For two hundred years American public schools had a very interesting textbook. It was 'The New England Primer". Beginning readers following instructions in learning the alphabet used Bible verses as guides.
"The New England Primer was first published between 1688 and 1690 by English printer Benjamin Harris, who had come to Boston in Massachusetts in 1686 to escape the brief Catholic ascendancy under James II. Based largely upon his earlier The Protestant Tutor, The New-England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in colonial and the early days of United States history. While the selections in the New England Primer varied somewhat across time there was standard content for beginning reading instruction. Included were the alphabet, vowels, consonants, double letters and syllabariums of two letters to six letter syllables. The 90-page work contained religious maxims, woodcuts, alphabetical assistants, acronyms, catechisms, and moral lessons. Many of its selections were drawn from the King James Bible and others were original. It embodied the dominant Puritan attitude and worldview of the day. Among the topics discussed are respect to parental figures, sin, and salvation. Some versions contained the Westminster Shorter Catechism; others contained John Cotton's shorter catechism, known as Milk for Babes; and some contained both. The primer remained in print well into the 19th century and was even used until the 20th. A reported 2 million copies were sold in the 1700s. No copies of editions before 1727 are known to survive; earlier editions are known only from publishers' and booksellers' advertisements."
In ADAM'S Fall
We sinned all.
Heaven to find;
The Bible Mind.
For sinners dy'd.
The Deluge drown'd
The Earth around.
By Ravens fed.
The judgment made
As runs the Glass,
Our Life doth pass.
My Book and Heart
Must never part.
JOB feels the Rod,--
Yet blesses GOD.
Proud Korah's troop
Was swallowed up
LOT fled to Zoar,
Saw fiery Shower
On Sodom pour.
MOSES was he
Who Israel's Host
Led thro' the Sea
NOAH did view
The old world & new.
All were pious.
His Lord and cry'd.
Queen ESTHER sues
And saves the Jews.
Young pious RUTH,
Left all for Truth.
Young SAM'L dear,
The Lord did fear.
Learnt sin to fly.
VASHTI for Pride
Was set aside.
Whales in the Sea,
GOD's Voice obey.
XERXES did die,
And so must I.
While youth do chear
Death may be near.
Did climb the Tree
Our Lord to see.
AN ALPHABET OF LESSONS FOR CHILDREN
A WISE son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
BETTER is a little, with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith.
COME unto Christ, all ye who labor and are heavy hiden, and he will give you rest.
Do not the abominable thing which I hate, saith the Lord.
EXCEPT a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
FOOLISHNESS is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it from him.
GRIEVE not the Holy Spirit, lest it depart from thee.
IT is good for me to draw near unto God.
KEEP thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
LIARS will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brinistone
MANY are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all.
NOW is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.
OUT of the abundance of the heart thy mouth speaketh.
PRAY to thy Father who is in secret, and, thy Father who sees in secret will reward thee openly.
QUIT you like men; be strong; stand fast in the faith.
REMEMBER thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
SALVATION belongeth unto the Lord.
TRUST in God at all times, ye people; pour out your hearts before him.
UPON the wicked God will rain a horrible tempest.
WOE to the wicked; it will be ill with him, for the reward of his hand will be given
EXHORT one another daily while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
YOUNG men, you have overcome the wicked one.
ZEAL hath consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten the word of God.
Also please see:
1. The New England Primer
2. Pages of 1805 New England Primer
3. The New England Primer 1843
4. The New England Primer 1777 Edition