Moral Precepts

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The oldest Egyptian book of Moral Precepts, or Maxims, or Admonitions, works which were composed as far back as B.C. 3000, is that of Ptah-hetep, governor of the town of Memphis, and high confidential adviser of the king; he flourished in the reign of Assa, a king of the fifth dynasty, about 3500 B.C. His work is found, more or less complete, in several papyri, which are preserved in the British Museum and in the National Library in Paris, and extracts from it, which were used by Egyptian pupils in the schools attached to the temples, and which are written upon slices of limestone, are to be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and elsewhere.

These “precepts” are intended to form a work of direction and guidance for a young man in the performance of his duty towards the society in which he lived and towards his God a work intended to demonstrate the “whole duty of man” to the youth of the time when the Great Pyramid was still a new building, these “precepts”are very remarkable. The idea of God held by Ptah-hetep is illustrated by the following passages:–

“If, having been of no account, thou hast become great; and if,

having been poor, thou hast become rich; and if thou hast become

governor of the city, be not hard-hearted on account of thy

advancement, because thou hast become merely the guardian of the

things which God hath provided.”

Maxims of Khensu-Hetep

1. “God magnifieth his name.”

2. “What the house of God hateth is much speaking. Pray thou with a

loving heart all the petitions which are in secret. He will perform

thy business, he will hear that which thou sayest and will accept

thine offerings.”

3. “God decreeth the right.”

4. “When thou makest an offering unto thy God, guard thou against the

things which are an abomination unto him. Behold thou his plans with

thine eye, and devote thyself to the adoration of his name. He giveth

souls unto millions of forms, and him that magnifieth him doth he


5. “If thy mother raise her hands to God he will hear her prayers [and

rebuke thee].”

1. “Give thyself to God, and keep thou thyself daily for God.”


Even the boy scouts are taught virtues and morality in their code of laws;

The Boy Scout Law

1. A scout is Trustworthy

2. A scout is Loyal

3. A scout is Helpful

4. A scout is Friendly

5. A scout is Courteous

6. A scout is Kind

7. A scout is Obedient

8. A scout is Cheerful

9. A scout is Thrifty

10. A scout is Brave

11. A scout is Clean

12. A scout is Reverent