„Men have forgotten God” Warnings from the Past

Here’s an interesting tidbit about the ivy league schools you might not have known.

Harvard University was the first school built in America in 1636. It was named after the Reverend John Harvard. Do you know what its original motto was? It was:

„Truth for Christ and the Church”

Here is what Harvard expected of its students: „Let every scholar 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 … therefore, to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning…”

At Princeton University the official motto was: „Under God’s power She flourishes”. Princeton’s first president the Reverend Jonathan Dickinson said, „Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”

At Yale, the university’s stated aim was that „All scholars shall live religious, godly and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s word, diligently reading the holy scriptures…

Dartmouth, Columbia, William & Mary and Brown University all had similar declarations.123 of the first 126 colleges formed in America were formed on Christian principles.

At a 4th of July celebration in 1837, President John Quincy Adams asks: „Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and your most venerated  festival returns on this day? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthdate of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthdate of the Saviour? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence… laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

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Daniel Webster, twice elected as Secretary of State : „If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end”.

Noah Webster (wrote the Webster Dictionary): No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights  and privileges of a free people. All the misery that men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war  proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Samuel Adams in „The Rights of the Colonists„, 1772: „The rights of the Colonists as Christians… may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written… in the New Testament.”

The Reverend Jedidiah Morse (father to Samuel B. Morse who developed the Morse Code) : „To the kindly influence of Christianity, we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys.In proportion, as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines… in the same proportion will the people of the nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom and approximate the miseries of complete despotism.

President Andrew Jackson concerning the Bible: „That book, Sir, is the Rock upon which our Republic rests.”

In 1831, a frenchman named Alex De Tocqueville came to America to inspect its prison system. He came to learn why his country, France had so many prisoners, while America had so few. In his now famous work „Democracy in America” he would later write: „There is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men, than in America. The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other. Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other, but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.”

Yet, with so many declarations about the Christian faith, history bears witness of what might be called „the tares along the wheat”. Plymouth Governor William Bradford wrote: „Marvelous it may be to see and consider how some kind of wickedness did grow and break forth here and  land where the same was so much witnessed against. Bradford writes that in 1628, an early colony gave itself over to pagan practices, erecting a Maypole, drinking and dancing about it… inviting Indian women for their consorts as if they had anew revived the beastly practices of the mad Bacchinalians. And of 1642, Bradford writes of the drunkenness and the uncleanness; not only incontinency between people unmarried, but some married persons also, even sodomy and buggery (things fearful to name) have broke forth in this land.

Yet, immoral behavior was not the only concern for the early colonies. In 1637, Massachusetts Governor, John Winthrop conducted a trial against Anne Hutchinson, a woman called at that time: The American Jezebel. Hutchinson held meetings in her home and developed a great following. She was accused of having troubled the peace of the Commonwealth and of the churches. Among her controversial teachings was: „That a man is united to Christ and justified, without faith”. At her trial she claimed these teachings were given to her by immediate revelation. Often accused of antinomian or lawless doctrine, she said: „As I understand it, laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway”. Her former mentor, the Reverend John Cotton referred to her meetings as a promiscuous and filthy coming together of men and women, saying that her opinions would eat out the very bowels of religion. As Hutchinson’s trial neared its end, she said defiantly to her judges, „If you go on in this course you begin, you will bring a curse upon you and your posterity and the mouth of the lord has spoken it.” Nevertheless, Hutchinson was found guilty and expelled from the colony. Despite her threat, no record exists of any ill thing befalling Governor John Winthrop and those who expelled her. Yet, Hutchinson’s husband, William would die 4 years later and the following year in 1643, Anne Hutchinson herself and 5 of her children were savagely killed by warring Indians. After her death, Hutchinson retained a following along those who found admiration in her example of defiance.

In 1850, two centuries later, Nathaniel Hawthorne refers to her as the sainted Anne Hutchinson in Chapter 1 of his famous work, The Scarlet Letter. Some believe Hawthorne even based the character of Hester Prynne, the adulterous woman branded with the scarlet letter on Anne Hutchinson herself. While early America recognized Hutchinson as the American Jezebel, she is today considered a courageous exponent of Civil Liberty and Religious Toleration.

Some 3 1/2 centuries later, Harvard University’s resident preacher and professor of Christian Morals, Peter Gomes, proudly boasts of her that she was „deft in theological and legal sparring, intellectually superior to her accusers and a woman of conscience who yielded to no authority”. Commenting on Harvard itself, Gomes actually admits the University was originally built to protect future generations from false teachings like those of Anne Hutchinson. Gomes calls her the inadvertent midwife to a college founded in part to protect posterity from her errors. However, „Anne Hutchinson”, he says,”would be more at home at Harvard today than any of her critics”. This twisted perception seems to symbolize the modern conflict concerning America’s original intent of the word freedom. The early settlers believed it their duty to liberate themselves and mankind from the dark age of Europe. Can this be the difference between an America that once was and what she would become?

A mysterious passage from Hawthorne’s conclusion to his classic novel seems to embody the transformation. He writes that the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma that attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness and became a type of something to be looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too: ” At some brighter period when the world should have grown ripe for it, in heaven’s own time, a new truth should be revealed”. Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter

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  1. The Master's Slave
    mart. 01, 2012 @ 12:02:52

    Reblogged this on The Master's Slave.

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