Hercules Collins: “Hold Fast What Thou Hast”

Hercules Collins published A Voice from the Prison from his prison cell in 1684. This work was an extended meditation on Revelation 3:11 where Christ admonishes the church of Philadelphia with the words, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (KJV) Collins addressed this sermon “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.” In this sermon, Collins drew from at least 213 passages of Scripture to encourage his congregation to stand firm in the face of persecution. Collins urged his besieged flock to not abandon the cause of Christ. “Hold fast what thou hast, when Satan would pull thy Souls good from thee; when Relations, Husband, Wife, Children call upon you, and perswade you because of danger to cease from the work of the Lord, then hold fast.” Collins offered as a motivation for holding fast to Christ and His work that the one who stood fast would hear Christ profess to the Father on the day of judgment these words:

These are they which have continued with me in my Temptation; therefore I appoint unto you a Kingdom; therefore, because you owned me in an Evil Day.

These are the Men, Women, People, which spoke of my Testimonies before Kings, and was not ashamed when many Cried, Crucify him and his Cause; these are the Souls which came forth and declared they were on the Lords Side: These are they, Father, whose Love to me many Waters nor Floods could not quench nor drown; these are they that chose me on my own termes, with the Cross as well as the Crown; these have made Choice of me with Reproaches, Imprisonments, with Fines, Confiscation of Goods, Banishment, loss of Limbs, Life, and all, they have born all, indured all for my sake, in the greatest affliction, they kept from wavering, and the more they endured and lost for my sake, the more they loved me.

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