I wanted to quote something I read this afternoon in the book, "Instructions About Heartwork" by Richard Alleine, because it is good solid gospel preaching. Many years ago when I first came to Saving Faith I sat under preaching that was very shallow. What drew me immediately to the 17th century English Puritans was how they preached the Gospel of God/the glorious gospel of Christ. Sad to know solid biblical gospel preaching is rare today in the church world.
"QUESTION. What is it to keep the heart?
ANSWER. Keeping our soul presupposes recovering them out of their lost state. The devil has the keeping of sinners' souls while they are sinners; and the first work they are to do in order to keep their souls is to get them back out of the devil's hands. "That they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil" (2 Timothy 2:26). Here I shall show you three things:
1. The souls of all men are naturally lost.
2. Men's souls are not so lost here that they are irrecoverable.
3. Man's first care must be to recover his lost soul.
1. The souls of all men are naturally are lost. It may be said of every sinner, as the father of the prodigal said of him in Luke 15:32, "This my son was lost." Fathers, you may say of every child you have, while they are in their natural state, "My son is lost; my child is a lost child." Yea, and you may say the same of yourselves, while in your sins, "My own soul is a lost soul." And whether you will say it or not, I must say to every one of you, fathers and children who are yet in your sins, "You are lost souls." As Christ came Himself, so He has sent us, in His name, to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). What is it to be lost? Why, it is the same as to be damned. That is how the word is used in 2 Corinthians 4:3: "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost," to those who are damned, that is, in a state of damnation. Oh, tremble sinners, tremble all you who are yet in your sins! What will you tremble at, if not at being damned. The Word calls every one of you who is not in Christ reprobates from God. 2 Corinthians 13:5: "Know you not that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" Is Christ in you? Are you a convert to Christ? No? Then you are a reprobate from God; you are a damned, lost soul. If you live and die in this state you are in at present, you are eternally lost. What can it mean, you sinners, that you are so much at ease, so much at rest in your state of sin? It is nothing to be damned? Is it nothing to be reprobates? Oh, think what it will be to be found to be reprobates? Oh, think what it will be to be found to be reprobates at the judgment, and then to have the sentence of reprobation pronounced upon you! Why, surely, sinners, the very next misery to that is to be in a state of reprobation. Take this as your portion from the Lord, every unconverted one of you. "Oh, what shall I do! I am a lost child, I am a lost soul; woe is me! I am undone, a son of perdition and an heir of damnation. What is it to me that I have kept my body in good condition, that I am in good health? What is it to me that I have kept my estate, and have not been such a prodigal of what I have-my house, my lands, and my money-what is it that I have kept my credit and my friends? Oh, my soul, my poor soul is lost! And what good shall my estate, my health, my credit, my friends, or my life do to me?". . ." pg. 29,30 Richard Alleine