« ForrigeFortsett »
things in question being such as tend either to easing her of trouble, avoiding of pain, or procuring some pleasure or content to her mind. Now my opinion is, that if she shall purchase any of these with the displeasure either of God, her husband, or her friends, she will with much bitterness repent the bargain. Therefore my counsel in general is that she be most wary not to foil herself in this kind.
Now, for the three first positions, I conceive them to be such, as should they be yielded unto, would in themselves be no way displeasing to God, but as they have relation to others and chiefly her husband, whose liking or dislike will make that either good or evil which simply in itself is not so. And first, for her going to see her brother and sister, I cannot foresee any harm likely to have ensued thereof; but should rather have hoped the quite contrary and that their kind visitations and conversing together at times convenient might be a means to increase such love between them as might prove of good consequence to them both. For keeping another maid, I am not able to say what is best, but shall rather wish her to try the uttermost of her own strength, which, by God's blessing, may be increased unto her that she shall not have such need of a maid as may now be feared she will. Concerning one of her sisters going to her; though it might for the time be a great comfort to her, yet, considering that it may please God and is most likely that she may often have as great need of such helps in the same kind, and no probability that she shall often enjoy their company, I think it as good for her to satisfy herself with those comforts that she may have nearer hand, and not to be troubled in longing after that which is so doubtful she might. But for the nursing of her child when it shall please God to send it her, I would advise her not so much as to think of doing it by any but herself, but to resolve to do what possibly she may, though it should be with much pains, and leave the issue to God, for I cannot but doubt the putting of it forth would prove to her a matter of so much grief and trouble of mind, that thougb she were sure by that means to enjoy it, yet she would think her health bought at too dear a rate. Thus according to my ability you have my advice, but I leave the solution to better judgements, and shall heartily beseech God to direct in the choice of what is best.
“To my dear brother Nicholas. From Margetting. June 1631. My most dear brother,
We all here in the first place give God hearty thanks for the good news of our friends' health and welfare at Gidding, together with yours and all friends with you, and humbly beseech the continuance thereof and all other blessings; and secondly, I beseech you to accept of my most hearty thanks for your letter, wishing I could have returned that news, which we are well assured your prayers join with ours for, and which I trust through God's mercy shall in due time prove to all our comforts. I send with this a letter directed to my most dear mother, which is left to your sealing, part of it being intended for yourself, who I am assured, are so united in affections with all at Gidding, that I presume it can no way be displeasing to be joined in anything that may prove of good consequence to others, though more than troublesome to yourself. I shall therefore the more earnestly beseech you will not deny me your counsel ; because I am confident that, by God's assistances you are the best able to judge both of his disposition and what might be likeliest in such an uncertainty, to bring him to a greater sense of his own ill case, and serious endeavours, as much as possibly he may to regain first pardon from God for his sin against Him, and so the assurance of the safety of his soul, and then, if God shall please to see it good for him, the repair of his now seeming lost hopes for the things of this life. Thus once again beseeching you will grant this my request, with my humblest prayers to God for His blessing upon this and all that you shall undertake for His glory, your own and others'
good, I take my leave and rest ever, your most obliged and loving sister S. C.
Let my most affectionate love I beseech you be remembered to my dear cousin Arthur.”
“To my dear brother Nicholas. Oct. 21. 1631. My most dear brother,
Since I entreated your help for the draught of a letter to Mr. B. I have gathered by your denial and by your speeches (and the more at the receipt of my cousin Arthur's letter), that you do not well approve of my son's going to the Indies, which before that time I did not conceive that you disliked of the course as evil, but only in regard of the difficulties that we are like to meet with in procuring his entertainment and his insufficiency to discharge any place in that kind. For the first, I thought it not best to give over the attempting it by the best means we could use, and we are in hope that God would please to make it effectual. For his abilities, I confess, I have been so doubtful, that I have not only troubled, but much perplexed my mind ever since, and though we have desired such a place as we think will not require any great abilities, nor he be put in much trust, yet the only hope that I have of his well-doing is only in God's mercy, Who can give wisdom to the simple and grace to them that are most unworthy, even when in men's judgement they are most uncapable of the receiving it, and my trust is that He will hear the prayers of so many as I hope will continually be intercessory for him. Besides I do conceive well of the means, that the length of the voyage, the danger of peril in the way, the good orders that are kept in the ship, the necessity forcing him to be observant to so many that are in authority above him, the discretion he shall see in others in applying themselves to perform their charge, may by God's grace work the like care in him and bring him to a more feeling apprehension of his past faults, and so to a more hearty repentance and endeavour of amendment every way. And in this I was the more confirmed by Mr. Buckridge, who was the first mentioner of sending him thither, as thinking it absolutely the best way we could set bim in, and this was seconded by Mr. Bateman and my cousin Massenberd their approbation thereof, as of a course wherein a sober man might do exceeding well, and gave instances of some but ill disposed before their going thither to have come home sober and discreet men. Yet notwithstanding, perceiving now some opinions of such great danger of evil, I shall humbly beseech yours, whether upon these grounds we may not still desire this for him, and have as good hope of his well-doing in this, as in any other course which we shall be able to set him in, for I profess [for] my own part, I would not hazard a more imminent danger to his soul for a more certainty of his temporal preferment. If you therefore will please to give me your opinion and counsel herein, I shall by God's grace endeavour to follow it and shall ever acknowledge it for an addition to those many favours and that obligation wherein myself and all mine stand bound to you in the highth of all love and duty. Your loving sister to you much obliged S. C.”
The answer given Oct. 28. 1631. “Dear Sister
As I am partner in your cares, so shall I, God willing, in your prayers to God for the good success of the business, but counsel is too late to ask when the business is brought almost to upshot. Your reasons do not satisfy me, my own and others' fears trouble me. I cannot therefore be a setter forward by my approbation nor will be a hinderer of it, because I have no certainty of exception against the employ. ment itself, and I see your husband's and your own mind strongly bent to the going forward of it, to which I shall never make any exception in any matter touching your children but upon evidence of error on your parts, and that in the very substance and essence of the business : but as for circumstantial errors (God willing) I will not stand upon
them ; some such have been committed in this matter, but I freely pass them over, as much as concerns me: only one, out of the same love which makes me forget the rest, I am bound to remember, that is, the burthening your son Thomas with Edward's diet, which I did not suspect you had intended, till my mother told me it. I am afraid, nay, I am almost assured, it will prove every way of evil consequence : if you doubt so too, you have for the making him satisfaction one of your ten pounds remaining of the 20, and also your husband hath free liberty to dispose of the 20 nobles a year overplus which remains of the £20 rent, besides your own and sister's allowance. I desire it to be reserved for the exercise of your bounty towards a son; if you will use it to the benefit of a couple I shall not hold it an alteration but an improvement of your first resolution. I have no more to say in this business, but that you hearken diligently what God saith unto you in it and follow His direction, and all shall I hope prove to the best, He will not fail to instruct you if you call upon Him faithfully. To His good grace I commit you and by His grace continue your faithful loving brother N. F.”.
“To my daughter Mapletoft. July 30. 1632.
That you have so long enjoyed the company of your uncle we cannot envy, because we account ourselves to have a great part in anything that befals you whether good or evil. Otherways the repining of our own want would have caused us to wish your loss and his more speedy return : but we will hope his stay was the longer at Margetting, because he purposed to make it the shorter elsewhere. We hope of his coming home this week ; which if he do, I shall, if it please God, be with you sooner than I had formerly purposed, however I doubt not but by God's mercy it shall be in good time. Him I beseech to send both a good meeting and comfortable parting when the time shall come. All friends commend their dearest loves to you, and you in their prayers to the gracious protection of the Almighty.
Your loving mother S. C.”