Thomas Jackson.

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and resolved to take him thence. They put a
warrant into the constable's hand, to apprehend
him ; and sent for our friend, and threatened to
send him to jail for entertaining such persons
in his house. So my husband returned to the
house of Mr. John Mallack, a merchant, who
lived about a mile from Taunton, who had long
solicited him to take his house for his home.
We being in such an unsettled state, my hus-
band thought it best to accept of his courteous
offer : but many of his friends were willing to
enjoy him in the town, and were so earnest,
that he did, to satisfy them, go from one to an-
other, staying a fortnight, or three weeks, or a
month, at each house ; but still took Mr. Mal-
lack's for his home. This motion of his friends,
he told me, (though it was troublesome for us
to be so unsettled,) he was willing to embrace,
because he knew not how soon he might be
carried again from them to prison ; and he
should have opportunity to be more intimately
acquainted with them, and the state of their
souls, and of their children and servants, and
how they perform their duties to each other in
their families.

He went from no house without serious coun-
sels, comforts, or reproofs, as their conditions
called for; dealing with all that were capable,
both governors and others, particularly acquaint-


ing them faithfully and most affectionately what
he had seen amiss in any of them.

He went from no house that was willing to
part with him ; nor had he opportunity to an-
swer the requests of half that invited us to their
houses ; so that he would often bless God, and
say with holy Mr. Dod, that he had a hundred
houses for one that he parted with. Though he
had no goods, he wanted nothing. His Father
cared for him in every thing ; so that he lived a
far more pleasant life than his enemies, who
had turned him out of all. He was exceedingly
taken with God's mercy to him, in Mr. Mallack's
entertaining him and me so bountifully : the
house, and gardens, and walks, were a very
great delight to him, being so pleasant and
curious, and all accommodations within suitable ;
so that he would often say, that he did, as
Dives, fare deliciously every day : but he hoped
he should improve it better than Dives did ;
that God had inclined him to take care for many
poor, and for several of his brethren in the
ministry ; and now God did reward him, by
not suffering him to be at the least expense for
himself or me.

He was a very strict observer of all providences
of every day, and did usually reckon them
up to me before he went to sleep, each night after
he came into his chamber and bed, to raise his
own heart and mine to praise the Lord, and to
trust him, whom we had such experience of
from time to time.

The time of the year being come for his going


to the waters, he was desirous to set one clay-
apart for thanksgiving to God for all his mercies
to him and them, and so to take his leave of them.
Accordingly on July 10th, 1665, divers of his
brethren in the ministry, and many of his friends
of Taunton, met together to take their leave of
him before his departure, at the house of Mr.
Mallack, then living about a mile out of the
town. After they had been a while together,
came two justices, and several other persons
attending them, brake open the doors by force,
(though they might have unlatched them, if they
had pleased,) and with swords came in among
them. After much deriding and menacing lan-
guage, which I shall not here relate, having
taken their names, they committed them to the
custody of some constables, whom they charged
to bring them forth the next day, at the Castle
Tavern, in Taunton, before the justices of the
peace there. The next day the prisoners ap-
peared, and answered to their names ; and after
two days' tedious attendance were all convicted
of a conventicle, and sentenced to pay three
pounds apiece, or be committed to prison three-
score days. Of the persons thus convicted, but
i'ew either paid their fines, or suffered their
friends to do it for them. My husband, with
seven ministers more, and forty private persons,
were committed to the prison of Ilchester.
When he, together with the rest of his brethren
and Christian friends, came to the prison, his
carriage and conversation was every way as
exemplary as in his former confinement. Not-


withstanding his weakness of body, he would
constantly take his turn with the rest of the
ministers, in preaching the gospel in the prison :
which turns came about the oftener, though
there were eight of them there together, be-
cause they had preaching and praying twice a
day, almost every day they were in prison ; be-
sides other exercises of religion, in which he
would take his part.

And although he had many of his flock con-
fined in prison wdth him, by which means he
had the fairer opportunity of instructing and
w^atching over them, for their spiritual good ; yet
he was not forgetful of the rest that were left
behind, but w^ould frequently visit them also, by
his letters, full of serious, profitable matter, from
which they might reap no small benefit, while
they were debarred of his bodily presence. And
how greatly solicitous he w^as for those that were
with him, (that they might be the better for
their bonds, walking w^orthy of the many and
great mercies they had enjoyed during their im-
prisonment; that when they came home to
their houses, they might speak forth and live
forth the praises of God, carrying themselves in
every respect as becomes the gospel, for which
they had been sufferers,) you may clearly see
by those parting counsels that he gave them on
the morning that they were delivered ; which I
shall recite in his own words, as they were
taken from his mouth in short hand, by an inti-
mate friend and fellow-prisoner, which you
may take as follovveth : —

Ufe of joskph alleine. 161

MR. ALLEIN'e's exhortation TO HIS FELLOW-

Dearly beloved Brethren : — My time is
little, and my strength but small ; yet I could
not consent that you should pass without re-
ceiving some parting counsel ; and what I have
to say at parting shall be chiefly to you that are
prisoners, and partly also to you our friends that
are here met together. To you that are prison-
ers, I shall speak something by way of exhort-
ation, and something by way of dehortation.

First: Rejoice with trembling in your prison-
comforts, and see that you keep them in a thank-
ful remembrance. Who can tell the mercies
that you have received here ? Neither my time
nor strength will suffice me to recapitulate
them. See that you rejoice in God ; but rejoice
with trembling. Do not think the account will
be little for mercies, so many and so great.
Receive these choice mercies with a trembling
hand, for fear lest you should be found guilty of
misiinproving such precious benefits, and so
wrath should be upon you from the Lord. Re-
member Ilczekiah's case : great mercies did he
receive ; some praises he did return ; but not
according to the benefit done unto him : there-
fore was wrath upon him from the Lord, and
upon all Juduh for his sake, (2 Chron. xxxii,
25.) Therefore go away with a holy fear upon
your hearts, lest you should forget the loving-


kindness of the Lord, and should not render to
him according to what you have received.

O, my brethren, stir up yourselves to render
praises to the Lord. You are the people that
God hath formed for his praise, and sent hither
for his praise ; and you should now go home,
as so many trumpets, to sound forth the praises
of God, when you come among your friends.
There is an expression, Psalm Ixviii, 11 : " The
Lord gave the word, great v^-as the company
of them that published it." So let it be said
of the praises of God now, " Great was the
company of them that published them." God
hath sent a Avhole troop of you here together :
let all these go home and sound the praises of
God wherever you come ; and this is the way
to make his praise glorious indeed. Shall I
tell you a story that I have read ? There w^as a
certain king that had a pleasant grove ; and that
he might make it every way delightful to him, he
caused some birds to be caught, and to be kept
up in cages, till they had learned sundry sweet
and artificial tunes : and when they were per-
fect in their lessons, he let them abroad cut of
their cages into his grove, that v/hile he was
walking in his grove, he might hear them sing-
ing those pleasant tunes, and teaching them to
other birds that were of a wilder note. Bre-
thren, this king is God ; this grove is his church ;
these birds are yourselves ; this cage is the
prison. God hath sent you hither, that you
should learn the sweet and pleasant notes of his
praise ; and I trust that you have learned some-


thinj^ all this while : God forbid else ! Now
God opens the cage, and lets you forth into the
throve of his church, that you may sing forth
his praises, and that others may ]earn of you.
Forget not, therefore, the songs of the house of
your pilgiimage ; do not return to your wild
notes attain ; keep the mercy of God for ever in
a thankful remembrance ; and make mention of
them humbly as long as you liA'e. Then shall
you answer the end for which he sent you
hither. I trust you will not forget this place.
When (vHieen Mar}' died she said, that if they
did open her Ixxly, they should find Calais on
her heart. I hope that men shall find by you
hereafter that the prison is upon your heart ;
llchester is upon your heart.

Secondly : Feed and feast your faith on pri-
son experience. Do not think that God hath
done this only for your present supply. Bre-
thren, (iod hath provided for you, not only for
your present supply in prison, but to lay up, for
all vour lives, that experience that your faith
must live upon, till faith be turned into vision.
I^earn depcndance upon God, by all the expe-
riencos tliat you have had here. " Because
thou hast been my help," saith the psalmist,
'• therefore under the shadow of thy wing will I
rejoice." Arc you at a loss at any time ? Then
remember your bonds. We read in Scripture
of a time when there was no smith in all Israel ;
and the Israelites were fain to carry their goads,
and other instruments, to be sharpened, down
to the Philistines. Sq when your spirits are


low, and when your faith is dull, carry them to
the prison to be sharpened and quickened. O
how hath the Lord confuted all our fears ! cared
for all our necessities ? The faith of some of
you was sorely put to it for corporal necessities.
You came hither, not having any thing con-
siderable to pay for your charges here ; but
God took care for that. And you left poor
miserable families at home ; and no doubt but
many troublesome thoughts were in your minds,
what your families should do for bread ; but God
hath provided for them.

We that are ministers left poor starving
flocks, and we thought that the country had
been now stripped ; and yet God hath provided
for them. Thus hath the Lord been pleased to
furnish us with arguments for our faith, against
we come to the next distress. Though you
should be called forth to leave your flocks des-
titute, you that are my brethren in the ministry,
and others their families destitute, yet doubt not
but God will provide. Remember your bonds
upon all occasions. Whensoever you are in
distress, remember your old friend, remember
your tried friend.

Thirdly : Let divine mercy be as oil to the
flame of yoin* love. "O love the Lord, all ye
his saints !" Brethren, this is the language of
all God's dealings with you. They all call
upon you to love the Lord your God with all
your hearts, with all your souls, with all your
strength. What hath God been doing ever
since you came to this prison ? All that he


hath been doin^ since you came hither hath
been to pour oil into the flames of your love,
thereby to increase and heighten them. God
hath lost all these mercies upon you, if you do
not love him belter than you did before. You
have had supplies : to what purpose is it, unless
you love God the more ? If they that be in
want love him better than you, it were better
you had been in their case. You have had
health here ; but if they that be in sickness love
God better than you, it were better you had
been in sickness too. See that you love your
Father, that hath been so tender of you. What
hath God been doing, but pouring out his love
upon you ? How were we mistaken ! We
thought to have felt the strokes of his anger ;
but he hath stroked us as a father his children,
with most dear affection. Who can utter his
loving kmdness ? What, my brethren, shall w^e
be worse than publicans ? The publicans will
love those that love them. Will not you return
love for so much love ? Far be this from^ you,
brethren ; you must not only exceed the publi-
cans, but the Pharisees too : therefore, surely
you must love him that loveth you. This is my
business now, to bespeak your love to God, to
imite your hearts to him. Blessed be God for
this occasion ! For my part I am unworthy of
it. Now if I can get your hearts nearer tu God
than they were, then happy am I, and blessed
are you. Fain I would that all these expe-
riences should knit our hearts to God more, and
endear us for ever to him. What, shall there


be SO much bounty and kindness, and no returns
of love 1 at least no farther returns ? I may-
plead in the behalf of the Lord with you, as
they did for the centurion : "He ioveth our na-
tion," say they, " and hath built us a synagogue."
So I may say here, " He hath loved you, and
poured out his bounty upon you." How many
friendly visits have you had from those that you
could but little expect ! Whence do you think
this came ? It is God that hath the key of all
these hearts. He caused them to pour forth
kindness upon you. There is not a motion of
love in the heart of a friend toward you, but it
was God that put it in.

Fourthly : Keep your manna in a golden pot ;
and forget not him that hath said so often, " Re-
member me." You have had manna rained
plentifully about you ; be sure that something
of it be kept. Do not forget ail the sermons
that you have heard here. O that you would
labour to repeat them over, to live them over !
You have had such a stock that you may live
upon, and your friends too, (if you be communi-
cative.) a great while together. If any thing
have been wanting, time for the digesting hath
been wanting. See that you meditate upon
what you have heard ; and that you especially
remember the feasts of love. Do not you know
who hath said to you so often, " Remember
me ?" How often have you heard that sweet
word since you came hither? What! Do you
think it is enough to remember him for an hour ?
No ; but let it be a living and a lasting remem-

1.11'E or JOSEPH ALLEIXE. 167

brance. Do not you write that name of his in
the dust, that hath written your names upon his
heart. Your High Priest hath your names upon
his heart, and therewith has entered into the
holy place ; and keeps them there for a memo-
rial before the Lord continually. O that his
remembrance might be ever written upon your
hearts, written as with the pen of a diamond
upon tables of marble, that might never be worn
out ! that, as Aristotle saith of the curious fabric
of Minerva, he had so ordered the fabric that
his name was written in the midst ; and if any
went to take that out, the whole fabric was dis-
solved: so the name of Jesus should be written
upon the substance of your souls, that they
should pull all asunder before they sliould be
able to j)ull it out.

Fifthly; Let the bonds of your affliction
strengthen the bonds of your aflection. Bre-
thren, God hath sent us hither to teach us,
among other things, the better to love one an-
other. Love is lovely, both in the sight of
God and men ; and if by your imprisonment you
have profited in love, then you have made an
acceptabh' proficiency. O brethren, look with-
in. Are you not more endeared one to another ?
I bless tlie Ixnd for that union and peace that
hiive been ever among you ; but you must be
sensible that we come very far sliort of the love
that we owe one to another. \\ e have not that
love, that endearedncss, that tenderness, that
complacency, that compassion toward each
other, that we ought to liave. Ministers should


be more endeared one to another, and Chris-
tians should be more dear to each other, than
they were before. We have eaten and drunk
together, and Uved on our Father's iove in one
family together ; we have been joined together
in one common cause. O let the remembrance
of a prison, and of what hath passed here, espe-
cially those uniting feasts, engage you to love
one another.

Sixthly : Let present indulgence fit you for
future hardships. Beloved, God hath used you
like favourites now, rather than like sufferers.
What shall I say ? I am at a loss, when I think
of the tender indulgence, and the yearnings of
the bowels, of our heavenly Father upon us.
But, my brethren, do not look for such prisons

Affliction doth but now play and sport w^ith
you, rather than bite you ; but do you look that
affliction should hereafter fasten its teeth on you
to purpose. And do you look that the hand
that hath n-ow gently stroked you may possibly
buffet you, and put your faith hard to it, when
you come to the next trial. Bless God for
what you have found here ; but prepare you :
this is but the beginning, (shall I say, the be-
ginning of sorrow ? I cannot say so ; for the
Lord hath made it a place of rejoicing,) this is
but the entrance of our affliction ; but you must
look, that when you are trained up to a better
perfection, God will put your faith to harder

Seventhly: Cast up your accounts at your


return, and see whether you have gone as much
forward in your souls as you have gone back-
ward in your estates. I cannot be insensible
but some of you are here to very great disad-
vantage as to your affairs in the world, having
left your business so at home in your shops,
trades, and callings, that it is likely to be no
little detriment to you upon this account. But
happy are ye, if you find at your return, that as
much as your affairs are gone backward and
behindhand, so much your souls have gone for-
ward. If your souls go forward in grace by
your sufferings, blessed be God that hath brought
you to such a place as a prison is !

Eighthly : Let the snuffers of this prison make
your light burn the brighter; and see that your
discourse be the more savoury, serious, and spi-
ritual for this present trial. O brethren ! now
the voice of the Lord is to you, as it is in the
prophet, Isaiah Ix, 1 : " Arise and shine ;" now
" let your light shine before men, that others
may see your good works, and glorify your Fa-
ther which is in heaven." It is said of those
preachers beyond sea that have been sent into
England, and here reaped the benefit of our
English practical divinity, at their return they
have preached so much better than they had
wont to do, that it hath been said of them, Ap-
paniit hunc fuisse in Anglid. So do you, my
brethren, live so much better than you had wont,
that when men shall see the change in your
lives, they may say of you, Apparuit hanc fuisse
in custodid. See that your whole course bo


more spiritual and heavenly than ever. See
that you shine in your families when you come
home: be you better husbands, better masters,
better fathers ; study to do more than you have
done this way, and to approve yourselves better
in your family relations than you did before ;
that the savour of a prison may be upon you in
all companies ; then wall you praise and please
the Lord.

Ninthly: See that you walk accurately, as
those that have the eyes of God, angels, and
men upon you. My brethren, you will be looked
upon now with very curious eyes, God doth
expect more of you than ever; for he hath done
more for you, and he looketh what fruit there
will be of all this. O may there be a sensible
change upon your souls, by the showers that
have fallen in prison, as there is in the green-
ness of the earth, by the showers that have
fallen lately abroad !

I have also these four things to leave with
you :

First : Revile not your persecutors, but bless
them, and pray for them, as the instruments of
conveying great mercies to you. Do not you so
far forget the rule of Christ, as when you come
home to be setting your mouths to talk against
those that have injured you. Remember the
command of your Lord, '' Bless them that curse
you ; pray for them that despitefully use you
and persecute you." Whatsoever they intended,
they have been instruments of a great deal of
2nercy to us : and so we should pray for them,


and bless God for the good we have received
by them.

Secondly : Let not the humble acknowledg-
ment of God's mercy degenerate into proud,
vain-glorious boasting, or carnal triumph. I be-
seech you, see that you go home v/ith a great
deal of fear upon your spirits in this respect,
lest pride should get advantage oi" you ; lest,
instead of humble acknowledging of God's mer-
cy, there should be carnal boasting. Beware of
this, I earnestly beg of you ; for this will very
much spoil your suflerings, and be very dis-
pleasing in the sight of God. But let your
acknowledging of his mercy be ever with hum-
ble, self-abasing thankfulness ; and be careful
that you do not make his mercies to be the fuel
of your pride, which were to lose all at once.

Thirdly : Be not prodigal of your liberty, upon
a conceit that the prisons will be easy, nor
fearful of adventuring yourselves in the way of
your duty. Alas ! 1 am afraid of both these
extremes, lest some among us, having found a
great deal of mercy here, will now think there
is no need of any Christian prudence, which is
always necessary, and is a great duty. It is
not cowardice to make use of the best means
to preserve our liberty, iMjt declining our duty.
On the other side, there is fear lest some may
be fearful, and ready to decline their duty, be-
cause they have newly tasted of a prison for it.
Far be it from you to distrust God, of whom you
have had so great experience ; but be sure you
hold on ill your duty, whatsoever it cost you.


Fourthly: Do not load others with censures,
whose judgment or practice differs from yours;
but humbly bless God that hath so happily di-
rected you. You know, all are not of the same
mind as to the circumstances of suffering-, and
all have not gone the same way. Far be it
from any of you, my brethren, that you should so
far forget yourselves as to be unmerciful to your
brethren ; but bless God that hath directed you
into a better way. Your charity must grow higher
than ever. God forbid that you should increase
in censures, instead of increasing in charity!

Having spoken to my fellow-prisoners, I have
two words to speak to you, our friends and
brethren with us.

First: Let our experience be your encourage-
ment. O, love the Lord, ye our friends ; love
the Lord, fear him for ever ; believe in him,
trust in him for ever, for our sakes : we have
tasted of the kindness of God.

You know how good God hath been to us in
spirituals and in temporals. Encourage your
hearts in the Lord your God; serve him the
more freely and gladly for our sakes. You see
we have tried, we have tasted how good the
Lord is. Do you trust him the more, because
we have tried him so much, and found him a
friend so faithful, so gracious, that we are ut-
terly unable to speak his praise. Go on and
fear not in the way of your duty: " verily there
is a reward for the righteous." God hath given
us a great reward already; but this is but the
least .- we look for a kingdom.


Secondly: My desire is to our friends, that
they will all help us in our praises. Our tongues
are too Utile to speak forth the goodness and
the grace of God : do you help us in our praises.
Love the Lord the better, praise him the more;
and what is wanting in us, let it be made good by
you. O that the praises of God may sound abroad
in the country by our means, and for our sakes!

He was prevented from going to the waters

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Online LibraryThomas JacksonChristian biography .. → online text (page 10 of 18)