My beloved brethren: We, like Christopher Love and many saints throughout the ages have suffered persecution, trials and tribulations, loss and want, and as He suffered in His pilgrimage on this earth, we too shall suffer in this life. What kind of witness are we to be through these sufferings? Patient in tribulation? Praying always? Blessing rather than cursing? Enduring with gentleness and meekness of spirit? Loving when hated? Happy when sad? Rejoicing through tears? Praising when discouraged? Giving when all is taken away? Resting when weary? Hoping when hope is gone? Joyful in all things? Trusting when we cannot see? Yes, all these things and more so let us examine ourselves to see if our walk matches our testimony of Christ and if we are truly walking the walk of faith and saying, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.” I share with you Christopher Love’s letter to encourage you to fight the good fight of faith on your Christian journey with joy resting in Christ’s love and gift of life to you. Be encouraged as you read…
Christopher Love was beheaded for alleged conspiracy against the current
Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell. Love, Thomas Watson and William
Jenkyn were among those imprisoned for treason. Cromwell charged them with
conspiring to bring back the monarchy and the King after parliament had
charged the king with treason and beheaded him. Watson was released, Jenkyn
died in prison, and Christopher Love was beheaded. The following letter is
one of many to Mr. Love’s wife. However, this is Mr. Love’s last letter to
his wife on the day he suffered.
My most gracious Beloved,
I am now going from a prison to a palace: I have finished my work, and am
now going to receive my wages. I am going to heaven, where are two of my
children, and leaving you on earth, where there are three of my babes.
These two above, need not my 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 such a tender and godly
mother. I know you are a woman of sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted,
though you sorrows be great for you husband going out of the world, yet your
pains shall be the less in bringing your child into the world; you shall be
a joyful mother, though you be a sad widow; God hath many mercies in store
for you; the prayer of a dying husband for you, will not be lost. To my
shame I speak it, I never prayed for you at liberty, as I have done in
prison. I can write much, but I have few practical counsels to leave with
1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, soul searching ministry. Oh! There are many
deceivers gone out into the world, but Christ’s sheep know His voice, and a
stranger they will not follow. Attend any minister that teacheth the way of
God in truth; and follow Solomon’s advice, Proverbs 19:27.
2. Bring up your children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. The
mother ought to be a teacher in the father’s absence, Proverbs 31:1, “The
words that his mother taught him.” And Timothy was instructed by his
grandmother, 1 Timothy 1:5.
3. Pray in your family daily, that yours may be in the number of the
families who call upon God.
4. Labor for a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God, is of great
price, 1 Peter 3:4.
5. Pour not on the comforts you want, but upon the mercies you have. Look
rather at God’s ending in afflicting, than to the measure and degree of your
6. Labor to clear up your evidence for heaven when God takes from you the
comfort of earth, so that as your sufferings do abound, your consolation in
Christ may abound much more, 2 Corinthians 1:5. Though it be good to
maintain a holy jealously of heart, yet it is still ill of you to cherish
fears and doubts touching the truth of your graces. If ever I had
confidence touching the grace of another, I have confidence of grace in you;
as Peter said of Silvanus, I am persuaded that this is the grace of God
wherein ye stand, 1 Peter 5:12.
7. O, my dear soul wherefore dost thou doubt, who heart has been laid
upright, whose walking has been holy, &c. I could venture my soul this day
in they soul’s stead, such a confidence I have in you.
8. When you find your heart secure, presumptuous and proud, then pour upon
corruption more than grace: then look upon your grace without infirmities.
9. Study the covenant of grace, and merits of Christ, and be troubled if you
can; you are 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 it were your own alone. Oh! My
love! Rest thou in the love of God, the bosom of Christ.
10. Swallow up your will in the will of God. It is a bitter cup we are to
drink, but it is the cup of our Father which has been put into our hands.
When Paul was to suffer at Jerusalem, the Christians said, “The will of the
Lord be done!” Oh! Say ye so, when I go to the Tower-Hill, “The will of the
Lord be done!”
11. Rejoice in my joy. To mourn for me inordinately argues, that you either
envy or suspect my happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength; Oh! Let
it be yours 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, to whom I shall be eternally
12. Refuse not to marry, when God offers you a fair opportunity; but be sure
you marry in the Lord; and one of a good disposition, that he may not grieve
you, but give you a comfortable livelihood in the world.
Farewell dear love, and again I say farewell. The Lord Jesus be with your
spirit, the Maker of heaven and earth be a husband to you; and the Father of
the Lord Jesus Christ be a father to your children – so prays your dying,
Your most affectionate friend till death,
The day of my glorification.
From the Tower of London, August 22, 1651
Out thanks to “A Puritan’s Mind” for their copy of this work.