Elizabeth Topp

The Life And Testimony Of Elizabeth Topp

Gospel Standard 1854:

For many years past it was the desire of deceased that her experience should be written for the glory of God and for the comfort of his tried and afflicted family, she often repeating these words, “For why should the wonders of the Lord be lost, and forgotten in unthankfulness?” I have often, by her bedside, heard her speak of the path that she had travelled for fifty years in this vale of tears, and many times found her words very weighty and powerful, so that I have often felt my soul drawn heavenwards, and the blessed things of eternity have sweetly employed my mind for days afterwards.

As it has of late been brought again and again afresh to my mind, and a light seems to be cast on her path through the wilderness before me, I now believe that it is the mind of the Lord that I should not keep these blessed manifestations of his distinguishing favor and rich grace, so abundantly manifested towards the favored soul of my dear departed mother through the desert land and waste howling wilderness, in secret. These words also have been much upon my mind, “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God;” “Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.”

My dear departed mother, Elizabeth Topp, was born into this world of sorrow in the year 1783. She was mother-in-law to the late Ann Topp, a notice of whose death appeared in the “Standard” for Sept., Oct., and Nov., 1852, whom she loved and esteemed, and parted with in the sweetest union, believing that they should soon meet again in a far better world. There seems to have been but little evidence of her father or mother, or any of the family, being called by grace, except herself and her youngest sister. From a child my dear mother appears to have felt some spiritual convictions, and some consciousness that the heart-searching eye of the Lord was upon her. She was the eldest child and as she grew up, she was most cruelly used by her father. Being left at home much by herself, and having the care of a small family, nearly every­ thing was required at her hands; and if the least thing was out of place, she was most cruelly beaten by her father. Having lived many years in this suffering state, and having no friend in the world, she has often gone in secret, and begged the Lord to open a way in his providence that she might leave her home, and be allowed to go to chapel. Soon after, she was invited to go to live with two single ladies and a brother. She went with gratitude and praise, and agreed with them, these words being blessed to her soul at the time, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” Having entered on her place of service with great delight, she was soon cast down on hearing that they were strict Church people, and that they did not allow any servant to go to chapel. These were cutting words to my dear mother, as the things of eternity began to lie more heavily on her conscience, and the thought of her going to church cut her through. But the same divine hand that led her to the place soon opened a way for her to go tor chapel. The brother of these rich people, as I have often heard my mother say, was a gracious man, whom the Lord had singled out from all the pride and vanities of this sinful world, and commanded to come out and be separate, and shut himself up and live a rural and retired life, with his heart, soul, and affections fixed on the things of the world to come; and, indeed, his blessed end, which my dear mother witnessed, proved that he was a vessel prepared unto glory. This young man, finding my mother free from all vain conversation, and seeing her continually low and cast down, after a time began to inquire of her what was the cause. She told him that she was not allowed to go to chapel. He called his sisters, and gave them directions concerning her going to chapel, saying that he insisted upon her going. And on his death-bed he gave them charge always to let her go, adding, “I see many Dissenters will shine bright in glory;” so that she always after had her liberty to go. There now became a spiritual union between my dear mother and her young master, and they spent many hours together conversing on the things of eternity; and when his afflictions in­ creased, he would have scarcely any other person to come to see or stay with him, night or day; so that she was almost continually with him, and nursed him to the last.

After the death of this young man, the Lord began to work more powerfully on the soul of my dear mother; and, scarcely ever being well in her bodily health, and having to sleep in the same room where he had died, she spent many sleepless nights, meditating on the thoughts of death and eternity. She felt that she had an immortal soul that must live through a never-ending eternity; and if not found at the last to have an interest in Jesus, she must be lost, and sink for ever under the wrath of God. Therefore she spent many days and nights, seeking, longing, and panting, and mourning over her sins. All hope of her ever finding a Saviour at times seemed to be lost. In this thirsting and longing state she continued for several years, severely afflicted both in body and mind, till she was brought, to appearance, nearly to the borders of the grave. Being desired by her doctor to leave her situation, after a time she consented; and though the health of her body became better, the affliction of her soul became worse; the Holy Ghost began to work more deeply upon her heart. The law was now opened up more powerfully in her conscience; the commandment came with its killing power, brought all her sins from childhood up to her view, and laid them all open before her and before the infinitely pure Jehovah, whose all-seeing eye was now, as it were, flashing into her conscience, looking her through and through; so that all her comeliness was turned into corruption; rottenness entered into her bones, and made her “exceedingly fear and quake,” and in her feelings die to all hope of ever being saved. Never shall I forget the weighty things that I have heard from her lips when speaking of those bygone days of sorrow, when she envied a dog in the street, the birds of the air, the beast in the field, or anything that had no soul; when “Eternity, eternity!” “Lost, lost, lost for ever!” were sounding almost continually in her conscience; fearing she should be shut up in black despair, always sinking, but never get­ ting to the bottom; always dying, but never coming to an end. These dreadful things used to be her meditations almost day and night. Many times she has gone to her bed and been afraid to shut her eyes to sleep, for fear that she should awake in hell. At times she could not close her eyes to sleep all night long; and when her husband has been from home, she has sat up the whole night, being afraid to go to bed. Such slavish fear used to haunt her soul, that she has been afraid to be alone. About this time there was a wonderful sight seen in the firmament, about the middle of the night; her husband was then from home. When it first began to appear, it looked like a fire kindling in the sky, and in less than a half hour, it appeared like a great body of fire. As soon as he reached home, he called out my dear mother to see the wonderful works of the Lord. No sooner did she behold the awful sight, than horror seized her soul, and she sank almost into hopeless despair. Now, she thought, all was over for ever, and she felt as if all hope was gone; the door of mercy was shut; the end of the world was come; the last vessel gathered, and the building of mercy completed; and that she was now left with the world to perish for ever under the wrathful anger and fiery indignation of the Lord. But after a little time the Lord was pleased to remove the awful appearance, so that it all went away, little by little, as it came, and the whole creation appeared as before.

My dear mother seeing that the waves and billows of wrath which had beaten so fiercely against her feeble soul were a little stilled, began to feel some hope in the midst of her sorrows that the Lord would yet appear. What love and thanksgiving she felt to the Lord that she was not cut off, when his judgments appeared to be threatening her destruction! For several days there was a “Who can tell but the time may come when I shall find mercy?” At times several passages of Scripture would show forth a little sweetness, when perusing her Bible; but the time of her deliverance was not yet at hand. She had to wade through many long years of wearisome days and nights, with scarce a gleam of hope; being month after month plunged again and again into the billows of despair, and ready to curse the day of her birth. With Job she felt her soul to be cast out of God’s sight. Jonah, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and many parts of Scripture that speak of the dark parts of the experience of the Lord’s children, used at times to suit her; but she was occasionally swept out of every resting-place, and she would go from chapel to chapel seeking rest for her weary soul, but could find none.

On the 25th of August, 1804, she brought forth her first-born son. She used to weep over the child with tears of piercing sorrow, and the thought of its having an immortal soul used to cut her through. She was sometimes sunk so low that she could not bear to hear it cry. The cries of the lost in endless torment, where she fancied ere long she should arrive, were laid so powerfully on her mind, that she could not endure to hear a bell toll. Her soul was in such labor all the day, such slavish and dismal gloom and horror used to seize her sinking mind, that she has in her feelings bordered near to black despair. Having a young family still coming into the world, the thought of bringing up children for Satan would cut her through and through. These young immortals used to be laid so powerfully on her mind that she was almost continually weeping over them, feeling the importance of their never-dying souls. But the Lord was sometimes pleased to help her with a little help, and draw near her soul at a throne of grace, and enable her to pour out her sor­ rows into his precious bosom, at times giving her a little sight and feeling sense of his being a God of mercy as well as a God of justice; so that some passage of Scripture would dawn with immortal sweetness, and for a little time comfort her aching- heart, raise up her sorrowful soul, and encourage her drooping spirit still to hope that the day of salvation would come. But after these little helps, her soul has sunk again into the restless ocean of sorrow, with wave upon wave beating against her. All the condemning passages of Scripture came with power, and beat .out of her hands the little hope she would fain grasp hold of. All the precious promises and exhortations she felt were for others, and not for her. And now all hope of being saved appeared gone for ever.

Being pregnant with her fifth child, and the time for her deliverance drawing near, the travail and labor of her soul increased, so that she sank almost into despair. At times she feared that the earth would open and swallow her up, or some judgment would fall on her and crush her to atoms. At other times she feared that the house would fall in upon her, and destroy her, and then she would go quickly into hell. Night after night she used to go to see if there were any danger of its falling down. Sometimes she would see a heavy cloud arising in the firmament. This would also sink her down in sorrow, fearing that that was the messenger which the Lord was sending to cut her down, to send her away into a dreadful eternity. When the Lord was visiting the earth with thunderings and lightnings, she used to be almost distracted, and shut herself up in some dark place; but the piercing, holy, searching eye of the Lord would pursue her, go where she would, though she would fain have fled out of his sight. In this state she continued for some time, and would go from chapel to chapel, seeking after a crumb of mercy, but all in vain. No minister could she find to trace out her path or speak a word in season to her weary soul. They could preach for the comfort of others, but not for her; and though some of the Lord’s children whom she loved and esteemed would endeavor to encourage her by telling her that it was the work of God upon her soul, yet there was but one in those days who could enter experimentally into her experience, and this was a gracious woman, now in glory, once a member at Devizes Chapel, named Mary Green. She then lived at a farm house near where my mother lived. My mother used often to visit her in those days of labor and sorrow; and this gracious woman was enabled to trace out her path, and to show her, from experience and the Scriptures, that it was the work of the Lord upon her soul. Thus a union began in those days between them that will last to all eternity.

My dear mother having waded through twelve years under the chastising hand of the Lord, the time of her deliverance was now near at hand; and as the time also drew near when she was to bring forth an infant, which she had labored and travailed in her soul for before it was born that it might prove to be a vessel of mercy, the Lord heard the voice of his handmaid, and on the 7th of June, 1812, she was delivered of this favored daughter. She felt a desire to give it to the Lord, desiring that it might grow up in his fear and live for his glory, and that it might live as a witness and a memorial of the lovingkindness and tender mercies of the Lord, so abundantly made manifest towards her in delivering her soul from the fear and sting of death eternal, and raising her up from the gates of misery and despair, to a living hope in Jesus, anchored “within the veil,” fixed on the throne of God and the Lamb.

Now was the appointed time come when my dear mother was to be delivered from the curse of the law; having a faith’s view of Jesus standing in her place and stead. The Lord the Spirit led her soul in precious faith to the foot of the cross, and gave her a sight of a suffering Saviour bleeding for her, at the sight of which all her sins, guilt, iniquities, bondage, fears, horrors, travail, labors, and grief for ever fled away, and were drowned in the sea of the Saviour’s blood, and mercy, pardon, and peace flowed into her conscience, and filled her with joy unutterable and full of glory. All the promises flowed into her heart with immortal power and glory, which filled her redeemed soul with transports of joy; so that she felt the whole Bible, from end to end, was hers, and all the cutting passages, fiery darts of Satan, piercing sorrows, dismal glooms, wrathful anger and fiery indignation of the Lord that she had labored under for so many years, were all gone for ever: “Old things had passed away, and all things had become new.” Her soul was now filled with praise both day and night. The very name of Jesus filled her soul with love, and gratitude, and praise; so that his gracious name was in­ deed “as ointment poured forth” unto her. In this blessed state she continued for many weeks.

She now felt herself a new creature, born into a new world. What delight she took in the ways of God! What union she felt with the Lord’s people, the few there were in those days! And it was now the delight of her soul to speak of the blessed things of eternity, and of the streams of mercy and pardon that had flowed into her soul at the foot of the cross of her suffering Lord; for her favored soul was now indeed like Naphtali’s, full of the blessings of the Lord; for heaven and immortal glory were her meditation day and night, with a daily longing to be unclothed from her body of death, to be for ever with him who had loved her and washed her from all her sins in his own blood. These were now most blessed days with my dear departed mother, days of nearness and sweet communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords, the earnest and first-fruits of a blessed immortality, for she was washed and clothed in the wedding garment, had her lamp burning, and longed to enter into the marriage feast. She now knew what -it was to be in a pardoned, justified state, for mercy and truth to meet together, righteousness and peace to embrace each other, and the wrathful anger of the Lord to be for ever turned away. The ministers that my mother used to sit under at that time visited her, and sat and heard some of the blessed things that came forth from her lips. She would also honestly tell them that they did not preach the whole gospel, nor did they cast up the way in which her soul had travailed, nor take up the stumbling stones out of the paths of the Lord’s tried and afflicted family, nor go into the prison houses and bring forth the Lord’s captive children. In those days there was no real heart-searching ministry to be found in the little town. General truths were delivered from the pulpit at the little chapel by good men at times; but no exercised, deep-taught, spiritual watchman or messenger of the Lord of hosts came forth with a “Thus saith the Lord.” Therefore it was that my dear mother went from chapel to chapel for so many years, seeking the bread and water of life, but could find but little or none. She has returned home hundreds of times with her pitcher empty, and her weary, heavy-laden soul bowed down as low as a mortal’s could be. But the Lord having delivered her soul in such a blessed and marvellous way, she could put the crown upon his blessed head and ascribe all the glory to the eternal, electing love and rich, free, dis­ criminating grace of her sovereign Lord and King.

For several years she continued in this blessed state, and felt such nearness at a throne of grace that I have many times heard her say that she has been enabled to take up all her dear children in the arms of her faith and carry them there, and lay their case before the Lord. Often has she wrestled with him in prayer that they might in his good time be called by his grace, and prove to be vessels of mercy; sometimes she felt a prevailing with her dearest Lord at the mercy-seat, and a belief that her prayer was heard and answered, and has been enabled to give up her dear children into his blessed hands. My dear mother was now longing to see the good hand of the Lord upon the soul of this little favored daughter, and indeed she soon perceived in her a difference from the rest of the family. These things were carried on in secret between the Lord and my dear mother; for it was her desire to have this child made manifest to be a vessel of mercy. A good old aunt, then living with the family, used to take notice of this child, on seeing it kneel down at its bed-side night after night. She used to go into the room where it was asleep in bed, put back the curtains, look upon it, and say to my dear mother, “That child is born for glory.” And her prophecy to this day stands a decided truth; for she grew up in the fear of the Lord, passed through a deep and clear experience, both under the law and deliverance through a manifestation of the pardoning mercy of her dearest Lord made known to her precious soul; and to this day she is a monument of the distinguishing grace of God. When the Lord began to lay eternal things on my soul, I used to sit by the fireside and listen to their blessed conversation till I could hold no more; and I have been obliged to withdraw into the fields or some lonely place, to pour out my soul before the Lord, entreating him to bless me with the same divine testimonies that my dear mother and sister were favored with.

My dear mother having spent some years, with but little intermission, of sweet union with the Lord, she was now to be led about in the great and terrible wilderness, and instructed in the hard and rugged strait and narrow path to glory. She was soon to be “weaned from the milk,” and learn doctrine in the fires of tribulation. She had daily a weighty cross to take up. She had to suffer for and with her suffering Lord and Saviour, it being her unhappy lot to be “unequally yoked.” This cross she had to carry until the day of her death. She knew what it was for the husband to be against the wife, “The father divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;” to “endure harness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ;” to go without the camp, and bear reproach for the name of Jesus; to be hated, cursed, ridiculed, set at nought by the world and professors; to pass through floods and flames, through fire and water, through pits, gins, traps, and snares, to come “into a wealthy place.” But the Lord was at times near and dear to her soul; he sent her help from the sanctuary, and strengthened her out of Zion. He enabled her to endure and suffer all things for his blessed sake; to stand in the day of battle; to “fight the good fight of faith,” and “lay hold of the hope set before her;” to press on and press through every trouble, affliction, and sorrow, having a sight by faith of the end of her race, the salvation of her soul, a kingdom of rest and happiness, an “eternal weight of glory,” beyond the valley of the shadow of death, where her weary soul would often long to be.

These blessed prospects used often to cheer up her sinking soul in her days and hours of conflict, and encourage her to hope against hope, and still pursue the narrow path, and as Hart says, “fight with hell by faith.” She also now and then picked up some crumbs from the gospel-table, as supplies came to speak at the little chapel in the name of the Lord; but though she was often revived and strengthened under their ministry, yet these gracious men did not enter so fully into her experience and path as she could wish, nor describe her daily conflicts as some in after years. But the Lord, in his good time, raised up a faithful, exercised, and deeply-taught servant, and thrust him forth into his vineyard, and his first sermon was especially blessed to the soul of my departed mother. It being a fast day, his text was, “Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.” (Mark 2:19.) The Lord the Spirit led him into the text, and enabled him to trace out her path. He was led into the very spots and places were her soul had been, and preached with unction, savor, and power, which melted her soul down into thanksgiving and praise, so that from that time the Lord made him manifest, in her conscience, to be one of the few set apart from everlasting for the ministry. And then a sweet union began between them that never was broken by death, but which she took to heaven with her. For many years his ministry was generally blest to her; and, as I have many times heard her say, she generally felt a spirit of prayer on his behalf when he was expected to come amongst the little few to speak in the name of the Lord.

My mother having sat down to the table for some time past through the instrumentality of Mr. D., the church was now about to be formed into a Baptist church. Mr. D. having felt some sweet communion with my mother, he felt desirous of hearing a little of the good hand of the Lord upon her soul through the wilderness; they therefore met at a friend’s house with some other of the friends to hear a little of the path that she had travelled. And the Lord blessed her with the opening of her heart and lips before them, shone on her past experience, gave her a sight of the path that she had travelled, and enabled her to tell out a little of the wormwood and gall, bondage and soul-travail that she labored under for so many years when under the law, and the blessed deliverance that she felt when she obtained mercy and pardon, and their effects; also of the daily conflicts and exercises she had since felt in the tribulative path to glory; and of the many helps and testimonies that the Lord had sealed home to her heart in times of her deepest distresses; the hearing of which led Mr. D. to exclaim, at parting, “You have been a preacher to me this evening.”

Soon after, my mother and her favored daughters came forth and followed their Lord through the ordinance of believers’ baptism; and it was a favored day to the redeemed soul of my dear mother. These words were blessed to her with immortal power, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14.) She also felt the answer of a good conscience and much sweet nearness to the Lord; and I have often heard her say that for some time she felt herself a new creature, her soul being lifted above the sorrows of the way, and the things of this, mortal state were kept under her feet. What delight she now took in the ways of Zion, and in going to the house of the Lord in company with the children of God, and in conversing with them by the fireside!

It would be too tedious to mention the many times the Lord favored her soul in those days that seem to come fresh to my mind; but a few I cannot forbear. She spent two of the most blessed Lord’s Days on earth under the ministry of the late Mr. Gadsby, at Devizes. These days she used to call “feast days.” I have often heard her speak of these blessed days, and of having heard Mr. G. from the words, “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities,” the first Lord’s Day. She spent another favored Lord’s Day on the 16th of September, 1835, being the day on which Mr. P. was baptized by Mr. W., at Allington. This was a day to be remembered by my mother as long as she was in this vale of tears. The preaching and the ordinance also were especially blessed to her soul.

The Lord also was pleased to call forth another of her daughters under the ministry of Mr. D., and she came forward with a gracious experience, and soon followed her Lord through his despised commands. This also was a day of thanksgiving with my mother, and yet this very day Satan was permitted to stir up wrath and enmity against her righteous soul. But the Lord held her up with the right hand of his righteousness, and gave her strength to bear it patiently. But she was daily led to see that the paschal lamb must be eaten with bitter herbs; that the cross was the only way to the crown, and must be daily taken up, and the way to heaven must be still a path of tribulation, often repeating these words, “Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom;” and “The Christian man is never long at ease; When one trouble is over, another doth him seize.”

She used often to search her Bible to trace out the path of the saints of old and compare it with her own experience, and read particularly the book of Job and Lamentations of Jeremiah; of the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace; Daniel in the lions’ den; the apostles and prophets, how they wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins, destitute, afflicted, tormented, and hid in dens and caves of the earth, “of whom the world was not worthy.” She often read of the tribulation, sufferings, and death of Jesus; in the manger at Bethlehem, at the lonely mountain, and with his disciples hated and persecuted, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:” betrayed by Judas, crowned with thorns, at the judgment hall, and led away to the cross and there crucified and slain. The three last chapters of Matthew were her favorites, and she read them in a most weighty, solemn manner. Thus she used to read and meditate on these things, and say, “Well, I hare not got one trouble but the Lord sees it best for me to have it; if it were right for him to alter it, he would.” Thus she sometimes cheered up in the midst of her sorrows, and would gay that every trouble was one the less, and that what she passed through yesterday she should pass through no more. At other times, when her cross had been heavy for days together, and she felt unable to bear up in the thorny paths she had to travel, she used to sink down in her feelings and weep bitterly, and say, “What have I done, that my blessed Lord should suffer me to be so tried?” But the Lord was still with her in the furnace, and she was brought forth again and again; and though her external path through the wilder­ ness was strewed with many bitter sorrows, yet a good hope through grace still remained in her soul; and an eternity of praise being at times opened up to her aching heart, would make her go on her way rejoicing and weeping to the praise of the mercy that she had found. The ministry of Mr. D. was still very profitable to her, and many times has she returned from chapel with her soul delivered and established in the truth; and when any other of the Lord’s servants have been near, and she has been privileged to hear them, it was generally a favored time with her soul, and her general saying after­ wards has been, “Well, if they are right, I am right; and if they are wrong, I am wrong;1′ they having been led so sweetly into her path.

My mother having, a short time before her death, heard Mr. G. exceedingly well, she could not forbear coming to my home to speak of the goodness of the Lord towards her, in the sermon being blessed to her soul. She also told friend G. a little of her deep and sore conflicts; and he, having heard her very attentively, looked at her and smiled, and said, “Well, mother, you are a favored woman, and privileged indeed. A few more troubles and conflicts for you and the scene will be over; a few more battles for you to fight, and the victory will be yours for ever.” And, looking round upon some of her children who feared the Lord, he added, “You are wonder­ fully favored. Bless the Lord. Blessings for ever be unto him!” Another time, as she was going into the chapel, having been sunk in sorrow, the deacon was giving out the hymn, and repeated these words, “Unnumbered years of bliss, I to my sheep will give.” The words dropped with such power on her soul, that she feared she should have fallen before she got to her seat, under the weight and glory of them; and after she had sat down, they sounded over and over again, and caused blessed feelings. She said to herself, “What is our life in this mortal state, and all that we have to pass through, compared to the ‘unnumbered years of bliss’ that these sheep will have to enjoy when they reach their blessed home?” Thus the Lord often put forth his blessed hand and revived his own work on the soul of my dear mother.

But to come to her last days on earth. Here I feel that I must write a word for the glory of the Lord, in her external life and conduct, but I would desire to exalt the grace of the Lord in her, and not my poor mother’s human nature. She daily felt her base origin, and the “exceeding sinfulness of sin,” the plague of her heart, and the various workings of a corrupt body of death, with the utter ruin of all help in herself, feeling the chief of sinners and less than the least of all the saints. As a wife, it was her delight to provide for and make her husband comfortable, and to obey him in all things, as became a woman professing godliness. As a mother, it was her desire to bring up her children in the fear of the Lord and under the sound of experimental truth, to set them a good example, and to keep them from evil actions, as much as lay in her power, often reading portions of Scripture by her fireside and expounding it to them, endeavoring to draw their minds from the vice and vanities of the world to the solemn things of eternity. After approaching a throne of grace for them, I have many times heard her say that she scarcely ever bowed her knees before the Lord but her dear children came forcibly into her mind. And here I would desire to exhort believing parents who have children, to follow her example, that the Lord may bless them with praying hearts for their offspring. Though you cannot tell when the Lord may answer your cries, (it may be when you are in your graves,) as a good man once said, “Cry on; they are not in hell yet.” My dear mother well knew that she could not put her children into the covenant if they had not been there from everlasting, yet she also knew that the Lord would be inquired of to bring these tilings to pass. As Mr. P. says, “He who has predestinated ends has predestinated means;” so, being found in the way, there is a “Who can tell” but that the Lord may meet with you in the way? So, stand in the way and see. If the blind man had not been in the way, he would not have received his sight. The Lord gave my mother twelve living children, four of whom died in infancy and childhood, of whom she had not a doubt they were in glory; four she left behind on their road there; with others at times flocking around the gospel fold. Therefore, let the crown be put upon the head of her sovereign Lord, and let mortal worms put their mouths in the dust, and be still and know that the Lord is God, doing as he pleases in the armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the earth.

As a member of a gospel church and a mother in Israel, my dear mother stood in the field of conflict for many years a witness for truth, and kept in the fear of the Lord with a tender conscience. No one could bring anything against her external conduct for the space of 50 years. Infidels, hypocrites, and enemies to truth, who knew her in life, were constrained to say, when they heard of her death, that if there were a good place to go to, she had gone there. And many who have persecuted her, have sent for her when they were on their death-bed, believing that she was a woman right for eternity, and one who would not flatter them. She was indeed a peacemaker in the family and in the church, and would bear her daily cross patiently. I have heard her cursed and abused all night long, and yet she has borne it all patiently, and not returned a word, but shown the greatest kindness immediately after; so, when they have smitten her on the one cheek, through grace she has been enabled to turn the other also; and when they have taken away her coat, she shunned not to let them have her cloak also. She was also enabled to love her enemies, and to pray for them that despitefully used her, so fulfilling the law of Jesus, and for many years “ran with patience the race set before her.”

During the last few years that my mother lived, I am sorry to say vital godliness seemed rather on the decline in her soul. She was also left, in the weakness of human nature, to go with her husband at times where the truth was not preached in its purity, when we have been destitute of one to speak in the name of the Lord, and thus gathered much dross with the precious gold in her soul, which the Lord burnt up and destroyed on her death-bed.

In the month of June, 1852, my mother went into the county of Dorset, her eldest son having lost his wife by death. Living at an inn in the town of Dorchester during her stay there, she felt many cutting rebukes of conscience. No place of truth was to be found on the Lord’s Day, nor a living soul that she could speak with. She stayed with her son nearly eight months. During this time the Lord began to lay his afflicting hand upon her tabernacle, and brought her down, to appearance, near the grave. Many times did she cry to the Lord that he would restore her and, give her strength to return home; and the Lord heard the voice of her supplication, for she returned home in the following February. After her return, her affliction increased, and she was confined to her bed. She continued to get worse, till death began to appear in her view, and she now solemnly reflected as to how matters stood between the Lord and her soul. She read and meditated much upon Rev. 1, 2, and 3, particularly where the favored apostle was as the mouth of the Lord reproving the churches; and she felt that the Lord had somewhat to say against her. The Lord now began to put her soul into his furnace in Zion, and all her religion from beginning to end, to burn up her dross and tin with the fire of Jerusalem, that her soul might come forth in his own time to offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Never shall I forget the anguish of her soul. For nearly two months every evidence and testimony that she had experienced in past years appeared to her view to be all lost, for she had scarcely a gleam of hope for weeks together,—nothing but clouds and darkness, waves and billows, storms and tempests, beating almost continually against her feeble soul; the howlings and the roarings of the enemy and beasts of prey declaring that the Lord had for ever forsaken her; and all the cutting passages of Scripture were preached to her conscience, cutting her up in her feelings root and branch. She was getting worse every day in body, and death was staring her in the face, eternity opening before her, and all hope of ever being saved seemed despaired of. Thus her days were spent in sighs, and groans, and bitter weepings; and the thought of being separated from the children of God cut her through and through. Yet her soul was going out after the Lord at times day and night; and though with Jonah she felt as if she were cast out of his sight, yet her heart, soul, and affections were almost continually bursting forth with anxious cries and looks towards his holy temple, saying with Job, “O that I knew where I might find him! Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him.” She could not trace the least mark of his footsteps. Clouds of darkness appeared to cover the face of his throne. With Jeremiah she had seen affliction by the rod of his wrath: “He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me, and com­ passed me with gall and travel. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.” (Lam. 3:2-5, 8.) So that her cries re­ turned into her own bosom. My mother having sent many times for me, I went into her room, and witnessed her pitiful case; but when I first saw her, I seemed dumb. And those who did attempt to comfort her failed, for the Lord was pleased to leave her for a time to walk her darkest path alone. I could not help telling her that there was a needs-be for her to be brought into that spot, and that I could see the glory of the Lord shine in his teaching her thus. This was Lord’s Day, and a report was spread over the town that a Dissenting minister was going over to the Church of England. I said to her, “Now, mother, you have many times of late forsaken the little few on Lord’s Day evenings, and have gone and heard error preached from that man; and have I not many times testified against him to you, and told you that the Lord would surely visit you with his chastising hand for these things? Now, mother, which of us was on the right side?” She replied, “I knew it was very wrong; and though I went, it was only to keep quietness; I never liked their stuff. Nothing but grace will do; nothing but sovereign grace! O I fear that I shall never be saved! My hope seems to have perished before the Lord. O that I could feel the least hope that I shall not be a castaway at the last! All my religion is gone, and everything appears dark, dismal, and gloomy. If I try to draw near to him, he frowns me away. I can see nothing but clouds and darkness, and a fearful looking-for of worse to come. All the sweet things that I experienced years ago seem to be gone for ever; and when I look around me, and see my dear children, I cannot but weep.” I said, “Well, my dear mother, the Lord has now put your soul into the furnace, to burn up your dross, and when it is consumed, you will come forth as gold. Not a grain of the precious things that you have experienced so blessedly for so many years will be lost in the fire. The same Lord that was with the Hebrews in the natural fiery furnace, and delivered them, will also be with you in the spiritual furnace, and in his own time will deliver you, and you will live to praise and adore him.” She replied, “O my child, if I were in your place I should not be afraid of death; but I fear that I shall be lost, and the thought of being separated from my dear children pierces me through.” I said, “Well, mother, if you are lost, I shall be lost, and the Bible will prove to be nothing but a counterfeit; and all the gracious men, servants of the Lord, whom you have for so many years loved and esteemed, will prove to be wrong. But the Bible is true; your soul has proved its blessed realities hundreds of times; and the testimonies that you have received from the lips of the servants of the Lord remain the same truths. Nor can all your darkness, hard thoughts of the Lord, temptations, labor, and sorrow, ever alter it. Your soul has not sunk so low as mine when the Lord laid his severe afflicting hand on my late beloved wife. My soul had sunk so low that for a time I gave up prayer, and felt enmity and hatred against his holy Majesty all the day long, with awful curses work­ ing in my heart; but I have found mercy, and have been delivered in his own time. Your precious soul is going out after him in longings and pantings: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” She said, “O that I could believe that he will appear for me! I believe that I did wrong in going to Dorchester, and perhaps that is the cause of my being in so much darkness. Many times while I was there I have gone up stairs and begged the Lord that I might not be a partaker of their sins.” About this time friend D. called to see her, and, after conversing awhile with him, she told him that she feared it was wrong in the sight of the Lord in her leaving home so long, and staying where there was so much wickedness. The reply and conversation of Mr. D. was a comfort to her mind. In prayer friend D. entreated the Lord that she might pass through the river, telling the triumphs of her King; and frequently afterwards she repealed the words, “O that I may pass the river, telling the triumphs of my King!” She still continued to get worse in both body and mind; and one dark night of sorrow, lamentation and mourning appeared to be almost her continual employment.

Lord’s Day having again returned, a few friends called to see her. On being asked how she was, she answered, “O I want to be landed on Canaan’s happy shore, and then I shall be better!” She desired an interest in the prayers of the Lord’s children, adding, ” ‘The prayers of a righteous man availeth much.’ O that the Lord would appear for my soul, that I may not be left to die in darkness.” Having felt a little nearness to the Lord the night before, she said, “I want my blessed Lord to come again. He did come to me last night, but he did not stay. I want him to come and abide with me. I do not want him to come and then leave me so long, but I want him to come again and again.” A friend replied, “Mother, I believe that the time is drawing near when you will be with him for ever, and then you will have no more cause to complain of his going and returning.”

On April the 10th, my mother was in great distress of soul. She sent twice for me. When I entered her room, her heart was full of sorrow, so that I felt it a trial to see her. She looked up at me with tears running down her face, and said, “My dear child, you lie near my heart; will you not come and see me during the little time that I am with you?” I asked her how she was in her mind? She wept bitterly, and said, “Very dark and gloomy. I am afraid that I shall be lost, after all; for it is said, ‘He that endureth to the end shall be saved;’ and I am afraid that I have been all my lifetime deluded, and shall perish at last.” I said, “No, my dear mother, your soul is bound up in the bundle of life, and never can be lost. Satan and unbelief may tell you it can, and cast all this dismal gloom over your past experience, and hide every evidence and laud mark from your view, but, with Job, your life is preserved, and your soul can never perish, for your blessed Lord is of one eternal mind; and not Satan or all his agents can ever turn him. Here shines the doctrine of election and the final perseverance of the saints most blessedly,—once under the righteous favor of the Lord, you are under his favor for ever; once washed in the blood of the Lamb, you are for ever clean. He gives unto his sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish; for they are engraven on the palm of his hands; and their walls are continually before him. Your blessed Lord Jesus has fought your battle and got to himself the victory. When he breathed forth his precious soul upon the cross, the work of redemption was for ever completed; and it was completed for you, mother; for it was done for ever.” She asked, “Do you believe so, my dear child?” and again burst into tears. I added, “Yes; you have known what it has been to experience a change many years ago, and to walk much under your Saviour’s countenance.” She replied, “Yes; and before I was delivered, many times have I gone out in the garden late at night, and looked all around, afraid to go to my bed, afraid that it would be the last light that 1 should be spared to see; and when I was delivered, what a change I felt! Promise after promise came with such sweetness and power into my soul, that I felt the whole Bible was mine.” I answered, “The same Lord that appeared for you then and numbers of times since will appear for you again; the same hand that brought you through all your troubles, afflictions; and sorrows, will lead you safely through the waters of Jordan and land you safe in glory.” She asked, “Do you think be will, my child?” I replied, “Yes, my dear mother; as the Lord liveth, so surely will he appear again for you. You will see your signs again; you will feel your feet fixed upon the rock; and the day will come when you will have cause to bless the Lord for passing through these many weeks of darkness. When your soul arrives in glory, you will have more cause to praise and adore the arm that brought you there. But while here, you must still have a part with Jesus in his temptations; you must drink of the cup that your Saviour drank of, and be baptized, in a measure, with the baptism that he was baptized with.” She replied, “Yes; but I still fear that it was wrong in my staying away from the truth and the people of God so long, and that the Lord is angry with me.” I said, “Well, I have thought that it was wrong, and it may have been some of the cause; but we read of Ephraim being ‘joined to idols,’ and with him you seem to have been left alone for a time; but the time is come when yon can say with Ephraim, ‘What have I to do any more with idols’. You are now brought, with him, to mourn, grieve, and lament over your past days of departures from your Lord and his blessed ordinances. But hear the blessed words of the Lord to all his repenting Ephraims, ‘My dear son, is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still; there­ fore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.” She replied, “These are sweet encouraging words. O that the Lord would seal them home to my heart? These things do encourage me to hope that the blessed Lord will appear for me.” “Yes, my mother,” I said; “the Lord will surely appear for you. You have often told me in days past, when my soul has been sunk in sorrow, that it was darkest and coldest before the break of day; and as you have many times experienced it in your soul in years gone by, so you will again, through this severe furnace of affliction, find, when all your dross is consumed, your soul will soar the higher. Jesus, his blood and righteousness, his sufferings, cross, and death, will be more endeared to you. You will be led more to praise and adore the riches of that grace that has reached you, and the merciful kindness of the Lord that has upheld you under all your sinkings and conflicts with Satan; so that you will be led to see that nothing strange has happened to you, but that it has been a right way to a city of habitation. Many of the Lord’s children have travelled this dark path before you.” She replied, “Yes, dear Ann was in darkness, and the Lord appeared for her; and O that the blessed Lord may appear for me, that I may pass the river telling the triumphs of my king!” I answered, “Yes, mother, he will soon appear for you; for you are one of the very characters that he came into the world to seek and to save.”

The following night was a blessed night to her. The next day, being Lord’s Day, I asked her how she was? She replied, “O I have had a blessed night, and passage after passage of Scripture has flowed into my mind with such sweetness that I have not slept all night; so that, when all around me was silent, I enjoyed the sweetest communion with the dear Lord; and these two passages were particularly sweet to my soul, ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ and, ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” She added again, “The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” I said, “Bless the Lord. Did I not tell you that he would soon appear for you?” She replied, “Yes;” and burst into tears of joy, and said, “He has appeared, and I can now give up all my children into his blessed hands. The Lord has given me some good children. They are not all, as yet, called by grace; but I can leave them in his hands, and hope that I shall soon enter my blessed home. I envy dear Ann; she has passed the river and entered into rest; but I have it to pass.” I said, “The same Lord that led her through the valley of the shadow of death, will lead you through.” She answered, “Yes; ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe;’ and ‘Underneath are the everlasting arms.’ How can we sink? we cannot; for the Lord ‘abideth faithful.'” I replied, “No; our souls can never be lost, or the Scriptures can never be fulfilled. Hypocrites and apostates may fall away; but all the Lord’s tried, exercised, and afflicted family will arrive safe in glory, for where the blessed Head is, the members must be. ‘There shall not a hoof be left behind;’ for should there be one stone missing, the building of mercy would not be complete.”

For several days she was a little revived and strengthened in her soul; but still she felt darkness at times; and her fears came on again. After she had waded through a few more days of darkness, (though at times she felt a little glimmering ray of light,) the Lord, in the riches of his grace, sent these words into her soul with divine power, and with them chased away all her darkness, doubts, and fears, and set her feet experimentally upon the Rock of Ages: “The Lord my Shepherd is, My needs he will supply;” and, “Christ is mine, and I am his; what can I want beside?” When I entered her room, she gazed earnestly at me and with such a heavenly look, and said, “Christ is mine, and I am his; what can I want beside?” and burst into tears, and said again, “He is mine! he is mine!” and “What can I want beside? All my gloomy, dismal fears of death are removed and gone, all the dark clouds that have hung over my soul for so many weeks are removed; the Lord has done it; and he is my Lord. I did not think that I should find it as you and Mr. D. told me I should; but it is so. It seemed as if all that part of the room was nothing but one dark cloud, and hid all my past experience from my view, and there was nothing before me but a fearful looking for of death, with continual gloom. But now all this is removed. My Lord has done it. O bless him, bless him, my soul! for the Lord has healed and restored my soul.” She then desired me to read some of the psalms of David. I did so; and she felt a sweet union with David, and exclaimed, “What precious language! I now long to pass my change. I long to reach my home. I long to reach Zion’s hill, and be for ever at rest. O what a mercy that the Lord should have ever looked upon me! I could not believe that I should experience this blessed change;” and she wept with gratitude and praise, and repeated again, “The Lord my Shepherd is,” &c.; “Christ is mine and I am his; what can I want besides?” and as friend D. told me, the Lord had nothing better to give. I said, “O mother, you are privileged above thou­ sands upon thousands. You are bordering on your eternal home; and what a blessing to have a nearness of it in your soul.” She replied, “Yes; and what a mercy that all my fears of death and the sting of it are removed? and now, instead of frowns, he smiles upon me.”

She was exceedingly ill day after day, yet her soul was kept in a sweet calm and blessed state, longing for the days and hours to pass away that the time might come to leave her suffering body. Sometimes she would say, “I wonder how many more weeks it will be. When will the Lord come and release me out of my afflictions? When will the Lord come and call me? How many more days will pass away before I reach my home?” And sometimes she would look at her arms and seem pleased to find them wasting so fast, saying, “I cannot remain long.” This verse was very precious to her, “With Christ in view may I go on, Nor death nor danger fear; The battle’s fought, the victory won, And I the prize shall share.”

Thus all her fears of death were removed and for ever put away. Satan, with all his fiery darts and fierce temptations, was driven into the bottomless pit; the roaring lions and beasts of prey that for so many weeks had howled around her camp were all driven away; the sun had arisen and shone into her heart, and melted her soul into thanksgiving and praise; the clouds and mist that had long lain around the goodly land and hid every evidence and land­ mark from her view, were all chased away; the winter was passed, and the spring time was come; and by faith she saw the immortal gates opened into the holy city, and her redeemed soul on the borders of it, clothed with the wedding garment, waiting to enter in.

Never shall I forget when I entered her room on the morning of May 17th, when she looked up at me with her eyes sparkling with love, praise, and thanksgiving, and said, “O, I have a beautiful prospect before me! For two days these blessed words have been on my mind with power, ‘Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation that keepeth the truth may enter in.’ O what I have seen and felt under these words, and with what power have they been spoken to my heart! ‘Open ye the gates.’ And this morning I have seen them opened, and have had a sight by faith into the holy city; and it shines and is paved with gold. No tongue can ever express what I have seen and felt this morning. I long to enter in. O that my time were come! I wonder how long it will be; not many more days. I hope that I shall not live through this week. I long to go home to see my Lord, and to be released from this poor suffering body. “‘I soon shall pass the gloomy vale, And reach fair Zion’s hill.” I said, “My dear mother, this is a blessed Whitsuntide to you, and you will soon enter into the full possession of the glory that your soul has had a taste of.” She replied, “Yes.” I continued, “A few more days at most will put an end to all your sufferings, and an eternity of praise will for ever be the blessed employment of your ransomed soul.” She answered, “Yes;” and burst into tears. I said, “You have passed through a scene of trouble in this vale of tears; and you have dreaded to live to see this day, because of the noise and bustle of the ungodly around you, who rejoice in their sin and wickedness. And O to see the goodness of the Lord in appearing for you in such a marvellous way? Will you not have abundant cause to crown him Lord of all for ever?” She replied, “Yes, O if my life were written, what a book it would be I What troubles I have passed through! But the Lord has supported me under them and brought me through; and how wonderfully good has the Lord been to me! How he has heard my cries and answered my poor petitions, even from my childhood; ‘When my father and mother forsook me, then the Lord took me up;’ and he has led me about in the wilderness and instructed me, and not one trouble has been too many. O the blessedness to look back many years, and see how wonderfully the Lord has appeared in my greatest times of need, and how I have enjoyed the presence of the Lord, and have been enabled to wrestle with him in prayer hundreds of times, that my dear infants who lay near my heart, might in his good time be called by his grace and prove to be vessels of mercy; and though the Lord was not pleased to remove the weighty cross that I had to carry through my partner in life, yet he has given me some good children, who have never caused me any trouble, but many times have been a sweet comfort to me in my darkest moments.” I said, “O mother, we can ascribe all the glory to the Lord, for he is worthy to be praised and adored; he has done all the work of our soul’s salvation; and to his blessed self alone is all the glory due.” She replied, “Yes, it is all of his sovereign grace; all of the good­ ness of the Lord.” I said, “O the blessedness to be in a justified state, waiting for the last enemy to be destroyed! You are now bordering near the river. The blessed Lord Jesus has gone before you and trodden out the path; and as you have for many years been enabled to take up your cross and follow him through evil and good report, and with him have suffered persecution, reproach, and shame, and have continued with him in his temptation, so you now must follow him through the waters of Jordan, and there leave your mortal part behind.” She replied, “Yes.”

Being exceedingly ill, and crying out under her piercing sufferings, I said, “What are all your sufferings compared with the sufferings of Jesus in the garden? There was not one that would watch with him even for a few moments. At the judgment hall, see him crowned! with thorns, and led away to the cross and crucified, with all the sins of his people laid upon his holy soul in flames of wrath.” She replied, “Mine are as nothing when compared with his. I have my dear children around me to sympathise with and comfort me, and they can rejoice with me because the Lord has appeared for my soul, taken away the sting of death, and removed all the dismal things that I have labored under so long. O that I was freed from this suffering body, to be for ever with Christ, to bless him and praise him, without interruption! I often think of Edmund Mead and your dear wife, his sister, how they longed after him. But now they are freed from all their sufferings, and are with him casting their crowns at his feet. O that my time were come also, that I might enter my blessed home! How slowly do the hours pass away!” I said, “O mother, what is our life at the longest, compared to eternity, or ‘these light afflictions, which are but for a moment,’ when compared to an endless eternity of unutterable glories that await us?” She answered, “Nothing but drops to the ocean. I desire to wait patiently until my change comes. It seems too much, that such a poor mortal as I should have any part with Jesus. All the greater part of my illness I feared and dreaded the thought of death, because my soul was surrounded with such darkness; but now my blessed Lord has appeared and chased it all away, I want to praise him more.” Afterwards she said, “I hope the Lord will keep the little few together as a church and incline their hearts to meet together from time to time. That is the place where the presence of the Lord has been many times enjoyed in my soul. Often have I gone into that little chapel with my mind bowed down with trouble upon trouble, and then the Lord has appeared for me; and it has been my desire for many years, if there should be anything said at my funeral, that that text should be spoken from where it is written,’Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.'”

My mother continued to get worse, so that her days were hastening to an end; yet the Lord was still precious to her soul. May 22nd was the last Lord’s Day that she spent on earth. I sat with her a little time, and asked her how she felt ill her mind? She answered, “Very blessed.” But being so ill, all conversation with her made her worse. Yet she felt a close union with all the friends whom she believed to be the Lord’s children, and desired to see them. On the Monday and Tuesday following, she continued much in the same state of suffering, and was still longing and waiting for the last enemy to arrive to take down her sinking, tottering tabernacle, to let her soul into the presence of Jesus, at times saying, “When will he come? when will my blessed Lord come for me? Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation that keepeth the truth may enter in. The gates are opened; my blessed Saviour has opened them; and I shall soon be with him; it will not be many more days.”

On May the 25th, she was much worse, and appeared to be dying, but her mind still continued in the same blessed state,—no doubts or fears of death or temptations; all were gone and shut out of her soul for ever. I said to her, “Well, mother, you are now going into the river. You will soon put off your mortality for ever, that will be the glory of it; for could we take these bodies of death to heaven with us in their fallen state, they would be a trouble to us; therefore it is needful for them to be left behind, to go into the grave, to lose .their corruption till the resurrection morning when they will be raised again and fashioned like unto the glorified body of Jesus, and be reunited with our souls again.” She answered, “Yes. And what a blessed morning will the resurrection morning be!”

On the evening of Thursday, two days before her death, her soul had another precious visit, and appeared something like the apostle’s, to be caught up from her body and placed on the borders of immortal glory. But I do not feel at liberty to mention her expressions at this time, as the infinite glories of the Lord overpowered the faculties of poor sinking nature. Several times afterwards she repeated, “I want another visit from the Shining One.”

Friday, the last day that she lived, was a day of great suffering, and all the day she appeared to be fast sinking into the hands of death. But her soul was in a sweet calm and blessed state. The greater part of her children sat around her bed during the day, four of whom she had reason to hope, were made partakers of the rich, free, distinguishing grace of God; and though she had a real love and regard for all her children, yet she had a special and particular regard for those who were made manifest in her conscience to be trophies of her Saviour’s victory. Although she was as ill as a mortal could be and live, yet she still had the same affection for her children in her last days, and would often look around with eyes beaming with maternal love from child to child, and say, “My dear children; the Lord has given me some good children.” At another time she said, “I fear that I shall tire you out, because I am so long dying.”

In the evening of this day it was distressing to be with her, as she could scarcely breathe for fear of being choked with phlegm. Her favored daughter said, “Now, mother, nothing but the real truth will do to die by; all false props will give way in the hour of death.” She answered, “Yes, I want another visit from the Shining One.” One of my sisters desiring her to take something to eat, she replied, “I do not think that I shall eat or drink anymore till I sit down in the kingdom of God.” Having left her for a short time, when I entered her room she looked earnestly at me, and said, “My dear child,” and held out her hand. I went near her, and said, “My dear mother, you have been a good mother to me, and I shall miss you.” She answered, “Yes, and would be again; and if it had been the Lord’s will, I should have liked to live a few years longer for your sake; but you cannot wish me to stay with you now.” I replied, “No, my dear mother, I cannot. Our loss will be your eternal gain; you are going to a far better world, where there will be no more sickness, pain, nor sufferings; all will be soon for ever put to an end, and I hope to follow you. We have been taught in a measure the same things, travelled together in the same path, and have the same crown of glory in view.” She replied, “Yes, and that will be far better than living in this poor troublesome world.” I said, “You will soon be with dear Ann. She told you that you would soon follow after; and you are the first of us to travel the path. You will soon be with her, to sing the same song.” She replied, “Yes; the sooner the better.” I said, “You have passed through a world of sorrows, but they will soon be for ever ended.” She answered, “Yes, for ever.” I then asked her if she felt any of the gloom or darkness that she had felt in past days? She replied, “No; it is all removed and gone into the land of forgetfulness.” I then asked her if her mind was still happy? She replied, “Yes.”

She now became much worse, and all conversation with her was now over, as death, with its iron grasp, was seizing on the vitals of nature and drinking up the streams of life. Her favored daughter and myself left her a few hours, but were soon called by her desire. When we entered her room, she was held up in bed, laboring for breath. Unable to speak at the sight, my sister burst into tears, and was obliged to withdraw; but the tender eye of my mother was fixed upon her, and watching her out of the room, she seemed grieved that her favored child was not able to stay with her in her last moments. I sat down with her to witness the closing scene. She fixed her eyes upon me and tried to speak, but was unable. She then held out her poor trembling hand towards me. I went near, and said, “My dear mother, your sufferings will soon be over, and you will be for ever with Christ.” She tried to answer me, but could not. Her children being around her, she cast her eyes from child to child, and tried to speak, but could not, as her end was near.

She had several times expressed a desire that she might not be choked at the last with the phlegm, if the Lord’s will; and though she had suffered much from it for several days and nights, yet the Lord was pleased to remove it entirely several hours before her death. My sister having desired her in the evening before her death, to give us a sign, by lifting up her hand at the last if unable to speak and the Lord was still precious, I sat longing to see the goodness of the Lord in her last moments; but her eyes became weak and dim, and she appeared unable to move up her hands any more, as her last breath was near. But the Lord was also near. She opened her eyes, held up her hand, looking earnestly at me, and laid it down, and never moved afterwards. Without a sigh, struggle, or groan, she easily breathed forth her redeemed soul into the hands of her Lord and Saviour, and landed safely in glory, to behold for ever the sweet face of Jesus without a veil of flesh, having left all her sufferings, sins, sorrows, cares, and woes behind; no more to groan under a body of death, no more to hear the noise of archers, the roarings of the enemy, and beasts of prey; no more to be hated and persecuted for the name of Jesus, her soul having entered upon an immortal state, to drink larger draughts at the fountain-head of the river of life, and for ever swim in the boundless, fathomless ocean of the immortal love of the ever-blessed Three-in-one Jehovah through a never-ending eternity.

Thus died and fell asleep in Jesus my dear mother, Elizabeth Topp, on the morning of May the 28th, 1855, in the 70th year of her age. Her mortal remains were committed to the grave adjoining the little chapel on the following Tuesday, as “a shock of corn fully ripe,” where her mortal dust rests in hope of a blessed resurrection at the last great day.

A Lover Of Truth (Joseph Tropp)

Market Lavington, Wilts.

Elizabeth Topp (1783-1855) was a Strict and Particular Baptist believer. She was the mother of Joseph Tropp, a God-fearing man whose intimate knowledge of the brethren allowed him to contribute several biographical sketches of departed saints to the “Gospel Standard”.