Monday, August 16, 2010

Rules for the Good Life...

The start of the Church School year draws near and I offer this from O.B. Frothingham's "A Child's Book of Religion" (1866.)  Octavius Brooks Frothingham was a Unitarian Minister, chronicler of Boston Unitarianism and Transcendentalism, and leader of the "radicals" (being the first President of the National Free Religious Association)


Let us now repeat together the Rules of the Good Life.

1. To revere God and his purposes with a filial trust.

2. To love God, the heavenly Father, with filial love.

3. To love man, the child of God, with brotherly affection.

4. To study the works of God, desiring to discover their beauties.

5. To make .duty, or the will of God, our first object, and the only title to happiness.

6. To delay and neglect nothing that we ought to do.

7. To keep our bodies clean, our clothes tidy, things about us in order, our appearance simple and neat.

8. To keep our blood pure by exercise in the open air; since, by means of the air, we live.

9. To avoid too much eating and drinking, too much pleasure and excitement, and every thing that is excess.

10. To be kind to all, willing to please and to be pleased; not out of good nature only, but from a sense of duty.

11. To avoid slander, gossip, and foolish talking, as unworthy of creatures whom God has made, and placed in so fair a world.

12. To set examples of perfect truthfulness in word and deed.

13. To be large-hearted; trying at all times to think and do generous and noble things, without being afraid of rebuke or ridicule.

14. To be modest, and willing to submit to correction and censure.

15. To inflict no pain on any creature for the sake of a pleasure.

16. To shrink from no pain which it is needful that we should bear.

17. To help the weak, teach the simple, cheer the sad, visit the sick, encourage the hopeless, bear with the dull, excuse the ignorant, forgive the erring, and pray for the wicked.

18. To cultivate and encourage the free spirit of inquiry, to censure narrowness of mind, to struggle against prejudice, to cherish the disposition to believe in new truths, and to give welcome to thoughts not known before.

19. To respect the rights of others; to regard the happiness of others as equally important with our own; and to feel in our hearts the desire and the purpose that all people, so far as we know them or can serve them, may have all the opportunities, privileges, and enjoyments they are able to receive.

20. To look up with admiration to all men and women who lead noble lives, though they may be misunderstood and hated; to honor those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake or for truth's sake; and to revere especially those who stand alone, with the rich and the great and the fashionable against them ; never to speak evil of such as are disliked and despised, and never to take, the part of the strong against the weak.

21. To keep before the mind the images of great and good men and women who have lived and died for their fellow-creatures, and especially to keep in view the character and example of Jesus.

22. To keep before the mind the hope of our immortality, and the faith in our perfect happiness at last.

23. To keep before the mind the belief in our power to improve ourselves in every way, to soften our manners, tame our passions, curb our tempers, and grow more and more in loveliness.

24. To keep before our minds the truth that the child is father to the man, and that we cannot hope to be good men or good women unless we are good boys and good girls.

25. Never to forget that good habits are more easily formed in childhood than in manhood or womanhood, and that the proper time to begin to form them is the present moment.

26. To be patient and steadfast in cultivating holy desires, the spirit and the habit of prayer; lifting the heart to the Father, and imploring his help, in full faith that there is no real strength but that which comes from the Source of all good."


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