The first installment of this series attempted to show that from the beginning this nation was founded on the Judeo-Christian principles. These foundations were laid down long before the revolution. A revolution that eventually resulted in the Constitution and formation of the government we now know. In this installment we are going to look at the educational system of our past and show that religion more specifically Christianity played a major role in the education of the young and the old. Today prayer in school is unheard of, bible study in school would be met with a barrage of law suits form various parties. yet that is not how it use to be. There were no real church schools in the beginning most of the churches were the schools. Students were expected to study the bible and pray. It was firmly believed that was the way to raise moral and virtuous children.
The most popular selling book of the time was of course the bible. So what was the second most popular book? It was a little book called "The New England Primer" it was the equivalent of our first grade readers that spout such wisdom as "see Dick run, See Jane run, See Dick and Jane run" it was what very childe along with the bible used to learn to read. it started with the alphabet.
A- In Adam's Fall We sinned all
B- Heaven to find The Bible Mind
C- Christ crucify'd For sinners dy'd
It contained questions
Who was the first man? Adam
Who was the first woman? Eve
Who was the oldest man? Methuselah
Who saves the lost Men? Jesus Christ
It had a creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, which was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.. He descended in to hell. The third day he arose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God , the Father.
Each child was to learn the Catechism and when little 6 year old Susie was called upon and asked to recite number 22 she would stand up and say
" Christ the Son of God became man by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her yet without sin"
Thank you little Susie. And we today are still working on "see Dick run". a quote from the national education Association says this
"...if the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools; then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control"
The government was never meant to control the schools in the first place. And before you all get up in arms this quote is from 1892. Imagine if a member of the NEA were to say such a thing today. Gouverneur Morris on of the chief architects of the Constitution said this "Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards Go" Samuel Adams add "Let divines and philosophers, statesmen an patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of the inculcating in the minds of the youth the fear and love of the Deity...in short of leading them in the study and practice of exalted virtues of the Christian system" The moral and virtuous hearts of our youth were directly tied into their belief in God.
Lets us look at higher education for a moment. The oldest university in the nation is Harvard started by Puritans established as its precepts in 1636
"Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning"
Harvard's original motto
Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae"
Truth for Christ and the Church
This motto has been changed to just "Veritas" and I am sure if you were to look at the precepts of Harvard today God is not mentioned. Princeton's founding statement "Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the Cross of Christ" The seal of Columbia university contains the Hebrew writing for Yahweh Psalm 36:9 in Latin "In thy light we see light" Psalm 27:1 "God is my light" written in Hebrew and 1 Peter 2:1-1. Less we forget where we came from. Benjamin Rush the first Surgeon General of the United States said "In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government. That is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible" Strong words indeed yet applicable to today where we have moved farther and farther away from the principles that founded this nation. In the next installment we will see why teaching morals was so important to the people who founded and made this great nation.