Seaver, Paul S. Wallington's World; A Puritan Artisan in Seventeenth-Century London. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1985.

Nehemiah Wallington (1598-1658), the eponymous subject of Wallington's World, was a seventeenth-century Puritan craftsman who left more than 50 journal-books containing reflections, copies of sermons he had heard, and personal details of his life. (six notebooks have survived p. 6) He collected and wrote compulsively, or even obsessively: ostensibly he wanted to share his thoughts with his children, to help them live good lives; in practice, writing seemed to be the method that allowed him the best and fullest relief during his long periods of religious anxiety. He writes from a God's-eye point of view - determined to do justice to himself, despite the cost in despair. Late in life he found a measure of peace in his conviction of his sure election, and he became something of a counselor to other Puritans who suffered some of his own (still recurring) doubts and fears.

As a young man Wallington was inclined to suicide and needed some supervision to be kept safe; his family, then, kept him at home rather than sending him out as an apprentice. He was married and settled early in life, again with the help of his parents, and established in his trade with a shortened (almost no) apprentice period. The appropriate fines were paid to his craft guild, the turners, by his father. The turners throve only modestly, and Nehemiah likewise. His efforts supported a small family, extended somewhat by the children of relatives. His older brother helped him throughout his life, and only his married daughter Sarah survived him. In society he knew and heard many Puritan divines beyond his own small neighborhood and had friends in America as well as England. He anticipated revolution, lived through the Civil Wars and took part in the largely ineffective London city government under Cromwell. And yet, these things touch his world, not as spectacle or lesson, but as the generator of hopes and fears - and his internal responses to observed life are the basis upon which his holiness is to be judged. He cannot be a participant, because he must be an observer, not of the event, but of the event at one remove, filtered through his own consciousness.

As a note on the text, I would have liked a chronology of current events and some lengthier abstracts from his journal as second and third appendices.