Modern definition of “Education” from Webster’s Dictionary:
“Education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge and of developing the powers of reasoning and judgment. The act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.”
Original definition of “Education” from Webster’s Dictionary:
“Education is the bringing up, as a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline, which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts, and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.”
Which definition do you like best? The original is unequivocally accurate. It reminds me of this famous quote:
“I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place their child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the word of God must become corrupt.” Martin Luther, A.D. 1537
Lets look at the foundation of some top education establishments in America:
In 1636, Clergyman John Harvard contributed his personal library and property for the founding of the first college in America, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Within 16 years of the landing of the Pilgrims, America had a college “to train a literate clergy.” Rules and precepts for the school’s charter were formulated on September 26, 1642. They stated in part (original spelling retained):
“Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, John 17.-3 and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of Him.”
THE OLD DELUDER SATAN LAW:
Shortly after Harvard was established, the colonists of Massachusetts and Connecticut wanted the children of their respective colonies to be educated in order not to remain ignorant of Christian self-government, nor to lack the ability to govern themselves according to God’s Word. The leaders of Massachusetts and Connecticut passed the “Old Deluder Satan Law” in 1647. This law stated:
“It being one chiefe project of that old deluder, Satan, to keepe men from the knowledge of the scriptures, as informer time …. It is therefore ordered …. [that] after the Lord hath increased [the settlement] to the number of fifty howshoulders, [they] shall forthwith appoint one within theire towne, to teach all such children as shall resorte to him, to write and read … and it is further ordered, That where any towne shall increase to the number of one hundred families or howshoulders, they shall sett up a grammar schoole for the university”
WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE
William and Mary was founded in 1693 in Williamsburg, Virginia, through the vision of Reverend James Blair. The seminary-college became the home of education for many of the Founding Fathers of America. Men such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, George Wythe, John Tyler, John Marshall, and sixteen members of the Continental Congress studied there. The school’s charter, drawn up in 1693, stated the goals and purposes of the college:
“William and Mary, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King and Queen, Defenders of the faith, to all whom these our present Letters shall come, greeting.
‘Forasmuch as our well-beloved and trusty subjects, constituting the General Assembly of our Colony of Virginia, have had it in their minds, and have proposed to themselves, to the end that the Church of Virginia may be .furnished with a Seminary of ministers of the Gospel, and that the youth may be piously educated in Good Letters and Manners, and that the Christian Faith may be propagated amongst the Western Indians, to the glory of God'”
In 1701 a Collegiate School at Saybrook, Connecticut, was started by ten Congregational ministers. The school was later moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and renamed Yale in honor of Mr. Elihu Yale, an American-born English merchant and governor of the East India Company. Mr. Yale donated books and materials from his fortune, totaling $2,800-a considerable sum for those days. He was instrumental in shaping the college bylaws, which stated the chief aim of education:
“Every student shall consider the main end of his study, to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life.”
Princeton was originally called “The College of New Jersey” and was located in Princeton, New Jersey. Over the years the name was simplified to Princeton. Like all of America’s early colleges, the school was established to train young men in “God’s Holy Word and to become a useful ordainment to society.” The sentiment of America’s educators is seen in this quote by Princeton’s first president, Rev. Jonathan Dickinson.
“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross Of Christ.”
While President of the United States (1801-1809), Thomas Jefferson chaired the school board for the District of Columbia, where he wrote the first plan of education adopted by the city of Washington. That plan used the Bible and Isaac Watts’ hymnal as the principal books for teaching reading. His sentiments were as follows:
“The Christian Religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind”
New York’s first public school principal, who served from 1810-184,8 David Perkins Page:
“The faithful teacher enjoys the approval of Heaven. He is employed, if he has the right spirit, in a Heavenly Father’s business that man should be made wiser and happier. To this end, the Son of God, the Great Teacher, came to bless our race; so far as the schoolmaster has the spirit of Jesus, he is engaged in the same great work.
He can teach a reverence for a Supreme Being, a reverence for the Word of God, for the influence of His Spirit, for the character and teachings of our Savior. For the momentous concerns of eternity, he can teach the duty of repentance, and the privileges of forgiveness, and the salvation by His Son. “
These are the heritage and foundations of education in America. Sadly, and at great cost to our current and future society, it is no longer the foundations of our public education. However, it is the foundation and heritage of most Christian schools. Is it at your local Christian School?