1728 September 1 (Sunday). I preach’d upon Isa. 31.2. I have great experience of the Divine Compassion showed me under my insufficiency and great unworthiness, in that he so graciously assists me in the performances of my Sacred function. God alone have the Praise. God keep me from Vain Glory.
1728 September 3 (Tuesday). Mr. Weld rode with me to Framingham, expecting an Association. It was very rainy and very troublesome getting there; and yet we were disappointed through Mr. Swifts mistake. He had told his Family that the Association would be there next week; and so he went to Sudbury to the Council upon the Difficulties at Leicester. Mr. Cushing was thus disappointed with us, and we rode away to Colonel Buckminsters and lodged there.
Joseph Buckminster, Sr. of Framingham. Temple, Framingham, p. 490
1728 September 4 (Wednesday). This morning after breakfast we rode from Colonel Buckminsters to Marlborough and din’d at Mr. Woods. Thence Mr. Weld and I went first to Mr. Brecks door but he being gone to the foresaid council we went with Mr. Park to his Lodgings. With Mr. Park there was Sir Kent, Schoolmaster at Framingham. Near Sunset we parted and I Came home. On the Road home I had many Reflections upon My Life Past, the unusefullness and unprofitableness of it. I was griev’d at my taking no better notice of the divine Dealings with me. I was jealous of my Self and Suspected whether there was not some undue End in taking the accounts in this Book, Seeing this Design had no better Success. I would humbly hope that the Glory of God and my Spiritual Emolument has and shall determine me in the writing this Journal. I was full of Enquiry how I should best Spend the Morrow to the Glory of the God of my Life and my highest Advantage. I resolv’d in the Fear and by the Grace of God to Separate the Day to Seeking the Face of God, and Enquiring out as under the divine Influence, the best Methods for the Conduct of the Future part of my Life, Respecting my whole Behaviour, and proceedings, in my Secret Walk, in my Studies, in my ministrations, and my Several Relations. And the Spirit of God purifie, Sanctifie, Assist and direct me, and grant his Blessing upon me in the Prosecution of this my Purpose!
N.B. See for the 5th Day, the Beginning of the Book entitled Some Remarkable Passages, etc.
[Entries for September, 1728, end at this point. There is then a blank page in the diary, and then the following undated entry:]
Several gracious Promises of God. Ps. 32.8. I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine Eyes.
Zech. 10.12. And I will Strengthen them in the Lord, and they Shall walk up and down in the name of the Lord.
September 5th  (Wednesday). At Westborough.
This being my Birth Day it may be a most proper Season to look back upon my Life Past, that I may See what account I may give unto the Great Judge of all the Earth. What penitence and Contrition I ought to express for the many Sins of my Conversation in the world the Twenty-five years that I have liv’d in it, and What Praises I owe to the God of my Life for the innumerable and unspeakable Benefits he has most bountifully (though most undeservedly) bestowed upon me. I deem it suitable also and prudent to take this Time especially to renew my Covenant with my God, which I solemnly entered into before Him on September 5 in the year 1719. Furthermore it is most proper now to be anew proposing methods of future Conduct, that the future part of my Life may be more profitable, and fruitfull than the former has ever been.
Accordingly I committed my Self to God in a solemn address, and besought his direction and assistance in the Several parts of this important work above mention’d. And then I proceeded to look into my Life past where I discern’d innumerable articles that require deep Repentance — among the rest my Sad misimprovement of my Time in my Youth, as appears by the papers that give an account of the past of my Conversation. It must be Judg’d from the Said Papers that my Course of Life has been full of Impertinencies, except I was to Live Some Centuries. Then indeed it might prove more Excusable to take my methods to know men and Things (as my pretence was); or it had perhaps been laudable to Spend a Month or some Small part of ones whole Life in this manner. I consum’d a great part of my Time. I Endeavour’d to affect my Self with Grief herefore and proceeded with Exercises of fervent Devotion, Reading the Divine Oracles and Serious Meditations, I carried on the Day till 3 p.m., when Mr. Wheeler came, and I went with him to Captain Fays to the Private Meeting. I went in while the Captain was at Prayer. Our Exercise was upon Col. 3.4. Christ who in our Life. I chose this because I would have Christ to be my Life, and I would be quickened and instructed at this season to live to him. God give me Grace to do so! I spent the day throughout as a Day of Devotion, and I beseech God to accept me herein. But I was not able to go through all my Proposal about Searching out the Suitable methods of future Conduct. These I deferr’d to the first opportunity I may have therefor. Nor did I draw out in writing what I could remember of the mercies of God to me and my Family, But I propos’d to do [so] as Speedily as my Circumstances will favour me. My Covenant with God was not solemnly renewed in that express manner I had propos’d but read over and anew consented to. But a reason of its not being So expressly renewed might be my apprehending it convenient to transcribe a Covenant Somewhat more Correct, which I would Solemnly Sign before God (having some regard to the Directions of Mr. Alliene, in his sure Guide to Heaven, Dis:x, p. 127, Edition at London anno 1705, in that affair).
O Glorious God in Trinity, I pray Thee be my covenant God!
I do now Solemnly Take Thee, O ETERNAL FATHER, to be my God, my Father, my Friend, and my only Portion. I take Thee O ETERNAL SON, to be my God, my only Mediator and Redeemer.
I take Thee O ETERNAL SPIRIT to be my God, my Guide, my Sanctifyer and Comforter.
And I Sacredly Devote and Dedicate my Self wholly, Soul and Body, all the Powers and Faculties, all the Members and organs of Each, to Thee, the one onely living and true God, to be Thy Servant, Renouncing all my Sins and Lusts my Self, the world, the Flesh and the Devil, and humbly beseeching the Pardon of all the Violations of all my Former Covenants and Obligations, with all my other Iniquities, through Jesus Christ, I consecrate my Self to THEE alone. And Promise, by thy Grace, to perform the Duties of my holy Christian Profession, and to Discharge my ministerial work. To ratifie which, I subscribe, with my Heart and Hand, humbly, and I trust, Sincerely, Ebenezer Parkman. Westborough November 24, 1729. Renew’d January 1, 1730 and This Transcript made January 3.
Some Rules for my Conduct in my Religious, Ministerial, Civil, Domestic, and Relative Life.
- I would that my Eyes and Heart by carry’d to God at first Waking; That every Morning when I awaken I may be Still with God, as God is Still with me.
- That nothing be undertaken which may defer my early sett, Solemn Morning Devotions to God, that I may be sure to begin the Day with God, set out in his Fear, and Spend it to his Glory.
- When I rise from Dinner Let the first Opportunity be laid hold of for a solemn Address to God.
- Let there be some Serious Reflections in the Evening and a solemn Address to God — closing my Eyes with recommending my Self to the Lord my Keeper, who is the Great Keeper of Israel, who never slumbers nor sleeps.
Probably John Park of Framingham.
Benjamin Kent (Harvard 1727). Sibley, VIII, 220-230.
Another name for his Natalitia.
The entry for Sept. 5 is entirely in his Natalitia.
Richard Alleine, Heaven Opened, Or a Brief and Plain Discovery of the Riches of Gods Coventn of Grace (Boston, 1699).