart; so that, if you will walk by this rule, your very thoughts and inward motions must be under government. Again, they are very strict and self-denying, quite contrary to your natural inclinations. You must take the strait gate, the narrow way, and be content to have the flesh curbed from the liberty it desires. In a word, they are very large, for ‘your commandment is exceeding broad’ (Psalm 119:96).

Do not rest in general commands, for there is much deceit in them—but bring down your heart to the particular commands of Christ. Those Jews, in the prophet, seemed as well resolved as any in the world, and called God to witness what they meant as they said. But they rested in generals. When God’s command crosses their inclination, they will not obey (Jer 42:1-6; Jer 43:2). Take the Westminster Assembly’s Larger Catechism, and see their excellent and most comprehensive exposition of the commandments, and put your heart to it. Are you resolved, in the strength of Christ, to set upon the conscientious practice of every duty that you find to be required of you, and to set against every sin that you find to be forbidden? This is the way to be sound in God’s statutes, that you may never be ashamed (Psalm 119:80).

Observe the special duties that your heart is most against, and the special sins that it is most inclined to, and see whether it be truly resolved to perform the one and forgo the other. What do you say to your bosom sin, your profitable sin? What do you say to costly, hazardous, and flesh-displeasing duties? If you halt here, and do not resolve, by the grace of God, to cross the flesh and be in earnest, you are unsound.

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

Please go to Prayer Points For Salvation By Joseph Alleine for the details.

Dont’t delay your conversion—make immediate surrender of your heart to God.

‘I made haste, and delayed not’ (Psalm 119:60). Remember and tremble at the sad instance of the foolish virgins who did not come until 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. O come in while it is called today, lest you should be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; lest the day of grace should be over, and the things which belong to your peace should be hid from your eyes. Now mercy is wooing you; now Christ is waiting to be gracious to you, and the Spirit of God is striving with you. Now ministers are calling; now conscience is stirring; now the market is open, and oil may be had, you have opportunity for the buying. Now Christ is to be had for the taking. Oh! strike in with the offers of grace. Oh! now—or never. If you make light of this offer, God may swear in His wrath that you shall never taste of His supper (Luke 14:24).

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

Attend, I say, not customarily—but conscientiously, with this desire, design, hope, and expectation, that you may be converted by it. 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.’ When you are coming to the privileges of God’s house, lift up your heart to God thus: ‘Lord, let this be the Sabbath, let this be the season in which I may receive renewing grace. O let it be said that this day such a one was born unto You.’

Objection. You will say, I have been a hearer of the Word a long time—yet it has not been effectual to my conversion.

Answer. Yes; but you have not attended upon it in this manner, as a means of your conversion, nor with this design, nor praying for and expecting the happy effect from it.

Response to 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.’ [1 Thess 5:19] Do not reject Him, do not resist Him. Beware of stifling convictions with evil company or worldly business. When you are in anguish on account of sin and fears about your eternal state, beg of God that you may have peace only in thoroughly renouncing all sin, loathing it in your inmost soul, and giving your whole heart, without reserve, to Christ. Say to Him, ‘Strike home, Lord; do not leave the work half-done. Go to the bottom of my corruption, and let out the lifeblood of my sins.’ Thus yield yourself to the working of the Spirit, and hoist your sails to His gusts.

diligently use serious and fervent prayer.

He who neglects prayer is a profane and unsanctified sinner. He who is not constant in prayer is a hypocrite, unless the omission is contrary to his ordinary course, under the force of some instant temptation. One of the first things conversion appears in, is that it sets men a-praying. Therefore set to this duty. Let not one day pass in which you have not, morning and evening, set apart some time for solemn prayer in secret. Also, call your family together daily to worship God with you. Woe be unto you, if you be found among the families that call not upon God’s name (Jer 10:25). But cold and lifeless devotions will not reach halfway to heaven. Be fervent and importunate. Importunity will carry it; without violence the kingdom of heaven will not be taken. You must strive to enter, and wrestle with tears and supplications as Jacob, if you would gain the blessing. You are undone forever without grace, and therefore you must set to it, and resolve to take no denial. That man who is fixed in this resolution says, ‘Well, I must have grace—or I will never give over until I have grace; I will never cease earnestly pleading, and striving with God and my own heart, until He renews me by the power of His grace.’

Forsake your evil company, and forbear the occasions of sin.

You will never be turned from sin until you decline and forego the temptations of sin. I never expect your conversion from sin, unless you are brought to some self-denial, so as to flee the occasions. If you will be nibbling at the bait, and playing on the brink, and tampering with the snare—your soul will surely be taken. When God exposes men, in His providence, unavoidably to temptation, and the occasions are such as we cannot remove, we may expect special assistance in the use of His means; but when we tempt God by running into danger, He will not engage to support us when we are tempted. And, of all temptations, one of the most fatal and pernicious is evil companions. O what hopeful beginnings have these often stifled! O the souls, the estates, the families, the towns, that these have ruined! How many poor sinners have been enlightened and convinced, and been just ready to escape the snare of the devil, and have even escaped it: and yet wicked company has pulled them back at last, and made them sevenfold more the children of hell! In a word, I have no hopes for you, except you shake off your evil company. Your life depends upon it: forsake this—or you cannot live. Will you be worse than the donkey of Balaam, to run on when you see the Lord with a drawn sword in the way? Let this sentence be written in capitals upon your conscience, ‘A companion of fools shall be destroyed!’ (Prov 13:20). The Lord has spoken it, and who shall reverse it?

And will you run upon destruction when God Himself forewarns you? If God ever changes your heart, it will appear in the change of your company. O fear and flee the gulf by which so many thousands have been swallowed up in perdition. It will be hard for you indeed to make your escape. Your companions will be mocking you out of your religion, and will study to fill you with prejudices against strictness, as ridiculous and comfortless. They will be flattering you and alluring you; but remember the warnings of the Holy Spirit: ‘My son, if sinners entice you—do not consent. If they say, Come with us, cast in your lot among us; walk not in the way with them, refrain your foot from their path; avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For the way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble. They lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk privily for their own lives’ (Prov 1:10-19; Prov 4:15-19).

My soul is moved within me to see how many of my hearers and readers are likely to perish, both they and their houses, by this wretched mischief, even the frequenting of such places and company, by which they are drawn into sin. Once more I admonish you, as Moses did Israel, ‘Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men’ (Num 16:26). O flee from them as you would those that had the plague-sores running in their foreheads. These are the devil’s pimps and decoys; and if you do not make your escape they will draw you into perdition, and will prove your eternal ruin.

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.

Read over a thorough exposition of the Commandments, and write down the duties omitted, and sins committed by you against every commandment, and so make a catalogue of your sins, and with shame and sorrow spread them before the Lord. And if your heart be truly willing to the terms, join yourself solemnly to the Lord in that covenant set down in Direction 10 of this chapter, and the Lord grant you mercy in His sight.

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 should perish at last through very wilfulness, when you have known the way of life? I do not fear your miscarrying, if your own idleness does not at last undo you, in neglecting the use of the means that are so plainly here prescribed. Rouse up, O sluggard, and ply your work. Be doing, and the Lord will be with you.

To read what follows, go to Reflect On Your Sins By Joseph Alleine

This article is an edited version of “Directions to the Unconverted” in Joseph Alleine’s book, “An Alarm to the Unconverted”. Welcome to read ALL related posts here or purchase the book

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