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The
Countesse
of Lincolnes
Nurserie.

Printer’s device: shield emblem containing an open book with two crowns above and one below. The book’s verso leaf reads “Sapiet” and the recto reads “Felici”. The shield is flanked by “Ac:” to the left and “Ox” to the right.

at Oxford,
Printed by John Lichfield, and James Short
Printers to the famous Universitie. 16221622.

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To the Right Honourable,
and approved vertuous La:Lady Briget Countesse
of Lincolne
.

For the better expressing
& keeping in memorie my
Love, and your Worthines;
I doe offer unto your La:Ladyship
the first worke of mine that
ever came in Print; because
your rare example, hath given an excellent
approbation to the matter contained in this
Booke; for you have passed by all excuses, and
have ventured upon, & doe goe on with that
loving act of a loving mother; in giving the
sweete milke of your owne breasts, to your
owne childe; wherein you have gone before
the greatest number of honourable Ladies
of your place, in these latter times. But I
wish many may follow you, in this good
worke, which I desire, to further by my kinde A2 per- A2v
perswasion. And such women as will vouchsafe
to read this little short treatise; may be
put in minde of a duty, which all mothers are
bound to performe; and I shall be glad if any
will consider, and put in practice, that which
is both naturall and comfortable. I hope they
will at the least commend with me such as do
this good deede, and no more speake scornefully
of that which is worthy of great praise;
and for my part I thinke it an honour unto
you, to doe that which hath proved you to
be full of care to please God, and of naturall
affection, and to bee well stored with humility,
and patience, all which are highly to be
praised; to give praise to any person or thing
deserving praise, I dare doe it, & for this lovely
action of yours I can with much thankefulnesse
praise God, for all his gracious guifts
of grace and Nature, wherby he hath inabled
you, to doe the same: desiring also with my
heart, that you may ever, and every way honour
God, who hath honoured you many
wayes, above many women; and I rejoyce,
that I can beare witnesse, that God hath adorned
you with fayre tokens of his love and
mercy to your soule: As the practise of true Chri- A3r
Christian religion; dedicating your selfe to
Gods service; answerablenesse to all holy commands
of the holy God, which are Testimonies
of Gods love, and doth challenge a very
great esteeme from me, amongst the rest, that
can truly judge and rightly discerne what is
best; I am full of thoughts in this kinde or of
this matter: yet I say no more but this, Goe
on and prosper, Hold fast all that is good,
Trust in God for strength to grow and continue
in faithfull obedience to his glorious Majesty;
And I wil not cease to intreat the Lord of
Heaven, to powre aboundantly all Blessings
of heaven and earth upon you, and your
Children, as they increase in number.

Your La:Ladyship in the best and fastest love,

Elizabeth Lincolne.

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To the Courteous,
chiefly most Christian, Reader.

The Generall Consent of too many
mothers in an unnaturall practise,
(most Christian Reader) hath caused
one of the Noblest and Fairest
hands in this land to set pen to paper.
As ashamed to see her sex farther
degenerate; desirous for the
glory thereof, to have all both rightly knowe, and answere
their kind, hath made Honour it selfe stoop to these paines;
which now shee sends thee to peruse. Three things easily
Invite to Read what to view is offred. Eminency, or Interest
in the Author. Rarity in the handled Matter; Brevity
in the quicke dispatch. These three meet in this won. The
Author so Eminent in Honour; thou canst hardly be anciently
Honourable; and not be interested in her Honours
acquaintance
; scarcely not Alliance. Next for the Rarenesse,
a peculiar tract of this subject, I believe, is not in
thine hands. Lastly its so briefe, as I am perswaded, it
smoothly gliding thee along in the reading, Thy sorrow
will be, it lands thee so soone. what may give satisfaction to
a Reader, let me acquaint thee next, is here to be found.
These are two things; Usefulnesse of the subject; Fulnes
for the prosecution. If method and soundnesse can make Full A4v
Full, this is Full. what, not alone Confirmation ushering
in the Assertion, but Refutation for ushering out Objections
can doe to making Sound and Through, this is
Such. The Accommodation to these particulars (Gentle
Reader) I leave to thy selfe, least I become tedious whilst am
honoring Brevity. The pay, assure thy selfe, will bee larger
then the promise. The Wine much better then the Bush.
This one word, and Ile stand out of the gate, thou mayest goe
in. If Noble who readest, (likenesse is Mother & Nurse
of liking
) this comes from Nobility; Approve the rather,
and practise. If meaner; blush to deny what Honour becomes
speaker to perswade to, president to lead the way to.
And so I either humbly take my leave; or bid farewell.

Blest is the land where Sons of Nobles raigne.

Blest is the land where Nobles teach their traine.

To Church for blisse Kings, Queenes, should Nurses be.

To state its blisse great Dames Babes nurse to see.

Go then Great booke of Nursing plead the Cause.

Teach High’st, low’st, all, it’s Gods and Natures lawes.

T. L.

B1r

The Countesse of
Lincolnes Nurserie.

Because it hath pleased God
to blesse me with many children,
and so caused me to
observe many things falling
out to mothers, and to their
children; I thought good to
open my minde concerning a speciall matter
belonging to all childe-bearing women, seriously
to consider of: and to manifest my
minde the better, even to write of this matter,
so farre as God shall please to direct me; in
summe, the matter I meane, Is the duty of nursing
due by mothers to their owne children
.

In setting downe whereof, I wil first shew,
that every woman ought to nurse her owne
childe; and secondly, I will endeavour to answere
such objections, as are used to be cast
out against this dutie to disgrace the same.

B The B1v 2

The first point is easily performed. For it is
the expresse ordinance of God that mothers
should nurse their owne children, & being his
ordinance they are bound to it in conscience.
This should stop the mouthes of all replyers,
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Isa. 31.2. for God is most wise, and therefore must needs
know what is fittest and best for us to doe: &
to prevent all foolish feares, or shifts, we are given
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Gen. 17.1. to understand that he is also All sufficient,
& therefore infinitely able to blesse his owne
ordinance, and to afford us meanes in our
selves (as continuall experience confirmeth)
toward the observance thereof.

If this (as it ought) bee granted, then how
venterous are those women that dare venter
to doe otherwise, and so to refuse, and by refusing
to dispise that order, which the most
wise and allmighty God hath appointed, and
in steed thereof to chuse their owne pleasures?
Oh what peace can there be to these womens
consciences, unlesse through the darknes of
their understanding they judge it no disobedience?

And then they will drive me to prove that
this nursing, and nourishing of their own childrendren B2r 3
in their own bosomes is Gods ordinance;
They are very willful, or very ignorant, if they
make a question of it. For it is proved sufficiently
to be their dutie, both by Gods word,
and also by his workes.

By his word it is proved, first by Examples,
namely the example of Eve. For who suckled
her sonnes Cain, Abel, Seth, &c. but her selfe?
Which shee did not only of meere necessitie,
because yet no other woman was created;
but especially because shee was their mother,
and so sawe it was her duty: and because
shee had a true naturall affection, which
moved her to doe it gladly. Next the example
of Sarah the wife of Abraham; For shee both
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Gen. 21.7. gave her sonne Isaac suck, as doing the dutie
commanded of God: And also tooke great
comfort, and delight therein, as in a duty well
pleasing to her selfe; whence shee spake of it,
as of an action worthy to be named in her holy
rejoycing. Now if Sarah, so great a Princesse,
did nurse her own childe, why should any of
us neglect to doe the like, except (which God
forbid) we thinke scorne to follow her, whose
daughters it is our glory to be, and which we B2 be B2v 4
be only upon this condition, that we imitate
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1. Pet. 3.6. her well-doing. Let us looke therefore to our
worthy Pattern, noting withall, that shee put
her selfe to this worke when shee was very
old, and so might the better have excused her
selfe, then we yonger women can: being also
more able to hire, and keepe a nurse, then any
of us. But why is shee not followed by most
in the practise of this duty? Even because they
want her vertue, and piety. This want is the
common hinderance to this point of the womans
obedience; for this want makes them
want love to Gods precepts, want love to his
doctrine, and like step-mothers, want due love
to their own children.

But now to another worthy example,
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1. Sam. 1.23. namely that excellent woman Hannah, who
having after much affliction of minde obtained
a sonne of God, whom shee vowed unto
God, shee did not put him to another to nurse,
but nursed him her owne selfe untill shee had
weaned him, & carried him to be consecrate
unto the Lord: As well knowing that this duty
of giving her childe sucke, was so acceptable
to God, as for the cause thereof shee did not B3r 5
not sinne in staying with it at home from the
yearely sacrifice: but now women, especially
of any place, and of little grace, doe not hold
this duty acceptable to God, because it is unacceptable
to themselves: as if they would
have the Lord to like, and dislike, according
to their vaine lusts.

To proceed, take notice of one example
more, that is, of the blessed Virgin: as her womb
bare our blessed Saviour, so her papps gave him
sucke. Now who shall deny the own mothers
suckling of their owne children to bee their
duty, since every Godly matrone hath walked
in these steps before them: Eve the mother of
al the living; Sarah the mother of al the faithfull;
Hannah so gratiously heard of God; Mary
blessed among women, and called blessed of
all ages. And who can say but that the rest of
holy women mentioned in the holy Scriptures
did the like; since no doubt that speech
of that noble Dame, saying, who would
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Gen. 21.7 have said to Abraham that Sarah should have
given children sucke? was taken from the ordinary
custome of mothers in those lesse corrupted
times.

B3 And B3v 6

And so much for proofe of this office, and
duty to be Gods ordinance, by his own Word
according to the argument of Examples: I
hope I shall likewise prove it by the same
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1. Tim. 5.14. word from plaine Precepts. First from that
Precept, which willeth the younger women to
marry, and to Beare children, that is, not only
to Beare them in the wombe, and to bring thēem
forth, but also to Beare them on their knee, in
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Ver. 10. their armes, and at their breasts: for this Bearing
a little before is called nourishing, and
bringing up: and to inforce it the better upon
womens consciences, it is numbred as the
first of the good workes, for which Godly women
should be well reported of. And well it
may be the first, because if holy Ministers, or
other Christians doe heare of a good woman
to be brought to bed, and her child to bee living;
their first question usually is, whether
she her selfe give it sucke, yea, or no? if the answere
be she doth, then they commend her: if
the answer be she doth not, then they are sorry
for her.

And thus I come to a second Precept. I pray
you, who that judges aright; doth not hold the B4r 7
the suckling of her owne childe the part of a
true mother, of an honest mother, of a just
mother, of a syncere mother, of a mother worthy
of love, of a mother deserving good report,
of a vertuous mother, of a mother winning
praise for it? All this is assented to by any
of good understanding. Therefore this is
also a Precept, as for other duties, so for This of
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Philip. 4.8. mothers to their children; which saith, whatsoever
things are true, whatsoever things are
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things be worthy
of love, whatsoever things be of good report,
if there be any vertue, if there bee any
praise, thinke on these things, these things
doe and the God of peace shall be with you.

So farre for my promise, to prove by the
word of God, that it is his ordinance that women
should nurse their owne children: now
I will endeavour to prove it by his workes:
First by his workes of judgement; if it were not
his ordinance for mothers to give their children
sucke, it were no judgement to bereave thēem
of their milke, but it is specified to be a great
judgement to bereave them hereof, & to give them B4v 8
them dry breasts, therefore it is to be gathered,
even from hence, that it is his ordinance,
since to deprive them of meanes to doe it, is a
punishment of them.

I adde to this the worke that God worketh in
the very nature of mothers
, which proveth also
that he hath ordained that they should nurse
their owne children: for by his secret operation,
the mothers affection it so knit by natures
law to her tender babe; as she findes no power
to deny to suckle it, no not when shee is in
hazard to lose her owne life, by attending on
it, for in such a case it is not said, let the mother
fly, and leave her infant to the perill, as if
she were dispensed with: but onely it is said
“woe to her”, as if she were to be pittied, that for
nature to her child, she must be unnaturall to
her selfe: now if any then being even at liberty,
and in peace, with all plenty, shall deny to
give sucke to their owne children, they goe against
nature: and shew that God hath not
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Lam. 7.3. done so much for thēem as to worke any good,
no not in their nature, but left them more savage
then the Dragons, and as cruell to their
little ones as the Ostriches.

Now C1r 9

Now another worke of God, proving this
point is the worke of his provision, for every
kinde to be apt, and able to nourish their own
fruit: there is no beast that feeds their young
with milke, but the Lord, even from the first
ground of the order of nature; Growe, and multiplie;
hath provided it of milke to suckle their
owne young, which every beast takes so naturally
unto, as if another beast come toward
their young to offer the office of a Damme
unto it, they shew according to their fashion,
a plaine dislike of it: as if nature did speake in
them, and say it is contrary to Gods order in
nature, commanding each kinde to increase,
and multiplie in their owne bodies, and by
their owne breasts, not to bring forth by one
Damme, and to bring up by another: but it is
his ordinance that every kinde should both
bring forth, and also nurse its owne fruit.

Much more should this work of God prevaile
to perswade women, made as man in
the image of God, and therefore should be ashamed
to bee put to schoole to learne good
nature of the unreasonable creature. In us also,
as we knowe by experience, God provideth C milke C1v 10
milke in our breasts against the time of our
childrens birth, and this hee hath done ever
since it was said to us also, Increase, and multiply,”
so that this worke of his provision sheweth
that hee tieth us likewise to nourish the
children of our owne wombe, with our own
breasts, even by the order of nature: yea it
sheweth that he so careth for, and regardeth
little children even from the wombe, that he
would have them nursed by those that in all
reason will looke to them with the kindest
affection, namely their mothers; & in giving
them milke for it, hee doth plainely tell them
that he requires it.

Oh consider, how comes our milke? is it
not by the direct providence of God? Why
provides he it, but for the child? The mothers
then that refuse to nurse their owne children,
doe they not despise Gods providence? Doe
they not deny Gods will? Doe they not as it
were say, “I see, O God, by the meanes thou hast put into
me, that thou wouldst have me nurse the child thou
hast given me, but I will not doe so much for thee.”

Oh impious, and impudent unthankfulnesse;
yea monstrous unnaturalnesse, both to their own C2r 11
own natural fruit borne so neare their breasts,
and fed in their owne wombes, and yet may
not be suffered to sucke their owne milke.

And this unthankfulnesse, and unnaturalnesse
is oftner the sinne of the Higher, and the
richer sort, then of the meaner, and poorer, except
some nice and prowd idle dames, who
will imitate their betters, till they make their
poore husbands beggars. And this is one hurt
which the better ranke doe by their ill example;
egge, and imbolden the lower ones to follow
them to their losse: were it not better for
Us greater persons to keepe Gods ordinance, &
to shew the meaner their dutie in our good
example? I am sure wee have more helpes to
performe it, and have fewer probable reasons
to alleage against it, then women that live by
hard labour, & painfull toile. If such mothers
as refuse this office of love, & of nature to their
children, should hereafter be refused, despised,
and neglected of those their children, were
they not justly requited according to their
owne unkind dealing? I might say more in
handling this first point of my promise; but
I leave the larger, and learneder discourse hereofC2 of C2v 12
unto men of art, and learning: only I speake
of so much as I reade, and know in my owne
experience, which if any of my sexe, and condition
do receave good by, I am glad: if they
scorne it, they shall have the reward of scorners.
I write in modestie, and can reape no disgrace
by their immodest folly.

And so I come to the last part of my promise;
which is to answer objections made by
divers against this duty of mothers to their
children.

First it is objected that Rebeckah had a nurse,
and that therefore her mother did not give
her suck of her owne breasts, and so good women,
in the first ages, did not hold thēem to this
office of nursing their owne children. To this
I answer; that if her mother had milk, and
health, and yet did put this duty from her to
another, it was her fault, & so proveth nothing
against me. But it is manifest that she that Rebeckah
calleth her nurse, was called so, either
for that she most tended her while her mother
suckled her: or for that she weaned her: or for
that during her nonage, and childhood, shee
did minister to her continually such good things C3r 13
things as delighted, and nourished her up. For
to any one of these the name of a nourse is
fitly given: whence a good wife is called her
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Gen. 24.61. husbands nourse: and that Rebeckahs nourse
was only such a one, appeareth, because afterward
she is not named a nourse, but a maide, saying:
Then Rebeckah rose, and her maides; now
maids give not suck out of their breasts, never
any virgin, or honest maide gave suck, but
that blessed one from an extraordinary, & blessed
power.

Secondly it is objected, that it is troublesome;
that it is noysome to ones clothes; that
it makes one looke old, &c. All such reasons
are uncomely, and unchristian to be objected:
and therefore unworthy to be answered, they
argue unmotherly affection, idlenesse, desire to have
liberty to gadd from home
, pride, foolish finenesse, lust,
wantonnesse, & the like evills. Aske Sarah, Hannah,
the blessed virgin, and any modest loving
mother, what trouble they accounted it to
give their little ones sucke? behold most nursing
mothers, and they be as cleane and sweet
in their cloathes, and carry their age, and hold
their beautie, as well as those that suckle not: C3 and C3v 14
and most likely are they so to doe; because
keeping Gods Ordinance, they are sure of Gods
Blessing: and it hath beene observed in some
women that they grew more beautifull, and
better favoured, by very nursing their owne
children.

But there are some women that object
feare: saying that they are so weake, & so tender,
that they are afraid to venter to give their
children suck, least they indanger their health
thereby. Of these, I demand, why then they
did venter to marry, and so to beare children;
and if they say they could not chuse, and that
they thought not that marriage would impaire
their health: I answere, that for the same
reasons they should set themselves to nurse
their owne children, because they should not
chuse but doe what God would have them
to doe: and they should beleeve that this
worke will be for their health also, seeing it is
ordinary with the Lord to give good stomach,
health, and strength to almost all mothers that
take this paines with their children.

One answere more to all the objections
that use to bee made against giving childrendren C4r 15
sucke, is this, that now the hardnes, to
effect this matter, is much remooved by a
late example of a tender young Lady, and you
may all be encouraged to follow after, in that
wherein she hath gone before you, & so made
the way more easie, and more hopefull by
that which shee findeth possible and comfortable
by Gods blessing, and no offence to her
Lord nor her selfe: shee might have had as many
doubts, and lets, as any of you, but she was
willing to try how God would enable her, &
he hath given her good successe, as I hope he
will doe to others that are willing to trust in
God for his helpe.

Now if any reading these few lines returne
against me, that it may bee I my selfe
have given my own children suck: & therefore
am bolder, and more busie to meddle in
urging this point, to the end to insult over, &
to make them to bee blamed that have not
done it. I answer, that whether I have, or have
not performed this my bounden duty, I will
not deny to tell my own practise. I knowe &
acknowledge that I should have done it, and
having not done it, it was not for want of will in C4v 16
in my selfe, but partly I was overruled by anothers
authority
, and partly deceived by somes ill counsell, &
partly I had not so well considered of my duty in this
motherly office
, as since I did, whēen it was too late
for me to put it in execution. Wherefore being
pricked in hart for my undutifullnesse, this
way I studie to redeeme my peace, first by repentance
towards God, humbly and often craving
his pardon for this my offence: secondly
by studying how to shew double love to my children, to
make them amends for neglect of this part of
love to them, when they should have hung on
my breasts, & have beene nourished in mine
owne bosome: thirdly by doing my indeavour to
prevent many christian mothers
from sining in the
same kinde, against our most loving and gratious
God.

And for this cause I add unto my performed
promise, this short exhortation: namely
I beseech all Godly women to remember, how
we elder ones are commaunded to instruct the
yonger, to love their children, now therefore
love them so as to do this office to them when
they are borne, more gladly for love sake, then
a stranger, who bore them not, shall do for lucre sake D1r 17
sake. Also I pray you to set no more so light
by Gods blessing in your owne breasts, which
the holy Spirit ranketh with other excellent
blessings; if it be unlawfull to trample under
feete a cluster of grapes, in which a little wine
is found, then how unlawfull is it to destroye
and drie up those breasts, in which your owne
child (and perhaps one of Gods very elect, to
whom to be a noursing father, is a Kings honour;
and to whom to be a noursing mother,
is a Queens honour) might finde food of syncere
milke, even from Gods immediate providence,
untill it were fitter for stronger meat?
I doe knowe that the Lord may deny some
women, either to have any milke in their
breasts at all, or to have any passage for their
milke, or to have any health, or to have a
right minde: and so they may be letted from
this duty, by want, by sicknesse, by lunacy, &c.
But I speake not to these: I speake to you,
whose consciences witnesse against you, that
you cannot justly alleage any of those impediments.

Doe you submit your selves, to the paine
and trouble of this ordinance of God? trust D not D1v 18
not other women, whom wages hyres to doe it,
better then your selves, whom God, and nature
ties
to doe it. I have found by grievous experience,
such dissembling in nurses, pretending
sufficiency of milke, when indeed they
had too much scarcitie; pretending willingnesse,
towardnesse, wakefulnesse, when indeed
they have beene most wilfull, most froward,
and most slothfull, as I feare the death of one
or two of my little Babes came by the defalt
of their nurses. Of all those which I had for
eighteene children, I had but two which were
throughly willing, and carefull: divers have
had their children miscarry in the nurses
hands, and are such mothers (if it were by the
nurses carelesnesse) guiltlesse? I knowe not
how they should, since they will shut them
out of the armes of nature, and leave them to
the will of a stranger; yea to one that will
seeme to estrange her selfe from her owne child,
to give sucke to the nurse-child: This she may
faine to doe upon a covetous composition, but
she frets at it in her minde, if she have any naturall
affection.

Therefore be no longer at the trouble, and at D2r 19
at the care to hire others to doe your owne
worke
: bee not so unnaturall to thrust away
your owne children: be not so hardy as to venter
a tender Babe to a lesse tender heart: bee not
accessary to that disorder of causing a poorer
woman to banish her owne infant
, for the entertaining
of a richer womans child, as it were, bidding
her unlove her owne to love yours. Wee have followed
Eve in transgression, let us follow her
in obedience. When God laid the sorrowes
of conception, of breeding of bringing forth,
and of bringing up her children upon her, &
so upon us in her loynes, did shee reply any
word against? Not a word; so I pray you all
mine owne Daughters, and others that are still
child-bearing reply not against the duty of
suckling them, when God hath sent you
them.

Indeed I see some, if the wether be wet, or
cold; if the way be fowle; if the Church be far
off, I see they are so coy, so nice, so lukewarme,
they will not take paines for their own
soules
. alas, no marvell if these will not bee at
trouble, and paine to nourish their childrens bodies,
but feare God, bee diligent to serve him; D2 ap- D2v 20
approve all his ordinances; seeke to please
him; account it no trouble, or paine to doe
any thing that hath the promise of his blessing:
and then you will, no doubt, doe this
good, laudable, naturall, loving duty to your children.
If yet you be not satisfied, inquire not of
such as refuse to doe this: consult not with
your owne conceit: advise not with flatterers:
but aske counsell of syncere, and faithfull
Preachers. If you be satisfied; then take this
with you, to make you doe it cheerefully.
Thinke alwaies, that having the child at your
breast, and having it in your armes, you have
Gods blessing there. For children are Gods blessings.
Thinke againe how your Babe crying
for your breast, sucking hartily the milke out
of it, and growing by it, is the Lords owne instruction,
every houre, and every day, that you
are suckling it, instructing you to shew that
you are his new borne Babes, by your earnest
desire after his word, & the syncere doctrine
thereof, and by your daily growing in grace
and goodnesse thereby, so shall you reape
pleasure, and profit. Againe, you may consider,
that when your child is at your breast, it is D3r 21
is a fit occasion to move your heart to pray
for a blessing upon that worke; and to give
thanks for your child, and for ability & freedome
unto that, which many a mother would
have done and could not; who have tried &
ventured their health, & taken much paines,
and yet have not obtained their desire. But
they that are fitted every way for this commendable
act
, have certainely great cause to be
thankfull: and I much desire that God may
have glory and praise for every good worke,
and you much comfort, that doe seeke to honour
God in all things. Amen.

Finis.