Elizabeth Saffery Diary: January 1798

[Thursday] Jan 4 98

Spent most of this day with our dear & much loved Mr Steadman & his wife wh calld on us in their way to Plyth Dock felt my mind very much affected with parting from so very valueable friends & being prevented hearing him preach through Affliction Oh how difficult to bring my will to bow to the will of God but if I am not deceived desire to submit with Cheerfullness I trust by & by we shall meet where parting shall never enter.

After shedding a few tears was enabled to spend a little time in prayer hope not in vain, its an infinite mercy we have a God that will never leave us, he is every where present to him I desire to leave every concern may his kind hand protect our dear friends on their journey & make their way prosperous before them & if permited to meet on earth again may we unite in preasing our kind protecter & if not Oh that we may meet in yonder world of Bliss there shall we triumph in Redeeming Love with out any mixture of Sin or Sorrow. Oh for much of God to support under every trial this I know will sweeten every bitter cup of Affliction, Grant thou Blessed God this unspeakable blessing to a feeble worm thou knowest how much I need strong faith & confidence in thee to keep me from murmering under ye Rod I hope it’s the constant desire of my Soul to say with ye Poet –

Content my father with thy will

And quite as a Child

Give me thy self & I have enough.

Lordsday 7 [January 1798]

Blessed be God I am better then weeks past as to my health, the Lord have been far better then my fears. O may I feel a heart of Gratitude to prease him hope these few days past my mind have not been alltogether forgetfull of the tender mercies of God in restoring thus far & enabling me to go to his house & surround his table this Afternoon, tho with much weakness & indisposition. I trust it was not a lost season to me but Oh I want to feel more of God when professedly worshiping of him. My dear partner gave us a sweet discourse on Salvation from Acts 4 & 12 Neither is there Salvation in any other &c when at the table of the Lord I trust I felt a pleasure in being permited once more to partake of the bread & wine in rememberance of our dear Redeemer & could rejoice in the Prospect of joining with the Blessed Assembly above no more to sin nor be burdend with an afflicted Body a tempting devil and a wicked corrupt heart –

Returned home exceedingly ill, in the evening had but little pleasure not being thought prudent to be left alone may my soul be really profeted by the repeated strokes I experance I desire to be kept from every murmer & live much on the precious promises –

O that I had a Stronger faith

To Look within the vail

To credit what my Saviour saith

Whose words can never fail.[1]

Monday Jany 8 [1798]

This morning was enabled to arise & attend the hour we devote in the family on these mornings for prayer for the increase of real Religion my mind have been much excercised today for dear friends in a matter of great importance may the God whom they Love direct their every step & make them bright & shining Lights in this dark world how desireable to see Christians walk & act as becometh Godliness.

Lordsday Jany 21 [1798]

This fortnight past have been excercised with much pain & weakness unable to attend to domestic affairs, it is the Lord therefore I dare not complain, no rather would I rejoice in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me for my strength I trust is made perfect in weakness – In the midst of judgment the Lord remembers mercy when in violent pain could I hope rejoice in the prospect of deliverance through a precious Redeemer from not only pain of Body but a far worse decrease the Sin that still dwells within – many precious promises were my support – Jesus I trust appeared a suitable saviour for me to rely on, on him I wish to depend for every grace I need. I know he is able to make a dieing bed soft as downy pillows are – The Lord have again broke into my family by death taken one whose life apear’d more likely to continue by far then mine, but Alas she is gone amidst pleasing prospect as to this Life & left a weeping husband & lovely babe – be still my soul let not a murmer rise shall not ye judge of the earth do right. Thanks be to God for pleasing hopes she is taken so soon to eternal Glory Oh what rebellion have I felt at hearg the news & allmost ready to say to the Allmighty if I am thine why left to grovel so many years in pain & Afflicn I desire blessed God to be humble before thee for my abominable Sin & wickedness may my Life be more devoted to thee Oh let the few remaining days be spent to thy prease, let it appear that I am refined by these frequent Chastisments Glory to thy name for desires to Love thee more – is it not the breathings of my soul to Glorify thee in Life & in death – In this Affliction have mournd at ye very little if any use of comfort I can be to the dear flock when my beloved Partner is under Sheppard but if the Lord see fit to confine me to my dwelling & prevent my converse with them I desire cheerfully to submit. Blessed be his name he has not forbid but encouraged me to pray for them & he will hear & answers prayer –

This day being much alone hope I have experanced some enjoyment of God a willingness to surrender my All into his faithful hand believing it will be but a little while & I shall lay down this poor infirm body & my Spirit wing its way to him whom I hope is growingly precious to my Soul,

Jesus I love thy Charming name

Tis music to my ear,

Fain would I sound it but so Loud

That heaven & earth might hear.

God grant my hopes of Glory may be on the right foundation Jesus Christ

A guilty weak & helpless worm

In thy kind arm I fall

Be thou my strength & righteousness

My Jesus & my All.

Lordsday Jany 28 [1798]

What shall I render to ye Lord for his goodness to such an unworthy worm as I – He has enabled me to go to the house of God twice today, thanks to his name for so far restoring me. Oh that my future days may be more devoted to him have reason to mourn I felt no more Spirituality in worship both public & privet today. Oh what need of constant supplys from God – This past week have found need for faith & patience to support under trial & affliction. Blessed be God he puts underneath his everlasting Arm for our support & as our day is so our strength shall be – I trust I felt pleasure in the prospect of once more assembling with the dear people of God in his house There God my Saviour reigns hear’d my beloved Partner in ye morning from Galatians 3 & 28 his 2d sermon on ye Union between Christ & the believers.

In ye Afternoon Revelations 1 Chapr & first part of ye 10th verse “I was in ye spirit on ye Lords day.”

Oh for more of this experience that as an evidence my soul may long & pant after God, I cant but lament this evening on Reflection of the day that my soul have been so barren & lifeless I find going to ye sanctury or enter our closet without the presence of God is all day work

Come holy Spirit heavenly dove

With all thy Quickening powers.


Came to Portsea the 6 of Febry 1798 in a Chaise with my dear Father & Sister Horsey wh had been to Sarum & spent a Lordsday with us – when there were 3 men & 5 women Baptized my dr Father preachd from Acts.

Was brought to this place in safety under the kind hand of (I hope) my heavenly Father tho in a poor weak & afflicted state of body unable to visit friends much, however walk out a little, was permited to attend the House of God 2 Lords days the Thursday following I grew much worse was oblidged to retire early to bed was confined then & to ye Chamber for more then a fortnight after that was with asistance led into ye other Chamber but was oblidged to return to my Room again was near a month before I could be with ye family & then in very weak state.

At the first of my Illness the pain was so violent in my head that I was incapable of much reflection but at times I trust I did enjoy a good hope through grace that however it should end it would be well with me tho unworthy such an unspeakable blessing.

Friday morning my beloved parent was oblidged to leave me has he had no supply for the Lordsday following at home, my mind was composed & tranquil tho my life apeard doubtful to myself yet in a good measure was enabled to commit my self & dearest of earthly comforts into the hands of a faithful covenant keeping God believing all things was (however painful) working together for our real good – for 3 or 4 days following the fever & pain rather increased but blessed be God my mind when capable of reflection was not distressed nor very raptures but if not deceived I experianced a good hope through grace that unworthy as I am for me Jesus had made intercession at his fathers right hand, who then shall condemn, it is Christ that died. Those words of the Apostle where refreshing to my drooping spirits “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure & stedfast & wh entereth into that within ye vail.” I trust I was enabled to cast my soul on Jesus as mine & say with Dr Watts O Guilty weak & helpless worm &c my dear Partner returned to me in little more than a week & I hope my soul felt grateful that we were permited to see each other once more this side eternity the Lord heard & answered prayer in removing in some measure the Affliction. O how good is it to have a God to go to as our God those words were sweet to me in Rippons “I must have all things and abound – While God is God to me.”


[1] "O Lord, I would delight in Thee," by John Ryland, Jr., in Rippon, Selection, Hymn 171; also included in A Selection of Missionary and Devotional Hymns (Hymn 171, p. 155), a collection that appeared in print in Portsmouth in 1797, edited by John Griffin, pastor of the Independent congregation in Orange Street, Portsmouth. The Horseys and the Griffins were close friends and Elizabeth Saffery could easily have purchased a copy of the hymnal during her recent visit to her parents.