Thursday, September 2, 2010

Matthew Hale's Day Plan

Gilbert Burnet, The Life & Death of Sir Matthew Hale, Kt., Lord Chief Justice of England (1682, 1805), pp. 20-21:

He took a strict account of his time, of which the reader will best judge, by the scheme he drew for a diary which I shall insert copied from the original, but I am not certain when he made it; it is set down in the same simplicity in which he writ it for his own private use.


I. To lift up the heart to God in thankfulness for renewing my Life.

II. To renew my Covenant with God in Christ. 1. By renewed acts of faith receiving Christ, and rejoicing in the height of that relation. 2. Resolution of being one of his people doing him allegiance.

III. Adoration and Prayer.

IV. Setting a watch over my own infirmities and passions, over the snares laid in our way. Perimus licitus [trans.: "We perish by permitted things."]

Day Employment.

There must be an Employment, two kinds.

I. Our ordinary calling, to serve God in it. It is a service to Christ though never so mean. Colos. 3. Here Faithfulness, Diligence, Cheerfulness. Not to overlay my self with more business than I can bear.

II. Our spiritual employments: Mingle somewhat of Gods immediate service in this day.


I. Meat and Drink, Moderation seasoned with somewhat of God.

II. Recreations. 1. Not our Business. 2. Suitable. No Games, if given to Covetousness or Passion.

If alone.

I. Beware of wandering vain lustful thoughts, fly from thy self rather than entertain these.

II. Let thy solitary thoughts be profitable, view the evidences of thy salvation, the state of thy soul, the coming of Christ, thy own mortality, it will make thee humble and watchful.


Do good to them. Use God's name reverently. Beware of leaving an ill impression or ill example. Receive good from them, if more knowing.


Cast up the accounts of the day. If ought amiss, beg pardon. Gather resolution of more vigilance. If well, bless the mercy and grace of God that hath supported thee.

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