In a book on Bunhill Fields John Andrew Jones notes that among the dead there is John Reynolds, of whom he says
To the memory of the Rev John Reynolds, M.A., who, after having been many years pastor of a Protestant Dissenting Church, near Cripplegate, with hope of a glorious resurrection slept in Jesus, Feb. 6th, 1792, in the 63rd year of his age.
“An angel's arm can’t snatch me from the grave;
Legions of angels can’t confine me there.”
John Reynolds was born January 5th, 1730, in the parish of Farmington, near North Leach, Gloucestershire. His father, Thomas Reynolds, was a farmer at Little Rissington, in that county. His first impressions of divine things was when he was only twelve years of age, under the ministry of Mr Benjamin Beddome, of Bourton-on-the-Water. At 18 years old, he went to the Baptist Academy at Bristol, under the tuition of Mr. Bernard Foskett. He first laboured as an occasional preacher, chiefly at Bromsgrove, Bratton, Cirencester and Cheltenham but more constantly at Oxford, where he continued nearly four years. The Baptist Church at Curriers' Hall, Cripplegate, being deprived by death of their pastor, Mr. John Brine, invited Mr. Reynolds to pay them a visit, which he did in April, 1776. He was ordained as pastor of this church, in October the same year. Dr. Gill gave him his charge from 2 Tim. i. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, &c. It was printed, and, a solemn charge it is. Mr Benjamin Wallin preached to the church from 1 Cor. xii. 25, That there should be no schism [or division] in the body. This sermon was also printed, and is truly excellent.
Mr Reynolds' success among his people, was far from being equal to his wishes, but probably greater than his own modest opinion would suffer him to judge. He had a peculiar solicitude for the conversion of souls; and was distinguished for prudence. No man, amongst his brethren, was more frequently consulted in cases of difficulty than himself; and he was deservedly esteemed by Christians of different denominations. In 1770, he received from the college of Rhode Island, the degree of Master of Arts.
For some months previous to his death, Mr Reynolds, felt a general languor overspread his frame, which often detained him from the house of God. But, in the midst of his debility, he went and preached his farewell sermon to his flock from Psalm xxiii. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil and he meant, if he had been spared to go out again, to have considered the remainder of the text, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Through his illness he was serene and happy. 1 Cor. xiii. 10, was a pleasing scripture to him, But when that which is PERFECT is come, then that which is IN PART shall be done away.
Mr. Giles, pastor of the church at Eythorne, in Kent, coming to see him, on Thursday evening, in the last week of his life, and mentioning to him Mr Rogers's saying, “I have been the Lord's working servant, and I am now his waiting servant;” Mr. Reynolds replied, “I trust with an honest heart 1 can say the same.” On Mr. G. remarking that, “Death was a solemn subject to the people of God in health; but, he supposed it must appear much more so in the prospect of one's own dissolution.” Mr Reynolds replied emphatically, “It is really so;” and added, “I have sometimes been entertained with elegant compositions of divinity, and with such sermons as have displayed a good taste, and full of argumentation and genius.” Here he paused and panted for breath, and then said, “But none of these things will do Now ; nothing short of the good old plain truths of the Bible. The unchangeable love of God, and the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, are the foundation of my faith and hope.” And then, with a peculiar accent he added, “Here is terra firma;” and repeated, with much exertion, “I say Mr Giles here is terra firma for a dying man.”
Mr. Reynolds departed this life Feb. 6, 1792, aged 62 years and one month; and was buried in Bunhill Fields, near to his predecessors, Mr Skepp and Mr Brine. Mr Abraham Booth delivered the address at his grave, and preached the funeral sermon to his bereaved church from John xiv. 2: 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. - W. and I.