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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Preparation for Parting

By John Winthrop (1588–1649)

[Written from London to Mrs. Winthrop.]

MY DEAR WIFE, I praise God, we came safe to London, and continue in health, and found all well here. Thus it pleaseth the Lord to follow us with his blessings, that we might love him again. I find here so much to do, as I doubt I shall not come down these three weeks; but, thou mayest be sure, I will stay no longer than my occasions shall enforce me.

I must now begin to prepare thee for our long parting, which grows very near. I know not how to deal with thee by arguments; for if thou wert as wise and patient as ever woman was, yet it must needs be a great trial to thee, and the greater, because I am so dear to thee. That which I must chiefly look at in thee, for a ground of contentment, is thy godliness. If now the Lord be thy God, thou must show it by trusting in him, and resigning thyself quietly to his good pleasure. If now Christ be thy Husband, thou must show what sure and sweet intercourse is between him and thy soul, when it shall be no hard thing for thee to part with an earthly, mortal, infirm husband for his sake. The enlargement of thy comfort in the communion of the love and sweet familiarity of thy most holy, heavenly, and undefiled Lord and Husband, will abundantly recompense whatsoever want or inconvenience may come by the absence of the other. The best course is to turn all our reasons and discourse into prayers; for he only can help, who is Lord of sea and land, and hath sole power of life and death.

It is now near eleven of the clock, and I shall write again erelong (if God will). The good Lord bless thee and all thy company. My broth. and sister salute you all. Commend my hearty love to my good sister F. and all the rest. Tell her I wrote to Mr. Dummer so soon as I came to town; and, if I can, I will speak with him, before John go down. So I kiss my sweet wife, and rest

Thy frail, yet faithful husband,
January 31, 1629.