It is now several months since I promised to give you my reasons for preferring the Bible as a schoolbook to all other compositions. Before I state my arguments, I shall assume the five following propositions:
1. That Christianity is the only true and perfect religion; and that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts they will be wise and happy.
2. That a better knowledge of this religion is to be acquired by reading the Bible than in any other way.
3. That the Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.
4. That knowledge is most durable, and religious instruction most useful, when imparted in early life.
5. That the Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life.
–Benjamin Rush, late 1700’s
From a personal letter, later published as a tract, “The Bible in Schools”
by the American Tract Society, circa 1830
Benjamin Rush was known as one of America’s three most influential men, along with Washington and Franklin. He was a physician and scientist, and also helped to found the nation’s first abolition society. In 1776, at 30 years of age, he was one of the youngest to sign the Declaration of Independence. It is because of patriots and statesmen as he that American liberty stood the test of time.
“… Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).