AMERICA’S CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

AMERICA’S CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
James Miller

For over 200 years, from 1690-1900, a primary reading textbook entitled The New England Primer was used in every American School. This was the book used to teach children in America how to read. They didn’t have grade levels then. But, this book would be comparable to first grade level curriculum. The first lessons contain the alphabet, then come the learning syllables and words. About a quarter of the way through the book the children were taught to memorize a different phrase attached to each letter of the alphabet. Here are some of the examples:

A is for “A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

B is for “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith.”

C is for “Come unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest.

D is for “Do not the abominable thing, which I hate saith the Lord.”

E is for “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

It goes on and on like this. This was the primary reading textbook in America’s schools for over 200 years.

Notice one of the lessons contained in the textbook: “Who is the first man? Who is the first woman? Who is the first murderer? Who is the first martyr? Who is the first translated? Who is the oldest man? Who built the ark? Who is the most faithful man? Who is the meekest man? Who is the most patient?” Etc… This sounds like a Sunday school lesson! No, it was the primary reading textbook in America’s schools for over 200 years! As you would get into the back of the book it contained questions such as (remember this is 1st grade level): “What is the fifth commandment? What is the forbidden in the fifth commandment? What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment? What is the sixth commandment? What is required in the sixth commandment? What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?” Now that was the foundation for America’s schools for over 200 years!

This is the type of education that John Quincy Adams received. He served as President, 18 years in the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and many more positions. At the age of 14, he
received a congressional diplomatic appointment overseas to the court of Cathin the Great in Russia Can you imagine sending a 14-year-old overseas as a diplomat to Russia today! But this was typical in that day given the educational foundation they received.

John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. ” Today we hear that it is supposed to be separated and that our founding fathers wanted it that way! John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, one of the men most responsible for our Constitution said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” How long has it been since we heard anyone on the Supreme Court say, “now make sure you elect Christians as your leaders”?

In the earlier history textbooks students were taught that George Washington’s farewell address was the most significant political speech ever given to the nation. Why not? He is the “Father of the nation. ” He spent 45 years of his life in public service: everything from Commander in Chief, through two terms as president. He was president of the convention that gave us the Constitution. He was the one who called for the 1st Amendment Bill of Rights. In his farewell speech he was saying, “This is what brought America to this point and this is what she must do from here on to be successful.” Yet, that farewell speech has not been seen in textbooks for nearly 40 years. Why not, does George Washington have nothing to say anymore? No, the problem is what he says in the last half of his speech; he goes into great detail about something: “Of all the habits and dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain
would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars! ” We don’t hear these kind of statements anymore. But, these are the men that gave us the greatest form of government on earth.

France has been through seven different governments, and Italy has had forty-eight in the past 200 years. Our United States has been through only one! Where did the founding fathers get their ideas for a government that could last so long when other nations can’t last? University of Houston political science professors ask this same question. They felt that if they could look back at some of the writings of the founding fathers and see whom they quoted, they would know the answer. They collected 15,000 writings of the founding fathers. From that they boiled it down to 3,154 writings that they felt had significant impact on the founding of America. It took ten years, but they found that the three most quoted men were Blackstone, Montesquie, and John Locke. Now that is a tribute to these three men, but what they found and did not expect to find was that four times more than Montesquie twelve times more than Blackstone, and sixteen times more than John Locke the founding fathers quoted from the Bible! 34% of all quotes of the founding fathers came out of the Bible. Another 60% came from men that used the Bible to draw up their conclusions. 94% of quotes used by our founding fathers were based on Bible Scripture. 34% came directly from the Bible, and 60% were from men that used the Bible to draw up their conclusions!

Blackstone ‘s Commentaries on the Law was the book that a person couldn’t go to law school without knowing.

Charles Finney, who during his time was like Billy Graham of our day, had gone to law school to become a lawyer before ever aspiring to be a preacher. In the process of studying Blackstone’s writings on the law in which Blackstone gave Bible verses that supported the reason for each law, Finney became a Christian. He became a Christian by studying the law! The idea of three branches of government with separation of powers didn’t copy any other government. This idea came from Isaiah 33:22 “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us. ” The idea for “separation of powers” came from Jeremiah 17. The idea of “tax exemption for churches” came from Ezra 7:24 “Also we certify you, that, touching any of the priests and
Levites, singers, porters, Nethinums, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.”

It is amazing how many times Congressmen would come to the floor of the House or Senate with Bible in hand saying, “look what I found in the Bible! ” Others would then say, “If it is in the Bible, that is what we want. ” They would vote on it and make it law. The Bible book quoted more often than any other was Deuteronomy. This lets us know that they were students of the Bible, because not many people today are that familiar with Deuteronomy.

Let us pray that God will bring America back to its Christian, godly heritage! God please bless America again!

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