Noah Webster & Elections

LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION ARTICLE FOR

March 26, 2016 by William H. Scarle, Jr. 813-835-0129

Noah Webster has been called “The Father of American Scholarship and Education.”  He was born on October 16, 1758 and died at 84 on May 28, 1843.  Educated at Yale he was a representative to Congress for the state of Connecticut.  He is best known as the compiler of the “An American Dictionary of the English Language” first published in 1828.

During this turbulent election process in our history I would like to share some advice from Webster’s “Value of the Bible and Excellence of the Christian Religion for Use of Families and Schools,” 1834, p. 302.

“But as there is a God in heaven who exercises a moral government over the affairs of this world, so certainly will the neglect of the divine command, in the choice of rulers, be followed by bad laws and a bad administration; by laws unjust and partial, by corruption, tyranny, impunity of crimes, waste of public money, and a thousand other evils.  Men may devise and adopt new forms of government; they may amend old forms, repair breaches, and punish violators of the constitution; there is, there can be, no effectual remedy, but obedience to the divine law.”

In his “History of the United States,” 1883, Ch. XIX, Webster states, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws…All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Just for good measure I would like to add a quotation from Thomas Jefferson, who is often accused of deism.  I am well aware that Jefferson was not an orthodox Christian, but he got some things right as is demonstrated by the following quotation.

“God who gave us life gave us liberty.  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Jefferson’s fear that the American people might get what they deserve is relevant today.  Instead of getting bent out of shape by our anger and impatience with inefficient and unstatesmanlike government we ought to react in fervent prayer that somehow America can recover the divine wisdom that gave us our nation in the first place.  Lincoln wept over the carnage of the Civil War and was convinced that our United States was suffering the consequences of our moral failure in allowing the institution of slavery to continue.  I saw a recent political cartoon picturing the Lincoln Memorial with a weeping Lincoln in his chair.

It is time for those “Evangelicals” the politicians keep referring to as a needed voting block to pray for revival.  It is doubtful the press and many of the politicians even know what an Evangelical is.  However, the Evangelicals do know, and it’s time to pray.

(Bill Scarle can be contacted at ravscarle@verizon.net).  END-whs