Practical Godliness: The Ornament of All Religion by Vincent Alsop

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SDG.  d.w.  172pp.

The Apostle James was quite clear that “faith without works is dea.” But faith with works is such an ornament and testimony to the legitimacy and validity of true faith that, according to the Apostle Paul, it “adorns the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10). It is that text of Scripture that Vincent Alsop, a Puritan pastor of the 17th century, exposits in this book.

Christians are not to alter the doctrines of God; they will never improve upon them, but they must do adorn them with their holy lives and godly conduct. That is “practical godliness.” In this scarce treatise, out of print since 1696, Alsop laments that the harmony of the Christian religion “has been disordered, its beauty blemished, and much filth thrown in its face, not only by the reproach of declared enemies, but by the unsuitable conversations of those who profess it, who pretend to have an interest in it, and who have their highest hopes and expectations from it. In short, it has been wounded in the house of its friends.”

Appendixed is a rare sermon by Alsop, showing his wit and ability to apply Scripture, entitled, “The Sinfulness of Strange Apparel.” This is a biblical theology of clothing and fashions which is so relevant for Christians in our time!

Table of Contents:

Introduction

What This Exhortation Presupposes

What This Exhortation Implies

The Precepts of the Gospel

The Promises of the Gospel

How We Adorn the Doctrine of the Gospel

Reasons to Adorn the Gospel

The Application

Counsel and Advice

Directions to Adorn the Gospel in All Things

Appendix: The Sinfulness of Strange Apparel

Author

Vincent Alsop (d. 1703) was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Though he was guilty of loose living early in life, the local minister (whose daughter he later married) spoke with him earnestly about his soul. Alsop was converted, and lived a life of serious piety from then on. Ordained as an Episcopalian, he later became a Presbyterian. He was one of the ejected ministers of 1662, and such was the hostility towards them that Alsop was imprisoned for six months for praying with a sick person as a minister! Vincent Alsop died in 1703; his funeral sermon was preached by Samuel Slater.

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