9. Pure Chastity the charge doth take

The cloister clean to keep, And of her thoughts the broom doth make,

Wherewith she doth it sweep.


Obedience then (which sacrifice

In value far exceeds)
Is ready for each exercise,

As duty seeth need.


Perseverance is centinel,

The watchword, Watch and pray, Whose due observance doing well

God will with heaven repay.

Song by the Obedient.


Why doth this world contend

For glorious vanity?
Whose wealth so subject is

To mutability


As earthly vessels fail
Through their fragility:
So standeth worldly force
Unsure and slippery.

Characters raised in ice
Think rather permanent,
Than earthly vanities
Wasting incontinent.

Shadowed with virtue pure,
But false in recompense ;
At no time yielding us
True trust or confidence.

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IHS. [The Chief begins with a confession of their remissness a conversation upon St. Luke. After a long conversation about their shortcomings the Guardian suggests (p. 10) that they should take] “the advantage which this approaching season affords of setting up a temporary authority, not for the exercise of misrule, but for the maintenance of good order; and chusing amongst ourselves a Lord for this ensuing Christmas, that it may be kept with us, not to the satisfaction of our carnal lusts, but as it was at first instituted, to our spiritual edification in grace and gladness.” [The Affectionate urges them] "to go immediately to the choice, not of a lord, but of a lady; for so you have resolved, and so the constitution of our family requires: it being the female sex which exceeds, both in number and faultiness, amongst us.

Moderator. That we may not seem so to usurp authority, I pray you let the approbation of our dearest mother be first made known to the company.

Guardian. She hath, not only out of love to us and desire of our satisfaction, but out of her own judgement, given both consent and approbation in this matter. ...

Patient. Since the authority we are now upon establishing is derived from her, methinks the new title should not any ways exceed the old: nor the translation be more large or lofty than the original. I should counsel therefore that, waiving the ambitious stile of lady, we should content ourselves for our Chief, with one of those twain of Mother or Mistress, which our Guardian ended with.

Cheerful. Verily, it would be so much the more disproportionable to make any alteration, by how much, by a particular disposition of heaven, as I conceive, not only the same Christian name by baptism, but also the same surname, by adoption, hath befallen our Chief. ....

Affectionate. In this regard, as also with regard to the virgin estate whereof our Chief hath made profession, as there is nothing more necessary than humility both for ornament and protection, I suppose not only the swelling stile of Lady may be better waived than used; and that with more grace to the office and satisfaction of all parties we shall name her Mother, which virtually includes the authority of Mistress.”

[Then a conversation about the comparative merits of a married and single life.]

Cheerful. . . . And though we cannot with so much ease as you may, yet with no less desire (by God's grace) shall we follow after that which is excellent in every kind. Your virgin estate serves better than wedlock to the attainment of perfection, but doth not more necessarily require it. We would not, with the whole world to boot, take husbands, to have less interest in God by that means. It is the hope of serving God better and of our firmer union unto Him, which inclines our judgements to the married condition. We have made up the accompt and find it clear, that there is no gain of worldly comforts to be got by marriage, except it be to them who look no higher than the earth, no farther than this life...

Affectionate. ... For industry, therefore, worthy Chief, take what part you please for yourself, and you shall see a double charge belongs to us, who are by you and our other friends designed for wives.”

Second conversation imperfect. Chief. ... For stories, which you so long after, my resolution is, if you continue me in the place, to make them serve for Christmas cheer. You

may cashier if you please;


but, if you hold me in, you must give me leave to govern as belongs to my profession. It must be a very sober table which a virgin sits at the head of: and they must be simple cates which are of her providing.”

[She refuses the gifts offered to her, but Affectionate hands her a note from the Visitor): “It is fit you should receive the gifts; but withal exact of every one instructions how they are to be used and ordered.”

Then the Patient “arose and, kissing it, presented a rich bible to the Chief.” Who after receiving it, said “... I salute it with a kiss [here she kissed it] in token of love; and put it on my head [here she put it on her head) in sign of honour; and lay it up in my bosom (here she laid it on her bosom] as an incomparable treasure. I have applied the letter without, do Thou, O my God [here she lift up the book] apply the spirit of this Thy book within."

[The Moderator, Mrs. Collett, arose, and taking three of her other children by the hands, led them up to the Chief, saying:]

I give you these now for children, whom, at the first, I brought forth brothers and sisters to you.

Guardian (J. F.]... This matter serves, not only to the purchase of a double blessing from you and her father's house, but to a full repayment of that which she owes to us and our family whereinto she hath been transplanted. For I dare undertake on these terms to procure from the rest whom it imports, as I now offer from myself, a formal acquittance and release from all claims and demands which we may have against her for the board and portion which she hath divided with us, if she shall faithfully discharge what you and we require. For although you have made a more particular and full consignment of three of your own for her children; yet the extent of her motherhood is noways to be confined within those bounds, but must enlarge itself to the generality of this whole family and in particular to my three [Nicholas John and Virginia Ferrar), whom I likewise now set over to her motherhood."

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