William Penn and the Middle Class

William Penn, a Quaker, was founder of the Province of Pennsylvania. He advocated religious freedom and democracy. He was also an entrepreneur and philosopher. He was the author of Some Fruits of Solitude, a collection of aphorisms. His clever little sayings were ones of moral teachings. Penn’s wisdom along with his deeds for leading a good life are lessons for us all.

William Penn

Bounds Of Charity In this section I think Penn was trying to teach us about helping others within our own means. If we give with a helpful and pure heart we will receive back a great deal more.

47. Lend not beyond thy Ability, nor refuse to lend out of thy Ability; especially when it will help others more than it can hurt thee.

48. If thy Debtor be honest and capable, thou hast thy Mony again, if not with Encrease, with Praise: If he prove insolvent, don’t ruin him to get that, which it will not ruin thee to lose: For thou art but a Steward, and another is thy Owner, Master and Judge.

49. The more merciful Acts thou dost, the more Mercy thou wilt receive; and if with a charitable Imployment of thy Temporal Riches, thou gainest eternal Treasure, thy Purchase is infinite: Thou wilt have found the Art of Multiplying3 indeed.

ApparelNow here Penn’s wisdom was simply about how we dress. If we have more clothes than we need, that is vain on our part. We should not just have clothes because we want them. He also talks of keeping our attire simple and decent, not fancy for the purpose of showing off. We should be happy enough being clean and warm. Modesty is good for us.

73. Excess in Apparel is another costly Folly. The very Trimming of the vain World would cloath all the naked one.

74. Chuse thy Cloaths by thine own Eyes, not another’s. The more plain and simple they are, the better. Neither unshapely, nor fantastical; and for Use and Decency, and not for Pride.

75. If thou art clean and warm, it is sufficient; for more doth but rob the Poor, and please the Wanton.

76. It is said of the true Church, the King’s Daughter is all glorious within. Let our Care therefore be of our Minds more than of our Bodies, if we would be of her Communion.

77. We are told with Truth, that Meekness and Modesty are the Rich and Charming Attire of the Soul: And the plainer the Dress, the more Distinctly, and with greater Lustre, their Beauty shines.

78. It is great Pity such Beauties are so rare, and those of Jezebel’s Forehead are so common: Whose Dresses are Incentives to Lust; but Bars instead of Motives, to Love or Vertue.

These aphorisms were enlightening, hard to understand at times, but overall I felt I was able to learn from them.


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