Monday, August 20, 2012

Samuel Sewell on the death of his mother

Image:  Samuel Seward (1652-1730)
Note:  When we took our trip up to New England week before last, we read aloud some portions of The Diary of Samuel Sewell on our drive.  Samuel Sewell (1652-1730) was  a prominent Puritan magistrate and businessman in Boston.  He kept his diary for nearly sixty years and it offers numerous insights on both colonial history and Puritan piety.

Here is Seward’s entry from January 15, 1700 on the comments he made at the graveside of his mother (original spelling and syntax):

I said, Forbear a little, and suffer me to say That amidst our bereaving sorrows We have the comfort of beholding this Saint put into the rightfull possession of that Happiness of Living desir’d and dying Lamented.  She liv’d commendably Four and Fifty years with her dear husband, and my dear Father:  And she could not well brook the being divided from him at her death; which is the cause of our taking leave of her in this place.  She was a true and constant lover of Gods Word, Worship, and Saints: She always, with patient cheerfulness, submitted to the divine Decree of providing Bread for her self and others in the sweat of her Brows.  And now her infinitely Gracious and Bountiful Master has promoted her to the Honor of higher Employments, fully and absolutely discharged from all manner of Toil, and Sweat.  My honoured and beloved Friends and Neighbors!  My dear Mother never thought much of doing the most frequent and homely offices of Love for me; and lavish’d away many Thousands of Words upon me, before I could return one word in Answer.  And therefore I ask and hope that none will be offended that I have now ventured to speak one word in her behalf; when shee her self is become speechless.  Made a motion with my hand for the filling of the Grave.  Note, I could hardly speak for passion and Tears.


Mad Jack said...

I believe the image caption needs a little editing.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

Corrected. Thanks MJ. SS lived a long life but not as long as the original caption (which read 1552-1730) indicated!