"A Good Honest And Painful Sermon"
Context: From January, 1660, until eye trouble forced him to stop, after May, 1669, an impoverished clerk in London, Samuel Pepys, kept a daily record of his activities, important as well as trivial. Set down in shorthand, the Diary was not completely deciphered and published until 1893. It begins at the time of the Restoration of Charles II to the throne of the Stuarts, when Pepys became a minor clerk in the Admiralty. Before he died, he had twice served as Secretary of the Admiralty and was recognized as the foremost naval authority in England. His Diary covers only nine of the seventy years of his life, including, however, the end of his period of poverty and the beginning of his ability to engage in his favorite diversions, wine and the theater. He was also associating with important people. William Batten, an obscure but excellent seaman, had been knighted and made a rear admiral by Prince Charles for defecting from Parliament and taking his ship, the Constant Warwick, to Holland. After the Restoration, Batten was made Commissioner of the Navy and a member of Parliament for Rochester. Here are entries for three days of March, 1661. The Spanish Curate was a play by Beaumont and Fletcher. A "chine of beef" is a cut containing part of the backbone. Apparently a sermon, like medicine, must be distasteful to accomplish results.
16th. To Whitefriars, and there saw "The Spanish Curate," in which I had no great content.17th. (Lord's Day). At church in the morning a stranger preached a good honest and painful sermon. My wife and I dined upon a chine of beef at Sir W. Batten's, so to church again. Then to supper at Sir W. Batten's again, where my wife by chance fell down and hurt her knees exceedingly.18th. This morning early Sir William Batten went to Rochester, where he expects to be chosen Parliament-man. This day an ambassador from Florence was brought into the town in state. . . .