Monday, December 12, 2011

Artillery Sermon by Reverend Jacob Troute

Artillery Sermons were periodic addresses in which a clergyman would admonish the military on topics such as: “a defensive war in a just cause is sinless” and the sin of cowardice.

A unified, Biblical world view founded upon the Sacred Scriptures was the rich soil that brought forth the liberties defended throughout the American Christian Revolution. The fruits of American liberty are the products of Pastoral cultivation.

Historian Alice Baldwin declared:

 “The Constitutional Convention and the written Constitution were the children of the pulpit.”

This particular 'artillery sermon' was delivered on the eve of the Battle of Brandywine on September 10th, 1777 to the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington. Among the papers of Major John Shofinger was found the discourse of Reverend Jacob Troute.

They That Take the Sword Shall Perish by the Sword”

“Soldiers, and countrymen, we have met this evening perhaps for the last time. We have shared the toils of the march, the peril of the fight, and the dismay of the retreat, alike. We have endured the cold and hunger, the contumely of the internal foe, and the scourge of the foreign oppressor. We have sat night after night by the campfire. We have together heard the roll of the reveille which calls to duty, or the beat of the tattoo which gave the signal for the hardy sleep of the soldier, with the earth for his bed and the knapsack for his pillow.
And now, soldiers and brethren, we have met in this peaceful valley, on the eve of battle, in the sunlight that tomorrow morn will glimmer on the scenes of blood. We have met amid the whitening tents of our encampments; in the time of terror and gloom we have gathered together. God grant that it may not be for the last time.
It is a solemn moment! Brethren, does not the solemn voice of nature seem to echo the sympathies of the hour? The flag of our country droops heavily from yonder staff. The breeze has died away along the green plaid of Chadd's Ford. The plain that spreads before us glitters in the sunlight. The heights of Brandywine arise gloomy and grand beyond the eaters of yonder stream. All nature holds a pause of solemn silence on the eve of the uproar and bloody strife tomorrow.
“They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.”
And have they not take the sword? 
Let the desolate plain, the blood-sodden valley, the burned farmhouses, blackening in the sun, the sacked village and the ravaged town, answer. Let the withered bones of the butchered farmer, strewed along the fields of his homestead, answer. Let the starving mother, with her babe clinging to the withered breast that can afford no sustenance, let her answer, - with the death-rat-tle mingling with the murmuring tones that marked the last moment of her life. Let the mother and the babe answer. 
It was but a day past, and our land slept in the quiet of peace. War was not here. Fraud and woe and want dwelt not among us. From the eternal solitude of the green woods arose the blue smoke of the settler's cabin, and golden fields of corn looked from amid the waste of the wilderness, and the glad music of human voices awoke the silence of the forest. 
Now, God of mercy, behold the change. Under the shadow of a pre-text, under the sanctity of the name of God, invoking the Redeemer to their aid, do these foreign hirelings slay our people. They throng our towns, they darken our plains, and now they encompass our posts on the lonely plain of Chadd's Ford. 
“They that take the sword shall perish the sword.” 
Brethren, think me not unworthy of belief when I tell you the doom of the British is sealed. Think me not vain when I tell you that, beyond the cloud that now enshrouds us, I see gathering thick and fast the darker cloud and thicker storm of Divine retribution. 
They may conquer tomorrow. Might and wrong may prevail, and we may be driven from the field, but the hour of God's vengeance will come! 
Ay, if in the vast solitudes of eternal space there throbs the being of an awful God, quick to avenge and sure to punish guilt, then the man George Brunswick, called king, will feel in his brain and heart the vengeance of the eternal Jehovah. A blight will light upon his life – a withered and accursed intellect; a blight will be upon his children and on his people. Great God, how dread the punishment! A crowded populace, peopling the dense towns where them men of money thrive, where the laborer starves; went striding among the people in all forms of terror; an ignorant and God-defying priesthood chuckling over the miseries of millions; a proud and merciless nobility adding wrong to wrong, and heaping insult upon robbery and fraud; royalty corrupt to the very heart, and aristocracy rotten to the core; crime and want linked hand in hand, and tempting the men to deeds of woe and death; - these are a part of the doom and retribution that shall come upon the English throne and English people. 
Soldiers, I look around upon your familiar faces with strange interest! Tomorrow morning we go forth to the battle – for need I tell you that your unworthy minister will march with you, invoking the blessing of God's aid in the fight? We will march forth to the battle. Need I exhort you to fight the good fight – to fight for your homesteads, for your wives and your children? 
My friends, I urge you to fight, by the galling memories of British wrong. Walton, I might tell you of your father, butchered in the silence of the night in the plains of Trenton. I might picture his gray hairs dabbled in blood. I might ring his death-shrieks in your ears. Shaefmyer, I might tell you of a butchered mother and sister outraged, the lonely farmhouse, the night assault, the roof in flames, the shouts of the troops as they dispatched their victims, the cries for mercy, and the pleadings of innocence for pity. I might paint this all again, in the vivid colors of the terrible reality, if I thought courage needed such wild excitement. 
But I know you are strong in the might of the Lord. You will march forth to battle tomorrow with light hearts and determined spirits, though the solemn duty - - the duty of avenging the dead – may rest heavy on your souls. 
And in the hour of battle, when all around is darkness, lit by the lurid cannon-glare and the piercing musket-flash, when the wounded strow the ground and the dead litter your path, then remember, soldiers, that God is with you. The eternal God fights for you; He rides on the battle-cloud. He sweeps onward with the march of a hurricane charge. God, the awful and infinite, fights for you, and you will triumph. 
“They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” 
You have taken the sword, but not in the spirit of wrong or revenge. You have taken the sword for your homes, for your wives and your little ones. You have taken the sword for truth, justice and right, and to you the promise is,be of good cheer, for your foes have taken the sword in defiance of all that men hold dear, in blasphemy of God they shall perish by the sword. 
And now, brethren and soldiers, I bid you all farewell. Many of us will fall in battle tomorrow, and in the memory of all will ever rest and linger the quiet sense of this autumnal eve. 
Solemn twilight advances over the valley. The woods on the opposite height fling their long shadows over the green of the meadow. Around us are the tents of the Continental host, the suppressed bustle of the camp, the hurried tramp of the soldiers to and fro, and among the tents the stillness and awe that mark the eve of battle. 
When we meet again, may the shadows of twilight be flung over the peaceful land. God in heaven grant it! Let us pray.

William McGuffey - McGuffey's Readers

Reverend William Holmes McGuffey (1800 - 1873) was a preacher, professor at the University of Virginia, and an educational reformer. Furthermore, he was president of Ohio University and department chairman at the Miami University of Ohio. As author of McGuffey's Reader, he became known as “The Schoolmaster of the Nation.” William McGuffey was the gentleman responsible for creating the first teacher's association in the Ohio Valley.

The first edition of the McGuffey's Reader was published in 1836. It was the pillar of public education throughout America until 1920. 125 million copies of the McGuffey's Readers have been sold as of 1963. Hence, it has become one of the most influential textbooks in the history of American education.

He designed his textbooks to “fit the child's education to the child's world.” Furthermore, McGuffey sought to build the child's character as well as his or her vocabulary. One hundred and twenty-two million copies of the McGuffey's Readers have been sold within seventy-five years. His readers which promote a theistic Calvinist worldview continue to be used in some public schools today. Since 1961, 30,000 Readers have sold each year. As found in the New England Primer, the McGuffey's Readers encourage the ideas of salvation, righteousness, and piety.

Other than the Holy Bible, the McGuffey's Readers “represent the most significant force in the framing of our national morals and tastes.”

McGuffey wrote these remarks in the forward of his reader:

“The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.”

Furthermore, he declared:

“The Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus are not only basic but plenary.”

From the Preface of the Fourth Reader:

“From no source has the author drawn more copiously, in his selections, than from the sacred Scriptures. For this, he certainly apprehends no censure. In a Christian country, that man is to be pitied, who at this day, can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God...”

John Westerhoff III in his work “McGuffey and His Readers” declared:

“From the First to the Fourth Reader, belief in the God of the Old and New Testament is assumed. When not mentioned directly, God is implied: 'You cannot steal the smallest pin...without being seen by the eye that never sleeps.' More typically, however, lessons make direct references to the Almighty.: “God makes the little lambs bring forth wool, that we may have clothes to keep us warm...All that live get life from God...The humble child went to God in penitence and prayer...All who take care of you and help you were sent by God. He sent his Son to show you his will, and to die for your sake.”
“When we investigate the content of McGuffey's Readers, three dominant images of God emerge. God is creator, preserver, and governor.”

Evening Prayer” is found in the Eclectic First Reader: Lesson 37.

“At the close of the day, before you go to sleep, you should not fail to pray to God to keep you from sin and harm. You ask your friends for food, and drink, and books, and clothes; and when they give you these things, you thank them, and love them for the good they do you. So you should ask your God for those things which he can give you, and which no one else can give you.” 
“You should ask him for life, and health, and strength; and you should pray to him to keep your feet from the ways of sin and shame. You should thank him for all his good gifts; and learn, while young, to put your trust in him; and the kind care of God will be with you, both in your youth and in your old age.”

The preface to the 1837 Eclectic Third Reader states:

“In making [my] selections, [I have] drawn from the purest fountains of English literature...For the copious extracts made from the Sacred Scripture, [I make] no apology.”
“Indeed, upon a review of the work, [I am] not sure but an apology may be due for [my] not having still more liberally transferred to [my] pages the chaste simplicity, the thrilling pathos, the living descriptions, and the matchless sublimity of the sacred writings.”
“From no source has the author drawn more copiously than from the Sacred Scriptures. For this [I] certainly apprehend no censure. In a Christian country, that man is to be pitied, who, at this day, can honestly object to imbuing the minds of youth with the language and spirit of the Word of God.”

Extracts from McGuffey's Eclectic Third Reader 1837:

1. The design of the Bible is evidently to give us correct information concerning the creation of all things, by the omnipotent Word of God; to make known to us the state of holiness and happiness of our first parents in paradise, and their dreadful fall from that condition by transgression against God, which is the original cause of all our sin and misery...
3. The Scriptures are especially designed to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus; to reveal to us the mercy of the Lord in him; to form our minds after the likeness of God our Savior; to build up our souls in wisdom and faith, in love and holiness; to make us thoroughly furnished unto good works, enabling us to glorify God on earth; and, to lead us to an imperishable inheritance among the spirits of just men made perfect, and finally to be glorified with Christ in heaven.”

The character of Jesus Christ is taught in the 21st lesson of McGuffey's Eclectic Third Reader.

"The morality taught by Jesus Christ was purer, sounder, sublimer and more perfect than had ever before entered into the imagination, or proceeded from the lips of men.”

The National Education Association honored Reverend William Holmes McGuffey at his death. This resolution was issued on August 7, 1873, in Elmira, New York.

“In the death of William H. McGuffey, late Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Virginia, the Association feels that they have lost one of the great lights of the offices as teacher of common schools, college professor, college president, and as author of textbooks; his almost unequaled industry; his power in the lecture room; his influence upon his pupils and community, his care for the pu8blic interests of education; his lofty devotion to duty; his conscientious Christian character – all these have made him one of the noblest ornaments of our profession in this age, and entitled to the grateful remembrance of this Association and of the teachers of America.”
Elmira, New York, August 7, 1873.

Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom's Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896) was the daughter of prominent Presbyterian preacher Lyman Beecher of New England. She was also the sister of Henry Ward Beecher a renowned preacher of his era. Harriet was a teacher who authored the book Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in serial from between 1851 and 1852. Harriet was a widely read author and an important part of the abolitionist movement preceding the Civil War. Although she wrote thirty historical novels and countless essays an poems which were primarily about colonial life in New England; Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly became her most famous work. It first appeared as serial installments in the National Era an anti slavery newspaper. It is generally believed that Uncle Tom's Cabin aroused more popular sentiment in the states north of the Mason Dixon Line than any other publication. The book sold 10,000 copies its first week of publication. She became a celebrity in Great Britain, Europe and the United States after the publication of her book.

Public sentiment in opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law was stirred up through the publication of her book. The overseer “Simon Legree” in her story became the embodiment of cruelty of slaves throughout the southern states. “Tom,” the slave hero became the likeness of the oppressed slave with a pure loving compassionate heart.

When President Abraham Lincoln met Harriet, he declared to her: 

“So you're the little lady who started this big war.”

Harriet dedicated herself to Jesus Christ at the tender age of fourteen after listening to a sermon delivered by her father.

“As soon as my father came home and was seated in his study...I went up to him and fell in his arms, saying, 'Father, I have given myself to Jesus, and He has taken me,' I never shall forget the expression of his face as he looked down into my earnest childish eyes...'Is it so?' he said, holding me silent to his heart as I felt the hot tears fall on my head.”

Harriet would rise each morning at 4:30 to commune with her Lord and Savior before beginning her daily activities. She heartily enjoyed listening to the birds, watching the sunrise, and sensing the gracious loving presence of God her redeemer. Her best known hymn was written while meditating on Psalm 139:17-18.

“How precious also are are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them. If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.”

Still, Still with Thee 

Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee,
Fairer than the morning, lovelier than the day light,
Dawns the sweet conscientiousness, I am with Thee.
Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn,
Still, still with Thee, as to each newborn morning,
A fresh and solemn splendor still is given,
So does this blessed consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto thee and heaven.
So shall it be at last, in that bright morning,
When he soul awaketh and life's shadows flee.
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee

It was Harriet's faith in Christ which became the anchor which sustained her throughout the personal storms she encountered in life.

Harriet was a remarkable woman who raised seven children while managing household and a career. She was an instructor in a college. Harriet's life was filled with personal tragedy. Her son drowned while he was a freshman in college. Another son became an alcoholic and disappeared and a daughter became addicted to morphine which was administered as a pain-killer following childbirth.

A Selection from Uncle Tom's Cabin

Simon Legree is determined to recover two slaves who have escaped. He demands that Tom reveal whatever he knows of the two runaway female slaves.

“The morning star now stands over the tops of the mountains, and gales and breezes, not of earth, show the gates of day are unclosing. 
The escape of Cassy and Emmeline irritated the before surly temper of Legree to the last degree; and his fury, as was expected, fell upon the defenseless head of Tom. When he hurriedly announced the tidings among his hands, there was a certain light in Tom's eye, a sudden upraising of his hands, that did not escape him. He saw that he did not join the muster of the pursuers. He thought of forcing him to do it; but, having had, of old, experience of his inflexibility when commanded to take part in any deed of inhumanity, he would not, in his hurry, stop to enter into any conflict with him.
Tom therefore, remained behind, with a few who had learned of him to pray, and offered up prayers for the escape of the fugitives.
 When Legree returned, baffled and disappointed, all the long-working hatred of his soul towards his slave began to gather in a deadly and desperate form. Had not this man braved him, – steadily, powerfully, resistlessly, – ever since he bought him? Was there not a spirit in him which, silent as it was, burned on him life the fires of perdition?
'I hate him!' said Legree, that night, as he sat up in his bed; 'I hate him! And isn't he MINE? Can't I do what I like with him? Who's to hinder, I wonder?' And Legree clenched his fist, and shook it, as if he had something in his hands that he could not rend in pieces.
But, then, Tom was a faithful, valuable servant; and, although Legree hated him the more for that, yet the consideration was still somewhat of a restraint to him.
The next morning, he determined to say nothing, as yet; to assemble a party, from some neighboring plantations, with dogs and guns; to surround the swamp, and go about the hunt systematically. If it succeeded, well and good; if not, he would summon Tom before him, and – his teeth clenched and his blood boiled – then he would break the fellow down, or – there was a dire inward whisper, to which his soul assented.
Ye say that the interest of the master is sufficient safeguard for the slave. In the fury of man's mad will, he wittingly, and with open eye, sell his own soul to the devil to gain his ends; and will he be more careful of his neighbor's body?

'Well,' said Cassy, the next day, from the garret, as she reconnoitered through the knot-hold, 'the hunt's going to begin again, to-day!
Three or four mounted horsemen were curvetting about, on the space front of the house; and one or two leashes of strange dogs were struggling with the negroes who held them, baying and barking at each other.
The men are, two of them, overseers of plantations in the vicinity; and others were some of Legree's associates at the tavern-bar of a neighboring city, who had come for the interest of the sport. A more hard-favored set, perhaps, could not be imagined. Legree was serving brandy, profusely, round among them, as also among the negroes, who had been detailed from the various plantations for this service; for it was an object to make every service of this kind, among the negroes, as much of a holiday as possible.
Cassy placed her ear at the knot-hole; and, as morning air blew directly toward the house, she could overhear a good deal of the conversation. A grave sneer overcast the dark, severe gravity of her face, as she listened, and heard them divide out the ground, discuss the rival merits of the dogs, give orders about firing, and the treatment of each, in case of capture.
Cassy drew back; and, clasping her hands, looked upward, and said, 'O, great Almighty God! We are all sinners; but what have we done, more than all the rest of the world, that we should be treated so!'
There was a terrible earnestness in her face and voice, as she spoke.

'If it wasn't for you, child, she said, looking at Emmeline, 'I'd go out to them and I'd thank any one of them that would shoot me down; for what use will freedom be to me? Can it give me back my children, or make me what I used to be?'
Emmeline, in her childlike simplicity, was half afraid of the dark moods of Cassy. She looked perplexed, but made no answer. She only took her hand with a gentle, caressing movement.
'Don't!' said Cassy, trying to draw it away; 'you'll get me to loving you; and I never mean to love anything, again!'
'Poor Cassy!' said Emmeline, 'don't feel so! If the Lord give us liberty perhaps he'll give you back your daughter; at any rate, I'll be like a daughter to you. I know I'll never see my poor old mother again! I shall love you, Cassy, whether you love me or not!'
The gentle, childlike spirit conquered. Cassy sat down by her, put her arm around her neck, stroked her soft, brown hair; and Emmeline then wondered at the beauty of her magnificent eyes, now soft with tears.
'O, Em! Said Cassy, 'I've hungered for my children, and thirsted for them, and my eyes fail with longing for them! Here! Here!' she said, striking her breast, 'it's all desolate, all empty! If God would give me back my children, then I could pray.'
'You must trust him, Cassy,' said Emmeline; 'he is our Father!'
'His wrath is upon us,' said Cassy; 'he has turned away in anger.'
No, Cassy! He will be good to us! Let us hope in him,' said Emmeline, – 'I always have had hope'...
The hunt was long, animated, and thorough, but unsuccessful; and, with grave, ironic exultation, Cassy looked down on Legree, as, weary and dispirited, he alighted from his horse...
'Well, Tom!' said Legree, walking up, and seizing him grimly by the collar of his coat, and speaking through his teeth, in a paroxysm of determined rage, 'do you know I've made up my mind to KILL you?'
'It's very likely, Mas'r,' said Tom, calmly.
'I have,' said Legree, with grim, terrible calmness, 'done – just – that – thing, Tom, unless you'll tell what you know about these yer gals!'
 Tom stood silent.
'D' ye hear?' said Legree, stamping, with a roar like that of an incensed lion. 'Speak!'
'I han't got nothing to tell, Mas'r,' said Tom, with a slow, firm deliberate utterance.
'Do you dare to tell me, ye old black christian, ye don't know?' said Legree.
Tom was silent.
'Speak!' thundered Legree, striking him furiously. 'Do you know anything?'
'I know, Mas'r; but I can't tell anything. I can die!'
Legree drew in a long breath; and, suppressing his rage, took Tom by the arm, and, approaching his face almost to his, said, in a terrible voice, 'Hark'e, Tom! --ye think, 'cause I've let you off before, I don't mean what I say; but, this time, I've made up my mind, and counted the cost. You've always stood it out agin me: now, I'll conquer ye or kill ye! – one or t'other. I'll count every drop of blood there is in you, and take 'em, one by one, till ye give up!'
Tom looked up to his master, and answered, 'Mas'r, if you was sick, or in trouble, or dying, and I could save ye, I'd give ye my heart's blood; and, if taking ever drop of blood in this poor old body would save your precious soul, I'd give 'em freely, as the Lord gave his for me. O, Mas;r! Don't bring this great sin on your soul! It will hurt you more than 't will me! Do the worst you can, my troubles'll be over soon; but, if ye don't repent, your won't never end!'
Like a strange snatch of heavenly music, heard in the lull of a tempest, this burst of feeling made a moment's blank pause. Legree stood agast, and looked at Tom; and there was such a silence that the tick of the old clock could be heard, measuring, with silent touch, the last moments of mercy and probation to that hardened heart.
It was but a moment. There was one hesitating pause, – one irresolute, relenting thrill, – and the spirit of evil came back, with sevenfold vehemence and Legree, foaming with rage, smote his victim to the ground...
Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear. What brother-man and brother-Christian suffer, cannot be told us, even in our secret chamber, it so harrows up the soul! And yet, O my country! These things are done under the shadow of thy laws! O, Christ! Thy church sees them, almost in silence! …
'He's most gone, Mas'r,' said Sambo, touched, in spite of himself, by the patience of his victim.
'Pay away,till he gives up! Give it to him! – give it to him!' shouted Legree. 'I'll take every drop of blood he has, unless he confesses!'
Tom opened his eyes, and looked upon his master. 'Ye poor miserable crittur!' he said, 'there an't no more ye can do! I forgive ye, with all my soul! And he fainted entirely away.
'I b'lieve, my soul, he's done for, finally,' Legree, stepping forward, to look at him. 'Yes, he is! Well, his mouth's shut up, at last, – that's one comfort!'

Yes, Legree; but who shall shut up that voice in thy soul? That soul, past repentance, past prayer, past hope, in whom the fire that never shall be quenched is already burning!
Yet Tom was not quite gone. His wondrous words and pious prayers had struck upon the hearts of the imbruted blacks, who had been the instruments of cruelty upon him; and, the instant Legree withdrew, they took him down, and, in their ignorance, sought to call him back to life, – as if that were any favor to him.
'Sartin, we's been doin' a drefful wicked thing! Said Sambo; 'hopes Mas'r'll have to 'count for it, and not we.'
They washed his wounds, – they provided a rude bed, of some refuse cotton, for him to lie down on; and one of them, stealing up to the house, begged a drink of brandy of Legree, pretending that he was tired, and wanted it for himself. He brought it back, and poured it down Tom's throat.
'O, Tom!' Said Quimbo, 'we's been awful wicked to ye!'
'I forgive ye, with all my heart!' said, Tom, faintly.
'O, Tom! Do tell us who is Jesus, anyhow?' said Sambo, – 'Jesus, that's been a standin' by you so, all this night! – Who is he?'
The word roused the failing, fainting spirit. He poured forth a few energetic sentences of that wonderus One, – his life, his death, his everlasting presence, and power to save.
They wept, – both the two savage men.
'Why didn't I never hear this before?' said Sambo; 'but I do believe! – I can't help it! Lord Jesus, have mercy on us!'
'Poor critturs!' said Tom, 'I'd be willing to bar all I have, if it'll only bring ye to Christ! O, Lord! Give me these two more souls, I pray!'
That prayer was answered!”

Uncle Tom's Cabin ends with this declaration:

“A day of grace is yet held out to us. Both North and South have been guilty before God; and the Christian church has a heavy account to answer. Not by combining together, to protect injustice and cruelty, and making a common capital of sin, is this Union to be saved, but by repentance, justice and mercy.”

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leadership of American Clergy

Jedidiah Morse made the following declaration in his work Annals of the American Revolution:

“The prayers and public discourses of the clergy,...who were friends to their country, (and there were few who were not) breathed the spirit of patriotism; and as their piety and integrity had generally secured to them the confidence of the people, they had great influence and success in encouraging them to engage in its defense. In this way, that class of citizens aided the cause of their country; and to their pious exertions, under the Great Arbiter of human affairs, has been justly ascribed no inconsiderable share of the success and victory that crowned the American arms.”

This declaration was made on December 6, 1774 by the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts under the leadership of John Hancock.

“When we contemplate the friendship and assistance our ancestors - - the first settlers of this province - - received from the pious Pastors of the Churches of Christ, ...we cannot but acknowledge the goodness of Heaven in constantly supplying us with preachers of the Gospel whose concern has been the temporal and spiritual happiness of this people; In a day like this, ...we cannot but place great hopes in an Order of Men, who have ever distinguished themselves in their country's cause, and do therefore recommend to the Ministers of the Gospel...that they assist us in avoiding that dreadful slavery with which we are now threatened by advising the people of their several congregations...”

The leadership of the Christian clergy was the primary wellspring which encouraged Americans throughout the various colonies to graciously volunteer aid to Boston during the Port Bill. Alice Baldwin declared:

“Beginning in 1767 and continuing throughout the War, the ministers did all in their power to encourage the non-importation agreements and manufactures. There are many instances in each of the New England colonies of all-day spinning bees held in the rooms and on the lawns of the minister's homes...One good clergyman [Rev. Judah Champion of Litchfield, Conn.] during the war felt so keenly the need of clothes for the soldiers [in the cold northern winter] at Quebec that he excused the women of the town from afternoon service and set them all to spinning on the Sabbath Day...Frequently before the end of the day the minister would address the women and girls on the issues of the time...In this manner the ministers showed knowledge of human nature by arousing competition between the town and town, and between churches in the same town, and even between married and unmarried women, as well as by making the whole affair a great social occasion through having the men come to supper and join in an evening of fun with music and singing of songs written by the 'Sons of Liberty.'

The motivating force behind the organization of colonial militia were the clergymen. The 'minutemen' were formed from the male membership of churches and deacons would often become their drill masters.

Richard Frothingham wrote:

“On the days of drill the citizen soldiers sometimes went from the parade ground to the church where they listened to exhortation and prayer.” 

Frothingham records the admonition what was given to the Minute-men by the Provincial Congress:

“You are placed by Providence in the post of honor, because it is the post of danger;...The eyes not only of North America and the whole British Empire, but of all Europe, are upon you. Let us be, therefore, altogether solicitous that no disorderly behavior, nothing unbecoming our character as Americans, as citizens and Christians, be justly charged to us.”

On April 15th, the Provincial Congress led by John Hancock proclaimed a Day of Fasting and Prayer:

“In circumstances dark as these, it become us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, while every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments; the same time, all confidence must be with-held from the means we use; and without whose blessing that the best human counsels are but foolishness - - and all created power, vanity. It is the happiness of his Church that, when the powers of earth and hell combine against it, and those who should be nursing fathers become its persecutors - - then the Throne of Grace is of easiest access - - and its appeal thither is graciously invited by the Father of Mercies, who has assured it that when his children ask bread he will not five them stone.”

Deacon John Parker under the auspices of Reverend Jonas Clarke of a church in Lexington, Massachusetts led the most historic band of minutemen. Deacon Parker had been a captain during the French and Indian War. The clergymen of Lexington had become the principal leaders in town meetings discussing liberty and government since the Stamp Act of 1765. Jonas Clark had become the author of almost every crucial state paper representing the expression of sentiment in the town. The private home of Reverend Jonas Clarke frequently became a meeting place where men such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams would meet. On the evening of April 18th 1775, Samuel Adams and John Hancock were visiting Reverend Clarke. They were not aware that British troops would march to Lexington to seize and destroy military supplies and capture the two patriots. A house guest of Reverend Clarke asked if the men of Lexington would fight if necessary. Reverend Clarke had preached to his congregation for several years concerning the duty of self-defense and God given inalienable rights.

He confidentially responded by declaring: “I have trained them for this very hour; they would fight, and if need be, die, too, under the shadow of the house of God!” The men of Lexington were thoroughly knowledgeable and well prepared in the Scriptures concerning the issues of the day. The first shots of the American War for Independence occurred on the lawn of Reverend Clarke's church.

The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams written by William Wells' records the story of the battle that occurred in Lexington and Paul Revere's role in the historic event.

“If the British went out by water, he would display two lanterns in the North Church Steeple, and if by land, one, as a signal that the news might be conveyed to Lexington, should the communication with the peninsular be cut off. Having instructed a friend to that effect, he was rowed across the Charles River. It was the young flood, the ship was winding, and the moon rising. Landing in Charlestown, Revere found that his signal had been understood, and rode toward Lexington.” 
“After several adventures on the way, in which he narrowly escaped capture, he reached the house of Mr. Clark about midnight, and gave the alarm. He was just in time to elude the vigilance of the British in Boston; for Earl Percy, having accidentally ascertained that the secret was out, gave orders to allow no person to leave the town. Revere found the family at rest, and a guard of eight men stationed at the house, for the protection of Adams and Hancock. He rode up, and requested admittance, but the Sergeant replied that the family before retiring had desired that they not be disturbed by any noise about the house. 'Noise!' replied Revere, 'you'll have noise enough before long. The Regulars are coming out.' He was then admitted.
“About one o'clock on the morning of the 19th, the militia were mustered on the green near the meeting-house, and messengers sent for additional information. By two o'clock the countrymen numbered one hundred and thirty. The guns were loaded with powder and ball in the presence of Adams, Hancock, and Clark. One of the messengers returning with the report that no troops could be seen, and the weather being chilly, the men were dismissed with orders to appear again at the beat of the drum...”
“Colonel Smith had marched his column but a few miles, when the ringing of bells and firing of guns satisfied him that the country was alarmed. He immediately detached six companies of light infantry, under the command of Major Pitcairn, with orders to press forward, and secure the two bridges at Concord, while he sent back for reinforcements. By capturing those whom he met upon the road, Pitcairn prevented the news of his approach from going before him, until he came with in a mile and a half of Lexington meeting-house, when a horseman, who had succeeding in eluding the troops, galloped into the village. Then, about seventy townspeople assembled as the drums beat, and at the sound of the British halted to load. The advance guard and grenadiers then hurried forward at double quick, and when within five or six rods of the Provincials, Pitcairn shouted, 'Disperse, ye villains! Ye rebels, disperse! Lay down your arms! Why don't you lay down your arms and disperse?' Most of the minute-men, undecided whether to fire or retreat, stood motionless, having been ordered by their commander not to fire first. Some were joining the ranks, others leaving them, when Pitcairn in a loud voice gave the word to fire, at the same time discharging his pistol. The order was obeyed at first by a few guns, which did no execution, and immediately after by a deadly discharge from the whole British force. A few of the militia, no longer hesitating, returned fire, but without serious effect. Parker, seeing the utter disparity of forces, ordered his men to disperse. The Regulars continued their fire while any of the militia remained in sight, killing eight and wounding ten. The village green, where this event took place, had been aptly termed by the historian, 'a field of murder. Not of battle.'”
“The firing as soon over, and the royal troops remained masters of the field; but the sacrifice of that little band revolutionized the world. It was the first scene in the drama which was to carry with it the destinies of mankind.”
“Adams and Hancock, as the soldiers made their appearance, were persuaded to retire to the adjacent village of Woburn, their safety being regarded as of utmost importance. Passing through the fields, while the sunlight glistened in the dew of the fresh spring morning, Adams felt his soul swell with uncontrollable joy as he contemplated the mighty future, and with prophetic utterance of his country's dawning independence, he exclaimed, 'Of what a glorious morning is this!...”

The Reverend Jonas Clark preached:
 “From this day will be dated the liberty of the world!”

Nearly a month earlier, the Governor of Connecticut called upon the colony to observe a:

“Day of public Fasting and Prayer...that God would graciously pour our his Holy Spirit on us, to bring us to a thorough repentance and effectual reformation; ...That he would restore, preserve and secure the liberties of this, and all the other American Colonies, and make this land a mountain of Holiness and habitation of Righteousness forever. - (and) That God would preserve and confirm the Union of the Colonies in the pursuit and practice of that Religion and virtue which will honour Him...”

The day selected by Governor Jonathan Trumbell for a “Day of public Fasting and Prayer” was “Wednesday, the nineteenth Day of April” 1775.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Webster Bible

Noah Webster's primer, The Elementary Spelling Book, was affectionately called “The Blue-backed Speller.” There were one hundred million copies of “The Blue-backed Speller” sold by the end of the 1800s. Webster actually gave America a language which they could call their own. He accomplished this objective by standardizing American English. Noah Webster was the premier American lexicographer.

Diane Ackerman wrote the article, “He Put Words in Our Mouths” found in the January 18, 1987 issue of Parade Magazine. In her article, She acknowledged: 

[The Primer] “...not only regularized spelling, grammar, and usage but also gave American children a shared ethic and heritage. Through it, Webster became the schoolmaster to a nation.”

In the United States of America, only the Bible rivaled the Blue-backed Speller in popularity. But Noah Webster considered the enhancement and readability of the Holy Bible to be the zenith of his work. He considered this endeavor to be “the most important enterprise” of his life. He undertook the project with vigor and enthusiasm which resulted in a new edition of the Holy Bible. “The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments, in the common version. With amendments of the language” was published in 1833.

The publisher's preface to the 1987 reprint of "The Webster Bible" declares that it:

"[It] is a precise tailoring of the majestic King James Version especially for American readers. With reverent restraint, Webster produced an edition in which he preserved the integrity of the KJV but reshaped some phrases and updated some vocabulary – making it possible for Americans, young and old, to read God's Word comfortably and to understand its message clearly as never before.”

Noah Webster was a master of 26 languages which included Hebrew and Greek. He did not re-translate the King James Version of the Bible but clarified it and corrected its English. Webster extolled the KJV for its “many passages uniting sublimity with beautiful simplicity.” He refused to alter the general style of the KJV. The KJV – the “Common Version” was an old translation during Webster's lifetime. From the preface of his Bible one is instructed, “ the lapse of two or three hundred centuries, changes have taken place, which, in particular passages, impair the beauty; and others, obscure the sense, of the original languages.”

Furthermore, Webster stated a profound insight which has continued to prompt every major project to translate the Bible till today.

“Whenever words are understood in a sense different from that which they had when introduced, and different from that of the original languages, they do not present to the reader the Word of God.”

Very few people recognize Noah Webster's legacy which he bequeathed to the fledgling nation of America. But some historians have taken notice and are aware of the inheritance we received from him.

“Although Webster's last labors were directed toward the revision of his Spelling Book and Dictionary, The Holy Bible...with Amendments to the Language was the crowning work of his career, because it brought to completion his learned philosophical studies and because it rounded out fully his cherished plan for giving to the United States a body of literature from which correct language could be derived. Just as his own enthusiasm had effected improvements in education from the elementary school to the college, so his books embodied useful innovations from the humblest primer to the majestic Bible.”
Harry R. Warfel, Noah Webster: Schoolmaster to America (New York, 1966)

Noah Webster wrote textbooks on history, economics, geography, politics, linguistics, and medicine. He became the editor of two newspapers and was the impetus to create American copyright laws. Webster was the founder of Amherst College and practiced law. 

Yet, “ all his alterations [of the Bible] Webster proceeded with conservative caution for he approached the Bible with deep reverence and with the assurance of its inspired character.” declared biographer Harry R.Warfel. 

We pay tribute to Webster by addressing him as the “Schoolmaster to a nation” but Webster was also a lay preacher who “...taught patriotic nationalism supported by a fundamental, humanitarian Christian faith.” (Warfel).

He was prompted to improve the English text because he held a high view of Scripture.

“The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best corrector of all that is evil, in human society; and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide to future felicity. With this estimate of its value, I have attempted to render the English version more useful, by correcting a few obvious errors, and removing some obscurities...”

Webster, in the preface of his Bible, described the changes he made and why he made them. The only corrections which he made replaced obsolete terms with terms which were currently in use. Furthermore, he removed mistakes in grammar and corrected major errors of translation.

Here are examples of the changes Webster made:

He exchanged hinder for let; button for tache; advanced for stricken in years; interest for usury; insane for mad; and cow for kine.

“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” became “...strain out a gnat... .” 
Holy Spirit was inserted for Holy Ghost.

These improvements and other advances which Webster introduced were adopted and absorbed by the men who formulated the Revised Standard Version (1881 – 1885).

“It is not without reason that Webster's work...helped to make the success of the later work possible.” (Warfel). 

Webster was the first one to change “For I know nothing by myself” (I Cor. 4:4) to the more accurate “For I know nothing against myself” (cf. This verse is the American Standard Version and Revised Standard Version.)

Noah Webster was responsible for the standardized usage of shall and will, should, and would. 

“In this part of the work, the 'New England Grammarian' did yeoman service and ...the Revised Versions took over nearly every one of his changes, although no credit for his previous labors was given” (Warfel)

Among Webster's minor rectifications was his insertion of words or phrases replacing archaic and unnecessary coarse expressions. He did this from having a sensitivity to young readers and for the public reading of the Scriptures.

Embarrassed or amused children might giggle nervously as a passage from I Kings 14:10 was read during family devotions or at the dinner table. An embarrassed parent might respond my lecturing his children to have due respect for God's Word.

Webster made the judgment call to replace the earthy phrase with the males. This decision has been honored and adopted by most translators of subsequent revisions of the Holy Bible.

Noah Webster was the first person to clarify the King James Version for a popular nonsectarian audience. He faced widespread resistance by some persons who firmly believed that any change to the King James Version was repugnant. Other persons were suspicious of a revision committee consisting of one man. Although he received some scholarly endorsements widespread distribution of his Bible did not occur.

It was Noah Webster's persistence and courage which opened minds to consider alterations of the KJV for the purpose of clarification which Webster sought.

Eventually, a major revision of the KJV would begin in England resulting in the publishing of the Revised Version of 1881 – 1885. It was followed by the publishing of the American Standard Version in 1901. The modest earlier publicity of Webster's Bible was eclipsed by the large-scale efforts of contemporary publishers.

"The Webster Bible" is a gift to the American people from a great American hero. Rosalie J. Slater points out that Noah Webster recognized the importance of faith in Jesus Christ.

“Despite his active participation in the educational, political, and scientific life of the nation, his own family life exemplified what love and discipline centered in Christ could accomplish in forming the character of the next generation.”

[From the preface to a facsimile edition of Noah Webster's first edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1980)]

Gleaned from the Publisher's Preface to The Webster Bible

Noah Webster - "Schoolmaster of the Nation"

Noah Webster (1758-1843) is the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” It has been said that 'no single American has contributed so much to American education as Noah Webster...”

Webster was an educator, statesman, lexicographer and the “Schoolmaster of the Nation.”

He served his country as a soldier in the Continental Army during the American War for Independence. Webster was elected and served nine terms in the Connecticut General Assembly. He served in the Legislature of Massachusetts for three terms. While serving in the legislature of Massachusetts, Webster sought to have funds appropriated for education. Furthermore, Webster also served as a judge.

Webster believed that government had a responsibility to:

“Discipline our youth in early life in sound maxims of moral, political, and religious duties.”

Throughout the 19th Century, Webster was known by more Americans than anyone except George Washington. This was primarily due to his infamous “Blue-backed speller” and his “American Dictionary of the English Language.” Webster published self teaching textbooks through which he sought to make America intellectually independent from Great Britain and Europe. He chose to produce educational materials which would impart the principles which gave birth to the liberties we enjoy in America. Noah Webster realized that the quality of education in America would have a profound effect upon the success of our Republican system of government. He knew that the responsibility to educate ones children rests upon the parents and the individual. He firmly believed the foundation upon which sound education is established is found in the Bible.

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed.. 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.”

Noah Webster wrote his infamous “Blue-backed Speller” in 1783. The title of his Primer is actually “The Elementary Spelling Book” which is affectionately spoken of as the “Blue-backed Speller.” His American Spelling Book was first written in 1780 when he taught in New York.

This single book did more for American education than any other single book except the Bible. The Speller was written to instill in the minds of the reader, “the first rudiments of the language and some just ideas of religion, morals, and domestic economy.” A publishing record was set when a million copies of the Blue-backed Speller were purchased in a year for one hundred years. Americans throughout the country learned the letters of the alphabet, morality, and patriotism from his dictionary, spellers, catechisms, and history books.

The fundamental premise of the Speller is that “God's word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.” His Speller contained a “Moral Catechism” which contained rules from Scripture upon which moral conduct was founded. The Blue-backed Speller included a catechism, a paraphrased account of creation from Genesis, and a considerably large section from the Sermon on the Mount. Included in the Speller are selections such as “He who came to save us, will wash us from all sin; I will be glad in his name.”

Webster completed his masterpiece An American Dictionary of the English Language – with pronouncing vocabularies of Scripture, classical and geographical names” after twenty-six years of research and work. He mastered twenty-eight languages by the time he completed and published his dictionary in 1828. The dictionary contained 70,000 entries and 20,000 new definitions. Webster created an English vocabulary that had standardized spelling for the first time in English speaking history.

A selection from the Preface of his magnificent work proclaims:

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...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. 
To that great and benevolent Being, who, during the preparation of this work, has sustained a feeble constitution amidst obstacles and toils, disappointments, infirmities and depression; who has borne me and my manuscripts in safety across the Atlantic, and given me strength and resolution to bring the work to a close, I would present the tribute of my most grateful acknowledgments. 
And if the talent which He entrusted to my care, has not been put in the most profitable use in his service, I hope it has not been “kept laid up in a napkin” and that any misapplication of it may be graciously forgiven.”
New Haven
Noah Webster 

 The monumental work reflects the Christian character of a humble man who diligently worked to create a scholarly work for the benefit of American citizens.

He generously utilized scriptural references and defined words utilizing scripture. His dictionary contained the greatest number of definitions based upon the Bible than any other secular volume. His 1828 version of the American Dictionary contained a luxuriant measure of the Holy Scriptures. The context of a word to be used was clarified by verses from the Old and New Testament.

An example of this clarification is in the definition of the word “faith.”

Being justified by faith. Rom. v.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. v.
With the heart man believeth to righteousness. Rom. x.
Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Rom.
Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Rom. xiv.
Children in whom is no faith. Deut. xxxii.

The definition of the word “property” is given:

"The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership. In the beginning of the world, the Creator gave to man dominion over the earth, over the fish of the sea and the fouls of the air, and over every living thing. This is the foundation of man's property in the earth and all its productions...The labor of inventing, making or producing any thing constitutes one of the highest titles to property. It is of the greatest blessings of civil society that the property of the citizen is well secured.”

Providence is defined as:

"The care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures...Some persons admit a general providence, but deny a particular providence, not considering that a general providence consists of particulars. A belief in divine providence is a source of great consolation to good men. By divine providence is understood by God himself."

Unfortunately, thousands of Scriptures have been removed from secularized contemporary dictionaries that bear his name but reflect humanistic thought.

Webster created the “American Dictionary of the English Language, a “Grammar,” his “Blue-backed Speller,” and The Webster Bible. He custom tailored the King James Bible for the American reader.

In 1833, Webster translated the Common Version of the Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testament, with Amendments of the Language. Webster made the following declaration in the preface to his Bible:

The Bible is the Chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best corrector of all that is evil, in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide to future felicity...It is extremely important to our nation, in a political as well as religious view, that all possible authority and influence should be given to the scriptures, for these furnish the best principles of civil liberty, and the most effectual support of republican government. 
The principles of genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations, are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man, therefore, who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that Book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer.
There are two powers only, sufficient to control men and secure the rights of individuals and a peaceable administration, these are the combined force of religion and law, and the force or fear of the bayonet.
Noah Webster
New Haven, 1833 

Furthermore, he continued to write on several topics: religion, politics, education, music, economics, commercial interests, medical and social commentary, and science. Noah Webster was the first American to promote a Constitutional Convention and personally presented a document to George Washington supporting the proposition which he composed. Through his efforts, copyright legislation was included in the Constitution of the United States. He was largely responsible for Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution concerning copyrights.

He became the founder of a college, served in state government, published a magazine and a newspaper.

A dedication to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale College appears on the second page of Webster's American Spelling Book – Containing an easy Standard of Pronunciation. The Grammatical Institute of the English Language contained the American Spelling Book which was published in 1790.

The dedication to President Stiles declared:

“This first part of a Grammatical Institute of the English Language is, with permission, most humbly inscribed, as a testimony of my veneration, for the superior talents, piety and patriotism, which enable him to preside over that seat of literature, with distinguished reputation, which render him an ornament to the Christian Profession, and give him an eminent rank among the illustrious characters that adorn the revolution.”

Webster writes in the preface to his dictionary published in 1848:

"If the language can be improved in regularity, so as to be more easily acquired by our own citizens and by foreigners, and thus be rendered a more useful instrument for the propagation of science, arts, civilization and Christianity...”'
“And if the talent which (God) entrusted to my care, has not been put to the most profitable use in his service, I hope it has not been 'kept laid in a napkin,' and that any misapplication of it may be graciously forgiven.”

Concerning education, Webster declared:

“Education is useless without the Bible.”
“The Bible was America's basic text book in all fields.”
“God's Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”

In 1823, Webster wrote these words in his textbook:

“It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. 
But if we had no divine instruction on the subject, our own interest would demand of us a strict observance of the principle of these injunctions. And it is to the neglect of this rule of conduct in our citizens, that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breeches of trust, peculations and embezzlement of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country; which disgrace a republican government; and which will tend to reconcile men to monarchs in other countries and even our own.”

In 1832, the History of the United States was authored and published by Noah Webster.

"The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles in the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.
The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles , which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence' which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.
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.
When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty;
If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes;
Corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.
If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”

In 1832, Noah Webster wrote in Advice to the Young:

“The 'Advice to the Young,' ...will be useful in enlightening the minds of youth in religious and moral principles, and restrain some of the common vices of our country...To exterminate our popular vices is a work of far more importance to the character and happiness of our citizens than any other improvements in our system of education.”

Throughout his life, Webster affirmed this following declarations:

“For this reason society requires that the education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. Education, in a great measure, forms the moral characters of men, and morals are the basis of government.”
“Education should therefore be the first care of a legislature; not merely the institution of schools, but the furnishing of them with the best men for teachers. A good system of education should be the first article in the code of political regulations; for it is much easier to introduce and establish an effectual system for preserving morals, than to correct by penal statutes the ill effects of a bad system.”
“The goodness of a heart is of infinitely more consequence to society than an elegance of manners; nor will any superficial accomplishments repair the want of principle in the mind. It is always better to be vulgarly right than politely wrong.”
“The education of youth [is] an employment of more consequence than making laws and preaching the gospel, because it lays the foundation on which both law and gospel rest for success.”
“Republican government loses half of its value, where the moral and social duties are...negligently practiced. To exterminate our popular vices is a work of far more importance to the character and happiness of our citizens, than any other improvements in our system of education.”
“By taking revenge, a man is even with his enemy, but by passing it over, he is superior.”

Webster was a loving father to his seven children. Before his death in 1843, Noah Webster made this public profession of faith:

“I know whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.”

Gleaned from "America's Providential History" by Mark A. Beliles & Steven K. McDowell.
Also: "America's God and Country - Encyclopedia of Quotations" by William J. Federer