The Life and Works of Christopher Dock/Spiritual Magazine/No. 41a
A Hundred Christian Rules for Children
I. Rules Concerning Conduct Toward God
1. — Consider that between thee and the triune God there is a covenant established in which he hath promised to love and bless thee, but that thou also art bound to love and obey Him implicitly.
2. — Take time to consider alone and in the presence of God whether thou hast faithfully and constantly observed what thy baptismal covenant requires of thee: whether thou hast loved God simply, feared and obeyed Him.
3. — If such meditation convinces thee that thou hast torn thyself from God through conscious sin, that stubbornness, laziness, disobedience, lying, impudence and other such misdemeanors have been allowed to rule thee, do not neglect renewing thy covenant.
4. Admit thy sinful acts and inborn deep-seated corruption most heartily before thy Creator; turn with a contrite heart to Jesus Christ thine only mercy seat, seek through faith forgiveness of sin in his blood, and make a new resolve to sin no more, but to serve Jesus Christ and be ruled by His spirit.
5. — But being convinced that thou hast not broken thy covenant consciously and intentionally, yet that thou hast occasionally been slow and careless in thy Christian duties, and hast frequently failed here and there, then seek also with repentant and believing heart to wash in the blood of Jesus and henceforth to be more earnest in following him.
6. — But do not consider that thou canst do all this of thine own power. Pray God daily to strengthen thy good intent and to preserve thee sinless.
7. — Beside such daily prayers, watch constantly over thyself. Do not trust thy heart too much, for it is very deceiving. Be careful which way thy thoughts and desires tend, and keep eyes, ears and tongue in good control.
8. — Take particular care that the sin to which thou art most prone shall not conquer thee. Flee every opportunity of committing it, and seek by the help of God to weaken it constantly.
9. — Never lie down at night before thou hast examined thy conscience and reconciled thyself with God for thy errors, through Jesus Christ.
10. — Be diligent to fear God uprightly; not from slavish fear of future punishment, but from filial love that avoids doing anything to displease the beloved.
11. — But to love God aright, thou must know Him, and for this Holy Script is thy guide.
12. — Let not a day pass without reading and considering some part of Scripture, as thou wouldst not go a day without food or drink.
13. — But never read God's word excepting with great reverence, for in it the highest majesty speaketh to thee, a poor sinner.
14. — Thine honest purpose in reading the Bible must be to believe implicitly all that it tells, to do all that it commands, and to hope all that it promises.
15. — Approach Scripture as one wholly ignorant of spiritual things, and thou wilt learn most, for to the untutored the Father in Heaven will reveal Himself.
16. — Learn especially through Scripture to know Jesus Christ, thy dear Savior, that thou mayest believe in Him and understand Him.
17. — Impress deeply upon thy heart the divine qualities taught in the Scriptures.
18. — As God is a spirit, serve Him in spirit and in truth, and seek to unify His spirit and thine through faith and love.
19. — Because God is eternal and immutable, cleave to Him with unchanging faith, and gladly give up for Him temporal and perishable things.
20. — Because He is holy, thou must guard thyself from taint if thou wouldst have communion with Him.
21. — Because He is merciful and good, trust Him in all thy trouble, and be thou also good and merciful to the wretched.
22. — Because He is just, and rewards righteousness, pursue thou righteousness. But because He also punishes sin, avoid sin, which merits punishment.
23. — Because He is truthful, believe His promises and fear His warnings.
24. — Because He is omnipotent, trust His help, for He will help thee to overcome difficulty.
25. — Because He alone is wise, depend on Him alone for pure wisdom, and abandon thyself wholly to His guidance.
26. — Because He is omniscient, do not dare to deceive Him by simulation, and beware of secret sin.
27. — Because He is omnipresent, know that in solitude thou art not alone; that the future Judge seeth and heareth all that thou thinkest and doest.
28. — As the omnipresent God loveth to dwell in thy heart, let it be cleansed by thy faith and ruled by His Spirit. Then will He reveal Himself to thee.
29. — Walk ever in the sacred presence of God, constantly remembering his love. Whenever thy thoughts and desires turn from Him, turn them back to Him, even if it is a thousand times in one day.
30. — Never speak the sacred name of God or Jesus except with reverence, and let all careless swearing and cursing be far from thy thoughts.
31. — Never dare to turn passages of Holy Script to idle or laughable use. God will not leave this sacrilege unpunished.
32. — Not only esteem God highly in thy heart for His infinite power, goodness and wisdom, but seek also to express thy esteem in words and deeds.
33. — Employ thy mouth to call for His help in trouble, to praise His love, and to thank Him for all His benefits.
34. — But so shape thy deeds also, that God may be glorified in them. 35. — Sanctify the Lord's day with great care, and do not spend it in games and idling, but in sacred exercises.
36. — Love to go to school and church, that thou mayest learn what is good for thy peace, and show thyself quiet, attentive and respectful in the sacred presence of God.
II. Rules of Conduct Toward One's Neighbor
37. — Dear child, in thy intercourse with thy neighbor, be he friend or foe, keep ever the teachings before thee of St. Paul: Owe no man anything, but to love one another. (Rom. xiii, 8.)
38. — All that thou wouldst have others do to thee, do also to them. And what thou wouldst not have others do to thee, do not to them. (Luke vi, 31.)
39. — Next to God thou art owing none more love and honor than thy parents, from whom thou hast obtained life.
40. — But thy love for thy parents cannot be better expressed than by a willing obedience, doing their bidding, accepting their punishments, bearing their weaknesses with patience, and never intentionally offending them. All this thou also owest to thy grandparents, step-parents, guardians and other superiors.
41. — Thy teachers' trouble and faithfulness thou canst never fully repay. Love and honor them therefore, as thy own father, and seek to lighten their heavy burden by obedience, diligence and attention.
42. — Between thee and thy sisters and brothers never allow quarrel and enmity to arise.
43. — Seek to be pleasant and helpful to thy fellow pupils. But seek as thy friends only those that fear God and set others a good example.
44. — Avoid all bad company, as a very dangerous wile of Satan, and pray God daily to preserve thy soul from evil.
45. — Toward the aged and distinguished persons be respectful and polite, and seek daily to put aside all coarse and improper conduct.
46. — Guard against offending strangers, the poor and the helpless, and do not mock them, but treat them with sympathy and helpfulness.
47. — At every opportunity exhibit toward thy friends and benefactors a grateful heart.
48. — To your enemies who laugh at thee or otherwise offend thee, do not return evil for evil, nor insult for insult, but pray God rather to forgive their sin and to convert them, and miss no opportunity of doing them good.
49. — Consider it an undeserved honor to be despised and hated for thy quiet and God-fearing way. Learn from thy youth to esteem the disgrace of Christ.
50. — If an angry or revengeful thought tries to arise in thee, subdue it by the thought of the love and gentleness of Jesus Christ.
51. — Do not let wrath induce thee to rebuke any one who has done thee wrong, to wish him ill, to strike him or in any other way to avenge thyself. For God hath said: Vengeance is mine; I will repay. (Romans xii, 19.)
52. — Let not the fear of man prevent thee from punishing evil. But punish it out of love, with great care and modesty.
53. — Be not sad and morose among strangers, but friendly and cheerful, and that from an inward sense of the friendliness and grace of God.
54. — If thou hast offended some one, be not ashamed humbly to admit it and to apologize.
55. — Offend no one by wrong actions, ugly manners or unchaste, nasty speeches. Never repeat such things when thou hast heard them from others, and be ashamed to take such filth of Satan into thy mouth.
56. — Be satisfied with that which God gives thee through thy parents, and begrudge no one his own.
57. — Yield to no temptation to take the last thing from thy parents or fellow pupils, or to appropriate money given thee to do an errand for thy own use. Such beginnings have shown many the way to the gallows.
58. — If thou hast been tempted to take from others fruit or other things, admit thy fault in true penitence, seek to replace it, and guard thyself all thy life against this abominable vice.
59. — Practice true uprightness, do not learn to lie, for the Devil is the father of lies. Speak the truth from thy heart, even if it bring thee loss and annoyance.
60. — In repeating what others have told thee, add nothing, lest thou enter the net of the spirit of lies.
61. — Judge and censure no one. Do not reveal thy friend's secrets. Be no slanderer, flatterer or tell-tale; speak well of thy neighbor and excuse his weaknesses.
62. — When others boast of their sins at school and elsewhere, and laugh at foolish pranks, beware of participating in their sin and compromising thyself.
63. — Seeing something wicked in others, sigh over it, think meanwhile of thine own faults, and pray God to deliver thee from such sins.
64. — Give every one his due and let the wholesome grace of God chasten thee to live justly.
III. Rules of Conduct of a Child Toward Himself
65. — Dear child, learn to know thyself aright.
66. — All the good thou findest in thyself is of God; but all the wicked is thy own.
67. — If thou observe thyself without self-love or flattery thou shalt find that thy heart is by nature an abyss of sin, and that the seed of all vice lies hidden within thee only awaiting the chance of breaking loose.
68. — Therefore flee all opportunities of wrong as the Devil himself, for they are all go-betweens that deliver thee into his power.
69. — Thy immortal soul is the noblest part of thy being, therefore thou must take more care of it than of thy mortal body.
70. — The nobility of thy soul consists in its union with God, for which thou must strive with all thy strength.
71. — But to be and remain united with God thou must earnestly hate sin, and dampen the sinful inclinations of thy heart with daily penitence, for prevailing sin separates thee from God.
72. — But as God, who is a consuming fire, can have nothing in common with a sinner, thou must turn to the Mediator in full faith and take Him into thy heart.
73. — Where the Mediator, Jesus Christ, dwelleth, there is also His Spirit, that is ever renewing the soul into an image of God.
74. — Let this Holy Ghost work in thy spirit, and it will ever enlighten thy understanding, turn thy will to God, and fill thy conscience with peace and joy.
75. — In this order must thou seek ever to renew the strength of thy spirit.
76. — Employ thy understanding and memory to grasp and retain something useful.
77. — First of all gather a treasure of learning from the word of God, that shows thee the way to reconciliation with God. Besides this, endeavor to learn other useful knowledge.
78. — Accustom thy will ever to choose what is good, and to discard what is evil.
79. — Accustom thy imagination to proper form. Do not imagine the joys of the world lovelier and true Christianity more difficult than they really are.
80. — Learn betimes to curb thy affections and emotions that they do not enslave thee.
81. — Do not disturb thine emotions by a desire for earthly things, vain hopes, unprofitable fear, neither by worldly sorrow nor excessive joy.
82. — Anger, envy and jealousy are tormentors of the soul. Beware of their power.
83. — Let no rank or improper lusts arise in thy heart, for they destroy body and soul.
84. — From wicked self-love arise three chief vices, ambition, avarice and lust. Discover to which of these thou art most inclined, and seek to suppress such tendency betimes.
85. — The more thou dost flatter thy natural inclination, give it its own free will, and pamper it, the more tyrannical will it become.
86. — Thy soul can find rest nowhere except in God. The closer thou dost approach Him in faith and love, the more peaceful it will become.
87. — But God has given thee beside a soul, also a body, and has wisely endowed it with members and senses. Therefore thou art bound to keep it sound and untainted.
88. — Be therefore careful, and do not expose thyself to dangers that menace body and health.
89. — Do not accustom thyself to luxury and do not pamper thy body, or thou shalt be a wretched and sickly being all thy life.
90. — Never be ashamed even of the lowliest work, and flee idleness as thou wouldst flee from the plague.
91. — Do not love sleep too much, lest thou become lazy.
92. — Do not fill thyself with too much food and drink, for moderation preserves health.
93. — Avoid especially drunkenness, which is more than beastly, and never allow thyself to be led to drink more than is needed.
94. — Carry thy body decently and modestly, and cover what nature meant to be covered, for thy members are Christ's members, and thy body is a temple of the Holy Ghost.
95. — If God sends a visitation to thy body, bear thy pains with patience, and believe that God loveth thee because he chasteneth.
96. — If God wills that thou shalt be poor, sick and despised in the world, think, “He is the Lord, may He do as it pleaseth Him.”
97. — Remember thou shalt not always live in this world, and prepare betimes for thy departure.
98. — Look upon each day as thy last, then the last day will not find thee unprepared.
99. — Pray God to give thee a definite conviction of the certainty of resurrection, judgment and eternal life.
100. — Fear not death, for if thou hast lived a Christian life, thou canst die blessed and happy.