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1768.]

KEEPING A DIARY.

111

CHAPTER VI.

Practice of keeping a Diary commended_Lady Glenorchy follows

that laudable custom-Extracts from her Diary, from May 11, to July 19, 1768.-Letter from Lady Glenorchy to Lady MaxwellUniformly takes notice of her Birth-day ; and on the first recurrence of it in her Diary, gives a particular account of her Conver. sion-Lord Glenorchy sells Sugnal—This circumstance carries Lady Glenorchy to England-Diary thereby interrupted_Lord Glenorchy purchases Barnton-Extracts from Lady Glenorchy's Diary from August 1, to September 2, 1769.Usefulness of keeping a Diary further confirmed, by another Extract from her Diary_Still exposed to many trials--Much benefited by Lady Maxwell—Extracts from Diary, January 27-31, 1770.–Lady Glenorchy procures St Mary's Chapel as a place for public worship-Circumstances connected with this event-Extracts from Diary, from February 2, to February 18, 1770.

The practice of keeping a Diary, or daily account of Christian experience, and interesting occurrences, has, it is well known, been in all ages common with religious characters. This practice, when conducted with prudence and discretion, is certainly attended with many advantages, both to the individual writer, and to Christians in general. The individual writer is enabled to review the nature of God's dealings towards him, the dangers to which he has been exposed, the sins which have been more easily besetting him ; and from thence learns how to avoid the one, and overcome the other: his different graces are brought more conspicuously into exercise, and the influence of true godliness is more habitually felt; and Christians in general are, by perusing them, often instructed,

strengthened, and comforted, in their pilgrimage through this world.

At what time Lady Glenorchy began to keep a Diary is not certain ; but from circumstances, it would appear to have been about this period, perhaps somewhat earlier. She frequently corrected and transcribed her papers, especially such as she wished to preserve, and wrote them on a fine quarto page, with a large margin, ruled off at the top and bottom, and on each side, by a red line. Two-thirds of her Diary are nearly written in this manner, apparently taken from a scroll, and entitled “Extracts from the Diary of

The remainder is contained in a book of coarse paper, interlined and blotted, and evidently not intended to be seen in that shape by any eye but her own, and which she seems not to have found leisure to transcribe. It is probable, that the Diary which she kept during the first part of her religious life had been destroyed by herself. From the view which Miss Hill's letters give of her experience, it is likely she judged it not requisite to preserve it; and to this conjecture we are led from this singular fact, that the Diary which exists commences but very

short

period before that part of Miss Hill's correspondence with her ceased, which, as we have before said, Lady Glenorchy thought fit to preserve. Neither is it unlikely that the existence of her diary was the reason why she did not think it necessary to transcribe any more of her friend's letters: this circumstance accounts for the very abrupt manner in which it begins. Lady Glenorchy had by this time acquired courage not merely to defend her own religious, opinions, but even to animadvert on those of others which she thought to be erroneous.

a

1768.1

DIARY.

113

The steward, or factor as he is called in Scotland, of the Breadalbane estates, usually lived at Taymouth during the time that the family resided there. He was the proprietor of a neighbouring ancient family estate, and a gentleman of great talents and learning. With this gentleman Lady Glenorchy ventured to argue; and, as is not unfrequently the case in disputation, unfortunately lost her temper.

She had too much good sense and religious feeling, however, not to be aware of the great impropriety of this, and too much integrity and candour not to confess it. Hence, on the 11th day of May 1768, her Diary thus begins.

EXTRACTS

FROM THE

DIARY OF LADY GLENORCHY.

May 11, 1768.—This morning I awoke with a great desire to praise God for his mercies; but my lips were sealed, I could not utter what I felt.-At breakfast, I renewed the argument upon faith with Auchalladear, and was led away by the impetuosity of my temper to say what I did not at first intend, and some things that savoured too much of Antinomianism. In the course of the argument, I felt much carnal pride and self-applause in my heart, and I did not apply, as I ought to have done, to the Holy Spirit for his assist

This I take to be the reason why I was left to fall into error. After this, I walked out to the place

ance.

H

which I have chosen for my morning devotions. My mind was much disturbed in reading the word : I was in great darkness, but it pleased the Lord to enable me to utter my wants to him, and to pray fervently, with many tears, for myself and all my friends. After this, in walking home, I sung part of the 71st psalm, and felt much joy and comfort in the latter part of it, from the 20th verse :

Thou, Lord, who great adversities

And sore to me didst show,
Shall quicken, and bring me again,

From depths of earth below, &c. &c.

After dinner, I met with a sore trial of patience, and here (from not looking to Jesus for help) I felt most sadly. I lost temper, and said many bitter things. I recalled to mind all my former grievances, repined at the will of God, and thought my case uncommonly hard. In short, the Lord left me to my own' proud heart; and I sinned greatly. This has cost me many tears. Lord forgive me this offence, and wash it away in thy precious blood.

I this day resolve (with the assistance of the Spirit) to watch over the first risings of passion, and to pray daily for the grace of a meek and quiet spirit, and above all for humility, in which I am greatly deficient. This has been a day of many errors and infirmities. Lord, if thou shouldst mark iniquity, who could stand before thee? but with thee there is mercy, and plenteous redemption. O clothe me with the righteousness which cometh by faith from Jesus ; for all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags : ever my best duties are stained with sin. My trust is in thee, O Lord; let me never be confounded.

1768.

DIARY

115

May 16.- This day I came home from a visit at Dunkeld, where I have spent three days very unprofitably, and wasted the precious time given me to work out my salvation. I there fell into a sin that most easily besets me, which is seeking the praise of my fellow-creatures, more than the approbation of God. Although I had opportunities of worship evening and morning, yet my thoughts wandered, and I could not apply my mind to any thing that was good.

The world and sin got possession of me, and corrupt nature led me captive. I often groaned under the oppression, and lifted up my cry to my Redeemer for help, but could not obtain relief; my sinful heart separated me from God. O remember not against me these three mispent days, most merciful Father ; but blot out my numberless transgressions, by the precious blood of the Lamb; raise me up and set me in a straight path, stablish, strengthen, and settle me in the faith, and uphold me with thy free Spirit.

I resolve, by the grace of God, to stay as much at home as possible for the future, and, when abroad, to set a watch over the door of my lips, that I offend not with my tongue; likewise, to mortify this desire of admiration and love of the world. O Lord, grant me thy assistance ; lead me by thy Spirit, create a clean heart within me, and deliver me from the temptations of the devil, the world, and the flesh.

May 17.-I awoke this morning in a holy frame, desirous of living to God; but, alas ! it was as the morning dew, it soon passed away. I read the word carelessly, and found no benefit from it. I lent an ear to flattery; and on hearing that a person had expressed

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