Sunday, February 29 1756

My wife and I both at church in the morning… We had for dinner the sparerib sent us from Hartfield and a butter pond pudding. My wife and I both at church in the afternoon; the text in Ecclesiastes 9:11: “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” From these words we had an excellent sermon to persuade us all to repent that we may avert the wrath of heaven at this time when there are now abroad in the world fires, earthquakes, and at a time when our happy isle is in hourly expectation of an invasion from a powerful enemy who wants nothing more than to reduce us to state of slavery and, what will be still worse, deprive us of our holy religion and in itstead institute popery. Then if we reflect on this our happy constitution and consider how unhappy we should be by such a resolution, we have then the greatest reason to abandon (in the best manner our frail nature can be brought to let us) all our wickednesses and irreligion and turn to the Lord our God, who is full of goodness, long-suffering and of great kindness.

After churchtime my wife and I went up to Thomas Fuller’s. We drank tea there, as did Mr Porter’s maid Sarah Taylor and Fanny Weller. We all came home about 5:30, staying there not above 1½ hours. Thomas Fuller was not at home. We all came home together. Sarah Taylor and Fanny Weller came in and sat with us about 20 minutes. I wrote to Mr Verral in answer to the letter I received from him on Saturday. I also wrote a letter to Mr John Russell for Mr James Hutson in answer to one he received in answer to mine of the 10th instant.

When I drew up my rules for regimen, I mentioned to breakfast one day in every week on only dry bread for eatables, and likewise to eat no meat one day in every week, as also to go to bed at the least one night in every week without a supper. I am come to a resolution to fix the followings days for a due observance of the said rules; viz., to eat only dry bread on Sunday morning, to eat no meat on Friday and to go to bed without a supper every Wednesday night.

Sunday, February 8 1756

My wife and I both at church in the morning; the text in Romans 4:3: “Abraham believed god, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” As I by experience find how much more conducive it is to my health, as well as pleasantness and serenity to my mind, to live in a low, moderate rate of diet, and as I know I shall never be able to comply therewith in so strict a manner as I should choose (by the instability and over easiness of my temper), I think it therefore right (as it’s a matter of so great importance to my health etc.) to draw up rules of proper regimen, which I do in manner and form following, and which, at all times when I am in health, I hope I shall always have the strictest regard to follow, as I think they are not inconsistent with either religion or morality:

First, be it either in the summer or winter, to rise as early as I possibly can; that is, always to allow myself between 7 and 8 hours’ sleep, or full 8, unless prevented on any particular or emergent occasion.

2ndly, to go to breakfast between the hours of .7 and 6 from Lady Day to St Michael, and from St Michael to Lady Day between the hours of 8 and 9.

3rdly, my breakfast to be always tea or coffee and never to exceed 4 dishes. If neither of those, half a pint of water or water gruel; and for eatables bread and cheese, bread and butter, light biscuit, buttered toast, or dry bread, and one morning in every week, dry bread only.

4thly, nothing more before dinner, and always to dine between the hours of 12 and 1 o’clock if at home.

5thly, my dinner to be meat, pudding, or any other thing of the like nature, but always to have regard, if there is nothing but salt provision, to eat sparingly; and to eat plenty of any sort of garden stuff there is at table, together with plenty of bread and acids, if any, at table; and always to have the greatest regard to give white or fresh meats and pudding the preference before any sort of highly seasoned, salt, or very strong meat; and always one day in every week to eat no meat.

6thly, my drink at dinner to be always boiled water with a toast in it, or small beer, but water if I can have it, and never to drink anything stronger until after dinner.

7thly, if I drink tea at home or abroad to [let it] be small, green tea and not more than 4 dishes; and if I eat anything, not more than two ounces.

8thly, my supper never to be mat but weak broth, water gruel, milk pottage, bread and cheese, bread and butter, apple-pie or some other sort of fruit pie, or some such light diet; my drink, water or small deer, and one night at the least in every week to go to bed without any supper.

9thly, never to drink any sort of drams or spirituous liquors of what name or kind so ever.

10thly, if I am at home, in company, or abroad, if there is nothing but strong beer, never to drink more than 1 glasses, one to toast the king’s health, the 2nd to the royal family, the 3rd to all friends and the 4th to the pleasure of the company; if there is either wine or punch etc., never, upon any terms or persuasions whatever, to drink more than 8 glasses, nor each glass to hold or contain more than half a quarter of a pint, nor even so much if [it is] possibly to be avoided.

11thly, if I am constrained by extreme drought to drink between meals, that to be toast and water, small beer, or very small wine and water; to wit, ¼ pint of red or white wine to one pint of water.

12thly, never to drink any small or strong beer, winter or summer, without being warmed if possible; and lastly always to go to bed at or before ten o’clock when it can be done.

My wife and I both at church in the afternoon the text in Job. 7:20: “I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men?” We had, both forenoon and afternoon, excellent discourses wherein that necessary and excellent duty of repentance was strongly and pathetically recommended and enjoined to be done if we hope for salvation. After evening service my wife and I went up to Mr John Vine Jr’s and drank tea. I smoked one pipe and came home about 6:45. I was obliged to send Roger Vallow to Lewes for the 2 ½ yds serge denim I sent for by James Fuller yesterday, for which I am to give him 12d.