Love, Christopher (DNB00)

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LOVE, CHRISTOPHER (1618–1651), puritan minister, born at Cardiff, Glamorganshire, in 1618, was the youngest son of Christopher Love, and at fourteen years of age was converted by William Erbury [q. v.], the independent. The father disapproved of his religious impressions, and apprenticed him in London, whereupon Erbury and Mrs. Love sent him to Oxford at their joint expense. He entered as a poor scholar of New Inn Hall under Dr. Rogers in June 1636, and graduated B.A. 2 May 1639. Wood says he was accustomed to ascend the pulpit of the church of St. Peter-in-the-Bayly at Oxford, and 'hold out prating' for more than an hour. On the other hand, his wife declares that he was often brought into the bishop's court 'for hearing of sermons.' He was the first to refuse subscription to Laud's new canons of 1640, and although allowed to proceed M.A. on 26 March 1642, he was expelled from congregation. In 1639 he proceeded to London on the invitation of sheriff Warner to act as chaplain to his family. Here he met his future wife (Mary, daughter of Matthew Stone, formerly a merchant in London), who was the sheriff's ward. Subsequently Love received an invitation to become lecturer at St. Ann's, Aldersgate, but was for three years refused his allowance by the bishop of London because he had not been ordained. Declining episcopal ordination, he went to Scotland to seek it at the hands of the presbytery; but was disappointed, as the Scottish Church had decreed to ordain only those who settled among them. He refused 'large offers' to stay in Scotland, and on his return to England, about 1641, preached at Newcastle 'by invitation' before the mayor and aldermen, when he expressed himself so freely against the errors of the Book of Common Prayer, that he was committed to the common gaol. He was subsequently removed to London on a writ of Habeas Corpus, was tried in the king's bench, and was acquitted. About the outbreak of the civil war he preached as a lecturer at Tenterden, Kent, on the lawfulness of a defensive war, and was accused of treason, but he was acquitted and recovered his costs. Shortly afterwards he was made chaplain to Colonel Venn's regiment (State Papers, Dom. 1642, p. 372), and when Venn was made governor of Windsor Castle, Love resided there as chaplain. Soon after the presbyterian system was established in England he was ordained in Aldermanbury Church by Mr. Horton and two others (the date assigned by Brook, 23 Jan. 1644-5, is impossible). While still residing at Windsor, he preached an inflammatory sermon in Uxbridge on 31 Jan. 1644-5, the day on which the commissioners to treat of peace between the king and parliament arrived in the town (cf. Lysons, Parishes in Middlesex not described in the Environs of London, pp. 178-9). He asserted in his 'Vindication' that his preaching there was accidental and that none of the commissioners were present. On the complaint of the commissioners he was sent for by the commons and confined to the house during continuation of the negotiations. In 1645 he was nominated by ordinances of the lords and commons preacher at Newcastle (Barnes, Memoirs, p. 34), but does not appear to have gone thither; on 25 Nov. in the same year he preached before the commons, and was not accorded the customary vote of thanks. Before 1647 he was settled as pastor at St. Ann's, Aldersgate, whence he subsequently moved to St. Lawrence Jewry. As a zealous presbyterian he soon made himself obnoxious to the independents; and when they gained the ascendency he was committed to custody; he was twice subsequently cited before the committee for plundered ministers, and although discharged for want of proof his movements were watched.

In 1651 he was accused of plotting against the Commonwealth. The affair is known as Love's plot, He was charged with corresponding with Charles Stuart and with the prince's mother (Henrietta Maria) between October 1649 and June 1651. It seems that one Colonel Titus had been commissioned by certain presbyterians to carry several letters to the queen-mother in France; the queen's replies were conveyed by Colonel Ashworth, and were read in Love's house in London. On 18 Dec. 1650 a pass was obtained for Love's wife to enable her to proceed to Amsterdam, doubtless in connection with the same negotiations. Further, Love had received letters from Scottish presbyterians who were friendly to Charles II, and consultations had been held in his house (among other places) regarding the demands made on the English presbyterians by Argyll and others for money for the purchase of arms.

Love was ordered to be arrested on 14 May 1651, and was committed close prisoner to the Tower for high treason. He was tried before the high court of justice on 20, 21, 25, and 27 June, and 5 July, and was condemned to be executed on 16 July (cf. Thornwick, Interregnum, pp.287 sq.) He was subsequently reprieved for a month, and then again for a week, but was finally executed on Tower Hill, 23 Aug. 1651, and privately buried, 15 Aug., at St. Lawrence Church (see order of council of state under that date, State Papers, Dom.) Robert Wilde wrote a poem on 'The Tragedy of Mr. Christopher Love at Tower Hill,' 1651, 4to.

To the last of Love's petitions to the parliament, 16 Aug., he appends a 'brief and full' narrative of the whole plot, in which he virtually acknowledges all the charges made against him at the trial. Both Kennett and Echard mention the story that a reprieve from Cromwell was intercepted and destroyed by incensed royalists.

By his wife (who shortly after married Edward Bradshaw, mayor of Chester in 1648 and 1653), Love had five children, one of whom was born after his death.

Love's works were: 1. 'The debauched Cavalier, or the English Midianite,' 1643. 2. 'England's Distemper, having Division and Error as its Cause, &c Together with Vindication of the Author from ... aspersions.' London, 4to, 1645; the sermon preached at Uxbridge. 3. 'Short and plaine Animadversions on some Passages in Mr. Dels' Sermon,' 4to, London, 1646, 5nd edit. 1647. 4. 'An Answer to an unlicensed Pamphlet,' 4to, 1646, written in answer to the above. 5. 'A modest and clear Vindication of the . . . ministers of London from the scandalous aspersions of John Price,' anon., London, 1649, 4to (ascribed to Love in Illumination to Sion College, 1649, anon.) 6. 'A cleere and necessary Vindication of the Principles and Practices of Mr. Christopher Love,' &c., 4to, London, 1651. His posthumously published petitions and narrative to the parliament, speech and prayer on the scaffold, letters to his wife, were published in various unauthorised forma in 1651. He also appears as editor, and may have been author, of 'The Main Points of Church Government and Discipline,' London, 1649, 12mo.

Love's executors, Edmund Calamy, Simeon Ashe, Jeremiah Whitaker, William Taylor, and Allan Geare, issued after his death: 1 . 'Grace, the Truth and Growth and different Degrees thereof (fifteen sermons), 1652, 4to, and 1810. 2. 'Heaven's Glory, Hell's Terror' (seventeen sermons), 1653, 4to, 1810; Dutch version, 1867 (Sneek, 'De Neerligkheid das Hemels'). 3. 'The Soul's Cordial, in two Treatises: (1) How to be eased of the Guilt of Sin, (2) Discovering Advantages by Christ's Ascension ' (twenty-two sermons), 1653. 4. 'A Treatise of Effectual Calling and Election,' 1653. 5. 'Scripture Rules to be observed in Buying and Selling,' 1653. 6. 'A Christian's Duty and Safety in evil Times,' 1653, to which is annexed the 'Saints' Rest, or their happy Sleep in Death.' 7. 'The Hearer's Duty, and three other Sermons,' 1653. 8. 'The Christian's Directory, tending to guide him,' &c., 1653. 9. 'The true Doctrine of Mortification and Sincerity, in opposition to Hypocrisy,' 1654. 10. 'The Combat between the Flesh and Spirit' (twenty-seven sermons), 1654. 11. 'The Sum or Substance of prelatical Divinity, or the Grounds of Religion in a catechistical Way,' 1654. 12. 'The dejected Soul's Cure, in divers Sermons,' 1657. 13. 'The Ministry of Angels to the Heirs of Salvation,' 1657. 14. 'Of God's Omnipresence,' 1657. 15. 'The Sinner's Legacy to Posterity,' 1657. 16. 'The Penitent Pardoned,' 1657. 17. 'A Discourse of Christ's Ascension and coming to Judgment.' 18. 'The natural Man's Case stated, or an exact Map of the little World Man' (seventeen sermons), 1658. 19. 'The History of the Holy Bible,' 1783. His 'Select Works,' Glasgow, 2 vols. 8vo, appeared in 1805, and 'Remains' (with life), London, 12mo, in 1807.

[Memoir in Quick's MSS., Dr. Williams's Library; biography, incomplete, by Love's wife, in Sloane MS. 3945; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss; Cal. State Papers. Dom.; State Trials, vol. v.; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 365, 6th Rep. p. 435; Burton's Diary. ed. Rudd, ii. 88-9; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, i. 332, iii. 330; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xii. 266, 2nd ser. iv. 173. 259, ix. 160, 291; Neal's Puritans; Brook's Puritans; Dugdale's Treaty of Uxbridge; Barnes's Memoirs, vol. l. (Surtees Soc.); Tracts in Brit. Mus.]

W. A. S.