Anne Bradstreet on things to think upon

Anne Bradstreet is credited with the first work of literary significance in the American colonies. Along with much poetry she wrote prose that is considered unsurpassed in 17th-century America. The examples here are from ''Thirty-Three Meditations,'' addressed to one of her eight children in a devotional manner that was in fashion at the time. 1

There is no object that we see, no action that we do, no good that we enjoy, no evil that we feel or fear, but we may make some spiritual advantage of all; and he that makes such improvement is wise, as well as pious. 2

Many can speak well, but few can do well. We are better scholars in the theory than the practical part, but he is a true Christian that is a proficient in both. 3

Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending; a negligent youth is usually attended by an ignorant middle age, and both by an empty old age. He that hath nothing to feed on but vanity and lies must needs lie down in the bed of sorrow. 4

A ship that bears much sail, and little or no ballast, is easily overset; and that man whose head hath great abilities, and his heart little or no grace, is in danger of foundering. 5

It is reported of the peacock that, priding himself in his gay feathers, he ruffles them up; but, spying his black feet, he soon lets fall his plumes; so he that glories in his gifts and adornings should look upon his corruptions, and that will damp his high thoughts. 6

The finest bread hath the least bran; the purest honey, the least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self-love. 7

The hireling that labors all the day comforts himself that when night comes he shall both take his rest and receive his reward: the painful Christian that hath wrought hard in God's vineyard and hath born the heat and drought of the day, when he perceives his sun apace to decline, and the shadows of his evening to be stretched out, lifts up his head with joy, knowing his refreshing is at hand. 8

Downy beds make drowsy persons, but hard lodging keeps the eyes open. A prosperous state makes a secure Christian, but adversity makes him consider. 9

Sweet words are like honey: a little may refresh, but too much gluts the stomach.m

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