Pristine Grace

The Last Will and Testament of Mr. Toplady
by Augustus Toplady

The Last Will and Testament of Mr. Toplady

We here subjoin a copy of the last Will and Testament of Mr. Toplady, ratified six months prior to his decease.

     IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. I, Augustus Montague Toplady, Clerk, Batchelor of Arts, and vicar of the Parish and Parish-church of Broad-Hembury, in the county of Devon, and diocese of Exeter; being mindful of my mortality, (though at present in a competent state of bodily health, and of perfect mind and memory) do make and declare this my last will and testament (all written with my own hand, and consisting of three folio pages), this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-eight, in manner and form following: That is to say, First: I most humbly commit my soul to the hands of Almighty God; whom I know, and have long experinced to be my ever-gracious and infinitely merciful Father. Nor have I the least doubt of my election, justification, and eternal happiness, through the riches of his everlasting and unchangeable kindness to me in Christ Jesus his co-equal Son; my only, my assured, and my all-sufficient Saviour: washed in whose propitiatory blood, and clothed with whose imputed righteousness, I trust to stand perfect and sinless and complete, and do verily believe that I most certainly shall so stand, in the hour of death, and in the kingdom of heaven, and at the last judgment, and in the ultimate state of endless glory. Neither can I write this my last will without rendering the deepest, the most solemn, and the most ardent thanks, to the adorable Trinity in Unity, for their eternal, unmerited, irreversible, and inexhaustible love to me a sinner. I bless God the Father, for having written, from everlasting, my unworthy name in the Book of Life; even for appointing me to obtain salvation, through Jesus Christ my Lord. I adore God the Son, for his having vouchsafed to redeem me by his own most precious death; and for having obeyed the whole law for my justification. I admire and revere the gracious benignity of God the Holy Ghost, who converted me, to the saving knowledge of Christ, more than two-and-twenty years ago, and whose enlightening, supporting, comforting, and sanctifying agency is, and (I doubt not) will be, my strength and my song, in the house of my earthly pilgrimage. Secondly: As to my body, I will and desire it may be interred in my chancel, within the parish church of Broad

     Hembury, aforesaid, if I should be in Devonshire, or near to that county at the time of my death. But, in case I die at, or in the neighbourhood of London; or at any other considerable distance from Devonshire; let the place of my interment be wheresoever my executor (herein after named) shall choose and appoint; unless, in writing or by word of mouth, I should here-after signify any particular spot for my place of burial. Thirdly: Let me be buried where I may, my express will and desire is, that my grave be dug to the depth of nine feet, at the very least, from the surface of the ground; or (which would be still more agreeable to my will and desire) to the depth of twelve feet, if the nature of the soil should admit of it. I earnestly request my executor to see to the performance of this article, with particular care and exactness. Fourthly: My express will is, that my funeral expenses may not, if possible, exceed the sum of twenty pounds sterling. Let no company be invited to my burial. Let no rings, scarves, hat-bands, or mourning of any kind, be distributed. Let no funeral sermon be preached. Let no monument be erected. [1] Fifthly: whatsoever worldly substance and effects I shall die possessed of; and whatsoever worldly substance and effects I may be entitled to, before, at, or after, the time of my decease; whether money, plate, china, books, coins and medals, paintings, linen, clothes, furniture, and all other effects, of whatsoever kind, and to what amount soever, whether in town or country, at home or abroad; together with all arrears, and dues, of every sort; I do, hereby, give and bequeath the whole and every of them (excepting only such single sum as shall be herein-afterwards distinctly named and other-ways disposed of) to my valuable and valued friend Mr. William Hussey, china and glass-dealer of Coventry-street, in the county of Middlesex, and parish of St. James, in the Liberty of Westminster; and who [viz. the said Mr. William Hussey] when not resident in town is likewise of Kensington-Gore, in the said county of Middlesex, and parish of St. Margaret, Westminster. And I do hereby nominate, constitute, and appoint him, the said William Hussey, the whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament, and my whole and sole residuary legatee. Sixthly: My will is, that my effects, so left and bequeathed, as above- said, to the aforenamed William Hussey, shall be, and hereby are, charged with the payment of the clear and neat sum of one hundred and five pounds, good and lawful money of Great Britain, to Elizabeth Sterling, now or late of Snow’s-Fields, in or near the Borough of Southwark in the county of Surrey, spinster. Which said sum of one hundred and five pounds lawful money of Great Britain, as aforesaid, I will and desire may be paid, clear and free of all deduction whatever, to the said Elizabeth Sterling, by my before named executor, Mr. William Hussey, within three months, at farthest after my decease; for and in consideration of the long and faithful services, rendered by her, the said Elizabeth Sterling, to my late dear and honoured mother of ever-loved and revered memory. Seventhly: Let all my manuscripts of what kind soever (I mean, all manuscripts of and in my own hand-writing,) be consumed by fire, within one week after my interment. [2] Eighthly: Whereas, it may seem mysterious, that I leave and bequeath no testamentary memorial of my regard to any of my own relations, whether by blood or by alliance, and whether related to me by my father’s side or by my mother’s, it may be proper just to hint my reasons. In the first place, I am greatly mistaken, if all my own relations be not superior to me, in point of worldly circumstances. And, secondly, as my said relations are rather numerous, I deem myself more than justified in passing them all by, and in not singling out one, or a few, in preference to the rest; especially seeing my good wishes are impartially divided among them all. Ninthly: With respect to many most valued and honoured persons, whose intimacy and friendship have so highly contributed to the happiness of my life, though not related to me by any family tie; these I likewise omit, as legatees, First, because they are, in general, abundantly richer than myself; and, Secondly, because they too are so extremely numerous, both in town and country, that it is absolutely out of my power to bequeath, to each and every one of them, a substantial or very valuable memento of the respectful love which I bear to then in Christ our common Saviour! and to distinguish only some of them by legacies, might carry an implication of ingratitude to the rest. In testimony of all which premises, (and at the same time, utterly revoking, cancelling, annulling, and rescinding every and all other will or wills by me heretofore made) I hereunto set my hand and seal, the day and year first above written, viz. Saturday, the twenty-eighth day of February; and in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-eight; and of the reign of his majesty, king George the Third, the eighteenth year. AUGUSTUS MONTAGUE

TOPLADY. (L. S.)
[1] Some part of this was altered by his own verbal direction.

[2] This was revoked by his own desire, and left to the discretion of his executor.

Signed, declared, and published, as and for the last will and testament of him, the said Augustus Montague Toplady, in the presence of us, who subscribe our names in the testator’s presence, and at his request. JOHN BERNARD JUNTHER, THOMAS WILKS.

We have now exhibited with much diffidence the outlines of the distinguished character of him who is the subject of these Memoirs, without any view either directly or obliquely, to set up or varnish the hypothesis, or the dogmas of a party. We have no connection whatever with any religious department. There is only one Master unto whom we bow and acknowledge implicit obedience, and unto whose doctrine and discipline we profess a cordial attachment. The religion of Jesus Christ we take up as the only solid basis of truth, our guide and comfort through this world, our hope and support in death, and our felicity in an immortal state, to which we are hastening.