The New England Primer: A History of Its Origin and Development with a Reprint of the Unique Copy of the Earliest Known Edition and Many Fac-Simile Illustrations and Reproductions

The New England Primer: A History of Its Origin and Development with a Reprint of the Unique Copy of the Earliest Known Edition and Many Fac-Simile Illustrations and Reproductions

The New England Primer: A History of Its Origin and Development with a Reprint of the Unique Copy of the Earliest Known Edition and Many Fac-Simile Illustrations and Reproductions

The New England Primer: A History of Its Origin and Development with a Reprint of the Unique Copy of the Earliest Known Edition and Many Fac-Simile Illustrations and Reproductions

Excerpt

In the apocryphal poem of John Rogers "unto his children," which was included in every New England Primer, he said:

The New England Primer a mirror of Puritanism

"I leave you here a little booke For you to looke upon, That you may see your father's face When I am dead and gon."

No better description of the New England Primer itself could be penned. As one glances over what may truly be entitled "The Little Bible of New England," and reads its stern lessons, the Puritan mood is caught with absolute faithfulness. Here was no easy road to knowledge and to salvation; but with prose as bare of beauty as the whitewash of their churches, with poetry as rough and stern as their storm-torn coast, with pictures as crude and unfinished as their own glacialsmoothed boulders, between stiff oak covers, which symbolized the contents, the children were tutored, until, from being unregenerate, and as Jonathan Edwards said, "young vipers, and infinitely more hateful than vipers" to God, they attained that happy state when, as expressed by Judge Sewall's child, they were afraid they "should goe to hell," and were "stirred up dreadfully to seek God." No earthly or heavenly rewards were offered to its readers. The Separatists had studied their Bible too carefully not to . . .

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