through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 1 Timothy 4:2
Get and keep a tender conscience. Be sensible of the least sin. Some men’s consciences are like the stomach of the ostrich that can digest iron: they can swallow the most notorious sins without regret. A good conscience is very delicate. It feels the least touch of known sin, and is grieved at the thought of grieving God’s Spirit. It will choose the greatest suffering before the least of sinning. However, the jeering Ishmaels of the world are ready to reproach and laugh it to scorn for its precise scruples. Daily train all your graces for battle. Live in a military posture, both defensive and offensive. Stand constantly by your weapons. Admit no peace with sin. The soldier of Christ must never lay down his arms. Satan never ceases his wiles and stratagems. He will tell you that sin is pleasant. Ask yourself if the gripping of conscience is also pleasant? Ask yourself if it is pleasant to be in hell, and be under the wrath of God? Ask yourself if the pleasures of sin for a season compare with the rivers of God’s pleasures? How do they compare to a weight of glory, an incorruptible crown, and a heavenly kingdom? God alone is enough, but without him, nothing is enough for your happiness. His love, grace, and the comforts of his Spirit will certainly sweeten your way to heaven. Sometimes you will experience joy unutterable and full of glory. God is a good master and in his service is a perfect freedom. Your work is its own reward. With these thoughts, put to flight the armies of the enemy. Shield yourself with these against the fiery darts the tempter shall pour upon you. Do not even take a moment to parley with the tempter. As soon as your lusts begin to grow inordinate, do not stay a moment; delay is unutterably dangerous. A house on fire needs immediate attention.
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)