Threefold Commandments

brother jonathan
Jonathan Edwards by Joseph Badger

Threefold Commandments

Hear me now, for this is wisdom,
Handed down the generations:
This is where the rule is from
That founds all laws and inspirations.
Thrice they spake a noble precept,
Thus salvation’s road is three-stepped.

Firsly: be a better neighbour
Loving all the world as brothers.
Second: we must welcome labour –
Work is virtue like no others.
Thirdly comes a code most shapely
(Though just what, I own, escapes me.)

Therefore, speak unto all fellows
Honest words – no slanders mutter.
Never shirk to work the bellows,
Turn the earth, or churn the butter.
And that other thing: pursue it –
(What it says to do . . . well, do it.)

So behold: three schemes for living;
Three the ways to languor foil
First there’s love, respect, forgiving;
Next there’s graft, provision, toil –
Third comes…what ?  Oh, saints preserve me !
(But I’m sure it’s mighty worthy.)

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