John Francis diary: Log Brig Mercury  1791
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This diary records the sermon notes and spiritual reflections of an unnamed member of Boston's Brattle Street church between March 1772 and April 1775.

The diarist wrote each "Sabbath evening" as well as on occasions when s/he attended special Fast-day services or religious lectures. Entries also appear in the middle of a week when someone the diarist knew died suddenly. Other entries of note include those in which the writer was unable to attend worship because of "bruises I received by a fall from a Sley" [16 Jan. 1774] and because of a smallpox outbreak [26 March 1775].

A typical Sabbath entry opens with thanks to God for the favor to attend "his House," gives an account of who preached and from what text for both the morning and afternoon services, and offers a short reflection on or explanation of the sermon. The writer also examined his/her spiritual state and beseeched God for mercy and for his/her heart to be bent to God's will. Additionally, many entries feature anywhere from a few lines to the complete set of stanzas for hymns from English writers like Isaac Watts and the Wesley brothers.

The diarist mentioned hearing sermons from approximately twenty ministers over this three-year span, including Dr. Samuel Cooper, Dr. Charles Chauncy, Dr. Andrew Eliot, Mr. Joseph Howe, Mr. John Hunt, and Dr. Mather Byles, all of whom were ministers at some of the city's largest churches.

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