Alleine, Joseph - 1634–68

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Joseph Alleine (baptised April 8, 1634 - 17 November 1668) was an English Puritan Nonconformist pastor and author. Joseph was born at Devizes, Suffolk, England early in 1634, he fourth of a large family. His father, the "worthy Mr Tobie Alleine of Devizes", was a descendant of Alan, lord of Buckenhall. Alan's descendants had settled in the neighborhood of Calne and Devizes as early as 1430.

Josephs elder brother, Edward, had trained for the clergy, but died in 1645. Joseph asked his father that he might be educated to succeed his brother in the ministry, and in April 1649 entered Lincoln College, Oxford. He became a scholar of Corpus Christi College on November 3, 1651. He took he took the degree of B.D. on July 6, 1653 and became a tutor and chaplain of Corpus Christi, preferring this to a fellowship. In 1654 he had offers of high preferment in the state, which he declined; but in 1655 George Newton, of the great church of St Mary Magdalene, Taunton, sought him for assistant and Alleine accepted the invitation. Almost coincident with his ordination as associate pastor came his marriage with Theodosia Alleine, daughter of Richard Alleine. Friendships among "gentle and simple" of the former, with Lady Farewell, grand-daughter of the protector Somerset bear witness to the attraction of Alleine's private life.

His public life was a model of pastoral devotion, yet he found time to continue his studies, one monument of which was his Theologia Philosophica (a lost MS.), a learned attempt to harmonize revelation and nature, which was admired by Richard Baxter. Alleine was no mere scholar or divine, but a man who associated on equal terms with the founders of the Royal Society. These scientific studies were, however, kept in subordination to his proper work. He was surprisingly influential for so young a man, and this was thanks to his earnestness and forcefulness. 

The year 1662 found senior and junior pastors like-minded, and both were among the two thousand ejected ministers. Alleine, with John Wesley (grandfather of the celebrated John Wesley), also ejected, then travelled about, preaching wherever opportunity was found. For this he was cast into prison, indicted at sessions, bullied and fined. His Letters from Prison were an earlier Cardiphonia than John Newton's. He was released on May 26, 1664; and in spite of the Conventicle, or Five Mile Act, he resumed his preaching. He found himself again in prison, and again and again a sufferer. Worn out by the continued persecution, he died in November 1668; and the mourners, remembering their beloved minister's words while yet with them, "If I should die fifty miles away, let me be buried at Taunton," found a grave for him in St Mary's chancel. No Puritan nonconformist name is so affectionately cherished as is that of Joseph Alleine. His chief literary work was An Alarm to the Unconverted (1672), otherwise known as The Sure Guide to Heaven, which had an enormous circulation. His Remains appeared in 1674.