Anne Topp

The Life And Testimony Of Anne Topp

Gospel Standard 1852:

My dear Friend, As the Lord has taken away from me my very dear wife and companion in this lower world, and as the blessed Lord has, in infinite mercy, appeared for her precious soul during her long illness and in her dying moments, and sealed its blessed effects upon my heart, I have felt a longing, day after day, to drop my mortal body, to depart from this world of sorrow, to dwell with Christ, which is far better. But the Lord hath spoken these words to my heart: “Thou shalt not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord;” “Do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house? Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” And this morning these words have followed me: “Work while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.”

Thus, my dear friend, the Lord has taught my soul to see that I am not to keep those blessed and wonderful acts of his free grace, rich mercy, and distinguishing favour in silence, so abundantly made manifest in the life of my beloved partner, and specially during her illness and in death. And as there are many favoured souls, both far and near, who are anxious to hear of the goodness of the Lord towards her, who for many years were personally acquainted with her, I feel constrained to send forth a little of what I have both heard and seen of the grace of the Lord, made manifest in her life and conduct, and also in her dying moments.

My dear wife, formerly named Anne Mead, was born into this world of sorrow on the 23rd of July, 1821. She was sister to the late Edmund Mead, whose death appeared in the “Standard” for September, 1846. Being the two only children, there was a far greater union between them than is usually seen in families. The Lord began his work in her soul in early days, sounding an alarm in her conscience when but a child, and made her feel his chastening hand for sin. These words were at that time applied with power:

“And thus approve thy chast’ning rod, 

And know thou art my Father God.”

She was thus led to see her lost state without a Saviour; and the Lord was pleased to separate her in a great measure from the world and worldly circumstances, and implant desires in her soul after himself. As she grew up, the Lord was pleased to keep his work alive in her soul, his fear before her eyes, and draw her heart more away from everything here below, and fix her affections more steadfastly upon eternal things. The poor and needy flock, the outcast few, in this town, became her chief companions. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, could she receive or hear from any pulpit. The Lord’s sent servants became near and dear to her; they were indeed the excellent of the earth in her eyes; and she became separated more and more from those around her who robbed the blessed Son of God of his finished work.

There now became a very close union between her brother and herself. As the Lord was leading their souls along in the strait and narrow path, they often spent many favoured hours together, both at their homes in singing .the songs of Zion, and in going to the house of the Lord in company, and in mingling their voices with his people. When the Lord was pleased to lay his afflicting hand upon her brother, and death appeared in view, the union grew stronger, knitting them in the immortal bond of love that could not be broken by death. His happy end was made a blessing to her at the time, and many a time since the Lord sealed it upon her heart as a divine reality. Some time after the death of her brother she was brought to the very point of marriage; and being very uneasy concerning the event, fearing that it was wrong in the sight of the Lord, her continual cry was that she might meet with one who feared God, and that he would draw her affections away if not right in his pure and holy sight. The Lord was pleased to draw her mind away, and break it asunder, and send this verse with power:

“O Lord, I would delight in thee, 

And on thy care depend;

To thee in every trouble flee, 

My best, my only Friend.”

It being Lord’s Day evening, she left her home, and as she was coming across the fields to chapel from the neighbouring village where she lived, she sang this hymn throughout, as it was so sweet and precious to her; and when she reached the chapel they were singing the same hymn; indeed that service was made a special blessing to her. Some time after this the Lord was pleased to lay his afflicting hand upon her body, and brought her down, to all outward appearance, to the borders of the grave. During this long illness many lines of hymns were sweet unto her, and sometimes a piece in the “Standard” and the company of the Lord’s people were made a blessing to her soul. But the Lord was pleased to apply the words of one of the thieves to the other: “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our sins; but this man hath done nothing amiss.” She was led to see that her affliction came from the hand of a sovereign God, and indeed justly, for the due reward of her deeds; and she had a little glimpse of Jesus crucified and bearing her sins in his own body on the cross, which melted her soul down at his blessed feet. And the words sounded again and again: “But this man hath done nothing amiss.” The Lord was pleased to raise her up again and sanctify this affliction to her.

She was once greatly strengthened under Mr. P., at Calne, from these words: “Thou hast showed thy people hard things; thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” This day was indeed a day of days to the soul of my beloved partner. As she rode there and returned with two of the deacons of our little chapel, I have often heard her say that she never spent such a day before on earth, so sweet was the preaching to her, as was also the company and conversation of the two friends. The savour of this day lasted for some time.

On the 12th of May, 1842, our hands were joined in marriage. I received her in answer to prayer, as a gift from the Lord. I found her a God-fearing soul, with a tender conscience; and the little time we lived together was in the sweetest bands of love and of affection.

Some time after, the Lord was pleased to lay the ordinance of believer’s baptism on her mind, and she felt a longing desire to obey the commands of her dearest Lord, but feared at times that it would be presumptuous to come forth. Yet she felt a constraining power that followed her, till at last she was enabled to come forth and take up her cross and follow her blessed Lord through the watery grave. And indeed this was a good day to her soul. At the table in the breaking of bread, and for some time, she seemed alive to eternal things, and her aim and desire was to live becoming the gospel of Christ before the world and in the church.

Nearly her whole delight was with the people of God, so that many times she found the service of her blessed Lord perfect freedom. Often have I seen her return from chapel with her soul softened and melted down. And sometimes the hymns have been so sweet and lasting on her heart, that I have seen tears running down her face, on a Lord’s Day evening, as she sang them over again; and I have felt a sweetness to sit by and witness her. At other times, when she had been shut up in bondage and hardness, I have seen her sit alone by the fireside, with tears in her eyes, mourning and grieving at the distance she felt from the blessed Lord, saying that the Lord’s Day was past, and that she had felt nothing all the day. The Lord had given her a voice and good judgment in that most delightful part of worship, the singing. Here the Church feels her loss greatly; and the Lord’s sent servants have lost a kind and affectionate handmaid, whose willing heart and hand have been engaged many times in providing a bed, a table, a stool, a candlestick, and a cup of cold water for those whom she could receive into her heart and conscience. These she received into her house, seeing the image of Jesus stamped upon them. She loved them for his blessed sake, and she is now gone to her reward; forasmuch as she hath done these things unto one of the least of these his servants, she hath done it unto her blessed Lord and Saviour. In nearly everything of providence, as coming from the Lord, she desired to give thanks. Indeed she was a good wife, an industrious soul, and many times felt a thankful heart for the least providential mercy. I have frequently heard her repeat these lines of Bunyan:

“He that is down needs fear no fall, 

He that is low no pride;

He that is humble ever shall 

Have God to be his guide.

“I am content with what I have, 

Little be it or much,

And, Lord, contentment still I crave, 

Because thou savest such.”

In the beginning of January the Lord was pleased again to lay on her his severe afflicting hand, with a bilious complaint, which terminated in consumption. During the former part of her illness this verse was much on her mind:

“The Lord is just and true,

And upright in his way;

He loves, but will correct us too,

Whene’er we go astray.”

The address of the January “Standard” was blessed to her soul. By it she was led to look back on the past year and mourn her base ingratitude. She repeatedly read the address, and kept the “Standard” by her bedside for some weeks. Seeing me weeping, she said: “The Lord is wonderfully good to me. Do not weep, my dear; see how the Lord supports me. Do not weep, for He cannot do but what is just, And must be righteous still.’ If it be his will to raise me up again, he will in his own time. I would wish to lie submissive in his blessed hands, and know no will but his, ‘He is too wise to err, too good to be unkind.’ ‘All our times are in his hand, All events at his command.'” Indeed the Lord kept her for nearly a month in a sweet frame of mind, and she was made willing to bear anything or everything, that her dearest Lord might be glorified.

During the month of February she felt at times darkness of mind, but still there was something, even in her darkest moments, that her soul could not give up, and at times she felt a little sweet nearness unto Jesus and a resting upon his blood and righteousness and finished work. Often during that month have I asked her how her mind was; she generally replied, “Much the same. I want to feel Christ more precious, but there is something that I cannot give up. I cannot but hope in his mercy, in his precious blood.” She continued to get worse, and all hope of recovery was now lost.

About this time friend D. called to see her, but she being so ill was unable to speak many words to him. At parting she desired liim not to say much at her funeral concerning her. Friend D. replied, “I shall speak just as I feel the union that I have felt to you during your life. It will remain the same, whether you are left to die under a cloud or in the sunshine of the blessed Comforter.” These words were the means of reviving her soul for several days.

On the 21st of March friend D. visited her again, and his visit was especially blessed. He read Psalm 22, and spoke very sweetly of the sufferings of Jesus, particularly on these words: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” “I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me.” He said, “You can now come in with your suffering Lord.” “I may tell all my bones,” she replied, “Yes, he has gone before you, and tasted the bitterness of death, and drunk up the dregs of the cup of wrath and incensed justice, which must have sunk all worlds to rise no more,’” replied Mr. D., “but the immortal Redeemer paid off the score that we had contracted, was entombed in the graver and paved a way for his people to follow him, and rose victorious over death, hell, and the grave. He is now enthroned in glory. You are going a little before us; we shall soon follow after you.” In prayer it was a very solemn time to us. At parting this verse recurred to her with much sweetness:

“Why should we shrink at Jordan’s flood, 

Or dread the unknown way?

See, yonder rolls a stream of blood 

That bears the curse away.”

She repeated it. Friend D. said: “You cannot get beyond that blood.” She replied, “O no; precious blood! The very word blood is dear to me.” Friend D. then took his farewell of her, and they parted in the sweetest union, believing that they should soon meet again in eternal glory.

She then desired to be left alone for a little time, as she felt her heart going out unto the Lord in secret prayer; and truly it was prayer, as I stood below stairs and heard her. She said to me afterwards, “How the words, ‘The Lord is holy,’ dwell on my mind with might.” And frequently afterwards, seeing me weep, she said, “Do not weep, my dear, ‘The Lord is holy’ and dear is his name. It will not be long that we shall be parted. You will follow after me; I am sure of it. O what a mercy if we should meet around that blessed God! And is not my father a favoured man, that both his children should meet in heaven?” Seeing me continually weeping, she said, “My dear, the Lord is very good, he will appear for you. He is a very present help in times of trouble. Is there not cause for thanksgiving to see that I am not in violent pains and how wonderfully the Lord supports me? You have been so good a husband to me as ever lived upon this earth; but we have made idols of each other, and must for a time be parted. Before I was taken ill, the love that I felt to you I cannot describe; I could scarcely endure for you to be out of my sight; and the day before I was taken so violently ill, I was led to admire and bless the Lord in answering my poor petitions years ago, that I might meet with one who feared God and was not walking according to the course of this world. But my dear Jesus must have the pre-eminence of our hearts. O that I could feel more love to him, and enjoy more sweet communion with him! I cannot but hope in his mercy; there is something I cannot give up.” I said, “Nothing will do for you but the precious blood of Jesus and his finished work revealed to your heart by the Holy Spirit; and if this fails, you are lost and ill done for ever.” She replied, “O yes, that blessed finished work! The very word ‘finished’ is dear to me.” I observed, “Had there been no Saviour found, a surety provided, no ransom paid, we should now have been at the borders of a dreadful eternity, and, with all the human race, sunk to rise no more; and we have justly deserved it.” She answered, “Yes, we have justly deserved it.” She then said, “Read the chapter about the crucifixion, where one thief said to the other, ‘Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our sins; but this man hath done nothing amiss.'” I said, “These words were blessed to you some time ago.” She replied, “Yes, and they are very precious now.” I read the chapter; she repeated again, “Dost not thou fear God? but this man hath done nothing amiss.” Afterwards she said, “Read the chapter where it is recorded that Jesus said to his disciples, ‘My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you;’ as those words are sweet to me, and have been so for several days.” I read the chapter; she added, “’My peace I give unto you.’ Sweet peace! How blessed it is to have a little peace, and that the Lord does not suffer the enemy to harass me. But I must not expect to go to the end of my journey free from his temptations.”

On the 26th of March, in the silent watch of the night, she repeated, in a solemn tone, the verse,

“How vain are all things here below, 

How false, and yet how fair!

Each pleasure has its poison too, 

And every sweet a snare.”

The following night the enemy came with this temptation, that he would sorely try her before death, because she would not take the medicine, as she had given up the physicians the same day, nothing that she had received from them having done her any good. I told her that “she must not expect to escape his fierce temptations. But the Lord has promised that when the enemy comes in like a flood, his Spirit shall lift up a standard against him, and that is a precious promise. And when he comes again, may you be enabled to tell him of your Saviour’s bleeding wounds, death, and cross. Tell him that he cannot come to the Garden of Gethsemane nor to the foot of the cross, where the work of redemption was forever completed.” She replied, “I told him of his bleeding wounds and cross; and that hymn came so sweetly into my heart that I wanted to sing it, but was not able, particularly these two verses:

“When I survey the wondrous cross 

On which the Prince of Glory died, 

My richest gain I count but loss, 

And pour contempt on all my pride.

“See! from his head, his hands, his feet, 

Sorrow and love flow mingled down; 

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?'”

I said, “You have many times sung those sweet lines in days gone by.” She answered, “Yes, and it has sometimes been the sweetest employment that I have ever known. But at times I am afraid that I shall be left in the dark at last.” I said, “Many of the redeemed of the Lord have had fears, and have been sorely tried, even till the last. The blessed Son of God himself was in darkness on the cross in his last expiring moments, when he cried out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ So that if the Lord should leave you for a small moment at the last, your suffering Lord and Saviour has gone before you and travelled the same path.” She replied, “He was in darkness; he was in darkness. O if I should reach that blissful home, how I will sing, ‘And crown him Lord of all.’ How many times have I sung that sweet hymn in this life, and felt nay heart expand with the words, ‘Crown him Lord of all.'” I said, “Will there not be abundant cause to praise and adore him to see from what we are saved, and to see and admire the arm that has done it?” She answered, “Yes, there will be cause for praise. O that he would appear more precious to me! I want a clearer manifestation of my interest in him. O that I may never be deceived at the last! I do feel my heart going out after Christ, and a longing for home.” I said, “We read of the woman that cried after Jesus, but the disciples said unto him, ‘Send her away, for she crieth after us.’ But he said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ And you, my dear, feel yourself to be lost, and lost for ever, without him, and saved by grace alone. In him is all your hope and all your salvation; and all your expectation of immortal glory is in and through what the blessed Son of God himself alone has done. You cannot rest upon anything but his blood and righteousness, his blessed finished work; and it is the Spirit’s work alone to give you a clearer interest in it. This he will do in his own time.” She replied, “Yes; O that he would give me patience to wait his time!”

On the 1st of April she was taken much worse and thought she was dying, for she appeared near death. I went to her bedside, but she was not able to speak for some time. At last she looked at me and said, “O that precious blood of Christ! do, Lord, seal it upon my heart. O Lord, do appear for me!” I observed, “Nothing but blood will do for you.” She replied, “O precious blood! Do, my dear, beg the Lord to appear for my soul, that I may leave a testimony behind.” I said, “The Lord has appeared for your soul, and will appear; you will live to praise him for those things. The desire of the righteous shall be granted, if not fully in this life, in that which is to come.” She replied, “I want to feel him near.” I said, “This is the place to be brought to, to need real religion; nothing but the real thing will stand; everything else will give way in the hour of death.” She again said, “I want to feel him near.” A friend remarked, “You want dying strength in dying moments.” She replied, “Yes, I do. O that the Lord would appear!” Being exceedingly ill, she could scarcely be heard. I said, “O what sin has done!” and then repeated these lines:

“O thou hideous monster, Sin, 

What a curse hast thou brought in! 

All creation groans through thee, 

Pregnant cause of misery.

Thou hast ruin’d wretched man, 

Ever since the world began;

Thou hast God afflicted too; 

Nothing less than that would do.”

At this she was greatly affected. After she had been in this longing state for an hour or more, the Lord was pleased to send these blessed words into her soul with divine power, and melt her down into thanksgiving and praise: “Thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name.” O my friend, what a change she felt in a moment! How she was enabled to praise the Lord! And he gave her strength to sound forth his praise: “Bless the Lord, bless the Lord! Precious Christ, that ever he should have looked upon such a poor mortal as “Praise his name, that ever he should have taken notice of me.” I said, “Do the words seem precious?” She answered, “Very precious.” I said, “Bless the Lord; one promise applied to your soul will carry you to heaven; one grain of faith will land you in glory. O what a wonder of wonders, that the Lord should have ever looked upon any of us! We all deserved to be sent to hell; but love moved the blessed Son of God to leave the abodes of glory and come down to earth to save our souls. Wonderful love! Surely there will be cause to crown him Lord of all.” She replied, “Yes; bless the Lord.” I said, “The enemy is a liar.” She replied, “Yes; praise the name of the Lord.” She was then for a little time overcome by her cough. Having somewhat recovered, she said, “Crown him Lord of all; crown him Lord of all! He hath appeared, and he will appear for me; bless his name.” She then repeated these verses:

“Sweet is the work, my God, my King, 

To praise thy name, give thanks, and sing; 

To show thy love by morning light,

And talk of all thy truths at night.

“Sweet is the day of sacred rest;

No mortal care shall seize my breast. 

O may my heart in tune be found, 

Like David’s harp, of solemn sound!”

Of the few friends who came to take their farewell of her, one said, “I must leave you; and if we never see each other again, we hope to meet in a far better world, where there will be no more sickness. The Lord bless you with more manifestations of his blessed presence, and strengthen you through the valley of the shadow of death.” She replied, “I believe he will; bless his name.” Another friend said, “The Lord is better to you than all your fears.” She replied, “Yes, bless his holy name.” She continued for several days in a most sweet frame of mind, and the words, “Thy Maker is thy husband,” were still sweet to her; so that she felt a longing to depart day after day. I told her that I was thankful every day that she was still spared to me. She said, “You may be more thankful when I am gone, and out of this weak state. How I can look back to my childhood, and see how the Lord has led me along and answered my prayer! I can see how he stopped me in my career, drew my affections away from my young acquaintances, and put a desire in my soul after himself; and how I have been led to admire his goodness in bringing us together. How wonderfully the Lord supports you, through this severe trial! I told you that he would .appear for you; I was sure he would. I can say sincerely, ‘Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life.'” To a friend who gave her a cup of tea she said, “O what a privilege to have such good friends around me!” I observed, “We have drunk of the same cup here of our blessed Lord, and we hope to drink it anew with him above, when we shall have left this clog of death behind;, in that kingdom where the inhabitants shall no more, say, ‘I am sick.'” She replied, “Yes.” I said, “You will leave us nothing behind but your corruptible part, your body of death.” She replied, “Nothing but my afflicted body. I do not know how soon the enemy may come again, but I do not fear death, nor does the sting of it in the least terrify me. What a sweet psalm that was which Mr. D. read that Lord’s Day. How forcibly does David say, ‘I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me.’ These things confirm me in the conviction that the Bible is true. ‘The Lord is holy.'”

April the 4th, being Lord’s Day, she said, “I think this will be the last Sabbath that I shall spend on earth; but I hope soon to enter an eternal Sabbath.” She appeared to be fast sinking into the arms of death. She repeated these words, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Afterwards she repeated the verse, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” I said, “You can see a beauty in him, as your only hope, and all your salvation, so as to desire him.” She said, “Yes. O, that he would appear more precious now and in my last moments!” Many friends called to take their farewell of her. On being asked how her mind was, she answered, “The Lord has been wonderfully good to me, far beyond what I have deserved. The Lord has severely afflicted my body, but he has wonderfully supported my soul.” To a distant friend who came to take her farewell, she said, “I am glad to see you once more. I shall never see you again in this world; but we hope to meet in heaven.” As I was taking her hand, and was about to leave her for a little time, she said, “The Lord be with you; his presence go with you and comfort your soul, strengthen you, and bring you. back in safety, that I may see jour face again in the flesh, which I believe I shall; but if we should never see each other again in this world, we hope to meet in a better.”

Hearing that Friend G. was coming amongst us, she seemed very thankful, and for several days she felt a longing to see him, adding, “I hope, if it is the will of the Lord, to live to see him.” I said, “Do you feel a love to him?” She replied, “Yes, a sweet union; and who can tell but that the Lord may send a word by him to me?” When he came, he was much pleased to find her in such a lively frame of mind. He asked her how she was. She replied, “The Lord has greatly afflicted my body, but he has wonderfully supported my soul. Nearly all the time of my illness he has been very precious to me; but I sometimes think I shall be left in the dark at the last,” He replied, “It does not matter whether you die under the light of his countenance or in the dark. The glory of it is, once in Christ, in Christ for ever. His precious atonement stands the same; the work is completed and done for ever.” She answered, “O yes, it is finished, or there would not be the least hope for me. His precious blood is all my hope.” The conversation of Friend G. was sweet to her; but, after a little time, seeing her so weak, he said, “I will not stay to hurt you.” She said, “You will read a few verses, and speak a few words in prayer?” He replied, “I cannot pray for you to live, when your soul is so near the wicket gate that opens into glory, and when we see what a toilsome wilderness we have to pass through; for death is but the wicket gate to open into glory, to let the soul into the presence of Jesus, away from all sin and sorrow.” Friend G. engaged in prayer, and indeed the Lord was near. It was quite a reviving time to my dear partner. After prayer he said, “It is not dying; it is only falling asleep in Jesus. And the Lord is now going to answer your prayers.” She replied, “Yes, the Lord has heard my prayers on many occasions. I can look back and see how frequently he has answered my poor petitions. This is the third time that the Lord has brought me down near the grave; and since I have been ill, nearly all the ease from my pains which I have received has come from the Lord in answer to prayer. For some time after I was taken ill, I was afflicted with inward spasms. I begged the Lord to take them away, and, bless his name, he did, and they have not returned.” Friend G. took her by the hand, and said, “Good bye; it will not be long before we shall meet again and never part. We shall soon follow you; you are only going home to glory a little before us. Farewell.” My dear partner felt a sweetness in her soul, and a longing to enter the wicket gate.

As she continued to get worse, the day after my sister urged her to take a little food, as she had taken scarcely anything but water for many days past. She said, “I cannot. The bread that perishes will not save me; I want the bread that will never perish.”

The following day she was scarcely able to speak to any one, but her heart and affections appeared to be after her eternal home. She was heard to say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Afterwards she said, “Wilt thou not receive me, Lord?” And during the night she was exceedingly ill and desired to depart, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Come, Lord Jesus.”

The next day she appeared fast sinking into the arms of death. She said, “I can say with David, ‘I can tell all my bones.'” A friend who came from a distance to see her, asking her if Jesus was precious to her, she said, “Yes.” She was unable to speak many words during the day.

In the evening of Lord’s Day, April the 11th, she was taken much worse, and appeared to be dying. She was much exercised the greater part of the night, and her soul was drawn out with ardent longing desires after her blessed Lord to come. She said, “I cannot doubt him; I cannot but believe him. “‘Give me Christ, or else I die.’ O I want to see him! I want a precious Christ!” Afterwards she said, “‘The covenant made with David’s Lord, In all things ordered well.’ Blessed covenant! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Why tarriest thou?” Being so dreadfully ill that she could scarcely be heard, she yet said, “Gracious Lord. Three persons in one undivided Godhead. Come unto me. Christ will save all that come unto God by him. Come, my blessed Lord, I am weary of this earth. Come, my Lord and fetch me. I want to come up with thy children; I am weary of being here. Come, my Lord; come, my blessed Lord come and fetch me. Three persons in one God.” In this sweet longing state she continued for several hours. At times she appeared to have conflicts with Satan. After them she said, “Christ is precious; Christ is very precious.” I said, “Is he precious? Bless the Lord.” She looked at me earnestly, and smiled with such a sweet, heavenly smile, that the glory of the Lord sparkled through her eyes, and said, “Precious Christ! I have seen him; I have seen him! He is come; he is come!” She afterwards said, “O how precious it is to feel a little of Christ!” And her happy soul seemed earnestly longing to go home. She said, “Come, Lord, I want to come; I want now to come up. Three persons in one God. Three persons.” We thought that she would not live through the night; but she lingered on all next day, occasionally longing to depart. Frequently during the day she exclaimed, “Christ is precious.”

On Monday night, my friends being around her, she looked at them and said, “A good hope through grace. “‘Look where the streams of mercy flow.’ Praise the Lord; praise him all of you;” and desired them all to kneel down around her bed, to praise the name of the Lord. She felt such love to every one whom she could receive as the children of God, (nor indeed did she want to see any others,) that she wanted to kiss nearly all who came to see her. Though extremely weak in body, her poor trembling hand was held out to welcome the beloved of her heart in whom she could see and feel the image of Jesus was stamped, and who were assembled around her sick bed to witness the goodness of the Lord towards her.

A few days before, she expressed a desire to have a little prayer meeting, with a few of the friends, once more in her room, but was unable, being so very ill.

Amongst the many friends who came to take their last farewell of her, was her father and mother-in-law. There had been for many years a very close union between the father and the daughter; indeed a father’s kindness was seen in the life and death of his daughter; and now he had come to take his final farewell of his dear child. He took her by the hand and kissed her, and said, “The Lord will soon come and release you, my dear child.” She kissed him repeatedly, and said, “Yes, he will; the Lord bless you. Good bye.” To her mother-in-law, they having kissed each other, she said, “And the Lord be with you, and bless you.” And thus they parted, never again to see each other.

About the middle of the night she said, with a very solemn voice, “‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou wilt save them that put their trust in thee. Thou art good, Lord, beyond what I deserve.” She now became very restless, as the agonies of death were coming on. She began to shrink away at death’s ghastly appearance. She continually wanted to be moved, and for a little time the Lord was pleased to withdraw the beams of his countenance from her. I shall never forget the evident longings of her soul; for nearly two hours she cried out, “The Lord be with us; the Lord be with, us! The Lord come amongst us! Precious Christ, come amongst us! My dear husband. O precious Christ, O gracious God, I want to go home! Come and fetch me. Let me not sink in the deep waters. I am weary of being here; I am weary of this world. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with me and comfort me. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. I must be lost without thee; take me home to thyself, where there are pleasures for evermore. I want to come up. Come, my blessed Lord, and fetch me. Come, Lord; come, Lord. Come, my blessed Lord; I cannot abide here. I want to come home.” After this she was exceedingly ill, and her eyes became fixed. She smiled and said, “Christ for ever! Christ for ever!” A little time after she said, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,” she tried to repeat the words, “Holy Ghost,” but was unable. As she was so extremely weak, her words could not now be heard by any of us. We expected every moment that she would be choked by the phlegm, as she had not strength to cough it up. She had several times expressed a desire that she might not be choked with it at the last, as her brother was, which she witnessed.

And now we could hear her desires going up unto her dearest Lord, in broken meanings, that she might not be choked. It was wonderful to see the blessed hand of the Lord put forth in this last extremity, for the phlegm in her throat was removed, and she breathed more easily, till she breathed her last, which was about an hour after this, and when the last moaning after her blessed Lord to fetch her was over; for as long as she was able to speak the least word, she did so. She waved her hand twice, and laid it down, in token of victory; as I had requested her, when able to converse with me, that if she was unable to speak, but could see her way clear at last, and Christ was still precious to her, to give me a sign by lifting up her hand, to which she had said, “I will.” And this being done, she never moved afterwards, but quietly breathed forth her precious soul into the hands of her beloved Lord, and entered the abodes of immortal glory; entered in through the gates into the glorious city, where Christ the forerunner, her blessed Lord and Saviour, has entered into the Holy of Holies, the new Jerusalem, where the righteous nation that keepeth the truth enter at the hour of death, to be for ever in the sight and presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords; to behold his wounded hands, feet, and side, to cast her crown at his immortal feet, to praise, adore, and admire the grace, free favour, rich mercy, infinite love, and divine compassion that have reached her and landed her precious soul for ever far away from all the fiery darts of Satan the curse of the law, the wrath of devils, from sin, death, the grave, and the bottomless pit; where all tears, sorrows, griefs, and troubles will be for ever wiped away; where she will no more say, “I am sick,” but for ever behold her dearest Lord face to face, and bathe for ever in the river of immortal glory, without bottom or shore through a long and lasting eternity.

Thus died and fell asleep my dearly-beloved wife, Ann Topp, on the morning of April the 13th, 1852, in the thirty-first year of her age. Her mortal remains were committed to the grave belonging to the little chapel, on the following Lord’s Day. By her request, nearly all the members attended her funeral. The hymns which were sung in the chapel and at the grave were chosen by her, and she appointed nearly everything concerning her funeral some weeks before she died.

She lived and died a witness for the truth advocated in the “Gospel Standard,” as she had read that publication nearly from its commencement. She lived and died in the faith of the little few in this town, and was a witness against the blind religion of the day. And now she is gone to be with Jesus.

Joseph Topp

Anne Topp (1821-1852) was a Strict and Particular Baptist believer. She was the first wife of Joseph Topp, a God-fearing man whose intimate knowledge of the brethren allowed him to contribute several biographical sketches of departed saints to the “Gospel Standard”.