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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," and was "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 I"
"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 " some 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, "came 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 souls as well as bodies! The Lord Jesus pity our distressed church, and bring back the captivity of Zion!" After this the " church was reduced to a chamber and conventicle, so sharp was the persecution;" and he speaks of their assembling in a private house in Fleet Street, where they had "a great meeting of zealous Christians, who were generally much more devout and religious than in our greatest prosperity." In 1658 he speaks of the church as being "in dens and caves of the earth," and relates an anecdote which shows that one of these visits to London for pious purposes was nearly bringing him into serious trouble.
"December 25. I went to London, with my wife, to celebrate christmas day; Mr. Gunning preaching in Exeter chapel, on Micah vii. 2. Sermon ended, as he was giving us the holy sacrament, the chapel was surrounded* with soldiers, and all the communicants and assembly surprised and kept prisoners by them, some in the house, others carried away. It fell to my share to be confined to a room in the house, [Exeter house J where yet I was permitted to dine with the master of it, and the countess of Dorset, lady Hatton, and some others of quality who invited me. In the afternoon came colonel Whaly, GofFe, and others, from Whitehall, to examine us one by one; some they committed to the Marshall, some to prison. When I came before them they took my name and abode, examined me why, contrary to an ordinance made that none should any longer observe the superstitious time of the Nativity, (so esteemed by them,) I durst offend; and particularly be at Common Prayers, which they told me was but the Mass in English, and particularly pray for Charles Stuart, for which we had no Scripture. I told them we did not pray for Charles Stuart, but for all Christian
kings, princes, and governors. They replied, in so doing we prayed for the king of Spain too, who was their enemy, and a papist, with other frivolous and ensnaring questions, and much threatening; and finding no colour to detain me, they dismissed me with much pity of my ignorance. These were men of high flight, and above ordinances, and spake spiteful things of our Lord's Nativity. As we went up to receive the sacrament, the miscreants held their muskets against us, as if they would have shot us at the altar, but yet suffered us to finish the office of communion, as perhaps not having instructions what to do in case they found us in that action. So I got home, late the next day, blessed be God!" Mr. Evelyn also had his children baptised in his own house by the silenced clergy, "because the parish minister," he says, "durst not have officiated according to the form and usage of the Church of England, to which I always adhered."
Another token of Mr. Evelyn's desire to please God was his making choice of a spiritual adviser, and that so pious and devout a person as Dr. Jeremy Taylor.
On the 31st of March 1655, he says, "I made a visit to Dr. Jeremy Taylor, to confer with him about some spiritual matters, using him thenceforward as my ghostly father. I beseech God Almighty to make me ever mindful of, and thankful for, his heavenly assistances."
At what time their acquaintance commenced cannot now be ascertained, but we find Evelyn amongst the hearers of Taylor when the latter preached in London, and early in the year 1654 we meet with a letter from Evelyn to Taylor, the language of which implies that they had some previous knowledge of each other. Taylor had fallen under the displeasure of the government, in consequence of some remarks which he made in the preface to