Hannah Mills

The Life And Testimony Of Hannah Mills

Gospel Standard 1868:

Dear Sir, You kindly took notice of the account sent you of my son-in-law, and I have been asked to send a little about my daughter, but which I feel somewhat backward in doing, because I shall, of necessity, have to name some little about my exercises and circumstances under which I have been placed from her birth to her death.

My dear daughter, the late Mrs. Isaac Mills, was born January 25th, 1842, and died May 14th, 1867, in her 26th year. At the time of her birth, I was in great temporal straits; so that with family cares and preaching cares I was overwhelmed. My soul chose strangling and death rather than life. My soul being full of heaviness, I cried, “O Lord, be pleased to let me die. I wish to die.” While I was in this state of mind, it was said by a relative, “This child ought to be named Hannah.” It was mentioned to my wife, and she agreed to it. Having a concordance, I soon found the name with its meaning: “Gracious, merciful, or taking rest.” At this my heart recoiled, saying, “How can I call the child Hannah?” I could not see that God had been merciful and gracious to me. I had so far forgotten prosperity; and as for rest, I was tossed with tempest and not comforted; but it was by my wife and relative decided.

In a few weeks after this, I went to Uffington to preach. On my return, the Lord so shone into my soul and showed me his goodness that before I was aware I shouted out, “The child’s name is Hannah, and shall be Hannah, for the Lord has been gracious and merciful to me, and I have had rest many times.” I then went on my way rejoicing in the goodness of God, and hoped well for the child that she would prove to be a vessel of mercy.

When the child was about five years old, she was taken very ill, and it was thought she would die. Under this affliction, I was strongly impressed to go into my bedroom, and by prayer spread my case before the Lord. I asked God to pity me in my humble circumstances and heal my child, and that, if it was his will, she should grow to womanhood and be made a partaker of his saving grace. To my astonishment, on the third day after this she was able to walk about the house without any medical aid for her recovery.

When she was about 15 years old, she with three more fell sick of typhus fever. I then for a short time thought we should lose her. Not having forgotten the above named circumstance, I said to her, “My dear child, if you die, where do you think you shall go to?” She replied, in a plaintive tone, “I cannot tell where I shall go. I know nothing about it.” The Lord was, however, pleased to spare her and restore her to good health.

After this, I used to observe her and put her in mind of the above named things, adding, “You are now grown to womanhood; and although I neither see nor hear of anything amiss in your conduct, yet I fear you are yet without the saving grace of God in your heart.” At which her face would redden or turn pale, and tears come into her eyes. She attended the word preached by me, never evincing any desire to go anywhere else, and seemed to pay great attention; but she was so quiet and reserved that I could get but little from her. After we came to London, I once said to her, “You pay attention to the word of God as it is spoken. Do you feel at any time the word come with any power to your heart?” She replied, “Not often. I think you get on well; you are helped.” On one occasion she said, “I see clearly that imperfection in this life cleaves to the best of people; but I would not be left myself knowingly to say anything or do anything that would cause any of God’s people to sin with their lips.” I must say that I much admired this wisdom and prudence which was so manifest in her life. I could soon see that London and her employment in the city were ruining her health, and I feared consumption had already set in upon her, which, no doubt, it had. This made her backward to enter upon a married life.

Soon after her marriage, she felt to get weaker. Through kind friends, the best medical advice was obtained for her, which, for a few weeks, seemed to do her good. Afterwards she became more weak and wasting in flesh. She would sometimes say to her mother, in tears, “There is nothing here for me to desire to live for. I could part with all below, yea even with Isaac, though I love him, if God would forgive me and fit me for and take me to heaven.”

After her husband’s removal to the hospital, as stated in the account you gave of him in Oct. [See below], she returned to us, and in about nine days fell ill with the same sort of small-pox her husband had. It was said to be the worst sort. Being so far recovered myself as to be able to get to her room, I was frequently with her, to witness her sufferings, which were very great, and to observe her manner and hear what she might say. Her patience was great. As long as strength would permit, she sat up in bed and read her Bible, which seemed a treasure to her; and when she became blind, yet could endure reading, she had her brother to read to her. Once she said, “Read me the first three chapters of the Book of Job.” When they were read, she said, “O what that dear good man went through! My sufferings are nothing to what his were.” One day I asked her of the state of her mind. She replied, “I am a poor, needy, helpless creature. I know there is no want of power with God. He could raise me up again; but I do not believe it to be his will to do so. I believe I shall die.” At another time, her sister said to her, “Perhaps you will, after all, get better of this complaint, and then be better than you were before.” To which she replied, “No, I shall not, and would it not be better to die now, and go to heaven?” Another day, as her dear mother was so urgent to know the state of her mind in the near approach of death, I said to her, “My dear, are you at all comfortable in your mind?” She replied, with great stress on her words, “Very much so at times.” Her sister heard her repeatedly praying in the words, “O Lord Jesus, be pleased to receive my soul.” And my poor soul was putting up the same words for her nearly the whole of three days and nights, at times almost to agony of mind.

She now became too weak to speak, but appeared to be much in prayer unto her end. She evinced sensibility by her rejection of everything with the exception of a little cold water, which was given her in a tea-spoon, and at last with a sponge being applied to her lips, being by her gratefully received. At last she was convulsed, breathed three times, and then her spirit left its prison-house, which was more afflicted and corrupt than I can describe. My dear wife was not permitted to see her from the time of taking to her bed until she was put into the hearse to be taken to her resting-place, which was a great trial; but she was relieved and comforted by words coming so powerfully into her mind as follows:

” Why do we mourn departed friends, 

Or shake at death’s alarms?

“Tis but the voice that Jesus sends 

To call them to his arms.”

“We were not in a fit state of health to attend her funeral. Kind friends did all for us. She and her husband are put in Abney Park Cemetery, to await the solemn day when the dead shall awake at the almighty voice of Him who was crucified on Calvary. I have a comfortable hope that then their corruptible will put on incorruption, and their mortal immortality; and that now their spirits are where neither sin nor sorrow can reach them.

Permit me, for the information and comfort of my friends at home and over the seas, where the news of my affliction and loss is gone, to add that, although my family affliction was so heavy that only one out of eight escaped, yet I was supported; and when, as it was feared, that I was on a bed of languishing never more to be seen amongst the living, I was then truly happy in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I was assured I was where God had brought me, was under an affliction he had put upon me, that he might exercise grace in me and speak comfortably to me, that I was in good hands, being in the hands of a merciful and faithful God, and that he would not leave me nor suffer me to want any needed good in my affliction.

My friends in London and in different parts of the country, especially at Fairford and the Dicker, communicated to my support. It is fruit which will abound to their account. God will not be unmindful of any labour of love shown toward his name. 

Yours sincerely,

Cornelius Cowley


Gospel Standard 1867, Page (PDF) 578

Isaac Mills

Death. On June 20th, 1867, Isaac Mills, a native of Maisey Hampton, Gloucestershire, in the 25th year of his age.

We trust he was one of the Lord’s jewels. A short account of his birth may be found in the “Gospel Standard” for 1843, I think [see below]. The letter is headed, “Thou art the God that doest Wonders.”

For six or seven years before his death, we have good reason to believe, the Lord had something to do with his conscience, causing him to depart from iniquity and ungodly companions. I have heard him fetch deep sighs as he has sat by me, reading the Bible or the “Standard,” and I have thought, “Isaac is spiritually alive;” but he would tell no one but his mother about his inward exercises. He worked for Mr. Hazel, of Filkins, for some time, and heard the gospel at Alvescot; and I have heard him say that Mr. Hazel questioned him about soul matters, but he would not tell him; but something occurred which necessitated his leaving and coming home; and after some time he went to London, and last December married Mr. Cowley’s daughter, his mother and myself being at the wedding, at Mr. Cowley’s. After dinner, (knowing how short-lived every comfort is here below,) I gave out and we sang the hymn commencing:

“Time, what an empty vapour ’tis.”

And O what soon followed! Mr. Cowley and family were afflicted with small pox, and they were brought through it [see below]; but Isaac and his wife, though living away from them, were both taken off. They were married, dead, and buried in half a year. Isaac went into Highgate Hospital, and his wife to her father’s, where she died. We sent to inquire of Isaac, if he had any certainty of going to heaven if he died; and he replied, “O yes.” He said he had an assurance of that, though he had not had a manifestation since he had been in the hospital; for his mind had been in such a state that he could scarcely think of anything soberly, and others in the ward were groaning, hallooing, and swearing; but one day, Mr. Cowley informed me, he called for a Bible, and when brought he read and prayed till his eyesight failed him. His brother Joseph, though afraid of the contagion, ventured into the hospital, did his utmost for his brother’s comfort, and sent us an account of what he could recollect. One time he said he had been in great concern about what would become of his soul for two years. He had God and the holy law in his conscience so heavily at times that he could hardly bear it; that he had also such a view, at Filkins, of the Holy Trinity that made tears of joy run down his face, and a woman inquired what he cried for; and another time, at Hatherop, near a stream, the Lord filled him so with his favour that he begged the Lord to withhold; it was more than he could bear; and his heart’s desires were answered.

He said, Satan was not allowed to torment him now; he had sometimes frightened him into bed, suggesting that he was in the room to take him, and he had wrapped his head in the bed-clothes. He said also that since he had been in London, courting and marrying had taken away his heart, so that he could scarcely hear in preaching or anything; and the last prayer-meeting that he attended he felt enmity rise against it, and he thought he would not stay, but thought again he used to like prayer-meetings, and concluded to stay; and each one that engaged in prayer entered so into his feelings and he with them that he had a blessing; and then said, “Little did I think of what was coming on me so shortly.”

His brother Joseph informs us it would have done us a great deal of good to have heard him tell what the Lord had done for him. He was so heartbroken in rehearsing the Lord’s goodness to himself; and so thankful that his brother went to see him, and said he wished him the greatest blessing he could, and said that was that he might know the Lord the same as he did before he died.

His brother requested the nurse to send to him in time, that he might see the end; but they did not send till after his death.

Henry Mills

Maisey Hampton, August 16th, 1867.


Gospel Standard 1843, Page 210

“Thou Art The God That Doeth Wonders”

[Henry Mill’s letter on the birth of his son, Isaac]

My dear Friend and Brother,—I once more attempt to write a few lines to you, but feel at a loss for want of a fresh, warm, spiritual, and living subject; for I am at present feelingly afar off from the enjoyment of His presence, which, when felt by me, makes my heart rejoice, and does my soul more good than all other things in heaven and in earth. For his gracious presence comforts and embalms one’s soul, healing both old wounds and new; and 1 am sure that could I feel it now, it would rid me of all my pre­sent complaints, such as blindness in my eyes, hardness in my heart, perverseness and stubbornness in my will, a grovelling disposition in the cares of this life, together with covetousness, fretfulness, and other things that I both see and feel in some measure, but cannot describe for want of knowing to do so aright. But God knows them all, and their workings in me, and how far I am led captive by them; and I assure you that I feel them so much that I am ashamed to lift up my guilty eyes to God. There is now in me no solemn drawing near to God; and though I attempt to confess my sins to him, and call upon him to turn me again, yet it seems as if I were left by him. No sweet deliverance is there now for me; and, what is worse still, I fear to wander still further from Him in whom I would fain walk and move, and trust and rejoice.

All that appears to me to be left of God’s work is, that when I think of my wretched state my soul heaves up sighs for deliverance, as a man almost dead gasps for breath. Yet I am favoured with light to see his kindness in many things. For instance, several pounds had been left by a certain gentleman to be expended in coals. Every house in the parish was to have some; but I, who stood in more need of them than many others, was to have none. And why? Because I was preserved from floating down the stream of a dead profession like the rest. Yes; and some of those who received the gift laughed me to scorn. For a few minutes I desired to share with them; but this thought soon occurred to my mind, “Poor things, their portion is in this life! Let them have it, and please themselves with it; it is only a few years for them, and, if an act of free, sovereign grace prevent it not, hell must finish their career. But I am favoured with a hope in God’s great mercy through the bloodshedding of Jesus Christ, and at times I have felt a hope that maketh not ashamed, when the love of God is shed abroad in my heart.” So I was reconciled to it; but the Lord thought upon me, and sent me more money than all that gift of theirs amounted to, which made me glad and doubly contented with my portion. O that I could praise him for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

I have been some time intending to write; but when I have felt an unction from the Holy One, want of paper and of opportunity have prevented me till it was too late. But I will just relate another instance of God’s dealings with me, which to my mind appears very wonderful. I was very much afraid I should lose ray wife in her confinement, as her mother had frequently told her would kill her when it happened. When her time drew near and her pains were strong, I was greatly afraid, and cried inwardly to Him who is able to save from death. After a quarter of an hour’s inward supplication, these words sprang up in my heart: “Shall I cause to bring forth and shut the womb? saith thy God.” This greatly strengthened my hopes for a time; but then I bethought me that I must have read the words, and that my fears must have brought them to my recollection. So I desired of the Lord to give me words that were far from my thoughts, that I might know that he gave them to me; and, astonishing to tell, these words came: “At the appointed time I will come, and thy wife shall have a son,” which was as far from my thoughts as the east is from the west. I lay wonderstruck for some time, for there was now no room for dispute; but at last, my wife having been long in labour, and those that attended her having given up hope, I was shaken to the centre, and verily thought that both mother and child would die, when these words came into my mind, “Behold, thy son liveth!” So 1 stood in the house, blessing and praising God for some minutes; and then I had news that the child was born. So I have named him Isaac, because of the promise.

Give my love to —, and all whose faces are heavenward. I hope you will bear with all that is amiss, and send when you are so disposed.—I remain, your soul’s well-wisher, though in bonds, 

Henry Mills

January 30, 1843.


Gospel Standard 1873, Page 95

Letter From Mr. Crowly To Mr. Philpot

[Written after Mr. Cowley’s recovery from small-pox, with which he and seven of his family were attacked.]

My dear Friend,—I make an attempt to write you a line to thank you for your kindness in sending me a sovereign. It was very acceptable indeed. All the kindnesses of friends toward me have been needed in my afflictions, which have been like a great gulf to swallow up everything that came to hand. I know, and you know also, that trials and afflictions are common to man in this life, especially to the people of God. But God has given out to me this time an uncommon measure of affliction. Some, both of age and observation, have said that they never knew nor heard of such a case. Only one out of eight escaped the complaint, and two died; and it is a wonder that myself and a son recovered, we had so heavy a burden and were reduced so low. But God is faithful to his word of promise.

When I was a young man I had powerfully on my mind the following promise, and it has been much with me in my life: “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” I have had many waters of affliction, and some fires of temptation and persecution; but God has been faithful to his promise, and that has caused me to cleave close to his word more than I should have done if his word had not been with me in the manner it has.

In my early days of preaching I frequently suffered hunger and want of temporal things both for myself and family; but even then these words with their connexion had much to do with my mind: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Still I continued at my work until I was of but little use to my employer, whom I had served fifteen years; and at last circumstances occurred that he had nothing more for me to do. Being then without work, I was soon without money also. What I received at that time for preaching is not worth naming. I frequently lost more than I gained; indeed, gain was not my object, neither had I ever any natural Iiking to preaching.

At this time I had to baptize nine persons in the open air in Wiltshire. This increase of open profession of Christ Jesus was a trial to me more than my friends ever knew; but God has been faithful, and his care has been toward me; for the temporal things have been added for health in measure, but not to surfeit. Being of such a turn of mind as I am, I thought I must be doing something; therefore I tried to do something on my own account; but this only made it worse for me than it was before. At last these words came with much weight and power to my mind, and abode with me for some time: “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” I then felt that business must go, and reputation, and health, and life also must go for Christ and the ministry, if called for by him; but I have frequently felt my want of faith to enable me to be always casting my care on him who clothes the grass of the field.

Once when I was in distress, suffering from want of temporal mercies, and could “not endure it, in haste I wished I was dead’ out of it all; but these words came with much power, and many times have I been put in mind of them since: “For he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” I was reproved, strengthened, and comforted by the words; and God hath been mindful of his word until now. His goodness and mercifulness have been much with me in London, in finding me temporal mercies for my family and supplies for the pulpit, and in my heavy affliction I have had the sympathies of my friends in London and in the country, besides my mind being sweetly brought into subjection to the will of God in the most trying part of it; I mean the loss of my dear and most affectionate daughter and her husband. But before her illness and death took place, when I was confined to my bed, I was made happy in my soul in God,—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I felt to be in good hands and as if laid on a bed of gracious promises; and I was sure God would not hurt me nor let me want any needed good thing. This was to me a preparation for an increase of affliction; but God was good and a stronghold in my day of trouble; neither did he leave me nor forsake me.

Dear friend, since I have been in London I have had many afflictions and cares; but none of them have moved me as to my being brought here by the Lord of all. Indeed, they have been blessed to me so as to cause me to cleave the closer to him and to his word, and they have been a means of confirming my mind in the belief that Jehovah brought me, and that I did not come of my own natural will nor by man’s persuasion. The matter was well weighed in thought and in prayer before God, both by day and during some whole nights, so as to hurt my health; and I thought it would have cost me my life to be made willing to come here with my felt unfitness, and so many cares before me with the weakness of the cause and the high price of provisions. The latter you named to me when I saw you at Didcot station, the which I then knew, but not so feelingly as I have known since. Yet hitherto I have been supplied, and have found something of the mystery of that saying, “The just shall live by his faith.” It is a mercy for me to see that my times are in the hands of God, and all my desire before him, as well as that my groanings are not hid from him, and that the bounds of my habitation are fixed by him; so that I am in his hands and at his pleasure to do with me as he will in the future, even as he hath done in the past. I have no desire for such a state of things to be changed. In better hands I cannot be; and my days will soon pass all away, being now in my 59th year. And you know that hard labour for Christ and his cause many years will wear out a strong man.

I should have written you a line before this; but looking at my own contractedness and at your qualifications held me back. But I now send my grateful acknowledgments. And please tender my hearty thanks to Mr. Covell, who and a lady added their liberality to yours. I would thank all the friends who by their means helped to hold me up, if I knew them by name.

And now, my dear friend, I conclude my few lines with hearty wishes for Jehovah to give you all and everything needful to make you gracious and to keep you faithful all your days as a preacher and as an editor. There is more sympathy in some minds for you in your editorship than you can be acquainted with; therefore more prayer for you than you can know.

With true affection, I remain,

Yours in the Path of Trial,

Cornelius Cowley

London, July 26, 1867

Hannah Mills (1842-1867) was a Strict and Particular Baptist believer. She was the daughter of Cornelius Cowley, a gospel preacher presiding over the church meeting as Gee Street Chapel, London. Within six months of her marriage to Isaac Mills, she and her husband contracted small pox and died at the age of 25.