A. D. 1683.
Jan. 11. Morning, as once before, much disordered
about the imprudent carriage of . . ., which, good Lord reform, which
made my journey with sister to Helaugh more uncomfortable, though the
extremity of the weather was enough to make it unpleasant; but, blessed
be God, we got well thither, though Mr. C. Morris, whom we overtook
upon the road, by a sudden and dangerous fall with his horse, had like
to have been killed.
12. All forenoon employed with Mr. Gunter in his library, noting his manuscripts, lives, funeral sermons, &c. ; afterwards returned well home.
13. Forenoon, writing; after, with Mr. W., at Mr. I. F.'s, of W., which took up rest of day. Even, perusing and marking books in two catalogues, sent me by worthy Mr. Stretton.
20. Forenoon, perusing and comparing ancient Saxon coins with those in King Alfred's Life, to send them to Oxford, to be inserted, if different, in the next edition. Afternoon, abroad at stationer's; rest reading.
23. Too much disturbed—by a message from Mr, H. which I feared might stir up the magistrates against us ; abroad about that, and other affairs, all the forenoon ; after with Dr. Johnston, of Pontefract, perusing some books and coins. Evening, at Mr. Hill's with Mr. Kay, Mr. Br. Dixon, &c. till eight.
25. Morning, rode to Wakefield, thence with Mr. R. Beavot, to Ackworth, where kindly entertained by honest Parson Bolton, whose library kept me company some hours ; rest of time and much of the next day,
26. Spent there in society of friends and relations ; part of forenoon taking several inscriptions relating to Dr. Bradley, the last rector, who married the Lord Savile's daughter, very memorable for constantly wearing a veil day and night, having made a vow no Englishman should see her face, and which according to the strictest account I can procure, she observed till within six weeks of her death ; after dinner called at cousins, at Preston, and thence returned well home.
27. Forenoon, mostly abroad ; afternoon had some special friends at our house, consulting how to order our meetings inoffensively, that we may enjoy them in private.
Feb. 2. Morning writing, and perusing several authors concerning the British affairs under the Roman Conquests, till three; then at Mr. B. D.'s, consulting about a necessary work of charity, but spent not the evening so well when at dancing-school with Md. D., Mr. T., &c.
10. Forenoon abroad ; consulting about to-morrow's meeting: afternoon, employed in upper study till evening, which was spent till eight, at Mr. T. W's. Rest, till rather too late, in perusing the fourth part of the Conformists' plea for the Nonconformists, containing several passages in the north, the truth whereof we practically know. Lord, do thou restrain the fury of the oppressor, and give us a sanctified use of all thy dispensations to thy afflicted servants for Christ's sake.
17. Morning up at five, writing a bond, and dispatching the remainder of my small concerns ; then rode to York, got well thither and in good time. Spent the afternoon there in visits and trivial business. Evening in discourse with good Mrs. Hickson.
19. Up pretty timely preparing for a journey, and somewhat concerned about company, fearful of being confined to a coach for so many days with unsuitable persons, and not one I know of. At Streethouse, took up a gentleman and his man, who proved very good company, (not so hot as I feared, being the Archbishop's son,) Richard Sterne, Esq. Parliament-man for Ripon ; thence passed by Tadcaster, where took leave of uncle and cousin Idle, then through Sherburn and Milford, to Ferrybridge, and thence after dinner, to Doncaster, where we lodged, and there took in Mr. H. and daughter.
20. Morning viewing the church; then in journey passed by the noted eel-pie house, and left Tuxford (where is a famous benefaction) on the right-hand. To Newark very timely; transcribing some monumental inscriptions in the church. Evening, with our company.
21. Left Newark, which chiefly boasts of a delicate market-place, (quadrangular, and built upon pillars and arches) a curious church and steeple, and an ancient castle, whose walls yield a pretty prospect on the north side the town. Thence to Grantham, whose fair steeple is so high as to occasion the proverb, it's height makes Grantham steeple stand awry. This place is famous, in my esteem, for Bishop Fox's benefactions, but is chiefly noted of travellers, for a peculiar sort of thin cake, called Grantham Whetstones. Thence to Stamford, where spent the evening in transcribing the monument of the famous and deservedly honourable Lord Burghley, that great, pious, and moderate statesman, in Queen Elizabeth's reign, with the inscriptions upon the stone and leaden coffins in the vault.
22. Left Stamford; which glories in four hand-some churches, and two hospitals. We had the prospect of two most delicate and stately houses, Burgh-ley and Exeter house, most princely seats of the noble family of the Cecils ; thence by several country towns and villages to Bugden, where the Bishop of Lincoln has a very commodious, curious, pleasant house, moated about. In the church lie interred Bishop Barlow^ whose monument is most inhumanly defaced ; and the famous Bishop Sanderson, who lies under a flat plain marble, with a modest inscription.
23. From Bugden to Bicklethwait (Biggleswade), where we baited; and thence through country towns, and had a pleasant prospect of St. Neots, a large church town, to Stephenage, where we lodged.
24. Forenoon, passed by the noble kingly palace, at Hatfield, the seat of the Earl of Salisbury, (whose Countess is lately deceased) than which, a more stately, pleasant fabric can scarce be imagined. Thence to Barnet; thence through a continued town, as it were (excepting some pleasant fields and Enfield Chase intermixed) by Highgate, where there is a most delicate hospital and free-school, to London. Spent the evening at my good cousin Dickenson's, where I find undeserved favours still continued to me.
25. Die Dom. Morning heard Mr. Slater. After, heard Mr. Kidder, afterwards, Bishop of Bath and Wells, who made an excellent discourse from Joshua's resolution, " I and my house will serve the Lord." Evening, went to hear worthy Mr. Stretton, in his own family, where he preached well from this doctrine, that God's greatest gift next to his giving Christ to suffer for our sake, is to give us grace to suffer for his sake.
28. Morning, at Mr. Stretton's ; then at St. Clement's Dane, accounted the most delicate church in London for workmanship.
March 1. Morning writing, and then at Black-well Hall, and with cousin R. Idle; after dinner, at Mr. Wright's; employed in his shop amongst books till about four, when called upon by cousin Milner; spent most of the evening with him, at Mr. Hill's; by-the-bye, observing his comely and virtuous daughters, concerning whom I have had some letters from the north. Then at Mr. Stretton's.
3. Forenoon much abroad, buying the effigies of many noted persons ; after, at Mr. Wright's shop till pretty late.
4. Die Dom. Morning heard Mr. Slater; afterwards, I went with cousin Idle, designing to hear Dr. Burnet, at the Rolls, but he not preaching, heard the worthy Dr. Tillotson, after Archbishop of Canterbury, who was discoursing very judiciously and charitably concerning rash censure; that because God chastises some in an extraordinary way, that therefore they must needs be greater sinners : showing, that though we may sometimes see the clear hand of God in the punishment, when the sin is accompanied with diseases, that are a natural con-sequence of it, yet we ought to be very modest and charitable in our observations ; and, therefore, justly blamed the Papists for attributing all the calamities that have befallen this nation to our forsaking of their idolatries. Then dined with cousin at Mr. H.'s, in Leicester Fields, where was importuned to go to Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's, which I was the rather inclined to, because it was supposed Dr. Sprat and the Bishop of Rochester would preach ; but was disappointed in both, and had not my expectations answered in either sermon, both being too full of severity, and censuring those that dissent from the Church. Oh, good Lord ! heal our breaches, compose our differences, and grant those that profess the same faith may live in brotherly love and kindness, without these animosities: and be graciously pleased, O Lord ! to influence the hearts of all men, especially those in authority, to favour thy righteous cause; and grant that those who profess thy name may demean themselves with purity, piety, and blamelessness, that none may have just cause of reproach.
5. Morning, at Mr. Str.'s and with cousin D. to visit honest Captain Wilkinson, under confinement for debt, which, was it a hundred times more, deserved to be paid out of the common treasury, for the public service he did for the whole nation and the Protestant interest.* Evening at funeral, and a bearer, of young Mr. Cholmley, who yesterday sevennight, when I was first with him at Mr. Stretton's, was, I thought, much likelier for life than myself.
6. Forenoon writing, and with cousin Idle ; then dined at Mr. Hill's; was after that at Mr. Wright's, with cousin Milner, and bride, Dr. Bright, &c. with whose company in Paradise, (an ingenious and innocent show,) were entertained till pretty late; much concerned in my mind with what Mr. Str. was discoursing of, a matter of great moment as to me.
12. Morning writing; spent most of the day in visits, particularly at Mr. Hill's, till pretty late in the evening, endeavouring to observe, &c. ; after, discoursing cousin D. very seriously, about what I am solicited to by some that wish me well. Lord! direct me therein.
13. Most of the forenoon advising with Mr. Str. and D. about ditto matter, of consequence as to my particular .... dined at Mr. Goodenough's, and spent the afternoon with cousin Milner there, and at the west end of the town, and too much of the evening, made it past eight ere we returned.
14. Forenoon, till almost eleven, writing and reading ; after, walked in Moorfields, picking up some old pieces; afternoon in visits, till evening.
15. Morning pretty early with honest Mr. El-kanah Hickson, (returned from Flanders,) with whom at Stepney, at Mr. Rooksby's, which took up forenoon; after, till three, at Mr. Wright's; after, variously employed till night.
16. Morning up pretty early, at Mr. Str.'s ; after, at the Temple, to see cousin Idles, which took up too much time; heard only the latter end of a discourse from Dr. Sharp, (since Archbishop of York,) on the joys of heaven : dined at Mr. Wright's; had Dr. Bright's company till three; then went to Dr. Martin, and to Mr. Str. with whom went to visit Mr. Steel, author of that excellent and profitable tract against Distractions; and after, advising with Mr. Str. on a matter which occasioned a visit with my good cousin D. to Mr. D.'s, &c.
17. Former part of the day spent in Mr. Wright's shop, amongst books; dined at Mr. H.'s, with Mr. E. H.; with them till near four; then discoursing with Mr. Denham on a matter of moment as to me. .... went home with him to visit his lovely daughter, &c.
22. Morning at Blackwell Hall, but most of the forenoon at St. Clement's, where Dr. Burnet, since Bishop of Sarum, made an excellent sermon from Rorn. vi. 22, on the service of God. Exceedingly surprised with an unexpected, and, I had almost said, an unconscionable demur of Mr. Denham's, without any show of reason, about which spent the evening till pretty late, with Mr. Stretton and cousin Dickenson.
23. Spent forenoon at Blackwell Hall, with cousin D. now and then discoursing the business. I was under great anxieties and disquiets; afternoon mostly spent with cousin Milner, dispatching some business at the west end of the town; evening discoursing with Mr. Str. about ditto concern.
26. Forenoon reading a small treatise and writing till noon; spent afternoon at Mr. D.'s, discoursing his lovely daughter; perceived several invincible difficulties from some foolish relations.
27. Morning writing : forenoon abroad, mostly at Mr. Wright's looking out books. After exchange consulting with cousin D., then at Mr. D.'s, and had a full account of some disingenuous (to say no worse) transactions not becoming Christians, much less those that profess a greater exactness than the vulgar.
28. Forenoon at Westminster Hall and Abbey, transcribing some monuments. Spent the afternoon in buying odd things for self and friends.
29. Morning within, but most of the day spent amongst booksellers, Mr. Wright, Alsop, and Park-hurst, and in Holborn.
30. Forenoon packing up, &c. After with cousin D. at Mr. Foster's, Clerk to the College of Physicians, a civil, obliging person, by whose interest viewed the College and pictures; whence transcribing a memorable account of Dr. Harvey, took up most of the day.
31. Morning in the Strand, taking leave of poor cousin Stubbs : Lord remember her in mercy ! which, with some trifling business at that end of the town, took up the forenoon.
April 4. Morning up pretty early, making preparations for a journey home. About six or seven took place in the stage coach, passed with good company to Highgate, five miles, where is the Lady's famous Charity School, and where likewise our countryman, Sir Roger Cholmley, Knt. Lord Chief Baron, built and endowed a Free-school, to which the famous Bishop Sands added a chapel, with maintenance, which appears by the inscription over the gate ; but, alas, had not time to transcribe both.
From Highgate, over Enfield Chase, to Barnet five miles ; thence to Hatfield seven, where the Earl of Salisbury has a spacious park and a noble house, one of the most curious prospects I have seen : thence to Welwyn (where we dined) four. Here is Dr. Gabriel Towerson, whose printed works are said to be much esteemed, the minister of a poor ruinated church, upon the outside of which, where has been a breach made, is an inscription, of which vid. p. 241 of my Collections. Thence to Stephenage, five, and through the bad lanes to Baldock, four. As we passed I espied a pretty hospital, but could not be permitted to stay for inquiry. To Bigglesworth, where is nothing observable but a delicate new Inn, with a curious bowling-green as can easily be met with ; here we lodged the first night.
5. Thence to Thameford, four, where is the Lady St. John's house. Thence passed through Eaton, and after had a pretty prospect of St. Neot's, to Bugden, five, where is the Bishop of Lincoln's house, &c. to Bransford (which has a pretty charity) three, near which the Earl of Sandwich has a noble house and park; thence to Huntingdon, three, at which county town we dined, but found not many things observable, save the three churches, in which are several ancient marbles, but the brass torn off. As for Protestant benefactions I could hear of none, save an imperfect relation of one Mr. Fitzburne, who (his mother travelling this road) was born here, (about an hundred years ago) and who after coming to a great estate, left to the Mercers' Company at London 1001. per annum ; viz. 601. to a Lecturer, and 401. to the poor of this town of his nativity. Here is an ancient seat of the Cromwells, but I find no monuments, (except " R. Cromwell and Turpin Bailiffs, anno 1609," in a church wall), but here was the late usurper or Protector born. Thence in the way to Stilton, passed the place where Sir Ralph Wharton slew the highwayman, and had a prospect of Peterborough Minster, and a very pretty house of Sir Hugh Cholmley's ; thence to Stamford, near which had a prospect of Burghley and Exeter houses, the Lords of which are interred in the Great Church of Stamford, which boasts of five churches and four hospitals; one founded by the famous Cecil, in Queen Elizabeth's time, for twelve poor aged men and a master, who have each seven groats a week, besides convenient lodging and firing. The other by William Brown, anno 1495, for ten men and two women, who have each seven groats per week. Here we lodged the second night, so had a sight of the town and hospitals.
6. We came from Stamford to Bridge Casterton, two, and Castleford, eight; thence to Grantham, six, (where we lost the company of Mr. Felton, an ingenious gentleman,) chiefly famous for its high steeple; thence to Gunnerby, two, which stands upon a high hill, where is a pleasant prospect of many country towns ; had also a prospect of the famous Belvoir Castle : through Long Billington to Newark, five, where we dined. Newark, chiefly famous for the castle and market-place, as curious a one as any upon the road; thence on the back of Tuxford, over Sherwood Forest to Barnby-on-the-Moor, where we lodged the third night.
7. Thence through Scrooby to Bawtree (famous for millstones and pigs of lead, hence transported beyond seas) which parts three if not four counties, Nottingham, (if not Derby,) Lincoln, and Yorkshire. Thence to Doncaster: thence over the high hills, where we may have a prospect of Bilborough Spring and York Minster, to Wentbridge; thence to Ferrybridge, where we dined, and thence (not finding a horse according to expectation) through Sherburn to Tad-caster, where left the coach and company and rode to Healey for my sister, with whom returned safe, though very late, to Leeds.
8. Die Dom. Morning waited of cousin Jos. Milner and his bride to hear Mr. Kay, who made a serious affectionate discourse, as always, of the power of Christ's resurrection to the mortification of sin. Dined at cousin Milner's, and after heard Mr. Ben-son, in reference to the day, much upon the same subject.
13. Morning taking leave of Durham and Chester friends. Then employed till near noon within, and thought to have stolen an opportunity to hear a good sermon, but was prevailed with, by the importunity of several messengers, to spend this day,
as too many, with ditto relations, in mirth and jollity at Kirkstal Abbey.
15. Die Dom. Forenoon, had an opportunity for riding three or four miles to hear Mr. Sharp. Afternoon, Mr. Cyprian Hunter preached at the old church ; but made a sermon more suitable to his stature than his pedigree, descended from so excellent a father, and which became him worse, because reflecting upon the Nonconformists as praying nonsense, in not being tied up to their forms. But, alas ! it is no new thing for this sinful compliant generation to trample upon the precious ashes of their religious ancestors. Evening, after repetition, reading Bishop Reynolds's Meditation upon Peter's fall.
18. Morning, writing to Pontefract to Dr. John-ston, and sending the Saxon coins to University College in Oxford, whence, after a full perusal, and inscriptions taken to be inserted in King Alfred's Life, they are promised to be faithfully returned me by Mr. Walker.
26. At York. Morning, writing the inscriptions,and afterwards, with cousins, dined at Alderman Elcock's. Spent the rest of the day in perusing his collections of Roman coins and modern medals; and through him had the happiness of a little discourse with Dr. Comber, a great antiquary, as well as eminent divine. After, with cousins and young ladies, at dancing school; and at the exercise, though at a private house, till pretty late in the evening.
27- Morning, writing. After, abroad with Mr. Boldero and the most ingenious Dr. Lister; but spent most of the day in less understanding (though thereby more fit for my) company. After dinner, returned for Leeds, where I safely arrived at my own private home.
May 6. Die Dom. Morning, sent for by Dr. Johnston of Pontefract, to Squire A.'s, which took up too much of this holy day.
7. Morning, with Mr. Sharp, about subscriptions to a new impression of the Martyr books and Dr. Manton's works. Then reading Charnock's incomparable Discourse upon Practical Atheism.
10. Sent for by Dr. Johnston of Pontefract, my adoptive father; employed in procuring for him writings, charters, inscriptions, benefactions, and antiquities, relating to this town and parish, to insert in his History of Yorkshire.
11. All day reading or writing; chiefly perusing authors concerning Caesar's conquest of Britain.
12. Employed mostly as yesterday, consulting Roman historians about his after conquests.
28. Forenoon, abroad, chiefly at cousin Milner's. After, rode with Mr. B. to Howley-hall, to see the place and pictures of the late Earl of Sussex and family.
31. Spent less time than I designed in Charnock's works, and went to Mr. E. H.'s; stayed there writing. After, at good aunt Lucy Idle's, which took up most of the evening. But, alas! how little of my time is spent in the business for which it was chiefly granted, that for which I was created. Alas! it is not enough to keep from being ill employed, or to be employed in things that, in some respects, are necessary, and perhaps commendable in their season, if I do not spend more of my time about the main thing, the unum necessarium, which I fear is too much slighted. How are the most necessary duties frequently omitted, postponed, or performed in a too transitory carnal manner—too little time devoted to them, too little life or vigour exercised therein ! Lord, help me to improve my time better for the future ; more to the glory of thy name, the good of others, my own soul, and those orphans by thy Providence under my tuition ! Help me so to discharge my duty in every respect, that when thou shalt give me a summons to appear before thy tribunal, I may be able, through the merits of my blessed Redeemer, to give up my accounts with joy for Christ's sake.
[Here ends the First Volume of the Diary. The second has not been preserved. The period contained in it was from the beginning of June 1683 to April 1691. For the occurrences in the life of Thoresby during this interval, we must be indebted to the Review.'}
My second Diary begins with a melancholy account of the sickness and death of the excellent Mr. Kay, minister of the New Church, (whom my dear father had been very instrumental in fixing at Leeds). He was an excellent preacher, and of moderate principles, and was buried with universal lamentation, 20th June, 1683. He was succeeded by Mr. Robinson, who is also a good preacher; but censured by some for giving us his father's sermons. Be whose they will, they are indisputably admirable good ones, and such as we have great cause to bless God for. This may be argued in his defence, that at least some occasional passages relate to later transactions.
Such learned, pious, and practical sermons as have been, and yet are preached in public, occasioned my frequent attendance upon them, which some hot heads censured me too severely for ; and when I could not get in such time to the private meetings, as those who came not at church, some confident young fellows would usurp the best places that were most convenient for hearing and writing, excluding several others as well as myself, who are chiefly concerned in supporting the ministry, which at other times they too much slighted (belonging to another congregation); but now in times of restraint flock in multitudes to the great inconvenience of others, which moved my indignation, and, though not vented in passionate expressions, yet was inwardly too much resented, for which I was afterwards troubled, and hope repented sincerely. One day, indeed, we had an opportunity of meeting more securely, though in greater numbers, when the race was at Chapel Town Moor, to which many came from London, Chester, Newcastle ; the Leeds butcher, Edward Preston, being esteemed one, at least, of the best footmen in England. Three thousand pounds were said to be won by him this day.
JUNE 1. Most of the day within with Mr. R. Garnet, translating the town's charter.
12. Went to see a most wonderful woman, but about two feet long, though twenty-one years old. She was born in Bowden parish, in Cheshire, near the Lord Delamere's, and is said to have no bone in her but the head, though I suppose a mistake. This seerns to me as prodigious as the monstrously great man.
16. To visit worthy Mr. Kay, who is very weak. Lord, restore him in mercy to this populous town, if it be thy blessed will.
18. Morning, reading Mr. Charnock; forenoon and after till about three writing, and perusing British authors, Selden, Virunnius, Speed, &c. concerning Cunobeline.
19. Evening had the honour of a visit from Captain Hatfield, of Hatfield, with some pleasing discourse concerning the antiquities of that place.
20. At the sad funeral of worthy Mr. Kay, who dies much lamented, and whose loss will be sadly experienced every day more and more, especially if not succeeded by another of the same Christian moderate temper. Mr. Kay of ——— preached from, " Then Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed, saying, I beseech thee, Lord, remember me."
21. Perusing Goltzius and several Roman authors about the consular coins.
24. Die Dom. Morning, reading in Mr. Char-nock's incomparable discourse of the power of God. Forenoon, heard Mr. Robinson, (designed for Mr. Kay's successor) from " Remember Lot's wife," from whence he raised a very profitable doctrine, that it is not the singular piety of the nearest relation that will secure an impenitent sinner. It is not the goodness of our parents or yoke-fellows that will satisfy for our impieties, which he applied, and raised several other pretty observations as well as solid truths ; and though some censured him as too full of poetical instances, yet I am sure there were a great many divine truths, which I beg of God a heart to improve. Mr. Sharp preached incomparably from Luke xiii. 5, showing that repentance is the only means to prevent deserved destruction.
July 18. Rode to the Spa with Mr. Samuel Ib-betson
: had good company of him, for which I am the more thankful at such
19. Found myself disappointed of dear Mr. Corlas' company, but had Mr. E. H's. Drank the waters and walked, but found the Spa now, as formerly, a place very unfit for serious thought.
20. and 21. Spent both days in the like employment, drinking of the sulphur and sweet spas, but spent too little time in what should not be omitted upon the greatest occasions.
27. Die Dom. Morning, reading the excellent Mr. Charnock ; then, instead of our worthy vicar, heard a high Don, who coupled the Pope and Dissenting Conventicle preachers hand in hand, as busy persons in other men's concerns : but had little edifying in his discourse, or my wicked heart, as it too often doth, hindered me from profiting.
Aug. 7- Forenoon, employed in showing the collection of coins and rarities to Dr. Burnet, Mr. Gerard and another.
23. With honest Mr. Boyse ; advising with uncle Idle, Mr. R. W., E. EL, about some troubles he is surprised with, merely for conscience sake.
25, At home, placing the pictures in a methodical manner, according to their several generations and qualities : but alas ! I fear spent too much time in these trifles, which was given to be employed in matters of infinitely greater moment. The Lord pardon me !
Sept. 5. Had Alderman Elcock of York's company, viewing Roman coins and antiquities.
Oct. 5. Visited by poor Mr. Trigot, whose imprisonment in York gaol for non-conformity, has brought him to a weak condition.
Oct. 6. We had an unusual memento for repentance, viz. an earthquake; very uncommon in this island, which reached this town about midnight.
I cannot wholly omit my concern for some poor deluded Quakers, who were hurried down this street to York castle, in greater numbers than was ever known in these parts. The Lord open the eyes of the one party, and tender the hearts of the other !
Not many days after I was partly in the same predicament, being prosecuted for being present at what was called a factious and seditious conventicle at Hunslet, where Mr. Sharp was preaching most admirably and practically, from Hebrews xiii. 9. " It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace." In the application, he recited that of the pious martyr, Mr. Bradford, that he would not rise up from prayer till he had received somewhat from God, exciting his love and affections; but, alas ! do not we, on the contrary, though we sometimes come with strong resolutions and affections into the presence of God, rise up halting and half dead, as if we came into his presence to put out our candles ? how can we expect that the prayer, which warms not our own hearts, should move God, —which very sentence I was writing, (and not without some ardency of affection,) when notice was given us that the officers were coming to break us up ; but we had so much time as to disperse. Notwithstanding which, I was indicted at the next Sessions (3d Dec. 1683.) That morning I rose about five, and spent an hour in secret, not unprofitably, I hope, especially begging wisdom and guidance of his Holy Spirit, that I might not dishonour his name, when I should be called before rulers for his sake. I received comfort from that of the Psalmist (before family prayer) : " Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them."
I appeared at the sessions with more courage than my naturally so bashful temper made me expect. The adverse party were enraged, when I appeared with two counsel, lawyers Witton and Atkinson, who pleaded it was no riot, or conventicle, &c. ; so that they missed of their hoped-for prize, 20/. for the house, and as much for the minister ; but it pleased God to preserve him. He was in a neighbour's house, whither the informers pursued him, and searched two rooms; the key of the third (where he sat alone,) being in the door, one of them providentially locked it by turning the key the contrary way, and then lifting up the sneck, said, he could not be there, for the door was locked, and the key on the outside.
As to my own case, all the magistrates (except Mr. Headley, the prosecutor,) carried themselves very civilly to me, and our zealous Recorder, Mr. Whyte, for my dear father's sake, of whom he used to say, that he never thought there was an honest Presbyterian in England, till he was acquainted with that learned and ingenious gentleman.
Nov. 19. Abroad at Alderman Sykes's ; went to see a man (one Sam. Fry, of Dorsetshire,) eat brimstone, lead, bees-wax, sealing-wax, pitch, rosin, blazing-hot : he dropped brimstone in a blaze upon his tongue ; and so wax, and made thereon the impression of a seal, which I have ; and, (which I went the most to see,) he walked upou a red-hot bar of iron, which I fancied to be somewhat like the way of ordeal, much in use among the Saxons, to try persons' innocency by, who possibly might come off victors, though never so culpable, if they had money enough to purchase such a secret from the monks.
30. Received a summons to appear on Monday at the Sessions ; Lord direct me what to say in that hour! Afternoon had Mr. B. D., R. W., E. H., at my house to consult about chapel-accounts and poor's business. Evening, till pretty late, advising with uncle Idle at Mr. E. H's., concerning this prosecution of Conventicles. Lord, in thy due time assuage their causeless wrath against the innocent, for thy name's sake !
Dec. 1. Forenoon, abroad consulting with many friends about, ditto concerns. After, rode with honest E. H. to acquaint cousin Hick and Alderman Sykes. Evening too, taken up about ditto concern till pretty late.
2. Die Dora. Morning up about five ; had dear E. H's. company to Wakefield, where consulted lawyer Witton. Then heard their honest vicar, Mr. Obadiah Lee, a native of Holbeck ; who made an extraordinary serious discourse, giving both motives and directions, how to conform our lives to the Gospel. Afterwards gave cousin Atkinson a visit upon the same account. Evening, read a sermon of worthy Mr. Stretton's, preached at Leeds in 1672.
3. Rose about five. Spent an hour, I hope not unprofitably ; was especially desirous that God would mercifully condescend to direct me, that I may neither speak nor do any thing, whereby his great name may be dishonoured, his Gospel reproached, or my own conscience defiled, by any of those snares or stumbling-blocks that may be laid before me this day. Afterwards received much comfort from the twenty-second Psalm, which the good hand of God directed me to before family prayer, especially from fourth and fifth verses : " Our Fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them: they cried unto thee, O Lord, and were not confounded:" and the next words for my deserved humiliation, " But I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people :" and desired to be humbled for my sins, which have given them such advantage against me ; and likewise to act faith upon the promises, and comfortably remember the experiences of God's gracious appearing for his in their trouble ; especially for my dear, and now glorious father, under the like circumstances ; so that I went before the magistrates to the Sessions with courage above my expectation, considering my bashful temper, and saw much of the goodness of God, in restraining the wrath of man, which, though at first increased, at sight of counsel to plead my righteous cause, &c,, yet, after, they were baffled and disappointed in their great design of proving it a riotous meeting ; and though Alderman Headley was pleased to cast many reflections upon the damnable rich fanatics, (as he was pleased to call them,) yet all the Aldermen besides carried very moderately and respectively. Mr. Recorder Whyte was pleased to express much kindness to me for my dear father's sake, of whom he used to say, " He believed there was not an honest Presbyterian in England till he was acquainted with that learned and ingenious gentleman :" but, withal, persuaded me from conventicles, where nothing was preached but faction and rebellion : to which I only replied, that the first time I should hear it preached, I would thankfully embrace his counsel; but till then, I must beg his excuse. Received some jests, &c. from others of the justices ; but desire to bless God that it issued so well that we were not left a prey to some unreasonable men, whose tender mercies are cruelties. After dinner, with Alderman Dixon, lawyer Witton, and cousin Atkinson, and a great deal of good company; but spent too much time in carnal joy, because in the evening there passed some angry words betwixt two good men, and both my friends. Oh ! how sad is it that we cannot tell how to improve mercies better !
6. Employed in reading writings for a cottage adjoining to my garden, where I have some thoughts (if it please God to spare my life) to build a Public Library;, and a better conveniency for the collection of rarities, which are now disadvantageously crowded up.
9. Die Dom. Rode with dear E. H., T. W., and T. F., to worthy Mr. Sharp's, who gave an excellent and very suitable discourse, from Psalm Ivi. 3, " What time I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord."
My usual course after this was, to hear our learned and pious vicar, Mr. Milner, in the forenoon, and in the afternoon, Mr. Skargil, of Holbeck, or Mr. Moor, of Hunslet, both plain practical preachers ; and when we had not the conveniency of Mr. Sharp's excellent sermons in secret, to prevail with Mr. Elk. Hickson, to repeat one of them in private. He had a peculiar talent of taking in characters those admirable sermons with more accuracy than any other person, and was on that and other accounts very dear to me, but in some respects not so circumspect, as was to be wished.
I rode with most of the gentry in the neighbourhood, to meet Archbishop Dolben, who was much honoured as a preaching bishop.