A. D. 1706.
I had now read over the entire Bible, with notes, eight times since our marriage, and have in some measure made it the rule of my life, and humbly beg divine assistance to improve ordinances and providences. I was more than ordinarily concerned for the death of dear Mr. Kirk; in his sickness I took a walk to visit him, and discourse with him about soul affairs, (as we had often done about matters of learning and curiosity, he being F.R.S.) and was pleased with the motto I found in some books of devotion in his closet, nulla dies sine prece. I was jealous, lest his uncle Layton's heterodox notions about the soul's dying with the body might have influenced him. But in his last sickness, he said to the minister, " My faith, I thank God, is firm and orthodox, and my repentance, I hope, sincere," a far more comfortable expression than the more positive (though often too groundless) of many others. Of his ingenuity and his writings, see his memoirs elsewhere : in walk thither, read Mr. Husler's Chronicle, written at Leeds.
My dear and I rode to Berwick, to oblige Parson Plaxton and family with our child's company, and myself with his, and perusal of the registers of that church, and some ancient MSS. various editions of the Common Prayer and Bible; as also those at Spawford, at Dr. Talbot's. I rode also with them to the meeting of the neighbouring clergy at Wetherby, where the Doctor and several rectors and vicars read, subscribed the orders agreed upon, and after discoursed very well of matters relating to their own province ; but death has made a sad alteration since, Dr. Talbot, Mr. Killingbeck, Mr. Plax-ton, Mr. Rogers,—all dead.
The satisfaction I had in seeing their libraries made me more willing to gratify others with that of my own, where I had plenty of visitants from London, Newcastle, and others from Holland, Ireland, £c., which cost too much time, to the omission of prayer. Lord pity and pardon ! Notes relating to Castle Gary at Aberford, the once noble seat of the Percys, Earls of Northumberland, are entered elsewhere.
Aug. 16. I was pensive, for having misspent forty-eight years : the last anniversary of my nativity I was with dear Mr. Kirk, who is since dead, and Sir John Kaye, another friend, was buried this week; useful men are taken away, and useless cumber grounds left behind. Lord, help me to bring forth better fruit in my old age!
The next month began with an excellent sermon of Bishop Sharp, who afterwards confirmed betwixt 3 and 4000: in the evening I was with his Grace and much good company at dear Mr. Thornton's. The same month, I received a kind visit from the Lord Fairfax and his ingenious kinsman, B. F. Esq.; and a few days after, our three lawyers, and a fourth from Ripon.
Since the last mentioned authors, I have perused the three volumes of the Lord Clarendon's History written with a commendable freedom, discovering the springs of many of the transactions of that age, that are not to be met with in common authors, and is very copious and free in the character of persons concerned on both sides ; only the Presbyterians apprehend him not full in acknowledgment of the assistance they contributed to the great Revolution, an. 1660, wherein they were eminently concerned; Test. Tho. Dom. Fairfax et patre meo ;* the second and third (the first before) volumes of Fox's Martyrology, solid, useful, notwithstanding the clamours of some bigots against it; Burton upon Anto-ninus's Itinerary, wherein is abundance of learning, though in a crabbed style, though absolutely necessary for such as would fully understand the Roman affairs in this island ; Lisle's Saxon Treatise, by which it is evident how much less that church was corrupted than the Roman afterwards.