A. D. 1687.
I begun also to be sensible of the pressure of the world, great charges
and small incomes; but was sustained by Matthew vi. 30, which fell providentially
in my usual course of reading before secret prayer ; my dear wife also
sustained me with suitable advice and comfort.
Though I can by no means quit my father-in-law, who gave over house-keeping, and came with wife, daughter, and servant, to live upon his children, and, though he sometimes went to brother W.'s and R.'s, [Wilson's and Rayner's] yet I think he was half, if not two-thirds, of his time at my house ; and, being of a generous spirit, was too liberal of my liquor to visitants, that I saw it absolutely necessary to give over wine.
I was also much concerned for the incautious carriage of a near relation, and mourned in secret; but my poor sister having buried her little daughter, got a new husband, my cousin Richard Idle, Vicar first of Rothwell, and after of South Dalton, capable of taking care both of soul and body. Though alas ! too much alike unfortunate in living above their incomes, so that not only I suffer in loss of monies, but, which I more lament, their poor children to this day. My chief comfort was in my library, reading, and writing the memoirs of learned and pious men in former ages, optimi consultores mortui. This kept me more retired, and thereby less obnoxious to company-keeping and drinking, the uncomfortable misfortune of some relations. Blessed be my Preserver, from whom alone is this advantage !
As to religion in general, Mr. Milner, the Vicar, preached excellently and lived answerably. I cannot say so much of the Lecturer ; but as the Vicar and Mr. Robinson in public, so Mr. Sharp in private, as we could get opportunity, for which we went several miles. King James II.'s Declaration of Indulgence gave us ease in this case, and though we dreaded a snake in the grass, we accepted it with due thankfulness.
3rd of April, 1687, Mr. Sharp preached the first sermon in public, from Psalm Ixviii. 28; that whoever be the instruments, yet the supreme author of all good to his people, is God himself. We were infinitely happy in his ministry, he being a person of great piety and learning, judgment and moderation.