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affairs. Mr. Snell felt and acknowledged his obligations as a member of a civil community; and accordingly manifested an intelligent activity in promoting the sanitary and social comfort of his fellow-townsmen : taking special interest in alleviating the condition of the poor, and largely aiding in establishing and sustaining institutions adapted to that end. Nor did he confine his benevolence to mere advocacy, or even pecuniary support, but freely and liberally devoted both time and personal effort in the promotion of the public welfare. Thus in him “wisdom cried without; uttered her voice in the street, in the chief place of concourse, in the opening of the gates ;”—an eloquent life proving more influ. ential than many an eloquent tongue.
On the passing of the Reform Bill, in 1832, Mr. Snell was induced to offer himself for election as a member of the Town. council of Tiverton. At first, some burgesses, who did not then fully perceive his worth, strenuously opposed his election. Expecting to find his disapproval shown by a withdrawal of patronage and fostering of feuds, as is too commonly the case among neighbours, they were taken by surprise, and transformed into warm supporters, by witnessing no change in his considerate and courteous treatment of them. They seemed anxious on every future opportunity of the kind to show how high was their estimate of him ; whatever change took place, he was always one of the council, until, in 1848, he was elected mayor of the borough. “The first Act of a Methodist Mayor " was the heading of a paragraph in a local paper immediately after Mr. Snell took office. The “ act " which was sarcastically alluded to was the refusal to allow some Wandering, and not very reputable, theatrical performers to sojourn in the town during a large portion of the winter. On completing his year of official duty, however, the local prints bore willing and hearty testimony to his having won “golden opinions " from all classes by his zeal, impartiality, and consistency.
If in the year just named his social honours culminated, so, perhaps, did his domestic trials. A lawsuit, which had been in Chancery for a great number of years, and in which he had, unwillingly, been made one of the defendants, at this time came to a close. The decision, contrary to previous ones, was against the defendants; and Mr. Snell scarcely knew how disastrous to himself might be the result. His heart was indeed almost crushed, but, as did the Psalmist, he cried to the Lord in his distress; who heard him, and delivered him out of his trouble, and set him in "a large place.” Some, of whom he had scarcely any previous knowledge, spontaneously offered to place considerable sums of money at his command, -when they thought he was not unlikely to be in great difficulty,, causing him much tenderness of feeling
and gratitude to God. That he did not require the proffered aid was, in his view, no diminution of the grace of the act. For years afterwards litigation continued to occasion him great anxiety, but he bore it with surprising equanimity. " You are a puzzle to me, Mr. Snell,” said one of the lawyers concerned, “I know not how you bear this as you do." The speaker knew not the inward strength which was derived from an unshaken trust in the pro. mises of God. Conscious that these trials were permitted by his Heavenly Father, although the sufferer shrunk under the hand that pressed so heavily upon him, he could say, "Not my will, but Thine, be done!” To the end the God whom he served proved his “Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble ; and for several years before he died all solicitude from this source ceased.
Mr. Snell showed that there was such a thing as honesty in politics. In his dealing with social and public questions there was an entire absence of equivocation, exaggeration, or deception. If his soul were ever strongly stirred it would be on detecting some meanness or chicanery on the part of those who, he thought, should have known better ; especially when the poor were the objects of wrong treatment. The blessing of the peacemaker descended richly upon him ; his task often being that of undoing the work of the slandorous whisperer and talebearer. Few things afforded him more satisfaction than the success of his attempts to re-unite ruptured friendships, or reconcile alienated neighbours.
The source of this and every other excellence which he manifested was his frequent communion with God. He commenced each morning with family devotion, and forgot not in the excitement of daily duties and engagements that he had a Saviour to serve and a heaven to win. It was well known to his household, however, that his converse with Heaven began prior to this family worship. To his library, close by his bedroom, he repaired enrly for the purposes of devotion ; and often came from his retirement with his face radiant with benevolence and holy joy. Still, although he maintained domestic worship with exemplary regularity, he could not, except on some very rare occasions, overcome his reluctance to lead the devotions of a public assembly,
Mr. Snell loved the house of God, and ever felt it an honour to be engaged in promoting its interests. When he was induced to become the treasurer and steward of the chapel-trust, it was burdened with a heavy debt, which was increasing at the rate of about thirty pounds a year. By skilful and continued effort the leakage was not only stopped, but the deficiencies of former years werd liquidated; and he had the gratification of witnessing the income of the chapel subserve the interests of the Circuit. In the various offices which he held, including those of Circuit and Societysteward, he was remarkable for order and punctuality. His attendance on public worship during the week was regular; and, enjoying the communion of saints," he highly appreciated the weekly meeting in class. Yet he was not wont to say much on the subject of his personal experience of religion. His delight was unostentatiously to labour for God, to profit his fellow-man. Of transparent integrity and sincerity, numbers induced him to take the office of trustee under wills, sometimes involving affairs of delicate and difficult management; but he ever manifested a tact and capacity which called for grateful recognition from those who in this way had transactions with him.
He lived to call by name more than fifty children, grand-children, and great-grand-children. The oldest of the fourth generation completed his fourth year on the day on which his great-grand. father entered upon the day which has no night. He rejoiced to see all his children, and some of his grand-children, devoted to th service of the Saviour whom he had so long served, and occupying various offices in the Church; one grandson, the Rev. R. Spooner, being a Wesleyan-Methodist minister.
About eight months before Mr. Snell's death, he was taken very ill. Considering this to be a messenger sent to take him to his heavenly home, one by one he gave up his offices in the Society, saying he should like to see them all filled up, and in good work. ing-order, before he passed away. His medical attendant gave no hope of his recovery; and his two daughters were summoned to the side of what was supposed to be their father's death-bed. At this time, contrary to his habit, supposing himself on the confines of eternity, his tongue was loosed, and precious and comforting to his children and friends were the words which fell from his lips. A few of these may benefit the reader. Soon after he fell ill lie said, “God is very precious to me; I feel I am going home. The tabernacle of clay is being gently taken down. Ever since my conversion I have loved God's service; but all my works are stubble." He also observed, “I have always tried to be at peace with all men: if I had an enemy, I have striven to make him my friend, and have often succeeded. But there is no merit in this; it is constitutional. I could never bear evil-speaking; there is something to be said in the favour of every one, and it is my pleasure to dwell on that." At another time, he exclaimed, “ Jesus said, • Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wice cast out. I am sure I come to Him as a poor sinner,
• This all my hope, and all my plea,
For me the Saviour died!'
God's lovingkindness has followed me all my days. I have had heavy trials, but they have been sent in mercy--to keep my heart right with God. I shall enter heaven through Christ.”
He gradually rallied in some degree from this severe attack ; and, although at first evidently disappointed, he entered afresh on life's duties with cheerful, willing steps ; he could still say, with the Psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” No weakness of health, or roughness of weather, kept him from the means of grace, if he could possibly be present. Only three weeks before his death, he occupied his usual place in the chapel. On the day following, when a cold wind was blowing strongly, he went out on business connected with the chapel-trust; but on Tuesday morning he was seized with paralysis, and was carried to his bed, from which he never rose.
Whatever he thought, he said nothing about death at the commencement of the seizure. His mind was kept in perfect peace, stayed upon God. There was no restlessness, no anxiety. He felt himself “in God's hands.” Once he said, “I should like to die in harness;" at another time, “I should not like to slip away without knowing it;" and again, “I am a sinner saved by grace. Precious Jesus ! Blessed Saviour, Thou art my Refuge ; Thou art my Rock.” During the night he was heard saying, " The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." In the morning a son said, “Father, you feel ours is a covenantkeeping God ?"
* Yes, He has been so to me all the days of my life.” He was often heard whispering to himself, “ In My Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” He also softly repeated, "Bless the Lord, O my soul! and all that is within me, bless' and praise. His holy name.'” When reminded of the beauty of that passage in the Psalm, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him," he replied “ Yes, I know I do fear Him. But sometimes, since I have been lying here so ill, I am afraid I do not love Him enough."
On December 19th, 1871, after the doctor's usual visit, Mr. Snell inquired what he said, and was told ; “He says that you are very ill, and thinks that you will soon be with Jesus.” “Ah! I thought so too,” he exclaimed. The day before his departure, he asked that some of Charles Wesley's “ Funeral Hymns" should be read to him; and directed particular attention to our hymn 716, “Hear what the voice from heaven proclaims,” etc. Then sending for his class-leader, he enjoyed with him a few minutes' Christian communion. It was affecting to witness this last earthly interview of these two old pilgrims, one with his feet already in “ Jordan's cold stream," and the other not far distant. "You are going
home, Mr. Snell, I shall not be long after you. What heavenly conversation we have had here ; what will it be there !” The dying saint again tried to speak, but all he could say was, “My mercies abound; I am waiting for the Lord." In the afternoon he tried repeatedly to speak, but it was impossible to understand him. When a daughter standing near repeated the verse,
" When death o'er nature shall prevail,
And mean the thanks I cannot speak," he ceased the attempt at utterance, and a beautiful expression of patient resignation and tranquil joy settled on his countenance. At ten P.M. & change took place in his breathing; it was soft and easy as that of a child. His invalid wife thought him better, and he gave her a pleasant smile and a loving look when she said, “Good-night!" But they parted, not to meet again until "the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible."
Observing him sinking rapidly, one of his daughters said, “Dear father, you are nearly through the valley. Do you feel Jesus precious still ?” “Very, very," was his prompt but faint response. Another daughter said, “ You will soon behold the King in His beauty." "Yes," he replied. It was added, “ Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Immediately a sentiment of reverent faith and holy triumph was apparent in the features of the Christian warrior. From that time earth seemed to fade from his view, and he appeared to be absorbed in communion with the unseen. Again and again his face was lit up, as if in recognition of some heavenly visitant, until, without a sigh, he gently ceased to breathe, December 21st, 1871, in the eightieth year of his age.
THE HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD:
A DISCOURSE ON EPHESIANS II. 21, 22. “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
The Church of Christ is set forth in Holy Scripture under a rariety of figures. Notably, it is a body of which Christ is the Head; and a building of which Christ is the Foundation, “the
* By the late Rev. George Turner.