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tal employment. Some advances, I hope, have been made towards regularity. I have missed church since Easter only two Sundays, both which, I hope, I have endeavoured to supply by attendance on divine worship in the following week. Since Easter, my evening devotions have been lengthened. But indolence and indifference have been neither conquered nor opposed. No plan of study has been pursued or formed, except that I have commonly read every week, if not on Sunday, a stated portion of the New Testament in Greek. But what is most to be considered, I have neither attempted nor formed any scheme of life, by which I may do good, and please God.
One great hinderance is want of rest; my nocturnal complaints grow less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to repair the deficiences of the night. I think, however, to try to rise every day by eight, and to combat indolence as I shall obtain strength. Perhaps Providence has yet some use for the remnant of my life.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose mercy is over all thy works, and who hast no pleasure in the death of a sinner, look with pity upon me, succour and preserve me; enable me to conquer evil habits, and surmount temptations. Give me grace so to use the degree of health which Thou hast restored to my mind and body, that I may perform the task Thou shalt yet appoint me. Look down, O gracious Lord, upon my remaining part of life; grant, if it please Thee, that the days few or many which Thou shalt yet allow me, may pass in reasonable confidence, and holy tranquillity. Withhold not thy Holy Spirit from me, but strengthen all good purposes, till they shall produce a life pleasing to Thee. And when Thou shalt call me to another state, forgive me my sins, and receive me to happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Safely brought us, &c.
stronger desires of pleasing Thee by purity of mind, and holiness of life. Strengthen me, O Lord, in good purposes, and reasonable meditations. Look with pity upon all my disorders of mind and infirmities of body. Grant that the residue of my life may enjoy such degrees of health as may permit me to be useful, and that I may live to thy glory; and, O merciful Lord, when it shall please Thee to call me from the present state, enable me to die in confidence of thy mercy, and receive me to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. To rise in the morning.
April 18th, 1772. I am now again preparing, by divine mercy, to commemorate the death of my gracious Redeemer, and to form, as God shall enable me, resolutions and purposes of a better life. When I review the last year, I am able to recollect so little done, that shame and sorrow, though perhaps too weakly, come upon me; yet I have been generally free from local pain, and my strength has seemed gradually to increase. But my sleep has generally been unquiet, and I have not been able to rise early. My mind is unsettled, and my memory confused. I have of late turned my thoughts, with a very useless earnestness, upon past incidents. I have yet got no command over my thoughts; an unpleasing incident is almost certain to hinder my rest; this is the remainder of my last illness. By sleepless or unquiet nights, and short days, made short by late rising, the time passes away uncounted and unheeded. Life so spent is useless.
I hope to cast my time into some stated method.
I have, I think, been less guilty of neglecting public worship than formerly. I have commonly on Sunday gone once to church, and if I have missed, have reproached myself.
have exerted rather more activity of body. These dispositions I desire to improve. resolved, last Easter, to read within the year, the whole Bible, a very great part of which ĺ had never looked upon. I read the Greek Testament without construing, and this day concluded the Apocalypse. I think that no part was missed.
My purpose of reading the rest of the Bible was forgotten, till I took by chance the resolutions of last Easter in my hand.
began it the first day of Lent; and, for a time read with some regularity. I was then disturbed or seduced, but finished the Old Testament last Thursday.
I hope to read the whole Bible once a year, as long as I live.
Yesterday I fasted, as I have always or com. monly done since the death of Tetty. The fast was more painful than it has formerly been, which I imputed to some medicinal evacuations in the beginning of the week, and to a meal of cakes on the foregoing day. I cannot now fast as formerly.
I devoted this week to the perusal of the Bible, and have done little secular business. I am
Almighty God, merciful Father, who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, look down with pity upon my sinfulness and weakness. Strengthen, O Lord, my mind; deliver me from needless terrors; enable me to correct all inordinate desires, to eject all evil thoughts, to reform all sinful habits, and so to amend my life, that when at the end of my days Thou shalt call me hence, I may depart in peace, and be received into everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I was some way hindered from continuing this contemplation in the usual manner, and therefore try, at the distance of a week, to review the last Sunday. I went to church early, having first, I think, used my prayer. When I was there, I had very little perturbation of mind.
May the good God increase and sanctify my
I have never yet read the Apocrypha. When I
I have this last week scarcely tried to read, nor
I have had my mind weak and disturbed for some weeks past.
Having missed church in the morning, I went this evening, and afterwards sat with Southwell. Having not used the prayer, except on the day of communion; I will offer it this night, and hope to find mercy. On this day little has been done, and this is now the last hour. In life little has been done, and life is very far advanced. Lord have mercy upon me.
January 1, mane 1h. 33m. Almighty God, by whose mercy my life has been yet prolonged to another year, grant that thy mercy may not be vain. Let not my years be multiplied to increase my guilt; but as age advances, let me become more pure in my thoughts, more regular in my desires, and more obedient to thy laws. Let not the cares of the world distract me, nor the evils of age overwhelm me. But continue and increase thy loving kindness towards me; and when Thou shalt call me hence, receive me to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
During the usual time of meditation, I con- On this day I went twice to church, and Boswell sidered the Christian duties under the three principles of soberness, righteousness, and godliness; and purposed to forward godliness by the annual perusal of the Bible; righteousness by settling something for charity, and soberness by early hours. I commenced as usual, with preface of permission, and, I think, mentioned Bathurst. I came home, and found Paoli and Boswell waiting for me. What devotions I used after my return home, I do not distinctly remember. I went to prayers in the evening; and, I think, entered late.
I have this week endeavoured every day but one to rise early, and have tried to be diligent; but have not performed what I required from myself.
On Good Friday, I paid Peyton without requiring work.
Since Easter 1771, I have added a Collect to my
I have been less indulgent to corporeal inactivity.
was with me. I had forborne to attend divine service for some time in the winter, having a cough which would have interrupted both my own attention and that of others; and when the cough grew less troublesome I did not regain the habit of going to church, though I did not wholly omit it. I found the service not burdensome nor tedious, though I could not hear the lessons. I hope in time to take pleasure in public worship.
On this whole day I took nothing of nourishment but one cup of tea without milk; but the fast was very inconvenient. Towards night I grew fretful and impatient, unable to fix my mind, or govern my thoughts; and felt a very uneasy sensation both in my stomach and head, compounded, as it seemed, of laxity and pains. From this uneasiness, of which when I was not asleep I was sensible all night, I was relieved in the morning by drinking tea, and eating the soft part of a penny loaf.
This I have set down for future observation. Saturday, April 10th, I dined on cakes, and found yself filled and satisfied.
✦ 1 Esdras, chap. iii. ver. 10, &c.
Saturday, 10th. Having offered my prayers to God, I will now review the last year. Of, the spring and summer, I remember that I was able in those seasons to examine and improve my Dictionary, and was seldom withheld from the work but by my own unwillingness. Of my nights I have no distinct remembrance, but believe that, as in many foregoing years, they were painful and restless.
O God, grant that I may not mispend or lose the time which Thou shalt yet allow me. For Jesus Christ's sake, have mercy upon me. My purpose is to attain, in the remaining part of the year, as much knowledge as can easily be had of the Gospels and Pentateuch. Concerning the Hebrew I am in doubt. I hope likewise to enlarge my knowledge of divinity, by reading, at least once a week, some sermon, or small theological tract, or some portion of a larger work.
To this important and extensive study, my purpose is to appropriate (libere) part of every Sunday, holyday, Wednesday, and Friday, and to begin with the Gospels. Perhaps I may not be able to study the Pentateuch before next year.
My general resolution, to which I humbly implore the help of God, is to methodise my life, to resist sloth. I hope from this time to keep a journal.
N. B. On Friday I read the first of Mark, and Clarke's Sermon on Faith.
On Saturday I read little, but wrote the foregoing account and the following Prayer.
bury, and, I think, the Thrales. I then communicated with calmness, used the Collect for Easter Day, and returning to the first pew, prayed my prayer the third time. I came home; again used my Prayer and the Easter Collect. Then went into the study to Boswell, and read the Greek Testament. Then dined, and when Boswell went away, ended the four first chapters of St. Matthew, and the Beatitudes of the fifth.
then went to Evening Prayers, and was composed.
I gave the pew-keepers each five shillings and threepence.
April 12th, near one in the morning. I used my Prayer with my ordinary devotions, and hope to lead henceforward a better life.
Friday, June 18th, 1773.
This day, after dinner, died Mrs. Salisbury; she had for some days almost lost the power of speaking. Yesterday, as I touched her hand, and kissed it, she pressed my hand between her two hands, which she probably intended as the parting caress. At night her speech returned a little; and she said, among other things to her daughter, I have had much time, and, I hope, I have used it. This morning being called about nine to feel her pulse, I said at parting, God bless you, for Jesus Christ's sake. She smiled, as pleased. She had her senses perhaps to the dying moment.
April 10th, near midnight. Almighty God, by whose mercy I am now about to commemorate the death of my Redeemer, grant that from this time I may so live, as that his death may be efficacious to my eternal happiness; enable me to conquer all evil customs; deliver me from evil and vexatious thoughts; grant me light to discover my duty, and grace to perform it. As my life advances, let me become more pure and more holy. Take not from me thy Holy Spirit, but grant that I may serve Thee with diligence and confidence; and when Thou shalt call me hence, receive me to everlasting happiness for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
July 22d, -73
This day I found this book,* with the resolutions; some of which I had forgotten, but remembered my design of reading the Pentateuch and Gosof the time past since these resolutions were pels, though I have not pursued it. made, I can give no very laudable account. Between Easter and Whitsuntide, having always considered that time as propitious to study, I attempted to learn the Low Dutch language; my application was very slight, and my memory very fallacious, though whether more than in my earlier years, I am not very certain. My progress was interrupted by a fever, which, by the imprudent use of a small print, left an inflammation in my useful eye which was not removed but by two copious bleedings, and the daily use of cathartics for a long time. The effect yet remains. My memory has been for a long time very much confused. Names, and persons, and events slide away strangely from me. But I grow
easier. The other day, looking over old papers, I perceived a resolution to rise early always occurring. I think I was ashamed, or grieved, to find how long and how often I had resolved what yet, except for about one half year, I have never done. My nights are now such as give me no quiet rest; whether I have not lived resolving till the possibility of performance is past, know not. God help me, I will yet try.
Talisker in Skie, September 24th, 1773. On last Saturday was my sixty-fourth birthday. I might perhaps have forgotten it, had not Boswell told me of it; and what pleased me less, told the family at Dunvegan.
The last year is added to those of which little use has been made. I tried in the summer to learn Dutch, and was interrupted by an inflammation in my eye. I set out in August on this journey to Skie. I find my memory uncertain, but hope it is only by a life immethodical and scattered. Of my body, I do not perceive that exercise, or change of air, has yet either increased the strength or activity. My nights are still disturbed by flatulencies.
My hope is, for resolution I dare no longer call it, to divide my time regularly, and to keep such a journal of my time, as may give me comfort in reviewing it. But when I consider my age, and the broken state of my body, I have great reason to fear lest death should lay hold upon me, while I am yet only designing to live. But I have yet hope.
Almighty God, most merciful Father, look down upon me with pity. Thou hast protected me in childhood and youth; support me, Lord, in my declining years. Preserve me from the dangers of sinful presumption. Give me, if it be best for me, stability of purposes, and tranquillity of mind. Let the year which I have now begun be spent to thy glory, and to the furtherance of my salvation. Take not from me thy Holy Spirit, but as death approaches prepare me to appear joyfully in thy presence, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
January 1st, near 2 in the morning. Almighty God, merciful Father, who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, but wouldest that all should be saved, have mercy upon me. As Thou hast extended my life, increase my strength, direct my purposes and confirm my resolution, that I may truly serve Thee, and perform the duties which thou shalt allot me.
Relieve, O gracious Lord, according to thy mercy, the pains and distempers of my body, and appease the tumults of my mind. Let my faith and obedience increase as my life advances; and let the approach of death incite my desire to please Thee, and invigorate my diligence in good works, till at last, when Thou shalt call me to another state, I shall lie down in humble hope, supported by thy Holy Spirit, and be received to everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. The beginning, &c.
To read the Gospels before Easter. To rise at eight.
To be temperate in food.
This year has passed with so little improvement, that I doubt whether I have not rather impaired than increased my learning. To this omission some external causes have contributed. In the
winter I was distressed by a cough; in the summer an inflammation fell upon my useful eye, from which it has not yet, I fear, recovered; in the autumn I took a journey to the Hebrides, but my mind was not free from perturbation; yet the chief cause of my deficiency has been a life immethodical and unsettled, which breaks all purposes, confounds and suppresses memory, and perhaps leaves too much leisure to imagination. O Lord, have mercy upon me. January 9th, 1774.
Maundy-Thursday, April 13thOf the use of time, or of my commendation of myself, I thought no more, but lost life in restless nights and broken days, till this week awakened my attention.
This year has passed with very little improvement, perhaps with diminution of knowledge. Much time I have not left; infirmities oppress me. But much remains to be done. I hope to rise at eight or sooner in the morning.
Good Friday, April 14th, 1775.
Boswell came in before I was up. We breakfasted; I only drank tea, without milk or bread. We went to church, saw Dr. Wetherel in the pew, and, by his desire, took him home with us. He did not go very soon, and Boswell stayed. Boswell and I went to church, but came very late. We then took tea, by Boswell's desire; and I ate one bun, I think, that I might not seem to fast ostentatiously. Boswell sat with me till night; we had some serious talk. When he went, I gave Francis some directions for preparation to communicate. Thus has passed, hitherto, this awful day.
10°. 30. P. M
When I look back upon resolutions of improvement and amendment, which have year after year been made and broken, either by negli gence, forgetfulness, vicious idleness, casual interruption, or morbid infirmity; when I find that so much of my life has stolen unprofitably away, and that I can descry by retrospection scarcely a few single days properly and vigorously employed; why do I yet try to resolve again? I try because reformation is necessary, and despair is criminal; I try, in humble hope of the help of God.
As my life has, from my earliest years, been wasted in a morning bed, my purpose is from Easter-day to rise early, not later than eight.
110. 15. P. M. D. j. Easter Eve, April 15th, 1775.
I rose more early than in common, after a night disturbed by flatulencies, though I had taken so little. I prayed, but my mind was unsettled, and I did not fix upon the book. After the bread and tea I trifled, and about three ordered
me, may be spent to thy glory, and the salvation and take not from me thy Holy Spirit, but have of my own soul. Strengthen all good resolutions, mercy upon me, and shed thy blessing both on my soul and body, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
coffee and buns for my dinner. I find more | grant that the time which Thou shalt yet afford faintness and uneasiness in fasting than I did formerly. While coffee was preparing, Collier came in, a man whom I had not seen for more than twenty years, but whom I consulted about Macky's books. We talked of old friends and past occurrences, and ate and drank together. I then read a little in the Testament, and tried Fiddes's Body of Divinity, but did not settle. I then went to Evening Prayer, and was tolerably composed. At my return I sat a while, then retired, but found reading uneasy.
These two days in which I fasted I have not been 11, P. M. sleepy, though I rested ill.
April 16th, 1775. Almighty God, heavenly Father, whose mercy is over all thy works, look with pity on my miseries and sins. Suffer me to commemorate, in thy presence, my redemption by thy Son Jesus Christ. Enable me so to repent of my mispent time, that I may pass the residue of my life in thy fear, and to thy glory. Relieve, O Lord, as seemeth best unto Thee, the infirmities of my body, and the perturbation of my mind. Fill my thoughts with awful love of thy goodness, with just fear of thine anger, and with humble confidence in thy mercy. Let me study thy laws, and labour in the duties which Thou shalt set before me. Take not from me thy Holy Spirit, but incite in me such good desires, as may produce diligent endeavours after thy glory and my own salvation; and when, after hopes and fears, and joys and sorrows, Thou shalt call me hence, receive me to eternal happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
April 7th, 1776.
Collier is dead. Transcribed from a former book, with a slight emendation or two. With that book I parted, perhaps unnecessarily, by a catch.
September 18th, 1775. O God, by whom all things were created and are sustained, who givest and takest away, in whose hands are life and death, accept my imperfect thanks for the length of days which Thou hast vouchsafed to grant me; impress upon my mind such repentance of the time mispent in sinfulness and negligence, that I may obtain forgiveness of all my offences; and so calm my mid, and strengthen my resolutions, that I may live the remaining part of my life in thy fear, and with thy favour. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me; but let me so love thy laws, and so obey them, that I may finally be received to eternal happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Composed at Calais, in a sleepless night, and used before the morn at Notre Dame. Written
at St. Omer's.
The time is again at which, since the death of my April 7th. poor dear Tetty, on whom God have mercy, I have annually commemorated the mystery of Redemption, and annually purposed to amend my life. My reigning sin, to which perhaps many others are appendant, is waste of time, and general sluggishness, to which I was al ways inclined, and, in part of my life, have been almost compelled by morbid melancholy and disturbance of mind. Melancholy has
had in me its paroxysms and remissions, but I have not improved the intervals, nor sufficiently resisted my natural inclination, or sickly habits. I will resolve, henceforth, to rise at eight in the morning, so far as resolution is proper, and will pray that God will strengthen me. I have beThough for the past week I have had an anxious gun this morning. design of communicating to-day, I performed no particular act of devotion, till on Friday I went to church. My design was to pass part of the day in exercises of piety, but Mr. Boswell interrupted me; of him, however, I could have rid myself, but poor Thrale, orbus et exspes, came for comfort, and sat till seven, when we all went to church.
In the morning I had at church some radiations of
fasted, though less rigorously than at other times. I, by negligence, poured milk into the tea, and, in the afternoon, drank one dish of coffee with Thrale; yet at night, after a fit of drowsiness, I felt myself very much disordered by emptiness, and called for tea, with peevish and impatient eagerness. My distress was very great.
Yesterday, I do not recollect that to go to church came into my thoughts; but I sat in my chamber, preparing for preparation: interrupted, I know not how. I was near two hours at
To rise in the morning at eight.
preserved me, by thy tender forbearance, once
P. M. In the pew I read my Prayer, and com-