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she is in the place of worship, she is very far from spending her tiine there as children at her age usually do, but appears with an attention that is very extraordinary for such a child. She also appears very desirous at all opportunities to go to private religious meetings; and is very still and attentive at home in prayer-time, and has appeared affected in time of family prayer. She seems to delight much in hearing religious conversation. When I once was there with some others that were strangers, and talked to her something of religion, she seemed more than ordinarily attentive; and when we were gone, she looked out earnestly after us, and said, “I wish they would come again!" Her mother asked her why ? says she, “I love to hear them talk.”
She seems to have very much of the fear of God 'before her eyes, and an extraordinary dread of sin against him ; of which her mother mentioned the following remarkable instance. Some time in August, the last year, she went with some larger children to get some plums, in a neighbor's lot, knowing nothing of any harm in what she did ; but when she brought some of the plums into the house, her mother mildly reproved her, and told her that she must not get plums without leave; because it was sin : God had commanded her not to steal. The child seemed greatly surprised, and burst out in tears, and cried out, "I will not have these plans!" and turning to her sister Eunice, very earnestly said to her, “Why did you ask me to go to that plumtree? I should not have gone if you had not asked me." The other children did not seem to be much affected or concerned; but there was no pacifying Phebe. Her mother told her she might go and ask leave, and then it would not be sin for her to eat them; and sent one of the children to that purpose ; and when she returned, her mother told her that the owner had given leave, now she might eat them, and it would not be stealing. This stilled her a little while : but presently she broke out again into an exceeding fit of crying : her mother asked her what made her cry again ?
Why she cried now, since they had asked leave? What it was that troubled her now? And asked her several times very earnestly, before she made any nswer; but at last said, “it was because, because it was sin.” She continued a considerable time crying, and said she would not go again if Eunice asked her a hundred times, and she retained her aversion to that fruit for a considerable time, under the remembrance of her former sin.
She at sometimes appears greatly affected, and delighted with texts of scripture that come to her mind. Particularly, about the beginning of November, the last year, that text came to her mind, Rev. iii. 20. 6 Behold I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.” She spoke of it to those of the family, with a great appearance of joy, a smiling countenance, and elevation of voice, and afterwards she went into another room, where her mother overheard her talking very earnestly to the children about it, and particularly heard her say to them, three or four times over, with an air of exceeding joy and admiration, “Why it is to sup with God." At some time about the middle of winter, very late in the night, when all were in bed, her mother perceived that she was awake, and heard her, as though she was weeping. She called to her, and asked her what was the matter. She answered with a low voice, so that her mother could not hear what she said ; but thinking that it might be occasioned by some spiritual affection, said no more to her ; but perceived her to lie awake, and to continue in the same frame, for a considerable time. The next morning, slie asked her whether she did not cry the last night : The child answered, "Yes, I did cry a little, for I was thinking about God and Christ, and they loved me." Her mother asked her whether to think of God and Christ's loving her made her cry: She answered, "Yes, it does sometimes."
She has often manifested a great concern for the good of others' souls: and has been wont many times affectionately to counsel the other children. Once about the latter end of September, the last year, when she and some others of the children were in the room by themselves, husking Indian corn, the child, after a while, came out and sat by the fire. Her mother took notice that she appeared with a more than ordinarily serious and pensive countenance, but at last she broke silence, and said, “I have been talking to Nabby and Eunice.” Her mother asked her what she had said to them. “Why," said she, “ I told them that they must pray, and prepare to die, that they had but a little while to live in this world, and they must be always ready." When Nabby came out, her mother asked her whether she had said that to them. "Yes," said she, “she said that, and a great deal more.” At other times, the child took her opportunities to talk to the other children about the great concern of their souls, sometimes, so as much to affect them, and set them into tears. She was once exceedingly importunate with her another to go with her sister Naomi, to pray. Her mother endeavored to put her off; but she pulled her by the sleeve, and seemed as if she would by no means be denied. At last her mother told her that Amy must go and pray herself; " but,” says the child, “she will not go ;” and persisted earnestly to beg of her mother to go with her.
She has discovered an uncommon degree of'a spirit of charity ; particularly on the following occasion : A poor man that lives in the woods, bad lately lost a cow, that the family much depended on, and being at the house, he was relating his misfortune, and telling of the straits and difficulties they were reduced to by it. She took much notice of it, and it wrought exceedingly on her compassion : and after she had attentively heard him a while, she went away to her father, who was in the shop, and entreated him to give that man a cow; and told him that the poor man had no cow; that the hunters or something else had killed his cow; and entreated him to give him one of theirs. Her father told her that they could not spare one.
Then she entreated him to let him and
his family .come and live at his house, and had much more talk of the same nature, whereby she manifested bowels of compassion to the poor.
She has manifested great love to her minister ; particularly when I returned from my long journey for my health, the last fall. When she heard of it she appeared very joyful at the news, and told the children of it, with an elevated voice, as the most joyful tidings: repeating it over and over, “ Mr. Edwards is come home! Mr. Edwards is come home !" She still continues very constant in secret prayer, so far as can be observed, (for she seems to have no desire that others should observe her when she retires, but seems to be a child of a reserved temper), and every night before she goes to bed, will say her catechism, and will by no means miss of it: she never forgot it but once, and then after she was in bed, thought of it, and cried out in tears," I have not said my catechism !" and would not be quieted, till her mother asked her the catechism as she lay in bed. She sometimes appears to be in doubt about the condition of her soul, and when asked whether she thinks that she is prepared for death, speaks soniething doubtfully about it: at other times seems to have no doubt, but when asked, replies yes, without hesitation.
Defects and decline of the work.
In the former part of this great work of God among uš, till it got to its height, we seemed to be wonderfully smiled upon, and blest in all respects. Satan (as has been already observed) seemed to be unusually restrained. Persons that before had been involved in melancholy, seemed to be as it were waked up out of it; and those that had been entangled with extraordinary temptations, seemed wonderfully to be set
at liberty; and not only so, but it was the most remarkable time of health that ever I knew' since I have been in the town. We ordinarily have several bills put up every sabbath, for persons that are sick; but now we had not so much as one for many sabbaths together. But after this it seemed to be otherwise : when this work of God appeared to be at its greatest height, a poor weak man that belongs to the town, being in great spiritual trouble, was hurried with violent temptations to cut his own throat, and made an attempt, but did not do it effectually. He after this continued a considerable time exceedingly overwhelmed with melancholy; but has now of a long time been very greatly delivered by the light of God's countenance lifted up upon him, and has expressed a great sense of his sin in so far yielding to temptation; and there are in him all hopeful evidences of his having been made a subject of saving mercy.
In the latter part of May it began to be very sensible that the Spirit of God was gradually withdrawing from us, and after this time Satan seemed to be more let loose, and raged in a dreadful manner. The first instance wherein it appeared, was a person's putting an end to his own life, by cutting his throat. He was a gentleman of more than common understanding, of strict morals, religious in his behavior, and a useful, honorable person in 'the town; but was of a family that are much prone to the disease of melancholy, and his mother was killed with it. He had, from the beginning of this extraordinary time, been exceedingly concerned about the state of his soul, and there were some things in his experience that appeared very hopefully ; but he durst entertain no hope concerning his own good state. Towards the latter part of his time he grew much discouraged, and melancholy grew amain upon him, till he was wholly overpowered by it, and was in great measure past a capacity of receiving advice, or being reasoned with to any purpose : the devil took the advantage, and drove him into despairing thoughts. He was kept awake nights, medi