Copyright
Thomas Jackson.

Christian biography .. online

. (page 13 of 18)
Online LibraryThomas JacksonChristian biography .. → online text (page 13 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


contentment, faith, and holy confidence shining
in him, with love to God, and his church and
people. And where he longed and panted to be
he is now, shining in heaven, singing praises to
God and to the Lamb ; which work he much
delighted iu while here on earth.



206 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.

CHAPTER YII.

BY MR. FAIRCLOUGH. IN WHOSE HOUSE
MR. ALLEINE LODGED.

As for such as feared God already, he was
still seeking their edification, and stirring them
up to a holy life ; very much pressing them to
intend God as their end, and to do whatever
they did for God. When the week began, he
would say, " Another week is now before us :
let us spend this week for God." And in the
morning he would say, " Come now, let this
day be spent for God. Now let us live this one
day well. Could we resolve to be more than
ordinarily circumspect, but for one day at a time,
and so on, we might live at an extraordinary
rate." In the day-time he would seasonably
ask people, " How did you set out to-day ?
Did you set out for God to day ? What were
your morning thoughts ?"

In the week-time he would often ask the ser-
vants for the heads of the sermon v/hich they
had heard on the Lord^s day before. As he
walked about the house, he would make some
spiritual use of whatever occurred, and still his
lips did drop like the honey-comb to all that
were about him. Any offices that were done
for him in his v/eakness were all well requited.
To give a few instances of his words : —

To one that had done well : " There are two
things," said he, " that we must especially look
to, after well-doing, and the special taste of the
love of God : 1 . That we grow not proud of it,



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEIXE. 207

and so lose all ; 2. That we grow not secure,
and so give the tempter new advantages."

Speaking of the vanity of the world, he said,
" It is as good to be without the world, and to
bear that state as beseemeth a Christian, as to
enjoy the world, though it were never so well
employed. If a man hath riches, and layeth
them out for God, and for his servants, yet it is
as happy a state to receive alms of another, so
we bear our poverty aright, and are cheerful and
thankful in our low estate. Though yet it is
true, that riches may be used to the good of
others ; and it is more honourable to give than
to receive."

Another time he said, '• How necessary a
duty it is for a child of God placidly to suit with
all God's dispensations : and a Christian must
not only quietly submit to God in all his deal-
ings, but ever be best pleased with what God
doeth, as knowing that he is infinitely wise and
good. O how unbocominfj a Christian is it to
do otherwise !" To which one answering,
" How short we ordinarily fall as to that tem-
per !" he replied, " We have much ground to go
yet, but so it nuist be ; but we shall never be
well indeed till we come to heaven."

Another time said he, " O what an alteration
will be shortly made upon us ! Now we are
the sons of God, but yet it doth not appear to
sight what we shall be. Did we iinasfine only
that we shall shine as the sun in the firmament,
it were too low a conception of our blessedness
hereafter."



208 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.

Another morning, as he was dressing, he
said, " what a shout will there be when Christ
shall come in his glory ! I hope all here pre-
sent shall contribute to that shout."

Another time, " I bless the Lord, I delight
in nothing in this world, farther than I see God
in it."

Another time, in his weakness, saith he,
'• There are three things which must be un-
learned, as being mistakes among men. 1. Men
think that their happiness lieth in having the
world, when it is much more in contemning the
world. 2. Men think that the greatest content-
ment lieth in having their own will, when in-
deed it lieth in crossing, mortifying, and sub-
duing their wills to the will of God. 3. Men
think it their business and benefit to seek them-
selves, when indeed it is the denying of them-
selves."

Another time this was his advice : " 1. Value
precious time, while time doth last, and not
when it is irrevocably lost. 2. Know the worth
of things to come, before they come or are pre-
sent ; and the worth of things present, before
they are past. 3. Value no mercy as it serveth
to content the flesh, but as it is serviceable for
God and to things eternal."

vSuch was his talk at the table, where he
would be still raised in gratitude for God's boun-
ty, and used to eat his meat with much cheer-
fulness and comfort, as savouring of a sweeter
good.

He took one that was watching with him by



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE. 209

the hand, and said, " I hope to pass an eternity
with thee in the praises of our God. In the
meantime, let us hve a hfe of praise while we
are here ; for it is sweet to us, and delightful
to God. It is harmony in his ears, our failings
being pardoned ; and we and our praise are
accepted through Christ." Such discourse is,
I hope, no great rarity with good men, in the
cheerfulness of prosperity in health ; but for a
man on the bed of tedious lunguishing it is
more rare.

The night before he went to Bath, whero he
died, he said to the same person, " O how
much more hath God done for you than for all
the world of unconverted persons, in that he
hath wrought his image on your heart, and will
bring you at last to his celestial glory ! See now
that you acknowledge tho grace of God, and
give him the praise of it. For my part, I bless
the Lord, I am full of his mercy. Goodness
and mercy have followed me all my days. I
am full and running over. I charge you to walk
cheerfully, and to follow me with your praises
while I am alive."

For such in the family as lay under doubts
of their condition, he took great care of them,
endeavouring daily to satisfy their doubts and
answer their scruples ; and still would be inquir-
ing, whether they had yet any more settlement.
And if they said they knew not how to try
themselves, he would say, " Come, let me help
you ;" and so would take them aside, and pro-
pound some three or four sound marks, by way
It



210 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.

of question, and would ask them whether it were
so with them or not. If any doubt appeared to
remain about it, he would not easily leave them,
till they were somewhat satisfied at that time,
and would bring all down to the meanest capa-
city, by putting his questions several ways.
And if yet doubts remained, he would use all
the compassion and pitifulness that might be,
and open to them the goodness of God's nature,
the sufficiency of Christ, and his readiness to
accept returning sinners ; and, after long trial
by fairer means, would plainly labour to con-
vince them of the sin of unbelief. For any in
the family that seemed to stick under bare con-
victions, he much urged them to go on, and
make a thorough, and sound, and sure work
of it.

In family duties he seemed more excellent
than at other times.

He was a man of singular patience in afflic-
tion. Though he lay under such weakness for
certain years as rendered him almost wholly
unable for his public work, and many times not
able to move a hand or finger, or hardly any
other part ; yet some that have been much with
him never heard him once complain of one
pain or other, unless any asked him, and then he
would always make the least of it. When he
lay many nights, and never took the least rest
by sleep, he would never show the least impa-
tience, nor so much as say that he had not
slept, unless it were asked him. And still
would he justify and glorify God, and say,



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE. 211

" Shall I receive good at God's hand, and no
evil ?"

Speaking of exhortations and reproofs, he
said, " It is the safest course, where it may be
done, to take the opportunity, and not to suffer
our backward hearts to cheat us of the present,
on pretence of staying for a fitter time."

As advice for profitable discourse, he said,
*' It is good for such Christians as need it, to
study beforehand what to speak, that they may
always have something in readiness to bring
forth for the benefit of others, which will prevent
impertinences."

Of prayer with others he would say, " We
have need to watch against confining our
thoughts and desires to the cases of our own
souls, with the neglect of those that join with
us ; but above all, with the neglect of the
miserable world, and of the church of Christ."
For though indeed hypocrites use to indite al-
most all their public prayers from the supposed
case of those that are present, and meddle but
little with their own sins and wants, unless in
formality, yet sincere Christians are at first too
apt to dwell upon their own cases almost alone ;
insomuch that they have need to be called out-
ward ; and as they grow in love, they w ill grow
enlarged in the case of their brethren, but espe-
cially of public and universal consequence.



213 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.



CHAPTER Vlir.

WRITTEN BY OXE OF HIS FAMILIAR
ACQ.UAIXTAXCE.

HIS PERSONAL CHARACTER, STATURE, AND
COMPLEXION.

As to his personal bodily characler, he was
of stature tall and erect ; of complexion clear
and lovely, his countenance being the seat of
cheerfulness, gravity, and love. His sprightly
and serene countenance was the index of an
active and harmonious soul. Anger, as it sel-
dom beclouded, so it became not, that face
which was most incapable of sour impressions.
It was forced, and so not of long continuance ;
for it never appeared but upon summons, when
commanded to interpose itself for the glory of
God, and the honour of religion. Neither did
his reason and virtue sooner raise than lay it
when the cause was ceased. He was angry,
and sinned not, by being angry chiefly or only
for sin.

HIS CONSTITUTION.

He had not a more hale complexion than
healthful constitution, hugely fitted for the em-
ployment in which he was so successful, name-
ly, his ministerial labours and studies. Inso-
much that he hath often been heard to confess,
that he knew not what an hour's sickness or



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEIXE. 213

indisposition was for thirty years and upward,
even until after his first imprisonment ; to which
it may well be thousjht that he owed the first
and fatal impairs of his healthful vigour. Since
which first decay, it may be affirmed that con-
trariwise for some years together, till the period
of his life, he scarcely knew what was an hour's
health. Most deplorable it is, that his great
and even excessive labours, and hard durance,
should have been prodigal of that strength which
might perchance have been hitherto employed
to tiie most noble purposes. But alas, the inno-
cent flames of love to God, and zeal for his glory,
and the good of souls, made all his strength a
whole burnt sacrifice, and as well devoted as if
sacrificed to the flames of martyrdom.

HIS JUDG.MEXT.

And here some injury would be done to his
worthy name, should his internal excellences,
which are of all the greatest, be wholly forgot
ten. His judgment was as the pot of manna,
wherein were found and conserved all whole-
some doctrines : most solid and acute it was.
For though with the eye of his body he could
not see far off, ytt with the eye of his mind
he penetrated far into the recesses of difficult
truths; and out of mental perplexities he was
wont happily to extricate himself and others ;
the toil of his intellect herein being not so plea-
sant as successful. He was all judgment in his
inquiries after truth, and all aft'eclion in pursuing
and promoting that which is good.



214 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEIXE.

HIS MEMORY.

His memory was as the tables of the cove-
nant, God's law being his meditation day and
night, and as the sacred records there kept. It
was a most faithful and refined treasury, out of
which he continually brought things new and
old for the instruction and consolation of his
hearers. So tenacious it was, that it needed
not, and wholly refused, those helps by which
it is usually fortified, and its defects supplied.
It knew not the slavery of an imposed task ; for
what had once engaged his love was, without
delay or difficulty, possessed of his mind.

HIS FANCY.

His fancy was as Aaron's rod budding, ever
producing fresh blossoms of refined divine wit
and invention. It was quick and happy, a fruit-
ful storehouse of hallowed and sublime notions ;
ever pregnant, yet never bringing forth any other
than the offspring of judgment and discretion.
Though it soared high, yet when it had gone to
its utmost length, it was checked by his judg-
ment and humility, lest it should ascend above
its height.

HIS WILL AND AFFECTIONS.

His will he had so long lost in the divine
will as not to find it, or to be troubled with its
reluctances, under so long and sad a series of
trials and afflictions as those which attended
him constantly to his grave. His affections



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE. 215

were strong and fervent ; and, to use his words,
thev kept to their right objects and tlieir due
bounds, never enkindled but with a coal from
the altar ; and then they soared to marvellous
heights. He was indeed, as it were, all affec-
tion in pursuing and promoting the grand inte-
rests of religion. The zeal of God's house had
consumed him ; and that not blind nor wild, but
well attempered with light and heat. What
holy Mr. Herbert said of himself, that may be
said of him, that his active soul was as a keen
knife in a thin sheath, ever about to cut through,
and take its flight into the region of souls.



HIS GREAT GRAVITY.

But to proceed to some of his excellent pro-
perties. His gravity appeared to be true and
genuine, (as not affected or morose, not through
any inability, but unwillingriess to press his wit
to the service of vanity,) resulting from a mind
ever in the awe of God ; because his presence
and deportment struck such an awe even on all
with whom he conversed, and composed them
to a true decorum. As the Rev. Mr. Bolton,
when walking in the streets, was so much
clothed with majesty, as by the notice of his
coming in these words, " Here comes Mr. Bol-
ton," as it were to charm them into order, when
vain or doing amiss ; so this most grave divine,
whensoever he came, was as a walking spirit
by his presence conjuring them into a grave
deportment. What the statue of Sennacherib



216 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEIXE.

did speak, that much more did this livelv image
of the most high God speak, — " He who looketh
to me, let him be religious."

This his great gravity was not only discerned
by all, but also more pariicularly and especially
acknowledged and loved by his brethren in the
ministry ; for there being some matter of moment
depending among them, the care of which was
to be devolved on some one man, a worthy
divine, far exceeding him in years, solicited
him to take it on him; who modestly waived it,
wondering that they should pitch on one so
young and inexperienced as himself for so so-
lemn an undertaking. The forenamed divine
replied, that of all the ministers, his brethren,
whereof many for age were his fathers, he knew
none of greater gravity, industry, and fitness for
the management of that affair than himself.



KIS AFFABILITY.

Neither was he so immured in his study as to
be averse from generous and innocent freedom,
and obligingness of converse ; for love and affa-
bility were accurately attempered with his great
gravity. He became all things to all men, that
he might gain the more ; and so communicative,
innocent, and obliging was ail his converse, that
he commanded the admiration of his friends, and
forced this acknowledgment from his adversa-
ries, both profane, atheistical, and sectarian,
that if there were ever a good man among the
nonconformists, Mr. Alleine was he.



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE. 217

HIS CHARITY.

Communicative I say he was, both of spirit-
ual, and also temporal goocl things, according
to and even beyond his power, both when he
heard the loud complaints of some, and when
he listened to the silent suits of others, namely,
some modest and indigent housekeepers, who
only spake by their real needs, and entered their
suits at the eyes of an inquisitive almoner, more
thai» at his ears. Of the good things pertaining
to this life he was often liberal beyond his mea-
sure ; and of those pertaining to another life,
often beyond his strength : and by this constel-
lation of his charity and aims-deeds, he made
the one more profitable, and the other more
acceptable ; the one the greater, and the other
the happier and more successful. )3y this con-
junction also, he approved himself more perfect
iiefore God, the more thoroughly furnished to
every good word and work.

HIS L'TTER.\>'CE.

His manner of speech was free, eloquent,
subliiuf, and weighty. Of him it may be well
said, as of our blessed Saviour, "That all bare
him \v itness, and wondered at the gracious
words which proceeded out of his mouth." It
will be hard to tell what man ever spake with
more holy eloquence, gravity, authority, meek-
ness, compassion, and efficacy to souls, than he
did to those to whom in instruction, exhortation,
consolation, reprehension, he most wisely, fre-
quently, and successfully applied himself. Few



218 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.

could resist or stand before the united force of
his love and authority ; being equally attracted
by the one, and awed by the other.

True it is, that this young Timothy (with
whom few were like-minded, in caring naturally
for the state of his flock) was at his first en-
trance on his ministry despised for his youth,
by those who after with shame confessed their
error, and deplored their rashness, resolving
after, for his sake no more to judge according
to appearance, but to honour for their work and
intrinsic Avorth those whom age hath not made
venerable.

HIS STUDIES AND LEARNING.

As it respects his studies, he had a strong
inclination to, and delight in, the study of the
natural and ethnic theology, in which he pro-
ceeded to a great acquaintance with the chief
sects of the philosophers, especially the Aca-
demics and Stoics, of his insight into whom he
made singular use, by gathering their choicest
flowers to adorn Christianity withal ; and, in-
deed, scarcely did he preach a sermon wherein
he did not select some excellent passage or
other out of these, whereby to illustrate and
fortify his discourse. And how well becoming
a divine, and most laudable, this his inclination
and choice was, is most manifest to considering
men ; for hereby he more confirmed himself in
the Christian religion (which he had espoused
with so much judgment and zeal) by a distinct
and certain knowledge of the highest principles



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEIXE. 219

and hopes of the ethnic religions, and by a sober
comparing of that with these. He also much
delighted in anatomy, in which he acquired a
considerable skill, which also he not a little im-
proved by frequent dissections. And in his
public ministry he often made use of this his
insight by composing, with Galen, hymns to the
Creator, Mhose infinite wisdom he was often
heard to admire, in the contrivance of man's
outward frame, and in the rare contexture, de-
pendance, and use of all, even the minutest
parts, in the excellent fabric of man's body. As
to his skill in the langfuaofos, it was not con-
temptible, especially in those three which
Christ sanctified upon the cross.

HIS MODERATION AXD HUMILITY.

He managed his dissent in judgment from
others with great charity, humility, and modera-
tion, most strictly observing what he still ex-
horted his flock unto, namely, "to speak evil of
no man, much less of dignities." When his
judgment was at any time desired concerning
any sermon which he had heard, and any mi-
nister, (conformist or nonconformist,) though
weak and mean, he would yet ever find matter
of commendation, none of dispraise ; judging the
niinislor and his discourse at least to be honest,
and of good intent. He abhorred to intrench
on the divine prerogative, in judging of men's
states before the time ; and in condemning
men's actions at all adventures, without consi-
dering their lessening or altering circumstances.



220 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.

And as he liked to judge no man beyond his
sphere, and speak evil of no man, so in his life
did he reap as great and visible reward as any
for this most Christian practice ; for the tongues
even of all did pay tribute to his good name,
which was a thing so entire and sacred that
scarce a Rabshakeh or Shimei could find a
passage by which to invade it. His good name
was as a precious box of ointment, by his death
especially broken and poured forth, the delicious
scent whereof all those hearts with great delight
retain which were opened to his heavenly doc-
trine ; and not only so, but they will perpetuate
it while they have children's children by whom
to eternize his memory.

HIS PRACTICE AS TO CHURCH COMMUNION.

As it respects his practice and moderate
opinion in point of church communion, and his
judgment in point of obedience to the supreme
power, together with his great regard to, and
earnest insisting on, second-table duties, much
may be said to his worthy praise. After his
ejectment, he as frequently attended on public
worship as his opportunities and strength per-
mitted, and often declared his very good liking
of some sermons which he heard from the pre-
sent incumbent. He did not account that none
could worship God aright, m^less in all instan-
ces and smaller circumstances of worship they
wholly accorded with his apprehensions ; but
with the apostle he had learned to say, " Not-
withstanding every way, whether in pretence



LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE. 221

or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein do
rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." He knew of
how great moment it was, that the public wor-
ship of God should be maintained, and that its
assemblies should not be relinquished, though
some of its administrations did not clearly ap-
prove themselves unto him ; because upon the
account of some imperfections and pollutions in
them, supposed or real, to withdraw communion
is evidently to suppose ourselves joined before
our time to the heavenly assembly ; or to have
found such a one here on earth, exempt from all
mixtures and imperfections of worshippers and
worship. He abandoned not all forms, but
their formal use ; neither those in particular
publicly established, (through a fond prejudice
or partiality, as may be affirmed of too many,)
but hath been heard much to commend that
form of thanksgiving, both excellent and ancient,
namely, the Te Denm ; and particularly that
sentence in it, " The noble army of martyrs
praise thee ;" which he was wont to mention
with a certain exultation. So moderate and
calm he was in his judgment, that when the
two new forms in the liturgy, on the horrid de-
collation of King Charles the First, and on the
return of King Cliarles the Second, were first
printed, he was so far from being offended with
them, because they were forms, or because
they bore the stamp of authority, that he had
ever resolved to read them, had not some occur-
rences, which I need not name, prevailed with
him to forbear.



222 LIFE OF JOSEPH ALLEINE.



HIS LOYALTY.

It appeared that he had a due sense of the
grand importance of the obedience of subjects to
the supreme magistrate, by some excellent ser-
mons which he preached on Romans xiii, 1, a
little before his ejection ; where and when his
judgment was so strict as unjustly to offend
some whose weakness and ignorance, by rea-
son of a long proscription of the regal power,
had made over scrupulous or erroneous. His
loyalty also to his prince he discovered in ob-
serving the injunction of the wise man, " Not
to curse the king," no not in his bedchamber
or retiring rooms ; for he hath often been seen
with indignation to turn from, and hush into
silence, all reports or surmises, true or false,
which directly or indirectly tended to detract
and defame dignities, accounting them no cause
of withdrawing or lessening our just honour
and obedience, but rather of giving ourselves
the more to prayer and humiliation.

HIS RESPECT TO SECOND-TABLE DUTIES.

He was not only a man aspiring to the heights,
but also respecting the due breadth and extent,
of religion, being well advised how much the
vitals and honour of religion in the world are
conserved by, and concerned in, a conscientious
discharge of second-table duties. That he had
a deep sense of the great advantage or disad-
vantage accruing to religion, by the strict or
remiss performance of the duties of the second


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryThomas JacksonChristian biography .. → online text (page 13 of 18)