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some asked her whether she held her integrity still ? Whether she was not afraid of death ? She answered to this purpose, that she had not the least degree of fear of death. They asked her why she would be so confident ? She answered, If I should say otherwise, I should speak contrary to what I know : there is, says she, indeed a dark entry that looks something dark, but on the other side there appears such a bright shining light, that I cannot be afraid ! She said, not long before she died, that she used to be afraid how she should grapple with death ; but, says she; God has showed me that he can make it easy in great pain. Several days before she died slie could scarcely say any thing but just yes and no, to questions that were asked her, for she seemed to be dying for three days together ; but seemed to continue in an admirably sweet composure of soul, without any interruption, to the last, and died as a person that went to sleep, without any struggling, about noon, on Friday, June 27th, 1735.
She had long been infirm, and often had been exercised with great pain ; but she died chiefly of famine. It was, doubtless, partly owing to her bodily weakness, that her nature was so often overcome, and ready to sink with gracious affection ; but yet the truth was, that she had more grace, and greater discoveries of God and Christ, than the present frail state did well consist with. She wanted to be where strong grace might have more liberty, and be without the clog of a weak body ; there she longed to be, and there she doubtless now is. She was looked upon among us as a very eminent instance of Christian experience ; but this is but a very broken and imperfect account I have given of her. Her eminency would much more appear, if her experiences were fully related, as she was wont to express and manifest them, while living. I once read this account to some of her pious neighbors, who were acquainted with her, who said, to this purpose, that the picture fell much short of the life ; and particularly that it much failed of duly represent
ing her humility, and that admirable lowliness of heart, that at all times appeared in her. But there are, blessed be God! many living instances of much the like nature, and in some things no less extraordinary.
But I now proceed to the other instance that I would give an account of, which is of the little child before mentioned. Her name is Phebe Bartlet, daughter of William Bartlet. I shall give the'account as I took it from the mouths of her parents, whose veracity none that know them doubt of.
She was born in March, in the year 1731. About the latter end of April, or the beginning of May, 1735, she was greatly affected by the talk of her brother, who had been hopefully converted a little before, at about eleven years of age, and then seriously talked to her about the great things of religion. Her parents did not know of it at that time, and were not wont, in the counsels they gave to their children, particularly to direct themselves to her, by reason of her being so young, and as they supposed, not capable of understanding : but after her brother had talked to her, they observed her very earnestly to listen to the advice they gave to the other children; and she was observed very constantly to retire, several times in a day, as was concluded, for secret prayer, and grew more and more engaged in religion, and was more frequent in her closet, till at last she was wont to visit it five or six times in a day; and was so engaged in it, that nothing would at any time divert her from her stated closet exercises. Her mother often observed and watched her, when such things occurred as she thought most likely to divert her, either by putting it out of her thoughts, or otherwise engaging her inclinations, but never could observe her to fail. She mentioned some very remarkable instances.
She once of her own accord spoke of her unsuccessfulness, in that she could not find God, or to that purpose, Thursday, the last day of July, about the middle of the day, the child being in the closet, where it used to retire, its mother heard it speaking aloud, which was unusual, and never
had been observed before: and her voice seemed to be as of one exceedingly importunate and engaged; but her mother could distinctly hear only these words, (spoken in her childish manner, but seemed to be spoken with extraordinary earnestness and out of distress of soul,) Pray, blessed Lord, give me salvation! I pray, beg, pardon all my sins! When the child had done prayer, she came out of the closet, and sat down by her mother, and cried out aloud. Her mother very earnestly asked her several times, what the matter was, before he could make any answer ; but she continued crying exceedingly, and writhing her body to and fro, like one in anguish of spirit. Her mother then asked her, whether she was afraid that God would not give her salvation. She answered, 'Yes, I am afraid I shall go to hell!' Her mother then endeavored to quiet her; and told her she would not have her cry; she must be a good girl, and pray every day, and she hoped God would give her salvation. But this did not quiet her at all; but she continued thus earnestly crying, and taking on for some time, till at length she suddenly ceased crying, and began to smile, and presently said with a smiling countenance, Mother, the kingdom of heaven is come to me!' Her mother was surprised at the sudden alteration, and at the speech; and knew not what to make of it, but at first said nothing to her. The child presently spoke again, and said, “ There is another come to me, and there is another, there is three ;' and being asked what she meant, she answered, “One is, Thy will be done, and there is another, Enjoy him forever ;' by which it seems, that when the child said, “There is three come to. me,' she meani three passages of her Catechism that came to her mind.
After the child had said this, she retired again into her closet; and her mother went over to her brother's, who was next neighbor ; and when she came back, the child, being out of the closet, met her mother with this cheerful speech, I can find God now!' referring to what she had before complained of, that she could not find God. Then the child spoke again and said, 'I love God!' Her mother asked her how well she loved God, whether she loved God better than her father and mother, she said, 'yes. Then she asked her whether she loved God better than her little sister Rachel ? She answered, 'Yes, better than any thing !' Then her eldest sister, referring to her saying she could find God now, asked her where she could find God. She answered, 'In heaven.' Why, said she, have you been in heaven? "No,' said the child. By this it seems not to have been any imagination of any thing seen with bodily eyes, that she called God, when she said, I can find God now. Her mother asked her whether she was afraid of going to hell, and that had made her cry. She answered, “ Yes, I was, but now I shan't." Her mother asked her whether she thought that God had given her salvation ; she answered, “yes." Her mother asked her when. She answered, “to-day." She appeared all the afternoon exceedingly cheerful and joyful. One of her neighbors asked her how she felt herself ? She answered, I feel better than I did." The neighbor asked lier, what made her feel better? .she answered, “God makes me." That evening as she lay in bed, she called one of her little cousins to her that was present in the room, as having something to say to him; and when he came, she told him, that “ heaven was better than earth.” The next day being Friday, her mother asking her her catechism, asked her what God made her for. She answered, “ To serve him," and added, “every body should serve God, and get an interest in Christ."
The same day the elder children, when they came home from school, seemed much affected with the extraordinary change that seemed to be made in Phebe: and her sister Abigail standing by, her mother took occasion to counsel her now to improve her time to prepare for another world : on which Phebe burst out in tears, and cried out, “Poor Nabby!” Her mother told her she would not have her cry, she hoped that God would give Nabby salvation ; but that did
not quiet her, but she continued earnestly crying for some time; and when she had in a measure ceased, her sister Eunice being by her, she burst out again, and cried, “ Poor Eunice !" and cried exceedingly; and when she had almost done, she went into another room, and there looked up on her sister Naomi, and burst out again, crying, “Poor Amy !" Her mother was greatly affected at such a behavior in the child, and knew not what to say to her. One of the neighbors coming in a little after, asked her what she hud cried for. She seemed at first backward to tell the reason : her mother told her she might tell that person, for he had given her an apple; upon which she said, she “ cried because she was afraid they would go to hell."
At night a certain minister that was occasionally in the town, was at the house, and talked considerably with her of the things of religion; and after he was gone, she sat leaning on the table, with tears running out of her eyes : and being asked what made her cry, she said it was thinking about God." The next day being Saturday, she seemed, great part of the day, to ix in a very affectionate frame, had four turns of crying, and seemed to endeavor to curb herself and hide her tears, and was very backward to talk of the occasion of it. On the sabbath-day she was asked whether she believed in God; she answered "yes :" and being told that Christ was the Son of God, she made ready answer, and said, “I know it.”
From this time there has appeared a very remarkable, abiding change in the child : she has been very strict upon the sabbath, and seems to long for the sabbath-day before it comes, and will often in the week time be inquiring how long it is to the sabbath-day, and must have the days particularly counted over that are between, before she will be contented. And she seems to love God's house, and is very eager to go thither. Her mother once asked her why she had such a mind to go? whether it was not to see fine folks? She said, "No, it was to hear Mr. Edwards preach." When