"Remember Christ Crucified, Crucify Sin", A Letter From Prison, Joseph Alleine.
Most dear Christians, I am by office a remembrancer, the Lord's remembrancer for you and your remembrancer in the behalf of Christ. My business is, with the Apostle, to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance. And what or whom should I remember you of, but your mindful friend, your intercessor with the Father, who has you always in remembrance, appearing in the presence of God for you? May his memory ever live in our hearts, though mine should die: Oh remember his love more than wine, remember in what a case he found you, and yet nothing could annihilate his heart, nor divert the purpose of his love from you: He loathed not your rags nor your rottenness: he found you in a loathsome vomit and filthiness, in a nasty and verminous tatters, (think not these expressions too odious: no pen can describe, no heart can imagine the odiousness of sin in his sight, in which you lay and rolled yourselves as the filthy swine in the mire) yet he pitied you, his bowels were moved, and his compassions were kindled, when one would have thought his wrath should have boiled and his indignation have burned down to hell against you: he loathed not but loved you, and washed you from your sins in his own blood.
Ah monstrous and polluted captives! ah vile and putrid carcasses! that ever the holy Jesus should take the hands of you, and should his own self wash you, and rinse you! methinks I see him weeping over you; and yet it was a more costly bath by which he cleansed you. Ah Sinners! look upon the streaming blood flowing out warm from his blessed body, to stretch out the engrained filthiness that you by sin had contracted. Alas! what a horrid filthiness in sin, that nothing but the blood of the Covenant could wash away! and what a love is Christ’s, than when no soap could suffice to cleanse us, when a whole ocean could not wash nor purify us, would open every vein of his heart to do the work! look upon your crucified Lord: do you not see a sacred stream flowing out of every member? ah, how those holy hands, those unerring feet do run a stream to purge us! Alas, how that innocent back doth bleed with cruel scourgings to save ours! how the great drops of blood fall to the ground from his sacred face in his miraculous sweat, in his bitter and bloody agony, to wash and beautify ours! how his wounded hearts and side twice pierced, first with love and pity; and then with soldiers cruelty do pour out their healthful and saving floods upon us? Lord, how do we make a shift to forget such a love as this? ah mirrors or rather monsters of ingratitude, that can be unmindful of such a friend: do we thus requite him: is this our kindness to such an obliging friend! Christians, where are you affections? to what use do you put your faculties? what have you memories for: but to remember him! what have you the power of loving for, but that you should love him? wherefore serves joy or desire, but too long for him and delightfully to embrace him? may your souls and all their powers be taken up with him: may all the little doors of your souls be set open to him. Here fix your thoughts, here terminate your desire; here you may light your candle and kindle your fire when almost out. Rub and chaff your hearts well with the deep consideration of the love of Christ, and it is a wonder if they do not get some warmth. The Lord shed abroad his love in your hearts by the Holy Ghost: Oh, that this love might constrain you!
Brethren what will you do now for Jesus Christ. Have you never a sacrifice to lay upon his altar? come, and I will show you what you shall do, let your hands be in the blood of your sins, fall foul with them, search them out with diligence, search your hearts and your houses; whatever iniquities you find there, out with them, put them far from your tabernacles; if you crucify them not, you are not Jesus’s friends. God forbid that there should be a lying tongue, or any way of deceit in your shops. That his service should give place to the world in your families. Far be it from any of you, my brethren, that you should be careful to teach your children and servants the way of your trades and callings, and neglect to instruct them in the way of life. Is weekly catechising up in every one of your families? The Lord convince any of you that may be guilty of this neglect: Oh, set up God in your houses; and see that you be not slovenly in closet performances: beware of serving the Lord negligently; serve not the Lord with that which cost you nothing: look to it that you content not yourselves with a cheap and easy religion. Put your flesh to it: be well assured that the religion that costs you nothing will yield you nothing: keep up the life of religion in your family and private duties. Fear nothing like a customary and careless performance of God’s service. Judge your own selves whether lazy wishes, idle complaints, and yawning prayers are like to carry you through the mighty difficulties that you must get through if ever you come to heaven. When you find yourselves going on in a listless, lifeless, heartless course, and have no mind to your work, ask yourselves, is this to take the Kingdom of Heaven by violence, or can I hope to win it without? see that you sacrifice yourselves to the Lord, that you deliver up yourselves to him, that now you live to Christ himself. As Christ hath made over his life and death to you, so let it be your care to live and die to him: labour to forget yourselves and look upon all your enjoyments as Christ’s goods; upon your time, parts, strength, as his talents: look upon yourselves only in the quality of servants and stewards that are to husband all these for your Lord’s advantage, and as those that must give an account.
Brethren, farewell: be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you,
The ready servant of your faith and joy,
From the Prison at Juelchester, Octob. 14. 1663.