Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Words To Live By

Benjamin Harris, The New England Primer (c. 1687, 1777):

Learn these four lines by heart.

HAVE communion with few,
Be intimate with ONE,
Deal justly with all,
Speak evil of none.

Stephen Orgel, ed., A Critical Edition of John Beadle's A Journall or Diary of a Thankfull Christian (1656, 1996), pp. 116-117:

To conclude this passage, remember this advice one gave to his friend; it may do you good that have much to do with men.

1. Have communion with few.
2. Be intimate with one.
3. Deal justly with all.
4. Speak evill of none.

It is somewhat singular, but I am sure very safe, to have one as our intimate and bosome friend. Alexander had his Ephestion, and David in the Wildnernesse a Jonathan, and in the Court his Hushai, called the Kings friend. Yea, even Christ himself had John, if I may not say his Favourite, yet certainly the Disciple whom Jesus loved above the rest. And he is a wise man that will not put all into his Creed, that puts up in his Pater noster; nor will shew every man his minde or his money, he may converse with. Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars; unto God, the things that are Gods. Give faithfulnesse to men, but trust in God. And I am sure, to speak evil of none, unlesse we have a calling; to deal justly [with] all, with whom we have any dealing, will bring us much comfort living, great peace dying, and a good report when we are gone hence, and shall be seen no more.

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