Mr Christopher Love was ordered to be executed on Tower Hill. August 22, 1651, the very day the King entered Worcester at the head of his Scots army. He mounted the scaffold with great intrepidity and resolution, and, taking off his hat several times to the people, made a long speech, wherein he declared the satisfaction of his mind in the cause for which he suffered and then said, “Beloved Christians, I am this day made a spectacle unto God, angels, and men; and among them I am made a grief to the godly, a laughingstock unto all; yet, blessed be my God, not a terror to myself. Although there be but a little between me and death, yet this bears up my heart, there is but a little between me and heaven. It comforted Dr. Taylor. the martyr, when he was going to execution, that there were but two stiles between him and his Father’s house; there is a lesser way between my Father’s house, but two steps between me and glory; it is but lying down upon the block, and Ishall ascend upon a throne. I am this day sailing towards the ocean of eternity, through a rough passage to my haven of rest, through a red sea to the promised land. Methinks I hear God saying to me, as He did to Moses, ‘Go up to mount Nebo, and die there;’ so go thou up to Tower Hill and die there. Isaac said of himself, that he was old, and that he knew not the day of his death, but I cannot say this; I am young, and yet, I know this day, the kind, and the place of my death also. It is such a kind of death as two famous preachers of the Gospel were put to before me, John the Baptist, and Paul the apostle. We have mention of the one in Scripture-story; of the other in ecclesiastical history; and Rev. 20, 4, The saints were beheaded for the word, and for the testimony of Jesus;’ but herein is the disadvantage I am in, in the thoughts of many, who judge that I suffer not for the word and conscience, but for meddling with state matters. To this I shall briefly say, that it is an old practice of the devil, to impute the cause of God’s people’s sufferings to schemes against the state; when, in truth, it is their religion and conscience they are persecuted for. The rulers of Israel would put Jeremiah to death upon a civil account, though it was the truth of his prophecy that made them angry, because he fell away to the Chaldeans. So Paul must die as a mover of sedition. The same thing is laid to my charge;
whereas, indeed, it is because I pursued my covenant, and will not prostitute my principles to the lusts of men; I had rather die a covenant-keeper than live a covenant-breaker. I am this day to make a double exchange; I am exchanging a pulpit for a scaffold, a scaffold for a throne; and I might add a third, Â— I am changing this numerous multitude upon Tower Hill, for the innumerable company of angels in the holy hill of Zion; and I am changing a guard of soldiers for a guard of angels, which will receive me and carry me into Abraham’s bosom. This scaffold is the best pulpit I ever preached in; for. in the Church pulpit. God through His grace, made me an instrument to bring others to heaven; but in this. He will bring me to heaven; Â— and, it may be, this speech upon a scaffold may bring God more glory than many in a pulpit.”
Afterwards, he said, “Though my blood be not the blood of nobles, yet it is Christian blood, minister’s blood, yea, more, it is innocent blood; and, I speak it without vanity, the blood of a martyr. I magnify the riches of God’s mercy and grace towards me, that I, who was born in Wales, an obscure country, and of obscure parents, should be singled out for honourable suffering. For the first fourteen years of my life, I never heard a sermon preached; yet, in the fifteenth year of my life, it pleased God to convert me. Blessed be God, who not only made me a Christian, but a minister, judging me faithful, and putting me into the ministry, which is my glory. I had rather be a preacher in a pulpit, than a prince upon a throne; I had rather be an instrument to bring souls to heaven, than that all nations
should bring tribute to me. Formerly (said he) I have been under a spirit of bondage; yea, sometimes I have had more fear in drawing out of a tooth, than now I have for cutting off my head. When fear was upon me death was not near; now, when death is near to me, my fear is vanished.
Before I lay down my neck upon the block, I shall open my case, and that without animosity or revenge; God is my record, whom I serve in the Spirit, I speak the truth and lie not; I do not bring a revengeful heart unto the scaffold this day. Before I came here upon my bended knees, I have begged mercy for them that denied mercy to me; and I have prayed God to forgive them who would not forgive me. I have forgiven, from my heart, the worst enemy I have in all the world; and this is the worst that I wish to my accusers and prosecutors, who have pursued my blood, that I may meet their souls in heaven.
I am for a regulated mixed monarchy, which I judge to be one of the best governments in the world. I opposed in my place, the forces of the late king, because I am against screwing up monarchy into tyranny, as much as against those who would pull down into anarchy. I was never for putting the late king to death; whose person I did promise in my covenant to preserve; and I judge it an ill way of curing the body politic, by cutting off the political head. I die with my judgment against the engagement; I pray God to forgive those who impose it, and them that take it, and preserve them that refuse it. Neither would I be looked upon as owning this present government;
I die with my judgment against it; and lastly, I die cleaving to all those oaths, vows, covenants, and protestations that were imposed by the two Houses of Parliament. I see men thirst after my blood; which will but hasten my own happiness and their ruin.
I have no more to say, but to desire the help in all your prayers, that God will give me the continuance and supply of divine grace, to carry me through this great work I am now to do; that I, who am to do a work I never did, may have a strength that I never had; that I may put off this body with as much quietness and comfort of mind as ever I put off my clothes to go to bed. And now I am to commend my soul to God, and to receive my fatal blow, I am comforted in this:Â— though men kill me; they cannot damn me, and though they thrust me out of the world, yet they cannot shut me out of heaven. I am going to my long home, to heaven, my Father’s house, to heavenly Jerusalem, to the innumerable company of angels, to Jesus Christ the Mediator of the new covenant, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to God the Judge of all, in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore. I conclude with the speech of the .apostle: ‘I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand; but I have finished my course. I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up
for me a crown of righteousness, and not for me only, but for all them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ through whose blood I expect salvation and remission of sins; and so the Lord bless you all.”
After this he prayed with an audible voice for himself and his fellow-sufferer, Mr. Gibbon, for the prosperity of England, for his covenant brethren in Scotland, and for a happy union between the two Nations; making no mention of the king.
Then he made a short prayer privately; after which, he rose from his knees, and said. “Blessed be God, I am full of joy and peace in believing; I lie down with a world of comfort;” and having taken leave of the ministers and others who attended him, saying, “The Lord bless you all,” he laid down his head on the block; and when he stretched out his hands, the executioner did his office by taking it off by one blow, before he had attained the age of forty years.
Gospel Magazine 1855.