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IX. To LADY KENMURE, on the perils of rank and prosperity

MADAM, — I determined, and was desirous also, to have seen your Ladyship, but because of a pain in my arm I could not. I know ye will not impute it to any unsuitable forgetfulness of your Ladyship, from whom, at my first entry to my calling in this country (and since also), I received such comfort in my affliction as I trust in God never to forget, and shall labour by His grace to recompense in the only way possible to me; and that is, by presenting your soul, person, house, and all your necessities, in prayer to Him, whose I hope you are, and who is able to keep you till that Day of Appearance, and to present you before His face with joy.

I am confident your Ladyship is going forward in the begun journey to your Lord and Father’s home and kingdom. Howbeit ye want not temptations within and without. And who among the saints has ever taken that castle without stroke of sword? The Chief of the house, our Elder brother, our Lord Jesus, not being excepted, who won His own house and home, due to Him by birth, with much blood and many blows. Your Ladyship has the more need to look to yourself, because our Lord has placed you higher than the rest, and your way to heaven lieth through a more wild and waste wilderness than the way of many of your fellow-travellers — not only through the midst of this wood of thorn, the cumbersome world, but also through these dangerous paths, the vain-glory of it; the consideration whereof has often moved me to pity your soul, and the soul of your worthy and noble husband. And it is more to you to win heaven, being ships of greater burden, and in the main sea, than for little vessels, that are not so much in the mercy and reverence of the storms, because they may come quietly to their port by launching amongst the coast. For the which cause ye do much, if in the midst of such a tumult of business, and crowd of temptations, ye shall give Christ Jesus His own court and His own due place in your soul. I know and am persuaded, that that lovely One, Jesus, is dearer to you than many kingdoms; and that ye esteem Him your Well-beloved, and the Standard-bearer among ten thousand (Song of Sol. 5.1O). And it becometh Him full well to take the place and the board head in your soul before all the world. I knew and saw Him with you in the furnace of affliction; for there He wooed you to Himself, and chose you to be His; and now He craveth no other hire of you but your love, and that He get no cause to be jealous of you. And, therefore, dear and worthy lady, be like to the fresh river, that keepeth its own fresh taste in the salt sea.

Madam, many eyes are upon you, and many would be glad your Ladyship should spill a Christian, and mar a good professor. Lord Jesus, mar their godless desires, and keey the conscience whole without a crack! If there be a hole in it, so that it take in water at a leak, it will with difficulty mend again. It is a dainty, delicate creature, and a rare piece of the workmanship of your Maker; and therefore deal gently with it, and keep it entire, that amidst this world’s glory your Ladyship may learn to entertain Christ. And whatsoever creature your Ladyship findeth not to smell of Him, may it have no better relish to you than the white of an egg.

Madam, it is a part of the truth of your profession to drop words in the ears of your noble husband continually of eternity, judgment, death, hell, heaven, the honorable profession, the sins of his father’s house. He must reckon with God for his father’s debt; forgetting of accounts payeth no debt. Nay, the interest of a forgotten bond runneth up with God to interest upon interest. I know he looketh homeward, and loveth the truth; but I pity him with my soul, because of his many temptations. Satan layeth upon men a burden of cares, above a load (and maketh a pack horse of men’s souls), when they are wholly set upon this world. We owe the devil no such service. It were wisdom to throw off that load into a mire, and cast all our cares over upon God. Look for crosses, and while it is fair weather mend the sails of the ship. Now hoping your Ladyship will pardon my tediousness, I recommend your soul and person to the grace and mercy of our Lord, in whom I am your Ladyship’s obedient.

ANWOTH, Nov, 15, 1633

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