Thomas Vincent, who was removed from his pulpit during the great ejection of Puritans in 1662, is famous both for his book on Christian love and his courage during the great plague of London in 1665. As “pestilence walked in darkness, and destruction wasted at noon-day,” Vincent decided to remain in London to comfort and care for God’s people. It was the practical outworking of his teaching about the selfless public character of true devotion to Jesus.
Show your love to Christ in your public-spiritedness and zeal for Christ’s honor and interest. Let your affections be public, not private, narrow, contracted, and centering in self. Let your love be a public and general love. Love not only relations, but love all Christ’s disciples, though of different persuasions and interests, because of the image of Christ. And love not only your friends that love you, but also your enemies that hate you, because of the command of Christ. Let your desires be public desires. Desire the welfare of the universal church, and of all God’s people throughout the world; and, accordingly, pray for their peace and prosperity. And endeavor, as you have opportunity, to promote the public good more than your own private advantage.1
1 Thomas Vincent, The True Christian’s Love for the Unseen Christ (1677; modernized reprint, Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria,1993), 105-106.