This is an online book recommendation, and a thoroughly excellent one from Gabi Bogdan, for the book The Almost Christian Discovered. In it Mead shows 20 ways you can come close to being a christian, yet find that you are not truly saved. Here’s an excerpt from Mead’s introduction that gives us an insight as to why and for whom he wrote the book. Also, not Mead’s pastoral care for those weak in faith that they do not get discouraged in reading his book:
Reader, You have here one of the saddest considerations imaginable presented to you, and that is, “How far it is possible a man may go in a profession of religion—and yet, after all, fall short of salvation; how far he may run—and yet not so run as to obtain.” This, I say, is sad—but not so sad as true; for our Lord Christ does plainly attest it, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in—and shall not be able!” My design herein is, that the formal, sleepy professor may be awakened, and the hidden hypocrite discovered; but my fear is, that weak believers may be hereby discouraged; for, as it is hard to show how low a child of God may fall into sin—and yet have true grace—but that the unconverted sinner will be apt thereupon to presume; so it is as hard to show how high a hypocrite may rise in a profession—and yet have no grace—but that the true believer will be apt thereupon to despond. The prevention whereof, I have carefully endeavored, by showing, that though a man may go thus far, and yet be but almost a Christian—yet a man may fall short of this, and be a true Christian notwithstanding.
Judge not, therefore, your state by any one character you find laid down of a false professor; but read the whole, and then make a judgment; for I have cared, as not to “give children’s bread to dogs,” so not to use the dog’s whip to scare the children! Yet I could wish that this book might fall into the hands of such only whom it chiefly concerns, who “have a name to live—and yet are dead;” being busy with the “form of godliness,” but strangers to the “power of it.” These are the proper subjects of this treatise. May the Lord follow it with his blessing wherever it comes, that it may be an awakening word to all such, and especially to that generation of profligate professors with which this age abounds; who, if they keep to their church, bow the knee, talk over a few prayers—think they do enough for heaven, and hereupon judge their condition safe, and their salvation sure—though there be a hell of sin in their hearts, “and the poison of asps is under theirlips;” their minds being as yet carnal and unconverted, and their conversations filthy and unsanctified.
Matthew Mead, a Puritan who lived form 1629-1699. Monergism.com gives a short history of the life of Matthew Mead here:
During the time of Oliver Cromwell’s rule, Mead identified with the Independents. In 1658, Cromwell appointed Mead curate of Mew Chapel, Shadwell, near Stepney; however, Mead lost that position after the Restoration.” Joel Beeke, Meet the Puritans, p. 444.
“In 1669, he formally became William Greenhill’s assistant pastor at Stepney. Shortly after Greenhill’s death in 1671, Mead was asked to succeed Greenhill as pastor. He was installed by John Owen on December 14.” Ibid., p. 445.
“Mead succeeded Owen in 1683 as a Tuesday morning lecturer at Pinner’s Hall, a position he held until his death. He wholeheartedly supported John Howe’s attempt in 1690 to unite Presbyterians and Congregationalists. Mead was asked to preach for the service inaugurating “the Happy Union of Independents and Presbyterians” in Stepney on April 6, 1691.” Ibid., p. 445.
“Mead died at the age of seventy on October 16, 1699. John Howe, who preached at Mead’s funeral, called his friend a “very reverend and most laborious servant of Christ.” Ibid., p. 446
The Almost Christian Discovered;
Or, The False Professor Tried
By Matthew Mead, 1661
“You almost persuade me to be a Christian!”
Dedication - To the Reader - Introduction
Question I. How far a man may go in the way to heaven—and yet be but almost a Christian? This shown in twenty several steps.
1. A man may have much knowledge—and yet be but almost a Christian
2. A man may have great and eminent spiritual gifts—and yet be but almost a Christian
3. A man may have a high profession of religion, be much in external duties of godliness—and yet be but almost a Christian
4. A man may go far in opposing his sin—and yet be but almost a Christian
5. A man may hate sin—and yet be but almost a Christian
6. A man may make great vows and promises, strong purposes and resolutions against sin—and vet be but an almost Christian
7. A man may maintain a strife and combat against sin—and yet be but almost a Christian
8. A man may be a member of a Christian church—and yet be but almost a Christian
9. A man may have great hopes of heaven—and yet be but almost a Christian
10. A man may be under visible changes—and yet be but almost a Christian
11. A man may be very zealous in matters of religion—and yet be but almost a Christian
12. A man may be much in prayer—and yet be but almost a Christian
13. A man may suffer for Christ—and yet be but almost a Christian
14. A man may be called by God and embrace his call—and yet be but an almost Christian
15. A man may have the Spirit of God—and yet be but almost a Christian
16. A man may have faith—and yet be but almost a Christian
17. A man ma ay have a love to the people of God—and yet be but almost a Christian
18. A man may obey the commands of God—and yet be but almost a Christian
19. A man may be sanctified—and yet be but almost a Christian
20. A man may do all the external duties and worship which a true Christian can—and yet be but almost a Christian
Question II. Why is it that many go so far and yet no farther?
Question III. Why is it that many are but almost Christians, when they have gone thus far?
Question IV. What is the reason that many go no farther in the profession of religion, than to be almost Christians?
Use of Examination - Use of Caution - Use of Exhortation