Love, Christopher

, a presbyterian divine of considerable tame in the time of Cromw< II, was born at Cardiff in Glamorganshire, in 1618. In his earlier days he was of a dissipated turn; and his religious education, at least, | must have been neglected by his parents, if what his biographer says be true, that he was fifteen years of age before he ever heard a sermon. The effect of this sermon, however, preached by Mr. Erbery, was such that he became not only reformed, but so strict and precise in his religious duties, as to give offence to his father, who at length placed him as an apprentice in London. His son, who was averse to this measure, earnestly intreated that he might be sent to the university; to which having obtained a very reluctant consent, he became a servitor of New Inn, Oxford, in 1635. Here, however, as his father denied him a proper support, he subsisted by the help of the above-mentioned Mr. Erbery, and such supplies as his mother could afford. After taking a bachelor’s degree in arts, he went into holy orders, and preached frequently at St. Peter in the Bayley, but his principles were so unacceptable, that after he had taken his master’s degree, and had refused to subscribe the canons enjoined by archbishop Laud, relative to the prelates and the Book of Common Prayer, he was expelled the congregation of masters.

On leaving Oxford, he went to London, where his fixed aversion to the hierarchy prevented his promotion to any living, and procured his being silenced, on which he went to Scotland to obtain presbyterian ordination; but, according to the laws of that church, he could not be ordained without settling there. On his return to England, he preached occasionally at various places, always introducing sentiments of the bitterest hostility to the church of England. At length, when his wishes were accomplished, by the establishment of the presbyterian government in England, he was ordained, according to their method, in Aldermanbury church, London, in January 1644. Next year he gave proof that he had as little prudence as moderation, by going to Uxbridge, when the commissioners for the treaty of peace were there, and preaching a sermon, in which he inveighed with great violence against his majesty’s commissioners, who complained of the insult to those of the parliament. He was, in consequence, sent for to London, and although acquitted by order of the House of Commons, yet, according to Neal, was confined to his house during the treaty, and then discharged. That language must have been very gross which induced the parliament to act thus towards one of their greatest favourites.

He was next appointed one of the Assembly of Divines, | and minister of St. Lawrence Jury, and is said also to have been chosen minister of St. Anne’s, Aldersgate-street. He was one of the London ministers who signed a declaration against the king’s death. He was afterwards engaged in a plot, which cost him his life, and was known at the time by the name of Love’s plot, either because he was a principal agent, or a principal sufferer. Mr. Love, we have already noticed, was a presbyterian, and when he found that the independents were gaining the ascendancy, he united with various gentlemen and ministers of his own way of thinking to assist the Scotch (before whom Charles II. had taken the covenant, and by whom he had been crowned,) in their endeavours to advance that sovereign to the crown of England. Cromwell, howev&r, was too watchful for the success of such a design in London; and the chief conspirators being apprehended, Mr. Love and a Mr. Gibbons were tried and executed, the rest escaping by interest, or servile submission. Mr. Love appears on his trial to have used every means to defeat its purpose, and was certainly more tenacious of life, than might have been expected from the boldness of his former professions. Great intercessions were made to the parliament for a pardon: his wife presented one petition, and himself four; several parishes also, and a great number of his brethren interceded with great fervour; but all that could be obtained was the respite of a month. It is said that the affairs of the commonwealth being now at a crisis, and Charles II. having entered England with 16,000 Scots, it was thought necessary to strike terror in the presbyterian party, by making an example of one of their favourite ministers. Some historians say that Cromwell, then in the north, sent a letter of reprieve and pardon for Mr. Love, but that the post-boy was stopped on the road by some persons belonging to the late king’s army, who opened the mail, and finding this letter, tore it in pieces, exclaiming that “he who had been so great a firebrand at Uxbridge, was not fit to live.” Whatever truth may be in this, he was executed, by beheading, on Tower-hill, Aug. 22, 1651. He was accompanied at his death by the three eminent nonconformists, Simeon Ashe, Edmund Calamy, and Dr. Manton. The latter preached a funeral sermon for him, in which, while he avoids any particular notice of the cause of his death, he considers him, as the whole of his party did, in the light of a saint and martyr. The piety of hi* | life, indeed, ereated a sympathy in his favour which did no little harm to the power of Cromwell. Thousands began to see that the tyranny of the republic would equal all they had been taught to hate in the mo larchv. The government, we are told, expressed some displeasure at Dr. Manton’s intention of preaching a funeral sermon, and their creatures among the soldiers threatened violence, but he persisted in his resolution, and not only preached, but printed the sermon. The loyalists, on the other hand, considered Love’s death as an instance of retributive justice. Clarendon says that he “was guilty of as much treason as the pulpit could contain;” and his biographers have so weakly defended the violence of his conduct during the early period of the rebellion, as to leave this fact almost indisputable. His works consist of sermons and pious tracts, on various subjects, mostly printed after his death, and included in three volumes, 8vo. They were all accompanied by prefaces from his brethren, of high commendation. 1

1

Neal’s Puritans.—Brook’s Lives of the Puritans.—Crosby’s History of the Baptists.—ms Life in Ayscough’s Catalogue in the British Museum.