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.
June. 2. Called up this morning to see my dear friend Mrs Mary Church who departed to an eternal rest, and Sabbath about 9 of the clock, she is free from pain and free from sin which is the greatest happiness of all. There is another good friend in heaven against my going there, for which I desire the lord to fit me every day more and more, my dear Ralph very ill we cannot long enjoy him, the lord wash his nature from his filth, and defilement, and do him good, the love sanctify these sad strokes to us, for the lord Christs sake. God was good to me, my wife and other two children in our health, I had a little pose and stuffing in my head, taking cold on my feet, the lord was good to me in the duties work and exercise of the Sabbath, the lord in mercy heal my heart, nature, and do me good for Christs sake. [N] my navel issued on Friday god in his due time will heal it. when he sees it best for me, and to him, I do commit myself, and all my ways, my dear Ralph before midnight fell asleep whose body Jesus shall awaken, his life was continual sorrow and trouble, happy he who is at rest in the lord, my dear wife , ill as if she would have died, the Lord revived her again for which his holy name be praised, it was one of the most lovely corpses that ever was seen.
4: This day my dear friend Mrs Mary Church and my sweet Ralph were buried together in the church, I preached her funeral on Mathew. 25. 34 verse god has taken from me a choice special friend, the good Lord in mercy sanctify that his dealing unto me, and truly my heart looks wholly to god herein, who is my life, my grace, my all, I am poor and empty. in some respect I see great mercy therein, for Satan lies in wait to corrupt our affections and that mine were not, was gods abundant grace, who keeps me that though I fall yet I am not utterly cast down. when Mrs Mary died, my heart trembled, and was perplexed in the dealings of the lord so sadly with us, and desiring god not to proceed on against us with his darts and arrows, looking back into my ways, and observing why god had thus dealt with me, the lord followed me with that sin no more unless a worse thing happen to you, and the intimation of god was he would proceed no further against me or mine, and he would assist me with his grace if I cleaved to him with a full purpose of heart, which I resolve, oh my god help me, oh my god fail me not, for in thee do I put my trust.