A Shepherd‚Äôs Love
The following excerpt of a letter sent by imprisoned pastor Joseph Alleine* to his congregation expresses well the passion of a pastor for his people. Parents will recognize it as their own cry for their children.
You are a people much upon my heart, whose welfare is a matter of my continual prayers, care, and study. And oh that I knew how to do you good! How it pities me to think how so many of you should remain in your sins, after so many and so long endeavors to convert you and bring you in! Once more, oh beloved, once more hear the call of the Most High God unto you. The prison preaches to you the same doctrine that the pulpit did. Hear, O people, hear; the Lord of life and glory offers you all mercy, and peace, and blessedness. Oh, why should you die? Whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely. My soul yearns for you. Ah, that I did but know what arguments to use with you; who shall choose my words for me that I may prevail with sinners not to reject their own mercy? How shall I get within them? How shall I reach them? Oh, that I did but know the words that would pierce them! That I could but get between their sins and them.
‚ÄîMeet the Puritans (Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 25.
* Joseph Alleine (1634‚Äì1668) was one of many pastors ejected from the Church of England for nonconformity. He was subsequently imprisoned twice for preaching without state-granted authority.