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forty private persons, refused to pay their fines, and were on that account committed for six. months to the prison of Ilchester. The discourse which he addressed, at the expiration of that period to his fellow-sufferers who were about to be discharged, is a fine specimen of sacred eloquence, in which he warmly inculcates the practice of the highest christian duties—thanksgiving to God, humility in their conduct, and forgiveness to their persecutors.
Although he was yet infirm, and suffering un. der a protracted illness, yet he would always engage in the portion of work assigned to him in rotation with his brethren. They had preaching twice a day in prison; and by this means there being but eight of them, the laborirs of each were more frequent and oppressive than before.
By this second confinement his constitution was broken, his strength impaired, and his distempers aggravated. So that when he proceeded into Wiltshire the next autumn, for the, purpose of procuring relief by the use of the mineral waters, they appeared to be prejudicial to his frame. For after taking them three days, he was scized with a fever, and brought near unto death. But the Lord mercifully restored him; and strengthened him to reach the people and the place of his choice.” Finding in himself a great prostration of strength, and an increasing debility in all his limbs, he went to Dorchester to consult Doctor Lose, an eminent and godly physician. He persuaded Mr. Alleine to remain with him two or three weeks, that he might the better prescribe for his complaints, and alter his remedies as he saw occasion. He had not been there five days, before he was suddenly deprived of the use of all his limbs: and lay immoveable in bed, for some weeks, in cold sweats, his death being hourly expected. From Septem
ber the 28th to the 16th of November, it could not be perceived that the remedies, almost hopelessly applied, did at all prevail against his diseases. During all his sicknesses hitherto, he had not felt any thing resembling pain, except the lassitude which is occasionally attendant on weak
When therefore his friends admired his patience, he would say, “God has not yet tried me in any thing, but laying me aside out of my work, and keeping me out of heaven: But, through grace, I can submit to his pleasure, waiting for
On the 18th of December he began to revive; and he soon learnt to go, (as he termed it,) first by being led by two people, and afterwards by one. When he had so far recovered as to take one turn in his chamber, though more weakly and with greater fearfulness than the feeblest child, he wonderfully extolled the name of God, for this instance of his goodness towards him.
Being asked by a friend, how he could be so well contented, as he appeared to be, under such great feebleness; he answered, “What! is God my Father, Jesus Christ my Saviour, and the Spirit my sweet Friend, my Comforter, and Sanctifier, and heaven my inheritance? And shall I not be content without limbs and health? Through grace. I am fully satisfied with my Fathers's plea
An eminent minister who often saw him, says, "Never heard i God so loved and thanked in the highest confidences of pleasing providences by others, as He was by him in his affiction, for pot inflicting great pain upon him; though he was other ways a sad spectacle of weakness, and looked like death.-Suitably to his high degree of holiness and divine communion, he enjoyed the richest assurance of divine love to himself in particular, and of his saving interest in Christ. I believe few men were ever horn, that attained to so
clear, satisfied and powerful evidence that his sins were pardoned, and his person accepted in Jesus unto eternal life, and that had more glori. ous foretastes of heaven.”
In February he was conveyed from Dorchester, in a horse-litter, to Taunton, where he continued to gain strength till the beginning of April. He then seemed much weaker; and, a few days afterwards, was seized with his first convulsion fits, which soon made sad havoc with his frame, and reduced him to a mere skeleton. He had frequent relapses; and lived in the constant expectation of death, often saying to his wife and friends, "It is but a puff and I am gone.” He was removed in July to Bath. The journey and the use of the waters agreed well with him; and his impaired strength began by slow degrees to return. The company of ministers and other friends, of whom great numbers went to Bath to visit him, was one of his greatest enjoyments. In his conversation with them or with strangers, his parts seemed to be more lively than ever; and he would so amplify on all the passages of God's dealings with him, as was very pleasant to all, and seriously affected many who were till then unacquainted with God and religion.
In all his illness, he broke through every obstruction, and kept his appointed seasons (four times in each day) for retirement. Weak though he still was, he busied himself in projecting the noblest designs for promoting the Redeemer's interests among men. And he had already set about performing some of the things which he had purposed, when he was stopped in his course by a return of strong convulsions, with which his body during two days and two nights was unceasingly agitated. Fearing that the sight of his remoyal by such a severe stroke would harden the wicked, his wife humbly intreated the Lord so far to mitigate his sufferings as to enable him to utter something of his mind to her before he was pleased to remove him by death. And in this she was graciously answered; for, in a little time, he began to speak with an audible voice, and for sixteen hours together expressed, in rapturous strains, his full assurance of God's love to him, and liis highest returns of love to Christ.
About three hours before he expired, he had, as his friends perceived, some conflict with satan; for he uttered these words;-"Away! thou foul fiend, thou enemy of all mankind, thou subtle sophister! Art thou come now to molest me, nowy Im just going Now I am so weak, ani dezet upon me Trouble me not, for I am none of thine! I am the Lord's! Christ is mine, and I ain his; his by covenant. I have sworn myself to be the Lord's; and his I will be! Therefore bę. gone!”—These last words he often repcated; and his wife noticed that his coronanding with God was the means which he employed to expel satan and his temptations.
His enemy being conquered, he ceased not to praise God till within a few inoments of his departure. This eminently holy man died at Bati, in November, 1668, in the thirty sixth year of his age; and was buried in the church of St. Magdalen, Taunton. Over his grave was a Latin epitaph, of which his puny vilifier Anthony Wood, gives the following translation, "Here Mr. Joseph Alleine ljes, To God and you a sacrifice.”
Scarcely any man in the Church of Christ, has borne a higher character than Mr. Alleine. Mr. Baxter describing him, says, “ So great was his ministerial skilfulness in the public explication and application of the Holy Scriptures; so wise and serious his private dealing with particular families and souls; that it is no wonder if God blessed him with that great success which is yet visible among the people where he lived, and which many of his brethren wanted. He spake, as one that spake from God, in the name of Christ, for men's renovation and salvation, in a manner suitable to the weight and holiness of the matter.—He spake not evil of dignities, nor kindled seditious principles or passions in the people's minds, nor, disaffected them against authority, nor aggravated his own sufferings to exasperate their minds against such as he suffered by. In all, he did in patience possess his soul; and learned still more patience by the things which he suffered, and taught others what he learned himself.”
The reader who is desirous of becoming better acquainted with Mr. Alleine, one of the many worthies who adorned that persecuting age, is respectfully referred to a work, of which a new edition is lately published, entitled, “An account of the Life and Death of the Rev. Joseph AlLEINE, A. B. Author of An Alarm to the unconverted, &c. and late minister of the Gospel, at Taunton, in Somersetshire. Written by the Rev. RICHARD BAXTER, Mrs. Alleine, his widow, and other per
To which are added his CHRISTIAN LETTERS, full of spiritual instructions, tending to the promoting of the power of godliness in persons and families.”