Engaging God's World: A Christain Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living

Engaging God's World: A Christain Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living

Engaging God's World: A Christain Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living

Engaging God's World: A Christain Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living

Excerpt

In a pamphlet of 1643, the founders of Harvard College wrote their mission statement for the new school, capping it with some straight talk about the purpose of higher education. the founders said this: “Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed, to consider well [that] the maine end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, Jn. 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning.”

Harvard began life in union with Jesus Christ. Its founders were Puritans, which is to say that they were English-speaking Calvinists, and they established Harvard only a few years after they had gotten off the boat at Massachusetts Bay. They could hardly wait to build a college. As a matter of fact, they and their descendants could hardly wait to build a lot of colleges. Harvard was just the beginning. According to one historian of New England, the United States had about two hundred colleges by the time of the Civil War in the 1860s, and twothirds of them were either founded or controlled by the theological heirs of John Calvin.

1. “New Englands First Fruits,” quoted in Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson, The Puritans (New York: American Book, 1938), 702.

2. E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia (Boston: Beacon, 1979), 248.

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