Some Memoirs of the life of Thomas Tryon
At a time when the King was the only authority on the soil of England, it was a brave Thomas Tryon who nonetheless outlined his ideas on priciples, maxims, and laws for society to embrace; and while he was at it, he included laws for human behavior and for the raising of children.
Some certain Principles, Maxims and Laws, which ought to be imbraced and observed by all such as have the Government either of Families, or Societies, and would Train them up in Temperance, Cleanness, Order, and Innocency of Life.
Oh Man, turn the Eye of thy Mind and Understanding inwards, and consider that thy great Creator is the Eternal Fountain of Order, Number, Weight and Measure, and that he has plated those his Laws in the Center of all his Children, both of the Heavens and the Earth, and that in and trou’ him they live, move, and have their being and substance; and therefore thy Faith concerning God, ought to be as followeth.
1.Thou shalt firmly believe, and that without doubting and wavering, that he is the first and the last, the Original of all Beings, the only Creator and Eternal Father of every individual Creature, both in the Heavens and Earth.
2. That by his Power and Administration, all and every created being has Been and is sustained, supported and preserved from Eternity to Eternity.
3. That he is incomprehensible and unfathomable, the Fountain of all Lights and the living moving Power in all things.
4. That his Laws of Order, Number, Weight and Measure, are the Spiritual Pillars that support and preserve all Beings and Things, both in the Heavens and the Earth; that he has endued all his Children with his Divine Word of Creating and Preserving, and that his Laws and Dispensations are equal, and universal to all Creatures, according to its kind.
5. That he made and created all Things and Beings; not accidentally, or by chance, but from a solid Basis, and undeniable Principles of Number, Weight and Measure; as all Creatures, both Sublime and Sublunary, do apparently witness; and therefore it is to be noted, that Order is the Sympathetical Chain which binds all things; and that where there is no Order, there can be no Preservation, but by hazard and chance.
6. Thou art to believe that as all the illuminated and beautified Creatures both of the Celestial and Terrestrial Globe, are the Works of the Eternal Creator, and have his Image and Signature stamped upon them, each according to its kind: So likewise that his Paternal Love, Care, and preserving Power, is equally dispensed to each in due measure, according to its kind, even to the meanest of them.
7. That Man is the true Image and Likeness of the Creator, the he is constituted Vice Regent, or Sublunary Governour, over all Creatures, and is endued for that purpose, with Diving and Humane Wisdom, that he might learn how to govern himself, and all things under him; as from so many School masters from the heavenly and earthly Governments, whose Orders and Presidents are for ever exact and uniform.
8. That the Honour, Worship, and Service of thy Creator, consists chiefly in the imitating him, and adhering to the Divine Words and Holy Voice of Wisdom calling to thee to observe Order, Number, Weight and Measure.
9. The preserving Powers of the Almighty, being equal and universal not Limited to any particular Creature. Thou art therefore to take notice that the good Powers of Life are as near and dear to one Creature, as to another; to the most Inferior, as much as to the most Superior.
10. Thou shalt therefore believe, that it is a great and heinous Evil against thy Father, to oppress, starve, or kill any Creature, they being all his Children; and that as thou are bound to honour and imitate him, thou ought best to preserve them in their natural Strength and Beauty, remembering that Health and Life are as valuable and precious to the Creatures, to each in its Kind, as to Man.
11. Thou oughtest strictly to observe Temperance, in Meats and Drinks, as being a Principal Virtue, the Band and Sinews of Health, and Preserver of Life.
12. Thou shalt believe that God’s Justice is universal and equal; that he is the Fountain of Mercy, Clemency and Charity; and that he is always ready to forgive all such as forsake the Evil of their Ways.
13. That his Honour and Worship consists chiefly in Submission; Forgiveness dwells in her Bosom, and Pardon is incircled in the Tents thereof. Also that Cleanness is absolutely necessary in his Worship, as cloathing her Observators with beautiful Garments.
14. That Man ought above all things, to forgive the Sins and Trespasses of his Neighbours; and to do not only unto them, but to all Creatures, as he would be done unto himself, fulfilling all the Laws of Order, Number, Weight and Measure.
15. That the Knowledge and true Understanding of a Man’s self, is preferable to all other Knowledge; for thereby he will discern the moving Spiritual Powers and Virtue of all the Laws of his Creator.
16. That every Man that is born into the World, is endued with an Eye or Ray of Divine Light, for a Director and Guide to the Mind and Soul; which Holy Voice is as certain, constant and regular in its Motions, Advices, illuminating, compassing, echoing, and corresponding Operations, as the Illustrious Lamp and Light of the World, the Sun; by whose shining Beams, and warming splendid Rays, all the Children of the Creation are preserved and sustained. The like universal Offices, this Divine Ray of Light, implanted in the Center of every Man, like a true Guardian Angel that never slumbreth nor sleepeth, is all ready, and prompt to perform.
17. That to know God, and distinguish his Laws, is the true Music of Heaven and Earth, which unites Man’s Soul to God; to which blessed Union, the observance of the following Directions and Maxims, will mightily conduce and join thee to all that is good and equal.
1. Thou shalt not kill, oppress, hunt, hurry, nor offer any kind of Violence either to Mankind, or any Creature, either of the Air, Earth, or Water; they all bear they Creator’s Image, and have his Laws of Order, Number, Weight, and Measure, stamped in the Center of their Lives. Many of them likewise, are thy faithful Servants: And as true Religion chiefly consists in the imitating of our Creator; thou shalt therefore govern them in Love, Mercy, and Equality, even as he governs the World; all the numerous Inhabitants whereof, are his Children, both Superior and Inferior, and accordingly his Paternal preserving Care over them, is universal, and without partiality: And as thou wouldest not have thy Children whom thou hast begot, made and created, by Virtue and Power of the in-dwelling Word planted in the Center of thy Life; so neither must thou dare to destroy, or violate any Creature whatsoever; for they are they Brethren, having the same Father, Creator, and Preserver with thyself, and participate equally with thee, according to their Natures, of his Care and Influence.
2. Thou shalt not eat the Flesh, nor Fish, or any living Creature whatsoever, nor defile thy self with their dead Bodies.
3. Thou shalt not boil, bake, or prepare any sort of Food in the Vessels of those that eat any living Creature, or unclean Food; nor shalt thou eat on the Platters of Dishes where such, or any other unclean thing, has ever been; neither shalt thou sit down at Table with those that eat Flesh or Fish.
4. Thou shalt not drink any sort of strong Drink, Wine, distilled Spirits, or the Juice of any Fruit or Grain fermented; but Water shall be thy Drink, which thy Creator has ordained for the Beverage of all living Creatures whatsoever: Neither shalt thou chew or smoke Tobacco, take Opium, or any intoxicating dosing thing.
5. Thou shalt not use the Skins of any living Creature for Shoes, Gloves, Saddles, or any other thing whatsoever. Thou shalt not lie on Down or Featherbeds, nor on the Beds of such as eat Flesh or Fish or drink strong Drink.
6. Thou shalt not inter-marry with such as do not strictly adhere to all the Rules of Innocency, Temperance and Cleanness. Let not thy Sons take their Daughter in Marriage, nor give thy Daughters to their Sons.
7. No Man shall Marry after he is Sixty Years of Age, nor Woman after she is Forty Nine, on any occasion or pretense whatsoever: Neither shall any Man Marry a Second Wife, who has Four Children living.
8. No Woman that has Two Children living, shall Marry a Second Husband; neither shall any Widow Marry, till after Two Years Widow-hood.
9. Third Marriages shall be held altogether unlawful, as also the Marriage of first and second Cousins.
10. All Parents, as also all Executors, Trustees, Guardians, etc. who have the care of Orphans or Children, shall Marry them before they be Twelve Years of Age; but they shall not be suffered to Cohabit, nor Bed together, till the Man be 21, and the Woman 17 Years of Age: Neither shall any Marriages be held lawful, without the consent of the Parents, Trustees, or Guardians, fist obtained in Writing. This Method will prevent all wandering, inclinations, and unfit Choices in the very Bud, fix all on a true Foundation, and prevent a Thousand Evils that attend undue and inconsiderate Marriages.
11. Thou shalt imitate thy great Creator, in the distribution of thy Favours and Goods to thy Children, and as he has an equal regard to all his Offspring, distributing his multiplying Dews on every Field, and his preserving Care to every Creature: So shalt thou e equally careful of all thy Children, and shalt be impartial in the distribution of they Talents amongst them, making thy Daughters equally Sharers with they Sons, and thy younger Children transgress the Laws of Innocency and Cleanness, and defile himself, dishonoring and disobeying thee; then thou shalt not give him any Portion or Share of they Goods, unless with great Submission he acknowledge his Fault, and forsake the Evil.
12. If anyone die Childless, he shall divide his Estate into so many Portions as he hath Relations, duly weighing their Nearness and Circumstances; first having allotted one Portion for the use of the Poor, which shall not be less than the Tenth of the whole.
13. If anyone, who has joined himself to the Society of Clean and Innocent Livers, dies without a Will; in such a Case, the Heads or Elders of such Society, shall divide his Estate amongst his Relations, still reserving one Portion for the Poor. And if the Intestate leave Wife and Children, the Wife shall have no more than each Child; all things shall be performed in Equality.
14. If any one shall Steal, or Wrong their Neighbour, the Offender shall be cut off from the Society, till he humble himself before the Heads thereof, and acknowledge his Sin, and in token of his sincere Repentance, shall make twofold Satisfaction in Money, or Servitude; one half of the the Party injured, the other half shall be appropriated to the Education of the Children of the Poor.
15. All differences, mistakes, and contentions whatsoever, about what thing, or on whatsoever occasion they may arise or happen, which cannot be amicably made up by the Parties contending, shall be referred to three Men in differently chosen out of the Society, who shall decide and determine the same; and whatsoever these Three, or any Two of them shall conclude, the Parties contending shall abide thereby; and this being registered by a Public Notary, to be appointed for that purpose, shall be a valid, complete and incontestable determination. And if either, or any of the Parties contending,shall refuse to make up amicably, or will not refer as above; then such Party shall forfeit one full Third part of the Value in dispute, for the Education of poor Children: And if he refuse Payment of such Third Part so to be forfeited, then he shall be excluded from the Society, and shall not be re-admitted till he has acknowledged his Fault, and paid the forfeiture.
16. There shall be a public Register kept in every Society, wherein all the Bargains, Contracts, Buyings and Sellings, amounting to Twenty Pound and upward, shall be kept, and every Buyer or Seller shall enter in the Register of his own Society, all Bargains, Buyings or Sellings which he shall make; and for every Bargain of Twenty Pound, the Buyer and Seller each of them shall pay 6d. for a Bargain of 50l. each of them 12d. for a Bargain of 100l. each of them 2s. 6d. and so in proportion. There shall be a competent Allowance paid out of thus raised Money, to the Register-Keeper, who shall be a Person chosen by the Heads of the Society; and the Overplus shall go to the Maintenance of the Poor, and defray public Charges.
17. There shall be another Register kept, wherein shall be fairly entered all Titles and Sales of Estates, Houses, or Lands; as also all Moneys lent on Mortgages; and whosoever shall not enter his Purchase, or Mortgage in the Register, his Title shall be null, and void, and every Person shall have free access to the said Register, to examine the same, paying Five Shillings.
18. The Governours and Heads of the Society, shall meet yearly on the Sixth Day of September, in a convenient Place, to choose new Governours, who shall be Persons of Wisdom and Understanding, able to advise the People, and preserve them in the laws of Innocency. No Governour shall be continued above one Year, neither shall any Governour receive any Wages or Salary, or make any Profits of his Place. And on the same Day, the Society shall choose Governours, or Inspectors, over every Ten Families, whose Business shall be to inspect, advise and see that the Families under their Charge, in all particulars, live in, and observe those Laws; and every Year, new Inspectors, and all other public Officers or Magistrates, shall be chosen in this manner. When the People are assembled together, they shall be placed in Ranks, at such a convenient distance that one may pass betwixt each Rank, and then the Governour for the last Year, shall pass through them, Rank by Rank. There shall no more be put up than Three Persons for any one office; and the Governour having the Names of the Persons put up fairly writ on Paper or Parchment convenient, each Person shall make a Mark against the Name of the Candidate he is for, and he that the Governour declares to have most Marks, shall be declared to be elected; and during the Election, there shall be a strict Silence kept, not one word shall be spoken.
20 You shall keep one Day in a Week as a Sabbath; that is, you shall set apart one Day in a week, for Prayer and Worship of the Creator, which Day shall be Sunday, or any other Day that the public Government has ordained. On this Day thou shalt do no Work, thou shalt prepare thy Foods the Day before. On the Sabbath-day, the Society shall meet together, and spend two or three Hours, Forenoon and After-noon, in Prayer, and reading over these Laws; which may be done by the Governour, or any of the Deputies over Ten Families: But both before and after Reading and Praying, there shall be a profound Silence, for at least half an Hour, that each Person may the better compose himself, and consider and meditate the Secret Mysteries and active Powers of his Creator.l
21. No one that speaks in the Meeting, shall take any Text, or at any time make any Interpretation or Commentary on these Laws; neither shall you meddle with the Religions or Opinions of other People. Thou shalt remember that Contentions dwell not in the Habitations of the Just; the Laws of the Creator are equal and united, and for ever echo and correspond together in Harmony: and And therefore whosoever breaks out into Contention, separates and divides himself from his Creator’s Laws. Order, Number Weight and Measure, shall be your Standard; which if you observe, you will cut off all Disunion and Contention; not only amongst yourselves, but you will likewise disarm the fierceness and Wrath of whatsoever Governours you live under, and preserve a lasting Peace amongst you, together with all the Necessaries and Conveniences of Life.
22. You, nor any of you shall read any Books not writ by those of your won Society, and that live in the Practice of Order, Temperance, Innocency and Cleanness.
23. You shall not, either secretly or publicly, degrade, vilify, or detract from anyone; nor despise or scoff at his Religion and Worship: But, on the contrary, you shall not only do them Justice, but all Acts of Love, Friendship and Kindness, in your Charities, Discourses, Dealings and all Affairs; not so much as mentioning to them, that your Practices, Methods and Laws, are more consonant to, and like the Methods of the Creator. But let the Innocency of your Lives and Practices vindicate your Doctrine; which Method will prove the most Essential and Convincing Preaching.
24. Thou shalt not speak Evil of any Governour, either of thy own Society, or of any other.
25. Thou shalt not forge, tell, nor make a Lie; whosoever shall be guilty thereof, shall separate himself, and retire alone, and shall not speak for Seven Days, nor eat any thing but Bread, drinking Water during the Seven Days. And he that beareth false Witness, shall be ejected, and shall wear a Badge of Infamy during his Life.
26. Whosoever shall Swear either by the Heavens, or Earth, or anything therein, shall retire alone for Forty one Days; he shall not speak one word during the time, nor eat anything but Bread.
27. All Persons in their Buying and Selling, way of Trade and Merchandize, shall make but one word, that is, they shall ask no more than they will take. This shall be a Law to you in all your dealings, as well with other, as those of your own Society.
28. Nine Hours in 24, is sufficient for Labour or Work, bed the Art or Trade what it will; the rest of thy time, thou shalt imploy in good Conversation, Meditation and Worship.
29. Your times for eating, shall be about Eight or Nine in the Morning, and Four or Five in the Afternoon. To Sing half an Hour before and after each Meal, will be found very beneficial; but let your Songs be musical compositions to the Praise of your blessed Creator.
30. Before eating, the Head of the Family shall have a silent Pause for about Three Minutes, and then shall speak something in praise of the Eternal Creator, exhorting to Temperance, Cleanness and Order; and after each Meal, observing the same Pause of Silence for Three Minutes, shall again praise and magnify our Exalted Father, for his gracious liberality, of his refreshing, supporting, and preserving Favours.
Laws and Orders proper for Women to Observe.
1. Temperance and Cleanness, both in quantity and quality of Foods and Drinks, are the Sinews of Health, both of Body and Mind; every sort of Food, whether equal, or unequal, begetting its Similies, and generating its Likeness.
2.During the time of your Impregnation, keep yourselves still, calm, and sedate, free from all Passion or Perturbation;avoid the hearing of all passionate wrathful Discourse, all Mellancholly Unclean Places; as also all terrifying and melancholy Sights, remembering that all things have an innate Power to impress their Signatures on the tender Fruit.
3. And for the same Reason, you shall imbrace all Opportunities of hearing Wife and Friendly Discourses, as also Musical Harmony.
4. Let your Houses and Rooms be adorned with the Pictures of the Innocent Beauties of young Children, especially the Rooms where you lie.
5. Press not your Children with tight swathing or binding, for thence Convulsions and windy Diseases are occasioned; but let all be done with such tenderness, that there may be full freedom of voluntary motion.
6. Hold your Children as little as may be in your Arms of Laps, that you heat them not, and thereby disturb Nature. Let their Food be temperate, both as to quality and quantity; the simpler it is, the more healthful. Use to a certain time of going to Bed and rising, about Seven or Eight in the Evening, and Seen or Eight in the Morning; always minding that their Rooms, Beds and Clothes be Sweet and Clean; for Cleanness is one of the Headsprings of Health.
7. When your Children are near One Year Old, do not handle or lead them, to help them to go, but let them tumble about at their pleasure in a clean Room, whereby they will be so much strengthened, that they will go much sooner than if they should be led.
8. Be as careful as possible, what Discourse you use in the hearing of your Children; let not your Talk be vain, lewd, angry, fierce, or loud; but smooth and soft, forbearing all passionate words: Neither let them hear nor see what you would not have them Practice. Whatsoever your Discourses or Behaviors are, they fail not to impress their Characters on the Virgin Paper of your Children, by awakening their Similies.
9. Let all your Words and Discourse be clear, free, and mellow, spoken from the Throat or Breast, with the Mouth open, as Musicmasters teach; which is nothing else but a Proper and Natural Method of well and harmonious Speaking.
10. Accustom your Children to speak but one at a time, and not Two or Three together, as is common; and let them not contradict the Speaker,or interrupt him till he has done speaking. Parents may make this familiar to Children, if they set them the Example by their own Practice.
11. At a Year and Half, or Two Years Old, show them their Letters,not troubling them in the vulgar way, with asking them what is this Letter, or that Words; but instead thereof, make frequent Repetitions in their hearing, putting the Letters in their Sight. And thus in a little time, they will easily and familiarly learn to distinguish the Twenty Four Letters, all one as they do the Utensils, Goods, and Furniture of the House, by hearing the Family name them. At the same time, teach your Children to hold the Pen, and guide their Hand; and by this Method, your Children, unaccountably to themselves, will attain to Read and Write at Three, Four, or Five Years Old.
12. The most convenient times for Children to eat, for those from 2 to Six Years old, are at 8, 12 and 4 o’clock.For all People above Six Years old, are at 8 or 9 in the Morning, and 3 or 4 Afternoon. Let your Children's Food bed as simple as you can, Spoon-meats principally; let each have his Mess distinct from the other, nor let them have more than one Sort at a Meal; let them not murmur or shew any dislike to their Food, but oblige them to a strict Silence during all the time, teaching them with great awfulness and consideration, to praise their Creator before and after each Meal, in this or such like manner.
Incomprehensible Being, the Fountain and Author of all Beings, we are by these Foods made Sensible of thy universal Mercy and Love; and therefore from the bottom of our Hearts praise thee, and acknowledge thee the universal Preserver of all thy Children, handing forth thy Blessings with equality. This or the like Method of acknowledgment should be taught every Child so soon as it can speak distinctly, not suffering them to eat without this Order; and then Number, Weight, and Measure will grow up in them, and become Essential, both Intrinsically, and Extrinsically.
13. In Learning, Languages, Sciences, Arts, or Trades, observe this Method, viz. So many Sciences or Arts your Child learns, divide the Day into so many Parts; if he learns 2, divide the Day into 2 Parts; if 3, divide the Day into 3 Parts, and son on. Set each Child his Task, and let it be rather too little, than too much, that the Child may be easy and no ways discouraged.
14. When your Children are of dull Capacities, and hard to Learn, Reproach them not, nor expose them, but taking them alone, talk to them familiarly; and giving them sweet and soft words, show them the Advantages of Learning, and how much it will tend to their advancement; inter-mixing in your Discourse, the praise of all Ingenious Men, which your Children know. This will have a great Influence, in tuning the Human Instrument, and by awakening the hidden Magic Powers of the Mind, will kindle the Inclinations, and advance the Genius. Whereas by exposing the dullness of Children, or of People of what Age so ever; the Gall of Envy, Trouble, and Inequality is opened, and the Bitterness thereof, overspreads the Mind with an obstinate Negligence and Contempt of whatsoever you would impress.
15. We strictly prohibit and forbid the reading of Plays, romances, and the like; as also the singing of all kinds of Love-Songs, or setting them to any Instrument of Music.: You shall not sing any Song, or play any Lesson; neither shall you read any Books, but such as tend to the praise of your Creator, and the building you up, and the confirming you in Temperance, Cleanness, Innocency and Virtue; and the Improvement of Innocent Arts and Sciences.
16. You shall keep one Fashion in your Garments or Apparel, which shall be grave, decent, easy, and convenient for Travel, Labour, Work, and Business, either for within or without Doors. You shall use no superfluous Trimmings, nor fantastic ornaments: Your Garments shall not be mixed, viz. of Linnen and Woolen, or the like. You shall not make your selves any Garments, nor any sort of Furniture for your Houses or any sort of Utensils of the Skins of any Animals, neither shall you use the Fat of any Animal,either for Candles, soap, or any other use. He that is endued with Wisdom, Understanding, and a distinguishing Power, has all that his Heart can desire, both in Time and Eternity.
17. All Women above the Age of Seven Years, shall be Vailed when they go abroad. This will not only mightily preserve the Female Beauty’s Power, but advance the natural Esteem and render them more Valuable.
18. No Girl, Maid, nor Woman, shall carry Burdens, do any Field Labour, sell nor cry anything about the streets,nor do any dirty Work. All Robustic Labour, shall be done by Man: The Fair Sex, are naturally unfit for dirty mugling Imployments. Besides, the Preservation of Mankind, principally depends on the good Education, and discrete Conduct of Women; whose Noble Characters of Beauty, Innocency, and tender Affection, are sullied; and as it were, obliterated in many of the,by their being imployed about unclean things, and hard dirty slavish Labour. And therefore Women should be allotted all clean easy Imployments, as the making all sorts of Garments, Dresses, Beds, and the like; All things that are performed with the Needle, for Men, Women, or Children.
Here lies his Dust, whose Heavenly Mind
Moved, like Angellick Nature unconfirmed;
Which left his Body shu’d controul,
He almost work’t it up to Soul:
What some by Reading, and hard Study wrought,
He did compendiously by thought:
Such refin’d Notions to the World he gave,
As Men with Angels Entercourse might have
Shewed how to live on cleanest Food,
To abstain from Flesh, and Fish, and Blood.
Harmless his Life was, as his Food,
Both Patriarchal Primitively Good.
His Works will Eternize his Fame,
And his best EPITAPH’s his Name:
In short, here doth Entombed lie
All of Great TRYON that could die.
Books Written by Thomas Tryon, Author of this Treatise.
The Way to Health, Long Life and Happiness
The Country Man’s Companion
The Good-Housewife made a Doctor.
Dreams and Visions.
Wisdom’s Call to Frugality.
Friendly Advice to the People of the West Indies.
Monthly Observations for Health.
The New Art of Brewing.
A New Method of Education
Averroe’s Letter to Pythagoras.
Book of Trade.
The Knowledge of a Man’s Self.
The Knowledge of a Man’s Self, the Second Volume.
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