[1632. March:] My fathers love was such towards me that when I was near 16 years old I went to C[ambridge] to Jesus College entered pensioner under Mr Tho: Lane . my loving and I hope godly and hones[t tutor] he dealt lovingly with me, but I was forced to come from Cambridge many times for want [of] means and lose my time in the country yet would I endeavour to get it up and I thank [god] notwithstanding all hindrances I was not behind many of my time and standing: and now [my fathers love] would bud forth in expressions of [love and tea]rs towards me exceedingly living at Bumpsted in Essex under Mr Symons his landlord and Mr Barradale a godly man his [ ] I bless my god to restrain me by his grace from lewdness, and in particular though my father [ ] me exceedingly and my mother in law though I hope an honest woman yet was [of a somewhat] sour spirit yet I remember not that I ever caused any debate or division between them [for any]thing, though I was sensible of her disrespect in some things towards me: I can call [to mind] not many things in my life: In reference to my father I bless god to give me a spirit c[arefull] to please him so that I had his blessing being a joy and not a grief of heart unto him[. He was] grieved that he should leave me no estate and I told him if he had enough for himself I hoped god would so bless me as that I should if need were be helpful to him; it is a [conti]nual comfort to me to think of my tender love to him, and my care for him in which I was able [to do] his business, for his credit, for his estate, much went through my hand and yet I gave him always a just account but only for about 5s. at one time which I spent upon myself in [his] employment and not lavishly. When I came to Bumpsted I heard Mr Borradale with delight; whom god used an instrument to do [me] good when I heard him my use was to walk home alone not with other boys or company. and sta[y] not in the churchyard but immediately away, and meditate upon the sermon and example myself by the same. I could not afterwards but relate the same to him, who heard it with much joy [and] comfort, it was my constant course to perform duties of prayer between god and myself twice and sometimes thrice a day, and to read the scriptures.
Towards my sisters god gave me heart to seek their good in some measure, my father living and dead, and especially my sister Anna in hindering her from marrying a widow(er) when my father had cast her off, and. in reconciling her to him again and this I did before I was 17 years old [.] When my father was dead in my poverty, I bless god I did not forget to do for them:
Besides what I said before of my slips twice was I mistaken ignorantly and unadvisedly my god forgive and pardon the same to me in the blood of his Christ, which I desire most earnestly and I had too much familiarity with a near and dear friend of mine, though I praise my god who kept me from uncleanness: the lord took her away young, yet he gave me [an] opportunity first to bemoan it with her, and to entreat her to seek of god pardon and forgiveness for the same: I bless the lord for that spirit that having been a cause with others of erring the Lord gave me grace to lament it with the parties and ask them forgiveness, and advising them not to be misled by my example. I desire to look upon this branch always in respect of myself with trembling, and gods preservation with thankfulness: oh the opportunities that I have had in the affection of y(o)uth, I should not have thought there had been that wantonness in youth if my experience had not manifested the same:
In Cambridge in my studies I was close and diligent: my fault was to omit too many mornings by reason of my tenderness, either in bed or by the fire: the superstitions of the Church were a perplexity then unto me: god gave me mercy in blessing me with love, and prospering in [the] College, few fallings out, but one to speak by or rashness, which we lamented as be[ing] upon a Sabbath day when we should have been at public ordinances; there god kept from infection strangely:
For my health god was good to me: preserving me from the smallpox when I have often been near and in danger,
[1636:] While I was in this way compassed with mercies: being newly come up to Cambridge on Tuesday night Oct: 25: came up my brother Hodson about 10 a clock at night and brought me word my father was sick, speechless, senseless, and like to die: I rode home that night, but had not the comfort to have one word from him that he knew me, so as on Friday: Octob: 28: my Father gave up the ghost, and is now in rest, in joy and glory: he was about 53. years old or very near and I wanted one quarter to 20: Now was my condition sad: young, and friendless and penniless: my father making no will[.]Octob. 30: we buried him in Bumpsted Churchyard: with grief of heart I laid him in[to] the grave, but my god lives for evermore: My mother in law took not as I conceived a course to do us Justice, we could not agree I departed from her; took my degree at Cambridge: Bachelor of art with money I had from her, and put myself into apparel, so that of 20li. my fathers share in my fathers estate. I spent 10li. before Feb: 1: 1636:
But now what course should I take, sometimes I thought upon my fathers farm: then upon the Law, but god and the persuasions of Mr Borradale and Mr Thornbecke settled me again upon Cambridge, well I took my degree and in Feb: ult: Mr Thornbecke had word that one Mr Kempe of Sutton in Bedfordshire want[ed] an usher. I resolved to go over thither with their letter, but I wanted money for my journey: oh how ashamed was I to ask: one Edward Bell upon my entre[aty] lent me 5s. to pay my charges, oh how hardly with tears in [my eyes did I] look upon my condition, much ado I procured a horse and a saddle: my [proud] heart thought this was very mean; in tedious weather I went my journey [providence] cast me upon a carrier than went that way otherwise I could not have performed my journey, I escaped some danger at Potton of miring set up my horse there and down that night to Mr Kempes late, he entertai[n]ed me, but in conclusion he was provided of an usher and so my journey was lost, home I came with a sad heart a tired horse, and empty purse, I rode almost all night because, I neither would nor could pay another days horse hire, when I was come home I borrowed 10s. of Mr Thornbecke to carry me into Norfolk to my uncles: thither I went having paid my former 5s. my uncle Benton entertained me with love and pity and offered me to stay a while with him, here was providence, abode I had none, money none, and friends were not so kind as I expected, oh but my god took me up and had a care of me, forever blessed be his name [,] now I was as it were at an anchor, when lo within 2 days on Saturday at night comes in a messenger with the offer of a place unto me, it came about thus. Mr Kempe had a letter sent to him from Mr Neale of Deane in Bedfordshire to help him to an usher, he sent over kindly to Mr Thornbecke , and he to me in Norfolk, my uncle Mr Benton advised me [to] accept the place, I looked upon it as a gracious providence, returned to Bumpsted, paid the messenger, and resolved into a Country and among persons that I never heard of before: all my things at Cambridge I sold to my sister Anna and in conclusion I gave her them: I made even with all the world, provided me my horse, one suit of clothes, and Coat which I borrowed at 1li.12s.4d. upon my uncle Miles his credit, when I had fitted all disposed my books and some linen in my trunk, I left it with a carrier to bring after me: I took horse and rode towards Huntingdon, I had in my purse the charges of my journey deducted: 1li.5s.9d.: I was indebted 10s. above that formerly expressed for my Coat: when I came upon the Bridges betwixt Godmanchester and Huntingdon, I ruminated upon Jacobs speech with my staff I passed over this Jordan: my condition was low, I went I knew not whither, if I had not set down in this place, I had been undone: well I considered what a plentiful return Jacob had: I considered lo in this condition thus low, a little money, a few books and only 10li. my mother still owed me of my part in my fathers estate: I stayed and went softly and made this Covenant. with god to serve him, and whatever became of me, to use no unlawful and dishonest way for my subsistence or preferment. in this my sad heart was somewhat cheered, at the foot of the bridge the prisoners were begging. my heart pitied them in their distress and out of my poverty I gave them 3d. riding on my journey, I found I could not well reach to the end that night upon which I took up my inn at Spalditch there was some charge unexpected: the next morning March 24: 1636: anno aetatis the twentieth and somewhat upwards I came to Deane, alighting from horse and calling at the Door the gentlewoman of the House welcomes me into her parlour and calls her husband: it rejoiced me to see their faces, they expressed goodness in their countenance (.)
[March: 25: 1637:] well in conclusion I agreed to stay; the present schoolmaster was not yet gone, but I was to enter upon it as from the next day he laying it down as that day the end of the quarter: my entrance was harsh, 10li. per annum was I to pay for my diet: 3 scholars afforded me: 7li. the first quarter was worth 4li. to me and I had hopes of increase daily: now was I in a hopeful way, I applied myself to my school and studies I was much engaged to Mr Dillingham for his love and respect: I read through all chamier there and abrid[ged] him: I had acquaintance at my Lord Mandevilles of Kimbolton Castle and the use of h[is] library by means of Mr Merrill his chaplain: I rode sometimes into Essex and Norfo[lk] once per annum paid my debts received my money off my mother, had the countenance [of] my friends having now no need of their help:
[1639:] having stayed there 2 years at Spring 1639: at Easter coming out of Norfolk, I was taken sick with an ague and fever, which brought me low, as if it would have by a deep consumption laid me in the grave[,] my friends feared me, yet I did not, but trusted in god for recovery, who set me [on] my legs again: in a word at deane I bought me books, clothes, and saved some money: upon Michaelmas day. anno: 1639. I preached my first sermon at Wormington [in] Northamptonshire at the entreaty of Mr Elmes upon Acts. 16.31: some discontents were in my head so that Mr Gifford of [Olny] coming to me and proffering me 12li. per annum and my diet, to be his Curate: I went [over] to Olny in Buckinghamshire and left D[eane] Octob:4:1639. being Friday: my stock was: 20li.7s.9d. in money and about 1li. owing me, so that I put up in money besides all my expenses about 10li. in money and paid my debts:
[Olny:] The first quarter at Olny I was only assistant to him in his school, the first Lords day being [Octob:]6: was my eye fixed with love upon a Maid; and hers upon me: who afterwards proved my wife: Decemb: 13: my uncle Mr Joslin in Norfolk, sent me the offer of a place [by] him; but my affection to that maid that god had laid out to be my wife would not suffer me to stir, so I gave the messenger: 5s. and sent him away. in that month of December I was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Peterburg. the charges amounted to: 1li.14s.9. in my journ[ey]. in my return I preached at Deane. December 25t. and coming home from thence, I read prayers at Olny, and that day found Jane Constable the maid before mentioned in our house. which was the beginning of our acquaintance. the next Lords day I preached at Olny; on Acts. 16.31.