“The Trial of a Christian’s Sincere Love to Christ,” written by Westminster Divine William Pinke and first published in 1636, explores the concept of genuine love for Christ within the context of Christian faith. This work, which underwent multiple editions in the 17th century, offers a wonderful exposition of the trials and tests that Christians may encounter in their devotion to Christ.

He works from three texts, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha,” (1 Corinthians 16:22). “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,” (Ephesians 6:24). And, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:26).

Pinke begins by emphasizing the importance of love as the central aspect of a Christian’s relationship with Christ. He argues that true love for Christ surpasses superficial emotions and extends into sincere obedience, trust, and self-sacrifice. Love, according to Pinke, is the foundation upon which a Christian’s faith is built.

He shows that the Christian journey is not without challenges. He describes various trials and tests that believers may face, both external and internal, discussing how Christians may encounter persecution, temptation, doubts, and afflictions, all of which can potentially hinder their love for Christ. However, he argues that these trials are ultimately opportunities for growth and the deepening of one’s love for Christ.

Throughout the book, Pinke provides practical guidance on how to cultivate and maintain sincere love for Christ. He emphasizes the importance of self-examination and introspection, encouraging readers to reflect on their motives, actions, and affections. Pinke suggests that a genuine love for Christ should manifest itself in a transformed life, characterized by humility, holiness, and an unwavering commitment to the teachings of Christ.

Pinke also delves into the theological aspects of love for Christ, discussing topics such as the nature of God’s love, the work of the Holy Spirit in believers, and the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He explores the interplay between divine grace and human effort, highlighting the role of God’s enabling power in the believer’s ability to love Christ sincerely.

Furthermore, Pinke addresses common misconceptions and challenges to genuine love for Christ. He critiques hypocritical forms of piety that lack sincerity and warns against the dangers of worldly distractions that can hinder a Christian’s devotion. Pinke also provides practical advice on how to overcome spiritual dryness and revive one’s love for Christ during times of spiritual struggle.

“The Trial of a Christian’s Sincere Love to Christ” by William Pinke is available at Puritan Publications.

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