A. D. 1680.
Jan. 1. Mr. Sharp, from Jer. xxx. 7, showed what reason we have to expect and therefore provide for such a day as the Prophet speaks of: how many present themselves as a new year's gift to Satan by their vain mirth and jollity upon this day, which custom was derived from the Heathens, who then sacrificed to their idol Janus: but we should labour to present ourselves as a spotless sacrifice to God.
14. At court most of the forenoon about the poor pensioners' business, for whose advantage my dearest father was pleased to take the trouble of being treasurer. Dined with several friends at old cousin Milner's, rejoicing with him for his son's return ; but came away timely, being to give in the accounts at the Mayor's, which I did accordingly, and Mr. L. was substituted in my father's place.
22. At Wakefield, returned early, but in a sad, melancholy and troubled humour, the remembrance of my inexpressible loss seizing deeply upon my spirits; went to bed with wet cheeks and a sad heart, dreamed troublesomely and somewhat remarkably about following my dear father to his long home.
24. After dinner rode to Beeston to see the most dreadful spectacle that was ever beheld in these parts. Mr. Scurr, his mother, and a maid servant, every one burnt to death last Thursday, at night between eleven and one o'clock, but whether accidentally, or designedly by the malice of some, (whom perhaps he was in suit with) is yet uncertain. The old gentlewoman was most burnt; her face, legs, and feet quite consumed to ashes, the trunk of her body much burnt, her heart hanging as a coal out of the midst of it! Part of his face and arms, with the whole body unburnt, but as black as the coals, his hands and feet quite consumed. Very little of the maid was to be found, only I saw her head ; a most piteous sight! Some observe all their skulls are broken, as it were, in the same place, which causes some to suspect it is wilfully done ; but if so, the Lord will reveal it, so that in all probability those inhuman murderers may have their deserts in this life.
25. Die Dom. Mr. Kay, Coloss. iii. 12, discoursed very well of good works: though faith be the life of the soul, yet good works are as the breath by which it is perceived; and showed, as a motive to charity, that to lay it out upon pious occasions is the only means to secure any thing to us : we shall never be poorer for what is expended in pious uses. Mr. Whateley, late minister of Banbury, eminent for his charity, seriously protested, that after he begun his charitable course he had much increased his estate ; formerly he was often forced to borrow 10l. and could not make both ends of the year meet, but after could have lent 100l., and imputed it to the blessing of God upon his charity—he gave the tenth part, both of his spiritual and temporal means, to the poor. The other instance was Dr. Hammond, that worthy assertor of alms, who was taxed for rather overdoing in pity and compassion, yet increased so that he died worth 1500l. &c. Mr. Sharp, Matthew xii. 21.
Feb. 7. Perusing authors concerning Bradford the meekest, and Ridley the learnedest Marian martyr.
9. Mostly employed with aunt Alice; went to Wakefield with her, and thence with cousin Benjamin Wordsworth to Swaith Hall.
11 Rid with cousins to Barnsley.
12. To Wakefield, and so, Laus Deo! returned well home again ; but though very kindly entertained and reasonably cheerful when abroad, yet a trouble, sorrow, and a deep sense of my present doleful, fatherless condition almost overwhelmed me at my return, mourning heavily all night long, and,
13. This day likewise, even to excess, and the prejudice of health.
March 4. At Wakefield, but returned soon to Holbeck, and found uncle much
better, Laus Deo! Perusing of Philpot, &c. Lord! imprint the good
examples of thy faithful servants so fully in my mind, that I may imitate
them in my life; and if that bloody religion should, as a plague for
our sins, be again established in these lands, good Lord! for Christ's
sake, strengthen me by thy grace, that if thou callest for it, I may
cheerfully suffer for thy name and truth's sake.
10. About six this morning, my dear uncle Thomas Idle departed this life, changing this frail for an immortal, glorious life: it was the greatest satisfaction imaginable to me to observe, as his bodily strength decayed, so his faith increased ; expressing himself very feelingly and comfortably, that he was even unwilling to abide any longer in this world, that was so full of trouble and sorrow; and Protesting, and it was (as himself said) no time to dissemble at death, that to his knowledge he had never in his whole life wronged any man. He carried himself with extraordinary patience; and my good aunt Lucy coming in, he shook her by the hand, blessing God for that grace of patience now in his greatest extremity, saying, that all his life long he dreaded the want of patience to undergo these pangs of death. But now he was very remarkable for it, called his children and myself, gave good advice, testifying his great love and affection to me, &c. He called for all the servants, and gave them seasonable advice.
12. All day at Holbeck, assisting to my utmost at dear uncle's funeral; but such vast multitudes, what bidden and what unbidden, that abundance of confusion must unavoidably happen. (Of 130 dozen of cakes not one left.)
14. Die Dom. Mr. Kay, Coloss. iii. 15. Mr. Sharp from . . . preached extraordinarily well, as a funeral sermon for dear uncle; but extreme sorrow, partly for uncle, but most violent in remembrance of my dear father, would not permit me to Write. He showed, that it is the greatest comfort and support under the afflicting hand of God, to consider that Christ will bring with him, at the great day, all our dear relations that now sleep with him.
20. Reading a funeral Sermon for the Countess Dowager of Warwick, (deceased April, 1679,) a most virtuous, religious lady: I was mightily taken with her pious Diary, religious life, heavenly meditations, &c.
26 A great part of the day with Dr. Johnston, of Pontefract, who gave me good advice as to my health, and encouragement as to my studies; was pleased to adopt me his son as to antiquities.
31. At Woodkirk, Howley Hall, and Batley Church, writing the epitaph of the famous Sir John Savile.
April 4. Die Dom. Mr. Kay, Colos. iii. 16, showed,
that we ought to attend to the word of God with reverence and attention
; to hearing it preached and reading it; but most persons let their
Bibles lie moulding, like old almanacks, whilst play-books and romances
are worn out with their diligent perusal.
5 Making ready writings, &c. for the North ; after dinner set forth with uncle Michael Idle, and got well to Boroughbridge.
6. Thence to Northallerton, and so to Darlington, expecting there to have met with Captain Widdrington.
7. Up early in the morning to Durham, and so having dispatched that business with him, and visited relations, got well to Newcastle. Newcastle was the place formerly much delighted in, and earnestly desired, for my dear relations there; but now, it is an aggravation to my sorrow, to remember past comforts and present slights.
8. Returned from Newcastle to Darlington, and thence to Topcliffe ; and next day,
9. Home. I found my poor desolate family all well; but, alas! the fresh remembrance of our unutterable loss is most bitter, and almost insupportable.
13. At the stationer's, &c.; afterwards with Mr. B. D. collecting for worthy Mr. Sharp; ditto at Holbeck, &c.
20. Most of the day with some York friends at Lawyer Bathurst's, &c. ; spent too much time idly, neither reading nor writing,
25. Die Dom. Mr. Kay, Colos. iii. 16, 17, showed the necessity of singing psalms; but though it has formerly been the constant practice of this family, and I hope in time will be again, yet, I must confess the neglect of it now, it being an aggravation of sorrow, and bringing my inexpressible loss more freshly to remembrance. Methinks, I hear his very voice, that with renewed pangs I am constrained to crouch to the bottom of the pew, and there vent my sorrow in plenty of tears; so that, never yet, to my shame do I record it, was I able to sing one line in public or private.
28. From morning to evening with Bulmer friends at Holbeck, writing about the appraisement, &c., thereby missing a good lecture sermon, though sore against my mind.
30. Some miles out of town at noon ; spent rest of the day with uncles at Alderman Hicks', but the conclusion of the day was very bad, with hasty words, and falling out betwixt relations, and though not much concerned myself, yet was much troubled for others ; and now the loss of that blessed peacemaker is sadly evident, who, with admirable prudence, prevented such clashings.
May 1. I rid to York with uncle Jeremiah and cousin
Susan of Holbeck, and from thence to Bulmer, and though late, got well
2. Die Dom. Mr. Hasle preached honestly, but, in my slender judgment, far off so well and learnedly as he, whose worthy labours we usually enjoy : spent too much of the day in frivolous visits and discourse, more fit for any other than the Sabbath-day. Evening, very happily lighted upon a sermon of worthy Mr. Sharp's, that I had writ for cousin Eliz. Idle, repeated it with joy, and retired into the garden, where 1 had more satisfaction in half an hour's meditation, &c. than in all the day besides.
3. At Stittenham, the ancient seat of the Gowers, a knightly family.
4. Rid with uncle Idle and cousin Myers (the lord of that manor,) to Allerthorp : learnt a piece of law from a learned charge given the jury by Mr. Langley; was nobly entertained, and had pleasure enough, but none so great or refreshing as the happy discourse in our return with good cousin Myers, who declared his very heart to me, and was very importunate for direction about the main business. I was extremely glad to hear such discourse, and as my love to him is infinitely increased upon this account, the Lord grant that both our affections may be increased heaven-wards.
5. I returned to York, consulted Lawyer Rook-by* about the northern business, dined at cousin Thoresby's, got well home, and in good time.
6. Went to Wakefield; had nothing of business ; under some discouragements from want of trade.
17. Began our northern journey, had uncle Michael Idle's company, and carried pretty sister Abigail (her dear father's picture) along with me, and got safe to Darlington, forty long miles, and yet she not at all weary.
19. From Newcastle we rid to Morpeth, and thence to Alnwick, where we lodged.
20. Rid to my estate at Rock, dispatched our business, though in haste, and returned to Alnwick again that day.
21. From thence to Newcastle, where, having stayed three or four hours, we rid to Durham ; there I got a sight again of my poor sister. Natural affections wrought sore, and she could not forbear weeping at our parting, which made my very heart bleed within me, and my too violent affections were so strong, that I think I slept not an hour all night, the inconveniences whereof I found the next day.
22. From thence to Northallerton, and having dried us there (it being a most stormy rainy day,) to Boroughbridge, where lodged all night.
23. Die Dom. Rid to Aldborough to church, where a young man treated of the Sacrament, alas ! very obscurely, full of high words, to a poor unlearned congregation; but this was the best we could have in these parts. It was my great trouble that, because of the bad weather, and worse way, we could not reach home yesterday; but imagining I might spend the evening in some good manner there with my desolate family, and being sensible of the many inconveniences that would certainly attend us at the inn, in profane company, was willing to ride home after sermon, but was troubled to find my expectations in some measure frustrated, by the unseasonable visit of some, neither relations, nor very great friends.
24. Spent most of this day in advising about affairs, visiting some friends, having others to dine with me; so that too much of the time was spent in idle, unprofitable talk.
25. About some necessary, though small occasions, in the forenoon; but too much precious time spent afterwards in visits, and converse with friends, though, blessed be God ! not in bad company.
27. Rid to Wakefield, had some little business, but was rather too compliant in the company.
29. Very busy in the forenoon, writing to London and to the North, and sending away some cloth, per carrier; but the latter part of the day not so well employed; for, coming home from a visit, unhappily found some company, (by the means of my housekeeper, cousin S. I.) to my great dissatisfaction, too merry for our circumstances, too many profane words, and much precious time spent idly if not sinfully.
30. Die Dom. In the morning under much trouble and dissatisfaction for the aforementioned business, the remembrance whereof was very bitter and accompanied with great plenty of tears.
31. Most of the day within, imitating the picture of the virtuous Lady Mary, Countess Dowager of Warwick.
June 1. At home till five, writing and abbreviating the life of that incomparable lady ; and here I cannot but record my hopes are that I have found considerable advantage by reading and epitomising the lives of pious and religious persons.
2. Mr. Sharp dined with me, for whose pious advice I hope I shall have cause to bless God to all eternity.
3. Within till five, epitomizing Bishop Cousins's life and drawing his picture ; he was a noble benefactor, and I hope a more sincere Protestant than some would insinuate.
4. At Mr. Milner's at a conference in order to the sacrament.
12. Morning we set forwards, viz. uncle M. Idle, cousin S. Idle and maid, with myself; got well to Bawtree, where lodged.
13. Die Dom. Rid thence to Tuxford (though I thought it had not been so far) and there heard Mr. Charlesworth, who made a very honest though not very elegant discourse; and thence rid to Newark : the maid unfortunately got a grievous fall perhaps we may read the crime, traveling upon the Lord's-day, in the punishment, but was not much worse.
14 Thence to Wansford, near which town a cart driving furiously down the hill, hit the maid's horse and caught hold of her clothes, but got her not under the wheel, though at the very door of death : thence to Stamford, and so to Stilton, where we lodged.
15. Thence to Royston, and thence to Ware, where stayed all night.
16. To London by noon. Afternoon at Captain Widdrington's about the business which chiefly occasioned this journey.
17. Heard the famous Mr. Baxter preach, was pleased with the very sight of that worthy good man, but lost the advantage of his sermon by business and diversions; was at Captain W.'s and then at Westminster.
20. Die Dom. Heard Mr. Slater in the forenoon, and Mr. Stretton in the evening; but, alas, being involved in so much business and company, had not the time, or rather improved it not so well as to write the heads, whereby lost most of the advantage.
21 to 26. Every day employed either about my concerns at Rock with Captain Widdrington, or visits at Mr. Stretton's and good cousin Dickenson's, or buying books and pictures of good or great persons, and can better acquit myself for going with good company to see Paradise, where multitudes of beasts and birds are lively represented both in shapes and notes, than in going to see a play, whither curiosity carried me, but fear brought me back. It was the first, and I hope, will be the last time I was found upon that ground.
27. Die Dom. Heard the famous Dr. Stilling-fleet in the forenoon; Mr. Pemberton in the afternoon, and Mr. Stretton in the evening ; but, as last Lord's-day, lost most of the advantage for want of writing the heads.
Most of this week spent in business with Captain Widdrington, Sir Richard Stott, &c. the rest in visits, buying things, transcribing monuments in Westminster Abbey, in which I can better excuse myself than in staying so late on Saturday night at Captain Widdrington's, where was too great plenty of the strongest liquors, which afflicted me by their conquest of my friend, which being partly on my account, I desire may be for my humiliation.
July 4. Die Dom. Went to Newington-green to hear Mr. Joseph Boyse preach, which I rejoiced in as the first-fruits of our generation ; he showed very accurately our happiness under the Gospel in comparison of those under the law. I came back with ditto, good friend, to hear Mr. Charnock and Mr. Stretton in the evening, from whom and family, especially my dearest cousin, I parted with a sad heart.
5. Came from London to Cambridge, where observed some stately buildings and curious libraries.
6. From Cambridge to Bridge Casterton.
7. Thence to Barnby-moor, and,
8. Thence home.
9. At Mr. Boyse's, and about some necessary affairs ; but in the evening much disturbed by the ingratitude of some persons, that I expected better things from.
10. Writing letters about some urgent business; at Holbeck with Aunt; and other visits took up the rest of the day.
17. Writing, and taken up with stating Rock accounts. Lord, help me to be the better for the greater plenty and prosperity that I enjoy; and not like the worldling, either to set my heart thereon, or be more negligent in spiritual things.
18. Die Dom. Mr. Sharp, Psalm cxxii. 6. Shake off your security; never since the establishment of Protestancy amongst us, was there such grounds of fear. Be of public spirits ; look up to the gasping estate of the Protestant religion with an affected eye. 1. Consider the example of God's children in all ages. David, in his greatest agonies for those two great sins, Psalm li, cries out " Lord, build up the walls of Jerusalem. 2. Consider your near relation to Jerusalem : all our private cases, like as the several cabins in a ship, are interested in the Church's prosperity. Jerusalem's cause is the cause of God, and therefore it shall certainly prevail at last. Who so hard-hearted as not to throw in some prayers to the churches; who cannot bestow a benevolence of tears, or levy a subsidy of sighs for Jerusalem's sake ?
19. Forenoon, with J. Robinson, about Northern tenants, and writing to Captain Widdrington, Cousin Dickenson, &c. After dinner, at Mr. Murfield's with young Mr. W.; and evening with other company about some business, which, notwithstanding, was put off till
20. At Widow D.'s, lent out some money ; afterward, with the said Londoner, and at Alderman Sykes'; but alas! spent the whole day in visits, &c.
21. Afternoon, at Mr. Morris's banquet, had some learned company, the Vicar and two antiquaries, that made the entertainment abundantly more acceptable.
24. Writing ut prius, and with my kind friend, Mr. Henry Fairfax, having the honour to be sent for by my Lord Fairfax and Squire Palmes, who expressed great kindness to rne for my dear father's sake :—the Lord give me wisdom in all things.
27. About some business all day till four, and then took horse with Uncle T. to York, and so to Stitnam that night. Blessed be God for his preservation! the waters being very great and dangerous.
28. Forenoon, looking over Sir Thomas Gore's library, the best furnished with ancient fathers and commentators, both Popish and Protestant, upon the Scriptures, of any that I have seen; the rest were mostly on Medicine, for which Sir Thomas was justly famous. Then at Bulmer, to visit relations there; designed home, but was beat back by a violent shower, which wetted me through all in a small time.
29. Came from Bulmer to York ; after business dispatched, went to the Hall, where one Twing, a Popish priest, was upon his trial, found guilty and condemned accordingly, but not upon the account of religion, but treason,—saying at a consult at Sir Tho. Gascoyne's, at Barnbow, that if they lost this opportunity of killing the King they could never expect such another. After at the Minster, transcribing the monuments of Archbishops Hutton, Matthews, and Frewin. Evening, to see the Manor.
30. Dispatched my business; went to the hall where Lawyer Ingleby was tried, but before concluded,! took horse and got very well home.
Aug. 1. Die Dom. Mr. ——— from a good text, " Cease to do evil, learn to do well :" made no extraordinary matter ; declaring positively, in many per-sons' sentiments, for downright Arminianism. Mr. Kay, jun. in the afternoon, made a better discourse from Prov. xxviii. 14, showing, that though nothing can be hid from the all-seeing eye of God, yet poor sinful creatures are too apt to endeavour it the best they can. Mr. Sharp, Hos. xiv. 4, made an excellent discourse, showing that sin is the soul's sickness, and Christ alone can be the soul's physician :—for use; no wonder then, that God is angry with these nations so full of backsliders. It was the observation of a famous Scotchman, which though at first it look like a scandal, will upon a serious consideration be too evident a truth; that there can be no doctrine so monstrous, but it will find its followers in England; the newer the doctrine, the nearer they think themselves to Heaven; and, indeed, most are too like sheep in this respect, that are observed to eat most greedily of the grass that rots them.
11. Writing to London ; sent for out; (as part of yesterday forenoon;) endeavouring to make peace betwixt Cousin Ibbetson, of London, and Cousin Cloudsley, of Leeds, which I hope was effected, so that we all dined together at Cousin C's.
12. Almost all the day transcribing my dear Uncle Thomas Idle's Will, especially what relates to his benefaction to Holbeck Chapel.
15. Die Dom. Mr. Milner, vicar, preached extraordinary well from Jonah ii. 2, showing that our prayer must be fervent, if we would prevail for mercy. If all Conformists preached thus, excellent, sound divinity, and practical, as this good man, who could be against hearing them? But, alas ! in the afternoon, Mr. Medcalf made sad dull, nay, I doubt, profane matter of it; using malicious expressions to render the poor Nonconformists ridiculous, &c. " Do but hire a stage," saith he, " and I will find the actors ; the precise fellow, that like the Pharisees, delight in long prayers, &c. and felt the pulse of a holy sister." Mr. Sharp did excellently improve his former doctrine, that those that seek the Lord shall find; by way of reproof: 1. to those that cannot seek God, they arc so ignorant: 2. those that will not, serve God, let things go which way they will: 3. those that spend their time in seeking other things, and so continue till the cold grave devour their body, and hot Tophet burn their soul: 4. seekers of pleasure : 5. those that desire the name, rather than the thing; religion being now-a-days too like a dial; when the sun shines, all will look upon it, but when that is down, all is done: those hypocrites are (as one glosses upon it) the freeholders of hell.
16. Morning, writing the heads of yesterday's excellent sermons, and reading the admirable letter of the pious Countess of Warwick to the Lord Berkeley Lord, help me to follow such excellent directions ! was in a contemplative humour; much affected that tins very day completes twenty-two years since I came into this sinful world; was afterwards about some business, and was much troubled at the anger I oppressed with, by the uncivil and unjust carri-age of one I expected his principles should have taught better. Oh, the various crosses that attend us in this world! I have lost this friend by too great kindness : I had both money and a friend, but now can procure neither in that place.
20. Writing to the North, and to Cousin Dicken-son of London. Evening took horse, and rid with Cousin Ruth to Pannel, whither, though late enough, and in the dark, we got very well.
21. Went early to the Spaws ; drank of both waters freely, and hope for benefit by them.
22. DieDom. Designed for Knaresborough Church, but prevented by the effect of the waters.
23. Drunk the waters before noon; after rid to ditto Church, and took the inscriptions of the monuments of the Slyngsbys; much pleased with the serious humour of one, where, above all, stood an angel, with a trumpet, calling Venite ad judicium. Under the name and titles of the Knight in his winding-sheet, Omnia Vanitas!
24. Drinking the waters; rest of day in company, mostly with Dr. Hook's son and daughter, walking, &c.
25. Drinking the waters early, and returned to hear Mr. Sharp's lecture; afterwards visiting Mr. W.'s, and a-walking with Mr. Wispelaer, and spent most of the day in that manner, which I hope may be for my health; but must be cautious, lest I gratify the flesh to the detriment of the spirit.
26. Rid to Wakefield, and returned well in good time; the greater mercy, because in the evening was such thunder and lightning as would have startled the stoutest heart, so extremely violent, and after such a dreadful manner, as some in a fright were ready to judge the approach of the day of doom, and accompanied with such a quantity of rain, that, having my boots on, was forced to wade to the midleg by the houses, where is no water at other times, in my return from Mr. E. H.'s.
28. Writing to London, and with tenants ; but chiefly epitomizing the life of that Pillar of Justice, Judge Nichols; but I doubt my affections are too much bent upon books, which, though not unlawful, yea, in some respects commendable in themselves, yet I am afraid an immoderate love to them doth withdraw my affections too much from more practical duties.
31. After dinner had the honour of a visit from Mr. Henry Fairfax and Mr. Corlas; (the virtuous Lady Barwick's* chaplain ;) was much satisfied with their excellent company.
September 1. Mr. Sharp's lecture ; showing, that the time of a people's enjoying the means of grace is their morning, and fitly compared thereunto, in respect of its imperfection in respect of heaven, which is the day, and its shortness. Showed farther, that the more light God doth vouchsafe, the shorter usually the time is: the old world had 120 years, but those in the wilderness only forty; and so less and less; and our light appears to be very excellent,—a clear light, far excelling even that of the Jews, which was clouded till Christ's coming, with mysterious ceremonies; and much clearer than most or all the world's,—a great part of which is clouded with thick mists of antichristian superstition ; but now, if we improve not this, our sins, of all others, will be most inexcusable, and we shall be the greatest reproach to the ways and truth of God, and to our own souls, which was the second doctrine: that if this morning be mispent, it shall quickly be turned into night, which was evinced from many sad examples ; even Jerusalem herself, of which God had said that place should be his rest, yet for her slighting the Gospel, is become desolate. So all those famous Asian Churches, mentioned in the Revelations, those of Corinth, Coloss, Ephesus, &c. all which once enjoyed the same glorious light of the Gospel, and had as sober, serious professors as Europe can now boast of; and yet, alas ! for this very sin, they are all desolate, and become the habitation of the destroying Turk. And what now shall be said to England I know not, only this, Be not high-minded, but repent; for the Gospel is a mercy too precious to be abused and trampled under foot by unworthy professors. God will not lend it as out-ward mercies of health, wealth, &c to the slighters of it, but will certainly remove it far from us ; for it is nothing but just with God to turn the light of a people into darkness when they reject it, winch is the crying sin of this land: to say nothing of any public, our own defections are very ominous. It has been impartially observed, that ever since the first Reformation in Edward the Sixth's time, there has been a decay of love to the truth in sincerity; but farther, though there has been a decrease for these 130 years, yet it has been much more evident these last thirty years ; so that, upon a serious consideration, we have great cause to fear that God will remove the light of his rejected Gospel from amongst us, the signs whereof are clear, even as the natural sun.
1. You know it always sends its beams westward, and so this Sun of Righteousness, it began to show its lustre in Jewry, eastward from us, and so came westward to the Churches of Asia, where it stayed for a time; thence to the Grecian Churches farther west, where it shone somewhat longer; and from thence to Italy and Spain, where it was soon overshadowed with idolatry and superstition ; then the light broke forth in a happy Reformation in Germany, still more westward ; and so came at last, in its full lustre, to these our nations; and now, whether it shall go from us to America and the West Indies, God himself knows best: however, this is certain, that the Gospel must be preached even to them, that the light thereof may shine through the whole world.
2. Shadows grow longer towards night, and is it not thus with us? I am sure the shadows of religion increase more than the substance, so that there is little else than the shadow of. it amongst us.
3. Toward night it grows cold ; and so doth the love of many, nay most, towards the ways of God. Professors of old have even been sick of love to the Ordinances ; but now, those meetings that used to be spent in bewailing their wants and directing one another heavenwards, are usually taken up in scurrilous discourse, drinkings, &c.
4. Towards night men can outstare the sun, the too common practice of many now-a-days, that practice contrary to what they know to be right and true.
5. Towards night persons grow more sleepy; and do not most live a sleepy, secure life, as though they had made a covenant with death, and feared no danger from God's severe justice? All that is spoken to them is as stories told to a sleeping man; and should any one be asked when he goes out here, what he hath heard? perhaps they might say, a good sermon, holy matter: but alas! how little would be fully remembered, and how much less practised!
6. Wild beasts (seducers) stir out and devour towards night.
7. Men set up candles, and how many false pretended lights have lately been set up amongst us; and, lastly, men choose new things with us, as in the Egyptian darkness men know not which way to go, some to Quakerism, Anabaptist Antinomianism, and they will not leave their Dalilahs, their beloved errors. Alas ! how we should lament the loss of the sun in the firmament, though but for three or four days; but if this glorious Sun of Righteousness withdraw its light, it will not be for such a short time, and this will certainly be, if we repent not. Our morning will be turned into night: whence this third doctrine, that a serious consideration of the swift motion of our time should be an effectual motive to repentance. Who is there that seriously thinks upon the shortness of life and length of eternity, the shortness of the day and length of the night, but would look about for help in time? Oh ! the madness of those who are notionally convinced of the truth of all this, yet will not regard,—will have excuses. Come to a young man:—well, it is too soon for him—he must now enjoy himself. "Rejoice" saith the wisest man, "in the day of thy youth, before the evil days come," &c. Well, after a few years, the young man is grown up to manhood : repentance then comes to claim its promise. Oh! now ? not now! he was never more busy in all his life ; he is now entering upon the world, must take care for an estate—he that provides not for his wife and children is worse than an infidel; but come in his old age, and then he will certainly repent and turn. Suppose him well stricken in years;—well, then it is too troublesome, he hath pangs enough to grapple with; he hopess God will be merciful, and not damn his own workmanship, and so alas! is miserably deluded till too late. .... After dinner, rode with Squire Fairfax, Mr. Corlass, Mr. E. Hickson, and Mr. Wispelaer to Bradford ; was to visit Mr. Waterhouse, &c., and to my exceeding satisfaction, Mr. Corlass prayed in the family. I have not in my life been so pleased with a journey ; such duties being too frequently omitted by the best upon the road.
2. Morning, my dear friend prayed again very fervently ; I was greatly pleased, that being so many young men on travel, we should so happily agree in the best things. Rode to Little Horton, and dined with Mr. Sharp, that holy angelical man ; was much in his library. Evening, returned home, but was wet to the very skin by a terrible thunder shower, the most violent, I think, that has often been known.
13. Set forward, though melancholy, and all alone, towards Durham, baited at Northallerton, and got well to Darlington.
14. Got to Durham pretty early; and found my poor sister, and all relations, pretty well.
15. Enjoyed the converse of friends; then dined at Cousin Walker's; went afterwards to see the Abbey ; viewed the exceedingly rich copes and robes, was troubled to see so much superstition remaining in Protestant Churches; tapers, basins, and richly embroidered I.H.S. upon the high altar, with the picture of God the Father, like an old man; the Son, as a young man, richly embroidered upon their copes. Lord, open their eyes, that the substance of religion be not at length turned into shadows and ceremonies!
16. Advising with Aunt, &c.; returned from Durham to Allerton, and thence to Topcliffe, though late enough.
17. From Topcliffe returned to my desired home.
23. At Wakefield, and thence at the earnest entreaty of Mr. Wispelaer, (of the same Romish persuasion) rid to Aunt Thoresby's, at Snidall, but got well home again that night.
25. Set forward very early in the morning with Mr. Robert Hickson; had a very rainy morning; wet to the skin, before we reached Wentbrig, where we stayed some while : thence by Doncaster to Bawtry, and so to Gainsborough at night; but in the way had to ferry over the Trent, and had many rivulets to ride over within evening, but without any damage.
26. Went early in the morning to the Church; transcribed some epitaphs ; then heard an honest sermon, and then rid three miles to Knaith, to the Lady Willoughby's of Parham, in expectation of an extraordinary sermon, and so it proved, indeed; but in the worst sense, full of nothing in the world but raille-nes against Protestant Dissenters, who, in his opinion, were far more dangerous enemies than the Papists ; was much troubled at our disappointment, and to see the house so sadly degenerated so shortly after the Lord's death, who had the repute of a most honest, worthy, judicious, and religious Lord ; we rid from thence over the noted heath to the ancient city of Lincoln, whither we got well, though late in the evening.
27. Got up early to view the town, and chiefly the Cathedral, an ancient and stately fabric, where by the assistance of one Clark, a poor but ingenious man, I transcribed not only the modern, but the names and some inscriptions of the ancient Bishops' tombs; thence we travelled to Sleeforth, where we baited, and in the church I found and transcribed the monuments of the Carrs ; thence to ...
28. From thence to .... but in the church was no monument; but Mr. North, the minister, had given Mr. Mede's Works, whence I transcribed his Epitaph; from thence (for we would not venture to ride the washes, which are dangerous at best) we rid to Wisbeach, an ancient and large market-town, having in it a bishop's house and a fair church, but no monuments of antiquity. For Mr. R.'s, &c. vide p. 93, which I transcribed, not without difficulty, through the ignorance and impudence of the sexton, who took me for a Papist. But we found much civility from two gentlemen related to Mr. Hickson, so we stayed all night; in the evening we heard a good honest sermon from one Mr. Howe, which was some satisfaction for the smallness of the journey this day.
29 This morning, before we left Wisbeach, I had the sight of an hygre, or eager, a most terrible flush of water, that came up the river with such violence that it sunk a coal vessel in the town, and such a terrible noise that all the dogs in it snarl and bite at the rolling waves, as though they would swallow up the river; the sight of which (having never seen the like before) much affected me, each wave surmounting the other with an extraordinary violence. From Wisbeach we rid to Setcha, a small country village, but much noted for the beast fair, all the closes round the town for a considerable distance being spread over with beasts from Scotland, &c. : and (if not too light an observation in this place) for the common country proverb, Setcha has but thirteen houses and fourteen cuckolds ; true enough in the former part, but I charitably hope false in the latter. From thence we rid to Lynn, three miles off, a stately great town, with many churches but few monuments; and it being late I transcribed none, though the chief reason was because I could attain the knowledge of few or no considerable benefactors, Here I saw the famous cup which King John gave to the town, which is preserved with great honour and veneration, and it being the new Mayor's festival, I had not the sight of it only, but the honour to have it brought me by the Mayor himself, who (when according to the ancient custom I had taken off the cover) drunk his Majesty's health in sack, and then turned one part of the bottom of the cup to himself and the other to me, and so having received it, drank to another gentleman after the same manner.
30. Before four, in a cold frosty morning, I took horse, and having raised the people at the city-gate, I went along with my guide, (having left Mr. Hick-son at Lynn,) to . . . . , fourteen miles off, and thence alone through many country towns, but none of any note, till I came at noon to that ancient, famous, and stately city of Norwich, where the first thing I observed, as I rid along, was the manner of building not only many houses, but churches, of flint; some flint alone, others flint and stone, or brick mixed, and the east end of the town-house is very curiously chequered with squared flints and brick. Christ's church, or the cathedral, is a stately building, and kept in very good repair and order, whence I transcribed many curious monuments of ancient and some modern bishops ; and in a very pretty chapel adjoining, of that late worthy divine Bishop Reynolds' foundation : and having thus spent the afternoon abundantly to my satisfaction, I enjoyed in the evening the company of some acquaintance, &c., and early next morning took coach for London. The first place we baited at was . . . ., whence, in the adjoining church, I had the epitaph of Sir Francis Bickley, famous for his numerous posterity ; and thence to . . . ., where we dined, but there were no monuments in the church ; thence over a great spacious heath, many miles long and broad, where we had a fine prospect of Ely Minster, to . . . .; and thence to Newmarket, where we had the honour to see his Majesty and the Duke of York ; thence over the spacious heath to Stour-bridge, where the noted yearly fair is, where we had the prospect of two churches in one churchyard, built by two sisters; and thence to Cambridge, where we lodged at night. Early next morning we mounted Goginagog hills, whence in a very misty unhealthy morning, we came to . . . ., where we baited ; thence we past by the greatest house in England, viz. Audley-end, a vast building, or rather town walled in ; it is adorned with so many cupolas and turrets above, walks and trees below, as render it a most admirably pleasant seat: thence we came to Saffron Walden, in Essex, where grows that costly flower, which teaches them to rise early ; for they must either be up before the sun to take the seeds, or they lose the prize : from thence to . where we dined, and from thence to Hogsden, three miles from Ware, and seventeen from London, which appeared but short, because of the pleasantness of the way, almost like a continued town or street. I got safe to London that night. . . . This evenly though very late, I went to Mr. Stretton, from Bishopsgate to Holborn, and there, alas ! received the sad tidings of my poor cousin, Bus. Idle's resolution, to bestow herself upon one Stubbs, altogether unworthy of so virtuous a young woman, whom I cordially love, for her goodness, much above the common pitch of this age.
Oct. 13. All or most of the day in buying several things, seeking funeral sermons, lives, and pictures of eminent persons.
15. Morning, inquiring for Mr. Hickson, sen.; then went by water to Westminster with cousin R. Idle, bought some pictures, and, upon return, found my fellow-traveller, and stayed with him till late.
16. Die Dom. Mr. H. being gone ere I called, I returned back to the Dutch church, but understood not so much as I expected, because of the great echo that church makes. As the custom is, after sermon, sung a psalm, wherein I joined them with great satisfaction, understanding then what I read and sung; after dinner, with M. R. H., went up to Mr. Stretton's, had some discourse with him, and then returned to the Dutch church.
17. Went to Whitehall with Mr. R. H., and saw the Duke of Monmouth, who was somewhat indisposed, yet, by means of Mr. Skinner, we were admitted into the bed-chamber, when he discoursed pretty freely; and, understanding by Mr. R. H., that we came from Leeds, the great clothing-place, he answered, with a smile, we were not for popery there,* no more than they in the West, alluding to his extraordinary kind entertainment there (as in the public news); then we called at Mr. Fairfaxs, to see my Lord and him.
18 To take leave of Mr. Stretton . . . .; was at the other end of the town about a horse, &c. Evening, took leave of my good cousin Dickenson and family, who has approved himself the most faithful, cordial, true-hearted friend, I ever met with in London, and indeed equal to the best I have in the world, which true testimony I purposely mention, as a note of gratitude.
19. Morning, departed from the metropolis of this island, and one of the most famous cities in the world, to Tottenham High Cross, where is an ancient built column, erected in the full road : thence to Waltham, where is a most curious stately cross, erected by King Edward I. in memory of his beloved Queen Eleanor ; it is adorned with the well-cut statues of several saints, kings, queens, &c.: thence to Edmonton, where, in the midst of the town, is a fair conduit, in the form of a woman, with a pitcher under her arm, whence continually issueth a stream of water: thence to Hogsden, where is an ancient house, with stately turrets, and a curious garden, with the best and largest pine-trees I have seen : thence to Ware, twenty miles from London, a most pleasant road in summer, and as bad in winter, because of the depth of the cart-ruts, though far off as bad as thence to Buntingford and Puckeridge, and part of the way to Royston, though we got well thither.
20. From thence, early in the morning (long before day) to Godmanchester, a great town, and almost joined to a greater, Huntingdon, a county town ; but there we stayed not but rid on by two very delicate stately buildings to Stamford, and thence two miles further to Bridge Casterton, where we lodged all night.
21. As early up again, and passed safely the great common, where Sir Ralph Wharton slew the highwayman, and Stonegate Hole, a notorious robbing place, by Grantham, the church whereof is reported to have the highest steeple in England ; to Newark, a garrison in the late war for King Charles I., where, in the ruins of the old castle, I saw the place where my grandfather was kept prisoner; within two miles of which, through a too passionate respect to, and fear of, Mr. Hutton (who promised to meet at night the rest of the company), I left the road and lost the company, who designed for Barnby-moor; but the way and weather being very bad, Mr. Hut-ton (for whose sake, lest he should receive any damage, being too full of drink, I had left the other company) would not stir a foot farther than Tux-ford, so that I had to ride alone eight tedious long miles, in a place easy enough to mistake the way in, especially in a dark evening, over Shirewood Forest; but through the mercy of a good God, I got safe to my designed stage, and before the rest of the company.
22. Thence to Bawtry: to my no small joy now got into my native country again. From that Millstone town to Doncaster, and thence by Ferrybridge to Brotherton, where I visited old Mrs. Rayner, being my great grandfather's father's third wife, now a great age, having lived to see many of her grandchildren's grandchildren. It was somewhat late ere I got home.
23. Die Dom. Mr. Sharp, from Acts xxvi. 8, showed that Jesus Christ, by the ministry of the word, brings liberty to those that are captives to the Power of Satan. By nature, we are in the power of Satan, and how great that is, is clear from Scrip, lure. He is called the God of this world, and that is the highest power. Consider his natural power as a fallen angel, and then his regal power as chief of the spirits, and you will find them great; but sometimes he has a greater power given him by God: 1. Over the bodies of men, as many examples in history, and some in our own memories do clearly evince. 2. Sometimes to inflict distempers upon them, as in Job's case. 3. To torment their bodies, as in bewitched persons ; and, lastly, sometimes to take away life from the body, as in witches, that have made a formal contract with the Devil. But God seldom allows him this immediate power on the bodies of his children. But though these examples of his power over men's bodies are very dreadful, even to make our hair stand on end at the reading thereof, many whereof are contained in a book called the Theatre of God's Justice, yet this is nothing to the design he hath upon, and power over the souls of men. 1. By a tempting power to sin ; he being a spirit can approach nearer the souls of men. 2. By a deluding power. 3. By a tyrannizing power over all, and even a ruling power over the wicked. ..... Afternoon, I went to church, but could have wished myself at home, a stranger preaching very meanly. I was especially vexed at these words, " Precise persons now-a-days will cry out of innocent plays and honest comedies, &c., when in the mean time themselves are the greatest actors in the world." A speech, in my opinion, very unbecoming a minister of the Gospel at any time, much more in the pulpit, leading to the encouragement of those insatiable devourers of precious time.
24. Morning writing to London ; but most of the day abroad visiting friends, and discoursing Mr. Kay and Mr. B. Dixon (a faithful friend) concerning the London business.
27. (Our fair-day,) being the last day (last year) that I enjoyed the invaluable happiness of my dear father's prayers, directions, society, &c. ; the reflections upon the severe Providence of God in depriving us of so every way useful a person to Church and State, and the unspeakable loss to this poor desolate family almost overwhelmed me; the violence of natural affections, augmented with the sense of the displeasure of God for my sins, the occasion of so severe a dispensation, was so extreme, that such rivers of tears issued from my eyes, as almost deprived me of the use of them ; the smart and pain scarce suffering me to open them, accompanied with such an exceeding pain in my head, as made me doubt what the issue would be ; which sorrow (though the pain abated) continued the next,
28th, day, so that I refused all consolation ; would not stir into town, but retired, spending the time in bitterness and lamentation for my unspeakable loss,— a mercy to his pious soul, yet a judgment upon me!
Nov. 1. Thinking to have got up by six, was mistaken ; rose so early, that I had read a chapter before it chimed four; spent most of the time in reading my dear father's diary. I entered into a resolution, to redeem more time, particularly to retrench my sleeping time, and getting an alarm put to the clock, and that set at my bed's head, to arise every morning by five, and first to dedicate the morning (as in duty obliged) to the service of God, by reading and prayer; to spend some hours in writing and collecting remarks upon the lives and deaths of the saints and servants of God in most, or all ages ; and I have thoughts, and some glimmering hope to bring down a continued series of all the heroes, both spiritual and temporal, since the very first planting of Christianity in this our island.
2. This morning again I got up sooner than I designed, having read a chapter before four; till day, writing into a book the inscriptions I had taken from some monuments in London.
3. Most of the day transcribing some observations upon the lives and deaths of some great persons, out of Lloyd's Memoirs.
5. Morning, preparing charcoal and powder for a ship of war ; then heard Mr. Sharp, who made an excellent discourse, and suitable to the deliverance vouchsafed our ancestors upon this day ; in the evening, full of company, to see the ship discharged.
6. Morning, writing to Durham and Newcastle; afternoon, spent rather too much time abroad, though not in bad company, or I hope bad discourse, though much in controversy about Con. and Nonconformity.
7 Die Dom. Mr. Naylor made such a discourse as I am apt to believe, was never preached in the New church since it was built, so full of rancour against poor Dissenters.
10. Morning, writing; and surprised with the death of honest Mr. Robert Myrfield, as courteous and well humoured a person, as the town of Leeds afforded; lamented the loss of him, being also a serious Christian, and willing to do any kindness that lay in his power.
15. Writing in the morning; but spent most of the day in visits, especially Mr. Naylor, with design of discourse about his sermon.
22. In the house all day, sorting the effigies of many worthy persons, to place them according to their several centuries in my collection.
Dec. 2. Afternoon with some company to perform the usual ceremony of going to drink with cousin Fentons, at Woodhouse Hill, where stayed late enough though not so late as some, being resolute against drinking, having observed the bad consequence.
6. Writing some Collections till noon from five in the morning, (having procured an alarm to the clock.) designing to prosecute my former resolutions not to sleep away so much of my precious time, but endeavour to improve it to what advantage I can, which I have the more need to do considering the frequent summons to many persons-more likely for life than myself, as J N. at whose funeral I was.
9. Up ut prius, writing till noon, then dined at uncle Idle's; thence sent for by Mr. B. D.; writing till nine in the evening the public donations, gifts to the poor, lecturer, free-school, highways, &c. designed to be engrossed upon a table, and hung up in the church, which good design my dear father was very earnest in prosecuting many years ago, but prevented by the iniquity of some great persons, who had of the poor's money in their hands.
13. Arranging the pictures of many noted persons, in order to fix them methodically into the book.
16. Lost too much of the morning; most of the day pasting the collection of pictures, and placing them according to their several generations.
21. Came from Snidall with cousin and Mr. Wispelaer; dined at Dr. Neale's, and stayed there rather too long at play, to the loss of too much precious time.
27. Morning set forward with friends for the North; got well to Rippon, and thence, though some miles in the dark, without harm to Catterick.
28. Thence to Piercebridge and Bishops Aukland; transcribed the epitaph of Bishop Cousins, interred in a stately chapel of his own foundation; thence to Durham, without prejudice, though the ways very deep and the night dark.
29. Dined at cousin Walker's, and stayed most of the day there, with relations.
31. Rid with cousins to Newcastle.