Puritanical Tuesday: Richard Alleine

Last week for Puritanical Tuesday we spent time looking into the life of Joseph Alleine.  Today we look to his uncle and father-in-law, Richard Alleine.

The year the authorized KJV Bible was first introduced, 1611, was also the year Richard was born in Ditcheat, Somersetshire.  Richard’s father was the rector of the parish church there for more than 50 years, and it was his father who tutored young Richard, preparing him to attend Oxford (where he began studying at age 19).  Here’s the order of events for Richard: graduated from Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts in 1631, earned a Master’s degree at Oxford with high honors in 1634, and on March 2, 1634 Richard was ordained a priest in the diocese of Salisbury and the following year was appointed chaplain to Sir Ralph Hopton.

In 1642 Richard moved to Batcombe, Somerset to minister and after doing so for 20 years he declared himself to be a Puritan by subscribing to the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643, and a local confession called ‘The Testimony of Ministers in Somersetshire to the truths of Jesus Christ.’  Much loved by the people, Richard was known for his tenderness in pastoral ministry.  But in 1662 he was ejected and persecuted for nonconformity.  He often held meetings and conventicles in various villages, which earned him a bad reputation with the authorities but due to his vast popularity they never arrested him.  The Five Mile Act of 1665 (an act prohibiting nonconforming Puritan pastors from living within 5 miles of the town they ministered in) then compelled him to take refuge in the village of Frome Selwood where he continued to preach until his death in 1681.

3 books remain from Richard Alleine today: 1) Heaven Opened: The Riches of God’s Covenant, 2) Instructions About Heart-work, and 3) The World Conquered by the Faithful Christian.  In all three you see the same tender but bold flavor he was known for shine through.  Loaded with spiritual insight, practical instructions, full of gospel grace, leaving no sin unexposed, his works are searching treatments of what practical godliness looks like in day to day life with God.

Here are two quotes to leave you with:

“Will you be persuaded, will you be prevailed upon, thus to prepare and bring over your hearts to the Lord?  Thus to preserve and keep them pure and faithful to Him?  And so trust to His faithfulness?  Might I prevail with you in this, I had done my work, and having put you thus into safe custody, should there be bold to leave you in this confidence, that you should be thenceforth ‘all kept by the mighty power of God, through faith unto salvation.'” (The ending words of Instructions About Heart-work)

“Repentance, if it is sincere, will be universal.  It will extend to every known sin.  He who does not repent of everything that is evil truly repents of nothing.” (The World Conquered by the Faithful Christian, page 131)

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