Mirfield April the 18th 1770.
The Life of the Md Br. Jno Astley
who went home Apl 18 1770
My Dear Brn & Sisters
It will without Doubt be Expected, that Some
Thing Should be Said of the Life of our departed Brother
John Astley, for it is usual amongst us but as he
has left nothing from under his own Hand, and beside;
has told me little or nothing by Word of Mouth, therefore
I want Materials. He told one: that He was Born in
Lower Wyke in the Year 1712. and there learnd the
Trade of a Shoemaker. and there like wife He Married
The presant Widow, being a Wild Wicked young Man &c.
But by the Preaching of our Late Br Delamott:
(who was invited in to Yorkshire by Mr Ingham) he was
Brought upon Serious thoughts, & a Hearty concern
about his Salvation, and that in this Situation of
Heart & Mind he fell early in to the hands of the Brn
who soon after his awakening came in to Yorkshire, and
that by that Means, he was not only Happily preserv’d
from relapsing into his Former Course: but also by the Simple
and Evangelical Preaching of the Brns, he became convinced of
our Savrs unmeasurable love & Grace for Sinners; and became
more, & more acquainted, and Confident toward Him, and
Therefore began to value, & love the Fellowship of the Brethren
and beg’d for reception in to the Congn He & his Wife, had this
their Hearty desire Grented them as near as he could guess
in the Year 1747. and were soon after admitted to the Holy
Communion, for the first time. He thought
It was the First communion which was kept in Fulnek Hall
however be that as it will, it was the first to him in That Place,
and Numbred with Him; amongst his particular Hours of Grace!
From that Day: He has maintain’d His communion with the
Brn to his Dying Hour, tho’ it was often times, but slenderly &
and with difficulty yet it never ceas’d realy.
They were Married in the year 1733 in Febr and had
a 11 Children 5 of whom are in the Burying Ground in Fulnek;
one in Hartshed Church yard, one Daughter, at Dukenfield, and one
at Ockbrook Choir House. and the other three i.e. one Son, and
two Daughters don’t belong to us. they had once a little oeconomy
of Single Brn at their House in Hartshed, but this was not their own
but the Brns Projecting, but as it did not answer our Savrs & the Brns purposes
it was soon Given up again.
He has been her Some years, a pretty good steward
and Servant of the little Congn in Mirfield, and so has also
His present Widow, and therefore his Memory must remain
Dear to us. He was a Child of Grace indeed, yet his life
was Chequer’d o’er with Grief and need.
His Domestick affairs have bore a very indifrent
Trace these Many years, by which Means his credit was
reduced considerably; and this not only with Strangers,
but partricularly So among our own People, therefore
I am rather inclin’d to Draw a vail over the Most part
of his Life. than to Expose it to Publick view.
However: all is Well, what Ends Well. altho the beginning
and Middle had Some thing deploreable yet the end was
adoreable. I have labour’d upon it from the beginning
of his Sickness to get his Mind off from all Eaternal
concerns, as he could Mend nothing in it, & entreated Him
to Fix his heart and Eyes on our Savr and on his all atoneing
Sacrifice, which advice he took Child-likely and became quite composed,
and Chearlul in his Mind. we visited him pretty often in order
to keep this Matter alive in his heart which has happily Succeeded
on Easter day he Send for me, accordingly I wwent with 2 more Brethren
Pray’d heartily by Him, kept a little liturgy, by his Bedside, &
gave him my last Blessing, thinking he could not live till I could
come again. this little visit was attended with a most blessed feeling,
So that I left him with a Heart quite Satisfy’d.
on Easter Tuesday, I and my Wife went to See him once more
I was quite Edify’d with his look & Spoke tenderly to him, and
Sung Some Suitable verses for him, in which he join’d with us
which we could see by the moving of his lips, this was the last
happy little visit, for: the next Monday Early, he fell Softly
and Happily asleep in his 58th year.