Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
~ Job 5:26, Hosea 13:14
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
~ Psalm 49:15, Philppians 1:23, Psalm 16:10-11
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:53-57
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
~ Romans 8:13, Romans 13:14
Look Out of Your Graves Upon the World, a Letter by Joseph Alleine.
To My Most Dearly Beloved Friends, the Chosen of God in Taunton, Grace and Peace.
Most Endeared Christian,
My heart is with you, though I am Absent, as to my Bodily presence from you, and therefore as I have often already, so I have now written to you to stir up your pure minds by way of Remembrance, and to call upon you for your stedfast continuing, and vigorous proceeding in the ways of God. Dear Friends, and fellow Souldiers under Christ the Captain of our Salvation, consider your calling and Station, and approve your selves as good Souldiers of Jesus Christ, as men of resolution and courage, be discouraged with no difficulties of your present Warfare. As for humane affairs, it would have you to be as you are, Men of Peace. I would have you Armed not for resisting, God forbid, but for Suffering onely, as the Apostle hints: You should resist, even to the uttermost, striving against Sin. Here you must give no quarter, for if you spare but one Agag, the life of your Souls must go for the life of your sins: you must make no Peace; for God will not smile on that Soul that smiles on Sin, nor have any Peace with him, that is at peace with his Enemy. Other Enemies you must forgive, and love, and pray for (which I again desire you to mind as one special duty of the times) but for these Spiritual Enemies, all your affections, and all your Prayers must be engaged against them; yea, you must admit no Parley: It’s dangerous to dispute with Temptations. Remember what Eve lost by Parleying with Satan: you must flie from Temptations, and put them off at first with a Peremptory denial. If you will but hear the Devil’s Arguments, and the Fleshes Pleas, and fair Pretences, it is an hundred to one but you are insnared by his Sophistry. And for this present evil World, the Lord deliver you from its Snares. Surely you had need watch and be sober, and use your spiritual Weapons dexterously and diligently, or else this World is like to undo you, and destroy you…I have often warned you not to build upon an External happiness. and that you should promise yourselves nothing but hardship here: Oh still remember your station; Souldiers must not count upon Rest, and Fulness, but Hunger, and Hardness. Labour to get right apprehensions of the World. Do not think these things necessary; one thing is needful: You may be happy in the want of all outward comforts. Do not think your selves undone, if brought to Want or Poverty: study Eternity, and you will see it to be little material to you, whether you are Poor or Rich; and that you may have never such an opportunity for your advantage in all your lives, as when you put all to hazard, and seem to run the Vessel upon the Rocks. Set your enemies one against the other: Death against the World; no such way to get above the World, as to put your selves into the possession of Death.
Look often upon your Dust that you shall be reduced to, and imagine you saw your bones tumbled out of your Graves, as they are like shortly to be, and men handling your Skulls, and enquiring whose is this. Tell me of what account will the World be then, what good will it do you: put your selves often into your Graves, and look out from thence upon the World, and see what Judgement you have of it then. Must not you shortly be forgot among the Dead? your places will know you no more, and your Memory will be no more among men, and then what will it profit you to have lived in fashion and repute, and to have been Men of esteem? one serious walk over a Church-yard, as one speaks, might make a man mortified to the World. Think upon how many you Tread, but you know them not: no doubt they had their Estates, their Friends, their Trades, their businesses, and kept as much stir in the World as others do now. But alas, what are they the better for any, for all this? know you not that this must be your own case very shortly: Oh the unhappiness of deceived man! how miserably is he bewitched, and befooled, that he should expend himself for that which he knows shall for ever leave him. Brethren, I beseech you lay no stress upon these perishing things, but labour to be at a Holy indifferency about them: Is it for one that is in his wits to sell his God, his conscience, his soul, for things that he is not sure to keep a week, nor a day, and which he is sure after a few sleepings and wakings more, to leave behind him for ever? go and talk with dying men, and see what apprehensions they have of the World? if any should come…o such as these, and tell them here is such and such preferments for you, you shall have such titles of honour and delights, if you will now disown Religion, or subscribe to iniquity; do you think such a motion would be embraced? Brethren, why should we not be wise in time! why should we not now be of the mind of which we know we shall be all shortly! woe to them that will not be wise till it be to no purpose! woe to them whose eyes nothing but Death and Judgement, will open! woe to them that though they have been warned by others, and have heard the Worlds greatest Darlings in Death to cry out of its vanity, worthlessness and deceitfulness, and have been told where and how it would leave them; yet would take no warning, but only must serve themselves to, for warnings to others. Ah my Beloved, beware there be no worldly Professors among you, that will part rather with their part in Paradise, than their part in Paris; that will rather part with their Consciences, than with their Estates; that have secret reserves in hearts to save themselves whole, when it comes to the pinch; and not to be of the Religion that will undo them in the World. Beware that none of you have your hearts where your Feet should be, and love your Mammon before your Maker. It is time for you to learn with Paul, to be Crucified to the World.
But it is time for me to remember that ’tis a Letter, and contain my self within my limits. The God of all Grace, stablish, strengthen, and settle you in these shaking times, and raise your hearts above the fears of the world’s threats, and above the ambition of its favours. My dearest loves to you all, with my servent desire of your Prayers May the Lord of Hosts be with you, and the God of Jacob your refuge. Farewell my dear Brethren, Farewel, and be strong in the Lord, I am
From the common Gaole at Juelchester, 30th of June, 1663.
Yours to serve you in the Gospel, whether by Doing or Suffering.
— Jos. Alleine