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HAD the Writer of the following Letters left an account of his religious experience, his life, and pursuits, there is much reason to believe, that such a memoir would have been very interesting and edifying. The hand of another can but faintly describe, the early and powerful visitations of Divine love extended to him; the exercises, spiritual conflicts, and baptisms, which he had to pass through, during the progress of his regeneration; the mercy and saving help vouchsafed to him, in and by our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom, through faith and obedience, he obtained the victory; and by whom, also, he was qualified and enabled to labour that others might be brought to the same happy experiYet from an apprehension that to many who may read the Letters, and who were not
acquainted with the writer, a memoir of his life and character, including a short notice of a few of his principal correspondents, would be acceptable, many of his friends have wished that an account thereof might be given; and having known John Thorp upwards of thirty years, during which time I had frequent opportunities of enjoying his company and conversation, and for the greater part of it an open and unreserved friendship with him, several of my friends, whom I have great reason to esteem, have repeatedly urged me to the undertaking. I would gladly have had the work performed by one better qualified, being sensible of my want of ability to do justice to the subject; yet the regard I have for the memory of my friend, and the desire which I feel to contribute (however feebly) to hand down to posterity some memorial of one deservedly dear to me, have finally prevailed upon me, so far as I may be enabled, to comply with the request.
It will be proper to observe, that John Thorp's own memorandums furnish but very few materials for a memoir of himself; and most of those who were acquainted with him in early life being deceased, not much is now known respecting his conduct and character during that period, except such circumstances as he hath occasionally mentioned in conversation with his intimate friends. To give this account something of the form of a
continued narrative, it may be necessary to introduce here a few particulars, noticed in the testimony of Hardshaw-east Monthly Meeting.
John Thorp was born at Wilmslow, in the county of Chester, on the 5th of the 11th Month, 1742, N. S. He was the posthumous son of Jonathan Thorp, a farmer, who left but little property. The care of his maintenance and education, therefore, with that of several other children, devolved on his mother, whose maternal care and affectionate solicitude, under the trying circumstances in which she was thus placed, he frequently mentioned with feelings of filial gratitude. His parents were members of the church of England, in profession with which he was educated. He was, from very early life, sensible of the workings of evil in his own heart, and also of the manifestation of the Divine principle of light and grace, which showed him the evil. Possessing considerable energy of mind, and but little disposed to submit patiently to those disappointments and trials, to which, through life, mankind are universally subject, with some variety, but with no exception; and self-will rising unrestrained to obtain its purpose, he frequently experienced mortification and sorrow. In this frame of mind he was led, at times, deeply to ponder, whether or not this was the irrevocable lot of man, and whether there was not a possibility of deliverance from such a state. Here that adorable Mercy,
which found our first father, after his transgression, wandering in nakedness and want, and in boundless compassion brought to him that promise of redeeming Love, "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," visited, in a remarkable manner, the subject of this memoir; introducing him into a state of mental retirement, and powerfully impressing his mind with that blessed invitation and promise of the dear Redeemer, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." He was made sensible that this world is not the place of rest for man, but that it is intended for a probationary passage to, or preparation for, a state of uninterrupted happiness hereafter; and that this preparation can only be effected by the taking up of the cross to all the corrupt desires and passions of fallen
During these exercises, he believed it to be required of him to decline the practice of singing, in which he had taken great pleasure, and had been a noted singer in that called the parish church of his native place; but he continued some time longer to attend that place of worship. Being now convinced that, as God is a spirit, and that they who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth, the forms and ceremonies