The certain time and particular means of her conversion she could not positively determine, but she thought it was about the tenth year of her age. She had been under many convictions several years before, but she feared the work was never done till then. And though she had many suspicions and jealousies of herself and state after that; yet, upon the most serious searches, she thought she had better ground of hope than fear.

Her early beginning in religion gave her many opportunities for glorifying God, of doing much good to others, and of gaining great experiences of the grace and goodness and faithfulness of God to herself; and from the benefit and comfort she found in it herself, she always recommended it with much seriousness, affection and importunity to others. And (as it has been observed by many) there was something very peculiar in the disposition of her mind and turn of thought that adapted itself to the capacity, temper, genius and liking of most children. Her first and principal attempt upon all such was to bring them into love with their Bibles, to learn[1] them some short sentences and prayers and pieces of pleasant history there, especially such as concerned children; and then to insinuate herself into their affections, and so to instruct and persuade and oblige, to talk with them in their own phrase and dialect, that her company was generally very acceptable and pleasant to all, and by the grace of God made very profitable to many.

Having set out thus early in the way to Zion herself,[2] and allured and persuaded all she could into the same way, she held on her own course with great steadiness, resolution and pleasure; and proceeded from strength to strength, and, for the joy that was set before her, out-ran many of her fellow Christians.[3] She thought it was not enough to begin her work in the morning, but she wrought hard at it all the day long. She was always aware of the vigilance of her enemies, and that kept her upon her watch.[4] She would always say she had much to do, and what must be done, and knew not how short her day would be: and therefore she had no time to loiter.[5] She often observed what was said of Jacob, that after he had met with God he gathered up his feet and went on his way,[6] and thought that she herself ought to do likewise.

[1] To teach; a dialectal meaning still in use in some regions. In Middle English the verb ‘leren’ meant ‘to teach’, whereas ‘lernen’ usually meant ‘to learn’, hence the scope for later confusion.

[2] Zion (or Sion) in the New Testament sometimes refers to the church of God or the heavenly Jerusalem. The idea of being on a journey to Zion comes partly from the Epistle to the Hebrews, but especially from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress with its journey to the Celestial City.

Hebrews 11:13–14 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. v.16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 12:22–23 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

[3] Hebrews 12:1–2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

[4] Spiritual enemies are meant. Ephesians 6:11–12 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

[5] To spend time idly.

[6] Genesis 29:1, rendered ‘Jacob went on his journey’ is literally ‘Jacob lifted up his feet’, meaning to travel with alacrity and haste in the original Hebrew. Thus Geneva Bible: ‘Then Iaakob lift vp his feete and came into the East countrey’ and Tyndale ‘Then Iacob lyfte vp his fete and wet toward the east countre.’

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