Federal Burt’s Journal

Pages from the journal Burt kept while a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital, March through June 1827.

The first entry is dated “MarApr 18”; this was a Wednesday, one week after Burt’s surgery. In very small script, at top of page: “Cursed pride that creeps securely in and swells a haughty worm.” (This is from “Sincere Praise” by Isaac Watts — “But pride, that busy sin, / spoils all that I perform; / Cursed pride, that creeps securely in, / and swells a haughty worm.”)

As I look back upon my past life it seems as if it had been spent to no purpose and it seems as if I was spending now as if there was no God in the world as if I have never submitted to him and yet hoping that I am a Christian living careless yealding [sic] to sloth in some meashure [sic] and when I look back for two or three months past and what I am now I sometimes think I am deceived and deluded and sometimes feel that I am really deceived in all that I have felt.
Through most of this time I had been very willing that others should think I was a very devoted Christian and have seen they so viewed me and in consequence have tried to make it appear so deceiving myself and others; and why I should do so I think it is because I others look upon [the reason?] s rather dull and so I would try to make others have a good opinion of me or at least very willing that they should have. Yet it cannot be the nature of true religion to exalt itself I will try and do so no more O thou Father of mercies help me to keep my promise Ever pleading to his mercy and still abusing it day after day O God help me to trust in the Savior and to live as becometh one who has [illegible]ed himself by his sins and would flee to him as his only refuge.

(The following entry is dated simply “18.”)

Not quite so much cast down as sometimes but afraid I am cherishing the hope of the hypocrite I have acted much like one; I am looking forward to the time when I shall be united with the Church when I shall profess my love to the saviour I now think I have been too hasty I did think I loved the Saviour but I am afraid I am deceived but I will try and follow him throughout my life

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