A Babe in Christ by John Wesley

JOHN SUDLOW was born of religious parents, in the county of Middlesex, whose care was to instill spiritual principles into him as soon as he was capable of understanding them, whose endeavours the Lord was pleased to crown with the desired success.

2. When he was scarce able to speak plain he seemed to have a very great awe and reverence of God upon his spirit, and a strange sense of the things of another world.

3. The first thing that much affected him, and made him endeavour to escape from the wrath to come, and to inquire what he should do to be saved, was the death of a little brother. When he saw him without breath, and not able to speak or stir; and when carried out of doors, and put into the ground, he was greatly concerned, and asked whether he should die too? Being answered yes it made so deep an impression on him, that from that time forward, he was exceedingly serious; and this was when he was about four years old.

4. He was now desirous to know what he might do that he might live in another world, and what to avoid, that he might not die for ever. And, being instructed by his parents, he soon laboured to avoid whatsoever might displease God. Now the apprehensions of God, death and eternity, laid such a restraint upon him, that he would not, for a world, have told a lie. He was much taken with reading the book of martyrs, and would willingly leave his dinner and go to his book.

5. He went to his father and mother with great tenderness and compassion, and entreated them to take more care of his brothers and sisters; and to take heed lest they should go to hell, and be ruined for ever.

6. The providences of God were not passed by without his minute observation. In the time of the plague he was exceedingly concerned about his everlasting state, and was very much by himself upon his knees. The following prayer was found written in short hand after his death.

7. O Lord God and merciful Father, take pity upon me, a miserable sinner: and strengthen me, O Lord, in thy faith, and make me one of thy saints in heaven. O Lord, keep me from this poisonous infection; however, not my will, but thy will be done. O Lord, if thou hast appointed me to die by it, fit me for death, and give me a good heart to bear up under my afflictions. O Lord God, and merciful Father, take pity on me, thy child. Teach me, O Lord, thy word; make me strong in faith. O Lord, I have sinned against thee; Lord, pardon my sins. I had been in hell long ago if it had not been for thy mercy. But, O Lord, if thou hast appointed me to die, fit me for death, that I may die with comfort. And, O Lord, I pray thee to help me to bear up under my afflictions for Christ's sake. Amen.

8. He was not a little concerned for the whole nation, and begged that God would pardon the sins of this land, and bring it nearer to himself.

9. About the beginning of November, this child was smote with the distemper, but he behaved with admirable patience under the hand of God.

10. These were some of his last expressions. "The Lord shall be my physician, for he will cure both soul and body. Heaven is the best hospital. It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good in his eyes." Again, "It is the Lord that taketh away my health; but I will say as Job did, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.' If I should live longer, I should but sin against God." Looking upon his father, he said, "If the Lord will but lend me the least finger of his hand to lead me through the dark entry of death, I will rejoice in him."

11. When a minister came to him, among other things, he spake something of life. He answered, "This is a wicked world: it is better to live in heaven."

12. An hour and a half before his death, the same minister came again to visit him, and asked him, "John, art thou not afraid to die?" He answered, "No, if the Lord will comfort me in that hour." "But," said the minister, "how canst thou expect comfort, seeing we deserve none?" He answered, "No, if I had my deserts, I had been in hell long ago." "But," replied the minister, "which way dost thou expect comfort and salvation, seeing that thou art a sinner?" He answered, "In Christ alone." In whom, about an hour and a half after, he fell asleep.