ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
No. 285 BROADWAY.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
In the Clerk's Office for the Southern District of New York.
THOMAS B. SMITH, STEREOTYPER,
216 WILLIAM STREET, N. Y.
IN the month of August, 1850, a very lovely and remarkable little boy was taken from the Sunday-school of St. George's Church, New York, by death. His whole appearance and character had been so interesting and attractive to me, that I immediately requested from his parents some memorials of his life, which I might use, in my pastoral relations, to the remaining children of my charge. There was much in his daily example and conduct, that appeared to me exceedingly adapted to be useful to those who had been permitted to survive him. I hoped the Spirit of God might employ his life and death as an instrument for the conversion and instruction of others. One such pattern [iii/iv] of early piety and happy departure from among themselves, I had much confidence would be made of permanent benefit to them. For this reason I desired to present his example and conduct to the Sunday-school to which he had belonged.
But there is so much in the history of this dear boy, that will be generally interesting, that I do not feel willing to confine the knowledge of his life, to our own children, or to my pastoral instructions addressed to them. I have, therefore, prepared this little memoir, from the materials furnished me by his parents. It will show the value of early Christian instruction, and the importance and the influence of parental piety and prayers. It will exhibit the precious fact, of which we need so often to be reminded, that our children, truly dedicated to God, and offered to him in the covenant which he has established, and in the sacrament which he has appointed for this purpose, are under his special blessing and care, and may be made the [iv/v] subjects of his divine converting power and Spirit, in their earliest youth. This divine renewal of the youthful heart and nature, is the great end for which parents and pastors and teachers should aim, in their teaching of children. For this great object, their instructions should be prepared, and to this, their efforts and prayers should be directed. The Holy Spirit, who prompts and requires our work for him, is ever ready to bless and prosper this work with his own sanctifying power. We are never straitened in him. If we are faithful in our duty, in an affectionate reliance upon his presence and blessing, in due season we shall reap if we faint not. The following simple narrative will present a very pleasant and valuable illustration of this truth. It will be an encouragement to the labors and efforts of others, to gather the lambs of the flock to the Saviour's feet. Thus, perhaps, many in distant places, may reap the benefit of the short pilgrimage of this dear little boy, through God's goodness in teaching and [v/vi] guiding them by his example. It has been with this hope that I have prepared this little book. I beg my dear young friends to read it and think of it, and seek the gracious Spirit of their divine Saviour to lead them in the same pleasant and happy path, to his heavenly abode. They will find that whatever we can say of the pleasures and advantages of a heart and life truly devoted to God, and spent in love for him and obedience to his holy commands, "the half has not been told them." They will praise God forever, that he "has taught them from their youth," and "planted them in the courts of the Lord," and permitted them to "flourish in the house of our God."
S. H. T.
St. George's, New York,
April 9, 1851.
JOHN HENRY MARSHALL was born in the city of New York, August 28th, 1841. He was the eldest child of his parents, who were both members of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The grandfather of his father was a clergyman of this church, before the American Revolution. He went at an early age to England, to obtain holy orders, and upon his return, was settled in Connecticut, as a missionary. He founded the church at Woodbury, [transcribers note: the Rev. John Rutgers Marshall was called as the first rector of St. John's, Woodbury in 1771] where [7/8] he labored until his death. At his house, some of the first steps were taken for the organization of the church in Connecticut, after the Revolution, and he was the first delegate from the church in that state to the General Convention, which was held in New York in 1784. The grandfather of his father, upon his mother's side, was also an Episcopal clergyman, and one of the first who were ordained by Bishop Seabury. Including these two venerable ancestors, there have been five clergymen of the Episcopal church in the same family, two of whom are still living. On both sides of the family from which this little boy derived his descent, there has been the blessed line of faithful piety. And the most of the immediate relations of his parents now living, are professed [8/9] followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall say how much of the blessing which descended upon him was connected with prayers offered to God long before his birth. It is the precious promise of the divine covenant, "I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee." If we are faithful to God, we know not how many and how precious may be the blessings, which he may bestow through us, upon "thousands" of those who come after us, "who love him and keep his commandments." What a motive is this, to lead us ever to maintain in our families, the love and the worship of God! "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
When little John was born, his parents felt that a new responsibility was placed [9/10] upon them. They endeavored to realize its importance. They earnestly sought the blessing of God upon the dear child that he had given to them. They prayed for the constant direction and presence of the Holy Spirit with him and themselves, that he might be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The prayers of many pious relations arose with theirs, and God was pleased to hear the prayers of his people, and bless this child of faith and prayer from his birth.
Shortly after his birth, little John was seized with the scarlet fever. On this account, his public dedication to God in his holy sacrament was deferred until April, 1842. Two other seasons of sickness followed after this, during each of which, his parents had very slight hopes [10/11] of his recovery. He was thus very much reduced in strength, and his constitution was very feeble. He was so weak in his body, and growing up so delicately, that his parents were obliged to avoid all over-tasking him, either in body or in mind. He was very bright and inquiring while a little child. But he was kept back from school, and only taught those blessed lessons of love to God, and affectionate obedience to his parents, for which a child's home and parents are given him, and the learning of which makes the great comfort and happiness of a religious home. There seemed to be but little difficulty in teaching him these precious lessons. From the time at which he was at all able to understand his obligations, he was obedient; and the government of him [11/12] became an easy and a delightful task. Some of the most pleasant recollections of his early years are his habitually cheerful and faithful obedience to his parents' authority. He grew up with this spirit, and manifested a constant desire to give as little trouble, and to render as much assistance to them, as was possible for a child of his years and strength.
John grew up so feeble and delicate, that he was not placed at school until he was seven years old. At that age, he had only learned to read the simplest lessons. But his parents had not neglected the best and most important part of all teaching, that teaching which leads the infant heart and mind to think of God, and to love him. He was taught to pray as soon as he was able to speak. That [12/13] little infant verse, which so many little children have learned, and which the aged statesman, John Quincy Adams, said he had never omitted from his infancy to his extreme old age, "Now I lay me down to sleep," little John very early learned, and always loved to repeat, not as a form of infant words, but as the real wish of his heart. Short passages of the Holy Scripture were also taught him, and many little hymns. He acquired these so easily, that his parents were often tempted to forget his weakness, and to gratify his growing thirst for knowledge. His parents read many books to him, before he could read himself. Among others, they early read him the "Peep of day." This interested him very much. And when he became able to read it for [13/14] himself; it was a very constant companion for him. He read it over and over again, and became very familiar with the precious truths which were taught in it. From this little book he derived much of that clear understanding of the gospel, which was such a comfort and blessing to him afterwards. After he could read, the Holy Scriptures were made his daily study. He learned to love this blessed book, and his love for it increased continually, as long as he lived.
In June, 1848, little John was sent to his first school, where he improved very rapidly, and became the favorite of all who knew him. In September, 1849, he was removed to a school of a higher class. Here his studies were more varied, and he was so much interested in them, that [14/15] it required but little effort to enable him to acquire his lessons well. It was a source of much delight to his parents, to see that he wished not only to be able to recite his lessons perfectly, but also to understand them, and to gain the utmost improvement by them. When he first went to this school, he was asked how he liked it. He answered that he could not tell so soon, but he was sure it must be a good school, because the teacher commenced the duties of every day with prayer and reading the word of God.
This teacher says of him in a letter,--"My first acquaintance with John began in September, 1849. He then entered my school in company with a cousin nearly his own age, his constant companion, who had been with me before. He [15/16] remained in my school until the beginning of the next summer vacation, in July, 1850. In noticing some traits of his character, as that character appeared to me, I cannot better begin, than with that important, and in him very prominant trait, respect for the Word of God. Believing that the Bible which prescribes the duties of children should be read and studied by children, I made the Bible reading-lesson of his class a very important one--I allowed ample time for studying it before reading, and in the class, for reading it more than once, with such remarks and explanations as I chose to make, and such questions as the scholars chose to ask. Of this lesson, John seemed never to tire. And it gave me good opportunity to notice his ready perception [16/17] and acceptance of the truth. He seemed to receive the Bible with a confiding heart, as the infallible word of God. His perception of the right and wrong, in the conduct of persons therein described, was very clear, and his judgment concerning them was very correct. His judgment indicated, as I thought, a cordial love of right, and depended not so much upon his head as his heart. Often have I been gratified to see him catching the true meaning of a passage, which to many older minds might have seemed obscure.
"In connection with his reverence for the word of God, I would mention his obedience to all proper authority. I cannot remember, during my acquaintance with him, any delinquency. So far as I observed, he was dutiful to all. To myself [17/18] he was uniformly obedient, respectful, confiding, and affectionate. His fidelity to truth was strict. I trusted him present or absent. I learned to trust him implicitly. He never deceived me. I never knew any prevarication in him. He used no artifices, concealments, or subterfuges. He had a remarkably pleasant temper. He had no controversies with his companions. He made no complaints, and was easily satisfied. He loved play; but he could cheerfully abandon it when required to. He was ingenious in deriving pleasure from what he possessed, without grieving for what he had not. I never noticed any fretfulness, and thought him a very happy boy.
"Notwithstanding the general seriousness of his character, he had a very keen [18/19] perception of the ludicrous, and I remember nothing more distinctly than his free, gushing laughter at a droll idea. Respecting his character and conduct as a scholar, I have little to add. The history of one day was the history of all. He always came at the appointed hour, learned his lessons well, did little to attract the attention of others, and, at the appointed time, he went away. He had a happy faculty of seizing upon the important parts of a lesson, and directing his efforts to the best advantage. What he learned, was clearly understood and well remembered. He acquired with facility, but when necessary, was patient and persevering.
"He is gone. My remembrance of him is pleasant. It is pleasant to cherish that [19/20] remembrance, by writing as I have written. It will give me pleasure, if this shall furnish consolation to his parents, in their great affliction."
The new church for St. George's, in the city of New York, was opened for public worship in November, 1848. A few Sundays after the commencement of the Sunday-school there, little John came at his own desire, and he was exceedingly pleased and happy in it. In the teaching there, the word of God seemed to have a new interest for him. He was always anxious to prepare himself well for his Bible lessons. When he was studying them at home, he generally had by his side a Bible dictionary and a commentary, to explain terms and sentences which he could not understand. But he [20/21] was not forward in communicating what he knew. It was only by questioning him, that the impressions which the truths of the Bible had made upon his mind could be discovered, and his intelligence and comprehension of them perceived. He became very strongly attached to the Sunday-school. His teacher and classmates occupied a very large place in his affections. It was quite a trial to him, if any cause prevented his attendance. On such occasions, a message was always sent by him to his teacher, stating the cause of his necessary absence. The Sunday-school to which he belonged, was a very happy one. It began in the autumn of 1848, with a very few scholars--and in two years and a half after, at its second anniversary, it [21/22] had above seven hundred scholars, and more than fifty teachers. The teachers and scholars were all happy in attending. The Sabbath was thus made for them all, a blessed and joyful day. There is no way in which the Lord's-day can be made happier or more useful to children, than by the arrangements of a well-ordered Sunday-school. The minister of the Gospel cannot more surely promote the welfare of his flock, and his own happiness in his work, than by a constant affectionate and earnest care of the Sunday-school. John had the privilege of a faithful and useful teacher in the Sunday-school, whose instructions were a blessing to him, and under whose care he became a great comfort and blessing in his class. This teacher says of him--"For a part [22/23] of the winter preceding his death, it was my privilege to count little John among my Sunday-scholars. And from the first day of our intercourse, I was convinced that his young heart had been taught of God, and that I should find not only pleasure, but profit to myself in connection with him. He was associated with a class of bright, intelligent, but playful and somewhat restless boys. But the gleeful spirit of childhood never got the mastery of him in school. He always preserved the same thoughtful, subdued, and interested manner, though sometimes temptation beset him on both sides. That the other boys recognized his higher standard of principle and action, was many times evident, while his deportment toward them was beautifully meek [23/24] and gentle. One morning I had found it unusually difficult to win any attention from my class; and hoping to awaken some serious thought, I asked a question naturally suggested by our lesson, 'if the Saviour were now to appear amongst us, to choose from the school those who were ready to dwell with him, and to serve him forever, which of my boys would he find with hearts prepared to go with him?' Not one answered for himself; but more than one answered, 'I know who he would choose--Johnny Marshall.'
"On another occasion, desiring to check the propensity so often displayed by children, to aid in governing others, I suggested that each of them might do good service in this way, by the power of example, and asked them which of [24/25] them could in conscience say to his companions, 'Do as I do.' The boys were silent in their own behalf; but one little voice replied promptly, 'I know who does help you, Johnny Marshall.' These are trifling incidents. But as the voluntary testimony of little John's companions, to the excellent spirit that dwelt in him, they made a strong impression on my mind. Had I been permitted to retain the lovely boy long under my care, it would have been an ever-increasing pleasure to watch the development of that heavenly principle, which in him was so eminently 'pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated.' "
In the Sunday-school of St. George's Church, the pastor not only visited them on each Sunday, to mark their general [25/26] attendance and deportment, but on one afternoon of each month, he gave his time and labor especially to their instruction. On these occasions, all the different classes of the school were assembled together; and in connection with suitable exercises in worship, their pastor gave them an appropriate address, founded sometimes upon some passage of the Holy Scriptures, and sometimes upon a question and answer in the Church Catechism. John especially delighted in the exercises of these occasions. He entered into the spirit of them with his whole heart. And when he went home, he delighted to repeat what he had heard, with many expressions of gratitude, for the privileges which he was thus permitted to enjoy. It is not wonderful that he found [26/27] the Sunday-school, and the house of God, so useful to him, when he loved them so much. How many others were around him constantly, who paid no such attention to the instructions which they received; and had no such feelings of gratitude and love towards those who kindly and faithfully labored to instruct them. We cannot be surprised that such children find but little benefit from the Sunday-school, and but little interest in the public worship of the church. If, like little John, they were willing to consider and understand, how great their privileges are in such connections, like him they would soon come to love the place and the day, where they can hear the word and unite in the worship of God.
But little John early acquired a love [27/28] for prayer at home, and in his own chamber. At his father's family prayers, it was rarely necessary, even in his earliest years, to reprove him for inattention, or to remind him of his absence or tardiness. He loved to be there, and delighted much in the opportunity which God had so graciously given him, of worshipping him with pious parents, and in union with his whole family. He very early showed that prayer with him was not a mere habit or form. His heart was evidently drawn and taught by the Holy Spirit, to love to call upon God. Not satisfied with his union with his family in prayer, or even with his own regular morning and evening prayer, by his mother's side, he would often retire to his own chamber, to pray to his divine Saviour alone. Often [28/29] in the evening he would sit down by his mother, and read a portion of the word of God, and then retire quietly into his own room, and lock the door. His mother once said to him, when he did this, that she did not like to have him sleep with his door fastened. He then told her that he wanted to pray by himself before he went to bed, and begged her not to allow any one to come in and interrupt him, when he was in his room. She promised him this, and often sat and watched, lest any one should disturb him, delighting sometimes to hear the low and gentle accents of his secret prayer, as he was there alone with God. His father's engagements in business, did not always allow him to return sufficiently early in the evening, to have their evening family [29/30] worship before the children retired. But when he did come home early, little John would often say to him, "Now, dear father, will you not have prayers before I go to bed." On these occasions, he would often select the passage of Scripture which he desired his father to read. Some of these passages were the 8th and the 23d psalms, which he had committed to memory, and several of the parables of our Lord. He thus delighted in the word of God, and tried to understand and remember it.
But little John endeavored to practise and obey the divine commands, as well as to read them. He was very anxious to avoid every sin, and he felt that all his sins were offences against God. If he did wrong to any, or in any way disobeyed [30/31] the wishes of his parents, or injured or worried his sisters, or his playmates, he regarded all these as sins against God, and he could not be happy until he had retired to ask the forgiveness of God for his sinful conduct. On one occasion a schoolmate threw a fire-cracker at him, which exploded in his face and burnt him, so that he was very much alarmed and excited. He ran into the house to his mother crying, and after telling her the story, he said, "I wish I had another cracker, I would throw it in his face." His mother reminded him of the sinfulness of such a spirit; and he checked himself at once, and said he was sorry, and went into his own room. Soon after, his mother having occasion to pass by his door, heard him sobbing in his chamber. [31/32] She paused a moment to listen, and heard his little voice in prayer to God. Soon he returned from his retirement, and told her he had asked forgiveness of his sin from God, and had now come to beg her to forgive him also.
John was very fond of the Sabbath. His reverence for the Lord's-day was one of his most striking traits of character. He habitually used all his influence with his sisters and young companions, that they should reverence it also. He sometimes visited an aunt who resided in a neighboring city, and with whom he often spent the Sabbath. But even there, she noticed this peculiar care in him, to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, and his repeated efforts to induce his little cousin to abstain from his [32/33] amusements on this holy day. The kind of Sabbath-breaking which he was most accustomed to see, was riding out for pleasure. When parties passed the house, especially if they were parents with their children, he expressed his sorrow for them, and his gratitude, that no temptation to such disobedience of the divine commands was placed before him. Once, when he was on his way to Sunday-school, with his father, he met a number of little boys at play. He expressed great sorrow, that he had not some of his little tracts to give them, saying, "Perhaps if they had them, they would stop their play, and read them, and thus learn to obey God's commands."
The public worship of the church was very attractive to John. As soon as he [33/34] could read, he made himself quite familiar with the prayer-book, so that he could unite in all the worship of the sanctuary. His attention and reverence there were very interesting. He loved always to find the lessons of Scripture in his Bible, and to follow the minister in reading them. It was delightful to see his attention to the sermon too. He tried to understand what he heard, and often he would repeat to his sisters at home, and even to his schoolmates, portions of the instructions which he had received from the lips of his pastor. He delighted to impart religious instruction to those who were more ignorant than himself. When he was walking to his daily school with a little cousin, religious conversation occupied a great portion of [34/35] their walk to and from school. Another incident beautifully illustrating this feature of his character occurred in his own house. He was once engaged in making a whip in the yard. When he had completed it, he suddenly struck it around the post of a back piazza. Then turning to a servant who was at work by the window, he said, "That is the way they scourged Jesus." Some remarks of hers led him to think that she was ignorant of his meaning, and he sat down by her, and gave her a sketch of the Saviour's life and death, and told her for what he came to earth, and what he had done for men. She afterwards related the fact to his mother, and said, "he did not talk like a child." He loved to read his Bible, and his little Bible showed how constantly [35/36] he had used it, and marked it. Whatever explained to him the language of the Bible, he also loved; and no other reading was ever so attractive to him, as books of religious instruction.
He took great interest in the labors of missionaries. The Sunday-school at St. George's Church always made a missionary collection at their monthly meeting with their pastor. This collection interested him very much. It was not enough for him to ask for money to contribute on these occasions, but he desired to earn something for himself. He would often ask his father to allow him to clean the snow from off the walks, or do some other light work, that he might receive what would have been paid to any other person for this work. And when he was [36/37] asked what he would do with the money, his answer was, to send the Bible and missionaries to the heathen. He left a little sum which he had earned in this way, which was placed in the Sunday-school missionary collection, at St. George's Church, as a legacy from him, after his death, on the Sunday on which the pastor announced his death to the scholars. The May before his death, his aunt took him to a missionary anniversary at the Tabernacle. His attention to the speakers, and his interest in all the services was such as to attract the notice of persons sitting near them, and when he returned home, he thanked his aunt for the privilege she had afforded him. She replied, she hoped she might be permitted to see him take an active part in [37/38] the great work of which he had been hearing. He said nothing, but his eyes filled with tears, as was common with him when he felt more than he was willing to express.
One of the peculiar traits of little John's character, was his constant industry. When he was not occupied with his studies, he always sought to be useful to others. He was fond of play, and engaged in childish sports with earnestness. But he would never permit his play to interfere with his duties. He would cheerfully break away from any amusement abroad, to engage in study, or in reading to his sisters, or to plan some domestic occupation for his sisters or cousins. He could not bear to be idle for a moment. If anything led him to [38/39] trifle away his time, it was a source of much regret. On one occasion, when a house was building opposite to his dwelling, the movements of the workmen engaged the attention of the children, and he had spent much time with them at the window, watching these men. One day, when they had been standing some time at the window, he turned to his eldest sister, who was standing with him, and said, "Anne, for all the time we spend here at this window, we must give an account to God."
He was very conscientious in his efforts to obey the commands of God; neither sin, nor sinful companions, seemed to have any charm for him. And when he was necessarily thrown into the company of evil-disposed children, he was [39/40] not afraid or ashamed to reprove them for any words or conduct which he considered sinful. In one case he positively refused to play with a schoolmate, because he used wicked language. He could not bear to hear such words. His aversion to deceit, and his entire truthfulness, were just as remarkable. Not a single case of deception or falsehood do his friends remember. On one occasion, a complaint was made against him, that he had injured a neighbor's child. The circumstances appeared very much against him. But he strictly denied having done the injury with which he was charged. His parents felt deeply grieved that he should appear thus to have sinned. But his grief was even greater, that he should even for a moment be suspected of a [40/41] falsehood. He felt so much upon this subject, and had so great a desire that they should satisfy themselves entirely of the truth of his statement, that they gave a thorough investigation to the whole matter. The result was just as he had declared, and his conduct was entirely cleared. His joy at this result of the investigation was quite equal to theirs, not merely that he should escape the punishment or censure of his parents, but that their suspicions had been removed, and their confidence regained.
John's disposition was truly affectionate and grateful. His mother had been much troubled with an affection of her eyes, which deprived her much of the pleasure of employing them either in working or reading. Johnny was delighted [41/42] when he could make her feel this deprivation less. Almost daily he would ask, "Mother, shall I read the Bible for you?" Or he would propose to read aloud his Sunday-school library book, or some other work in which he thought she might be interested. Then he delighted in music and singing. He loved to sing the hymns which he learned, and was frequently occupied in making selections for this purpose, and committing them to memory. He was seldom an hour in the house without their hearing the sound of his sweet voice singing some song of praise. On one evening, he attended with his father the service of the Church of the Ascension, in New York, and was particularly affected with a hymn which was sung before the service.
When they reached home, he desired his father to find it for him, and teach him the tune to which it had been sung. From that time to his death, scarcely a day passed without his singing it. He evidently realized the great truth which is contained in it, and derived much comfort from it, in his last sickness. It was the 173d hymn in the prayer-book.
"Inspirer and Hearer of prayer,
Thou Shepherd and Guardian of thine,
My all to thy covenant care,
I sleeping and waking resign."
In the winter preceding his death, he desired to remain while the Lord's Supper was administered. He afterwards asked his father to give him a full explanation of that sacred ordinance. This was done as minutely as he could be [43/44] made to understand it. And from that time he always wished to remain in church upon the occasion of its administration, and was apparently as much interested and engaged in the service, as any who were present. On one of these occasions, about three months before his death, the 16th hymn was sung before the sermon,
"Salvation, O the joyful sound,
Glad tidings to our ears."
On his return home, he immediately found the hymn in his prayer-book, and began at once to commit it to memory. Then he wished to be taught the tune to which it had been sung, which he learned the same day, though he had never heard it before. His parents little [44/45] thought how soon he was to sing that heavenly chorus,
"Glory, honor, praise and power,
Be unto the Lamb forever,"
in a holier and happier world, among the multitudes of the redeemed.
And now we come to the closing period of the life of this dear boy, whose whole course had seemed to be a constant preparation for a dwelling with God. In the month of July, 1850, he had a slight attack of fever, with an ulcerated sore throat. After he had partially recovered, his parents thought a few weeks in the country would be of great service to him, and he went upon a visit to his grand-parents in Connecticut. When he left home, he had a slight [45/46] inflammation upon his nose, to which but little attention was paid, but which proved to be far more serious than was supposed. His health; however seemed to improve in the Country. He enjoyed himself very much, and became a great favorite with the many friends of his family, with whom he then associated. He was especially welcomed and beloved by those who were near his own age, over whom he unconsciously exercised a great influence. His appointed visit was finished with great satisfaction, and he was preparing to return home, when he received permission from his parents to remain a few days longer. He sat down to write a letter to his parents to express his gratitude for this permission, and telling them how happily he had passed [46/47] his time there. While he was writing, he complained of being drowsy, and said he could not write any more then. He slept for some time. At tea time in the evening, he was aroused, and came to the table with the family. He felt unable to remain, and barely tasted his tea, and then lay down upon a lounge, and fell asleep again. In a little while, he was found to be in a high fever, and through the night he was occasionally delirious. Though his friends became alarmed, his physician was not so. And as he appeared to improve for a few days, they did not send for his parents, who were in New York. His grandmother watched him, however, with great anxiety. When she thought he was asleep, she was praying for him at his bedside. She told him that she had asked his heavenly Father to restore him to health. He replied, "Yes, I heard you pray, dear grandmother," and appeared very much pleased, that she should thus think of him in prayer to God.
His friends did not anticipate his death, nor had his attention been called to it, by the remarks of those around him. But his own remarks often indicated that his mind was dwelling upon this subject. The second day before he died, he repeated with great emphasis, as if in personal application to himself the verse of an evening hymn--
"We lay our garments by,
Upon our bed to rest;
So death shall soon disrobe as all,
Of what is here possessed."
 His sufferings were chiefly from headache, and were evidently very great. But he never uttered a word of complaint or repining. Every little attention was received with thanks. He often expressed his regret, that he should be the occasion of so much trouble. His grandmother asked him once, if he knew who permitted this sickness. "O yes," he replied, "and God sends his Holy Spirit too." The day before his death, his grandmother told him that the physician said, "he had nothing to do, but to get well." He added, "O yes, and pray to God to make me well." His love for singing was maintained during all his sickness. He had learned, many hymns, and he delighted to sing them. A short [49/50] time before he became finally insensible, he sung the following:--
"Glory to the Father give,
God, in whom we move and live;
Children's prayers he deigns to hear,
Children's songs delight his ear.
"Glory to the Son we bring,
Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King;
Children, raise your sweetest strain
To the Lamb, for he was slain.
"Glory to the Holy Ghost,
He reclaims the sinner lost;
Children's minds may he inspire,
Touch their tongues with holy fire,
"Glory in the highest be,
To the blessed Trinity,
For the Gospel from above,
For the word, that God is Love."
His love for his Bible and prayer was never disturbed even by his play. One [50/51] evening in the early part of his sickness, the children in the family were playing on the floor with a checker-board. They made much noise in their amusement, but when John's hour for reading his Bible arrived, he sat down at the table, and began to read in the midst of their play. He then placed his mark in the book, and took up his lamp, and retired to his room for prayer. He was happier in this, than in all the amusements of his companions.
For two days before his death, his eyes were nearly closed by the swelling upon his nose, so that he could not see to read. This did not lead him to neglect his Bible. He frequently requested his aunt and grandmother to read a portion of the Word of God for him, designating the [51/52] chapter he desired them to read. On the sixth night of his illness, he became suddenly worse. His face was very much swollen. The physician was sent for, although he had been there but a few hours before. He said at once, that the dear boy's brain was now affected, and he thought he could not live through the following day. His parents received a letter in the morning of Friday, giving them the gratifying intelligence that John was recovering. And but an hour afterwards, they received a telegraphic dispatch announcing that he could not live many hours. They had intended to visit him on Saturday. And now with sad hearts, they set out to see him, and reached his bedside only to see him breathe his last, without a recognition of [52/53] them. It was a sad bereavement indeed. But their grief was lightened by the accounts they had received of his beautiful Christian conduct, while he had been away from them. They felt that they had so much cause for rejoicing in remembrance of him, that they could not mourn, without gratitude to God, for the grace which had been displayed in him.
It was on the 9th day of August, 1850, that this dear little boy went home to his Saviour and his God. He wanted but a few days of being nine years of age. His funeral took place on the afternoon of the next Sunday. It was a still and lovely day. And in the calmness and tranquillity of the Sabbath in the country, there was a beautiful illustration of that rest above, into which he had entered. [53/54] His remains were borne to the grave by many sympathizing friends. The old church-yard immediately adjoins the residence of his grandfather. As the procession entered the gate, and the minister uttered the beautiful sentences of the burial service, the sun was just sinking below the horizon. The calmness of the rural yard--the rest of the Sabbath--the hour of the day--and the slowly tolling bell, all combined to make the season solemn and affecting. His parents were comforted with the thought, that it was "well with the child," and though his body was "sown in weakness, it should be raised in power."
St. Paul's Church, Woodbury, Ct.
Thus this dear child departed. The impression which his character and conduct left upon all, was very interesting [54/55] and pleasant. His grandmother wrote to his parents concerning him, "It is sweet to think of the dear child, of his patience and his affectionate manner towards us. He always spoke so cheerfully, when we administered anything to him, and would thank us so sweetly, for anything that was done for him. Those were precious hours which were devoted to him. We can never forget them, nor do we wish to do so. Although so young, he was a matured Christian. I observed all the time he was here, that he put his trust in God, and he sustained him. God has taken him to himself. How full of comfort is such a death! And yet it is sad to part with such a child."
The memory of this dear boy will be [55/56] always pleasant. His name will be cherished with delight in his family, and among his friends. In the Sunday-school to which he belonged, he will be often mentioned with especial pleasure. And his pastor and teacher and companions, will love to think of him, and to call to mind his beautiful example and lovely Christian conduct. How happy was it for this dear child, that he loved his Saviour from his earliest days. How happy will it be for him forever, that he is with that Saviour for everlasting days, and shall no more go out from that presence of Jesus, "where is the fulness of joy, and where are pleasures for evermore."