The Copy of a Valedictory and Monitory Writing (1681)

Left by Sarah Goodhue,
The wife of Joseph Goodhue, of Ipswich, in
N. E.  and, found after her decease;
full of spiritual experiences, sage counsels, pious instructions, and serious exhortations:
Directed to her Husband and Children, with other near
Relations and Friends, and profitable to all that may happen to read the same.
She was the youngest daughter of Elder Whipple,
born at the said Ipstcich, Anno 1645 and, died suddenly,
(as she presaged she should) July 23, 1681, Three Days
after she had been delivered of two  hopeful Children,
leaving ten  in all  surviving.
Cambridge, New-England:. Printed in  1681.
Salem: Reprinted by   Samuel Hall, 1770.
Portland:  Again, by Jenks  &  Shirley,  1805.
Cambridge, New-England: Again   reprinted
by Metcalf & Co., for David Pulsifer, of BOSTON,  1850.
Internet Archive

DEAR and loving Husband, if it should

please the Lord to make a sudden change in

thy family, the which I know not how soon it

may be, and I am fearful of it:


Therefore in a few words I would declare

something of my mind, lest I should after-

wards have no opportunity: I cannot but

sympathize and pity thy condition, seeing that

thou hast a great family of children, and some

of them small, and if it should please the

Lord to add to thy number one more or tw7o,

be not discouraged, although it should please

the Lord to deprive thee of thy weak help

which is so near and dear unto thee. Trust

in the living God, who will be an help to the

helpless, and a father to the motherless: My

desire is, that if thou art so contented, to dis-

pose of two or three of my children: If it

please the Lord that I should be delivered of

a living child, son or daughter, my desire is,

that my father and mother should have it, if

they please, I freely bequeath and give it to

them. And also my desire is, that my cousin

Symond Stacy should have John if he please,

I freely bequeath and give him to him for his

own if thou art willing. And also my desire

is, that my cousin Catharine Whipple should

have Susanna, which is an hearty girl, and

will quickly be helpful to her, and she may be

helpful to the child, to bring her up: These

or either of these I durst trust their care un-

der God, for the faithful discharge of that

which may be for my children’s good and

comfort, and I hope to thy satisfaction:

Therefore if they be willing to take them, and

to deal well by them, answer my desire I pray

thee, thou hast been willing to answer my re-

quest formerly, and I hope now thou wilt, this

being the last so far as I know.


Honoured and most loving father and moth-

er I cannot tell how to express your fatherly

and motherly love towards me and mine: It

hath been so great, and in several kinds; for

the which in a poor requital, I give you hearty

and humble thanks, yet trusting in God that

he will enable you to be a father and mother

to the motherless: Be not troubled for the

loss of an unworthy daughter; but rejoice in

the free grace of God, that there is hopes of

rejoicing together hereafter in the place of

everlasting joy and blessedness.


Brothers and Sisters all, hearken and hear

the voice of the Lord, that by his sudden

providence doth call aloud on you, to prepare

yourselves for that swift and sudden messenger

of death: that no one of you may be found

without a wedding garment; a part and por-

tion in Jesus Christ: the assurance of the love

of God, which will enable you to leave this

world, and all your relations, though never so

near and dear, for the everlasting enjoyment of

the great and glorious God, if you do fear him

in truth.


The private society, to which while here I

did belong; if God by his Providence come

amongst you, and begin by death to break

you; be not discouraged, but be strong in re-

penting, faith & prayers with the lively re-

peatal of God’s counsels declared unto you

by his faithful messengers: O pray each for

another and with one another; that so in these

threatning times of storms and troubles, you

may be found more precious than gold tried in

the fire. Think not a few hours time in your

approaches to God mispent; but consider seri-

ously with yourselves, to what end God lent

to you any time at all: This surely I can

through grace now say ; that of the time that

there I spent, through the blessing of God, I

have no cause to repent, no not in the least.


O my children all, which in pains and care

have cost me dear; unto you 1 call to come

and take what portion your dying mother will

bestow upon you: many times by experience

it hath been found, that the dying  words of

parents have left a living impression upon the

hearts of Children; O my children be sure to

set the fear of God before your eyes ; con-

sider what you are by nature, miserable sin-

ners, utterly lost and undone; and that there

is no way and means whereby you can come

out of this miserable estate; but by the Medi-

ation of the Lord Jesus Christ: He died a

reproachful death, that every poor humble and

true repenting sinner by faith on God through

him, might have everlasting life: O my Chil-

dren, the best counsel that a poor dying Moth-

er can give you is, to get a part and portion in

the Lord Jesus Christ, that will hold, when

all these things will fail; O let the Lord Jesus

Christ be precious in your sight.


O children, neighbours and friends, I hope I

can by experience truly say, that Christ is the

best, most precious, most durable portion, that

all or any of you can set your hearts delight

upon: I for ever desire to bless and praise the

Lord, that he hath opened mine eyes to see

the emptiness of these things, and mine own;

and to behold the fulness and riches of grace

that is in the Lord Jesus Christ: To that

end my children, I do not only counsel you,

but in the fear of the Lord I charge you all,

to read God’s word, and pray unto the Lord

that he would be pleased to give you hearts

and wisdom to improve the great and many

privileges that the Lord is at present pleased

to afford unto you, improve your youthful days

unto God’s service, your health and strength

whilst it lasteth, for you know not how soon

your health may be turned into sickness, your

strength into weakness, and your lives into

death; as death cuts the tree of your life

down, so it will lie; as death leaveth you, so

judgment will find you out: Therefore be

persuaded to agree with your adversary quick-

ly, whilst you are in the way of these precious

opportunities: be sure to improve the lively

dispensations of the gospel; give good atten-

tion unto sermons preached in publick, and to

sermons repeated in private. Endeavour to

learn to write your father’s hand, that you may

read over those precious sermons, that he hath

taken pains to write and keep from the mouths

of God’s lively messengers, and in them there

are lively messages: I can through the bless-

ing of God along with them, say, that they

have been lively unto me: And if you im-

prove them aright, why not to all of you ?

God upbraideth none of the seed of Jacob,

that seek his Face in truth: My children be

encouraged in this work, you are in the bond

of the covenant, although you may be break-

ers of covenant, yet God is a merciful keeper

of covenant. Endeavour as you grow up, to

own and renew your covenant, and rest not if

God give you life, but so labour to improve

all the advantages that God is pleased to afford

you, that you may be fit to enjoy the Lord

Jesus  Christ  in  all  his  Ordinances.   What

hath the Lord Jesus Christ given himself for

you ? if you will lay hold upon him by true

faith and repentance: And what will you be

backward to accept of his gracious and free

offers, and not keep in remembrance his death

and sufferings, and to strengthen your weak

faith ; I thank the Lord, in some measure, I

have found that ordinance, a life-making ordi-

nance unto my soul.


Oh the smiles and loving embraces of the

Lord Jesus Christ, that they miss of, that hold

off, and will not be in such near relation unto

their Head and Saviour. The Lord grant

that Christ may be your Portions all.


My children, one or two words I have to

say to you more, in the first place, be sure to

carry well to your father, obey him, love him,

follow his instructions and example, be ruled

by him, take his advice, and have a care of

grieving him: For I must testify the truth

unto you, and I may call some of you to testi-

fy against yourselves; that your Father hath

been loving, kind, tender-hearted towards you

all; and laborious for you all, both for your

temporal and spiritual good: — You that are

grown up, cannot but see how careful your

father is when he cometh home from his work,

to take the young ones up into his wearied

arms, by his loving carriage and care towards

those, you may behold as in a glass, his tender

care and love to you every one as you grow

up:   I can safely say, that his love was so to



you all, that I cannot say which is the child

that he doth love hest; but further I may testi-

fy unto you, that this is not all that your father

hath been doing for you, and that some of you

may bear me witness, that he hath given you

many instructions, which hath been to the end

your souls might enjoy happiness, he hath re-

proved you often for your evils, laying before

you the ill event that would happen unto you,

if you did not walk in God’s ways, and give

your minds to do his will, to keep holy his

sabbaths, to attend unto reading God’s Word,

hearing it preached with a desire to profit by

it, and declaring unto you this way that he had

experienced to get good by it ; that was to

pray unto the Lord for his blessing with it and

upon it, that it might soke into the heart and

find entertainment there: and that you should

meditate upon it, and he hath told you, medi-

tation was as the key to open the door, to let

you in, or that into your heart, that you might

find the sweetness of God’s word.


Furthermore, my children, be encouraged

in this work, your father hath put up many

prayers with ardent desires and tears to God

on behalf of you all: which if you walk with

God, I hope you will find gracious answers

and showers of blessing from those bottled

tears for you. O carry it well to your father,

that he may yet be encouraged to be doing

and pleading for your welfare: Consider that

the scripture holdeth forth many blessings to

such children that obey their parents in the

Lord, but there are curses threatened to the



My children, in your life and conversation,

live godly, walk soberly, modestly, and inno-

cently: be diligent, and be not hasty to follow

new fashions, and the pride of life, that now

too much abounds. Let not pride betray the

good of your immortal souls.


And if it please the Lord that you live to

match yourselves, and to make your choice:

Be sure you chuse such as first do seek the

kingdom of Heaven.


My first, as thy name is Joseph, labour so in knowledge to increase,

As to be freed from the guilt of thy sins> and enjoy eternal Peace.

Mary, labour so to be arrayed with the hidden man of the heart,

That with Mary thou mayest find, thou hast chosen the better part.

William, thou hadst that name for thy grandfather’s sake,

Labour so to tread in his steps, as over sin conquest thou mayest make.

Sarah, Sarah’s daughter thou shalt be, if thou continuest in doing well,

Labour so in holiness among the daughters to walk, as that thou mayest excel.

So my children all, if I must be gone, I with tears bid you all Farewell.


The Lord bless you all.


Now dear Husband, I can do no less than torn unto thee,

And if I could, I would naturally mourn with thee.

And in a poor requital of all thy kindness,

if I could, I would speak some things of com-

fort to thee, whilst thou dost mourn for me.


A tender-hearted, affectionate and entire

loving husband thou hast been to me several

ways. If I should but speak of what I have

found as to these outward things; I being but

weakly natured: In all my burthens thou hast

willingly with me sympathized, and cheerfully

thou hast helped me bear them: which al-

though I was but weak natured; and so the

more unabled to go through those troubles in

my way: Yet thou hast by thy chearful love

to me, helped me forward in a chearful frame

of spirit. — But when I come to speak or

consider in thy place, thy great pains and care

for the good of my soul.


This twenty years experience of thy love

to me in this kind, hath so instamped it upon

my mind, that I do think that there never was

man more truly kind to a woman: I desire

for ever to bless and praise the Lord, that in

mercy to my soul, he by his providence or-

dered that I should live with thee in such a re-

lation, therefore dear husband be comforted in

this, (although God by his providence break

that relation between us, that he gave being to

at first) that in thy place thou hast been a man

of knowledge to discharge to God and my

soul, that scripture commanded duty, which

by the effects in me wrought, through the

grace of God, thou mayest behold with com-

fort our prayers not hindered; but a gracious

answer from the Lord, which is of great price

and reward. Although my being gone be thy

loss, yet I trust in and thro’ Jesus Christ, it

will be my gain.


Was it not to this end that the Lord was

pleased to enable thee and give thee in heart

to take (as an instrument) so much pains for

his glory and my eternal good, and that it

might be thy comfort: As all thy reading of

scriptures and writing of sermons, and repeat-

ing of them over to me, that although I was

necessarily often absent from the publick wor-

ship of God, yet by thy pains and care to the

good of my soul, it was brought home unto

me: And blessed be the Lord who hath set

home by the operation of his spirit, so many

repeatals of precious sermons and prayers and

tears for me and with me, for my eternal good:

And now let it be thy comfort under all, go on

and persevere in believing in God, and praying

fervently unto God: Let not thy affectionate

heart become hard, and thy tears dried away:

And certainly the Lord will render a double

portion of blessing upon thee and thine.


If thou couldest ask me a reason why I thus

declare myself? — I cannot answer no other

but this ; that I have had of late a strong per-

suasion upon my mind, that by sudden death

I should be surprized, either at my travail, or

soon after it, the Lord fit me for himself: al-

though I could be very willing to enjoy thy

company, & my children longer, yet if it be

the will of the Lord that I must not, I hope I

can say cheerfully, the will of the Lord be

done, this hath been often my desire and thy



Further, if thou could’st ask me why I did

not discover some of these particulars of my

mind to thee before, my answer is because I

knew that thou were tender hearted towards

me, and therefore I would not create thee

needless trouble.


O dear husband of all my dearest bosom

friends, if by sudden death I must part from

thee, let not thy trouble and cares that are on

thee make thee to turn aside from the right



O dear heart, if I must leave thee and thine here behind,

Of my natural affection here is my heart and hand.


Be courageous, and on the living God bear

up thy heart in so great a breach as this.


Sarah Goodhue.


Dear husband, if by sudden death I am

taken away from thee, there is infolded among

thy papers something that I have to say to

thee and others.


July 14, 1681.


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