True Christianity: A Treatise on Sincere Repentance, True Faith, The Holy Walk of the True Christian, Etc. by John Arndt

“If ever any man was competent to write on true Christianity, that man was John Arndt. It had become his very life; it entered into the very center of his own experience; it was an essential part of his being, and hence it was only necessary to let the mouth utter that, of which the heart was full. We need not be surprised that this book, at its first appearance, met with undivided approbation and an extensive sale. It was properly regarded as the first book of devotion in the protestant church, and soon established for itself the character of a masterpiece of unperishable value.

“The practical writings of Luther, Bugenhagen, Lorenz and Sarcenes were mostly written in Latin, and were limited to ministers or professors; hence the people had no devotional book, properly so called, until the publication of the first book of Arndt on true Christianity. It was not long before its fame was spread throughout all Europe, and to this day it is accomplishing its work of blessing and mercy in undiminished vigor. In all European circles of pious Christians, it continues to be the chief devotional book. It has led millions to a knowledge of the truth; a countless number of the ungodly to repentance; thousands of lukewarm believers to Christian activity, and afforded comfort and refreshment to a host of the weary and heavy laden. Without hesitation, next to the Bible, no book can be more properly recommended to those seeking edification, than Arndt’s True Christianity.” — John G. Morris from John Arndt

On This Page

Level of Difficulty: Primer: No subject matter knowledge needed.

Book Contents

  • Introduction By The American Editor
  • The Author’s Preface To The First Book.
  • Book 1. Wherein True Christianity, Sincere Sorrow For Sin, Repentance, Faith, And The Holy Life Of The True Christian, Are Considered.
    • 1. Showing What The Image Of God In Man Is.
    • 2. Of The Fall Of Adam.
    • 3. Showing How Man Is Renewed In Christ Unto Eternal Life.
    • 4. Of True Repentance, And The True Yoke And Cross Of Christ.
    • 5. Wherein Does True Faith Consist?
    • 6. Showing How The Vital Power Of The Word Of God Should Be Manifested In Man Through Faith.
    • 7. The Law Of God, Written In The Hearts Of All Men, Convinces Them That On The Day Of Judgment They Will Be Without Excuse.
    • 8. No One Can Find Comfort In Christ And His Merits, Who Does Not Truly Repent.
    • 9. The Unchristian Walk Of Many Persons In Our Day, Is A Cause Of The Rejection Of Christ And Of The True Faith.
    • 10. The Children Of The World Are Against Christ, And, Consequently, Their Life And Their Christianity Are Both Alike False.
    • 11. Showing That He Does Not Truly Repent, Is Not A Christian, And Not A Child Of God, Who Does Not, In His Life And Conduct, Follow Christ; Also, Wherein The New Birth And The Yoke Of Christ Consist.
    • 12. The True Christian Dies Unto Himself And The World, And Lives In Christ.
    • 13. The Christian Ought Willingly To Die Unto Himself And The World, For The Sake Of The Love Of Christ, And For The Sake Of That Future And Eternal Glory, For Which We Were Created And Redeemed.
    • 14. The True Christian, Who Imitates Christ, Hates His Own Life In This World, And Forsakes The World.
    • 15. Showing How The “Old Man” Daily Dies, And The “New Man” Is Daily Renewed, In A True Christian; Also, Wherein Self-denial Consists, And What Is Meant By The Christian’s Cross.
    • 16. A Conflict Is Constantly Maintained In The Christian Between The Spirit And The Flesh.
    • 17. The Inheritance And Possessions Of Christians Are Not Of This World; They Should, Therefore, Regard Themselves As Strangers In It, While They Make Use Of Earthly Things.
    • 18. Showing How Greatly God Is Offended, When Man Prefers Things That Are Temporal To Those That Are Eternal; And How Great The Evil Is, When Our Affections Cleave To The Creature And Not To The Creator.
    • 19. He Who Is Most Of All Conscious Of His Misery, Is Most Of All Acceptable To God; And His Christian Knowledge Of His Misery, Urges Him To Seek The Grace Of God.
    • 20. A Truly Christian Sorrow For Sin Promotes The Daily Amendment Of The Life Of Man, Makes Him Meet For The Kingdom Of God, And Fits Him, In An Increasing Degree, For Eternal Life.
    • 21. Of The True Worship Of God.
    • 22. A True Christian Is Known Primarily By Love, And By A Daily Amendment Of Life.
    • 23. He Who, In Christ, Desires To Grow In Grace, Is Often Compelled To Withdraw From Worldly Society.
    • 24. Of The Love Of God And Our Neighbor.
    • 25. The Love Of Our Neighbor, More Particularly Considered.
    • 26. Wherefore Our Neighbor Is To Be Loved.
    • 27. Wherefore Our Enemies Are To Be Loved.
    • 28. Showing How The Love Of The Creator Should Be Preferred To That Of All Creatures; And How Our Neighbor Is To Be Loved In God.
    • 29. Of That Reconciliation To Our Neighbor, Without Which God Withdraws His Grace.
    • 30. Of The Fruits Of Love
    • 31. Pride And Self-love Corrupt And Destroy Even The Best And Noblest Gifts.
    • 32. Great Gifts Do Not Demonstrate A Man To Be A Christian, But Faith That Works By Love.
    • 33. God Has No Respect To The Works Of Any One; But Judges Of Works According To The Heart.
    • 34. Showing That God Alone, Without Any Human Aid, Is The Author Of Our Salvation, And That We Are To Submit Unreservedly To His Grace; Also, That Christ’s Merit Is Not Imputed To The Impenitent.
    • 35. All Wisdom, Arts, And Sciences, Yea, Even The Knowledge Of The Whole, Scripture, Are Vain, Without A Holy And Christian Life.
    • 36. He Who Does Not Live In Christ, But Gives His Heart To The World, Has Only The Outward Letter Of The Scriptures, But He Does Not Experience Their Power, Or Eat Of The Hidden Manna.
    • 37. He Who Does Not Follow Christ In Faith, Holiness, And Continued Repentance, Cannot Be Delivered From The Blindness Of His Heart, But Must Abide In Eternal Darkness; And He Cannot Have A True Knowledge Of Christ, Or Fellowship With Him.
    • 38. Showing That An Unchristian Life Leads To False Doctrine, Hardness Of Heart, And Blindness; Also, Treating Of The Eternal Election Of Grace.
    • 39. Showing That The Purity Of The Doctrine Of The Divine Word Is Maintained Not Only By Discussions And Publications, But Also By True Repentance And Holiness Of Life.
    • 40. Sundry Rules For Leading A Holy Life.
    • 41. The Whole Of Christianity Consists In The Restoration Of The Image Of God In Man, And The Destruction Of The Image Of Satan.
    • 42. In This Concluding Chapter The Reasons For Adopting The Method Observed In Book 1 Are Explained; The Duty Of Guarding Against Spiritual Pride Is Described, And The Truth Is Set Forth That True Spiritual Gifts Cannot Be Obtained Without Prayer.
  • Book 2
    • Preface To The Second Book
    • 1. Jesus Christ, The Son Of God, Is Given To Us By Our Heavenly Father As Our Help Against The Damnable And Deadly Poison Of Original Sin, And The Pernicious Fruits Thereof, As Well As A Protector Against All The Calamities And Evils Both Of The Body And The Soul.
    • 2. The Manner In Which The Christian Should Apply And Appropriate To Himself The Consolation Noticed In Chapter 1.
    • 3. Our Righteousness Before God, Consists Solely In The Perfect Obedience And Merit Of Christ Jesus, And In The Remission Of Sin Apprehended By Faith.
    • 4. Showing That Saving Faith In The True Christian Produces Manifold Fruits Of Righteousness, And That These Must Proceed From The Depth Of The Heart; Also, That The Character Of Our Outward Works, Depends, In The Judgment Of God, Upon The State Of The Heart.
    • 5. Showing That The Evidence Of True Christianity Does Not Consist Tn The Knowledge And The Hearing Of God’s Word, But That He Is A Christian, In Whose Life God’s Word Is Manifested, And Who Beseeches God In Sincerity That This Word, As A Divine Seed, May Be Quickened In Him, And Bear Fruit.
    • 6. The Perfection And Salvation Of Men Depend On Union With Christ By Faith; But To This They Can Contribute Nothing, Whereas They Rather Interfere With The Grace Of God By Their Perverse Will; But Christ, And He Alone, Accomplishes The Work In Us.
    • 7. Showing That In Order To Understand The True Nature Of Repentance We Must Necessarily Know The Distinction Between The Old And The New Man; Or, How In Us Adam Must Die, And Christ Live; Or, How In Us The Old Man Must Die, And The New Man Live.
    • 8. Showing How Graciously God Invites Us To Repentance, And How Necessary It Is That It Should Not Be Delayed.
    • 9. Showing What Repentance Is, And The Manner In Which The Sinner Truly Repents; Also, How The Goodness Of God Leads Us To Repentance.
    • 10. The Four Properties Of True Repentance.
    • 11. Showing That The Fruit Of Conversion Is The New Creature; Also, That The Christian Is, By Faith, A Lord Over All, And, By Love, A Servant Of All; And, That The Life Of Christ Is A Mirror For Us.
    • 12. Showing That Christ Is The Only Way And End Of True Godliness; And That Man Goes Astray, When God Does Not Guide And Direct Him.
    • 13. Showing That Jesus Christ Is The True Book Of Life, And That His Poverty Teaches Us To Despise The Glory Of The World.
    • 14. Showing How Christ, By The Shame And Contempt Which He Endured, And By His Self-denial, Teaches Us To Despise The Honor And Glory Of The World.
    • 15. Showing How We Should, Through Christ, Bear And Overcome The Trials And Contempt Of The World.
    • 16. Showing How Christians Are To Seek And Obtain Favor And Glory Through Christ, In Heaven.
    • 17. Showing How We May Through Christ, And After The Example Of All The Saints, Overcome The Calumnies Of Men.
    • 18. Showing How The Sorrows And Pains Of Christ Should Teach Us To Subdue The Lusts Of The Flesh.
    • 19. Showing How We Should Behold In The Crucified Christ, As In The Book Of Life, Both Our Sins, And Also The Displeasure, The Love, Justice, And Wisdom Of God.
    • 20. Of The Power And Necessity Of Prayer, In These Holy Contemplations.
    • 21. Of The Power Of The Noble Virtue Of Humility.
    • 22. All The Works Of A True Christian Must Be Done In Humility, Or They Will, Otherwise, Become An Abomination And Idolatry.
    • 23. A Man Who Does Not Perceive His Own Emptiness, And Does Not Give All The Honor To God, Commits The Greatest Of Sins, And Falls Like Satan.
    • 24. Of The Noble Virtue Of Love, And Of Its Power, Soundness, And Purity.
    • 25. Sundry Signs By Which We May Ascertain Whether We Truly Love Christ.
    • 26. Five Kinds Of Works Of Love, In Which The Grace And Goodness Of God Are Especially Revealed.
    • 27. Showing How The Lord Jesus Manifests Himself To The Loving Soul As The Highest Love And The Highest Good.
    • 28. Showing How The Highest Good Is Perceived And Tasted In The Soul.
    • 29. Showing How The Loving Soul Considers God In His Benefits As The Most Liberal Bountifulness.
    • 30. Showing How God Manifests Himself To The Loving Soul, As The Supreme Beauty.
    • 31. Showing How God Manifests Himself To The Loving Soul As The Infinite Omnipotence.
    • 32. Showing How The Loving Soul Knows God As The Highest Righteousness And Holiness.
    • 33. Showing How The Loving Soul Considers God As The Eternal Wisdom.
    • 34. Showing How A Man Should Seek The Wisdom Of God By Prayer; Containing Also A Useful Treatise On Prayer, Wherein The Reader Is Taught How The Heart Is To Be Moved Unto Prayer, And Brought Into A Quiet Sabbath, So That Prayer May Be Wrought In Us By The Lord; The Whole Being Set Forth In Twelve Sections.
      • Section 1. All That We Have Lost In Adam We Recover Fully And Completely In Christ.
      • Section 2. The Evils That Follow The Neglect Of Prayer.
      • Section 3. The Benefits Of Continual Prayer.
      • Section 4. The True Christian Chooses The Narrow Way In Christ, Rather Than The Broad Way In Adam.
      • Section 5. Considerations Which Should Move The Heart To Commune With God In Prayer.
      • Section 6. The Omniscient God Knows What We Stand In Need Of, Before We Ask Him.
      • Section 7. That God Invites And Engages All Men To The Exercise Of Prayer, And Promises To Hear Their Petitions.
      • Section 8. God Is No Respecter Of Persons, But Has An Impartial Love For All His Creatures.
      • Section 9. Showing That It Is Equally Sinful To Pray To God Upon The Presumption Of Our Own Merit, And To Forbear On Account Of Our Unworthiness.
      • Section 10. The True Worshipper Ought Not To Seek After God In Any Particular Place; For He Finds Him Everywhere In Spirit And In Truth.
      • Section 11. The Worshipper Is Not Restricted To Certain Times Of Prayer, But May At Any Hour Address God In Prayer, Provided That He Does Not Hinder Himself.
      • Section 12. The Considerations Stated Above, Not Only Dispose The Heart To True Prayer, But Also Furnish Various Useful Lessons.
    • 35. Prayer Is The Sign Of A True Christian, That Is, Of One Who Is Anointed Of The Lord.
    • 36. On The Benefits And Power Of Prayer, And On Its True Ground Or Foundation.
    • 37. Reasons Why God Certainly Hears Our Prayers.
    • 38. Seven Helps Or Aids For Our Infirmities In Prayer.
    • 39. The Conversation Of A Believing Soul With God.
    • 40. A Conversation Between Faith And The Mercy Of God.
    • 41. The Great Benefits, And The Great Efficacy Of Praise Offered To God.
    • 42. The Reasons For Which We Ought Daily To Offer Praises To God.
    • 43. To Praise God Is The Highest And Most Honorable Employment Of Men.
    • 44. Of Patience, Which Triumphantly Endures The Cross, And Waits For The Promised Glory.
    • 45. Divine Consolation Produces Patience Under Afflictions.
    • 46. Motives To Patience; And, The Benefits Of The Cross.
    • 47. Sentences, And Examples Of Patience And Consolation.
    • 48. There Is No Affliction For Which God Has Not Provided Appropriate Consolation. The Consolation Which He Affords Is Always Greater Than Our Misery; This Consideration Should Sustain And Confirm Our Patience.
    • 49. The Truth Of God And The Certainty Of His Promises, Ought To Dispose Us To Patience.
    • 50. Showing How Hope Is Tested In Seasons Of Adversity; It Maketh Not Ashamed.
    • 51. Comfort For Those That Are Weak In Faith.
    • 52. Comforting Instructions For Those That Are Laboring Under Great Temptations In Spirit.
    • 53. Consolations For Those Who Labor Under Great Spiritual Temptations.
    • 54. Comforts Under Secret And Spiritual Temptations Of The Devil.
    • 55. The Reasons For Which God Sometimes Delays His Comfort And Assistance.
    • 56. Showing That In Seasons Of Trial The Consideration Of The Exalted Patience Of Christ, And Of The Future And Eternal Glory, Will Alleviate The Burden Of The Cross.
    • 57. Consolations Against The Fears Of Death.
    • Conclusion Of The Second Book.
  • Book 3
    • Preface To The Third Book.
    • 1. Of The Great Internal Treasure Of An Enlightened Believer.
    • 2. True Faith, And Converse With The Soul, The Only Means Of Attaining To This Inward Treasure.
    • 3. The Whole Treasure Of The Inner Man Depends On Faith, Namely, God, Christ, The Holy Spirit, And The Kingdom Of God.
    • 4. The Believing Soul Seeks God Internally, In Itself; Its Beauty And Blessedness When It Is United With God.
    • 5. Showing How A Man May Be Drawn To God; Also, Wherein Spiritual Poverty Consists; And, What The Degrees Of Humility Are.
    • 6. The Seat Of God In The Soul.
    • 7. Of The Dignity Of The Soul; Of True Repentance; And, Of Divine Mercy.
    • 8. The Calling Of God Is Earnest And Sincere, And Directs Us To Come To Him.
    • 9. The Purifying Influence Of True Faith.
    • 10. Showing How The Natural Light In Us Must Disappear, And The Light Of Grace Shine Forth.
    • 11. God, The Light Of The Soul, Directing Us Not To Judge Our Neighbors.
    • 12. The Christian Ought Daily, Once At Least, Wholly To Abstract Himself From All External Objects, And Retire Into His Own Soul; The Advantages Of This Course.
    • 13. Showing How The Love Of God Enters Into The Soul, When It Is Empty Of The Love Of The Creatures.
    • 14. Of The Exercise Of Patience And Love.
    • 15. Showing How Christ, The Eternal Word Of The Father, Perfects His Work In The Hearts Of The Faithful, By Love And Humility.
    • 16. Showing How The Holy Spirit Operates In Our Souls.
    • 17. Signs Of The Presence Of The Holy Spirit In Us.
    • 18. Showing How Worldly Pleasures Drive Away The Holy Spirit.
    • 19. Of Inward Prayer, And Of The True Use Of The Lord’s Prayer.
    • 20. Showing That Humility Must First Be Laid As A Foundation In The Heart, And All Our Works Must Rest On It; Its Blessed Influences.
    • 21. Showing That A Man Ought To Rest In God Alone, And Not In His Gifts; And That He Must Deny Himself.
    • 22. Showing How Our Works May Be Rendered Acceptable To God.
    • 23. Of The Mystery Of The Cross, By Which We Are Drawn To God.
  • Book 4
    • Preface To The Fourth Book.
    • Part 1. Treating Of The Works Of The Six Days Of Creation, In General.
      • 1. Of Light, The Work Of The First Day.
      • 2. Of Heaven, The Work Of The Second Day.
      • 3. Of The Separation Of The Waters From The Dry Land, The Work Of The Third Day.
      • 4. Of The Sun, Moon, And Stars, The Work Of The Fourth Day.
      • 5. Of The Waters, And Their Productions, The Work Of The Fifth Day.
      • 6. Of The Living Creatures, The Work Of The Sixth Day.
    • Part 2. Treating Specially Of Man.
      • 1. God, An Infinite And Eternal Being.
      • 2. God, The Supreme Good.
      • 3. Man, The Most Noble Of All Creatures, And Made For The Service Of God.
      • 4. God Made Man In His Own Image, In Order That He Might Delight In Him.
      • 5. That God By His Love Bestows Himself Upon Us.
      • 6. Showing How Much Man Is Indebted To God For His Everlasting Love.
      • 7. Of The Things That Instruct And Comfort The Soul.
      • 8. Of The Obligations Under Which Men Lie To God.
      • 9. Man Even More Indebted To God For Inward, Than For Outward Blessings.
      • 10. Of The Wisdom Which God Has Shown In The Formation Of Man.
      • 11. Of The Obligations Man Lies Under Towards God.
      • 12. Of Answering The Obligations Which Man Lies Under To God.
      • 13. Showing That God’s Love Appears In All His Works, Even In His Chastisements.
      • 14. Showing How, And On What Account, Man Is Obliged To Love God.
      • 15. Showing That All The Creatures Continually Remind Us Of The Love Which We Owe To God.
      • 16. A General Rule, Teaching Us How To Answer Our Obligations To God.
      • 17. Showing That The Christian Who Loves Not God Is Without Excuse.
      • 18. Showing That Our Duty To God Tends To Promote Our Own Happiness.
      • 19. The Service Which The Creatures Render To Man, Compared With That Which Man Renders To God.
      • 20. All Things Are Preserved By The Hand Of God.
      • 21. Showing That From The Service Of Man And The Creatures, A Union Takes Place Between The Visible World, Man, And God.
      • 22. From The Love Which We Owe To God, Proceeds That Which We Owe To Our Neighbor.
      • 23. Man Is Made In The Image Of God.
      • 24. That Man Is Obliged To Love His Neighbor As Himself.
      • 25. All Mankind Are To Be Considered As One Man, Or As Being Many Members Of One Great Body.
      • 26. Charity, The Foundation Of The Greatest Strength.
      • 27. Of The Nature, Properties, And Fruits Of Love.
      • 28. Love Unites Him Who Loves With The Person Loved, And Transforms Into The Same Nature.
      • 29. Nothing Is Worthy Of Our Love, But That Which Can Make Us More Noble And Pure.
      • 30. Our Chief Love Is Due To God, As The First And Last, The Beginning And The End Of All Things.
      • 31. He Who Principally Loves Himself, Actually Sets Up Himself In God’s Stead.
      • 32. Love To God, The Source Of All That Is Good; Self-love, The Source Of All Evil.
      • 33. Of The Love Of God, And The Love Of Self.
      • 34. Love To God, The Only Source Of Peace And Unity.
      • 35. Showing How We Ought To Love God.
      • 36. Divine Joy, The Fruit Of Divine Love.
      • 37. Of The Evil Fruits Of Self Love.
      • 38. Everlasting Sorrow And Death, The End Of Self-love And Carnal Joy.
      • 39. All That We Have Must Be Offered And Consecrated To God.
      • 40. He Can Never Praise And Glorify God, Who Seeks His Own Glory.
  • Conclusion
  • Copyright Notice

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Publication Information

  • Lutheran Library edition first published: 2020
  • Copyright: CC BY 4.0
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