Mar 4: Quaker Self-help

How did William Penn get to be so famous and successful? First of all, it helps to have a father who's a prominent admiral. That doesn't come up in his Fruits of Solitude, his own book of maxim-style wisdom. Note -- not Maxim:

O how sordid is Man grown! Man, the noblest Creature in the World, as a God on Earth, and the Image of him that made it; thus to mistake Earth for Heaven, and worship Gold for God!
This kind of thing never goes out of style -- here's what you'd do, if you were smart:
The World is certainly a great and stately Volume of natural Things; and may be not improperly styled the Hieroglyphicks of a better: But, alas! how very few Leaves of it do we seriously turn over! This ought to be the Subject of the Education of our Youth, who, at Twenty, when they should be fit for Business, know little or nothing of it.
Get thee a Book of Maxims, Capitalize some Nouns, and you will shortly find your way to true Happiness. Not that I'm disagreeing:

Were the Superfluities of a Nation valued, and made a perpetual Tax or Benevolence, there would be more Alms-houses than Poor; Schools than Scholars; and enough to spare for Government besides.
5. The first Thing obvious to Children is what is sensible; and that we make no Part of their rudiments.
6. We press their Memory too soon, and puzzle, strain, and load them with Words and Rules; to know Grammer and Rhetorick, and a strange Tongue or two, that it is ten to one may never be useful to them; Leaving their natural Genius to Mechanical and Physical, or natural Knowledge uncultivated and neglected; which would be of exceeding Use and Pleasure to them through the whole Course of their Life.
7. To be sure, Languages are not to be despised or neglected. But Things are still to be preferred.
8. Children had rather be making of Tools and Instruments of Play; Shaping, Drawing, Framing, and Building, &c. than getting some Rules of Propriety of Speech by Heart: And those also would follow with more Judgment, and less Trouble and Time.

They have a Right to censure, that have a Heart to help: The rest is Cruelty, not Justice.

Still, who'd have paid attention to him if he'd just lived in Pennsylvania, instead of founding it?

1 comment:

Lisa Simeone said...

Favorite, and appropriate to recent events:

"They have a Right to censure, that have a Heart to help: The rest is Cruelty, not Justice."