Ralph Josselin (1616–1683) was the vicar of Earls Colne in Essex from 1641 until his death in 1683. His diary records intimate details of everyday farming life, family and kinship in a small, isolated rural community, and is often studied by researchers interested in the period, alongside other similar diaries like that of Samuel Pepys.
22. my little Mary , very weak, we feared she was drawing on, fear came on my heart very much, but she is not mine, but the Lords, and she is not too good for her father, she was tender of her mother, thankful, mindful of god, in her extremity, she would cry out, poor I, poor I. I went down to the priory about a medicine for worms, as I came up, my heart cheered exceedingly, I was hopeful of her life, fear went of my heart wonderfully through mercy. when I came home, she had had a stool, and 3 great dead worms, Lord in mercy to her, and me, you will bring her up from the grave, and I shall praise thy most holy name, divers texts in the psalms I read this day cheered my heart, the lord I hope speaking those things to me my faith endeavoured to lay hold on them psal. 27. v. 1. 5. 10, both of us even gave her over, and then god gave a reviving, but if I will see this mercy, my duty is to wait. v. 14. psal. 28. v. 1. 6. 7. psal. 30. v. 2. 3. 10. 11. 12, we gave her a clyster it wrought very well praised be my god, she rested sweetly in the afternoon, Major Haynes from London with us.
23. my wife and I rested comfortably, I have a boil on my hip, which pains me the lord I know orders it for good to me, my Mary rested very little the night past, yet she knew me in the morning, the Lord was good to me in the thoughts of the morning, I went to him in his word for something to live on this day and I lay at catch waiting what he would touch my heart with, and in reading these texts spoke to me. Psal. 31. 15. worms, and weakness can do nothing to my babe further than god commissions them, 22. 24. apt I am to fear my babe, but god will give me strength to trust in him, psal. 32. v. 1. 6. happiness is not in the ways of the vain creature, but in the mercies of the living god. v. 7. psal. 33. 18. 19. v. gods mercy reaches to deliver the soul from death.
24: I rested very comfortably with my dear wife this night past, but my Mary very ill, this morning she sleeps sweetly, soundly, to god be praise, this morning many passages in the 34 psalm refreshed me, my little Ralph very ill, when the lord sees good, he will shine again on my tabernacle, and I shall praise him, Dr Wright has fully invested me in the school for his time, and for his right, the lord make me serviceable to his glory therein, and let it turn to my good and advantage, my dear Mary voided six worms more this day. I went to bed at night, but was raised up, with the dolour of my wife , that Mary was dying, she was very near death, but the lord preserved her this night also, oh lord suit my heart unto all thy dealings, show me why you do contend with me, oh mother says she if you could but pull out something handsomely here , (and lays her hand on her stomach) I should be well, lord do it beyond all means, thou alone are more than all.
25: hopes of Maries life especially towards night, but it was only hopes, god is her life, she shall enjoy it in heaven not here, Ralph ill, Lord sanctify your dealings to me, god has taken the fear of it, much from my heart, and helps me in bearing it for which I bless and praise his holy name.