ELIZABETH W. ORCHARD was born March 6, 1795, at Melksham, in Wiltshire; and from an early age was very dutiful to her parents, and much attached to her school and books. In 1802 her father removed from Newport, in the Isle of Wight, to Bath; where he and his family attended the Rev. Mr. J.'s chapel. Soon after their arrival at Bath, Elizabeth and William her brother were admitted into the Sunday school belonging to Argyle chapel; from the time of Elizabeth's admittance, she seemed to read her books with understanding and profit; and during the week, it was always her study to get her task by heart against the returning Sabbath. Her partiality for her teachers was great: especially for Miss S., whom, when she was taken ill, she longed to see. The tickets that were given to her in the school, as tokens for good, she valued much; and expressed a wish to return them, that she might obtain a hymn book, the reward she was entitled to. A shilling that was given to her by the committee at Christmas, for learning her book, with one that she had borrowed of her brother, she laid out in the purchase of a Testament; which she preserved with great care till her departure.
During her illness, Elizabeth often reproved her brother and sister, saying, |If you are not better you will certainly go to a place of misery.| On every occasion she discovered a great love to prayer; and when by weakness she was prevented from going to chapel, she learned her tasks; and what she did learn and hear, was, by a Divine blessing, deeply impressed on her mind.
For the last five weeks before her death, she was not in the least terrified at her approaching dissolution; but conversed with pleasure on her departure. Her father asked her one day, when in great pain, whether she loved the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? to which she answered, |Yes, I do, and I shall soon be with him in glory.| Mr. B., one of the teachers of the school, called to see her; and after conversing with her some time, asked her, |If she should like to go to heaven?| to which she answered, |Yes.|
On April the 24th, when in great pain, on viewing her hands, she said, |O father! the blood ran from the hands of Jesus Christ when he was nailed to the cross, and that was done by wicked men, but I shall go and see him in heaven.| At another time, when her parents, talking of the sufferings of Christ, said that he died to save good children, and would take them to sit with him on his throne for ever, and would give them crowns of glory. To which she answered, |It seems, father, as if I could see him.| On the same day she said, |I do hope when my body dies, that God will receive my soul to heaven.| After this she related to her parents the account of the rich man in the Gospel; observing that he was tormented in hell, and could not so much as obtain a drop of water to cool his burning tongue, while poor Lazarus was carried to Abraham's bosom, where he was crowned with happiness.
She was visited by her much beloved teacher Miss S., whom she had long wished to see; and to whom, with the rest of the teachers of the school, her parents say they shall be always thankful for the good instruction they gave their dear departed child; and hope that the committee and teachers of the school at Argyle chapel, and of every other similar school, will be encouraged by this instance of the good effects of religious advice in a child only nine years old, to go forward in their endeavours to bring young sinners to Christ. She was much struck with a passage of Scripture in Revelation, that Mr. J. preached from: |They shall be clothed in white.| |O,| said Elizabeth, |I expect to be clothed in white too.| And as her mother was sitting by her bedside reading, she said, |If God will let me, I will keep places for you who may be left behind.| Her brother she advised not to play so much, but to be a good boy, mind his book and school, and pray to God to make him truly religious; or he would go to a place of misery after death. Being told that she was very ill, she replied, |I must bear it with patience:| though, in fact, she longed to be gone. When she was very weak, and death stared in her face, her parents carried her from one room to another; but in no place could she find ease. She, however, contemplated with satisfaction the day when she should eat of the tree of life that grows in the midst of the paradise of God; |There,| said Elizabeth, |I shall never thirst, nor never sin, but behold the Lamb, who will lead me to fountains of living water.| After lying one day in a doze, she opened her eyes and said, |Mother, I have seen an angel.| Her mother asked her where? She pointed to the place where she dreamed that she saw him. And, being asked if she should like to go with him, she answered, |Yes.|
|There I shall see his face,
And never, never sin;
There from the rivers of his grace
Drink endless pleasures in.|
Her parents now hung mournfully around her bed, and concluded that the Lord was going to release her. They saw clearly that she could not survive long. Being raised up on the following Sabbath in bed, by pillows, and seeing the children in the street at play, she observed to them about her how improper it was that they should profane the Sabbath, and that they ought to be at chapel, and that God would be very angry with them. Her father had some time before carried her out for the benefit of the air, daily. And being out with her the Sabbath before her departure, she pressed him to carry her to chapel; which he did, but was soon obliged to return with her, when she exclaimed, |Farewell, chapel; farewell, Mr. J.; farewell, my beloved teachers; farewell, my dear schoolfellows;| and soon after she said, |Farewell, brother and sister; farewell, father and mother. I charge you all to meet me in heaven, that we may spend an eternity of happiness together there.| And on the 27th of May, 1804, after a few struggles, the feeble springs of life stood still, and her happy spirit took its flight to the paradise of God.