To those who looked to some external act for confirmation of a regenerate heart, the Puritans pointed to proper motives as well as proper conduct. To those who looked merely to their orthodox beliefs, the Puritans pointed out that the demons are orthodox in their creeds, but not in their conduct. Ever mindful not to stir up unnecessary doubts in weak believers, the Puritans, nevertheless, felt it imperative to awaken the carnal hypocrite out of his undeserved security.
In this book, Matthew Mead shows twenty ways that a person can be deceived into thinking he is a Christian when he really is just an “almost Christian.” Mead also explains important topics like the need for self-examination, signs of the unpardonable sin, and reasons for a believer’s lack of comfort. He concludes with three matters that every reader must be convinced of: the evil and filthy nature of sin, the misery and desperate danger of the unregenerate, and the utter insufficiency and inability of anything other than Christ Jesus to minister relief. This Puritan classic is meant to shake nominal believers out of their complacency and to comfort true believers.
Matthew Mead (1629–1699) was an English Puritan minister of the seventeenth century who preached in the ward of Stepney in London.
“This is not balm for the emotions; it is food for the soul. Those looking for a tranquilizing devotional study will not be soothed by this book. People who have come to Christ only for what they can get out of Him will find no encouragement here. On the other hand, true believers who want to deepen their walk—even struggling Christians who are open to reproof and instruction—will find plenty of sustenance on these pages.”
—John MacArthur, from the foreword