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Oh! if men did but believe this, they would not grasp as much of the world as they do. Well, let others take their course, and we will take ours, to wait upon God by faith and prayer, and rest in His promise; and I am confident that is the way to be provided for."
"Hath he not a
All this was truly prophetic : thousand ways, both outward and inward, to make up a little outward disadvantage to us?" We shall see what some of these ways were in his But let us first glance for a moment at the man. Such a life of prayer he lived, that he carried the very atmosphere of heaven about with him. Neither prison damps nor the corrupt manners of his age could vitiate this atmosphere. "All his garments smelled of myrrh and aloes and cassia," as one who daily walked with God in Paradise. "At the time of his health," writes his beloved wife, "he did rise constantly at or before four of the clock; and would be much troubled if he heard smiths or other craftsmen at work at their trades, before he was at communion with God; saying to me often, 'How this noise shames me! Doth not my Master deserve more than theirs?' From four till eight he spent in prayer, holy contemplation and singing of psalms,
in which he much delighted and did daily practice
alone or with his family." Here are laid bare the sources of that cheerful heavenly mindedness which so powerfully impressed those with whom he came in contact. And his preaching was per
fectly mated to his praying. "He was infinitely and insatiably greedy for the conversion of souls, wherein he had no small success in the time of his ministry; and to this end he poured out his very heart in prayer and in preaching: he imparted not the gospel only, but his own soul. His supplications, and his exhortations, many times were so affectionate, so full of holy zeal, life and vigor, that they quite overcame his hearers; he melted over them so that he thawed and mollified, and sometimes dissolved the hardest hearts."
All the story of his imprisonment for conscience sake, his trial of cruel mockings and revilings, all the ungodly deeds which the ungodly committed against him, and all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners spoke against him - these things we must pass over. Only let us know of his patient endurance, of his unretaliating silence under misrepresentation, and yet of his stern refusal to be silent anywhere, and at any time, when he could preach the gospel to perishing souls; only let us
hear what was his joy and hope and unfailing con
solation amid all his trials.
sage from one of his letters:
Here is a brief pas
"Verily, sir, it is but a little while that prisons shall hold us. Surely He is gone to prepare a place for us; and He will come again to receive us to Himself, that where He is we may be also. And what have we to do but to believe, and wait and love, and long, and look out for His coming, in which is all our hope. 'Twill be time enough for us to be preferred then. We know beforehand who shall then be uppermost."*
But Alleine's recompense was not altogether deferred to the time of Christ's coming. Have we noticed that significant promise concerning the suffering Messiah-"He shall prolong his days." † He was "cut off out of the land of the living;" his days on the earth prematurely ended; but they were prolonged in the ministry of the Spirit and in the lives of his followers. And what was true
* It is good to hear such a true note struck concerning the Christian's hope and reward. No talk of that sentimental heaven fitted up with modern improvements, which is so popular in our times! In another place, speaking of the death of his father, he says: "But I bless the Lord, I do believe and expect the return of the Redeemer with all his saints, and the most glorious resurrection of my own dead body with all believers; and this makes me rest in hope, and fills me with unspeakably more joy than the death of myself or any other saint can with grief."
† Is. 53: 10.
of him, is true in a measure of his faithful servants in all ages. Joseph Alleine was cut off at thirtyfive years of age, only one half of man's allotted time upon the earth being given him. But he left behind him, among other writings, one brief treatise called "The Alarm to the Unconverted." It is a plain book, endowed with none of those elements of a literary immortality which belong to the famous works of his brother Puritans - having nothing of the glowing imagery of Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," or of the sparkling brilliance of Gurnall's "Christian Armor." But thirty-five years after the author's death Dr. Calamy wrote: "No book in the English tongue, the Bible only excepted, can equal it for the number that hath been dispersed." Men would call its career a literary marvel, thirty thousand copies being once struck off at a single edition, so great was the demand. We call it a divine and visible seal affixed by the Lord to the fidelity of one of his anointed ones. It would seem as though God breathed into it a special inspiration of his Spirit, saying, "Since wicked men have cut off my well beloved servant by their persecutions, so that he lived out but half his days on the earth, I decree him to live on after his death, to prolong his days and see his seed, in
the influence of this little book." It is altogether unprecedented, so far as our knowledge goesthis post mortem ministry of the best of Puritans. We hear of an indolent Scotch minister reading parts of this book to his congregation, and a revival resulting therefrom, which swept over a whole region with its transforming power. Oh, wise and trusting servant of God, serenely suffering in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, and enduring "as seeing him that is invisible," how true thy words, "Hath he not a thousand ways, both outward and inward, to make up a little outward disadvantage to us?" He who loved the preaching of the gospel and the saving of souls better than his own life, wrought, by this work, even more mightily after his death than by his oral teaching in his life.
God is not limited to present times and circumstances in giving his servants the reward of their labor. The shutting of one pulpit may be but the opening of a wide and effectual door into another. Edwards in New England, Spener in Germany, Monod in France, were each thrust out of their churches, and their places of testimony closed against them, because they moved for a purer faith and a higher style of Christian living than