She greatly valued her time, and especially the seasons and opportunities of it, in which the interest of the soul was so nearly concerned; and thought she could never do enough of that work, in which she took the greatest pleasure.

She would often say she would not lose her morning hours with God, though she were sure to gain the whole world by it.[1] She grudged that the poorest labourer should ever be found at his work before her; and even from her youth agreed it with her servant, under great penalties upon herself, that she would rise every morning at four of the clock for her closet:[2] which was her practice (as I have been told) from the eleventh year of her age; and at five (to my own knowledge), if sickness or pain did not prevent her, for betwixt twenty and thirty of the last years of her life.

She carefully endeavoured to improve the day in company and conversation with her friends; was always well furnished with matter of useful discourse, and could make very happy transitions from worldly to serious talk; but yet would often complain of the loss of much precious time in giving and receiving visits, and say she could not be satisfied with such a life wherein she could neither do nor receive good, but must keep to her closet and her Book. She often remarked it in her accounts: entertained very kindly at such-and-such houses, but no good done to herself or others.


[1] Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

[2] In this she resembled the Presbyterian pastor Joseph Alleine (1633–68) who had private devotions from 4am to 8am, and of whom it was stated, by his wife Theodosia, that he ‘would be much troubled if he heard smiths or other craftsmen at work at their trades, before he was at communion with God: saying to me often, “How this noise shames me! Doth not my Master deserve more than theirs?”’

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