JohnLockeQuotesCuriousityTRAINING AND EDUCATING CHILDREN; Excerpt from The Works of John Locke by John Locke; Fifth Edition published 1751

[NOTE: I would encourage every parent to get out of doors with their children while they are growing, get away from the city, out in the mountains, woods, the seaside, the lake, river, prairie. Get them out among the other creatures, God’s creation; the Handmaiden of the Lord (i.e. Nature) Let their curiosity and yours never die, for there are always hidden treasures that God only reveals to eyes of those who are diligent in their search.]

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115. Children should be trained to be courageous. Keep children from frights of all kinds when they are young. . . . By gentle degrees accustom them to things they are too much afraid of. . . . Inuring children gently to suffer some degrees of pain without shrinking is a way to gain firmness to their minds.]

116. Cruelty.—One thing I have frequently observed in children, that when they have got possession of any poor creature, they are apt to use it ill; they often torment and treat very roughly young birds, butterflies, and such other poor animals which fall into their hands, and that with a seeming kind of pleasure. This, I think, should be watched in them; and if they incline to any such cruelty, they should be taught the contrary usage; for the custom of tormenting and killing of beasts will, by degrees, harden their minds even towards men; and they who delight in the suffering and destruction of inferior creatures, will not be apt to be very compassionate or benign to those of their own kind. Our practice takes notice of this, in the exclusion of butchers from juries of life and death. Children should from the beginning be bred up in an abhorrence of killing or tormenting any living creature, and be taught not to spoil or destroy anything, unless it be for the preservation or advantage of some other that is nobler. And truly, if the preservation of all mankind, as much as in him lies, were every one’s persuasion, as indeed it is every one’s duty, and the true principle to regulate our religion, politics, and morality by, the world would be much quieter and better natured than it is. But to return to our present business; I cannot but commend both the kindness and prudence of a mother I knew, who was want always to indulge her daughters, when any of them desired dogs, squirrels, birds, or any such things, as young girls use[i.e., are accustomed] to be delighted with: but then, when they had them, they must be sure to keep them well, and look diligently after them, that they wanted nothing, or were not ill used; for, if they were negligent in their care of them, it was counted a great fault, which often forfeited their possession; or at least they failed not to be rebuked for it, whereby they were early taught diligence and good-nature. And, indeed, I think people should be accustomed from their cradles to be tender to all sensible creatures, and to spoil or waste nothing at all. This delight they take in doing of mischief, whereby I mean spoiling of anything to no urpose, but more especially the pleasure they take to put any thing in pain that is capable of it, I cannot persuade myself to be any other than a foreign and introduced disposition, a habit borrowed from custom and conversation. People teach children to strike, and laugh when they hurt, or see harm come to others; and they have the examples of most about them to confirm them in it. All the entertainments of talk and history is of nothing almost but fighting and killing; and the honour and renown that is bestowed on conquerors (who for the most part are but the great butchers of mankind), farther mislead growing youths, who by this means come to think slaughter the laudable business of mankind, and the most heroic of virtues. This custom plants unnatural appetites and reconciles us to that which it has laid in the way to honour. Thus, by fashion and opinion, that comes to be a pleasure, which in itself neither is, nor can be any. This ought carefully to be watched, and early remedied, so as to settle and cherish the contrary and more natural temper of benignity and compassion in the room of it; but still by the same gentle methods, which are to be applied to the other two faults before mentioned. But pray remember that the mischiefs or harms that come by play, inadvertency, or ignorance, and were not known to be harms, or designed for mischief’s sake, though they may perhaps be sometimes of considerable damage, yet are not at all, or but very gently, to be taken notice of. For this, I think, I cannot too often inculcate, that whatever miscarriage a child is guilty of, and whatever be the consequence of it, the thing to be regarded in taking notice of it, is only what root it springs from, and what habit it is like to establish; and to that the correction ought to be directed, and the child not to suffer any punishment for any harm which may have come by his play or inadvertency. The faults to be amended lie in the mind; and if they are such as either age will cure, or no ill habits will follow from, the present action, whatever displeasing circumstances it may have, is to be passed by without any animadversion.

[117. Children must treat [others] with civility. Children should not be suffered to lose the consideration of human nature in the shufflings of outward conditions.]

118. Curiosity.—Curiosity in children is but an appetite after knowledge, and therefore ought to be encouraged in them, not only as a good sign, but as the great instrument nature has provided to remove that ignorance they were born with, and which, without this busy inquisitiveness, will make them dull and useless creatures. The ways to encourage it, and keep it active and vigorous, are, I suppose, these following:

1. Not to check or discountenance any inquiries he shall make, nor suffer them to be laughed at; but to answer all his questions, and explain the matters he desires to know, so as to make them as much intelligible to him as suits the capacity of his age and knowledge. But confound not his understanding with explications or notions that are above it, or with the variety or number of things that are not to his present purpose. Mark what ’tis his mind aims at in the question, and not what words he expresses it in: and, when you have informed and satisfied him in that, you shall see how his thoughts will proceed on to other things, and how by fit answers to his inquiries he may be led on farther than perhaps you could imagine. For knowledge to the understanding is acceptable as light to the eyes: [“For knowledge is grateful to the understanding as light to the eyes “—in later editions.] and children are pleased and delighted with it exceedingly, especially if they see that their inquiries are regarded, and that their desire of knowing is encouraged and commended. And I doubt not, but one great reason why many children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports, and trifle away all their time in trifling, is, because they have found their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected. But had they been treated with more kindness and respect, and their questions answered, as they should, to their satisfaction, I doubt not but they would have taken more pleasure in learning, and improving their knowledge, wherein there would be still newness and variety, which is what they are delighted with, than in returning over and over to the same play and playthings.

119. 2. To this serious answering their questions, and informing their understandings in what they desire, as if it were a matter that needed it, should be added some peculiar ways of commendation. Let others, whom they esteem, be told before their faces of the knowledge they have in such and such things; and since we are all, even from our cradles, vain and proud creatures, let their vanity be flattered with things that will do them good,1 and let their pride set them on work on something which may turn to their advantage. Upon this ground you shall find, that there cannot be a greater spur to the attaining what you would have the eldest learn and know himself, than to set him upon teaching it his younger brothers and sisters.

120. 3. As children’s inquiries are not to be slighted, so also great care is to be taken that they never receive deceitful and eluding answers. They easily perceive when they are slighted or deceived, and quickly learn the trick of neglect, dissimulation and falsehood, which they observe others to make use of. We are not to entrench upon truth in any conversation, but least of all with children; since, if we play false with them, we not only deceive their expectation, and hinder their knowledge, but corrupt their innocence, and teach them the worst of vices. They are travellers newly arrived in a strange country, of which they know nothing: we should therefore make conscience not to mislead them. And though their questions seem sometimes not very material, yet they should be seriously answered: for however they may appear to us (to whom they are long since known) inquiries not worth the making, they are of moment to those who are wholly ignorant. Children are strangers to all we are acquainted with; and all the things they meet with, are at first unknown to them, as they once were to us: and happy are they who meet with civil people, that will comply with their ignorance, and help them to get out of it. If you or I now should be set down in Japan, with all our prudence and knowledge about us, a conceit whereof makes us perhaps so apt to slight the thoughts and inquiries of children; should we, I say, be set down in Japan, we should, no doubt (if we would inform ourselves of what is there to be known), ask a thousand questions, which, to a supercilious or inconsiderate Japaner[Japanese], would seem very idle and impertinent; and yet to us would be natural; and we should be glad to find a man so kind and humane as to answer them and instruct our ignorance. When any new thing comes in their way, children usually ask the common question of a stranger, What is it? whereby they ordinarily mean nothing but the name; and therefore to tell them how it is called, is usually the proper answer to that demand. The next question usually is, What is it for? And to this it should be answered truly and directly: the use of the thing should be told, and the way explained, how it serves to such a purpose, as far as their capacities can comprehend it; and so of any other circumstances they shall ask about it; not turning them going till you have given them all the satisfaction they are capable of, and so leading them by your answers into farther questions. And perhaps, to a grown man, such conversation will not be altogether so idle and insignificant as we are apt to imagine. The native and untaught suggestions of inquisitive children do often offer things that may set a considering man’s thoughts on work. And I think there is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child, than the discourses of men, who talk in a road. Usually asked at a later stage in the child’s development, according to the notions they have borrowed, and the prejudices of their education.

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THE BEACON FIRES OF LIBERTY by Hon. George Lear July 4, 1876

George Lear 1818-1884The Ship of Liberty on which we embarked 1776!

An Oration By Hon. George Lear (1818-1884), Delivered At Doylestown, Pa., July 4th, 1876.

Ladies And Gentlemen: When the merchant turns his attention to foreign commerce, he designs a craft for ocean navigation, and addresses himself to the task of procuring sound materials and the most approved plans of naval architecture. The skeleton of a ship is erected on the stocks, and its ribs covered with oak or iron, well secured with bolts, having neither flaw nor blemish. The hull is finished with all the qualities of strength and symmetry, and, upon an appointed day, in the presence of invited guests, with a virgin stationed on the bow with a bottle containing something similar “to the nectar which Jupiter sips,” the hawsers are cast loose, the blocks and wedges are removed, and as the ponderous craft glides down the inclined plane, the bottle is broken as the name is pronounced in baptismal solemnity, and, with a rush and a plunge, she enters the water, and floats high upon its surface, uncontrolled and uncontrollable except by extrinsic agencies.

But being in its proper element, the next care is to fit it for navigation by the addition of masts and spars, booms and yards, ropes and sails, until the unmanageable hulk becomes a full rigged ship, with her sails bent and her pennons flying, and “she walks the water like a thing of life.” Friends are again invited, viands are prepared, and the trial excursion takes place. She sails gaily down the bay to the strains of inspiring music, the sails swell with the freshening breeze, and the pennons wave graceful in the wind as she approaches the waters of the broad ocean. Fearlessly she essays the navigation of the billowy deep; and for the first time she is “afloat on the fierce rolling tide.” she is pronounced staunch and sea-worthy, and returns to ship her first cargo, and enter upon the practical business for which she was designed and constructed.

One hundred years ago a band of patriots known by the name of the Continental Congress, unskilled and inexperienced in State craft, with fearless and almost reckless disregard of consequences, launched their bark upon the unknown and turbulent sea of revolution. Not lured like Jason by the hope of the recovery of the Golden Fleece, or like the merchant by the prospect of wealth—not investing their private fortunes only in the prospect of private gain or personal ambition—but in the cause of human freedom and the rights of man they “mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” It was not the mere question of the sacrifice of a fortune, or, in the event of success, untold wealth. It was the launch of the ship of State upon an unknown sea, with fortunes, lives and honor aboard, the venture being the establishment of a nation based on the principle of human equality; or, in the event of a failure, the loss of fortune, life and honor. Without any prospect of personal gain under any circumstances, the stake was a nation to freedom or halters to the projectors.

After years of untold sacrifices and privations, a nation was organized, and human freedom as the basis of a government was established. But the mere military success of the Revolution was not the end. Martial courage, heroic endurance and unselfish patriotism could trample kingly crowns in the dust, and tear the purple robes from the shoulders of royalty, but the destinies of a nation of people, covering almost a continent, were left in their hands, with no one born to govern, and with no experience in any one in the art of government.

The ship of State had made a successful trial trip, and had weathered the gale of military contention and strife; but her crew was composed of men accustomed to obey and not to rule. The nations of the earth pronounced her staunch and seaworthy, and recognized her as a co-ordinate existence. But the question constantly recurred, can she sustain herself in midocean in the long voyage of national existence, with an untrained and undisciplined crew, in the calms of financial depression, and among the rocks and shoals of mutiny and internal dissension? We are here to-day, as a portion of the passengers who sailed on that good craft, to answer that question. We have withstood the shock of battle, the ocean’s storm, the tropic’s calm, “the broadside’s reeling rack,” the crew’s rebellion, and the hidden dangers of the deep, and with all hands on deck and the flag flying at the fore, we dance over the waves and ride into the harbor at the end of a voyage of a hundred years, with the ease and grace of excursionists on a summer sea.

With all our opening disadvantages, with fortunes broken and general financial prostration, the nation entered upon a career of self-government, then a doubtful experiment, and this is the only republic in the history of the world which has lived to celebrate the centenary of its birth. The problem of government by the people was looked upon as the fond dream of visionaries and theorists designed to captivate the ear of the multitude by the resounding periods of the rhetorician, and shed a glamour over the resonant numbers of the poet’s songs of liberty; but practically an impossible hope not to be realized in human society.

When the united colonies struck their blow for independence and in the cause of human freedom, the population of the whole country was not equal to that of Pennsylvania to-day. And in useful productions and the multifarious industries which render a people self-sustaining, they were far behind the present resources of this great State. They were not only dependent politically upon the mother country, and governed by laws in the enactment of which they had no voice, but they were commercially dependent . They depended on other countries for many of the necessaries of life. They had a vast territory and a soil of great natural fertility, but its products had to be shipped to other countries to be put into the forms and fabrics for the use of the people. Under such circumstances, the declaration of independence was an act like that of a commander landing his army on a hostile coast, and burning his ships to cut off the possibility of retreat . It was a bold act, but it was not done recklessly, under a temporary excitement, by men who were ambitious to perform a dramatic act of evanescent courage before the eyes of the world, but by men who were brave, prudent, patriotic and wise.

There is a system of compensation which runs through all human transactions, and it often happens that what seems an element of weakness is a bulwark of strength. The comparative poverty and helpless dependence of the colonies was a bond of union and strength when the connection with Great Britain was once severed. Having to rely upon themselves, they became more firmly knitted together, and this self-dependence increased their trust and confidence in each other. While their privations were greater, their patriotism burned the brighter, and they vied with each other in acts of unselfish heroism, and in the darkest hours of the protracted struggle, the gloom was illuminated by deeds of fortitude, endurance and valor which filled the land with their glory, and challenged the admiration of the world.

But this is not a time nor a place for a history of that war, or a recapitulation of its conspicuous events. The pledge of the colonists to each other and to mankind was faithfully redeemed. The scattered colonies became the nucleus of a great nation. But war leaves its scars as well upon the body politic as upon the warrior. The new government was bankrupt. The currency of the country was worthless. The new system of government was to be organized by men who were without experience in the art of government, with large debts and an empty treasury. Here again, more conspicuously than in the war, the poverty of the colonists was an element of strength, and the nursery of patriotism. With no money in the treasury and few resources to raise revenue to pay their debts and carry on the public business, they had their compensation in the fact that there was nothing to steal, and consequently the new government did not beget a race of thieves. Men who were conspicuous for the purity of their lives, their sterling integrity and patriotism and their exalted abilities were sought for and placed in the highest positions of political trust. In those days, it was the belief of the people that the true way to get money was to earn it; that the acquisition of wealth was a slow and toilsome process; and that the evidence of it was the possession and ownership of substantial property, or the glittering cash, and not a man’s ability to place on the market and keep afloat the largest amount of commercial paper.

With these homely but sound notions of political and personal economy, the people addressed themselves to the task of repairing their fortunes and building up the industries of the country on a firm and substantial bases. Economy in the household and in the government was the rule, and no luxuries were indulged in until the money was earned to pay for them. The habits of the people under a government of and by the people stamped their impress upon the administration of public affairs. Honesty, economy, and public and private virtue were essential elements of respectability, and the general rule of action in public and private life; and profligacy the exception. Cultivating such principles, with a boundless territory, of teeming soil and a free government, we could not fail to be a prosperous and a happy people.

“There is no poverty where Freedom is—
The wealth of nature is affluence to us all,”

Having started our ship of State under these auspices, we have tided over the first century of our national existence. On this glad day of our hundredth anniversary, while celebrating the most important event in the history of human governments which has ever shed its influence on surrounding nations, and lighted up the dark places of the world, let us like true sailors take our reckoning, and improve the occasion of our rejoicing in this year of jubilee, by ascertaining whether our good ship is on her true course, and to so trim her sails, repair her hull, lay her fairly before the wind, and replenish her stores, that she may live through the calms of financial and business depressions, weather the gales of internal strife, avoid the rocks and shoals of foreign and domestic wars, and repel the attacks of all piratical crafts at home and abroad, during the future progress of her voyage over an unexplored and unknown sea; for our future course is not to be a return, and we are not to he listlessly on the water to be borne back by the refluent tide to the harbor whence we sailed. Our course is not backward but forward and onward.

And what are the conclusions from our observations? What do tho soundings indicate? What is the outlook from the binnacle? Does the gallant craft still respond to the turn of the helmsman’s wheel like a thing of intelligence? Do the “waves bound beneath her like a steed that knows his rider?” Is she followed by hungry sharks ready to devour her crew, or cheered by the presence of the graceful sea gull, with his wavy motion and virgin plumage?

These questions are asked more to excite reflection than for answers; but it may not be amiss to answer so far as can be done by general conclusions. The stability of the present and the hope of the future are found in the underlying principles of our government—the universal equality and inalienable rights of all men. Human rights arc the rights of all men, and of each man, and they cannot be taken away except so far as he surrenders them. Governments are organized for the protection of human society, but they derive all “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” To this extent a man may surrender his natural rights. The government is from an internal, and not an external source. Man rules himself under our system, and for convenience may do it by a delegated power, to be conferred and resumed at stated intervals. His laws, therefore, axe of his own making, and while it is his duty as a member of society to obey them, he has the power of revocation whenever he finds them unjust or oppressive.

Under such a form of government, the light of armed revolution does not exist. That is only justifiable against a power which he did not create, and which seeks to control or disregard his rights without his consent. The theory of government based upon an hereditary succession of rulers is not only subversive of the rights of man, but is an irreverent usurpation of divine power. The nurture of a sovereign in the cradle, destined while a puling infant to be the ruler of a nation, whether an idiot, a tyrant, a statesman, or a fool, is as impious as it is absurd. In organized society man is the source of political power for self-government, although we all acknowledge “a higher law;” and however much the term may be abused by speculative theorists, and however much the expression may be distorted by or in the interests of political mountebanks, all jurists and law makers recognize a law above human laws, the leges legem, to which all human laws must conform and be made subservient. But that law does not take away any human rights. It fosters and protects them; and, therefore, it cannot confer the right to rule on hereditary sovereigns. And this principle of equality in rights is universal, and applies to all men, without regard to nationality, creed or color. Whether Caucasian, Teuton, Celt, African, or Mongol, this question is equally applicable, and it cannot be abrogated by any power beneath that which thundered the laws from Mount Sinai. Man may forfeit his right to life and liberty by his crimes, but this can be done only by the laws in which he has a voice in making. The stability of the present and the hopes of the future are based upon the maintenance of this principle in its integrity; but it is so firmly seated and so interwoven with every fibre of our existence, that the faith and the hope seem to be well founded.

While it is true that there does not seem to be that rigid economy, and unselfish patriotism which characterized the founders of the government, I do not belong to the croakers who believe that all public and private virtue, wisdom and patriotism died with the past. It is an unfortunate disposition, and leads to much unhappiness, to be constantly distrusting every one in public and in private life. I would prefer to be occasionally cheated rather than deal with every man as if I believed him to be a rogue. Under our system, the government will be as good as the people, and the evils which creep into the administration of public affairs begin at the root.

People and rulers have departed to some extent from that simplicity which should be the characteristic of a republic; and by extravagance and luxury—if not riotous living—indulge in expenditures and incur heavy liabilities, to meet which they indulge in speculation, and essay to make money of each other, where there is no money, their efforts to grow rich by a short and rapid process result in bankruptcy. They then blame the government, and clamor for legislation to cure the evil, when they can get none from that source. Their remedy is in their own hands, and no where else; but public officials and ambitious men speculate upon their anxiety, flatter their hopes, spend their money and lead them astray. In one view, the people give too much attention to their government. In another, not enough. They depend too much upon the government to mend their broken fortunes. They give too little attention to the kind of men they select, and depend too much upon creeds and platforms.

The evil will go on until it will cure itself in the end. I can lay down a rule which, if rigidly followed, would cure many of the evils which are now charged upon the government. Let every man attend diligently to his own business. Earn the money upon which he lives, and earn it before he expends it. Risk no money in a speculation which he cannot afford to lose, and place none in a doubtful venture but his own. If this course be strictly followed by every man, we will scarcely know we have a government, it will sit so lightly upon our shoulders, and we will soon discover that our business and our fortunes do not depend so much upon the government as upon ourselves. There are more people than is generally supposed who pursue this course; but they are very much hindered in their slow but certain progress by the large class who pursue a different course. Men who spend money they never earned, or owned, must spend that which belongs to others. For many live on what others have toiled to earn. This is one of the great causes of the crippled condition of the industries of our State.

But while these things retard our prosperity periodically, they do not shake the foundation principles of our government, or endanger its permanency. The wrecks which float upon the surface are but the broken fragments of the argosies which have been drawn into the insatiate whirlpool of mad speculation, dashed in pieces on the rocks beneath, and cast up by the restless waters, a warning to reckless adventurers.

The system of fast living and the appropriation of trust funds for private use, which ultimately leads to the theft of public money, are the crying evils of the times. While bolts, and bars, and locks can protect us against common thieves and burglars, we have no security against official thieves except care in the selection of men for official positions of trust and confidence, and the rigid and inexorable enforcement of the law against its infractors, with a merciless punishment of criminals who betray their trusts. And the country is waking up to the importance of this subject and a better era is dawning. “It is always the darkest the hour before day.”

But this particular manifestation of crime is not peculiar to our times, and does not touch the fundamental principles of our government.

The Great Master was betrayed for a bribe, but Christianity still lives; there was treason in the army of the Revolution, and yet the colonists triumphed; and there have been defaulters among public officials and corruption in high places in all ages of the world. In our country the remedy against it is in the hands of the people. In nearly all others they have little, if any, control over the public servants. There is, therefore, no reason to despair of our institutions in view of certain manifestations of corruption among those in positions of trust and confidence. When the crime becomes intolerable the people will rise to the necessity of the occasion, and apply the remedy which they hold in their hands.

But the question arises, are we in, worse condition in this respect than we were in what we regarded as the balmy days of the Republic? We have more facilities for obtaining news than formerly. With our telegraphs and railroads, news travels with great rapidity, and especially bad news; and our innumerable newspapers gather that which is the most sensational and exciting. The quiet deeds of charity and benevolence, the self sacrificing act of heroism, and the thousands of events in private life which ennoble human actions are unknown to the public. The turbulent elements of society come to the surface. The agents of crime get into the courts, and their deeds are heralded everywhere, and newspapers containing the revolting details are constantly thrust before our eyes. “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” We hear and read all that is evil, but little of the good.

And when we take into consideration the difference in the population of this country between this day and a hundred years ago, being a difference of at least twelve to one, and the fact that evil makes more noise in proportion than the good, it becomes a very doubtful question whether criminals and crimes have more than kept pace with the population. That certain offenses against law have assumed a grave magnitude is a thing to be deplored, but in the presence of the good which emanates from our beneficent government they are but as the spots on the disk of the sun, which mellow the light by breaking the fierce rays of its overpowering effulgence.

But there is no reason to believe that the world is retrograding in morals or honesty. Such a concussion would be an admission that civilization, intelligence and Christianity impede the progress of the world and are disadvantageous to mankind; for there are more schools and seminaries, more books to read; more people to read and understand them, more acts of benevolence and charity, more culture and refinement, and more people who worship God to-day than at any other period since the “morning stars sang together” at man’s creation. That there are base, gross and wicked people is no new phenomenon. They have infested society accursed the world since the day when our original progenitor partook of “that forbidden fruit whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe, with loss of Eden.

But the beacon fires of liberty burn as brightly to-day as they did on the morning of the Fourth of July, 1776, and the people of the country cherish the principles upon which the brave old patriots of that day established us as a free and independent nation. This morning has been ushered in over this broad land with the booming of cannon, the chimes of bells, the blare of the bugle, and the joyful greetings and proud huzzas of the people. These demonstrations are hearty, earnest and profound. They are the spontaneous outbursts of patriotism—the grand anthems bursting from the full hearts of a free, loyal and intelligent people.

Why should we not look forward to the future with wellfounded hopes, inspired by the success of the past? The staunch ship of State cannot encounter more difficult navigation in the coming century than in the past. She has encountered foes from without and enemies within. She has lain within the trough of the sea, and withstood the earth-shaking broadside; and while she trembled in every timber and groaned throughout her hull at the “diapason of the cannonade,” after the blue smoke of battle had drifted away in curling clouds on the breeze, we looked aloft, and joyfully exclaimed that “our flag is still there!” When the waves of rebellion, with fearful fury crashed upon her in mid-ocean, they were broken and scattered in foam on her hull, and died away in eternal silence at her keel. In calm and storm, in peace and war, our goodly craft has braved a hundred years “the battle and the breeze.

To-day all hands are piped on deck to receive instructions and inspiriting encouragement for a continuance of the voyage for another century. The winds and tides are fair, the skies are bright, and the sails are set. Gently swaying to the billows motion, we round the headland, and boldly enter upon the broad expanse of waters. The world of old dynasties, which jeered when we essayed our first voyage, became astonished at our progress, and their astonishment turned into amazement as we pursued our successful course. That amazement, as we boldly head out for the open sea on the second century, assumes the aspect of awe. Such a craft, manned by such a crow, carrying a flag which is known and recognized as the emblem of freedom everywhere, is a dangerous emissary among the subjects of kings, emperors, and despots of every form. Wherever that flag floats, whether waving languidly in the gentle zephyr of the tropics, or fluttering amid the ice crags of arctic desolation, it is hailed as the emblem of freedom and the symbol of the rights of man.

To show our influence on the people in the remote corners of the earth, a citizen of the United States, during the trying times of the rebellion, was traveling on the northern coast of Norway; and, landing from a small steamer at a trading town in the early morning, before the inhabitants were astir, found three fishermen from Lapland waiting at the door of a store to do some small business in trade. The fishermen appeared to be a father and two sons. They were dressed in skins of the reindeer, and appeared to be half barbarian, illiterate people. They were introduced to the American, and when the older of the Laplanders learned that the distinguished stranger was a citizen of this country, his countenance lighted up with an expression of eager intelligence as he asked: “Are you from beyond the great sea?” Upon being answered in the affirmative, he exclaimed: “Tell me, tell me, does liberty still live?” He expressed great satisfaction upon being assured that it did.

If on the coasts of the northern frozen seas, in a land of almost perpetual night, an illiterate fisherman feels such an eager interest in the question of the continued vitality of liberty, what a dangerous messenger will be that ensign of the Ship of State flashing “its meteor glories” among the thrones, crowns, and sceptres of the world. The subjects and victims of oppression will catch “inspiration from its glance,” and learning that liberty still lives, will pass the inspiring watchword from man to man. And the cry that “Liberty still lives” will be the world’s battle shout of freedom, and the rallying watchword of deliverance.

“And the dwellers in the rocks and in the Tales,
Shall about It to each other, and the mountain tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy,
“Till nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round.”

And in the land of liberty’s birth the fires of patriotism will be kept aflame by the iteration and reiteration of the answer to the fisherman’s question, that “Liberty still lives.” And from the hearts of the crowded cities, from the fireside of the farmer, and from the workshop of the mechanic, in the busy hamlets of labor, and in the homes of luxury and ease, the hearts of freemen will be cheered as our noble craft sails on, with the inspiriting assurance that “Liberty still lives.” The burden of that cry will float upon the air wherever our banner waves, and its resonant notes will fill the land with a new inspiration as the joyful assurance is heard.

“Coming up from each valley, flung down from each height)
Our Country and Liberty, God for the right.”

See also: Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
COURAGE! A Poem by Bryan Waller Procter 1787-1874
AIM HIGH! An Address by President Benjamin Harrison 1893
A GOOD NAME by Joel Hawes 1789-1867
PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
TRUE FREEDOM! A Poem by James Russell Lowell 1819-1891
The Relationship Between a Man and Woman

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster, Father of American Education. (In plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand)

The Universe, — In viewing and contemplating the works of creation, we are struck with astonishment at the magnitude, the variety and the beauty of the bodies which compose the visible Universe. Innumerable resplendent orbs, stationed in the vast extent of space, at inconceivable distances from each other, so as to appear like mere spangles in the sky, though a thousand times larger than this earth, fill us with admiration and amazement. We shrink even from an effort to reach in thought the boundless extent of such a scene; or to comprehend the stupendous power of the creator.


See also: Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand)
Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
The Superior Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1
Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834
The Superior Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 2


 The fixed stars. — The fixed stars, which shine by their own light and are distinguished from planets by their twinkling, have always the same relative position; and therefore are supposed to be suns or centers of systems. They appear to have no immediate connection with our Solar system; but they adorn the vast concave over our heads, enliven the gloom of night, and delight the eye with their sparkling radiance.

 Solar System. — The system of orbs, of which this earth is a part, consists of the Sun, and several planets, primary and secondary. The Sun is stationed in or near the center of this system, and around it revolve the primary planets at different but vast distances and in different periods of time. Some of these planets are attended with smaller orbs, which revolve about them, and are called secondary planets. One of these is the moon, an orb that revolves around the earth. These planets receive their light from the sun.

 The Earth. — The earth, like the other planets, is round or nearly spherical. It is about ninety five million miles from the sun, the center of the system. It has two motions, by one of which are caused the day and night; and by the other, is determined what we call the year. These movements are regular.

 Day and Night. — To form the day and night, the earth is made to revolve on an imaginary line, called its axis. It makes one complete revolution from west to east in twenty four hours. This is called a diurnal or daily revolution, during which the whole surface of the globe is presented to the sun. That half of the surface which is enlightened by the sun has day; and that half which is turned from the sun has night. The darkness of night therefore is the shade of the earth.

 Uses of the Day and Night. — The division of time into day and night is a most benevolent provision for the convenience and comfort, not only of men, but of many species of animals. The light of the sun is necessary to enable men to perform their labors, at the same time, the heat of the sun’s rays is necessary or useful in promoting vegetation. Night, on the other hand, is necessary or useful for rest; darkness and stillness being favorable for sleep. Beasts, for the most part, feed in the day time, and sleep at night. This division of time therefore is a proof of the goodness of the creator, in adapting his works and laws to the welfare of his creatures.

 The Year. — The earth revolves around the sun once in three hundred and sixty five days, and about six hours. This revolution constitutes the year, and is called its annual revolution. And by the inclination of its axis to the plane of the ecliptic or path of the sun, so called, the earth receives at one time, the rays of the sun in such a direction as to be much heated, and this heat constitutes summer. In another part of the year, the rays of the sun strike the earth more obliquely, and produce little heat. This defect of heat constitutes winter. But the sun is always so nearly vertical to the parts of the earth near the equator, as to constitute perpetual summer.

 The Moon, — The small orb which we call the Moon is a secondary planet revolving round the earth once in about twenty nine days, which period constitutes a lunar month. It receives light from the sun, a portion of which is reflected to the earth, illuminating the night with a faint light. When the moon comes directly between the earth and the sun, it hides a part or the whole of the disk of the sun from the inhabitants of the earth. This is a solar eclipse. When the moon, in its revolution, passes through the shadow of the earth, a part or the whole of its face is obscured; and this is a lunar eclipse.

Remarks on the Solar System. — The admirable adjustment of the solar system to its purposes, is very striking. By the revolution of the earth on its axis, we have a constant succession of day and night; the one for labor, business and action, the other for rest to refresh the wearied body. The revolution of the earth round the sun determines the year, a regular division of time, highly important and useful; while the position of its axis varies the seasons, causing summer and winter in due succession. While we admire the beauty, order, and uses of this arrangement, we cannot but be surprised at the simplicity of the laws by which it is effected. All the works of God manifest his infinite wisdom, as well as his unlimited power.

 The Earth. — The structure of the earth every where exhibits the wise purposes of the creator. The surface of the earth consists of dry land, or land covered with water, and hence the earth is called terraqueous. The land is intended for the habitation of men, and of various animals, many of which are evidently intended for the immediate use of men, and others are doubtless intended to answer some other useful purposes in the economy of the natural world.

 Subsistence of men and animals, — The principal part of the food of man and beast is produced by the earth ; and the first thing to be noticed is the soil which covers a great portion of its surface. The soil is various; but well adapted to produce different kinds of plants. It is naturally or capable of being made, so loose and soft as to admit the growth and extension of roots, which serve the double purpose of conveying nutriment to plants, and of supporting them in an upright position. The soil is chiefly loam, clay or sand or a mixture of all, and different soils are best adapted to produce different trees and herbage.

Vegetable productions, — The wisdom and benevolence of the creator are wonderfully manifested in the variety and uses of plants. In the first ages of the world, men fed upon acorns and nuts, the seeds of trees, produced without labor. This mode of subsistence was, in some measure, necessary for mankind, before they had invented tools or learned the cultivation of the soil. When men had multiplied, and learned the uses of grain, then commenced agriculture, the most important occupation of men, and the chief source of subsistence and wealth.

Beauty of plants, — The goodness of the creator is manifested also in the beauty of the vegetable kingdom. The most common color of growing herbage and the leaves of trees is green; a color not injurious to the eye, and the more agreeable as being connected with growth and vigor. But nothing can equal the beauty of vegetable blossoms; the variety, richness and delicacy of the flowers which adorn the earth, in the proper seasons, baffle all human art and all attempts to do them justice in description.

Propagation of plants, — The modes by which plants continue their species, are a wonderful proof of the divine purpose and wisdom. The chief mode is by seeds, which each plant produces, and which fall to the earth, when the plant dies, or at the close of each summer. Each seed contains the germ of a new plant of the same species, which is defended from injury by a hard shell or firm coat, and thus protected, the germ may continue for years, perhaps for ages, until the seed is placed in a condition to germinate. The seed of some plants is a bulb, growing in the earth, as in the potato, the onion and the tulip. Some seeds are feathered that they may be wafted to a distance by wind. Many small seeds are the food of birds, and by them are dispersed. The seeds of rice, wheat and other plants are the chief support of mankind.

Variety of Animals. — For the use of man, and other purposes God created a great variety of animals having bodily powers as perfect as those of mankind, but with intellectual powers much inferior. Their faculties are adapted to their condition. They have what is called instinct, a faculty of directing them without any process of reasoning to the means of support and safety. Some of them appear to have powers similar to human reason, as the elephant. Many of them intended for the use of men, are capable of being tamed and taught to perform labor, and various services for mankind.

 Land Animals, — Animals destined to live on land have lungs or organs of life as mankind have, and live by respiration. Their bodies are composed of like materials, bones, flesh, and blood. They move by means of legs and feet, by wings, or by creeping. They are mostly furnished with instruments by which they defend themselves from their enemies, as horns, hoofs, teeth and stings, some of them subsist on herbage and fruits, particularly such as are intended for the use of man, as horses, oxen, cows, sheep, camels and elephants. These are called herbivorous or graminivorous animals.

 Forms of animals, — The first thing to be observed in the animal kingdom, is the adaptation of the form and propensities of each species to its modes of life, and to its uses. The camel, the horse, the ox and the sheep have four legs, and walk with their heads in a line with their bodies, so that they can take their food from the earth with the mouth, as they stand or walk. The elephant’s neck is short, but he has a strong muscular trunk, with which he can feed himself. Most of the large quadrupeds have hoofs consisting of a horny substance for walking on rough ground. But the elephant and camel have a tough musculus foot for walking on sand; thus being fitted for traversing the deserts of Asia and Africa.

 The bovine kind and sheep. — The ox is peculiarly fitted for draft, either by the neck or head and horns, his body is very strong and his neck remarkably thick and muscular. The female is formed for giving milk, and both male and female are easily tamed and very manageable. These animals feed by twisting off the grass or herbage, which they swallow, and when filled, they lie down and chew the cud; that is, they throw up the grass or hay from the stomach and chew it leisurely for more easy digestion. The sheep feeds much in the same manner.

 The horse. — The horse is fitted for draft as well as the ox; but he is also fitted to bear burdens on his back, and his form is more beautiful than that of the ox. His neck is elegant and his gait noble. In the harness or under the saddle, the horse exhibits an elegant form and motions. The motion of the ox is slow and well adapted to draw heavy burdens or plow rough ground. The horse moves with more rapidity and is most useful on good roads for rapid conveyance, either upon his back or on wheels or runners.

The form and habits of these animals manifest most clearly the purpose of the creator, in fitting them for the use of mankind.

  Wild animals. — Many species of animals live in the forest, and subsist upon herbage or upon the flesh of other animals, without the care of man. Some of these are tamable. Animals which subsist wholly or chiefly on flesh are called carnivorous. These are more rapacious and difficult to tame, than the herbivorous species. Yet the cat and the dog, which are carnivorous, are domesticated, and in some respects very useful to mankind. Carnivorous animals are formed for their mode of subsistence; having hooked claws for seizing their prey, and sharp pointed teeth for tearing their flesh.

 Animals for food and clothing. — Many animals are useful to mankind for food and clothing. The ox, the sheep and swine, supply men with a large portion of their provisions. Among rude nations, the skins of animals, with little or no dressing, furnish a warm covering for the body, and skins were the first clothing of Adam and Eve. The wool of the sheep constitutes a principal material for cloth, and next to fur is the warmest covering. Furs are taken from animals inhabiting the cold regions of the earth. These are the most perfect non-conductors of heat, that is, they best prevent the heat of the body from escaping, and are therefore the warmest clothing.

 Reflections. [on animals]— In the animal as well as vegetable kingdom, we see the wonderful wisdom and goodness of God. The animals which are most useful to man are easily tamed and subsisted. Some of them assist him in cultivating the earth and carrying on his business; and when they are too old for these services, they are fattened for slaughter, and their skins are dressed for use. Many wild beasts subsist without the care of men, but their skins and furs are converted to important uses. Furs, the warmest covering, are found in the coldest climates. Wool, next to furs in protecting the body from, cold, is produced chiefly in the temperate latitudes, where it is most wanted. These facts prove the wisdom of God, and his goodness, in providing for the wants of his intelligent creatures.

 Fowls, — Fowls or birds are winged animals, destined to move with velocity through the air. For this purpose their bodies are made light, and so shaped as to pass through the air in the most advantageous manner; that is, with the least resistance. Their wings are extremely strong, and are easily moved with surprising rapidity; the large feathers or quills being so placed as to form a suitable angle for propelling the body forward; while the small feathers which cover the body and keep it warm, are so laid back one upon another, as to offer no resistance to the air.

Mouth and feet of fowls. — As fowls are destined to subsist on different species of food, their mouths are fitted for the purpose. Those which feed on small seeds and little insects have generally bills or beaks which are straight and pointed. Those which subsist on flesh have hooked bills for seizing small animals and tearing their flesh. The feet of fowls are also admirably fitted for their modes of life. Those which are destined to light on trees, have toes with sharp nails, which enable them to cling to the small twigs; and some species use their nails for scratching the earth in search of food.

 Aquatic fowls. — Fowls destined to frequent water, and to subsist on fish, have forms adapted to these purposes. Some of them have long beaks for seizing and holding fish; some have longer legs than other fowls, and wade in shallow water in search of food. Others have webbed toes, or palmated feet, that is, the toes are connected by a membrane, which serves as an oar or paddle for propelling them in swimming. The bodies of aquatic fowls form a model, in some measure, for the body of ships; being fitted to move through the water with the least resistance.

 Uses of fowls, — Many fowls are used as food; and some of them constitute our most delicate dishes. Not only the flesh, but the eggs of the domestic species, enter into various articles of cookery. Their feathers form our softest beds, and their quills, in the form of pens, record the events of life, and are made the instruments of preserving and communicating sacred and profane writings to distant nations and ages. The plumage of birds, presenting a variety of the richest colors, is among the most elegant ornaments of creation; some of the winged race often delight us in our dwellings with their varied notes, while others cause the solitary forest to resound with the melody of their songs. In this department of creation, we discover abundant proofs of the wisdom and benevolence of the creator.

 Fishes. — Fishes are formed to inhabit the waters of the ocean, of rivers and lakes; and for this purpose they have a peculiar structure. They have not lungs like those of land animals, as no air can be imbibed in water, except such as the water contains. Some of them imbibe air with water by their gills; others occasionally rise to the surface of the water and imbibe air; and some species of animals are amphibious, being able to live a long time under water, then betaking themselves to the land.

 Form of fishes, — Fishes being destined to move in a fluid more dense than air, and of course making more resistance to motion, are formed with slender bodies, with a pointed mouth, the body swelling to its full thickness at or near the head, and then gradually sloping to the tail. The body is furnished with fins ; those on the back and sides serving to balance the body and keep it in a proper position, while a strong tail, ending in a fin, serves as an oar to propel the body forward.

 Uses of fish, — Many species of fish are used as food, and some of them constitute an important article of commerce. They are produced in the deep in inexhaustible abundance, and cost nothing except the time and labor of catching and curing them. The largest species, the whale, supplies us with oil for lamps and for various other uses. Our houses and streets are lighted, and the machinery of our manufactures is kept in order, and its movements facilitated by oil formed in the bosom of the ocean, and perhaps on the opposite side of the globe.

 Man, — The last species of living beings created by God, was man. This species differs from all other orders of animals in external form, and still more in mental endowments. The form of man is erect and dignified; his body and his limbs are equally distinguished for strength, for beauty and for convenient action. The head at the upper end of his body contains the eyes or organs of sight. These are placed in orbits which protect them from injury; and the better to see in various directions, they are movable by muscles, which turn the balls in a moment. These delicate organs are defended also by lids which may be instantaneously closed to cover them; and the eye-lashes, while they add beauty to the face, serve to protect the eyes from dust and insects.

The mouth, nose and ears. — The mouth is the aperture by which food is taken for nourishment. In this are the teeth for breaking and masticating the food, and the tongue, the principal instrument of taste and of speech. The nose is penetrated with apertures or nostrils, by which air is received and communicated to the lungs, and as respiration cannot be interrupted without loss of life, and as the nostrils may casually be obstructed, the creator has provided that air may be inhaled by the mouth, that life may not depend on a single orifice. The ears, organs of hearing, have a wide aperture for receiving vibrations of air, and conveying sound to the auditory nerve.

The neck and body, — The neck which connects the head with the body is smaller than the body, and so flexible as to permit the head to be turned. The chest or thorax, the upper part of the body, contains the lungs and heart, organs indispensable to life, which are defended from injury by the ribs and sternum or breast bone.

The arms. — To the upper part of the body are attached the arms, by a joint at the shoulder. By means of this joint, the arm may be moved in any direction. Near the middle of the arm is the elbow, a joint by means of which the arm may be bent for embracing, holding and carrying things. At the wrist is another joint, for turning the hand. The hand at the extremity of the arm has five fingers, each of which has three joints by means of which they may be bent for grasping objects. As the thumb is intended to encounter the strength of the four fingers on the opposite side of an object, it is made much thicker and is sustained in exertion by a larger and stronger muscle.

The lower limbs, — The lower limbs are attached to the body by a joint that admits of a forward motion for walking; while the joint at the knee permits the limb to be bent. To the end of the leg is attached the foot which is so broad as to support the body in a steady position. The ankle joint permits the foot to be turned and raised for the convenience of stepping. The firm muscular substance of the heel, and that at the first joint of the great toe, are well fitted to support the body, or receive its weight in stepping. The motions of the legs are dependent on some of the strongest muscles and tendons in the body. Muscles are firm fleshy substances, and tendons are the cords by which the muscles are attached to the bones.

Bones and skin. — The frame of the body consists of bones, hard firm substances, which support the softer flesh and viscera. The bones, for enabling animals to move and exert power in various ways, are connected by joints, so fitted as to permit the limbs to move; the round end of one bone being placed in the hollow of another, or otherwise inserted so as to be movable. The flesh is a softer substance, but the muscular part is that which gives active strength and vigor to the limbs. The whole frame is invested with skin, a tough substance, covered with a cuticle. The firmness of the skin defends the flesh from injury, while its extreme sensitiveness serves to give us notice of any external annoyance, and put us on our guard.

Of the viscera and blood. — The principal viscera are the heart, and lungs, in the thorax or chest, and the liver and bowels in the abdomen. The lungs support life by receiving and expelling air at every breath. The fresh air conveys the living principle to the lungs, and the foul air is expelled. The heart by its motion drives the blood into the arteries, which convey it to every part of the body and limbs, and the veins receive it at the extremities and re-convey it to the heart. By the blood, heat is communicated to all parts of the body.

Intellect and soul, — Wonderful as is the structure of the animal body, and the adaptation of its parts to support life, still more astonishing is the existence of intellect, a soul and moral faculties, with the matter which composes the body. We can, without much difficulty, conceive of mechanical powers exerted in respiration and the circulation of the blood; but we can have no idea how the powers of understanding, and reasoning can be united with matter which is by itself inert and insensible. There is perhaps no fact in the universe, which, to us, is so utterly inexplicable, and which so forcibly impresses upon our minds the agency of almighty power. The existence of human intellect is by itself absolute demonstration of the being of an infinite God, and of his exclusive agency in our creation.

Seat of the intellect. — The brain is evidently the seat of the understanding. This is a soft delicate substance, inclosed in the skull, which consists of bones, and defends the brain from injury. From the brain proceeds the spinal marrow, which extends through the back-bone, and from which branches of nerves extend to different parts of the body. The nerves are supposed to be the organs of sensation and perception. Any serious injury or disordered state of the brain destroys the regular exercise of reason, and a separation of the spine is followed by instant death.

 Structure of the earth, Land, — That part of the earth which is not covered with water consists of a variety of soils, and contains a variety of mineral substances. Its general division is into hills or mountains and plains. Hills or elevations of moderate size are composed sometimes of sand, clay or other earthy matters, without rocks; but often their base is a body of rocks and stones. But vast masses of rock are usually the bases of mountains; and not infrequently the whole mass is rock not even covered with earthy matter.

Uses of mountains. — Mountains are useful or necessary for the purpose of forming slopes and declivities, in land, which are necessary to give currency to water. If the surface of the land were perfectly level, there could be no rivers; and water falling upon the earth must be stagnant, until absorbed or evaporated. Hence we observe that continents or large tracts of land, on which rivers must be of great length, in order to reach the ocean or other reservoir, contain high mountains. The reason is obvious; the sources of long rivers must be in very elevated regions, or there would not be a sufficient declivity or descent, to conduct streams to the sea.

Other uses of mountains, — The rocks which form the bases of mountains are often useful for various purposes. Such are limestone, slate and granite. They often contain iron, and other valuable metals. They embosom reservoirs of pure water which issues in springs, which are the sources of rivers. Many mountains are covered with earth sufficient for producing forests of trees for fuel and timber. On them also grow medicinal plants for the use of man; and the forest is the habitation of wild beasts whose flesh may feed, or whose fur may warm some part of the human race.

Minerals, — The earth abounds with mineral substances, which are of immense importance to mankind. Of these the most useful are salt and coal. It is remarkable that in many countries, remote from the ocean, the earth embosoms vast masses of salt, for the supply of the inhabitants. Such is the fact in Poland, whose mines of salt are a wonder. And where salt already crystallized, is not taken from mines, it may be obtained from water saturated with salt, raised from natural reservoirs in the earth, as in Onondago, in the State of New York. This is a benevolent provision of the Creator, for the comfort of men, in places remote from the sea.

Coal — The vast beds of coal found in the earth are another proof of divine goodness. Some countries, without this mineral, would not be habitable or at least not populous for a long period of time. Such is the case with England. That country has long since been destitute of wood for fuel, and without coal, not only must many of its manufactures cease, but its population must be reduced. The immense treasures of coal in the United States, such as those in Pennsylvania, are among the most valuable gifts of Providence to mankind.

Metals. — Among the most useful substances contained in the earth are the metals. Of these iron is the most necessary to mankind; so necessary indeed that without it men must have remained in a half-barbarous state. To this must be added gold and silver which are the instruments of commerce among all civilized nations. Being scarce, they can never lose their value by superabundance, being very hard, they are not liable to be worn away, and not being liable to rust, they retain their luster and their substance, a long time, unimpaired. To these may be added lead, tin, copper and zink, all of great value in the arts.

 Air and Water. — It is observable, that God, in his wisdom and benevolence, has created not only what men want, but has created in the greatest abundance, what is most necessary, or essential to their existence. Thus air, which is indispensable to life, invests the whole globe. Wherever men go, they find air for respiration. Next to air the most necessary substance, is water, and this is abundant in most parts of the earth. And the better to preserve the purity of these fluids, provision is made in the economy of the creation, to keep them almost continually in motion.

Winds. — By the laws of nature, heat expands air and puts it in motion. When air is
rarefied, it becomes lighter than in its usual state, and the denser or heavier air rushes to the place where it is rarefied. This is one of the general causes of winds, which blow from land to the ocean or from the ocean to land, according to the state of heat. At certain times, when the earth is heated, cold air rushes from the regions of the clouds, with rain or hail, cooling and refreshing the heated earth. Violent winds frequently agitate the ocean and currents continually carry water from one climate to another.

Water, — The ocean is the great reservoir of water on the earth; there are also inland seas, lakes and rivers. The water of the ocean is salt, but in evaporation the salt is separated and left behind, and fresh water only rises in vapor. Wonderful is the process of evaporation and generation of rain. By the heat of the sun or drying winds, water is raised from the ocean and the earth, but in an invisible state, so that the labors of man are not impeded by evaporation. When raised into the cold regions of the atmosphere, the watery particles are condensed into clouds, which cast the water back upon the earth. This interrupts the labors of the husbandman, but for a short time only, and it is remarkable that rain ordinarily falls in small drops, that do no injury even to the most tender plants.

Form of the surface of the earth. — It is worthy of special notice that the two continents are so formed that both terminate in navigable latitudes. On the north, the continents extend into the polar regions, and if any passage by water exists between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it is usually or always obstructed by ice. But in the southern hemisphere, Africa on the east and America on the west of the Atlantic, terminate in navigable latitudes. Hence, since the southern termination of the American continent, at Cape Horn, has been discovered, ships are continually passing from Europe and the United States round that Cape and visiting the isles of the vast Pacific on their way to China, and the Indies.

Advantages of this form of the earth. — Had the two continents been extended from pole to pole, the navigation from one side of the globe to the other would have been prevented. And had the continents extended east and west, the intercourse between the northern and southern climates, would have been limited, so that the fruits of the cold and temperate regions could not have had a ready exchange for those of the tropical latitudes, and vice versa. But in the present positions of the continents and ocean, the navigation between the climates is not interrupted: The sugar, the rice and the oranges of the warm climates are easily conveyed to the frigid zone; while the furs, the fish, the timber and the metals of the north are borne to the equatorial regions. In all this arrangement we cannot but see the purposes of a benevolent creator.

Moral purposes of this form of the earth, — It is obvious that the Creator adapted all parts of creation to important purposes, moral as well as physical. The form of the continents is fitted to favor commerce, and the free intercourse of nations. This commerce contributes greatly to the convenience of mankind. At the same time, commerce is made the handmaid of civilization, and the instrument of evangelizing pagan nations. In the structure of the globe we have evident proofs that the creator had it in his counsels to provide the means of recalling mankind from their national alienation and wandering from his service into a communion of Christian brethren.

Excerpts taken from book Value of the Bible and the Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster 1758-1843 published 1834

See also: A testament of the love, of the Lord Jesus
A Further Testament of the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ as shown in my life