The people of God were always the people of her choice, but she was often obliged to keep company with others. When she expected to visit or to be visited by any, she frequently begged of God his grace that she might order her conversation aright, that she might not partake with others in their sins, but know how to reprove them; nor suffer others to trifle away their time, but know how to employ them. She quickly observed the gifts and graces of others, and endeavoured to draw them out to her own advantage. She always valued the conversation of ministers, physicians, and persons of reading and ingenuity, especially such as had the greatest savour of religion.

She often visited the sick and relieved the poor, and blessed God that she was in circumstances to give rather than to receive.[1] And when in her widow-state she had sometimes given to the last penny (through the ill-payment of tenants) she often observes that speedy supplies were sent in a very unexpected manner, as if giving to the poor were the readiest way to bring in her debts.

Of all company, there was none more offensive or grievous to her than talebearers and tatlers: she could not forbear reproving them, and often frowned[2] them out of her house. She had business enough (she would say) of her own, and therefore did not desire to intermeddle with her neighbours. She durst not defame others or take up an evil report against them, or countenance those that did. She was never more palled[3] in conversation than in hearing what others did, and what they had, and what they said; what dresses were worn, what entertainments were given, what company was present, and what discourse passed amongst them; and therefore would often say, ‘How happy would it be if we might talk of things rather than of persons!’


[1] Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

[2] Repelled by expressing displeasure; rebuked.

[3] Dispirited, depressed.

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