Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

Christopher Love

Christopher Love, A.M.—This person was the son of Mr. Christopher Love, born at Cardiff in Glamorganshire, in the year 1618, and educated at New-inn-hall, Oxford. He was the youngest child of his parents, and the son of their old age; his mother, who was of a respectable family, was fifty years old when he was born. Though they never intended him for the ministry, they gave him a good education. From a child he was remarkably fond of books; and though his parents were too indulgent to him, allowing him too great liberty for play and sinful recreations, he never neglected his learning. He felt greatly concerned for his own improvement; therefore he devoted much of his time, both night and day, to his beloved studies.

He was fifteen years of age before ever he heard a sermon. At this period, Mr. Erbery going to the town, he was induced through curiosity to hear him; and he, with some others, was1 greatly entertained with the novelty of it. Although he went, as he used afterwards to observe, only to see a man in a pulpit; yet, there God was pleased to meet with him, and, by that sermon, gave him such a sight of his sins and his undone condition, that he confessed he returned home, as he expressed it, "with a hell in his conscience." When he came to his father's house, being dead to all his former carnal pleasures and sinful pastimes, his father greatly wondered at the sudden change; and, concluding him to be seized with some strange fit of melancholy, recommended him to associate and play with his old companions, but he refused. He could now take no pleasure in their company. His father sometimes advised him to go to gentlemen's houses, and attend his usual games; but the very thoughts of them were as daggers in his heart; therefore, he begged to be excused.

Mr. Love having fully relinquished the card-table, desired

• Wood'i Athena Oxon. vol. i. p. 72.—Biog. Britan. vol. vi. p. 4076.

leave of his father, upon the next lecture day, to go to church; but (his he absolutely refused, conceiving it to have been the occasion of his present sadness. Also, to prevent his attendance at church, his father locked him up in a high chamber of the house, thinking by this means to confine hhn there till the service was over. Such, however, was his courage, and his desire to hear the word, that he made his escape by tying a cord to the window, and sliding by it down the side of the house; and so went to the church, where the Lord was pleased so to deepen his convictions, that it ended in a sound conversion of his soul to God. Upon his return home, he found his father greatly exasperated. His situation was novf deplorable. While his earthly parent was exceedingly displeased, the thoughts of an almighty and offended God were almost insupportable. It was no small aggravation of hit distress, that for some time he had not a friend on earth to whom he could unbosom his complaint. Afterwards he made known the anguish of his mind to Mr. Erbery, who was instrumental ih further promoting his edification and benefit: nevertheless the Sovereign Disposer of all events was pleased to suspend the manifestations of his love, and keep him under a cloud for many years.*

About the same time some others, who had been his companions in vice, were brought to an acquaintance with God. i'hey who had been familiar associates in games and sinful pleasures, now often assembled together for the purpose of fasting and prayer. That they might not neglect their schoolhours, nor displease their parents, they met together in the night season, when their parents thought they were in bed. For many months they held these nocturnal assemblies, setting apart two nights in the week for these devotional exercises. Mr. Love's father seeing him continue in this course, appeared to draw his affection from him, and looked upon him as a hopeless youth. He who had been called a young gamester, was now stigmatized a young puritan. Mr. Erbery perceiving his distressed situation, waited upon his father, and requested him to allow his son to come to his house, and he would promote his improvement in learning, and take proper care of him, to which his father gave his consent.

In this new situation he continued for some time, to hit great advantage and comfort, of which he retained a lively flense to the day of his death. His father going to London, procured a place for him as an apprentice, entered into an

• Sloane'i MSS. No. S043.

agreement with the master, and even paid the stipulated premium: but young Love was exceedingly averse to the situation, and earnestly entreated his father to send him to Oxford. Though his father consented to his wishes, he did it in displeasure, withholding his pecuniary aid; and, during his abode at the university, he was supported partly by his mother, and partly by Mr. Erbery. He who was appointed to endure many troubles, began thus to bear the yoke in his youth'. Upon his arrival at Oxfordf not knowing any person . in the place, nor whom to choose for his tutor, as he sat by the fire at the inn, there came several young scholars, whose discourse was wholly against the puritans, railing against thein, and cursing them, especially one Mr. Rogers, whom they stigmatized an arch-puritan, and declared there was none other besides him wh« 'vas head of any house in Oxford. Having heard what they had to say, he resolved to make some further inquiries concerning this Mr. Rogers, hoping that he was just such a tutor as he wanted; and after gaining satisfactory information, he intrusted himself to his care and tuition.

While at the university, Mr. Love had but little to subsist upon ; but he was careful of what he received, and extremely provident of his time, making suitable improvement in his studies. He sought the acquaintance of religious persons, who, in those times of danger, were particularly cautious whom they admitted into their society. He enjoyed, however, little or no comfort for several years. God seemed to keep at a distance from him, which caused him to sigh and mourn. The remembrance of his former misspent life was to him a source of constant and bitter lamentation. In the midst of these painful conflicts, he walked as in the valley of the shadow of death. The terrors of death and hell compassed him about, and the thoughts of God made him afraid. The apprehensions of death were an astonishment to him. Under these afflictive terrors and convictions, he desired to live, as he used to say, " that he might have a-little longer respite out of hell." Having little or no hope of escaping future misery, he feared that every step he took would launch him into endless torment. The waves and billows passed over his soul, and had he not been supported by the grace of Christ, he would have been overwhelmed in the mighty storm. Amidst all these painful conflicts, he lifted up his heart to God in devout prayer and supplication, and was at length enabled by faith to look within the vail, and obtain a glimpse of God, as a father and a friend, through Jesus Christ. He chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to live in the pleasures of sin. He was enabled to come unto the Lord, and to cast anchor on the promise of his word; and then he enjoyed comfort.

He knew that grace was absolutely necessary to make a good christian; so learning, in his opinion, was of great importance to make an able minister of the gospel. He was, therefore, constantly assiduous to enjoy both. He was a good proficient in the school of Christ, as well as in the school of the prophets. The Lord greatly blessed his close application to his studies; and, to qualify him for making known the glorious gospel of the blessed God, he filled his earthen vessel with the treasures of wisdom and know* ledge.

During the above painful conflict, he was generally looked upon as melancholy. As he had but few friends to whom he could unbosom his complaint, most persons were totally unacquainted with the cause of his dejection. At the usual time of attending his meals, as I have heard him say, (the writer of his life observes,) he used to come to his meat^ when he would scarcely take any notice of those who sat with him at table, but wondered that they could eat and drink with such merry hearts. While at the table, he thought the moments long till he again retired to his study, where he spent nearly all his time, devoting certain hours every day to his academical pursuits, and the rest to the study of the holy scriptures. He allowed himself very little sleep, and little or no time for recreation. He was steady in his attachment to the house and ordinances of God, and conscientiously exact in all the duties of private devotion. For his zeal in the cause of God, he was often prosecuted in the bishops' courts; but none of these things moved him, or damped his religious ardour.*

Mr. Love having entered the ministerial function, became a very popular and useful preacher, but was persecuted for nonconformity. Even during his abode at Oxford, for refusing in convocation to subscribe Laud's superstitious canons, he was expelled from the house, never to sit there any more. Upon leaving the university, he went to London, where he was invited by the sheriff, who was a person of eminent piety, to become his domestic chaplain. In this situation he was exceedingly beloved, and made instrumental m the conversion of several in the family. He received an

• Sloane'sMSS.<No.3945.

invitation to become lecturer at St. Ann's, Aldersgate; but the Bishop of London opposed his settlement, and for three years refused his allowance. Mr. Love's popularity exasperated the minds of his enemies, and he no sooner entered upon his public ministry, than he was silenced from preaching.

He had, indeed, certain conscientious scruples against the ordination of the church of England, and, therefore, went into Scotland, with a view to have obtained presbyterian ordination; but there he met with a disappointment. That church had decreed to ordain none besides those who should settle among them; nevertheless, large offers were made to him, in addition to ordination, if he would have continued in the north. On his return from Scotland, he was invited by the aldermen and other worthy persons of Newcastle, to preach for them on a Lord's day; and, in his sermon in the afternoon, he openly expressed his sentiments against the errors in the Book of Common Prayer, and the superstitious ceremonies in the national church. For this, he was immediately committed to the common gaol, a most filthy place, among thieves and murderers, having nothing but straw to lie upon. During his confinement, the people flocked to the prison; and not being admitted to his company, he preached to them through the grates of the prison. Afterwards, his friends being allowed to go into the prison, they cleaned it for his comfort, and there he preached to all who came, and was made remarkably useful. Having suffered confinement for some time, he was removed to London, and tried in the court of king's-bench, and acquitted. About the commencement of the national troubles, for maintaining in his sermon the lawfulness of defensive war, in certain cases, against die civil magistrate, he was accused of treason and rebellion, but was publicly acquitted, with the recovery of damages.*

During the wars, Mr. Love was chosen to be preacher to the garrison of Windsor, then under the command of Colonel John Venn ;■ on which account the royalists nick-named him "Venn's principal fireman at Windsor." Notwithstanding this foul calumny, his ministerial labours were greatly esteemed, even by those who differed from him in matters of ceremony; and, our author adds, " I am bold to say, that no man was more generally beloved than he was, and, I believe, as great a seal was set unto his ministry as God doth usually set to the

« Sloane'i MSS. No. 3945.—Mr. Love'j Trial.p. 68. Edit. 1651.

ministry of any of his servants." When God visited the town and castle with the plague, and many were cut off, he still continued in the place; and, not afraid of the ravages of death, he visited the abodes of the afflicted and dying whereever he heard of them. To promote their comfort and salvation, he exposed' himself to infection and death; and through this period of extreme danger the Lord protected him from both. Though many fell on the right hand and on the left, his life was precious in the sight of the Lord. Having made the " Lord his refuge, and the Most High his habitation," he was not " afraid of the pestilence that walked in darkness, nor of the destruction that wasted at noon-day."

Upon the establishment of the presbyterian government, . he was ordained according to their method, in Aldermanbury church, January 23, 1644, by Mr. Horton, Mr. Bellers, and Mr. Roberts; which was done by fasting and prayer, and laying on of hands. In his examination, being asked whether he thought he could suffer for those truths of Christ, of which he had then made a profession, if he should be called so to do, he thus answered:—" 1 tremble to think what I should do in such a case, especially when I consider how many have boasted what they could suffer for Christ; and yet when they have come to it, they have denied Christ and his truths, rather than suffered for them. Therefore, I dare not boast what I shall do; but if this power be given me of God, then I shall not only be willing to be bound, but to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus." On this occasion, he received excellent commendations of his gifts and graces, particularly from Mr. Ley, by whom he was examined.*

In the year 1645, Mr. Love being called to preach before the commissioners at the treaty of Uxbridge, he addressed his audience, saying, "That they were not to expect any good from the treaty; for they (meaning the king's commissioners) came from Oxford with hearts full of blood, and there was as great a distance between the treaty and peace, as between heaven and hell. He inveighed," says the noble historian, " so seditiously against all who followed the king, and against the persons of the commissioners, that he could be understood to intend nothing else but to stir up the people to mutiny; and therein to do some act of violence to the commissioners.*'t Another writer says, " That instead of friendship, he vomited out nothing but threatening and vilifying contradictions to th»

• Sloane's MSS. No. 3945.

+ Clarendon's liisl. vol. ii, p. 445, 446.

peace-makers, altogether unbecoming one of his faction." This scurrilous author further adds, " I shall conclude with our supposed martyr, by asserting, that he who had the ignorance, blind zeal, and impudence, to term episcopacy and the Common Prayer Book, the two plague-sores, several times in one preachment, had need have set forms of sermons enjoined him, as well as prayers."*

The king's commissioners, indeed, complained of the sermon to the commissioners of the opposite party, who laid the case before the parliament; upon which Mr. Love was sent for to London, and he underwent an examination; the result of which was, that the congregation at Uxbridge were disappointed of a preacher, and even after the psalm was sung, he was unexpectedly invited to supply the place, when he delivered the same sermon which he had preached the day before at Windsor. He was, therefore, acquitted by order of the house of commons;+ yet Neal says, he was confined to his own house during the treaty, and then discharged.} "The presbyterian house of commons," it is said," who cleared Mr. Love from any slander, for prattling such stuff, did plainly demonstrate what little desire they had for peace, and thereby intimated their abominable hypocrisy to the whole world.", This affords the reader a specimen of the ignorance, the bigotry, and the bad spirit of'this party historian.

Mr. Love, indeed, allowed that he cautioned the people against placing too much confidence in the treaty; "because," said he, "while our enemies go on in their wicked practices, and we keep to our principles, we may as soon make fire and water to agree; and, I had almost said, reconcile heaven and hell, as their spirits and ours. They must grow better, or we must grow worse, before it is possible for us to agree."|| He also said, " men who lay under the guilt of much innocent blood, are not meet persons to be at peace with, till all the guilt of the blood be expiated and avenged, either by the sword of the law, or the law of the sword: else a peace can never be safe nor just."> He further added, "that there was a generation of men who carried blood and revenge in their hearts against the well-affected in the nation, who hated not only their bodies, but their souls, and would drink a health to their damnation." Though there might be too much truth in these expressions, they were certainly very unseasonable and.

• Foalis'a Hist, of Plots, p. 108, IS5.

+ Love's Trial, p. 68—Whitlocke'! Mem. p. 123.

± Neal's Puritans, vol. iii. p. 833.

S Foulis's Hist, of Plots, p. 155. || Ibid. p. 154.

I L'Ettrange's Dissenters' Sayings, part ii. p. 62.

unbecoming in this critical juncture. "Many," says Fuller, "condemned his want of charity, but more his want of discretion."*

Mr. Love was appointed one of the assembly of divines; when he became minister of St. Lawrence Jewry, London; and is said to have been chosen to the pastoral office at St. Ann's, Aldersgate-street, where he had before been chosen Iecturer.t He united with the London ministers in declaring against the king's death.? He was afterwards engaged in a conspiracy which cost him his life; and as he was a principal sufferer on account of this plot, it was called Lore's plot. It was formed by a number of gentlemen and ministers, and designed to raise money by private contribution, to forward the expedition of Charles II. into England; but the vigilance of the commonwealth discovered and defeated the object. The principal persons concerned in this affair, were some disbanded officers who had served the parliament in the wars: as, Majors Adams, A1 ford, and Huntingdon; Colonels Vaughan, Sowton, Titus, Jackson, Bains, and Barton; and Captains Adams, Potter, Far, Massey, and Starks, and Mr. Gibbons. The ministers were Dr. Drake, and Messrs. Case, Watson, Hey rick, Jenkin, Jackson, Jacquel, Robinson, Cawton, Nalson, Havilaud, Blackmore, and Love. These had their private assemblies at the houses of Major Adams, Colonel Barton, and Mr. Love; and held a correspondence with the king, who desired them to send commissioners to Breda to further his designs, and he would sufficiently reward them when God should restore him to his kingdoms.

But so large a confederacy could not easily be coucealed from the watchful eyes of the new government, which had its spies in all places. Major Adams being apprehended on suspicion, was the first who discovered the conspiracy to the council of state. Upon his information, warrants were issued for apprehending most of the above persons; but several absconded and withdrew from the storm. The ministers who were apprehended, were Dr. Drake, and Messrs. Jenkin, Jackson, Robinson, Watson, Blackmore, Havilaud, and Love; but seven of them, petitioning for mercy, and promising submission to the government in future, were released* But Air. Love and Mr. Gibbons were made public examples, as a terror to others.

Mr. Love was brought before a uew high court of justice

• Fuller's Church Hilt. b. xi. p. 914.

+ Sloane's MSS. No. 3946.

} Calamy'i Conlin. To), ii. p. 744.

erected for the purpose, as was the custom in those times for state criminals, when Mr. Attorney-general Prideux, June 20, 1651, read the following indictment against him for high treason: "That he, the said Christopher Love, as a traitor "and an enemy of this commonwealth and free state of Eng"land, and out of a traitorous and wicked design to stir up "a new and bloody war, and to raise insurrections, seditions, "and rebellions within this nation, hath, at several times in "the years 1648, 1649, 1650, and 1651, in London, and at "other places within the commonwealth of England, together "with the persons mentioned above, traitorously and malici"ously combined, confederated, complotted, contrived, and "endeavoured to stir and raise up forces against the present "government of this nation, since the same hath been settled "in a commonwealth and free state, and for the subversion "and alteration of the same: that he hath traitorously and "maliciously declared and published Charles Stuart, eldest "son of the late king, to be king of England, without con"sent of parliament: that he hath traitorously and maliciously "invited and assisted the Scots to invade this commonwealth "of England: that the said Christopher Love, at divers timet "between March 29, 1650, and June 1, 1651, in London "and other places, hath traitorously and maliciously main"tained correspondence and intelligence by letters and "messages with the said Charles Stuart, and with the queen "his mother, and with sundry of his council: and that he "hath likewise holden correspondence with divers persons of "the Scots' nation, and hath assisted them with money, "anns, and other supplies, in the present war against the "parliament, to the hazard of the public peace, and in breach "of the laws of the land."*

To this charge Mr. Love, after demurring upon the jurisdiction of the court, pleaded not guilty. The witnesses brought against him were eight of his confederates, above mentioned. Mr. Jackson, afterwards an, ejected nonconformist^ was summoned, but he refused to be sworn, or to give evidence, because he believed Mr. Love to be a good man. He said, "I fear I should have a hell in my conscience to my dying day, if I should speak any thing circumstantially prejudicial to his life." The court reminded him of his obligation to the public, and that the very existence and safety of all government depended upon what they required. After all Mr. Jackson refused to be sworn; for which he was immediately committed to the Fleet, and fined five hundred pounds.*

• Love's Trial, p. 1,8.

t No less than eight of the ministers concerned in this plot were ejected after tu« reiteration.— Palmer's JVoneon. Mtm.

During the trial, which lasted six days, the court concluded that Mr. Love had earned on a criminal correspondence with both the king and the Scots. Respecting the king, it wa* sworn, that about a month afler his late majesty's death, several of them had assembled in Dowgate and other places, to concert measures to forward the king's agreement with the Scots; for which purpose they applied by letters to the queen, and sent over Colonel 1 itus, who had one hundred pounds to defray his expenses. The colonel, having delivered his message, sent back letters by Colonel Alfoid, which were read in Mr. Love's house; with the copy of a letter from the king himself, when Mr. Love was present. Therefore, upon these and similar facts, the counsel for the commonwealth insisted, that here was criminal correspondence to restore the king, contrary to the ordinance of January 30, 1648, which declares, "That whosoever shall proclaim, declare, publish, or any ways promote Charles Stuart, or any other person, to be king of England, without consent of parliament, shall be adjudged a traitor, and suffer the pains of death as a traitor."

The other branch of the charge was Mr. Love's correspondence with the Scots, and assisting them in the war against the parliament. To support this article, Captains Potter and Adams, and Mr. Jacquel, swore that letters came from Scotland to Colonel Bamheld, with the letter L upon them, giving an account of the battle at Dunbar, and of the affairs of the Scots for three months after Christmas. There came letters also from the Earls of Argyle, Lothian, and Loudon, who proposed raising ten thousand pounds to buy arms, and to hire shipping, with a view of landing five thousand men in England. The letters were read in Mr. Love's house; but die proposals were disliked, and only forty pounds were* raised to defray the expenses of the messenger. At another time a letter was read from General Massey, in which he desired them to provide arms, and specified his own necessities, and those of Colonel Titus; upon which it was agreed to raise two or three hundred pounds by contribution, and every one present wrote down what he would lend; among

• Lo»e'l Trial, p. 51,52.

whom was Mr. Love, who not only contributed himself, but carried about a paper to encourage others. '1 his was considered by the counsel of the commonwealth as sufficient to bring Mr. Love within the ordinance of July 1, 1649, which declares, "That if any persons shall procure, invite, aid, or assist any foreigners or strangers to invade England or Ireland; or shall adhere to any forces raised by the enemies of the parliament or commonwealth, or keepers of the liberties of England; all such persons shall be deemed and adjudged guilty of high treason."*

In his defence, Mr. Love behaved with too much freedom and boldness, and set too high a value upon his ministerial character, which the court was inclined to treat with neglect. He objected to the witnesses, who were forced into the service to save their owu lives; and observed, that as to several of the facts attempted to be proved against him, there was only one witness; and that some of them had sworn falsely, or at least their memories had failed them in some things, which was no wonder after so long a time. He called for no witness to disprove the evidence; but in his defence said, " None of die witnesses swear that I ever desired, persuaded, or directed any person to write any letter, to any persons whose names are mentioned in the charges, or to any person in or of the Scots' nation: or that ever any letter was written in my ho"use; but only that letters supposed to be come from, or sent to Scotland, were read there, which I do not deny: or that I ever did so much as read a letter in my house, or elsewhere, that was supposed to come from the Scots, or pretended to be sent into Scotland: or, that I ever gave my particular consent to sending any letter: or, that I ever collected one penny of money for the king, or for the Scots, or for any person in Scotland: or, that I ever invited any person, or foreign force, to invade either England or Ireland, as I am expressly charged: or, finally, that I ever plotted, contrived, or endeavoured to raise forces, tumults, or insurrections within this nation, and against the present .government."!

Towards the close of his defence, he confessed that there had been several meetings at his house; and that a commission had been read there; but that he utterly dissented from it. He acknowledged further, that he was present at the reading of letters, or of some parts of them: " But," says he, " I was ignorant of the danger that I now see 1 am

Utci Trial, p. 1«—It. t Ibid. p. M.

hi. The act of August 2, 1650, makes it treason to hold any correspondence with Scotland, or to send letters thither only in** way of commerce, the two nations being at war. Here my counsel acquaints me with my danger, because, being present when letters were read at my house, I am guilty of concealment; and, therefore, I lay myself at your feet for mercy.

"1 have been called a malignant and apostate; but God is my witness, 1 never carried on a malignant interest: I shall retain my covenanting principles; from which, by the grace of God, I will never depart. Neither am I an incendiary between the two nations of England and Scotland: bot I am grieved for their divisions; and if I had as much blood in my veins as there is water in the sea, I would count it well spent to quench the fire that our sins have kindled between them. I have all along engaged my life and estate in the parliament's quarrel, against the forces raised against the late' king; not from a prospect of advantage, but from conscience and duty: and I am so far from repenting, that, were it to do again upon the same unquestionable authority, and for the same declared ends, I should as readily engage in it as ever, though I wish from my soul, that the ends of that just war had been bettet accomplished. But as to treason, I do not know any act of mine proved against me, that brings me under any one act novf in existence. 1 never wrote any letter nor sent any letter to any of the Scots' nation; yet I confess their proceedings with the' king are agreeable to my judgment. And though I disown the commission, and instructions mentioned in the indictment, I have desired an agreement between the king and the Scots, agreeably to the covenant; and they having declared him to be their king, I have, as a private man, desired and prayed that they might accomplish their ends, upon such terms as are consistent with the safety of religion and the terms of the covenant. For I thought that if the king and Scots became united, it would advance the cause of God, the interests of true religion, and the good of the nation.

"Therefore, I humbly beseech your lordship and the court, to put a fair and candid construction upon all that I have done, and that things may not be taken in the worst sense. I heard your lordship say at Guildhall, that he is not guilty whose mind is not guilty. The Lord knows, that in the uprightness of my heart, I have done what I have done; and 1 stood amazed when I heard myself charged with treason. Though I acknowledge, that for not revealing, as mine accusers have done, I am, by your acts, guilty of concealment; and: I humbly beg the mercy of the court, promising, by the help of God, to live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. And thus 1 commit myself and my all to God and your judgments, in the words of Jeremiah to the rulers of Israel: As for me, behold I am in your hands, to do with me as seemeth good and meet to 1/011; but know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death,ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves. But I hope better things of you, though I thus speak. "•

The court allowed Mr. Love the benefit of counsel learned in the law, to argue the exceptions against the indictment; but after all that Mr. Hale, afterwards the famous Judge Hale, could say in behalf of the prisoner, the court pronounced sentence of death upon him as a traitor. The sentence being pronounced, Mr. Love said, " My lord, I have received sentence of death in myself, that I should not trust in myself, bat in God, which raiseth the dead. And, my lord, though you have condemned me, neither God, nor my own conscience, doth condemn me." He was then carried to the Tower.t

Great intercessions were made to the parliament for the preservation of his life. His wife presented one petition, or probably more, in the most moving language; and he presented no less than four himself. Several parishes in London presented their petitions to the house of commons, as did upwards of fifty ministers; but all that could be obtained was the respite of his execution for a month.} The last of his petitions, read in the house August 14th and l6th, was the following

"To the supreme authority, the parliament of the com"monwealth of England.—The humble petition of Chris"topher Love, a condemned prisoner in the Tower of "London; sheweth, that your petitioner doth humbly adore "the wonderful goodness of God, and most thankfully "acknowledge the great mercy of the parliament, for so "seasonable and acceptable an act of grace, to such an "offending suppliant, that when there was but one step "between him and death, the number of his days being "accomplished, and he almost cut off from the laud of the "living, then you mercifully interposed, and gave him his "life for a month longer, which was to him as a resurrection "from the dead: The consideration whereof melteth the "heart of your petitioner, and makes him, after a more "narrow search into his heart and ways, more deeply sensible "than ever of his sin against God, and more sorrowful for "his high crimes and offences against the parliament, in "his late and great miscarriages.

* Love'i Trial, p. 60—71. + Ibid. p. 121.

X Granger's Biog. Hill. vol. iii. p. 43.

j Love's Cue, p. 4,5. Edit. 16*1.—Love's Vindication of bii Principle*, p. J—14. Kdit. 1651.

"He humbly acknowledgeth he hath so highly violated "die laws of the commonwealth, as that thereby he hath "rendered himself guilty of the sentence of death justly "passed upon him by the high court of justice. He doth "also herewith humbly offer to your honours a free and "full narrative, under his hand, of the whole design, to the "best of his remembrance, which he leaveth to your grave "wisdoms' favourable interpretation, fully resolving that he "will neither plot, contrive, nor design any thing preju"dicial to the present government; but will, in his place "and calling, oppose any designs whatsoever that may tend "to the ruin of the commonwealth.

"Your dying petitioner, with all humble importunity, "prostrates himself at your feet, and puts his mouth in the "dust; and oh! that there may be hope! craving your tender "mercy, begging his life at your hands; promising never "to employ that life against you, which he shall receive "from you; but dodi hold it his duty, in his place and "calling, to lay out himself for the glory of God, the good "of his people, and the peace and safety of this common"wealth. And your petitioner shall ever pray, &c.

"Christopher Love."

In the narrative accompanying this petition, Mr. Love "admits many of the things objected against him at his trial. It is dated from the Tower, July 22, 1651, but much too long for our insertion.* But, as Mr. Neal justly observes, the affairs of the commonwealth being now at a crisis, and King Charles II. having entered England at the head of sixteen thousand Scots, it was thought necessary to strike the presbyterian party with some degree of terror, by making an example of one of their favourite ministers. We are informed, that, at this juncture, Colonel Fortescue was sent to General Cromwell, then in the north, with a petition in behalf of Mr. Love; but that both the general and the rest of the officers declined meddling in the affair.+ Other historians, however, affirm, that Cromwell actually sent a letter of reprieve and pardon for Mr. Love; but diat the post-boy

■was stopped on the road by several persons belonging to the late king's army, who opened the Scotch mail, and finding this letter of reprieve for Mr. Love, they took it, and with indignation tore it in pieces; declaring, that he who had been so great a firebrand at Uxbridge, was not fit to live.* If this story be true, our divine fell a sacrifice to the ungovernable rage of the royalists.

Upon the arrival of the mail from Scotland, and there being no letter from Cromwell in behalf of Mr. Love, it was concluded that his silence was an absolute denial. Mr. Love was therefore ordered to be executed on Towerhill. During his confinement, after his trial, he received many encouraging and affectionate letters from his numerous friends, particularly from Dr. Drake, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Jenkin, and Mrs. Love, which are now before me. The last that he received from Mrs. Love, written the day before his execution, and well worthy of the pious reader's perusal, was the following:

"My heavenly dear,

"I call thee so, because God hath put heaven into thee before he hath taken thee to heaven. Thou now beholdest God, Christ, and glory, as in a glass; but to-morrow heaven's gates will be opened, and thou shalt be in the full enjoyment of all those glories which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither can the heart of man understand. God hath now swallowed up thy heart in the thoughts of heaven; but ere long thou shalt be swallowed up in the enjoyment of heaven! And no marvel there should be such quietness and calmness in thy spirit, whilst thou art sailing in this tempestuous sea, because thou perceivest, by the eye of faith, a haven of rest, where thou shalt be richly laden with all the glories of heaven! O, lift up thy heart with joy, when thou layest thy dear head on the block, in the thoughts of this, that thou art laying thy head to rest in thy Father's bosom; which, when thou dost awake, shall be crowned, not with an earthly, fading crown, but widi an heavenly, eternal crown of glory! Be not troubled when thou shalt see a guard of soldiers triumphing with their trumpets about thee; but lift up thy head, and thou shalt behold God with a guard of holy angels triumphing to receive thee to glory! Be not dismayed at the scoffs and reproaches thou mayest meet with in thy short way to heaven; for, be assured, God will not only glorify thy body and soul in heaven, but be will also make the memory of thee to be glorious on earth!

* Kennet's Hitf. of Eng. vol. iii. p. 185.—Echard's Hist, of Eng. »ol. ii. p. 106; *

"O, let not one troubled thought for thy wife and babes rise within thee! thy God will be our God and our portion. He will be a husband to thy widow, and a father to thy children: the grace of thy God will be sufficient for us.

"Now, my dear, I desire willingly and cheerfully to resign my right in thee to thy Father and my Father, who hath the greatest interest in thee: and confident I am, though men have separated us for a time, yet God will ere long bring us together again, where we shall eternally enjoy one another, never to part more!

"O, let me hear how God bears up thy heart, and let me taste of those comforts which support thee, that they may be as pillars of marble to bear up my sinking spirit! I can write no more. Farewell, farewell, my dear, till wo meet where we shall never bid farewell more; till which time I leave thee in the bosom of a loving, tender-hearted' Father; and so I rest,

"Till I shall for ever rest in heaven,

"Mary Love."

This excellent letter discovers the same triumph over the world in Mrs. Love, which her husband so happily experienced. She was not only surrounded by their three children, but with child of a fourth; yet she passed over this circumstance in silence; and though formerly weak in grace, yet she now enjoyed strong confidence and great comfort, and animated her husband by the most encouraging considerations. Thus, " by faith, out of weakness, she was made strong." The next morning, being the day on which he suffered, Mr. Love returned her the following farewell epistle:

"My most gracious beloved,

"I am now going from a prison to a palace. I have finished my work; I am now to receive my wages. I am going to heaven, where there are two of my children; and leaving thee on earth, where there are three of my babes: those two above need not any care; but the three below need thine. It comforts me to think two of my children are in the bosom of Abraham, and three of them will be in the arms and care of so tender and godly a mother! I know thou art a woman of a sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted. Though thy sorrows be great for thy husband's going out of the world, yet thy pains shall be the less in bringing ihy child into the world: thou shalt be a joyful mother, though thou art a sad widow! God hath many mercies in store for thee: the prayers of a dying husband will not be lost. To my shame I speak it, I never prayed so much for thee at liberty, as I have done in prison. I cannot write more; but I have a few practical counsels to leave with thee, viz.

"1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, and soul-searching ministry. Oh, there are many deceivers gone out into the world; but Christ's sheep know his voice, and a stranger will they not follow. Attend on that ministry which teaches the way of God in truth, and follow Solomon's advice: Cease to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the way ef knowledge.

"2. Bring up thy children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. The mother ought to be the teacher in the father's absence. The words which his mother taught him. Timothy was instructed by his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice.

"3. Pray in thy family daily, that thy dwelling may be in the number of the families that do call upon God.

"4. Labour for a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

* 5. Pore not on the comforts thou wantest; but on the mercies thou hast.

"6. Look rather to God's end in afflicting, than at the measure and degree of thy afflictions.

"7. Labour to clear up thy evidences for heaven, when God takes from thee the comforts of earth, that, as thy sufferings do abound, so thy consolations in Christ may much more abound.

"8. Though it is good to maintain a holy jealousy of the deceitfuliRss of thy heart, yet it is evil for thee to cherish fears and doubts about the truth of thy graces. If ever 1 had confidence touching the graces of another, I have confidence of grace in thee. I can say of thee, as Pcfer did of Sylvanus, / am persuaded that this is the grace of God wherein thou slandest. Oh, my dear soul, wherefore dost thou doubt, whose heart hath been upright, whose walkings have been holy! I could venture my soul in thy soul's stead. Such confidence have I in thee!

"9. When thou findest thy heart secure, presumptuous and proud, then pore upon corruption more than upon grace: but when thou findest thy heart doubting and unbelieving, then look on thy graces, not on thy infirmities.

"10. Study the covenant of grace and merits of Christ, and then be troubled if thou canst. Thou art interested in such a covenant that accepts purposes for performances, desires for deeds, sincerity for perfection, the righteousness of another, viz. that of Jesus Christ, as if it were our own. Oh, my love, rest, rest then in the love of God, in the bosom of Christ!

"11. Swallow up thy will in the will of God. It is a bitter cup we are to drink, but it is the cup our Father hath put into our hands. When Paul was to go to suffer at Jerusalem, the christians could say, The will of the Lord be done. O say thou, when I go to Tower-hill, The will of the Lord be done.

"12. Rejoice in my joy. To mourn for me inordinately, argues that either thou enviest or suspectest my happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength. O, let it be thine also! Dear wife, farewell! I will call thee wife no more: I shall see thy face no more; yet I am not much troubled; for now I am going to meet the bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I shall be eternally married! "Thy dying, u Yet most affectionate friend till death,

u Christopher Love."

From the Tower of London, .
August 22, 1651,

The day of my glorification.*

On this fatal day, at two o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Love mounted the scaffold with great intrepidity and resolution. The ministers who accompanied him were Mr. Simeon Ashe, Mr. Edmund Calamy, and Dr. Thomas Manton. Upon the scaffold, Mr. Love, taking off his hat twice before the people, ' made a long speech to them, addressing them as follows:

"Beloved christians, I am this day made a spectacle unto God, to angels, and to men. I am made a grief to th« godly, a laughing-stock to the wicked, and a gazing-stock to all; yet, blessed be God, I am not a terror to myself: though there is but a little between me and death, there is but a little between me and heaven. There are only two steps between me and glory: my head must lie down upon the block, and I shall ascend the throne. I am exchanging a pulpit for a scaffold, and a scaffold for a throne. I am

• Love'i Scrmoni on Graer, Appen. p. 811—21*. Edit. 1816.

exchanging a guard of soldiers for a guard of angels, to carry me into Abraham's bosom.

"I speak the truth, and lie not. I do not bring a revengeful heart upon this scaffold. Before I came to this place, and upon my bended knees, I begged mercy for them who denied mercy to me; and I have prayed God to forgive them who would not forgive me; and I have from my heart tdrgiven the worst enemy I have in the world. Now, in the presence of God, I tell you, that as I would in my trial confess nothing that was criminal, so I denied nothing that was true, that I may seal it with my blood. What 1 then denied and protested before the high court of justice, I now deny and protest before you.

"I am for a regulated mixed monarchy, which I judge to be one of the best governments in the world. I opposed, in my place, the forces of the late king; because I am against screwing up monarchy into tyranny, as much as against those who would pull it down to anarchy. I was always against putting the king to death, whose person I promised in my covenant to preserve; and I judge it an ill way of curing the body politic, to cut off the political head. I die with my judgment against the engagement: I pray God to forgive them who impose, and them who take it, and preserve them who refuse it. Neither would I be looked upon as owning the present government: I die with my judgment against it. And I die cleaving to all those oaths, vows, covenants, and protestations, which were imposed by the two houses of parliament. I have abundant peace in my own mind, that I have set myself against the sins and apostacies of the time. Although my faithfulness hath procured me the ill-will of men, it hath secured me peace with God: 1 have lived in peace, and I shall die in peace.

"But, before I draw my last breath, I desire to justify God and condemn myself. Though I come to a shameful and untimely death, God is righteous. And though he cut me off in the midst of my days, and in the midst of my ministry, because I have sinned, he is righteous, blessed be his name. My blood shall not be spilt for nought. I may do more good, and bring more glory to God, by dying upon a scaffold, than if I had died upon my bed. I bless God, I have not the least trouble on my spirit; but I die with as much quietness of mind as if I were going to lie down upon my bed to rest. I see men thirst after my blood, which will only hasten my happiness and their ruin. For though I am of a mean parentage, my blood is the blood of a christian, of a minister, of an innocent man, and of a martyr; and this I speak without vanity. Had I renounced my covenant, debauched my conscience, and endangered my soul, I might have escaped this place; but, blessed be God, I have made the best choice: I have chosen affliction rather than sin. And, therefore, welcome scaffold, welcome axe, welcome block, welcome death, welcome all, because they will send me to my Father's house.

"I bless God, and without vanity it is spoken, that I have formerly had more fear in the drawing of a tooth than I have now in the cutting off my head. Thus I commit myself to God, and to receive the fatal blow. I am comforted in this, that though men kill me, they cannot damn me: and though they thrust me out of the world, they cannot thrust me out of heaven. I am going to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the innumerable company of angels, to Jesus Christ, the mediator of the new covenant, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to God the judge of all; in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore. I conclude in the words of the apostle, ' I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness; and not for me only, but for all them who love the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ:' through whose blood I expect salvation and the remission of sins. And so the Lord bless you

Having finished his speech, he turned to Tichburn the sheriff, and said, " May I pray?" « Yes," said the sheriff; "but consider the time." Then, turning to the people, lie said, " Beloved, I will only pray a little while with you, to commend my soul to God, and I have done." He then prayed with a loud voice, saying:

"Most glorious and eternal majesty, thou art righteous and holy in all thou doest to the sons of men. Though thou hast suffered men to condemn thy servant, thy servant will not condemn thee. He justifies thee, though thou cuttest him off in the midst of his days, and in the midst of his ministry; blessing thy glorious name, that though he be taken away from the land of the living, he is not blotted out

• Lorei Trial, p. 121—U8.—Lote'i Case, p. 14—97.

of the book of life. Father, my hour is come. Tliy poor creature can say, without vanity and falsehood, he hath desired to glorify thee on earth; glorify thou him now in heaven. He hath desired to bring the souls of other men to heaven; let now his soul be brought to heaven. O thou blessed God! whom thy creature hath served, who hath made thee his hope and his confidence from his youth; ibrsake him not now in his drawing nigh to thee. Now that be is in the valley of the shadow of death, Lord, be thou life unto him. Smile thou upon him, while men frown upon him. Lord, thou hast settled the persuasion in his heart, that, as soon as the blow is given to divide his head from his body, he shall be united to his Head in heaven. Blessed be God, that thy servant dies in these hopes. Blessed be God, that thou hast filled the soul of thy servant with joy anil peace in believing. O Lord, think upon that poor brother of mine, who is a companion with me in tribulation; and who is this day to lose his lite as well as myself.* O fill him full of the joys of the Holy Ghost, when he is to give up the ghost. Lord, strengthen our hearts, that we may give up the ghost with joy and not with grief. We entreat thee, O Lord, think upon thy poor churches. O that England may live in thy sight! O that London may be to thee a faithful city I and that righteousness may be among the people; that so peace and plenty may be within their walls, and prosperity within their habitations. Lord, heal the breaches of these nations. Make England and Scotland as one staff in the Lord's hand; that Ephraim may not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim; but that both may fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines. O that men of the profestant religion, engaged in the same cause and covenant, may not delight to spill each other's blood, but engage against the common adversary of religion and liberty! God shew mercy to all who fear him. Lord, think upon our covenant-keeping brethren of the kingdom of Scotland. Keep them faithful to thee; and let not those who have invaded them overspread their land. Prevent the shedding of more christian blood, if it seem good in thine eyes. God, shew mercy to.thy poor servant, who is now giving up the ghost. O blessed Jesus, apply thy blood, not only for my justification unto life, but also for my comfort, for the quieting of my soul, that so I may be in the joys of heaven before I come to the posses

• His fellow-sufferer, who was beheaded the lame day, for being concerned in tbt fame plot, «i Mr. Gibbons.

sion of heaven. Hear the prayers of all thy people that have been offered up for thy servant. And though thou hast denied prayer concerning my life, let the fruit of prayer be seen, by bearing up my heart against the fear of death. O God, shew mercy to all that fear thee, and to all who have engaged for the life of thy servant: Let them have mercy in the day of their appearing before Jesus Christ. Preserve thou a godly ministry in this nation, and restore a godly magistracy, and cause good days to be the heritage of thy people, for the Lord's sake. Now, Lord, into thy hands 1 commit my spirit. And though thy servant may not, with Stephen, see the heavens open; yet, let him have the heavens open: and though he may not see upon a scaffold the Son of God standing on the right hand of God; yet, let him come to the glorious presence of Jesus Christ, and this hour have an intellectual sight of the glorious body of his Saviour. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And, Lord Jesus, stand by thy dying servant, who in his life hath endeavoured to stand by thee. Lord, hear and pardon all his infirmities; wash away his iniquity by the blood of Christ; wipe off reproaches; wipe off guilt from his person; and receive him pure, and spotless, and blameless before thee in love. And all this we beg for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen and amen."

Mr. Love having ended his prayer, turned to the sheriff, and said, " I thank you, sir, for your kindness: You have expressed a great deal of kindness to me." He then asked for the executioner, who coming forwards, he said, "Art thou the officer?" and being answered in the affirmative, be said, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, " O blessed Jesus! who hast kept me from the hurt of death, and from the fear of death: O blessed be God! blessed be God!" Then, taking his leave of the ministers and his other friends, he said, " the Lord be with you all." He then kneeled down and made a short prayer; and, rising up, he said, " Blessed be God, I am full of joy and peace in believing. I lie down with a world of comfort, as if I were to lie down in my bed. I shall rest in Abraham's bosom, and in the embraces of the Lord Jesus." As he was preparing to lay -his head on the block, Mr. Ashe said, " Dear brother, how dost thou find thy heart?" Mr. Love replied, "/ bless God, sir, I am as full of joy and comfort as ever my heart can hold. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ." He then laid himself down upon the scaffold, with his head over the block; and, stretching forth his hands, the executioner severed his head from his body at one blow.* His mortal remains were afterwards interred, with great lamentation, in the chancel of the church of St. Lawrence-Jewry.

Mr. Love was a zealous presbyterian, a most popular preacher, and highly beloved among his brethren. But his memory has greatly suffered by the reproaches of highchurch historians, and by none more than Clarendon, who says, " He was guilty of as much treason as the pulpit could contain. And, therefore, when he appeared upon the scaffold, he seemed so much delighted with what he had done, that he could not even then forbear speaking with bitterness and animosity against both the king and the bishops. And in a raving Jit, he laid his head upon the block, without so much as praying for the king, any turther thim he propagated the covenant, i

These are, indeed, most heavy charges. But if Mr. Love was really guilty of so 'much treason,'- it was in behalf of the king, and with a view to promote the royal cause; therefore, according to the noble historian's own principles, the charge is null and void. But if the historian refer to his preaching at Uxbriilge, or on any other occasion, the charge is asserted in like manner, without the smallest evidence, and, from all that I have been able to collect, appears equally groundless and contrary to truth. With respect to Mr. Love's ' speaking with bitterness and animosity against both the king and the bishops,' when he was on the scaffold, the charge is altogether without foundation, and stands diametrically opposed to matter of fact; as appears from Love's speech at length, now before me.J And as to his laying his head upon the block, ' in a raving fit,' we are at a loss to understand his lordship's meaning, unless he undesignedly insinuates, that Mr. Love died in the enjoyment of the most happy and exquisite religious feelings. Dr. Calamy assures us, " That he died neither timorously %

• Love's Trial, p. 128, 129.

+ Clarendon's Hist. vol. iii. p. 338.—Dr. Grey informs us, thai he had met with the following manuscript note, upon the margin of Nalson's Introduction, relative to Mr. Love's character and death :—" It might be "observed, (says the note,) as a circumstance contributing to make his "death appear the more judicial, that when Archbishop Laud was he"headed, this Mr. Love, in a most inhuman triumph, flourished his hand"kerchief dipt in the blood of that great and venerable prelate; which," the doctor immediately adds, " will fully justify Lord Clarendon's character of Mr. Love." Every reader, however, will easily perceive the fallacy of the doctor's argument.—Oreifi Examination of A<a/, vol. iii. p. 128.

% Lov«'i Trial, p. 121—128.—Love's Case, p. U—27.

nor proudly, but with great alacrity and cheerfulness, as if be had been going to bed."* Dr. Mantou, who attended Mr. Love upon the scaffold, who preached his funeral sermon, and who knew him much better than the historians who have aspersed his character, says, " He was a man eminent in grace, of a singular life and conversation, and a pattern of piety most worthy of imitation."t Another writer, who was intimately acquainted with him, gives an excellent account of his christian character and his minis* terial qualifications and usefulness; and adds:—" In all his relations, as a minister, a christian, a subject, a husband, a friend, and a father, he served his generation on the earth, and made a swift progress in his way to heaven. He lived too much in heaven to live long out of heavrn; and sure I am that he lived a life of heaven upon earth. His fellowship was with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ."*

His Works.—1. The Debauched Cavalier, 1642.—2. England's Distemper, 1645. This is the Sermon preached at Cxbridge.— 3. Short and plain Animadversions on some Passages in Mr. Dell's Sermon before the House of Commons, 1616.—4. Answer to an Unlicensed Pamphlet, 1647.—5. A Vindication of England's Distemper, 1651.—6. Love's Case, 1651. —7. Love's Trial, 1651.— 8. Love's Advocate, 1651.—9. A Full Narration of the late Dangerous Design against the State, 1651.—10. His Speech and Prayer upon the Scaffold on Tower-hill, 1651.—11. The Truth, and Growth, and different Degrees of Grace, 1652.—12i A Sermon at the Funeral of Mrs. B., 1652. This was the last sermon he preached.—13. Heaven's Glory Hell's Terror, 1G53.— 14. The Souls Cordial, 1653.—15. A Treatise of Election and Effectual Calling, 1653.—16. Scripture-rules to be observed in Buying and Selling, 1653.—17. The true Doclrine of Mortification and Sincerity, in Opposition to Hypocrisy, 1654.— 18. Combat between the Flesh and Spirit, 1654.-—\'J. The Sum or Substance of Practical Divinity, 1654.—20. The Christian's Directory, 1654.—21. The Dejected Soul's Cure. 1657.—22. The Ministry of the Angels to the Heirs of Salvation, 1657.—23. The Omnipresence of God, 1657.—24. The Sinner's Legacy to his Posterity, 1657.— 25. The Penitent Pardoned, 1657.—26. A Discourse of Christ's Ascension and Coming to Judgment, IG57.—27. The natural Man's Case stated, 1658.—Many of the above articles were published after the author's death; and some of them came forth with the high commendations of his brethren.

* Clarendon and Whitlockc Compared, p. 308.

+ Manton's l'uncral Sermon for Mr. Love.—This sermon is entitled, «' The Saint's Triumph over Death." The government, UDilcr-tanding that Dr. Manton intended to preach Mr. Love's funeral sermon, expressed some displeasure, and the soldiers threatened to shoot him. However, he was not to be terrified by such dangers, but preached it at Mr. Love's church in Lawrence-Jewry, to a numerous congregation.—Palmer's Nonton. Mem. vol. i. p. 427. t Sloane's MSS. No. 39ib.

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice