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influence of Divine love, as, in many of them, he was enabled, pertinently and impressively, to communicate much instructive counsel.
He was favoured with an excellent constitution of body, and with uninterrupted health, which continued, with but little alteration, until the autumn of 1815, when he was visited with a slight attack, apparently of the paralytic kind, which, in some degree, impaired his powers of body and mind; yet his understanding remained clear to the last, and he continued to attend his own meeting as usual. He was able to walk about, and visit his friends, and his mind appeared to dwell in Divine love.
The last time he appeared in the ministry was in 1816, at a funeral which was attended by a considerable concourse of people. On this occasion he was, in a very feeling manner, enabled to call the attention of those present to the uncertainty of life, and the necessity of being prepared for death. At the grave side, he addressed the widow, who was left with a numerous young family, in the language of the prophet : “ Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me.”
In the 9th Month, 1816, his beloved friend Richard Reynolds, of Bristol, departed this life, in the eighty-first year of his age. Of this distin- . guished philanthropist, the character is generally known; but as all may possibly not be acquainted with it, a short account of him may serve to elucidate some passages of those letters, in the following collection, which were addressed to him.
RICHARD REYNOLDS was, for many years, extensively engaged in the Iron trade, by which he very considerably increased his wealth. Under the influence of religious principle, he was sensible of his responsibility to Him, to whom belongeth “ the earth, and the fulness thereof;" and his heart being enlarged in love to God, and good-will to men, it is believed that, after taking from his large income sufficient only for his own moderate establishment, he devoted the whole of the remainder to charitable purposes.
His beneficence was guided by great wisdom, which rendered the benefit still more extensive. His benevolence raised the admiration of all who knew him; yet he was far from being elated by this circumstance, or by the possession of wealth; and in the distribution of his bounty, he frequently concealed the hand which sent the relief. He was a truly humble-minded Christian, and was often tried with a deep sense of spiritual poverty. He had also a very low view of the stewardship committed to him, which he, on one occasion, described to a friend in the following terms: “My talent is the meanest of all talents, a little sordid dust; but the man in the parable who had but one talent, was accountable, and for the talent that I possess, humble as it is, I also am accountable to the great Lord of all.” This good steward was favoured to experience an increasing and well-grounded confidence in the mercy of God, through the ever-blessed Redeemer, which he thus expressed in a letter, written only a few days before his decease: “ I have done with this world, and all my happiness in it is from the hope that I shall soon have it where there is neither sin nor sorrow; and that hope rests entirely on the mercy of God, and the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ.”
The end of this man was peace.
John Thorp survived the death of his friend Richard Reynolds about twelve months, during which period he frequently mentioned the prospect of his own dissolution. About a week before his decease, he was seized with a severe spasmodic affection. At this time, he manifested great composure of mind, saying that, whichever way it might terminate, all would be well.
The evening preceding his decease, he related to his family the following circumstance, which occurred in his youth, and which it is not known that he had ever before communicated; indeed, he very rarely, even in his own family, or with his most intimate friends, made himself the sub
ject of conversation : “ When a boy, about “ fourteen years of age, my attachment to music “ and singing was such, that when walking alone “ in the lanes and fields on an evening, I fre“quently gratified myself by singing aloud; and “indulged therein, even after my mind became
uneasy with the practice, until, in one of my solitary evening walks, and when in the act of singing, I heard, as it were, a voice distinctly
say, ' If thou wilt discontinue that gratification, “ “thou shalt be made partaker of a much more
perfect harmony.”” Such was the powerful and convincing effect of this solemn and awful communication, that, he added, he never afterwards indulged in the practice. In relating this short and, to those about him, interesting anecdote of his early youth, he was, towards the latter part of it, considerably affected, and could not suppress his tears, which appeared as the tears of gratitude to God at this remembrance of his
very early merciful visitation.
After a short suspense of conversation, he related the circumstance of Luke Cock having been a great singer, prior to joining the Society of Friends, and that John Richardson said of him, “ he was the greatest singer in that part of the “ country where he resided, and that he
then " the songs of Babylon, by the muddy waters " thereof; but having drunk deep of the brooks “ of Shiloh, which run softly into the newly con“ verted soul, he could sing and rejoice in the " Lord Jesus Christ.” Whilst communicating this anecdote, he continued much affected, and in tears, and his manner of relating it was most impressive and solemn.