DOI link for Facing Mortality
Facing Mortality book
Three central aspects of pre-Reformation Christian observance were death-bed or sick-bed repentance, adoration of martyrs, and pilgrimage. With the advent of reform, it was deemed necessary to rid the church of rites which seemed impregnated with superstition in the latter's current sense and commercialism. For John Bunyan, repentance was central to conversion. Patricia Caldwell summarizes the "morphology of conversion" stemming from the reformed doctrine of repentance: First, under the work of the law, the sinner saw his sin and was sorry for it; only then, under grace, was he enabled to resolve to amend his life. The person who was not sure that he had indeed experienced the gift of grace suffered from an overwhelming fear of the Law. The believer regularly looked to events in his or her daily life as signs of God's favor or disapproval; daily life included illness and ongoing medical problems.