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relations, with all decent ceremonies, and according to the church-office, for which I obtained permission, after it had not been used in that church for seven years. Thus ended an excellent and virtuous lady, universally lamented, having been so obliging on all occasions to those who continually frequented her house in Paris, which was not only a hospital but an asylum to all our persecuted and afflicted countrymen during eleven years there in that honourable situation.”
Mr. Evelyn had now taken up his abode at Sayes Court near Deptford. Sir Richard Browne previously held a great part of that estate in lease from the crown; but his connexion with the royal cause sufficient to occasion his interest in the property to be sequestered and sold. His son-in-law offered a sum of money for it, and eventually purchased it; soon after the completion of which, he had the satisfaction of making the following entry,—“ This day I paid all my debts to a farthing. O blessed day !"
GENERAL SKETCH OF HIS CHARACTER AND
OCCURRENCES PREVIOUS TO THE RESTORATION.
O, friendly to the best pursuits of man,
COW PER. It was Mr. Evelyn's lot to pass the earlier portion of his days in times particularly unsuited to his disposition and taste. That was “an age of light" indeed, but it was “ light without love;" and he was glad that his circumstances enabled him to retire to his calm and “
“green retreat” at Sayes Court, and to enjoy the repose of rural life, unmolested by the turbulence and noise of the world, and without losing the society of his relatives, and his religious and literary friends.
His pursuits were sufficiently various to make all his hours pass agreeably :
6 Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen,
Delightful industry, enjoyed at home;
Could he want occupation who had these?” Over all his employments piety diffused a spirit of grateful contentment, and taught him to trace his comforts, health, and prosperity, to the goodness of that God who gave him all things richly to enjoy. To trace his growth in the knowledge and love of God, is not in our power. His Diary was not intended to be a register of his private thoughts, and contains comparatively few intimations of his religious state ; and the papers which he wrote upon religious subjects have never been printed; we are therefore left to gather our information from his Diary and Correspondence; and as far as it goes it is highly satisfactory: there are some opinions and remarks which, like Caleb's cluster of grapes, show with sufficient certainty that the land was fruitful. His father's example, and his mother's dying instruction, made a strong impression upon his mind. Not one expression of levity, not one word which could seem in the remotest degree to countenance laxity of morals or principles, can be found in his Diary from its commencement in his twentyfirst year, to its conclusion ; and on all occasions of recovery from sickness, and preservation from other perils, he recognises the providence of a superintending God. Two days in the year he set apart for especial meditation and prayer ; these were his birthday, and the first or last day of the year ; seasons in which a pious mind is inclined to reflect seriously, and to consider the past course of life, and the ways of God's providence. In his foreign travels he remembered God, and proposed to himself, young as he was, more grave and useful objects of pursuit than those too commonly chosen and followed by his youthful fellow-countrymen ; and at Paris, although for a short time he relaxed his studies, yet he soon resumed them with diligence, at the same time preferring the acquaintance of grave and pious divines to that of the young cavaliers, who too generally surrendered themselves to luxury and irreligion. He also noticed the sermons which he heard, their subjects, and religious character, as being particularly interesting to him ; and we have seen him at the Lord's table at a time, and under circumstances, when fashion rather invited him to forsake it, and scarcely any worldly motive could have encouraged him to put his pious intentions into practice.
Returning to his own country, and finding the clergy ejected from their spiritual charges, he did not absent himself from the public services of religion, but, little as he liked “extempore prayers, after the presbyterian way,” he frequented his parish church at Deptford. The minister of the parish, “though somewhat of the independent, yet ordinarily preached sound doctrine,"
an humble, harmless, and peaceable man;" occasionally, however, others, who were less acceptable, were permitted to occupy the pulpit, as one day he was surprised to see a tradesman, a mechanic, “ step up,” and preach that “now the saints were called to destroy temporal governments !" He speaks with respect of many other ministers besides the incumbent of his parish. At times, however, he felt much dissatisfied with the general character of pulpit instruction, so far as he was acquainted with it; thus, in the latter part of the year 1656 he says —“ There was now nothing practical preached, or that pressed reformation of life, but high and speculative points, and strains that few understood; which left people very ignorant, and of no steady principles, the source of all our sects and divisions, for there was much
envy and uncharity in the world. God of his mercy amend it !"
« On the Sunday afternoon," he says, “ I frequently stayed at home to catechise and instruct my family, those exercises universally ceasing in the parish churches, so that people had no principles [rudiments of christian knowledge], and grew very ignorant of even the common points of christianity, all devotion being now placed in hearing sermons, and discourses of speculative and notional things."
“ There being no such thing as church anniversaries in the parochial assemblies," he kept Christmas-day,
Easter, Good Friday, and the other fasts and festivals, either privately in his own house, or amongst the members of the church of England in London. At home he availed himself most commonly of the services of that excellent man and worthy divine, Mr. Owen of Eltham, a sequestered person." In London he went sometimes to a private house, where “ of the orthodox
sequestered divines did use the Common Prayer, administer sacraments, &c.; and in the years 1654 and 1655 he attended at St. Gregory's, “the ruling powers conniving at the use of the liturgy, &c. in this church alone.” Towards the end of the year 1655, however, forth the Protector's edict or proclamation, prohibiting all ministers of the church of England from preaching, or teaching any schools ; in which,” says Evelyn, “ he imitated the apostate Julian.” On the 25th of December he notes in his Diary – “ There was now no more notice taken of Christmas-day in churches. I went to London, where Dr. Wild preached the funeral sermon of preaching, this being the last day after which Cromwell's proclamation was to take place, that none of the church of England should dare either to preach or administer sacraments, teach schools, &c. So this was the mournfullest day that in my life I had seen, or the church of England herself, since the Reformation, to the great rejoicing of both papist and presbyter. The text was 2 Cor. xiii. 9 ;— that however persecution dealt with the ministers of God's word, they were still to pray for the flock, and wish their perfection, as it was the flock's to pray for and assist their pastors, by the example of St. Paul. So pathetic was his discourse, that it drew many tears from the auditory. Myself, wife, and some of our family received the communion. God make me thankful, who hath hitherto provided for us the food of our