Early modern husbands seldom wrote about their wives; Anthony Walker’s decision to base his tribute to his wife Elizabeth on her manuscripts is even more unusual. His memories of a virtuous wife and her depiction of their marriage, their family, and herself complement each other with a distinctive immediacy. Secular details vividly paint a human portrait that serves a spiritual end. Theirs was a providential marriage of “great Love and Care,” one of mutual delight and fulfillment. Elizabeth’s maternal love is apparent in her husband’s detailed attention to her careful religious education of their children and her poignant account of the illnesses and deaths of their three daughters. Elizabeth’s sympathy for the poor and ministering to the sick in the “true Spirit of the Gospel” and her concern for the souls of others further distinguish her among praiseworthy women. More than a conventional paragon of feminine virtue, Elizabeth Walker exemplifies in her writing and in her husband’s memories the daily practice of seventeenth-century holiness. Faith informed by her devotion to the Bible is throughout her life the essence of a lived spirituality.


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pp. 567-588
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