Praying Charlie by John Wesley
CHARLES BRIDGEMAN had no sooner learned to speak, but he betook himself to
2. He was very prone to learn the things of God.
3. He would be sometimes teaching those persons that waited upon him their
4. He learned by heart many good things before he was well fit to go to
school. And when he was sent to school, he carried it so that all that
observed him, either did or might admire him. O, the sweet temper, the good
disposition, the sincere religion which was in the child!
5. When he was at school what was it that he desired to learn but Christ
and him crucified?
6. So religious and savoury were his words, his actions so upright, his
devotions so hearty, his fear of God so great, that many were ready to say as
they did of John,—What manner of child shall this be?
7. He would be much in reading the Holy, Scriptures.
8. He was desirous of more spiritual knowledge, and would be oft asking
very serious and admirable questions.
9. He would not stir out of doors before he had poured out his soul to the
Lord in prayer.
10. When he ate any thing, he would be sure to lift up his heart unto the
Lord for a blessing upon it; and when he had moderately refreshed himself by
eating, he would not forget to acknowledge God's goodness in feeding him.
11. He would not lie down in his bed till he had been upon his knees; and
when sometimes he had forgotten his duty, he would quickly get out of his bed,
and kneeling down upon his bare knees, ask God's forgiveness of that sin.
12. He would rebuke his brethren, if they were at any time too hasty at
their meals, and did eat without asking a blessing; his check was this: "Dare
you do thus? God be merciful to us! this bit of bread might choke us."
13. His sentences were wise and weighty, and might well become some ancient
14. His sickness was a lingering disease: against which, to comfort him,
one tells him of possessions that must fall to his portion; "And what are
they?" said he, "I had rather have the kingdom of heaven than a thousand such
15. When he was sick he seemed much taken up with heaven, and asked very
serious questions about the nature of the soul.
16. After he was pretty well satisfied about that, he inquired how his soul
might be saved? The answer being made, "By the applying of Christ's merit by
faith:" he was pleased with the answer, and was ready to give any one that
should desire it an account of his hope.
17. Being asked whether he had rather live or die? he answered, "I desire
to die, that I may go to my Saviour."
18. His pains increasing upon him, one asked him whether he would rather
still endure those pains or forsake Christ? "Alas!" said he, "I know not what
to say, being a child: for these pains may stagger a strong man; but I will
strive to endure the best I can." Upon this he called to mind that martyr,
Thomas Bilney, who, being in prison the night before his burning, put
his finger into the candle to know how he could endure the fire; "O," said the
child, "had I lived then, I would have run through the fire to have gone to
19. His sickness lasted long: and at least three days before his death he
prophesied his departure, and not only that he must die, but the very day. "On
the Lord's day," said he, "look to me;" neither was this a word of course,
which you may guess by his frequent repetition, every day asking till the day
came indeed, "What, is Sunday come?" At last, the looked-for day came on; and
no sooner had the sun beautified that morning with its light, but he falls
into a trance, his eyes were fixed, his face cheerful, his lips smiling, his
hands and arms clasped in a bow, as if he would have embraced some blessed
angel that was at hand to receive his soul. But he comes to himself, and tells
them how he saw the sweetest body that ever eyes beheld, who bid him to be of
good cheer, for he must presently go with him.
20. One that stood near him, as now suspecting the time of his dissolution
nigh, bid him say, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit, which is thy
due; for why? thou hast redeemed it, O Lord, my God, most true!"
21. The last words which he spoke were exactly these: "Pray, pray, pray,
nay, yet pray, and the more prayers the better all prospers; God is the best
physician; into thy hands I commend my spirit. O Lord Jesus receive my soul:
now close mine eyes: forgive me, father, mother, brother, sister, all the
world. Now I am well; my pain is almost gone, my joy is at hand. Lord, have
mercy on me. O Lord, receive my soul unto thee." And thus he yielded up his
spirit unto the Lord when he was about twelve years old.