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Lessons for Youth
The New England Primer
1690-1850s. Publishers: various. See history page for more details.

This is an alphabet that is 300 years old. It comes from The New England Primer, just like the rhyming alphabet that began with Adam's Fall. Like that alphabet, this alphabet also has only 24 letters, with 'j' and and 'v' left out. This is because the very old Latin alphabet only had 24 letters. They used one letter for both 'i' and 'j' and one letter for 'u' and 'v' (see history page for discussion on the short alphabets).

This alphabet contains verses of wisdom from the Bible.

  • Repeat each verse.
  • Can you explain what each of the following verses mean?

Alphabet of Lessons for Youth

A wise child brings a father joy, but a foolish child brings a mother heartache.

Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with turmoil.

Come to Christ, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and he will give you rest.

Do not do this detestable thing that I hate--says the Lord. (the detestable thing is the worship of other gods)

Except you be born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God.

Foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it away.

Godliness is profitable in every way since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Holiness is beauty for God's house forever.

It is good for me to be near God.

Keep your heart guarded above all else, for it is the source of life.

Liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and sulfur.

Many adversities come to the righteous, but the Lord delivers them from them all.

Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation.

Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Quit judging according to outward appearances; instead, judge according to righteous judgment.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.

See a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him.

Upon the wicked, God shall rain a horrible tempest.

Woe to the wicked--it will go badly for them, for what they have done will be done to them.

EXhort one another daily while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin's deception.

Young people, you are strong and God's word remains in you, and you have had victory over the evil one.

Zeal has overwhelmed me, because my enemies have forgotten the word of God.

Note In keeping with the publishing tradition of The New England Primer, we have modernized spellings and grammatical forms in the text above. We have referred to modern translations and the original languages in the process of paraphrasing these verses. Links are provided to the actual Bible verses. In the case of 'Q', it was necessary to change to a completely different verse since the use of the phrase 'quit you' to mean 'conduct yourselves' is so archaic. Original forms from the 1777 ed. are shown below. See discussion on the history page for more information about the Primer.

Original Spelling and Formatting

The following text shows the original spellings, grammatical forms, and typestyle. You may notice that in some of the verses they capitalized the first and second letter on a line but not the rest of the word. Do you think that looks funny?

A Wise son maketh a glad father, but a
 foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

BEtter is a little with the fear of the Lord,
 than great treasure & trouble therewith.

COme unto Christ all ye that labor and are
 heavy laden and he will give you rest.

DO not the abominable thing which I hate
 saith the Lord.

EXcept a man be born again, he cannot
 see the kingdom of God.

FOolishness is bound up in the heart of a
 child, but the rod of correction shall
drive it far from him.

GODLINESS is profitable unto all things,
 having the promise of the life that now
is, and that which is to come.

HOLINESS becomes G O D ' s house
 for ever.

IT is good for me to draw near unto
 G O D.

KEEP thy heart with all diligence, for
    out of it are the issues of life.

LIARS shall have their part in the lake
 which burns with fire and brimstone.

MANY are the afflictions of the right-
 eous, but the LORD delivereth them
out of them all.

NOW is the accepted time, now is the
 day of salvation.

OUT of the abundance of the heart the
 mouth speaketh.

PRAY to thy Father which is in secret;
 and thy Father which sees in secret
shall reward thee openly.

QUIT you like men, be strong, stand fast
 in the faith.

REMEMBER thy Creator in the days
 of thy youth.

SEest thou a man wise in his own conceit,
 there is more hope of a fool than of him.

TRUST in God at all times, ye people,
 pour out your hearts before him.

UPON the wicked, God shall rain an
 horrible tempest.

WO to the wicked, it shall be ill with
 him, for the reward of his hands
shall be given him.

EXHORT one another daily while it is
 called to day, lest any of you be
hardened thro' the deceitfulness of sin.

YOUNG men ye have overcome the
 wicked one.

ZEal hath consumed me, because thy ene-
 mies have forgotten the word of God.

© Copyright 1998-2007 Joe A. Friberg. All Rights Reserved.