MR. JOSEPH A LLEINE
TO THE READER.
THE Letters of MR. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD, have been generally admired by all the children of GOD, into whose hands they have fallen; for the vein of piety, trust in GOD, and holy zeal, which run through them. The same piety, zeal, and confidence in GOD, shine through all the letters of MR. ALLEINE: So that in this respect he may well be styled, THE ENGLISH RUTHERFORD. But yet there is a very discernible difference between them In piety and fervour of spirit they are the same: But the fervor of the one more resembles that of ST. PAUL, of the other, that of ST. JOHN. They were both men of the most intrepid courage: But in love MR. ALLEINE has the pre-eminence. He seems to excel in bowels of mercy, meekness, gentleness, in tenderness, mildness and sweetness of spirit, even to his bitterest enemies. I do not therefore scruple to give these Letters the preference, even to MR. RUTHERFORD's: As expressing, in a still higher degree, the love that is " long-suffering and kind," which " is not provoked," which " thinketh no evil," and which " hopes, believeth and endures all things."
LORDON, March 7, 1767.
To his, Wife concerning his acceptance of Taunton MY DEAR HEART, BY this time I hope you have received mine, touching Taunton. I find my heart much inclining that way. I will tell thee the principles upon which I go. First. I lay this for a foundation, That a man's life con sisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth. It was accounted a wise prayer that AGUR put up, to be 11 fed with food convenient for him." And certain it is, that where men have least of the world, they esteem it least, and live more by faith in GOD, casting their care and burden upon him. O the sweet breathings of DAVID'S soul! The strong actings of his faith, when his condition was low and mean,! How fully does he rely upon GOD And certainly, could we that are unexperienced, but feel the thorns of those cares and troubles, that there are in gathering and keeping much, and the danger when riches increase of setting our hearts upon them, we should prize the happiness of a middle condition. Doubtless, godliness with contentment is great gain." “Seekest you great things for thyself, (said the Prophet to BARUCH,) seek them not." Certainly a good conscience is a continual feast, and enough for a happy life.
Secondly. I take this for an undoubted truth, That a dram of grace is better than a talent of wealth; and therefore such a place where we had little to do in the world, to take off our thoughts from the things of eternity, and had the advantage of abundance of means, and the daily opportunities of warming our hearts with the blessed society of Christians, is (if we pass a true and spiritual judgment) without comparison before another place, void of those spiritual advantages. Let us think, what though our purses may thrive better in a place of large maintenance; yet, where are our souls likely to thrive any way answerable to what they are in this We should have but little in the world; but what is this, if it be made up to us in communion with GOD and his people If we thrive in faith, and love, humility, and heavenly-mindedness, what matter is it, though we do not raise ourselves in the world O, who would leave so much grace, and so much comfort in communion with CHRIST and his saints, for the probabilities of living a little more handsomely It is a strange thing to see how Christians generally judge. What is it worth a year Is the maintenance certain What charges are there likely to be These are the questions we commonly ask first, when we speak of settling. But alas, though those things are to be considered too, yet what good am I likely to do What good am I likely to get These should be the chief things we should judge by. What if we have but a little in the world Why then we must keep but a short table, and give the meaner entertainments to our friends. O but will’not this be abundantly made up, if we have more outward and inward peace Let others hug themselves in their corn, and wine, and oil, in their fat livings, and their large tables, if we have more of the light of God's. countenance, who would change with them
Thirdly. That the surest way to have any outward mercy, is to be content to want it. When men's desires are over-eager after the world, they must have thus much a year, and a house well furnished, and wife and children, thus and thus qualified, God doth, usually, break their wills by denying them, as one would cross a forward child of his stubborn humor; or else he puts a sting into them, that a man had been as well without them. The best way to get riches, is out of doubt to set them lowest in one's desires. SOLOMON found it so: He did not ask riches, but wisdom, but GOD was so pleased, that he threw in them into the bargain. Nothing sets GOD's mercies further off than want of free submission to want them. Certainly, GOD will never be behind-hand with us. Let our care be to build his house, and let him alone to build ours.
Fourthly. That none ever was, or ever shall be, a loser by JESUS CHRIST.. Many have lost much for him, but never did, never shall any lose by him. Take this for a certainty, whatsoever outward comforts we leave, or outward advantages, that we may glorify him in our services, and enjoy him in his ordinances more than other-where we could, we shall -receive an hundred fold in this life. `It is a sad thing to see how little CHRIST is trusted; men will trust Him no farther than they can see him. Alas, has he not a thousand ways, both outward and inward, to make up a little outward disadvantage to us Have any ventured themselves upon him in his way, but he made good every promise to them Let. us therefore exercise our faith, and stay ourselves on the promise, and see if ever we are ashamed of our hope.
Fifthly. That what is wanting in the means, God will make up in the blessing. This I take for a certain - truth, while a man commits himself and his affairs to GOD, and is in a way that GOD put him into: And if a man have but a little income, if he have a great blessing, that will make it up. Alas, we must not account of mercies by the bulk. What if another have a pound to my ounce, if mine be gold for his silver, I will never change with him. As it is not bread that keeps' men alive, but the word of blessing that proceeds out of the mouth of GOD; so it is not the largeness of the means,. but the blessing of the LORD that maketh rich. O! if men did but believe this, they would not grasp so much of the world as they do. Well, let others take their course, and we will take ours to wait upon GOD by faith and prayer: Let others toil to enlarge their income; we will pray GOD to enlarge our blessing; and I doubt not but we shall prove the gainers.
Sixthly, That every condition has its snares, and troubles, and therefore, we relay not expect to be without them, wherever we be; only that condition is most eligible that has fewest and least. I cannot object any thing against the proposal of Taunton, but the meanness of the maintenance. And let us consider how inconsiderable this inconvenience is, in comparison of those we must reckon upon meeting with, if GOD cast us into another place. Upon these considerations, I find my heart much inclined to accept of their offer at Taunton. I beseech thee to weigh the matter and tell me thy thoughts, and which way thy spirit inclines, for I have always resolved the place I settled in should be to thy content. I have been so large in delivering my judgment, that I must -thrust up my affections into a
corner. Well, though they have but a corner in my letter,I am sure they have room enough in my heart. But I must conclude: The Lord keep thee, my dear, and cherish thee for ever in his bosom; farewell, mine own soul,
I am, as ever, thine own heart,
Oxon, May 27, 1659.
To my most dearly beloved, my Christian Friends in Taunton, Salvation.
MOST LOVING BRETHREN,
I SHALL never forget your old kindnesses; would I never so fain forget them, yet I could not, they are so continually renewed; for there is never a day but I hear of them: Nay, more than hear of them, I feel and taste them. The GOD that has promised, they that give to a Prophet but a cup of cold water, shall receive a Prophet's reward He will recompense your labor of love, your fervent prayers, your care for my welfare, and your bountiful supplies. I do and will bless the LORD as long as I live, that he has cast thy lot in so fair a place, -to dwell in your communion; and especially to go in and out before you, and to be the Messenger of the LORD of Hosts to you, to proclaim his law, and to preach his excellencies, to be his spokesman to you, and to woo for him, to espouse you to one Husband, and to present you as a chaste virgin unto CHRIST. LORD! how unworthy am I of this glorious dig nity, which I verily believe the brightest angels in heaven would be glad of. I cannot repent, notwithstanding all the difficulties that attend his despised servants, and that are like to attend them: I have set my hand to his plough; and when I was entered into that sacred office, I told you, Most gladly do I take up this office with all the persecution, affliction, difficulties and inconveniencies that do and may attend it.' And blessed be GOD, I am through his goodness of the. same mind still; -and my tribulations for CHRIST, confirm my choice and resolution to serve him with much more than my labors. Brethren, let them take up with the world that have no better portion; be content that they should bear away the riches and preferments and glory and splendor of the world. Alas! You have no reason to envy them: Verily, they have a he in their right hand Ah! how soon will their hopes fail them; how soon will the crackling blast be out, and leave them in eternal darkness! They shall go to the generation of their fathers, they shall never see light; like sheep they shall be laid in their graves, and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning. But for you, my brethren, I am jealous that none of you should come short of the glory of God. I am ambitious for you, that you should be all the heirs of an endless life, of the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away.
Ah my brethren! why should not you be all happy “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, lest a promise being left you of entering into his rest, any of you should come short of it." O look diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of GOD! How it grieves me that any of you should fall short of mercy at last! That any of that flock over which the HOLY GHOST made me overseer should perish; when CHRIST has done so much for you, and when we (through his grace) have done somewhat to save them. Ah dear brethren! I was in great earnest with you when I besought you out of the pulpit, many a time to give a bill of divorce to your sins, and to accept of the mercy that in the name of GOD Almighty I did there offer to you. Alas! how it pitied me to look over so great a congregation, and to think that I could not, for my life, persuade them, one quarter of them, to be saved! How it moved me to see your diligence in flocking to the most hazardous opportunities, since the Law forbad my public preaching; and yet to think that many of you that went so far, were like to perish for ever for want of going further! How fain would I carry you further than the outward profession O, how loath am I to leave you there! How troubled to think that any of you should hazard much for religion, and yet miscarry for ever by the hand of secret pride or untamed passion, or an unbridled tongue, or, which I fear most of all, a predominant love of the world in your hearts. Alas, is there no remedy, but I must carry you to heaven's gate and leave you there Oh, that I should leave the work of your souls but half done; and bring you no farther than the almost of Christianity! Hear, O my people, hear, although I may command you, upon your utmost peril in the name of the LORD JESUS that shall shortly judge you, I beseech you, I warn you as a father does his children, to look to the securing of your everlasting condition. Take heed of resting in the outer part of religion; but be restless till you find a thorough change within, that you are quite new in the bent of your hearts; for here is the main of religion. For CHRIST'S sake, for your souls' sake, look to it, that you build upon the Rock, that you unfeignedly deliver yourselves to the LORD to be under his command, and at his disposal in all things; see that you make no exceptions, no reserve, that you cast over-board all your worldly hopes, and count upon parting with all for CHRIST; that you take him alone for your whole happiness. Wonder not that I often inculcate this: If it be well here, it is well all; if unsound here, the error is in the foundation and you are undone. Brethren, I see great trials coming, when we shall see professors fall like leaves in Autumn; therefore is it that I would so fain have you look to your standing, and to secure the main. O make sure whatever you do; get and keep your evidences clear! How dreadful would your temptations be, if you should be called to part with all for CHRIST, and not be sure of Him neither! Get a clear understandifig of the terms of life, which I have set before you in that Form of Covenanting with GOD in CHRIST, that I commended to you. I would that none of you should be without a copy of it. Be much in observing your own hearts, and crying mightily to God for assurance. Be strict and watchful in your whole course, and I doubt not but you will quickly have it.
I cannot conclude till I have given you my unfeigned thanks for your most kind and gracious letter. Sure it shall be in store with me, and laid up among my treasures. That God is pleased to make use of me for your edification, is matter of highest joy unto me; as also to see your steadfastness in CHRIST, your unshaken resolutions, notwithstanding all the tempter's wiles. Go on, my dearly beloved, and the LORD strengthen your hands and your hearts, and lift you up above the fears of men. The LORD strengthen,. establish, settle you, and after you have suffered a while, make you perfect. I leave my brethren in the everlasting arms, and rest,
Your Embassador in bonds,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the common Gaol at Juelchester,
June 13th, 1663.
To the Beloved People the Inhabitants of the Town of Taunton, Grace,
Mercy and Peace from GOD our FATHER, and from the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
MOST ENDEARED AND BELOVED FRIENDS,
I READILY acknowledge myself a debtor to you all, and a servant of all, and therefore I have sent to salute you all. My lines did fall in a fair place when the LORD did cast my lot among you; I remember the tears and prayers that you have sent me hither with. How can-I forget how you poured out your souls upon me; and truly you are a people much upon my heart, whose welfare is the matter of my continual prayers, care, and study. And Oh! that I knew how to do you good. Ah!, how certainly should never a son of you miscarry. Ah! how it pities me to think how that so many of you should remain in your sins after so many and so long endeavors to convert. Once more, Oh! my beloved, once more hear the call of the most high GOD unto you. The prison preaches to you the same doctrine that the pulpit did. Hear, O people, hear; he that has an ear let him hear. The LORD of life and of glory offers you all mercy, and peace, and blessedness: Oh, why should you die O Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." What! miss of life, when it is to be had for the taking! GOD forbid. O my brethren, my soul yearns for you, and my bowels towards you. Ah, that I did but know what arguments to use with you! Who shall choose my words that I may prevail with sinners not to reject their own mercy How shall I get within them How shall I reach them O that I could but get between their sins and them. Beloved brethren, the LORD JESUS has made me, most unworthy, his spokesman, to bespeak your hearts for him: And O, that I knew but how to woo for him, that I might prevail! These eight years have I been calling, and yet how great a part remain visibly in their sins, and how few have I gained to CHRIST by sound conversion!
Many among you remain under the power of ignorance Ah! how often I have told you the dangerous, yea, damnable state that such are in. Never flatter yourselves that you shall be saved though you go on in this; I have told you often, and now tell you again, GOD must be false if ever you be saved without being brought out of the state of ignorance: If ever you enter in at the door of heaven, it must be by the key of knowledge; you cannot be saved, except you be brought to the knowledge of -the truth. A people that remain in gross ignorance, that arc without understanding, the LORD that has made them, will not have mercy on them. O, for the love of GOD and of your souls, I beseech you, awake and bestir yourselves to get the saving knowledge of GOD. You that are capable of learning a trade, are you not capable of learning the way to be saved And is it not a pity that you should perish for ever for want of a little pains, and study, and care to get the knowledge of GOD Study the Catechism; if possible, get it by heart; if not, read it often, or get it read to you; cry unto GOD for knowledge; improve the little you have by living answerably. Search the Scriptures daily, get them read to you if you cannot read them. - Improve your Sabbaths diligently, and I doubt not but in the use of these means you will sooner arrive to the knowledge of CHRIST than of a trade.
Many have escaped the gross pollutions of the world, but stick in the form of godliness. O I am jealous for you that you should not lose the things that you have wrought; for the LORD's sake put on, and beware of perishing in the suburbs of the city of refuge. Beg of GOD to make thorough work with you; be jealous for yourselves and try your estates, but only with those marks that you are sure will abide GOD's trial.
But for you that fear the LORD in sincerity, I have nothing but good and comfortable words: May your souls ever live. What condition can you devise wherein there will not be matter of joy unspeakable to you O beloved, know your own happiness, and live in that holy admiring, adoring, praising of your gracious GOD, that becomes the people of his praise. The good will of Him that dwelt in the'4bush be with you all. The LORD create a defense upon you, and deliverance for you: The LORD cover you all the day, and make you to dwell between his shoulders! I desire your constant, instant, earnest prayers for me, and rest,
A willing Laborer, and thankful Sufferer for you. JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the common Gaol, in Juelchester,
July 4th, 1668.
To my most endeared Friends, the Servants of CHRIST in Taunton, Grace and Peace.
MOST DEARLY BELOVED AND LONGED FOIL, MY JOY AND CROWN
MY heart's desire and prayer to God for you is, that you may be saved. I know that you are the butt of men's' rage and malice: But you may satisfy yourselves as DAVID in sustaining SHIMEI's curses: It maybe, the LORD will look upon our affliction, and requite good for their cursing this day. But however that be, hold on your way. Your name indeed is cast out as evil; and you are "hated of all men for CHRIST'S sake," for cleaving to his ways and servants: But let not this discourage you, for you are now more than ever blessed: Only hold fast, that no man take your crown. Let not any that have begun in the Spirit end in the flesh. Do not forsake GOD, till he forsake you; " he that endures to the end shall be saved:" The promise is to him that overcometh; therefore think not of looking
back: Now you have set your hands to CHRIST'S plough, though you labor and suffer, the crop will pay for all Now the LORD is trying who they be that will trust him The world are all for a present pay; they must have some thing in hand,. and will not follow the LORD when there are hazard and hardship in' his service. But now is the time for you to prove. yourselves believers, when there is nothing visible but hazard, and expense, and difficulty in your Maker's service. Now, my brethren, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong: If you can trust in his promises now, when nothing appears but bonds, acid losses, and tribulation, this will be like believers. Brethren, I beseech you to reckon upon no other but crosses here. Let none of you flatter yourselves with dreams of sleeping in
your ease, and temporal prosperity, and carrying heaven too. Count not upon rest till you come to the land of promise. Not that I would have any of you to run upon hazards uncalled; no, we shall meet them soon enough in the way of our duty, without we turn aside: But I would have you cast over-board your worldly hopes, and be content to wait till you come on the other side of the grave. Is it not enough to have a whole eternity of happiness If GOD throws in the comforts of this life too, I would not have you throw them back again, or despise, the goodness of the LORD: But I would, that you should, use this world, as not abusing it, that you should be crucified to the world, and the world to you; that you should declare plainly that you seek a better country, which is an heavenly. Ah! my dear brethren, I beseech you carry it like pilgrims and strangers, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against your souls; for what have we to do with the customs and fashions of this world, who are strangers in it Be contented with travelers' lots: Know you not, that you are in a strange land All is well as long as it is well at home; I pray you brethren, daily consider your condition: Do you not remember that you are in an inn And what, though you be but meanly accommodated! though you fare hard, and he hard! Is this a strange thing What should travelers look for else Indeed if you were of the world, the world would love his own. But now GOD has called you out of the world; therefore the world hateth you But remember, it is your duty to love them, even while they hate you; and to pray for mercy for them that will show no mercy, or justice.
This I desire you to observe as a great duty of the present times: And let not any so forget their duty as to wish evil to them that do evil to us, or to please themselves with the thoughts of being even with them. Let us commit ourselves to Him that judges righteously, and show ourselves the children of the Most High, who does good to his enemies, and is kind to the unkind and unthankful: And what, though they do hate us! Their love and good will were much more to be feared, than their hatred. Brethren, keep yourselves in the love of GOD; here is wisdom. O happy souls, that are his favorites! For the LORD'S sake look to this, make sure of something: Look to your sincerity above all things: Let not any of you conclude, that because you are of the suffering party, therefore all is well: Look to the foundation, that your hearts be taken off from every sin, and set upon GOD as your blessedness: Beware that none of you have only a name to live, and be no more than almost Christians. For the love of your souls, make a diligent search, and try upon what ground you stand; for it pities me to think any of you should hazard so much and yet lose all at last But when once you bear the marks of GOD's favor, you need not fear the world's frowns: Cheer up therefore, brethren, be strong in the LORD, and of good courage under the world's usage: Fear not, in our FATHER's house there is bread enough, and room enough; this is sufficient
to comfort us under all the inconveniencies of the way, that we have so happy a home, so ready a FATHER, SO goodly an heritage. O, comfort one another with these words: Let GOD see that you can trust in his word. Let the world see that you can live upon GOD. I shall share my prayers and loves among you all, and commit you to the Almighty GOD: The Keeper of Israel that never slumbereth nor sleepeth, be your Watchman and Keeper to the end.
Farewell. I am, A fervent well-wisher - of your temporal and eternal happiness,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the Common Gaol, at Juelchester,
July 4th 1663.
To my most dearly beloved Friends, in Taunton, Grace and Peace.
MOST ENDEARED CHRISTIANS,
MY heart is with you, though I am absent. Dear fellow soldiers under the Captain of our Salvation, consider your calling, and approve yourselves men of resolution, be discouraged with no difficulties of your present warfare. As for human affairs, I would have you to be as you are, "Men of Peace." I would have you " armed" not for resisting, (GOD forbid!) but for suffering only. You should resist, to the uttermost; striving against sin. Here you must give no quarter; for if you spare but one AGAG, the life of your- souls must go for the life of your sins. GOD will not smile on that soul that smiles on sin, nor have any peace with him that is at peace with his enemy. Other enemies you must forgive, and love, and pray for; but for these spiritual enemies, all your affections, and all your prayers must be engaged against them; yea, you must admit no parley. It is dangerous to dispute with temptations. Remember what Eve lost by parleying with SATAN. You must - fly from temptations, and put them off at first with a peremptory denial. If you will but hear the Devil's arguments, and the flesh's pleas, it is an hundred to one but you are ensnared: And for this present evil world, the LORD deliver you from it. Surely you had need watch and be sober, or else this world is like to undo you. I have often warned you not to build upon an external happiness, and to promise yourselves nothing but hardship here. O still remember your station! Soldiers must not count upon rest and fullness, but hunger and hardness. Labor to get right apprehensions of the world., Do not think these things necessary; one thing is needful. You may be happy in the want of all outward comforts. Do not think yourselves undone if brought to want or poverty. Study eternity, and you will see it to be little material to you whether you are poor or rich; and that you may have never such an opportunity for your advantage in all your lives, as when you seem to run the vessel upon the rocks. Set your enemies one against the other: Death against the world. No such way to get above the world, as to put yourselves into the possession of death.
Look often upon the dust that you shall be reduced to, and imagine you saw your bones tumbled out of your graves, as they are likely shortly to be, and men handling your skulls, and inquiring, Whose is this Tell me of what account will the world be then Put yourselves often into your graves, and look out from thence upon the world, and see what' judgment you have of it. Must not you be forgot among the dead Your places will know you no more, and your memory will be no more among men, and then what will it profit you to have lived in fashion and repute One serious walk over a Church-yard, might make a man mortified to the world. Think upon how many you tread, but ye’ know them not. No doubt they had their estates, their friends, their businesses, and kept as much stir in the world as others do now; but, alas! what are they the better for all this Know you not that this must be your own case shortly O the unhappiness of man! How is' he bewitched and befooled, that he should expend himself for that which he knows shall for ever leave him! Brethren, I:beseech you, lay no stress upon these perishing things, but labor to be at a holy indifferency about them.
Is it for one that is in his wits to sell his GOD, his soul, for things he is not sure to keep a day, and which he is sure, after a few sleepings and wakings. more, to leave behind him for ever Go and talk with dying men, and see what apprehensions they have of the world If any should come to these, and tell them,’ Here are such and such preferments for you, you shall have such titles of honor and delights, if you will now disown religion;' do you think such a motion would be embraced. Brethren, why should not we be wise in time Why should we not now be of the mind, of which we know we shall be all shortly/ Woe to them that will not be wise till it be to no purpose!. Woe to them whose eyes nothing but death and judgment will open! Woe to them, that though they have been warned by others, and have heard the world's greatest darlings in death cry out of its, vanity, yet would take no warning, but only must serve themselves too, for warnings to others. Ah, my beloved! beware there be none among you that will rather part with their part in Paradise than their part in Paris; that will rather part with their consciences than with their estates; that have secret reserves to save themselves whole, when it comes to the pinch; and not to be of the religion that will undo them in the world. Beware that none of you have your hearts where your feet should be, and love your Mammon before your Maker.
May the LORD of Hosts be with you, and the GOD of JACOB your refuge. Farewell, my dear brethren, farewell! and be strong in the LORD. I am,
Yours to serve you in. the Gospel, whether by doing or suffering,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the Common Gaol at Juelchester,
August 31, 1663.
To the beloved Friends, the Flock of CHRIST in Taunton, Salvation.
MOST DEARLY BELOVED AND LONGED FOR, MY JOY AND CROWN, I MUST say of you as DAVID did of JONATHAN:
Very pleasant have you been unto me, and your love to me is wonderful; and as I have formerly taken great content in that my lot was cast among you, so I rejoice in my present lot, that I am called to approve my love to you by suffering for you; for you, 1 say; for you know I have not sought yours, but you; and that, for doing my duty to your souls, I am here in these bonds, which I cheerfully accept through the grace of GOD that strengtheneth me. O that your hands might be strengthened, and your hearts encouraged in the LORD your GOD by our sufferings! See to it, that you stand fast in the power of the holy doctrine which we have preached from the pulpit, preached at the bar, preached from the prison. It is a Gospel worth suffering for. See that you follow after holiness, without which no man shall see GOD. O the madness of the blind world, that they should put from them the only plank upon which they can escape to heaven! Alas for them 1 they know not what they do. What would not these foolish virgins do, when it is too late, for a little of the oil of the wise But let not any of you be wise too late. Look diligently lest any man fail of, the grace of GOD. Beware that none of you be cheated, through the deceitfulness of your hearts, with counterfeit grace. There is never a grace but has its counterfeit; and there is nothing more common than to mistake counterfeit grace for true; and remember you are undone for ever, if you should die in such a mistake. Not that I would shake the confidence of any sound believer, whose graces are of the right kind. Build your confidence sure. See that you get the certain marks of salvation, and make sure by great observing your own hearts that these marks be in you, and then you cannot be too confident; but, as you love your souls, take heed of a groundless confidence. Take heed of being confident before you have tried. I would fain have you all secured against the day of judgment. I would `that the state of your souls were all well settled. O how comfortably might you think of any troubles, if you were but sure of your pardons! I beseech you, whatever you neglect, look to this. I am afraid there are among you that have not made your peace with GOD; that are not yet acquainted with that great work of conversion. Such I charge, before the living GOD, to speed to CHRIST, and without any more delay to put away their_ iniquities, and deliver up themselves to JESUS CHRIST, that. they may be saved. It is not your profession or external duties that will save you. No, no, you must be converted or condemned, It is not enough that you have some love to GOD's ways and people, and are willing to venture something for them; all this will not prove you sound Christians. Have your hearts been changed Have you been soundly convinced of your sins Of your damnable and undone condition And your utter inability to lick your selves whole by your own duties Have you been brought to such a sense of sin, that there is no sin but you heartily abhor it Are you brought to such a sense of the beauty of holiness, and of the laws and ways of GOD, that. you desire to know the whole mind of GOD Would not you excuse yourselves by ignorance from any duty, and that you do not allow yourselves in the neglect of any thing that conscience charges "upon you as a duty Are your very hearts set upon the glorifying and enjoying of GOD, as your greatest happiness Had you rather be the holiest than be the richest and the greatest in the world And is your greatest delight in the thoughts of your GOD, and in your conversings with GOD in holy exercises Is CHRIST more precious than all the world to you And are you willing, upon the thorough consideration of the strictness and holiness of his laws, to take them all for the rule of your thoughts, words, and actions; and though religion may be dear, do you resolve, if GOD assist you, to go through with it, let the cost be what it will, Happy the man that is in such a case! This is a Christian, indeed; and whatever you be and do short of this, all is unsound. But you that bear in your souls the marks above-mentioned, upon you I should lay no other burden, but to hold fast and make good your ground, and to press forward towards the mark. Thankfully acknowledge the grace of GOD to your souls, and live rejoicingly in the hopes of the glory of GOD. Live daily in the praises of your Redeemer, and study the worthiness, excellency, and glory of his attributes. Let your souls be much taken up in contemplating his glorious perfection, and blessing yourselves in the goodly portion you have in him. Live like those that have a GOD, and then be disconsolate if you can. If there be not more in an infinite GOD to comfort you, than in a prison, or poverty or affliction to *deject you, our preaching is vain, and your faith is vain. Let the thoughts of GOD be your daily repast, and never be satisfied till your hearts run out as freely, naturally, unweariedly after GOD as others do after the world. Farewell, my dear brethren! The LORD GOD Almighty be a protection to you, and your exceeding great reward. Farewell in the LORD. I am,
Yours in the bowels of the LORD JESUS,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the Common Gaol, at Juelchester,
September 11, 1663.
LETTER 7 How to show love to Ministers, and live joyfully.
To the most loving and dearly Beloved, my Christian Friends in Taunton, Grace,
Mercy, and Peace from GOD our FATHER, and from the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
MOST ENDEARED BRETHREN,
I HAVE received your moving letter, and could not look over such tender expressions without some commotion I may confidently say, I spent more tears upon those lines, than ever you did ink. Your deep sense of my labors I cannot but thankfully acknowledge, yet withal, heartily confessing, that all was but what I owed to your immortal souls; which, GOD knows, was very much short of my duty. The omissions, imperfections, deadness, that accompanied my duties I own, and the LORD humble me for them. But all that was of GOD (and that was all that was good) be sure that you give to GOD alone. To Him I humbly ascribe both the will and the deed, to whom alone be glory for ever.
My dear brethren, my business, as I have often told you, is not to turn your eyes to me, but to CHRIST: His spokesman I am; will you give your hands, your names to him Will you subscribe to his laws, and consent to his offices, and be at defiance with all his enemies This do, and I have my errand. Who will follow CHRIST'S colors Who will come under his banner This shall be the man that shall be my friend; this is he that will oblige me for ever.
Do these letters come to no loose sinner No ignorant sinner No unsound professor Would they do me a kindness, as I believe they would then let them come away to CHRIST! O sinner, be no more in love with darkness stick no longer in the skirts and outside of religion; waver no more, halt no further, but strike in throughly with JESUS CHRIST; except nothing, reserve nothing, but come throughly to the LORD, and follow him fully. And then happy man you shall be, for you wilt be made for ever; and joyful man I shall be, for I shall save a soul from death. The earnest beggings of a poor prisoner, use to move some bowels: Hear O friends, will you do nothing for a Minister of CHRIST Nothing for a prisoner of JESUS CHRIST Methinks I hear you answer,’ Yea, what will we not do He shall never want while we have it; he shall need no office of love, but we will run and ride to do it.' Yea, but this is not it that I beg of you: Will you gratify me indeed Then come in, bow to the name of JESUS; yea, let your souls bow, let all your powers do him homage. Let that sacred Name be graven into the substance of your hearts. Let me freely speak for Him, for He is worthy for whom you shall do this thing; worthy to be beloved of you; worthy to have your very hearts; worthy to be admired, adored, praised, served, glorified to the uttermost by you, and every creature; worthy for whom you should lay down all, leave all: Can any thing be too much for him Can any thing be too good for him, or too great for him Come, give up all, resign all, lay it at the feet of JESUS, offer all as a sacrifice to him; see that you be universally the LORD'S;. keep nothing from him: I know through the goodness of GOD, that with many of you this work is not yet to do; but this set solemn resignation to the LORD is to be done more than once, and to be followed with an answerable practice when it is done: See that you walk worthy of the LORD; but bow In the "fear of the LORD," and in the "comfort of the HOLY GHOST';" let these two go together. So shall you adorn the doctrine of GOD our Savior; and experience the heavenly felicity of a Christian life: Cleave fast to CHRIST, never let go your hold; cling the faster,. because so many are laboring to loosen your hold.
Hold fast your integrity, hold fast the beginning of your confidence steadfast to the end: If you do but keep your hold, and keep your way; all that the world can do, and all that the powers of darkness can do, can never do you harm. Keep your own vineyard with constant care and watchfulness, and be sure that there be no inroad made upon your consciences, that the enemy do not get between your souls and GOD; and then let what will assail you without, you need not fear: Let this be your daily exercise, to keep your consciences void of offence: Keep fair weather at home, however it be abroad. I would not only that you should walk
holily," but that you should walk 4' comfortably." I need say the less to this, because the fear of the LORD and the comfort of the HOLY GHOST, he together. O, the provision GOD has made for your continual comfort! Dear brethren, do but understand your own blessedness, happy men that you are, if you did but know and consider it: Who would count himself poor that has All the fullness of the Godhead for his O Christians, live like yourselves, live worthy of your portion, and your glorious prerogatives. That you may walk worthy of your glorious hopes, and live answerably to the mercies you have received, is the great desire of
Your souls' fervent well-wisher in bonds,
From the Prison at Juelchester,
September 18, 1663.
LETTER 8 Remember CHRIST Crucified; and Crucify Sin.
To the Faithful and Well-beloved People, the Servants of CHRIST in Taunton, Salvation.
MOST DEAR CHRISTIANS,
I AM by office a Remembrancer, the LORD'S Remembrancer for you, and your Remembrancer in the behalf of CHRIST. My business is, with the Apostle, to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. And whom should I remember you of, but your Intercessor with the FATHER, who has you always in remembrance, appearing in the presence of GOD for you May his memory ever live in our hearts, though mine should die: O, remember his love more than wine, remember in what a case he found you, and yet nothing could divert the purpose of his love from you: He loathed not your rags nor your rottenness He found you in loathsome filthiness, yet he pitied you, his bowels were moved, and his compassions were kindled, when one would have thought his wrath should have boiled and his indignation have burned down to' hell against you he loathed not but loved you, and washed you from your sins in his own blood: Ah polluted captives! Ah vile and putrid carcasses! that the holy JESUS should his ownself wash you; methinks I see him weeping over you; and yet it was a more costly has by which he cleansed you. Ah sinners! look upon the streaming blood flowing from his blessed body, to fetch out the ingrained filthiness that you by sin had contracted. Alas! what a horrid filthiness, that nothing but the blood of the covenant could wash away! And what a love is CHRIST'S, that, when a whole ocean could not wash nor purify us, would open every vein of his heart to do the work! Look upon your crucified LORD: Do you not see a sacred stream flowing out of every member Ah, how those holy hands, those unerring feet, do run a stream to purge us! Alas! how the great drops of blood fall to the ground from his sacred face in his bitter agony, to wash and beautify ours! How his wounded heart and side twice pierced, first with love and pity, and then with a soldier's cruelty, pour out their healthful and saving floods upon us! LORD 1 how do we forget such love as this! Ah monsters of ingratitude, that can be unmindful of such a friend Do we thus requite him Is this our kindness to such an obliging Friend Christians, where are your affections To what use do you put your faculties What have you memories for, but to remember Him What have you the power of loving for, but that you should love Him Wherefore serves joy or desire, but to long for Him And delightfully embrace Him May your souls and all their powers be taken up with Him; may all the doors of your souls be set open to Him. Here fix your thoughts, terminate here your desires; here you may kindle your fire when almost out. Brethren, what will you do now for JESUS CHRIST Have you never a sacrifice to lay upon his altar Come and I will show you what you shall do, let your hands be in the blood of your sins, search them out with diligence, search your hearts and your houses; whatever iniquities you find there,., out with them, put them far from your tabernacles; if you crucify them not, you are not JESUS's friends. GOD forbid that there should be a lying longue, or anyway of deceit in your shops That his service should give place to the world in your families. Far be it from any of you, my brethren, that you should be careful to teach your children and servants the way of your callings, and neglect to instruct them in the way of life. Is weekly catechizing in every one of your families The LORD convince any one of you that may be guilty of this neglect: O, set up GOD in your houses; and see that you be not slovenly in closet performances Beware of serving the LORD negligently; serve not the LORD with that which cost you nothing: Look to, it that you content not yourselves with a cheap and easy religion. Put your flesh to it: Be well assured that the religion that costs you nothing will yield you nothing: Keep up the life of religion in your family and closet duties. Fear nothing like a customary and careless performance of GOD'S service. Judge your ownselves whether lazy wishes, idle complaints, and yawning prayers are likely to carry you through the mighty difficulties that you must get through if ever- you come to heaven. When you find yourselves going on in a listless, heartless course, ask yourselves, Is this to take the kingdom of heaven by violence See that you sacrifice yourselves to the LORD, that now you live to CHRIST himself. As CHRIST has made over his life and death to you, so let it be your care to live and die to him: Labor to look upon your enjoyments as CHRIST'S goods; upon your time, parts, strength, as his talents: Look upon yourselves only in the quality of servants and. stewards that are to husband all these for your LORD's advantage, and as those that must give an account. And pray for me that I may take the counsel that I give. I bless the LORD, I want nothing but the opportunity of being serviceable to you: But I hope the LORD will make my bonds for you to be useful to your edification; if I may glorify GOD, and serve you best by being here, I shall never wish to come out. Finally, brethren, farewell Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the GOD of love and peace shall be with you. I am,
The ready servant of your Faith and Joy,
From the Prison at Juelchester,
October 14th. 1663.
LETTER 9 On daily Self-Examination.
To the most Beloved People, the Flock of CHRIST in Taunton, Salvation.
MOST DEAR BRETHREN,
BRETHREN, how stands it with you Does the main work go on Do your souls prosper This is my care; beware that you flag not, that you faint not now in the evil day. I understand that your dangers grow upon you; may your faith and courage grow much more abundantly. Some of your enemies, I hear, are in great hopes to satisfy their desires upon you: Well, be not discouraged, my dear brethren, but bless the LORD who, of his abundant mercy, has so remarkably preserved you so long beyond all expectation. Let it not be a strange thing to you, if the LORD does now call you to some difficulty: Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is. I plainly see the coal of religion will soon go out, unless it have some better helps to cherish it, than a carnal Ministry and lifeless Administration. Dear brethren, now is the time for you that fear the LORD, to speak often one to another. Manage your duties with what prudence you can, but away with that carnal prudence that will decline duty to avoid danger.
I left you some helps for daily examination: I am jealous lest you should grow slack, or slight and careless in that duty. Let me ask you in the name of the LORD, both never a day pass you, but you do solemnly and seriously call yourselves to an account, what your carriage has been to GOD and men Speak, conscience! Is there never an one within the bearing of this letter, that is a neglecter of this duty Does every one of your consciences acquit you Oh that they did! Tell me, would not some of you be put shrewdly to it, if I should ask you when you read or thought over the questions that were given you for your help Would you not be put to a blush, to give me an answer And will you not be much more ashamed, that GOD should find you tardy Not that I would necessarily bind you up to that very method; only till you have found a way more profitable, I would desire you, yea, I cannot but charge you, to make daily use of that. Awake conscience, and do you fall upon that soul that you findest careless in this work, and never let him be at rest till you can witness for him, that he is a daily and strict observer of himself, and does live in the constant practice of this duty. What! Shall neither GOD’s charge, nor your profit hold you to your work Yet I may not. doubt, but some of you do daily perform this duty. The LORD encourage you in it; yet give me leave to ask you what you have gained Are you grown more universally conscientious, more strict, more humble, and more sensible of your many and great defects, than you were before If so, blessed are you of the LORD; if otherwise, this duty has been performed but slightly by you. What can you say to this question Does your care of your ways abate, or does increase, by the constant use of this duty If it abate, remember from whence you are fallen, and repent; as good not do it at all, as not to the purpose.
The LORD GOD be a Sun and a Shield to you. My most dear love to you all. Fare you well in the LORD: I am,
Your Ambassador in bonds,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the Common Gaol at Juelchester,
October 2O, 1663.
Motives and Marks of Growth.
To the most Loving and best Beloved, the servants of CHRIST in Yaunton, Grace and Peace.
MOST DEAR AND TENDER FRIENDS,
WHOSE I am, and whom under GOD I desire to serve; to build you up in holiness and comfort, has been through grace my great ambition. This is that which I labored for; this is that which l suffer for; and in short the end of all my applications to you, and to GOD for you. How do your souls prosper Are they in a thriving case What progress do you make in sanctification Does the house of SAUL grow weaker and weaker, and the house of DAVID stronger and stronger Beloved, I am jealous of you with a godly jealousy, lest any of you should lose ground in in these declining times: And therefore cannot but be often calling upon you to look to your standing, and to watch and hold fast, that no man take your crown. Ah! How surely shall you reap in the end, if you faint not Take heed therefore that you lose not the things you have wrought, but as you have begun well, so go on in the strength of CHRIST, and give diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end.
Do you need motives 1. How much are you behind band O the fair advantages that we have lost! What time, what sabbaths, sermons, sacraments, are upon the matter lost How much work have we yet to do. Are you sure of heaven yet Are you fit to die yet Surely they that are under so many great wants, had need to set upon some more thriving courses.
Secondly. Consider what others have gained, whilst we, it may be, sit down, by the loss. Have we not met many vessels richly laden, while our souls are empty -O the golden prizes that some have won While we have folded the hands to sleep, have not many of our own standing in religion left us far behind them
Thirdly. Consider you will all find little enough when you come to die. The wise among the virgins have no oil to spare at the coming of the Bridegroom.. Temptation
and death will put all your graces to it. How much ado have many had at last to put into this harbor! DAVID cries for respite till he had recovered a little more strength. Fourthly. Consider how short your time for gathering in probably is The Israelites gathered twice so much manna against the Sabbath as they did at other times, because at that time there was no manna fell. Brethren, you know not how long you have to lay in for.
Do you ask for marks how you may know your souls to be in a thriving case First. If your appetites be more strong. Do you thirst after GOD, and after grace, more than heretofore Do your cares for and desire after the world abate And do you hunger and thirst after righteousness Whereas you were wont to come with an ill will to holy duties, do you come to them as an hungry stomach to its meat
Secondly. If your pulses beat more even. Are you still off and on, hot and cold Or is there a more even-spun thread of holiness through your whole course Do you make good the ground from which you were formerly often beaten off
Thirdly. If you do look more,to the carrying on together the duties of both tables. Do you not only look to the keeping of your own vineyards, but do you lay out yourselves for the good of others, and are filled with zealous desires for their conversion and salvation Do you manage your talk and your trade by the rules of religion
Do you eat and sleep by rule Does religion form and mould, and direct your carriage towards husband, wife, parents, children, masters, servants Do you grow more universally conscientious Is piety more diffusive than ever with you, does it come more abroad with you, out of your closets, into your houses, your shops, your fields
Does it journey with you, and buy and sell for you Haiti it the casting voice in all you do
Fourthly. If the duties of religion be more delightful to you. Do you take more delight in the word than ever Are you more in love with secret prayer, and more abundant in it Cannot you’be content with your ordinary seasons, but are ever and anon making extraordinary visits to heaven And upon all occasions turning aside to talk with GOD in some short ejaculations Are you often darting up your soul heavenwards Is it meat and drink for you to do the will of GOD Do you come off more freely with GOD, and answer his calls with more readiness of mind
Fifthly. If you are more abundant in those duties which are most displeasing to the flesh. Are you more earnest in mortification Are you more strict and severe than ever in the duty of daily self-examination and holy meditation Do you hold the reins harder upon the flesh than ever Do you keep a stricter watch upon your appetites Do you set a stronger guard upon your tongues Have you a more jealous eye upon your hearts
Sixthly. If you grow more vile in your own eyes. Do you grow more out of love with men's esteem, set less by it Are you not marvelous tender of being slighted
Can you rejoice to see others preferred before you Can you heartily value and love them that think meanly of you Seventhly. If you grow more quick of sense, more sensible of Divine influences or withdrawings. Are you more afraid of sin than ever Are your sins a greater pain to you than heretofore Are your very infirmities your great afflictions And the daily workings of corruption a continual grief of mind to you I must conclude abruptly, commending you to GOD, and can only tell you that I am, Yours in the LORD JESUS,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the Common Gaol at Juelchester,
October 31, 1663.
To my dearly Beloved, the Inhabitants of Taunton, Grace, Mercy, and Peace, from GOD our FATHER, and the LORD
MOST DEARLY BELOVED,
I HAVE been, through mercy, many years with you, and should be willingly so many years a prisoner for you, so I might further your salvation. 1 must again and again thank you for your abundant affections to me, which I value as a great mercy, not in order to myself, but in order to your benefit, that I may thereby be a more likely instrument of your good. Surely, so much as I value your love, yet had I rather be forsaken of you all and buried in oblivion, so that your eyes and hearts might be fixed on CHRIST, and sincerely engaged to him. Brethren, I have not bespoken your affections for myself: O that I might win your hearts to CHRIST. O that I might convert you to him though you were diverted from me. I should much rather choose to be hated of all, so this might be the means to have CHRIST set up savingly in the hearts of you all And indeed there is nothing great but in order to GOD; nothing is considerable as it is terminated in us. It matters not whether we are in riches or poverty, sickness or health, in honor or disgrace, so CHRIST may be by us magnified in the condition we are in. Welcome prison and poverty, welcome scorn and envy, welcome pains or contempt, if by these GOD's glory may be promoted. What are we for but for GOD What does the creature signify separated from his GOD Why just so much as the cypher separated from the figure: We are nothing worth but in reference to GOD and his ends. Better were it that we had never been, than that we should not be to him. Better that we were dead than that we should live, and not to him. Better that we had no understandings, than that we should not know him Better that we were blocks and brutes, than that we should not use our reason for him. What are our interests unless as they may be subservient to his interest Or our reputation, unless we may hereby glorify him Do you love me
I know you do; but who is there that will leave his sins for me With whom shall I prevail to give up himself in strictness and self-denial to the LORD Who will be intreated by me to set upon neglected duties, or reform accustomed sins O wherein may you rejoice me In this, in this, my brethren, in this you shall befriend me, if you obey the voice of GOD by me, if you be prevailed with to give yourselves up throughly to the LORD Would you lighten my burden Would you make glad my heart Let me hear of your owning the ways and the servants of the LORD in adversity, of your patient' continuing in the ways of holiness. O that I could but hear that the prayerless souls, the prayerless families among you, were now given to prayer! That the profane sinners were awakened, and induced by the preaching of these bonds, to leave their drunkenness, their loose company, their deceit, and wantonness! Will you not be made clean When shall it once be How long shall the patience of, GOD wait for you How long shall the LORD JESUS stretch out his hands toward you O sinners, cast yourselves into his arm! Why should you die Why will you forsake your own mercy Will you perish when mercy wooes you Confess and forsake your sins, and you shall find mercy. Will you sell your souls to perdition for a little ease and delight to your flesh, or a little of the gain of unrighteousness Why, these are the things that part between sinners and CHRIST.
I know many are spun with a finer thread, and are not so far from the kingdom of GOD. But I must again warn you of staying in the suburbs of the City of Refuge. O what pity is it that any should perish at the gates! That any should escape the pollutions of the world, and do many things, yea, and suffer too, and yet fall short of the glory of God! O ye halting Christians, that halt between CHRIST and the world, that are, as EPHRAIM, like a cake not turned, dough-baked; professors, that have lamps without oil, that cry, " Lord, Lord," but do not the will of our FATHER which is in heaven! How long will you stay in the place of the breaking forth of children, and stick between the womb and the' world Your religion will carry you from the profane, and ye own the people of the LORD. Therefore all is well! I, tell you, godliness is a heart-work, it goes deep, and spreads far: Unless the frame of your hearts, and the drift of your course be changed, unless you be universally conscientious, and unreservedly delivered up to the LORD for all times, and conditions, whatever be the cost, you are none of CHRIST's, how far soever you go in external performances. Hear then, O people, and let not an almost Christianity deceive you, or ignorance carry you blindfold to perdition. O, the thousands, and ten thousands that have been undone by one of these! Ah, how often have you been warned against them, lest you should split against these dangerous rocks. O Taunton, Taunton, how often would GOD'S servants have gathered you, and you would not’ Many, very many of you would not. But will you now Will you yet come in I cannot-.forbear once more, even out of the prison, to call after poor sinners, and make one tender of mercy more. O come to the waters of life, wash you, make you clean.
But for you whose hearts are set against every sin, and are resolved for GOD and holiness; you that experience a thorough change, and have respect to all GOD's commandments, who will have none but GOD for your happiness, none but CHRIST for your Treasure, that must and will have him, come what will come, blessed are you of the LORD: O happy souls, rejoice in the LORD, and again, I say, Rejoice: Let your souls magnify the LORD, and your spirits rejoice in GOD your Savior. Live you a life of praise, you are highly favored of the LORD, your lines are fallen in a pleasant place: Only stick to your choice Beware lest any man beguile you of your reward: Watch and keep your garments about you, lest you walk naked, and men see your shame. - Many will be plucking to pull you out of CHRIST'S hands; but the harder they pluck, the harder do you cling, and cleave to him: Blessed is he that overcometh.
And now the God of heaven fill you all with himself, and make all grace to abound in you, and toward you. May he be a Sun to comfort you, and shine with his beams of grace and glory on you all: Farewell in the Lord. I am,
Yours in the bonds of the Gospel,
August 2S, 1663.
How to live to God.
To the Beloved People, the Inhabitants Taunton, Grace., and Peace.
MOST ENDEARED CHRISTIANS,
BELOVED, I am, without a compliment, the devoted servant of your souls' prosperity: May the Lord JESUS be set up in your hearts; may his name ever live in you, and I have what I ask. If this work be not promoted among you, I shall account all my pains but lost labor. Brethren, I beseech you, that none of you live to yourselves, for this were directly to cross the end of CHRIST'S death; for therefore he died that you should not live to yourselves. O live to him that died for you! Live to him that is the GOD of your life! Live to him that bought your lives with his own! To him that bought you from destruction, and not only so, but bought you the eternal inheritance. Will a man be easily persuaded to lose his life How infinitely tender are men here! And yet the most of men do lose their lives, yea, lose them for nothing. Beloved, consider, I beseech you, that life is lost, that is not lived unto God. If you would not lose your lives that you live, live to him who is the end of your lives. O remember this,. and reckon that day lost which you have not lived unto GOD!. Brethren, how great a part of our lives have we lost I beseech you, take heed; you are careful about many things, but beware that other things do not put out this, the spending your days and strength for him that made you. Would it not be dreadful for a man to find at last when he comes to his account with GOD, that his whole life, or at least the main of it, had been but damnable selfseek-ing That a man should have so many years allowed him by GOD, and he should at last be found to have been a wicked servant that had set up for himself with his Master's stock, and alienated his goods Well, that you may throughly learn the grand lesson of living to GOD, take these counsels:
First, Settle it in your heart that it is the sum of all your business and blessedness to live unto Gon: It is your business, for his pleasure you are and were created:, What have you to do but to serve your Maker in your general. and particular callings Beloved, what else have you strength for, but for GOD Does he. maintain servants, and shall not he look for their work Would you endure it that the servants you find with meat and wages, should set up for themselves Beloved, GOD’s service is your business, and he made you and keeps you for no other end. And it is your blessedness too. Labor to be under the rooted conviction of this, that your happiness lies in pleasing and honoring GOD. Let the sense of this live fresh upon your hearts, and it will regulate your whole course.
Secondly. Labor to keep alive in yourselves a deep sense of your strong obligations to God. Often think with yourselves, what a reasonable thing it is, that you should, with all your have, serve the LORD. Beloved, shall not the vessel be for the use of the Potter that made it Shall not the servant trade for his Master with whose goods he is entrusted Do you- not fetch all your bread from GOD'S door Is not he the Author of your being and well-being Is it, not from him that you fetch every breath Your interest obliges you to please him. Why should BELSHAZZAR's charge be against you that the God in whose hand your breath is, and whose are all your ways, you have not glorified. (Dan. 5: 23.)
Thirdly. Every morning let this be your first and firm resolution, I will set forth this day in the Name of GOD: Your first and last thoughts are of greatest consequence, and therefore I advise you to begin and end with this Whenever you he down, say in yourselves, I will make use of my bed as an ordinance of GOD, that I may be refreshed and fitted for his work: Whenever you rise up, think, I will spend this day for GOD, and follow the business of my calling, because I am so appointed by God.
Beloved, I design the sweetness and comfort, as well as strictness of your lives. Live to GOD as you are directed, and you shall marvelously prosper in both. I am not sure yet, whether or not I shall see you at the Assizes. I leave all things to our FATHER'S wise disposal, and commending you to GOD, I rest
Yours in the bonds of the LORD JESUS, JOSEPH ALLEIN
From the Prison at Juelchester,
November 14, 1663.,
To the Beloved People, the Flock of GOD in Taunton, Grace and Peace,
MOST DEAR FRIENDS, AND BRETHREN,
I HAVE sent these few lines, to beseech you by these bonds which I gladly endure for your sakes, to hold forth, and hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering. The Lord make you steadfast in the Holy Doctrine wherein you have been taught. I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of GOD. O remember that by the space of eight years, I ceased not to warn you every one, and kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have taught you publicly, and from house to house, warning every man, and teaching every man, that I might present every man perfect in CHRIST JESUS.
You that have taken upon you the profession of strict. godliness, I shall only press you to press towards the mark. You have much work to do, and GOD has given you no time to loiter in. I beseech you to put on. That person that sits down when he has gotten to that pitch that he thinks, will bring him to heaven, is never likely to come thither; grace is one of those things that says, it never has enough. Let me urge upon you the Apostle's counsel,’ Follow after holiness."
First. Holiness is the choicest ornament: It is an adorning in the sight, of GOD, of great price. It is the glory of GOD, and will you count it your shame (Exod. 15:) GOD is glorious in holiness, and grace is called glory. (2 Cor. iii, 18.) Yet we may now cry out as the Psalmist, "O ye sons of men,, how long will ye turn my glory into shame" (Psalm iv, 2.) But be of good comfort, the shame of holiness is real glory.
Secondly. Holiness is the safest defense: Grace is not only for ornament, but for use. Righteousness is a breastplate that keeps the vitals, and is a sure defense from any mortal wounds. When the politicians have done their best, it is he that walks uprightly, that walks surely. (Prov. x, 19.) "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me," says DAVID. I desire to be no longer safe than these can preserve me; when I must let go my integrity or my safety, I will choose the danger rather than the sin; and yet will never doubt but my integrity will save me harmless. Never persuade me that that man chooses wisely, wha runs upon the displeasure of GOD, to flee man's displeasure. Did you ever hear of a man so mad as to run upon the sword's point, to avoid the scratch of a pin Why this is the wisdom of the distracted world, who will sin rather than suffer, and, to save themselves harmless in the world, will run upon GOD, even upon the thick bosses of his buckler.
Thirdly. Holiness will be found to be your real happiness: Eat of this tree, and you shall be indeed as GOD. Godliness is GOD's likeness. The beauty of holiness is his.very image; sin is the disease of which holiness is the cure. O what peace and tranquility does holiness work in the mind! "Great peace have they that love thy commandments, and nothing shall offend them." In a word, holiness is the perfection of man's nature, the communication of the Divine nature, the earnest of glory, and the very entrance of heaven.
Let me say to every one of you, as our Savior to MARTHA, “Believest you this" If you do, live like believers, and do you follow after, holiness as others follow their trades or studies. Let religion be your business, and not a thing by the by: Follow as hard after grace, as if you did indeed believe riches and honor were in it. Let holiness sit on your lips, and season all your speech with grace. Profess it, own it, plead stoutly for it, be advocates for holiness, in an adulterous and wicked generation; wear it as a robe of honor, when the world cast their reproaches at you for it: Let it dwell in your hearts: Let it adorn your houses: Let it be your companion in your closets Let it travel with you in your journies: Let it he down and rise up with you: Let it close your eyes in the evening, and call you out of your beds in the morning. Be you the votaries of holiness: Keep her, and she shall keep you.
Because I know you love to hear of my welfare, I must tell you that goodness and mercy follow me perpetually, every day, and every night. Glory to GOD in the highest. Dear brethren, Fare you well in the LORD. I am Your devoted Servant in the Gospel, whether a Bondman, or a Free,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the common Gaol at Juelchester,
December 3, 1663.
To the Flock of CHRIST in Taunton, Grace and Peace.
MOST ENDEARED FRIENDS,
I WOULD have you count nothing as certain but CHRIST'S love and care. This you may build upon: You need not fear lest time and distance should wear out the remembrance of you with Him: Do any, of you question whether you are so happy as to have your names recorded above I shall bring it to a speeedy issue:, Do you. question whether CHRIST has taken your names whether you- are upon his heart Let me ask you, Is heaven upon your hearts Is the name of JESUS deeply engraved upon your souls Is his image and superscription there If you find that heaven is the main of your cares, that your hearts are set upon it as your home and your country; and that it is your business to seek it and secure it; if your hearts be upon heaven, your names are unquestionably written in heaven. Again, has CHRIST recorded his name in your hearts Is the name of JESUS, the beloved name with you Precious above all; next to your hearts Is there no other name under heaven so dear and sweet to you' What room has CHRIST in you If any thing be deeper in your hearts than he is, -you are unsound. As the. FATHER has given him, so do your hearts give him a name above every name: Is CHRIST uppermost with you in your affection Then rejoice and leap for joy, your names are most precious with CHRIST if his name be above all dear to you. Once more, has CHRIST drawn out his own similitude upon you Is CIRRIST within you Does he dwell in your hearts Then be sure you have a room in his heart: The image of CHRIST is in holiness. Is this that which your very hearts are set upon Do you thirst for holiness Do you follow after holiness Do you prize it above. all prosperity and worldly greatness Do you hate every sin and long to he rid of it as your most irksome burden, and use all GOD's means against it as far as you know them If it be thus with you, CHRIST has set his stamp upon your hearts, and has set you as a seal upon his heart.
Rejoice then, O Christians, and bless yourselves, in being under CHRIST'S care. Fear not, little flock; stronger is he that is with you, than he that is against you: What though SATAN should raise all his militia against you adhere to CHRIST, doing and suffering his pleasure, and he shall secure you: The LORD will not forsake you, because it has pleased the LORD to make you his people: Many will be plucking at you, but fear not, He has all power. Can Omnipotence secure you He is all treasure. Can unsearchable riches suffice you In a word, He is all fullness. Can fullness fill you If so, you are blessed and shall be blessed.
Beloved, we lose unutterably for want of considering our own privileges and blessedness. O man, is CHRIST thine, and yet dost you live at a low, rate Is thy name written in heaven, and yet dost you not rejoice Shall the children of the kingdom, the candidates of glory, the chosen generation, be like other men O Christians, remember who. and whence you are, consider your obligations, bestir yourselves, run and wrestle, and be strong for the LORD of hosts, (and earnestly, yet peaceably,) contend for the faith once delivered to his saints. What, shall we make nothing of all that GOD has said and done for us O Christians, shall he that has obtained the King's patent for an Earldom, glory in his riches and honor And shall the grant of heaven signify little with thee Or CHRIST'S patent for thy sonship and partnership with himself be like a cypher Shall HAMAN come home from the banquet with a glad heart, glorying in the greatness of his riches, and all the things wherein the King had promoted him And shall we find it under GOD's own hand, that he intends the kingdom for us, that he will be a Father to us, that he gives and grants all his infinite perfections to us, and yet not be moved Christians,' live like yourselves, let the world see that the promises of GOD and privileges of
the Gospel are not empty sounds. Let the heavenly cheerfulness, and the restless. diligence, and the holy raisedness of your conversations, prove the reality, excellency, and beauty of your religion. See that you receive not the grace of GOD in vain. Remember with trembling, " To whom much is given, of him much shall be required." With my most dear loves to you all, I commend you to your Father and my Father, your GOD and my GOD, remaining Yours in all manner of obligations,
JOSEPH ALLEINE. From the common Gaol at Juelchester,
January 2O, 1663.
LETTER 15 What do you more than others
To the most dear, Beloved, the Servants of GOD Taunton, Grace and Peace.
MOST LOVING AND ENTIRELY BELOVED,
You are a great joy to me. I know not what thanks to render to the LORD for you, when I hear of your constancy and fidelity and zeal, in adhering to him and his ways, even in such a time as this; you are highly favored. Blessed be the LORD GOD of Israel, that he has regarded the low estates of his servants: That he should ever indulge you as he has, and hover over you, even as the eagle stirreth up her nest, and fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; for so has the LORD your GOD dealt with you He has kept you as the apple of his eye; and since the streams of Cherith were dried up, yet to this day he has not suffered the handful of meal to waste, nor the oil in the cruise to fail, but has continually provided for you. How should I love and bless the LORD for this his great grace towards you! Now I beseech you, my brethren, that you consider the kindness of the LORD; for the LORD your God is he that careth for you, and that you love the LORD your GOD, and fear him for ever, for he is your life, and the length of your days. And as JOB had a holy fear of his children, lest they should have offended, so I am jealous of you with a godly jealousy, lest any of you should receive this grace of GOD in vain. I must not cease to put you in mind, that GOD does look for no small matter from you. Remember my charge, that there be not a barren tree nor a dwarf Christian among you, where the LORD soweth much, he expects to reap accordingly. Whose account, my beloved, is like to-be so great as yours O look about you, and think of the Master coming to reckon with you for his talents; when he will expect no small increase. Beloved, what can you do How much are you grown What spoil have you made upon your corruptions What progress in grace
Suppose CHRIST should put the awakening question to you, " What do you more than others" GOD does expect more of his people, than of any others in the world: And well he may. For,
First. He has bestowed more on them than on others Now where much is given, much shall be required. Can you think of that without trembling He has bestowed on them singular love: Thee only have I known of all the families on earth. And he looks that his love should be a constraining argument to obedience. Again, he has laid out a singular care for his people, more than for others: He cares for no men, for nothing in all the world; in comparison of them. He reproves Kings for their sakes. He will give nations, and kingdoms for- their ransom. So precious are they in his sight, and so dearly beloved, that he will give men for them, and people for their life. He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous; he will not endure them out of his sight. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and first the eye. of his more accurate observation: God can wink at others as it were, and overlook what they do with little notice; but he has a most curious eye upon his people, he marketh their steps, and booketh their words, he weigheth their actions, and pondereth all their goings. And should they not walk more cautiously than any alive, that are under so exact an eye Secondly, the eye of special care and protection. Behold the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him: I will guide thee with mine eye: And should not they be infinitely tender and careful how to please the LORD, who have his singular care laid out on them In short, GOD has bestowed on them singular privileges:. These are a peculiar treasure to him above all people, a kingdom of Priests, a holy nation; they dwell alone, they are diverse from all people. When the whole world lies in wickedness, these are called and chosen, and faithful, washed, and justified, and sanctified in the name of the LORD JESUS, and by the SPIRIT of our GOD. The rest are the refuse; these the jewels. Shall not GOD'S Priests beclothed with righteousness, and shall not Princes live above the rate of peasants
Secondly. He has entrusted them with more than others Not only with the talents of his grace,, (for the increase whereof they must give a strict account,) but also with the jewel of his glory. How tenderly should they walk, that are entrusted with such a jewel Remember, your Maker's glory is bound up in your fruitful walking.
Thirdly. He has qualified them more than others. He has put into them a principle of life, having quickened them together with CHRIST. He has set up a light in their minds, when others he in darkness. He has given them other aids, than others have, even his SPIRIT to help their infirmities, when others he like vessels that are windbound, and cannot stir.
Fourthly. He has provided for them other manner of things than for others, These are the little flock to whom it is his good pleasure to give the kingdom: Great are the preparations for them. The FATHER has prepared the kingdom for them from the foundations of the world: The SON is gone to heaven on purpose to prepare a place for them: The SPIRIT is preparing them, and making them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light And should these be like other people
Brethren, GOD and men expect you should do more than others, see that you be indeed singular. For
1. If you do no more for GOD than others, he will' do more against you than others: You only have I known, therefore will I punish you. The barren tree in the vineyard must be cut down, whereas had it been in the common it might have stood much longer. GOD looketh for grapes from his vineyard, on which he had bestowed such care more than ordinary; but when they bring forth wild grapes, he will lay them waste in a worse manner than the forest.
2. If you do no more than others, you must look for no more than others. If you should put off GOD with a common obedience, you must expect to be put off with common mercies.
3. Except you do more than others, GOD will be dishonored more by you than others. And truly, as GOD looks for more from his own than others, so he looks for more from you than others, even of his own, because he has done more: " See that you be shining Christians, that you be strong in the grace of GOD, that you press towards the mark. But I must conclude; I give my love among you all, being able to add no more, but that I am,
Yours in fervent love and longings, JOSEPH ALLEINE.