The following is a part of a letter written by Reverend Joseph Alleine -
August 11, 1665.
Brethren, understand mine office;—I preach not myself, but the Lord Jesus Christ,
and myself your servant for Jesus’ sake. Give him your hearts, and I have my errand.
I am but the friend of the bridegroom, and my business is but to give you to understand
his love, and to gain your hearts unto him. He is an object worthy of my commendations
and of your affections. His love is worth the writing of, and worth the thinking of, and
worth the speaking of. O my brethren, never forget, I beseech you, how he loveth you.
He is in heaven, and you are on earth: he is in glory, and you in rags; he is in the shining
throne, and you in dirty flesh;—and yet he loveth you. His heart is infinitely tender
over you, even now while he is at the right hand of the Majesty on high. How feelingly
doth he cry out at the hurt of his poor members on earth, Saul, Saul why persecutest
thou me? Oh, of what quick sense is the sense of our dear Lord unto us! When we
are touched on earth he feels it in heaven.
Brethren, Christ is real in all that he speaks unto you. He is not like a flourishing
lover, who fills up his letters with rhetoric, and hath more care of the dress of his
speech than of the truth. Who ever gave demonstration of the reality of his love at
so dear a rate as Christ hath done? Men do not use to die in jest. Who will impoverish
himself to enrich his friend? And divest himself of his honour to advance him? And
debase himself to admiration below his own degree to contract affinity with him?
And all this but to make him believe that he loves him?
Brethren, possess your very hearts with this, that Christ's love doth go out with
infinite dearness towards you. Even now, while he is in all his glory, he earnestly
remembers you still. This is the High Priest that now is entered into the holy of holies,
doth bear your names particulary, remembering every poor believer by name. He
bears your names, —but where? "upon his breast-plate, upon his heart," saith
the text, Exodus 28:29. Ah! Christians, I may salute you as the angel did Mary,
Hail you that are highly favoured: Blessed are you among men. Sure
your lot is fallen in a happy place. What! in the bosom of Christ? Yea, and verily
you may believe, and doubt not. I may apply that of Gabriel, O Daniel, thou art
greatly beloved, unto you; you are beloved indeed, to have your names written
upon the very heart of Christ, now he is in glory.
Oh, let his name be written then on your hearts. Do not write his name in the
sand when he hath written yours upon his own breast! Do not forget him who
hath taken such care, that where he is, he may never forget you, having recorded
your names only on his book, but on his flesh, and set you as a seal upon his heart.
He hath you upon his heart,—but why? "For a memorial before the Lord continually,"
so saith the text. Beloved, your Lord is so far from forgetting you in all his greatness
and glory, that he is gone into heaven on purpose, there to present you before the
Lord, that you may be always in remembrance before him. O beloved, glory, yea,
and triumph in his love. Doubtless it must go well with us. Who shall condemn?
It is Christ that died, and rose again, and is now making intercession. His interest is
potent. He is always present. Our advocate is never out of court. Never did cause
miscarry in his hand. Trust you safely in him. Happy is that man for whom he shall
undertake to speak.
Oh, the riches of Christ's love! He did not think it enough to die for you. His
love and care doth not end with his natural life on earth, but "he ever liveth to make
intercession for us." His love is like his life, ever and ever; knowing no remission in
degree, nor intermission of time, no cessation of working, but is ever, ever in motion
But when shall I end, if I suffer my soul to run out its length, and my running pen to
enlarge according to the dimensions of this boundless field of divine love? If the pens
of all the world were employed to write volumes of love; if the tongues of all the living
were exercised in nothing else but talking of this love; if all the hearts that be were made
up of love: and all the powers and affections of the mind were turned into one, to wit,
the power of love; yet this were no less than infinitely too little, either to conceive, or to
express the greatness of Christ's love.
O my dearly beloved, may your souls be swallowed up in this love. Think, and think
while you will, you can never think how much you are beloved. See that ye love again,
by way of gratitude, though not of requital. What though, your souls be but narrow,
and your powers but little, yet love him with all you have. Love him with all your hearts,
and all your strength. To the meditations, and to the embraces of divine love I leave
you, thinking it now not worth while to tell you of my love, remaining
Yours in the bonds
of your most dear Lord Jesus,