Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mourning Over Lost Souls

People often think that a firm belief in the sovereignty of God in all things including the salvation of souls will undercut evangelistic zeal. History is full of examples to the contrary, and the Puritans are key examples. I previously mentioned Richard Alleine’s book Instructions About Heartwork . In this book Alleine has an entire chapter entitled, “Why Should We Mourn Over Lost Souls?” Here is an excerpt. Could you expect anything more passionate?
“Oh, pity these lost souls! Do you have any compassion? Parents, have you any compassion for your sinning children? Friends, have you any compassion for your sinning friends? Draw forth your compassion in sighs and lamentations; pour forth your hearts through your eyes; weep over them; look upon the ignorant and sottish ones; look upon the profane ones, the lying children, the swearers and cursers and drinkers, the unruly children among you, and let your eye affect your heart” (67).
Oh, as pastors we especially must have this heart toward the lost. In the busyness of life it is so easy to allow the reality of their eternal fate to slip from our view, to fail to live each day in full view of eternity. Let us pause long enough for these realities to move our souls once more that we might be reminded of the earnestness of evangelism. Then we will be able to speak with people as Alleine did. Here are just a few excerpts from his address directly to the unconverted:
Sinners, will you yet go away thinking that it is well with you? … Do the pleasures of sin make your chains pleasant to you? … Have you no pity on that poor soul of yours, but you will give it up to be racked, torn, and burned forever rather than for its sake deny your will, your lust, or your appetite?” (68-69)


Anonymous said...

Great words Ray. Do you mean Joseph Alleine? I have his book, An Alarm to the Unconverted, and it has been formative in my approach to evangelism. His section on "Directions to the Unconverted" is great.

I would also I would also recommend "The Art of Manfishing" by Boston, "A Guide to Christ" by Stoddard and "The Reformed Pastor" by Baxter (especially the the end, "The Duty of Personal Instruction"). These are all very helpful to the thoughtful evangelist.

Anonymous said...

My bad. I should have looked it up. I am not familiar with Richard's stuff, but will be checking it out.

Unknown said...

Hi, Ray. Thanks for your thoughts in this post. I'd like to recommend another good post I read just a few days ago on the same subject. I was deeply convicted by it.

It's located here:

Ray Van Neste said...

Hey Joe,
Yeah, Richard is Joseph's brother.
I agree also on the other sources you mentioned, Boston & Baxter are favorites of mine.

Preston G. Atkinson said...

Do we love going fishing and working hard to bring home a catch which brings a smile to our Father and His smile inspires our joy and return to dark waters? Praying, speaking, getting close enough to give them a taste while being patient, persistant, and inconvenienced because love showed us the same.
Do we love eating and drinking while we watch from the boat fish perishing for lack of light, knowledge, and food? Knowing what eternity means for them yet too fat to see what love and truth will do.

Anonymous said...

How do we reconcile the Puritan's theology & practice with the Salem Witch Trials and the hangings \ deaths that took place? This has always baffled me...

Ray Van Neste said...

Fair question. For beginners Salem cannot be taken as a fair representation of Puritanism. A good place to start could be J I Packer's book on the Puritans, A Quest for Godliness. This book will give you a good voerview of what the Puritans were about.