Hercules Collins on Preaching from Prison

This excerpt comes from the opening page of A Voice from Prison by Hercules Collins when he was imprisoned in 1684.

To the Church of God, formerly meeting in Old-Gravel-Lane Wapping, and all who were strangers and foreigners, but now fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.

Revelation 3:11

Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, let no man take thy crown.

Dearly Beloved,

Forasmuch as I am at present deprived by my bonds, of the liberty of preaching; I bless God I have the advantage of printing, being ready to serve the interest of Christ in all conditions to my poor ability; and doubt not, but God and his interest are served by my confinement, as by liberty: and am not without hopes that I shall preach as loudly, and as effectually by imprisonment for Christ, as ever I did at liberty; that all those who observe God’s providential dealings, will be able to say with me hereafter, as holy Paul once said in his bonds at Rome; What hath befallen me, hath tended to the furtherance of the gospel:1 for as actions are more influential than words, and more demonstrative of the truth and reality of a person or cause; as a man shall be better believed for his good works, than good words; so if we would manifest our integrity under a profession, nothing will do it better than your suffering, rather than sin, if by God called unto it; for, as a tree is known by his fruit,2 so is a Christian by a patient wearing Christ’s cross, this will and hath convinced an adversary, when a bare profession will not, and though a man should make a great profession, or preach with great demonstration of truth, they an unsuitable living, or a sinful declining sufferings, may greatly hinder the belief of the truth.

1Philippians 1:12, 13

2Matthew 7:16-17


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