To my most dearly beloved Friends, the chosen of God in Taunton, grace and peace.
Most endeared Christians,- My heart is with you, though I am absent as to my bodily presence from you, and therefore as I have often already, so I have now written to you to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance and to call upon you for your steadfast continuing, and vigorous proceeding, in the ways of God. Dear friends, and fellow soldiers under Christ the Captain of our salvation, consider your calling and station, and approve yourselves as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, as men of resolution and courage, be discouraged with no difficulties of your present warfare. As for human affairs, I would have you to bed, as you are, men of peace. I would have you armed, not for resisting, (God forbid!) but for suffering only, as the Apostle hints: You should resist, even to the uttermost, striving against sin. Here you must give no quarter, for if you spare but one Agag, the life of your souls must go for the life of your sins. You must make no peace, for God will not smile on that soul that smiles on sin, nor have any peace with him that is at peace with his enemy. Other enemies you must forgive, and love, and pray for (which I desire you to mind as one special duty of the times); but these spiritual enemies, all your affections and all your prayers must be engaged against them; yea, you must admit no parley: It is dangerous to dispute with temptations. Remember what Eve lost by parleying with Satan: You must fly from temptations, and put them off at first with a peremptory denial. If you will but hear the devil's arguments and the flesh's pleas and fair pretenses, it is a hundred to one that you are ensnared by his sophistry. And for this present evil world, the Lord deliver you from its snares. Surely you had need watch and be sober, and use your spiritual weapons dexterously and diligently, or else this world is like to undo you, and destroy you. I have often warned you not to build upon an external happiness, and that you should promise yourselves nothing but hardship here. Oh still remember your station: soldiers must not count rest and fulness, but hunger and hardness. Labor to get right apprehensions of the world. Do not think these things necessary; one thing is needful: You may be happy in the want of all outward comforts. Do not think yourselves undone, if brought to want or poverty: Study eternity, and you will see it to be little material to you, whether you are poor or rich: and that you may never have such an opportunity for your advantage in all your lives, as when you put all to hazard, and seem to run the vessel upon the rocks. Set your enemies one against the other; death against the world; no such way to get above the world, as to put yourselves into the possession of death. Look often upon your dust that you shall be reduced to, and imagine you saw your bones tumbled out of your graves as they are like shortly to be, and men handling your skulls, and inquiring "Whose is this?" Tell me of what account will the world be then; what good will it do you? Put yourselves often into your graves, and look out from thence upon the world, and see what judgment you have of it then. Must not you be shortly forgot among the dead? pg. 157,158 "Life & Letters of Joseph Alleine"