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To gather the arguments for Christianity.
Ashbourn, Sept. 18, 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 employed in 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 ignoranees; 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.
1778. Good Friday. April 17.
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 abs
tinence 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 eat two buns, being somewhat uneasy with fasting, and not being alone. If I had not been observed, I should probably have fasted.
Easter Day. April 19, after 12 at night. O Lond, have mercy upon me. Yesterday (18) 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 staid 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. O Lord God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, make it effectual to my salvation. My purposes are, To study divinity, particularly the evidences of Christianity. To read the New Testament over in the year, with more use than hitherto of commentators. To be diligent in my undertakings. To serve and trust God, and be cheerful.
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 terrours, 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 fellowcreatures. So lighten the weight of years, and so mitigate the afflictions of disease, that I may con
WOL. IX. 2 N
tinue 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. Boswell 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 20, 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. I 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 have written a little of the Lives of the Poets. 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!
I am now, with the help of God, to begin a new life.
Jan. 1, before 1 in the morning. ALMIGHTY GOD, merciful Father, who hast 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