William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

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Love's Last Letter



The affections of a husband for his wife written down in a letter
before he is executed.

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. Loves 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 you, viz.,

1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, soul searching ministry. Oh! There
are many deceivers gone out into the world, but Christs sheep know
His voice, and a stranger they will not follow. Attend any minister
that teacheth the way of God in truth; and follow Solomons 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 fathers 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 Gods ending in afflicting, than to the measure and
degree of your affliction.

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 souls 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 married.

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,
Christopher Love

The day of my glorification.
From the Tower of London, August 22, 1651

 

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