I am honored to have Dr. Ben Merkle, President of NSA (New St. Andrews College) on the program. Ben tells us of his journey to becoming the President of NSA through the amazing hand of God. He gives us great insight to how NSA came into being and the focus on Liberal Arts as in the days of early Harvard.
What Happened to Harvard and Christian Higher Education?
Dr. Ben Merkle takes us into the reality of a study I did about a decade ago. We discuss the slip of Christian Higher Education and that the great majority of these institutions have been and are inclusive of everything in secular colleges and universities. We discuss the key – why did and is this happening?
Sam Adams Wisdom
From the Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams – 1778 regarding his daughter’s education:
‘Some of the letters of Samuel Adams from Philadelphia, towards the close of 1778, especially the familiar ones to his family, illustrate the character of the man better than the most elaborate descriptions. They lift the veil and give an insight into the undisguised sentiments of his heart, as he might unbosom them in the confidence of his home. Those to his wife and daughter are full of affectionate solicitude for their happiness, and show that the name of tender father and husband, which his daughter delighted to use when describing him to her children, was well merited. His wife he usually addressed as ” my dear Betty,” and to her he often confided the more particular matters relating to his political associations, relying on her discreet good sense to communicate with his intimate friends who might visit the house. His social relationship with his daughter, whose education he had personally conducted, and whose devoted love never failed him to his dying day, appears in some of these letters.’
1781 in a letter to John Adams –
‘…The Academy of Arts and Sciences is in a flourishing way. A new society is incorporated by the name of the Medical Society; and this metropolis has lately appointed a committee to consider the present management of the schools, and report what further improvements may be made, in which the better education of female children is designed to be comprehended. All these things, I hope, are pleasing to you. Our people treat foreigners of merit who come among them with good humor and civility, being desirous of adopting the virtuous manners of others and engrafting them into our stock. Laudable examples on their side and ours will be productive of mutual benefit. Indeed, men of influence must form the manners of the people. They can operate more towards cultivating the principles and fixing the habits of virtue than all the force of laws. This I think is verified by the experience of the world, and should induce the people who exercise the right of electing their own rulers to be circumspect in making their choice. You are well enough acquainted with the character of our first magistrate, to judge what effect his influence may have upon manners.’
Regarding the perversion of the American Liberties – Page 158 – A 1782 letter to J. Scollay:
‘But Boston, after the Revolution, was not that embodiment of rigid principle which started into action against the Stamp Act, and followed the ” Chief Incendiary ” through the trials and dangers of the ten years preceding the war. Most of the leading patriots were dead or away in foreign lands ; and the masses who once composed the meetings at Faneuil Hall and the Old South, and looked to the original leaders for guidance, were thinned by the war. These efforts to effect a moral reform were not attended with much success, though public meetings at which Mr. Adams presided were held on the subject; and he attempted to effect something by combinations among families. Writing to a friend on the increasing levity of public manners, he says:
“It was asked in the reign of Charles the Second of England, How shall we turn the minds of the people from an attention to their liberties? The answer was, By making them extravagant, luxurious, and effeminate. Hutchinson advised the abridgment of what are called English liberties by the same means. We shall never subdue them, said Bernard, but by eradicating their manners and the principles of their education. Will the judicious citizens of Boston be now caught in the snare which their artful, insidious enemies, a few years ago, laid for them in vain ? Shall we ruin ourselves by the very means which they pointed out in their confidential letters, though even they did not dare openly to avow them? Pownall, who was indeed a mere fribble, ventured to have his riots and his routs at his own house to please a few boys and girls. Sober people were disgusted at it, and his Privy- Councillors never thought it prudent to venture so far as expensive balls. Our Bradfords, Winslows, and Winthrops would have revolted at the idea of opening scenes of dissipation and folly, knowing them to be inconsistent with their great design in transplanting themselves into what they called this outside of the world. But I fear I shall say too much. I love the people of Boston. I once thought that city would be the Christian Sparta. But alas! will men never be free? They will be free no longer than while they remain virtuous. Sydney tells us, there are times when people are not worth saving; meaning, when they have lost their virtue. I pray God this may never be truly said of my beloved town.”
There will doubtless be many ready to assert that Adams held an impracticable idea of public virtue; but it was very nearly realized before the Revolution; had it not been, that contest never could have been conceived and successfully accomplished. The terrible ordeal through which our country has just passed has been traced by acute reasoners to the decline of the public morality essential to freedom; and the historian in future generations may found his the ory of the great Rebellion upon the extravagance, irreligion, and universal depravity of the age. That frugality and economy which Samuel Adams endeavored to inculcate was defeated by the conspicuous examples of the Governor and some of the wealthy families, by whom the efforts of Adams and those of his friends who still adhered to the old code of morality and frugal habits were derided as Utopian. Though the disturbances which succeeded cannot be entirely traced to these examples, it is certain that they were in no small degree attributable to such causes. Returned Revolutionary soldiers, and others who had suffered in the public cause, contrasted their poverty with the extravagance and dissipation of those who were profiting by the war. The results were such as to threaten the destruction of all that had been attained in the preceding twenty years struggle.’
2. Mercy Otis Warren – about and some writings