To the chosen of God, and espoused to Christ, the Church at Margaret Street Chapel. Selah.
It is now between four and five years since I first entered into your ladyship's service in the capacity of footman, and I must confess I have often been delighted, when I have walked before your grace's chair to the King's palace with the lamp of salvation in my hand; but more delighted to see your ladyship make a good hearty meal of a dish of unbegotten and eternal divinity, I mean God the Father's endless love. And as I know your constitution to be delicate, I hope at my return to bring your ladyship a little savoury meat, such as your soul loveth, that you may bless me before I die. Indeed, madam, we live in a day wherein many servants occasion the death of their mistresses by secret and slow poison, infecting the waters of life, so that many die of them, because they are made bitter. This bane is wrapt up in an infernal planet, which some years ago fell from heaven, and now is spreading its baneful influences upon the rivers of life: it likewise falls upon the fountains of waters; the fountain of the Father's deity, Jer. ii. 13; and on the glorious well of salvation, the infinite divinity of Christ, John iv. 14. The Atheist denies the fountain; the Arian, the well; and the Antinomian denies the rivers. The name of the star is called Wormwood - bitterness of soul; and eternal death is the portion of that man who receives the mixture, Rev. viii. - 10, 11. The Lord deliver your souls from this gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. It is true, bread eaten in secret is pleasant, and stolen waters are sweet, even to those from whom Heaven withholds its bounty. But the wise know the dead are there, and that all who attend the banquet are in the depths of hell. Prov. xvii. 18.
I hope God will enable me to partake of every dish before it comes upon your ladyship's table, that you may see me stagger before you swoon in the streets. These gentlemen are preludes to a spiritual famine; they will make ..empty the soul of the hungry, and cause the drink of the thirsty to fail, Isaiah xxxii. 6. - And I have further to tell your grace, that have had an opportunity of speaking to and seeing your royal Husband since I came here; he has taken his stately steps to Gainsborough; he was clad in crimson, and his sword by his side, going from conquering to conquer. I petitioned his most excellent Majesty in behalf of your grace, and obtained leave to send you the following particulars.
First, that you often speak to him in private, for it is in secret that he will give his love. - Secondly, he desires you will be constantly at the head of the table, which is your proper place, and not let your seat be empty, nor yet come tumbling in when others have half supped. - Thirdly, he desires you will not gad abroad to see the concubines of the land, lest some of the enemies of your husband defile you; for he said, it was she who tarried at home that should divide the spoil. - Fourthly, he desires you will always appear in your wedding garment, and with the ring with the white stone in it, and a little ointment on your head, and some of the powder of the merchants in your hair, together with a little frankincense and myrrh; for he said he was fond of odours. Song iii. 6. So I found he would have his homely dame drest queen fashion at last. - Fifthly, he bid me tell you not to go to bed at night and shut the door till you have kindly invited him in, lest he be forced to walk without till his locks are wet with dew, and his head with the drops of the night: for he said, if his love be not in the heart, and his arm under the head, there is no beloved sleep. - Sixthly, he told me he never slumbers nor sleeps, nor is he fond of a sleepy wife; but he said he had ere now been forced to speak to you in your sleep, because he could not find you so often awake as he desired: and he further told me, that he had commanded your chamber door, by turning on its hinges, to reprove you for turning so long on your bed; but, notwithstanding all this, he said it was seldom he could find you awake or hear your voice before the morning watch; you still was guilty of slumber; and you know I could not contradict it. - Seventhly, he told me to inform you to set all your debts down to his account, because no receipt with a woman's hand is to be available by the laws of God. - Eighthly, he said he would allow you a penny daily for pin-money, but no purse independent of him. - And lastly, that he had prepared a mansion-house for you, which you shall surely possess, if you faint not.
And now, my dear mistress, I beseech you to accept of these lines from the hand of your servant, and, when it is well with thee, remember Joseph; while I remain
Your dutiful servant to command,