THE following letter was written by Mary Love, wife of Christopher Love the Puritan, on 21st August, the day before he died on the scaffold. It is taken from Don Kistler’s book, A Spectacle unto God – The Life and death of Christopher Love, which is reviewed in the Book Review. Not only was Christopher Love to be taken from his beloved wife, who was expecting a child soon, but also from their two little children. His wife did the utmost to save her husband from execution.
Don Kistler notes: “After the sentence of death was given to her husband, Mary Love petitioned Parliament four times regarding him. The first petition asked for a pardon; she cited friends and admirers who would guarantee that her husband would live a peaceable life from then on. In the second petition she asked for banishment instead of death. Her third petition specifically asked that he be banished to New England so that he might be used of God in the conversion of the Indians. Lastly, in desperation, she offered to give her life on the scaffold in place of her husband’s.”
August 21st, 1651
My Heavenly Dear
I call thee so because God hath put heaven into thee before He hath taken thee to heaven. Thou now beholdest God, Christ and glory as in a glass; but tomorrow, heaven’s gates will be opened and thou shalt be in the full enjoyment of all those glories which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither can the heart of man understand. God hath now swallowed up thy heart in the thoughts of heaven, but ere long thou shalt be swallowed up in the enjoyment of heaven. And no marvel there should be such quietness and calmness in thy spirit while thou art sailing in this tempestuous sea, because thou perceivest by the eye of faith a haven of rest where thou shalt be richly laden with all the glories of heaven.
O lift up thy heart with joy when thou layest thy dear head on the block in the thought of this: that thou art laying thy head to rest in thy Father’s bosom which, when thou dost awake, shall be crowned not with an earthly fading crown but with a heavenly eternal crown of glory. And be not discouraged when thou shalt see a guard of soldiers triumphing with their trumpets about thee, but lift up thy head and thou shalt behold God with a guard of His holy angels, triumphing to receive thee to glory. Be not dismayed at the scoffs and reproaches that thou mayest meet with in thy short way to heaven, for be assured that God will not only glorify thy body and soul in heaven but He will also make the memory of thee to be glorious on earth!
O let not one troubled thought for thy wife and babes arise within thee. Thy God will be our God and our portion. He will be a husband to thy widow and a father to thy children; the grace of thy God will be sufficient for us.
Now, my dear, I desire willingly and cheerfully to resign my right in thee to thy Father and my Father, who hath the greatest interest in thee. And confident I am that though men have separated us for a time, yet our God will ere long bring us together again where we shall eternally enjoy one another, never to part more.
O let me hear how God bears up thy heart, and let me taste of those comforts that support thee, that they may be as pillars of marble to bear up my sinking spirit. I can write no more. Farewell, farewell, my dear, till we meet there, where we shall never bid farewell more; till which time I leave thee in the bosom of a loving, tender-hearted Father, and so I rest till I shall forever rest in Heaven.