Joseph Alleine

Joseph Alleine (1634–1668) was an English Puritan Nonconformist pastor and author of many religious works.

Alleine belonged to a family that had originally settled in Suffolk. As early as 1430 some of the descendants of Alan, Lord of Buckenhall settled in the neighbourhood of Calne and Devizes. These were the immediate ancestors of “worthy Mr Tobie Alleine of Devizes”, father of Joseph, who was the fourth of a large family, born at Devizes early in 1634. 1645 is marked in the title-page of a quaint old tractate, by an eye-witness, as the year of his setting forth in the Christian race. His elder brother Edward, who was a clergyman, died in that year; and Joseph entreated his father that he might be educated to succeed his brother in the ministry.

In April 1649 he entered Lincoln College, Oxford, and on 3 November 1651, he became scholar of Corpus Christi College. On 6 July 1653, he took the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, 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 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, granddaughter of the protector Somerset bear witness to the attraction of Alleine’s private life.

He found time to continue his studies, one part of which was his Theologia Philosophica (a lost manuscript), a learned attempt to harmonize revelation and nature, which was admired by Richard Baxter. He associated on equal terms with founders of the Royal Society. These scientific studies were, however, kept in subordination to his religious work.

After the Uniformity Act 1662 Alleine was among the ejected ministers. With John Westley, also ejected, he then travelled about preaching . For this he was put into prison, indicted at sessions, bullied and fined. His Letters from Prison were an earlier Cardiphonia than John Newton’s. He was released on 26 May 1664; and in spite of the Five Mile Act, he resumed his preaching. He found himself again in prison.

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. [More via Wikipedia] [Charles Stanford’s biography of Alleine is here]

The Works of Joseph Alleine:

Alleine on the Promises. (243 pages)
[pdf epub mobi web via Internet Archive/Google Books]
[pdf via On the Wing]
Also known as The Saint’s Pocketbook.
A lengthy extract of this was featured in The Digital Puritan, Vol.I, No.4.

An Alarm to the Unconverted. (308 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]
[web via Grace Gems]
[pdf via On the Wing]
Also known as A Sure Guide to HeavenThe Solemn Warnings of the DeadWake Up and Live, and An Admonition to Unconverted Sinners. What appears to be a reformatted pdf of the Banner of Truth edition (with Iain Murray’s introduction) is here. Digital Puritan Press has also republished this in an updated e-Book format; more information here.

Heaven Opened. (411 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]
Appended with “Directions for the Right Performance of the Duty of Prayer” (an extract from his uncle, Richard Alleine’sVindiciae pietatis, or, A Vindication of Godliness)

The Life and Letters of Joseph Alleine. (406 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]

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7 thoughts on “Joseph Alleine

  1. joseph alleine is my grandfather and uncle many times removed through the allens and the rutherfords via the montgomery and walker lines of wigton scotland and england. they were puritans arriving in america first in pennsylvania, then rock bridge county Va., orange co. North carolina and in the 18th century at boonesborough ky.

    • I know that somehow or other my line became theologically corrupted from puritanism into the christian church sometime in the mid 19th century by my Patrick ancestors who evidently became campbellites
      but have since in marrying into the andersons have recaptured their puritan roots through the old time baptists(regular and/or primitive or also known as anabaptists and/or landmarkists

    • Hi Terry. I’m currently researching Joseph Alleine for my PhD. I have recently started looking at his genealogy, so any info you can give me would be very useful. Thanks in advance! Annie
      (Annie Porthouse, Somerset, UK)

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