صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

some thoughts of vanity came into my mind while others were communicating; but I found, when I considered them, that they did not tend to irreverence of God. At the altar I renewed my resolutions. When I received, some tender images struck me. I was so mollified by the concluding address to our Saviour, that I could not utter it. The communicants were mostly women. At intervals I read collects, and recollected, as I could, my Prayer. Since my return, I have said it. 2 P. M.

May 21st, 1776. These resolutions I have not practised nor recollected. O God, grant me to begin now, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

July 25th, 1776.

O God, who hast ordained that whatever is to be desired should be sought by labour, and who, by thy blessing, bringest honest labour to good effect; look with mercy upon my studies and endeavours. Grant me, O Lord, to design only what is lawful and right; and afford me calmness of mind, and steadiness of purpose, that I may so do thy will in this short life, as to obtain happiness in the world to come, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

When I purposed to apply vigorously to study, particularly of the Greek and Italian tongues.


January 1st, 2 P. M. Almighty Lord, merciful Father, vouchsafe to accept the thanks which I now presume to offer Thee, for the prolongation of my life. Grant, O Lord, that as my days are multiplied, my good resolutions may be strengthened, my power of resisting temptations increased, and my struggles with snares and obstructions invigorated. Relieve the infirmities both of my mind and body. Grant me such strength as my duties may require, and such diligence as may improve those opportunities of good that shall be offered me. Deliver me from the intrusion of evil thoughts. Grant me true repentance of my past life and as I draw nearer and nearer to the grave, strengthen my faith, enliven my hope, extend my charity, and purify my desires; and so help me by thy Holy Spirit, that when it shall be thy pleasure to call me hence, I may be received to everlasting happiness, for the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father

March 28th.

This day is Good Friday. It is likewise the day on which my poor Tetty was taken from me. My thoughts were disturbed in bed. I remembered that it was my wife's dying day, and begged pardon for all our sins, and commended her; but resolved to mix little of my own sorrows or cares with the great solemnity. Having taken only tea, without milk, I went to church; had time, before service, to commend my wife, and wished to join quietly in the service, but I did not hear well, and my mind grew unsettled and perplexed. Having rested ill in the night,

[blocks in formation]

30th, Easter Day, Imá mané.

The day is now come again, in which by a custom which since the death of my wife I have by the divine assistance always observed, I am to renew the great covenant with my Maker and my Judge. I humbly hope to perform it better. I hope for more efficacy of resolution, and more diligence of endeavour. When I survey my past life, I discover nothing but a barren waste of time, with some disorders of body, and disturbances of the mind very near to madness, which I hope He that made me, will suffer to extenuate many faults, and excuse many deficiencies. Yet much remains to be repented and reformed. I hope that I refer more to God than in former times, and consider more what submission is due to his dispensations. But I have very little reformed my practical life; and the time in which I can struggle with habits cannot be now expected to be long. Grant, O God, that I may no longer resolve in vain, or dream away the life which thy indulgence gives me, in vacancy and uselessness.

[blocks in formation]

all our miseries and knowest all our necessities, Almighty and most merciful Father, who seest look down upon me, and pity me. Defend me from the violent incursions of evil thoughts, and enable me to form and keep such resolutions as may conduce to the discharge of the duties which thy providence shall appoint me; and so help me by thy Holy Spirit, that my heart may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found, and that I may serve thee with pure affection and a cheerful mind. Have mercy upon me, O God, have mercy upon me; years and infirmities oppress me, terror and anxiety beset me. Have mercy upon me, my Creator and my Judge. In all dangers protect me, in all perplexities relieve and free me, and so help me by thy Holy Spirit, that 1 may now so commemorate the death of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, as that when this short and painful life shall have an end, I may, for his sake, be received to everlasting happiness. Amen

April 6th, 1777.

By one strange hinderance or another, I have been withheld from the continuation of my thoughts to this day, the Sunday following Easter-day.

On Easter-day I was at church early, and there prayed over my prayer, and commended Tetty and my other friends. I was for some time much distressed, but at last obtained, I hope, from the God of Peace, more quiet than I have enjoyed for a long time. I had made no resolution, but, as my heart grew lighter, my hopes revived, and my courage increased; and I wrote with my pencil in my Common Prayer Book,

Vita ordinanda.
Biblia legenda.

Theologiæ opera danda.
Serviendum et lætandum.

I then went to the altar, having, I believe, again read my prayer. I then went to the table and communicated, praying for some time afterwards; but the particular matter of my prayer

I do not remember.

I dined, by an appointment, with Mrs. Gardiner, and passed the afternoon with such calm gladness of mind as it is very long since I felt before. I came home, and began to read the Bible. I passed the night in such sweet uninterrupted sleep, as I have not known since I slept at Fort Augustus.

On Monday I dined with Sheward, on Tuesday with Paradise. The mornings have been devoured by company, and one intrusion has, through the whole week, succeeded to another. At the beginning of the year I proposed to myself a scheme of life, and a plan of study; but neither life has been rectified, nor study followed. Days and months pass in a dream; and I am afraid that my memory grows less tenacious, and my observation less attentive. If I am decaying it is time to make haste. My nights are restless and tedious, and my days drowsy. The flatulence which torments me, has sometimes so obstructed my breath, that the act of respiration became not only voluntary but laborious in a decumbent posture. By copious bleeding I was relieved, but not cured. I have this year omitted church on most Sundays, intending to supply the deficience in the week. So that I owe twelve attendances on worship. I will make no more such superstitious stipulations, which entangle the mind with unbidden obligations.

My purpose once more, O Thou merciful Creator, that governest all our hearts and actions, Boris oinka Kußeрvwv, let not my purpose be vain: My purpose once more is, To rise at eight.

To keep a journal.

To read the whole Bible, in some language, before Easter.

To gather the arguments for Christianity.
To worship God more frequently in public.

Ashbourn, Sept. 18th, 1777. Almighty and most merciful Father, who hast brought me to the beginning of another year, grant me so to remember thy gifts, and so to acknowledge thy goodness, as that every year and day which Thou shalt yet grant me, may be em

ployed to the amendment of my life, and in the diligent discharge of such duties as thy providence shall allot me. Grant me, by thy grace, to know and to do what Thou requirest. Give me good desires, and remove those impediments which may hinder them from effect. Forgive me my sins, negligences and ignorances; and when at last Thou shalt call me to another life, receive me to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



April 17th.


It has happened this week, as it never happened in Passion Week before, that I have never dined at home, and I have therefore neither practised abstinence nor peculiar devotion. This morning before I went to bed I enlarged my prayers, by adding some collects with reference to the day. I rested moderately, and rose about nine, which is more early than is usual. I think I added something to my morning Prayers. Boswell came in to go to church we had tea, but I did not eat. Talk lost our time, and we came to church late, at the Second Lesson. My mind has been for some time feeble and impressible, and some trouble it gave me in the morning; but I went with some confidence and calmness through the prayers. In my return from church, I was accosted by Edwards, an old fellow-collegian, who had not seen me since 1729. He knew me, and asked if I remembered one Edwards; I did not at first recollect the name, but gradually as we walked along, recovered it, and told him a conversation that had passed at an alehouse between us. My purpose is to continue our acquaintance.

We sat till the time of worship in the afternoon, and then came again late, at the Psalms. Not easily, I think, hearing the sermon, or not being attentive, I fell asleep. When we came home we had tea, and I ate two buns, being somewhat uneasy with fasting, and not being alone. If I had not been observed, I should probably have fasted.


April 19th, after 12 at night.

O Lord, have mercy upon me. Yesterday (18th) I rose late, having not slept ill. Having promised a dedication, I thought it necessary to write: but for some time neither wrote nor read. Langton came in and talked. After dinner I wrote. At tea Boswell came in. He stayed till near twelve.

I purposed to have gone in the evening to church, but missed the hour.

Edwards observed how many we have outlived. I hope, yet hope, that my future life shall be better than my past.

From the year 1752, the year in which my poor dear Tetty died, upon whose soul may God have had mercy for the sake of Jesus Christ, I have received the sacrament every year at Easter. My purpose is to receive it now.

Lord God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, make | I have written a little of the Lives of the Poets, it effectual to my salvation.

[blocks in formation]

Almighty and most merciful Father, suffer me once more to commemorate the death of thy Son Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer, and make the memorial of his death profitable to my salvation, by strengthening my faith in his merits, and quickening my obedience to his laws. Remove from me, O God, all inordinate desires, all corrupt passions, and all vain terrors, and fill me with zeal for thy glory, and with confidence in thy mercy. Make me to love all men, and enable me to use thy gifts, whatever Thou shalt bestow, to the benefit of my fellow-creatures. So lighten the weight of years, and so mitigate the afflictions of disease, that I may continue fit for thy service, and useful in my station. And so let me pass through this life, by the guidance of thy Holy Spirit, that at last I may enter into eternal joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Having gone to bed about two, I rose about nine, and, having prayed, went to church. I came early, and used this prayer. After sermon I again used my prayer; the Collect for the day I repeated several times, at least the petitions. I recommended my friends. At the altar I prayed earnestly, and when I came home, prayed for pardon and peace; repeated my own prayer, and added the petitions of the Collect,

O God, have mercy upon me, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

At my return home, I returned thanks for the opportunity of communion.

I was called down to Mrs. Nollikens.


came in; then dinner. After dinner, which I believe was late, I read the First Epistle to Thess.; then went to Evening Prayers; then came to tea, and afterwards tried Vossius de Baptismo, I was sleepy.

Monday, April 20th, 1778. After a good night, as I am forced to reckon, I rose seasonably, and prayed, using the Collect for yesterday.

In reviewing my time from Easter 1777, I found a very melancholy and shameful blank. So little has been done, that days and months are without any trace. My health has, indeed, been very much interrupted. My nights have been commonly, not only restless, but painful and fatiguing. My respiration was once so difficult, that an asthma was suspected. could not walk, but with great difficulty, from Stowhill to Greenhill. Some relaxation of my breast has been procured, I think, by opium, which, though it never gives me sleep, frees my breast from spasms.


I think with all my usual vigour. I have made sermons, perhaps as readily as formerly. My memory is less faithful in retaining names, and I am afraid in retaining occurrences. Of this vacillation and vagrancy of mind, I impute a great part to a fortuitous and unsettled life, and therefore purpose to spend my time with more method.

This year, the 28th of March passed away without memorial. Poor Tetty, whatever were our faults and failings, we loved each other! I did not forget thee yesterday. Couldest thou have lived!

[blocks in formation]

January 1st, before 1 in the morning. Almighty God, merciful Father, who have granted to me the beginning of another year, grant that I may employ thy gifts to thy glory, and my own salvation. Excite me to amend my life; give me good resolutions, and enable me to perform them. As I approach the grave, let my faith be invigorated, my hope exalted, and my charity enlarged. Take not from me thy Holy Spirit; but in the course of my life protect me, in the hour of death sustain me, and finally receive me to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.


April 2d. After a night restless and oppressive, I rose this morning somewhat earlier than is usual; and having taken tea, which was very necessary to compose the disorder in my breast, having eaten nothing, I went to church with Boswell, We came late; I was able to attend the Litany with little perturbation. When we came home I began the First to the Thess. having prayed by the Collect for the right use of the Scriptures. I gave Boswell Les Pensees de Pascal, that he might not interrupt me. I did not, I believe, read very diligently; and before I had read far, we went to church again; I was again attentive. At home I read again, then drank tea, with a bun and a half, thinking myself less able to fast than at former times; and then concluded the Epistle. Being much oppressed with drowsiness, I slept about an hour by the fire.

11 P. M.

I am now to review the last year, and find little but dismal vacuity, neither business nor pleasure; much intended, and little done. My health is much broken; my nights afford me little rest. I have tried opium, but its help is counterbalanced with great disturbance; it prevents the spasms, but it hinders sleep. O God, have mercy on me.

Last week I published [the first part of] the Lives of the Poets, written, I hope, in such a manner as may tend to the promotion of piety. In this last year I have made little acquisition; 1 have scarcely read any thing. I maintain Mrs. and her daughter. Other good of myself I know not where to find, except a little charity,

But I am now in my seventieth year; what can and enable me to forsake them. Ease, if it shall be done, ought not to be delayed.


April 3d, 1779, 11 P. M. This is the time of my annual review, and annual resolution. The review is comfortless, little done. Part of the life of Dryden and the life of Milton have been written; but my mind has neither been improved nor enlarged. I have read little, almost nothing. And I am not conscious that I have gained any good, or quitted any evil habits.

Of resolutions I have made so many, with so little effect, that I am almost weary, but by the help of God, am not yet hopeless. Good resolutions must be made and kept. I am almost seventy years old, and have no time to lose. The distressful restlessness of my nights, makes it difficult to settle the course of my days. Something, however, let me do.


April 4th, 1779. I rose about half an hour after nine, transcribed the prayer written last night; and by neglecting to count time sat too long at breakfast, so that I came to church at the First Lesson. I attended the Litany pretty well; but in the pew could not hear the communion service, and missed the prayer for the church militant. Before I went to the altar, I prayed the occasional prayer. At the altar I commended my Ꮎ and again prayed the prayer; I then prayed the Collects, and again my own prayer by memory. I left out a clause. I then received, I hope with earnestness; and while others received sat down; but thinking that posture, though usual, improper, I rose and stood. Í prayed again in the pew, but with what prayer have forgotten.

[ocr errors]

When I used the occasional prayer, at the altar,
I added a general purpose,
To avoid idleness.

I gave two shillings to the plate.
Before I went I used, I think, my prayer, and
endeavoured to calm my mind. After my re-
turn I used it again, and the Collect for the
day. Lord have mercy upon me.

I have for some nights called Francis to prayers, and last night discoursed with him on the sa


[blocks in formation]

please Thee, the anxieties of my mind, and relieve the infirmities of my body. Let me not be disturbed by unnecessary terrors, and let not the weakness of age make me unable to amend my life. O Lord, take not from me thy Holy Spirit, but receive my petitions, succour and comfort me, and let me so pass the remainder of my days, that when Thou shalt call me hence, I may enter into eternal happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sept. 18th, 1779, H. P. M. 12mâ. Almighty God, Creator of all things, in whose hands are life and death, glory be to Thee for all thy mercies, and for the prolongation of my life to the common age of man. Pardon me, O gracious God, all the offences which in the course of seventy years I have committed against thy Holy Laws, and all negligences of those duties which Thou hast required. Look with pity upon me, take not from me thy Holy Spirit, but enable me to pass the days which Thou shalt yet vouchsafe to grant me, in thy fear, and to thy glory: and accept, O Lord, the remains of a mispent life, that when thou shalt call me to another state, may be received to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[blocks in formation]


Make me, O Lord, truly thankful for the mercy which thou hast vouchsafed to show me through which Thou hast restored in the last year, and let whole life; make me thankful for the health the remains of my strength and life be employed to thy glory and my own salvation.

enable me to avoid or overcome all that may Take not, O Lord, thy Holy Spirit from me; hinder my advancement in godliness; let me be no longer idle, no longer sinful; but give me rectitude of thought and constancy of action, and bring me at last to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Sunday, June 18th.

In the morning of this day last year, I perceived the remission of those convulsions in my breast which had distressed me more than twenty years. I returned thanks at church for the mercy granted me, which has now continued a year.


Almighty God, our Creator and Preserver, from whom proceedeth all good, enable me to receive with humble acknowledgment of thy unbounded benignity, and with due consciousness of my own unworthiness, that recovery and continuance of health which Thou hast granted me, and vouchsafe to accept the thanks which I now offer. Glory be to Thee, O Lord, for this and all thy mercies. Grant, I beseech Thee, that the health and life which thou shalt yet allow me, may conduce to my eternal happiness. Take not from me thy Holy Spirit; but so help and bless me, that when thou shalt call me hence, I may obtain pardon and salvation, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sept. 18th, 1790.

[blocks in formation]

Almighty God, merciful Father, who hast granted me such continuance of life, that I now see the beginning of another year, look with mercy upon me; as thou grantest increase of years, grant increase of grace. Let me live to repent what I have done amiss, and by thy help I am now beginning the seventy-second year of so to regulate my future life, that I may obtain my life, with more strength of body and greater mercy when I appear before Thee, through the vigour of mind than I think is common at that merits of Jesus Christ. Enable me, O Lord, to age. But though the convulsions in my breast do my duty with a quiet mind; and take not are relieved, my sleep is seldom long. My from me thy Holy Spirit, but protect and bless nights are wakeful, and therefore I am some-me, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

times sleepy in the day. I have been attentive to my diet, and have diminished the bulk of my body. I have not at all studied, nor written diligently. I have Swift and Pope yet to write; Swift is just begun.

I have forgotten or neglected my resolutions or purposes, which I now humbly and timorously renew. Surely I shall not spend my whole life with my own total disapprobation. Perhaps God may grant me now to begin a wiser and a better life.

Almighty God, my Creator and Preserver, who hast permitted me to begin another year, look with mercy upon my wretchedness and frailty. Rectify my thoughts, relieve my perplexities, strengthen my purposes, and reform my doings. Let increase of years bring increase of faith, hope, and charity. Grant me diligence in whatever work thy providence shall appoint me. not from me thy Holy Spirit, but let me pass the remainder of the days which thou shalt yet allow me, in thy fear and to thy glory; and when it shall be thy good pleasure to call me hence, grant me, O Lord, forgiveness of my sins, and receive me to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



January 2d. I was yesterday hindered by my old disease of mind and therefore begin to-day.

January 1st.

Having sat in my chamber till the year began, I used my accommodation of the Morning Prayer to the beginning of this year, and slept remarkably well, though I had supped liberally. In the morning I went to church. Then I wrote letters for Mrs. Desmoulins; then went to Streatham, and had many stops. At night I took wine, and did not sleep well.



April 13th, 1781. I forgot my prayer and resolutions, till two days ago I found this paper.

Some time in March I finished the Lives of the
Poets, which I wrote in my usual way, dilatorily
and hastily, unwilling to work, and working
with vigour and haste.

On Wednesday 11th, was buried my dear friend
Thrale, who died on Wednesday 4th; and
with him were buried many of my hopes and
pleasures. About five, I think, on Wednesday
morning he expired; I felt almost the last
flutter of his pulse, and looked for the last time
upon the face that for fifteen years had never
been turned upon me but with respect or be-
nignity. Farewell. May God, that delighteth
in mercy, have had mercy on thee!
had constantly prayed for him some time before

his death.

The decease of him from whose friendship I had obtained many opportunities of amusement, and to whom I turned my thoughts as to a refuge from misfortunes, has left me heavy. But my business is with myself.

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »