Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. Ezekiel 18:4
It is sin that is the cause of our damning in hell fire. The soul who sins – that soul shall die. The soul sins against God when it receives sin in the heart to entertain it there. It has chosen sin rather than God. At God’s command, the soul refuses to let sin go. Consider seven efforts of the sinner to hold on to sin. (I.) If possible, the soul that entertains sin will hide it that it will not be discovered. (2.) The soul that cannot hide its sin will excuse it and plead that it is not such a bad thing: ‘Why make such a fuss about it?’ (3.) The soul that justifies its sin will seek to cover it with a good name: Note – Isaiah 5:20. (4.) If his convictions cannot deny that it is sin and that God is offended by it, then that soul might give flattering promises to god that it will put the sin away before too very long, but actually maybe not at al. It is clear that this soul delights in its abominations. (5.) If God yet pursues, and seeks to see if he has indeed put this sin away, this soul might put part of it away, but keep a little for itself to enjoy. It might put away the worst part, and keep the finest. It might put away the part that can best be spared, and keep the most profitable for help in a pinch. (6.) Yes, if all sin must be abandoned or the soul will have no rest, why then, the soul that is entertaining it might let it part, but it will part with a sad heart since it hates to let it go. (7.) If at any time they can, or shall meet with each other again, and nobody will be the wiser, O what a courting will be between sin and the soul! This is called doing things in the dark. By these things you might see that sin has a friend in the soul. This is a strong argument that God, his Word, his ways, and his graces are out of favour with your soul, and that sin and Satan are its only true pleasant companions.
Dr. Ryken’s presentation of the Puritan view and style of life is perceptive and accurate. He allows the Puritans to speak for themselves on topics ranging from “Church and Worship” to “Money” and “Marriage and Sex.” Worldly Saints offers a fine introduction to seventeenth-century Puritanism in its English and American contexts. The work is rich in quotations from Puritan worthies and is ideally suited to general readers who have not delved widely into Puritan literature.
“Ryken’s Worldly Saints offers a fine introduction to seventeenth-century Puritanism in its English and American contexts. The work is rich in quotations from Puritan worthies and is ideally suited to general readers who have not delved widely into Puritan literature. It will also be a source of information and inspiration to those who seek a clearer understanding of the Puritan roots of American Christianity.” —Harry Stout (Yale University)
“…the typical Puritans were not wild men, fierce and freaky, religious fanatics and social extremists, but sober, conscientious, and cultured citizens, persons of principle, determined and disciplined, excelling in the domestic virtues, and with no obvious shortcomings save a tendency to run to words when saying anything important, whether to God or to man. At last the record has been put straight.” —J.I. Packer (Regent College)
“Worldly Saints provides a revealing treasury of primary and secondary evidence for understanding the Puritans, who they are, what they believed, and how they acted. This is a book of value and interest for scholars and students, clergy and laity alike.” —Roland Mushat Frye (University of Pennsylvania)