1736 February 2 (Monday). In the Morning I very much dreaded the work of this Day. I feared I Should discover and publish my Infirmitys in open Indecencys. I endeavoured therefore to beware, and to set my Self beforehand. The Ministers I sent to, came; and of their Wives Madam Cushing and Madam Prentice of Grafton. Of Scholers, Mr. Diman, Mr. James Morris, and Mr. Hovey (of Marlborough) and a considerable Collection of my valuable Friends besides from the neighbouring Towns came to Condole. Brother Samuel Champney and Cousen Downing Champney also came up. The Solemnity was brought on with much Decency, through the Care and Diligence of my Friends. I Earnestly begged of God to teach me the Duty of holy Mourning; That His righteous Ends in this grievous Dispensation, might be answered in every Respect — And that God would be pleased to grant that Some Special Spiritual Advantage might be received (if it might be consistent with His Sovereign Will) before the Corps Should move out of the House — But now when I see my Dear Spouse is moved away — that the Eye that has Seen her Shall See her no more! [blot] the place that has known her shall know her no more! — <And?> she goes the way whence She shall not return; even unto the House appointed for all the Living. O my thrice Sorrowful State! She goes to her long home — and we the mourners, go along the Streets! And what is now my Duty as I pass along to her Grave? Lord, make me to know (to know in a practical, Spiritual Saving Manner) My End also — etc. If God has taken away one half, Shall not the t’other be warned and get ready also? But my Heart is extreamly unsteady. Let me form Some Suitable Resolutions, which (by the Grace of God) I will execute — and God be pleased to keep these Things in the Imagination of the Thought of my Heart Continually, and help me that I may do as I have Said! For I am very much afraid of my Self, and do greatly fear I shall loose the Good I ought to get by this visitation. The Resolutions I formed upon the way to the Grave were Such as these, First, That I would endeavour (by divine Grace) to become sensible of what God is doing; and to search out the Mind and Pleasure of God in this Visitation. That I will Humble my Self under His Holy and Mighty Hand and That I will particularly for those Sins which I may Judge may have, in a peculiar Manner, displeased and provoked an holy and Jealous God against me: That I will, with Some Close attention and personal Application, reflect upon my own frailty; for God having taken away one so very near to me, So much the t’other part of my Self, it Should awaken me to reallize it, that I must be in a little time wholly in the Same Condition. As those who are struck with the Numb Palsey (as it has been called) and are dead on one Side, are alarmed to Consider what will shortly become of the Other side also. In pursuance of this Resolution, I resolve further (by the Aids of Grace) That I will keep strictly my Wife’s dying Counsel, both respecting myself and my Family — To be, my Self, a serious, Steddy (or solid) Religious Man, And that we all, together, get and keep Ready together, all of us keep ready, always ready. Accordingly O that I might immediately see to it that I be indeed Converted and regenerate! That no time be lost; but that this may be thorowly seen to! And further, That So much the more particular, Strict Care must be taken of the Children, as they are bereaved of that wondrous Care which their Dear and Tender Mother took of them. That I will value and prize, and endeavour to improve, the Presence and Comfort and Advantage of Surviving Relatives — and That I will endeavour that this grievous Affliction serve for my great Quickening in my Ministerial work — And O that out of this Furnace I may come forth as Gold! At the Grave I endeavoured to Exercise Faith in Him who Said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in me tho’ he be dead yet shall he live.” I desired to committ my Dead to the Earth in Hope of the Resurrection. And I viewed the 4th Space of Ground [marginal notation: The former 3 were Maro’s, Lydia’s, and now her mother’s.], as not knowing but that There I might Shortly be laid. The Condolence of many Friends at my House, and the Respect shewn to the Memory of my Deceased Spouse — was very relieving and Comforting — But unless God shall Comfort us, and take up his Dwelling with us, all Comfort is lifeless and my House will be not only Lonely, but Desolate! O that therefore God would be pleased to take up his peculiar Abode with us! And let not his Consolations be Small to us! Let God also, now their Mother, at his Commandment has forsaken them, take the Motherless Children up, and take ‘em under His more immediate Protection and Care and Favour! Particularly dear Little Lucy! Finally, As to all my Circumstances, I desire, and would in the strength of Christ Resolve, that I will put my Self and mine, under the Guidance and would in all my Conduct and Managements before me, follow the Direction, of the Word and Providence of God.
Mary, dau. of Rev. John Prentice (Harvard 1700), mar. Job Cushing, Mar. 16, 1727; d. May 24, 1798. SHG 6:45-46.
Sarah (Sartel) Prentice, wife of Rev. Solomon Prentice of Grafton. On Sarah Prentice, see Ross W. Beales, Jr., “The Ecstasy of Sarah Prentice; Death, Re-Birth, and the Great Awakening in Grafton, Massachusetts,” Historical Journal of Massachusetts 26:2 (Summer 1997), 101-23.
James Diman (1707-1788), Harvard 1730, Librarian at Harvard College, 1735-1737; minister of the Second Church, Salem, 1737-1785. SHG 8:695-700.
Possibly James Morris of Hopkinton (1713-c. 1758), Harvard 1732. SHG 9:186-87.
Samuel, son of Samuel and Hannah Champney, b. Nov. 12, 1701 (CVR, 1:128)
Downing, son of Daniel Champney, bapt. Mar. 10, 1706 (CVR, 1:126).
Parkman purchased a slave, “Barrow, alias Maro,” from his father, Aug. 8, 1728; Maro d. Dec. 6, 1729 (Parkman diary).
Lydia (Sept. 20, 1731-June 21, 1733) was the Parkmans’ fourth child.