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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Part X: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

At the age sixteen, George Washington wrote out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility. These are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The rules have one major interest in common; a focus on other people rather than on our own self-interests which is so prevalent today. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

101 Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.

102 It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat; nor need you drink to others every time you drink.

103 In company of your betters be not [damaged manuscript] than they are; lay not your arm but [damaged manuscript].

104 It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first; but he ought then to begin in time and to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.

105 Be not angry at table whatever happens and if you have reason to be so, show it not but on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat and whey.

106 Set not yourself at the upper of the table but if it be your due, or that the master of the house will have it so, contend not, lest you should trouble the company.

107 If others talk at table be attentive but talk not with meat in your mouth.

108 When you speak of God or his Attributes, let it be seriously; reverence, honor and obey your natural parents although they be poor.

109 Let your recreations be manful not sinful.

110 Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

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