A Little Child
1 A little child, whose mother had dedicated to the Lord in her womb, when he could not speak plain, would be crying after God, and was greatly desirous to be taught good things.
2 He could not endure to be put to bed without prayer, but would put his parents upon it, with much devotion kneel down, and with great patience and delight continue till it was concluded, without the least sign of being weary. He seemed never so well pleased as when so engaged.
3 He could not be satisfied with family prayer: but he would often be upon his knees by himself, in one corner or another.
4 He was much delighted in hearing the Word of God either read or preached.
5 He loved to go to school, that he might learn something of God, and would take great notice of what he had read, and come home and speak of it with much affection. He would rejoice in his book, and say to his mother, "O mother, I had a sweet lesson to day; will you please to give me leave to fetch my book, that you may hear it?"
6 He quickly learned to read the scripture, and would, with great reverence, tenderness, and groans, read till tears and sobs were ready to hinder him.
7 When he was at secret prayer, he would weep bitterly.
8 He was wont often to complain of the wickedness of his heart, and seemed to be more grieved for the corruption of his nature, than for actual sin.
9 He was much troubled for the wandering of his thoughts in prayer, and that he could not always keep his heart fixed upon God, and his affections were constantly raised.
10 He kept a watch over his heart, and observed the workings of his soul, and would complain that they were so vain and foolish, and so little busied about spiritual things.
11 He was exceedingly importunate with God in prayer; and would plead with God at a strange rate; and he would beg and expostulate, and weep so, that sometimes it could not be kept from the ears of the neighbours: so that one in the next house was forced to cry out, "The prayers and tears of that child in the next house will sink me to hell," because by it he did condemn his neglect of prayer, and his slight performance of it.
12 He abhorred lying with his soul.
13 When he had committed any sin, he was easily convinced of it, and would get into some corner or secret place, and with tears beg pardon of God, and strength to guard against it.
14 When other children were at play, he would be praying.
15 A friend of his asked him, when he was first taken sick, whether he was not willing to die? He answered, no; because he was afraid of his state as to another world: "Why, child, said the other, thou didst pray for a new heart, for a humble and sincere heart, and I have heard thee: didst thou not pray with thy heart?" "I hope I did," rejoined he.
16 Not long after, the same person asked him again, "If he was willing to die?" He answered, "Now I am willing; for I shall go to Christ."
17 He still grew weaker and weaker, but behaved with a great deal of sweetness and patience, waiting for his change. At last, calling upon the name of the Lord, and saying, "Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus!" he sweetly slept, dying when he was between five and six years old.