Thomas Jefferson: Encroaches on Liberty & Rights by Government


From Thomas Jefferson to Noah Webster, Jr.

Philadelphia Dec. 4. 1790.


Your favor of Oct. 4, came to my hands on the 20th. of November. Application was made a day or two after to Mr. Dobson for the copies of your essays, which were recieved, and one of them lodged in the office. For that intended for myself be pleased to accept my thanks. I return you the order on Mr. Allen, that on Dobson having been made use of instead of it. I submit to your consideration whether it might not be adviseable to record a second time your right to the Grammatical institutes in order to bring the lodging of the copy in my office within the 6. months made a condition by the law? I have not at this moment an opportunity of turning to the law to see if that may be done: but I suppose it possible that the failure to fulfill the legal condition on the first record might excite objections against the validity of that.

In mentioning me in your essays, and canvassing my opinions, you have done what every man has a right to do, and it is for the good of society that that right should be freely exercised. No republic is more real than that of letters, and I am the last in principles, as I am the least in pretensions to any dictatorship in it. Had I other dispositions, the philosophical and dispassionate spirit with which you have expressed your own opinions in opposition to mine, would still have commanded my approbation. A desire of being set right in your opinion, which I respect too much not to entertain that desire, induces me to hazard to you the following observations. It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted position in the several states, that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors: that there are certain portions of right not necessary to enable them to carry on an effective government, and which experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly incroaching on, if submitted to them. That there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong, and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shewn a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind for instance is freedom of religion: of the second, trial by jury, Habeas corpus laws, free presses. These were the settled opinions of all the states, of that of Virginia, of which I was writing, as well as of the others. The others had in consequence delineated these unceded portions of right, and these fences against wrong, which they meant to exempt from the power of their governors, in instruments called declarations of rights and constitutions: and as they did this by Conventions which they appointed for the express purpose of reserving these rights, and of delegating others to their ordinary legislative, executive and judiciary bodies, none of the reserved rights can be touched without resorting to the people to appoint another convention for the express purpose of permitting it. Where the constitutions then have been so formed by Conventions named for this express purpose they are fixed and unalterable but by a Convention or other body to be specially authorised. And they have been so formed by I believe all the states except Virginia. That state concurs in all these opinions, but has run into the wonderful error that her constitution, tho made by the ordinary legislature, cannot yet be altered by the ordinary legislature. I had therefore no occasion to prove to them the expediency of a constitution alterable only by a special convention. Accordingly I have not in my notes advocated that opinion, tho it was and is mine, as it was and is theirs. I take that position as admitted by them: and only proceed to adduce arguments to prove that they were mistaken in supposing their constitution could not be altered by the common legislature. Among other arguments I urge that the Convention which formed the constitution had been chosen merely for ordinary legislation, that they had no higher power than every subsequent legislature was to have, that all their acts are consequently repealable by subsequent legislatures, that their own practice at a subsequent session proved they were of this opinion themselves, that the opinion and practice of several subsequent legislatures had been the same, and so conclude ‘that their constitution is alterable by the common legislature.’ Yet these arguments urged to prove that their constitution is alterable, you cite as if urged to prove that it ought not to be alterable, and you combat them on that ground. An argument which is good to prove one thing, may become ridiculous when exhibited as intended to prove another thing. I will beg the favor of you to look over again the passage in my Notes, and am persuaded you will be sensible that you have misapprehended the object of my arguments, and therefore have combated them on a ground for which they were not intended. My only object in this is the rectification of your own opinion of me, which I repeat that I respect too much to neglect. I have certainly no view of entering into the contest whether it be expedient to delegate unlimited power to our ordinary governors? My opinion is against that expediency. But my occupations do not permit me to undertake to vindicate all my opinions, nor have they importance enough to merit it. It cannot however but weaken my confidence in them when I find them opposed to yours, there being no one who respects the latter more than Sir

Your most obedt. & most humble servt,

Th. Jefferson

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™


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 Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 2

The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation 1834 by Noah Webster

The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1

Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834


Pride and humility. — The great difference between the maxims of the world and the doctrines of the gospel, is, that human opinions spring from pride, and tend to foster it; whereas the doctrines of the gospel teach humility, and self-abasement. The maxims of the world serve to encourage self dependence in men, inducing them to rely on their own strength and resources for success, in business or policy, without seeking aid from the Almighty source of power. The gospel inculcates the opposite doctrine; it teaches that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” It serves to make men humble, and to rely wholly on God for success, not only in spiritual concerns, but in the ordinary occupations of this world. In the pagan world, bravery and human efforts are everything; and God is nothing. In the christian system, human strength is nothing, and God is everything. In a christian country then, all government should be founded on Christian principles or should be directed to support them; and to such a system God will give success. All governments of a different kind will produce, as they have ever produced, innumerable evils while they last, and will ultimately sink into corruption and be ruined. All history is a tissue of facts confirming these observations.

  The Bible. — As the will of God is our only rule of action, and that will, can be fully known only from revelation, the Bible must be considered as the great source of all the truths by which men are to be guided in government, as well as in all social transactions. Other books, if in accordance with the Bible, may be read with advantage. But a large proportion of the books which fill our libraries have little or no bearing on the sound principles of morals and religion. They serve only for amusement, and occupy time in reading that might be more usefully employed. The first and most important duty of man is to furnish his mind with correct notions respecting God, his laws, and human duty; and then to exert his faculties, and direct his knowledge to the benevolent design of making others wiser and better. It was for these purposes, the revelation of God was given to men; revelations preserved in the Bible, the instrument of all reformation in morals and religion.

  Dignity of man, — The dignity of man, in the view of the world, consists in elevation of rank in society, superior intelligence, and high minded notions of honor. These are qualities which make men respected in society, and are of real value to the possessor. But these qualities may be and often are united, in the same character, with the foulest vices. There is another species of dignity which consists in the abhorrence of every vice, and in aiming at the excellence which has a resemblance to the divine perfections. God is the only perfect being, the only model of all excellence; and no man can be possessed of true dignity of character, without purity of heart, and a divine principle which elevates the affections above the love of that which God abhors and forbids. “Whatever God forbids is degrading, however fashionable it may be, and however esteemed among men. It is our first duty to seek the honor that comes from God.

Consistency of the scriptures, — The doctrines and precepts recorded in the scriptures all tend to the same point, that of displaying the character of God, and exalting the character of man by bringing it to a conformity with that of God. All vice and crime, whatever God forbids, tends to stain and lower human character; whatever God requires, love, justice, charity, benevolence, and all kindred virtues, tend to elevate human character. All vice and crime tend to annoy and diminish happiness; religion, pure morals and all the virtuous affections tend to produce or increase happiness. As in the physical world, God has made everything in the best manner to accommodate the human race, and everything is adapted to that end; so in the moral world, everything ordained by God is adapted to promote intellectual and religious improvement, and secure to men the greatest happiness of which they are susceptible in their present state of existence.

jesus_shepherd  Men co-workers with God, — God has not placed men upon the earth to live in idleness. He has made a soil to produce vegetables, but he has left men to sow, and plant and dress the fields. He has created trees, and stones, and clay, but he has not built houses; the materials are made, but men are to prepare and use them. He has furnished the earth and the sea with animals, but he has left it to men to take, to tame, to feed and to manage such as his wants require. He has deposited water, and coal and other minerals in the earth, where they lie safe without incommoding men; but he has left mankind to dig for them, and prepare them for use.

So in the moral system, God has given powers and faculties to man, and laws to govern him; but he has left men to cultivate their own faculties, and apply them to the discovery of truth, to the invention of useful arts, and to improvement in government, morals, and religion. As in the natural world, the earth, if uncultivated, produces weeds and noxious plants ; so in morals and religion, the minds of men, if left without culture, produce whatever is evil, noxious to society, offensive to God and pernicious to human happiness.

The christian religion exalts the intellect and perfects the human character, — The principal object of religion is to correct the heart and purify it from whatever is wrong and inconsistent with the enjoyment of God. But the sublime views of God and of his works, which the scriptures exhibit, have a wonderful effect in strengthening the intellect and expanding its powers. What a sublime description of the omnipresence and omniscience of God, is given in the hundred and thirty ninth psalm? The sacred writers labor for words to express the character and perfections of God. They transport us to an extent in which we are lost in the vastness of their conceptions.

Equally effectual are the scriptures in refining our ideas, by representations of the purity and holiness of God. The more we know of God, the more just will be our conceptions of what is ennobling in our own conduct; and every step we take in imitating his perfections is an advance in elevation of character. This purity of mind, and this elevation and expansion of intellect are the beginnings of that ever increasing holiness, and that boundless enlargement of knowledge which are to complete the character and the felicity of the children of God, in, another world.

  Genuine religion. — We must be careful to distinguish the real religion taught by Christ and his apostles, from those systems which interested men have established. We find the true religion of Christ in the Bible only. It is a scheme wonderfully simple, the principles of which are all comprehended in two short phrases, love to God, and love to men. Supreme love to God, the source and model of all excellence, is the foundation of the whole system of Christianity; and from this principle in the heart flow all the benevolent affections and exercises, which constitute practical piety. The person who loves God supremely, will reverence his character and laws, and will extend his benevolent affections and charities to all his creatures. From this source will proceed love to man, and the careful performance of all moral and social duties.

See also: Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
Christianity and the Founding of the United States
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Divine Heredity

Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834

Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster Father of American Education published 1834

At the Constitutional Convention, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from the Perfect Governor, as he read Isaiah, For the Lord is our judge, the Lord if our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, He will save us. Blow The Trumpet

“Self-defense is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the laws of society. And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense. Free men have arms; slaves do not.” – William Blackstone

No enactment of man can be considered law unless it conforms to the law of God.” – William Blackstone

The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual’s private rights. So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.” – William Blackstone

Statism1Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”- Thomas Paine

“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” – Samuel Adams

See also: Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English so even lawyers and politicians can understand)
POLITICAL CONSTITUTIONS by Johannes Von Muller (1832)

Noahwebster  Political evils, — Men, from the beginning of the world, have been devising forms of government best adapted to secure their safety, property, peace, justice and liberty. Numerous forms have been tried; monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. After all their efforts, a perfect government has not yet been found. In the best form hitherto devised, defects have been discovered, which have frustrated the hopes of the founders. And what is the reason? Why the reason is comprised in a few words: Men have not obeyed God’s precepts. This is the reason, the prominent cause of all political evils. Rulers, when hereditary, are often corrupt men, indulging in all sensual vices, ambition, selfishness, war; in short, they seek their own pleasure and grandeur, rather than the happiness of their subjects. In republics, in which rulers are elected by the people, or some portion of them, the case is sometimes better; but in this form of government men have hitherto been disappointed. Corrupt, selfish men, are often elected, and such men abuse their authority, neglect or violate the laws, and occasion great public evils.

  Remedy for public evils, — The command of God is, “ He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God,” 2 Samuel 23:3. this command prescribes the only effectual remedy for public evils. It is an absurd and impious sentiment, that religious character is not necessary for public officers. So far is this from being true, that it is one of the principal qualifications, for any man making or administering laws. When the form of government admits men to office by hereditary right, rulers may or may not be good men; the people have no choice, and must submit. But in representative governments, if rulers are bad men, it is generally the fault of the people. The electors may indeed be deceived in regard to the principles of the man they choose; they are sometimes most woefully deceived. But in general, the calamity of having evil counselors, legislators, judges, and ministerial officers, is the fault of the electors. They do not regard the precept, to choose “just men, who will rule in the fear of God,” They choose men, not because they are just men, men of religion and integrity, but solely for the sake of supporting a party. This is a fruitful source of public evils. But as surely as there is a God in heaven, who exercises a moral government over the affairs of this world, so certainly will the neglect of the divine command, in the choice of rulers, be followed by bad laws and a bad administration; by laws unjust or partial, by corruption, tyranny, impunity of crimes, waste of public money, and a thousand other evils. Men may devise and adopt new forms of government; they may amend old forms, repair breaches, and punish violators of the constitution; but there is, there can be, no effectual remedy, but obedience to the divine law.

statism“In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.” -Declaration of Independence

Thomas Paine in Rights of Man
“Instead of seeking to reform the individual, the wisdom of a Nation should apply itself to reform the system.”

“Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey, and permits none to escape without a tribute.”

“It can only be by blinding the understanding of man, and making him believe that government is some wonderful mysterious thing, that excessive revenues are obtained.”

“It is a general idea, that when taxes are once laid on, they are never taken off.”

“Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow.”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious…Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread… Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” – John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 1787

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” – James Madison in a letter to James Robertson

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.” – Thomas Paine in Rights of Man

“It is as useless to argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason as to administer medication to the dead.” – Thomas Jefferson

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” – Thomas Paine


The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 1

The Excellence of the Christian Religion and the Reasons behind the Social Ills of American Society: by Noah Webster (Father of American Education) Published in 1834


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

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason people of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here!” — Patrick Henry

  Reflections. — The histories written by the evangelists, and the Acts of the Apostles by Luke, contain narrations of events by far the most important that ever occurred on earth. The birth of the Savior, the doctrines he preached, the purity of his life, and his final sufferings and death, are themes on which angels may dwell with rapturous joy. Well then may men rejoice, when we consider that his appearance, his teachings, his obedience, and his sufferings were designed to redeem an apostate world ; to disclose the way by which mankind can be restored to the favor of God, which by their sins they had forfeited; and by which, the penalty of everlasting destruction which they had incurred, may be avoided.

Christ-our-pilotThe Christian religion has already changed the aspect of a large part of the world. It has banished idolatry and pagan superstition from many countries; it has civilized and softened the manners of nations; it has mitigated the cruelties of war; it has inspired a spirit of peace; it has raised the female part of our species from degradation and slavery; it has founded charitable institutions to alleviate the sufferings of the poor; it has introduced the true principles of civil liberty; it has begun to arrest the barbarous practice of enslaving our fellow men; it has changed or is changing the character of the whole world. After a lapse of eighteen hundred years, men have learned that they are bound to labor for the furtherance of the gospel; that this is the great, the principal duty of all Christian nations, to which all other schemes of improvement are subordinate; and the work will prosper; the gospel will triumph, till all men living shall bow to the scepter of Jesus Christ.

  Superior excellence of the Christian religion, — The first and most essential advantage of the religion of the Bible, is, that it proceeds from God himself by revelation. It has God for its author, and truth for its basis. No other system of religion has even a plausible claim to a divine origin. Men without revelation wander in darkness; they have no just notions of the creator of all things; they know not who made the world and themselves, nor why they were made; they know not any divine will or law, nor any authoritative rules which are to govern their actions; they have some crude notions of a superior power, but where he is, or what his character, they are utterly ignorant; hence they frame deities in their imaginations, and worship them; they pay homage to the sun and moon; or to animals on the earth; and making images of their deities, they worship stocks and stones, of any and every monstrous form. Thus they live without a knowledge of God, in ignorance and beastly vices, and die without hope, like the brutes. Such has been the condition of most nations from the earliest ages.

Advantages of revelation, — It was in accordance with the character of a benevolent Creator, that when he made a rational being, he should make known to him the author of his being, the purposes for which he was made, and the laws by which his reason should be regulated. God therefore revealed to man his character and will. He informs men that his essence is purely spiritual, and of course invisible to human eyes; that his attributes are almighty power and wisdom; perfect holiness, and pure benevolence; that he is sovereign of the world, and enjoins on all his rational creatures entire obedience to his will; that sin or disobedience to his law’s will certainly be punished with eternal banishment from his presence; but that his obedient subjects will be rewarded with endless happiness. Hence, although men must all die, yet there will be a resurrection from the grave, and all men will be judged according to their works; the good will be separated from the wicked; and the destiny of both classes will be irrevocably fixed.

  First duties of men, — The first and most important duty of men, or rational beings, is to make themselves acquainted with the author of their existence, his character and attributes, his will and laws, and what he enjoins us to do or forbear. Of God’s character, we may obtain some imperfect notions from his works, from the world in which we live, its structure, its productions, the arrangement of its parts, and the adaptation of each part and every production to its proper use. Our views of the Creator may be still further extended by surveying the heavens, and the harmony of the whole system of worlds. These give us exalted ideas of the Creator. But we must resort to revelation for the more accurate knowledge of God; his attributes; and especially of his moral government, in which we are most essentially concerned. In the scriptures only can we obtain a knowledge of God’s spiritual essence, his purity, holiness, truth, justice and benevolence. In the scriptures only can we learn for what purposes we were made, what God requires us to be and to do, to obtain his favor and protection in this life, and what is to be our fate after death.

Angels Obedience to God, — As God is a being of perfect holiness himself; he requires his rational creatures to be holy, that is, like himself, as the only condition of his favor. It is incompatible with God’s nature and attributes to approve any thing that is unholy or sinful; his nature repels from himself whatever is in opposition to it; and an unholy being could not be happy in his immediate presence, a single moment. Holiness or purity of heart implies an entire conformity to God’s will in principle, accompanied with a perfect obedience of life; or a constant desire and aim at such obedience.

Sin, — Sin is any voluntary transgression of God’s laws; or any voluntary neglect of the duties which he requires. Sins may be either sins of commission, that is, active violations of God’s law; or they may be sins of omission, that is, passive neglect of duty. The will and commands of God are revealed in the scriptures, with so much clearness, that every person of common understanding may learn from them what he is to perform, and what he is to forbear doing. Hence the first business of men is to read the scriptures, and learn the character and will of God and their own duties.

  Moral law, — The law by which the conduct of men in their several relations to God and their brethren of the human race, is to be regulated, is called the moral law. This proceeds from the will of God, is ordained by his authority, and adapted to promote his glory, and the happiness of mankind. It is sometimes stated in theories, that an action is right because it is useful; and that it would be right on account of its fitness, independent of a divine command. But we can know nothing respecting fitness or unfitness, except as they exist in the works of God; and as he originated whatever exists, his will or purpose must have preceded all created things, and all the relations of things to each other. Whatever is right and useful therefore, must be so because God has ordained it to be the means of promoting his designs in the general system of things; and whatever is evil and mischievous must be so, because God has ordained it to be subversive of his designs.

Shephard  The glory of God and happiness of his creatures, — We are told by the apostle Paul, that in whatever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God. The whole system of created things, and their relations to God and to each other, are so adjusted by the Creator, that the actions of his rational creatures, which are essentially right and best adapted to promote their interest and happiness, are in accordance with God’s will, and tend to his glory. In a perfect system of things, a God of infinite power, directed by infinite benevolence, would not suffer to exist any discordance, or discrepancy, between moral actions which affect his own character, and those which affect the interest and happiness of men. Such disagreement would imply imperfection in the Creator, which we cannot suppose to be possible.

First Commandment

  Supreme love to God, — The first and great commandment, Christ has informed us, is, to love the Lord our God, with all the heart and soul and strength and mind. And why? For this obvious reason: that God is the greatest and best being, indeed the only perfectly good being in the universe. This command then is in accordance with our reason, for that which is the best is most desirable, and tends most to our happiness. But in addition to this fitness, gratitude to God, our creator and constant benefactor, demands our warmest affections, for having made us what we are; for giving us all we have; and for offering us all we can desire, in a future life. Besides, supreme love to God leads or inclines us to love his works, his laws and his intelligent creatures. In short, it is the source of all good motives and principles in the human heart; and the exercise of this supreme love is a perpetual source of happiness to us in this life. In demanding this love then from men, God has consulted our happiness no less than his own glory. Here the two things are in perfect harmony.

Second Commandment

  Love to our fellow-men, — Christ informs US that the second command is like the first, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The reasons are obvious; men are all one family, the children of the same father, formed with like capacities for improvement and enjoyment, and destined to the same end. The individuals of this great family are more or less dependent on each other; and while each is bound to take care of himself and his connections, he is bound so to conduct his own affairs, as not to injure or annoy his neighbors; on the other hand he is bound by the law of kindness, and the command of God, to do them good, whenever he can do it without injury to himself; and further, he is bound to relieve them in want and distress, even when such relief requires a sacrifice of time, labor or property. And the performance of these duties is accompanied with a reward, even in this life; for it gives us pain to see others in distress; we are always happier for making or seeing others happy. In this we observe that God’s command tends to advance our own happiness.

In the two commandments above mentioned, Christ has comprised the substance of the moral law, or the whole of religion. It is love to God and love to man.

  Idolatry — In the second commandment delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, the worship of images, pictures, statues, or the likeness of any created thing, is strictly prohibited. But a large portion of mankind has never known this prohibition, and they constantly worship images. This is idolatry, that abominable sin which God hates; the sin which often brought most terrible judgments upon the Israelites. And if any persons professing to belong to the denomination of Christians, adore images or pictures, or pay homage or divine honors to any created being, they violate the express command of God. “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” is the express command of God. Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20, Matthew 4:10.

The adoration of images, whether made of wood, stone, silver or gold; and of pictures on wood or canvas, is a mark of extreme stupidity; and shows the degraded state of human reason. Nor is it much less stupid to pray to saints or departed spirits. What can they do for men on earth? They cannot know who prays to them, nor what they pray for. They are not present with the worshiper: they are not omnipresent; and if they were, they could not help him. How degraded, how blind, and wretchedly ignorant, must be the persons who believe that pictures, or images, or departed souls, can afford them any assistance!

Third Commandment  

  Profaneness, — Among the sins prohibited by God, is profaneness. “ Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” This forbids all oaths and vain swearing, in which the name of the Supreme Being is used with levity and irreverence. Such use of God’s name implies, in the guilty person, a want of due regard to the majesty of God; and it tends to bring his sacred name and attributes into contempt with others. Then, a contempt of God leads to a disregard of his word, and an open violation of his laws. Nothing can be more pernicious than such contempt; for “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom;” it is the spring, the source of all religion and piety; it is this fear which operates as the most powerful restraint on all the evil propensities of mankind; it is that without which there can be no effectual restraint of human passions, of lust, ambition, anger, and revenge. To weaken that fear in the human mind, is a great evil; to banish it, is to destroy the foundation of all religion and morals.

And of what use is profanity? Was any man ever wiser or happier for an irreverent use of God’s name? Did any man ever gain respect, or pleasure, or property, by profane swearing? Not at all; it is the most foolish and useless, as well as one of the most low, vulgar vices, that a man can commit. And in females, how shocking, how detestable! In this prohibition then, God, who requires from us supreme reverence, forbids nothing that is for our interest, our honor, or our happiness; but that only which is useless, and degrading to ourselves. Here again is a perfect coincidence of God’s will with our own interest and reputation.

Fourth Commandment

 The Sabbath. — “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,” is the express command of God. The Sabbath was instituted in commemoration of God’s finishing the work of creation. It was enjoined upon men for other important purposes, particularly for giving rest and refreshment to man and beast, when weary by labor; and to give man one day in seven, to be consecrated to the immediate service of God. This service of God is the means prescribed for improvement in divine knowledge; in religious and moral instruction; which is necessary to guide us in the way of truth and duty in this life, and to prepare us for the enjoyment of heavenly bliss in a future world. In all respects, the Sabbath is a most important institution so important, that where it is not observed, men degenerate not only in religion, but in morals and manners; and become a kind of half savages. What can be more offensive to the author of all our blessings, than a habitual neglect of this institution? How reproachful is it to men, who are every moment dependent on the sustaining power of the Almighty, to refuse a portion of their time to learn his will, to praise his goodness, and supplicate his favors, and the forgiveness of their offenses? The rest of the Sabbath is very useful in recruiting the strength of the body, and necessary in the formation of the moral and religious character. In both respects, the command of God tends to the interest and happiness of men, as well as to his glory.

Fifth Commandment

  Obedience to Parents, — “Honor thy father and thy mother,” is another express command of God. This duty has a special reference to the good order of society. Parents are the natural guardians and governors of their children, during their infancy and childhood. It is made the duty of parents to provide for them food, clothing and instruction; and a sense of this duty is strongly fortified by the affection of parents for their children. In return children are commanded to obey their parents. Ephesians, 6:1. No duties of men in society are more important to peace and good order than those of parents and children. Families are the origin of nations; the principles instilled into youth in families, and the habits there formed are the germs of the principles and habits of society and nations. If children are left without restraint and culture in early life, many or most of them will be rude in manners, and turbulent members of society. On the other hand, the subordination of children in families tends to favor subordination in citizens; respect for parents generates respect for rulers and laws; at the same time, it cherishes and invigorates all the kindly affections, which are essential to domestic happiness. In this command then we see the entire coincidence between the will of God and our own interest and happiness.

Sixth Commandment

  Homicide, — Homicide, or the killing of one man by another is expressly forbid by God’s law, “Thou shalt not kill.” This prohibition extends to murder, manslaughter and other species of intentional killing. This is one of the most aggravated crimes, which can be perpetrated by men; so enormous is it, that the punishment of it, both by divine and human laws, is death, “Whoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Genesis 9:6. Life is the gift of God; and neither has one man a right to take another’s life without a legal judgment for that purpose, nor has a man a right to put an end to his own life. Suicide as well as murder is a foul crime. If one man were permitted to kill another, what a horrible world would this be! No man would be safe a single day; we should be in terror by day and terror by night.

But we are not only prohibited from killing others by violence; we are forbidden to do anything knowingly which will destroy life. We are required to avoid any act which, in its consequences, may impair health. Thus we may not sell or give to others unwholesome food or drugs: we may not furnish food or drinks which tend to shorten life; we may not injure our own health, by excess in eating or drinking, or labor; nor can we innocently require such excess of labor in our servants, or demand of them such an exposure, as to put their lives in peril. In this prohibition we see the goodness of God in guarding our safety.

At The Helm

Seventh Commandment

  Lewdness, — All carnal intercourse between the sexes, except in lawful marriage is forbidden. The evils that proceed from a violation of God’s law on this subject, are unspeakably great. The injuries to health, the dissipation of property, the ruin of female character, the destruction of family happiness, and the abandonment of all moral and religious principle, with the final loss of the soul, are among the woeful consequences of this wickedness. The institution of marriage was intended to prevent a promiscuous intercourse of sexes, which sinks men to brutes ; also to preserve chastity, and to foster all the kind and tender affections that contribute to bind society together, prevent broils jealousy and hatred, and unite mankind in harmony and peace. The man that disturbs the peace of a family by leading astray one of its members, incurs guilt next to that of murder. The restraints laid upon mankind by the law of God, in this particular, are essential to human happiness.

Eighth Commandment

  Theft,— “Thou shalt not steal,” is the brief command of God, which comprises the prohibition of taking property from others unjustly, in any manner whatever. In a strict legal sense theft is only the taking of property from another privately and fraudulently, or with a felonious intent; but in a scriptural sense, it includes robbery and piracy. And why is theft immoral? Because God has forbidden it. But it is immoral also for reasons arising from our own rights. Our right to property proceeds from our personal labor in acquiring it, from purchase or from gift. If a man earns a hundred dollars by his labor, that labor is a personal sacrifice, of which the money is the reward. If another man steals that hundred dollars, he takes the value of his services; that is, he has the use of the other man’s limbs without a consideration. This would be unjust; hence it is the law of God and of man that every man shall enjoy safely and quietly what he earns, what he buys with his earnings, and what is given or bequeathed to him, as the earnings of others.

  Fraud and cheating, — Every species of fraud and cheating is forbidden in the command not to steal. The methods employed by men to gain property without giving an equivalent for it are literally innumerable. One man defrauds by concealing the defects of an article which he sells, and obtaining for it more than it’s worth; another defrauds by substituting one article for another which appears to be like it; another defrauds by selling a less quantity than the purchaser believes to be contained in the vessel or package; another mixes articles together which are of different values, or puts with a valuable article something which is of no value, as in adulterating liquors, drugs, powders and the like. Others defraud in contracts or in labor, performing less than is stipulated. All such frauds are species of stealing, within the meaning of God’s prohibition. These and many others are all sinful; highly displeasing to God and injurious to our fellow men. And of what advantage is stealing and fraud? The man who steals or defrauds always feels uneasy, guilt torments him and especially the sight of the man whom he has defrauded, and, if detected, he is doomed to be infamous. If stealing and robbery were permitted the world would be a continued scene of strife and bloodshed. In this prohibition of theft therefore, God’s law is as really for our interest and happiness as for his glory.

Ninth Commandment

  Falsehood, — The command of God on this subject is “Thou shalt not bear false testimony against thy neighbor!” In other words, thou shalt not utter anything false to the prejudice of thy neighbor. This command forbids all lying, as well as false testimony in a court. Lying consists not only in affirming what one knows to be false; but in any action that is intended to deceive. This may be by a nod of the head or a motion of the finger. But the prohibition has an especial reference to slander or defamation. This is one of the most common, as well as most mischievous vices. A person’s reputation is his most valuable possession; indeed without a good name, a man of sensibility cannot enjoy any possession. Slander may be by direct falsehood or lying respecting another; or by propagating evil reports from others, knowing them to be false. Whatever is said with a view to lessen the reputation of others, must proceed from a malignant heart. That which is false ought never to be reported; and in many cases, truth to the prejudice of another, ought not to be told.

  Lying and perjury, — Whenever a man communicates to another that which is false making him to believe what is not true, with the intention to mislead him, he is guilty of lying. Truth is all important in the intercourse of men. We are connected in society by a thousand relations in business, which are necessary to our welfare; and which cannot be disturbed without serious injury. Falsehood destroys confidence in neighborhoods, fills men with distrust and jealousy; interrupts the harmonious transaction of business; often occasions loss of property, quarrels, lawsuits and endless broils.

Perjury or swearing falsely in courts of law and equity is the more criminal, as it may produce immense injustice and even destroy life.

  Punishment of falsehood, — What advantage is gained by defamation, lying or perjury? Suppose a person to gain a little property or transient gratification by deception, what is the consequence? If he is not detected, he must be forever tortured by a guilty conscience, for guilt never leaves a man at ease; and, if detected, he is universally despised and shunned: he forfeits the esteem and confidence of all others, and especially of all good men whose esteem is most valuable; he is distrusted in all his declarations; he is degraded. Such is his punishment in this life. But God is a God of truth; he requires truth in men, and he has declared that “all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.” Revelations 21:8. In forbidding slander, falsehood and perjury therefore God has established a rule of action for our benefit, no less than for the glory of his character, and the consistency of his moral government.

Tenth Commandment

  Coveting, — The prohibitions in this command restrain us from coveting the goods of our neighbors. We are then not only forbidden to obtain by theft or fraud what belongs to others; but we may not even desire their possessions, which providence has withheld from us. This desire often or generally proceeds from envy, inordinate ambition, or from discontent with the allotments of providence. This prohibition extends to render sinful all gaming, lotteries and rash enterprises for the sake of gain. We are bound to rest contented with the portion of property which we gain by honest industry and other lawful means. What loads of guilt are incurred by men whose inordinate desire of riches leads them to the use of every species of unlawful means? What detestable and criminal schemes do men devise and practice to gain office and superiority of station! With what envy do the poor often behold the rich, and perhaps when the rich man has gained by laborious industry a condition which the idle and the vicious will not labor to obtain! But all repining at the affluence of others is forbidden by God; and this prohibition is for our good; for without contentment there can be little or no happiness in life.

Ephesians 4:31, Corinthians 3:8, Matthew 5:22, 39, 44.

  Anger, — Anger is a passion excited by an injury or supposed injury done by another. It is a passion easily provoked, and too often indulged without restraint. But however difficult it may be to suppress it, in cases of willful injury; yet the divine commands and our own peace require that we restrain it. A moderate degree of resentment or feeling of dislike will usually be felt, when we receive an insult or willful injury. But it is of great importance to accustom ourselves to restrain this passion. We should ever be silent, when insulted rather than to utter an angry retort. If a man insults us or treats us contemptuously, it is better to remain silent and leave him to his own reflections for a time; for he will generally relent, and regret that he has offended. It is a magnanimous act, to overlook an injury, and it never fails to soften the offender and command his respect. Besides anger is a passion that makes a person unhappy, while it lasts; and if indulged to excess, often ends in further provocation and outrage. The prohibition of anger is therefore for our own happiness, as well as for the peace of society and the glory of God.

Romans 1:29, 13:13, Titus 3:3, Proverbs 3:31, 1 Peter 2:1.

  Envy, — Envy is the uneasy feeling which is excited by seeing the prosperity, exaltation or superior good of another. It is a passion that torments its possessor and thus inflicts its own punishment. It implies also discontent with the portion of good which God has assigned to the envious person; and this discontent can never be justified. To overcome this passion or feeling is indispensable to our comfort in life. A repining at the good of others often impairs the health, and always the happiness of men; and it is sure to destroy friendship, alienate those who ought to love each other, and produce hatred and rivalries that interrupt the courtesies of life. In prohibiting this passion, God consults the happiness of men, as in all his other prohibitions.

Jealousy is another passion which torments its possessor; and this, like other evils, proves that whatever is wrong tends more or less to disturb or destroy the comfort and happiness of men.

  Revenge, — Revenge is the infliction of evil on a person in return for a wrong or injury received. This is one of the most detestable practices; it is a heinous sin, and implies a temper extremely malignant. Yet nothing is more natural than a disposition to revenge. It is predominant among savages and the source of endless hostilities and war. In no one particular is the gospel more singular and superior to all human schemes of morality, than in the doctrine of forgiveness of injuries. This doctrine is a distinguishing trait in the preaching and instructions of Christ and his apostles. Says Christ, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them who curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. The excellence of such precepts shows them to be from heaven; for men, without such precepts, have ever returned evil for evil, injury for injury, blood for blood. The practice of men has tilled the world with violence, cruelty, war and devastation; the precepts of Christ tend to soften and allay the malignant passions, restrain persecution, war and plunder, heal the wounds inflicted by injuries; preserve peace between friends and nations, and cherish all the kind and benevolent affections. In short, the restraints imposed on our passions by the commands of God, all tend to our own peace and happiness.

  Intemperance, — By intemperance is to be understood all excessive indulgence of appetites and passions; but more generally it signifies excessive eating or gluttony, and the excessive drinking of intoxicating liquors. Excess in eating or drinking is a beastly vice; a vice by which a man is degraded almost to a brute. Indeed in many cases, the drunkard is in a condition below the brutes, for he destroys the use of his powers and faculties, which the brute does not. All excess in eating and drinking impairs the health, and a habit of this kind often wastes the property, and destroys reputation and usefulness. Many a life is shortened by intemperate drinking; many a crime is committed in a state of intoxication, which the person, when sober, would shrink from with horror; many a wife and family is rendered wretched by the use of spirituous liquors; and the greatest part of the tenants of the alms house and state prisons are those who have been habitual drinkers of spirit.

  Effects of intemperance, — Temperance in eating and drinking insures health, and generally lengthens life. In the days of the patriarchs, there was probably no such thing as distilled spirit, and wine was the juice of the grape unadulterated. To the temperate habits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is probable we may ascribe their longevity. It is more than probable that intemperance in eating and drinking, and the luxuries of the modern tables of the rich, have greatly shortened the usual period of human life. If men should drink water only, and eat no high-seasoned provision, using more vegetable and less animal food, there would be fewer diseases among men, and an increase in the length of life. In the indulgence of the appetites to excess and in cookery, men often gratify the taste at the expense of more permanent good, their freedom from dispepsy and other diseases, which annoy, if they do not destroy life. All excess in eating and drinking is forbidden by the laws of God, and this prohibition tends to secure us in the enjoyment of substantial good.

  War, — War is a state of hostility between nations; a contest for superiority, sometimes undertaken for plunder, as among savages; sometimes for conquest of territory; sometimes for a throne; sometimes to avenge an injury or insult to national honor; and sometimes for defense against an invading foe. The only war that can be justified is a defensive war; the resistance of an enemy, that attempts to take our lives or property. We have a right to defend our persons, our houses, goods and lands against an assailing foe. But almost all wars have been undertaken for plunder or conquest; millions and millions of the human race have been slaughtered in fighting to gratify the ambition of monarchs, or the lust of dominion in republics. Men, who are all of one family, are separated into tribes or nations under different governments; rival interests excite hatred; and when such interests rouse the passion for war, men become blood-thirsty and ferocious as tigers. What a heart-rending sight must be a field of battle, when thousands and tens of thousands of men, who ought to live as brethren, are engaged in the horrible work of shedding each other’s blood! When will nations lay aside the detestable practice of fighting for their rights? When will they constitute civil tribunals to decide national controversies, as suits between individuals are now decided? When will men shake off the remains of savage and barbarous customs, and assume the dignity of Christians?

  Slavery, — One of the consequences of war is slavery. In early ages, before men were civilized, tribes of barbarians made war on other tribes for plunder and for prisoners. Prisoners were made slaves, as they still are by some nations. Christianity has abolished this practice among most European nations; but until within a few years, these same nations have permitted the practice of purchasing prisoners of war in Africa, to be transported to America and enslaved. War is still carried on in Africa, among the barbarous tribes, to take captives to be sold and conveyed to America for slaves. England, France and the United States have restrained their subjects from this inhuman trade; but it is still carried on by other nations. This barbarous practice is one of the most alarming evils of the world; and the consequences of it no mortal can foresee.

 Causes of human misery, — The two general causes of the sufferings of men, are physical and moral evils. Physical events, such as diseases, storms, famine and earthquakes, are often unavoidable, and in that case are to be borne with resignation to the divine will. Many diseases however and other natural evils proceed from the ignorance, negligence or vices of men, and may be avoided. But moral evils constitute or produce most of the miseries of mankind and these may be prevented or avoided. Be it remembered then that disobedience to God’s law, or sin is the procuring cause of almost all the sufferings of mankind. God has so formed the moral system of this world, that conformity to his will by men produces peace, prosperity and happiness; and disobedience to his will or laws inevitably produces misery. If men are wretched, it is because they reject the government of God, and seek temporary good in that which certainly produces evil.

  Folly and absurdities of men, — God has commanded men to be temperate in the use of his bounties; but men abuse his goodness, riot in gluttony and drunkenness and destroy their health. God has furnished water in abundance, which man may have with little labor or none at all; and water used only when necessary, never produces disease; but men extract spirit from vegetable substances, and drink to excite lively feelings, which soon subside and leave the body in languor, and the practice, if continued ends in weakening, trembling, decay and death.

God has enjoined benevolence, kindness, charity, forgiveness of injuries, and justice in dealings; but men naturally follow the dictates of selfishness they withhold charities, revenge injuries, defraud their neighbors, and thus excite angry passions, enmities, hatred, lawsuits. Hence instead of social peace and happiness, they are harassed with quarrels and losses.

God has enjoined labor as the means of subsistence and health; but men avoid labor, if they can; they indulge in idleness and resort to vicious pastimes, and waste their time, their money, and impair their health. Men are often their own worst enemies.

Political Evils and the Remedy for them by Noah Webster 1834

The Excellence of the Christian Religion by Noah Webster Published 1834 Part 2

See also:

Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller 1832
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1
Christianity and the Founding of the United States
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1
Divine Heredity

Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education


See also The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English anyone can understand)

1. My young friends, the first years of your life are to be employed in learning those things which are to make you good citizens, useful members of society, and candidates for a happy state in another world. Among the first things you are to learn are your duties to your parents. These duties are commanded by God, and are necessary to your happiness in this life. The commands of God. are, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”—”Children, obey your parents in all things.” These commands are binding on all children; they cannot be neglected without sin. Whatever God has commanded us to do, we must perform, without calling in question the propriety of the command. ,

2. But the reasonableness of this command to obey parents is clear and easily understood by children, even when quite young. Parents are the natural guardians of their children. It is their duty to feed, clothe,protect, and educate them; and for these purposes it is proper and necessary that parents should have authority to direct their actions. Parents’ therefore are bound by duty and by right to govern their children; but the exercise of this right is to be regulated by affection. Parents have implanted in them a tender love for their offspring, which induces them to exercise authority over them with kindness.

3. It is proper that parents should be intrusted with the instruction of children, because children have every thing to learn, and parents are older, and have gained a knowledge of what their children want to know. Parents have learned what is right, and what is wrong; what is duty, and what is sin; what is useful, and what is hurtful to children and to men. And as children pass the first years of their life with their parents, they may be continually learning from their parents what is necessary or useful in the concerns of life.

4. It is not only proper that children should obey their parents, but their obedience should be prompt and cheerful. A slow, reluctant obedience, and that which is accompanied with murmurings,is not acceptable to parents, nor to God. A sense of duty should make a child free and ready to comply with a parent’s command; and this will always be the case where the child entertains a due respect for his parents. Love and respect render obedience easy and cheerful, and a willing obedience increases the confidence of parents in their children, and strengthens their attachment to them. But a cold and unwilling obedience, with a murmuring disposition, alienates affection, and inclines the parent to rigor and severity in the exercise of his authority.

5. Hence it is a primary duty of children, and as much their interest as it is their duty to”Honor their father and their mother.” This honor not only forbids the child to disobey his parents, but it forbids all rudeness and ill manners towards them. Children should manifest their respect for their parents in all their actions. They should be modest and respectful in their company, never interrupting them in conversation, nor boldly contradicting them: they should address them as superiors, and yield to their opinions and admonitions. This subordination of children to their parents, is the foundation of peace in families; contributes to foster those kindly dispositions, both in parents and children, which are the sources of domestic happiness, and which extend their influence to all social relations in subsequent periods of life.

6. Among the first and most important truths which you are to learn, are those which relate to God and religion. As soon as your minds become capable of reasoning, or excited by curiosity to know the causes of things, you will naturally inquire who made the world, who made you, and why were you made? You will understand, by a moment’s thought, that the things around you cannot have made themselves. You will be convinced that a stone or a mass of earth cannot have made itself, as it has no power in itself to act or move; it must then have had a creator, some being that had power to act or move, and to bring the stone into existence.

7. You observe that plants and trees grow, but they do not grow in winter, when it is cold; some degree of heat is necessary to their growth. You conclude then that wood and vegetable matter in itself has not the power of growth or increase. You see various animals, as dogs, and horses, but you know that they cannot create themselves; the first animal of every kind must then have had a creator, distinct from the animal himself. You see houses, and barns, and ships, but you know that they did not make themselves; you know they are made by men. You know also that you did not create yourselves; you began to exist at a time which you cannot remember, and in a manner of which you have no knowledge.

8. From such familiar observations and reflections, children may be convinced, with absolute certainty, that there must be a being who has been the creator of all the things which they see. Now when you think that of all the substances about you, not one can have been its own creator, and when you see the vast multitude of things, their variety, their size, their curious forms and structures, you will at once conclude that the Being who could make such things must possess immense power, altogether superior to the power of any being that you see on the earth. You will then be led to inquire who is this Being, and where is he.

9. Here not only children, but the wisest philosophers are brought to a stand. We are compelled to believe that there is a Being of vast and unlimited power, who has created whatever we see; but who he is, or where he is, we cannot know by our own observation or reason. As we cannot see this Being, we cannot, by the help of reason, know anything of his manner of existence, or of his power, except what we learn from his works, or from revelation. If we had been left to gather all our knowledge of the creator from his works, our knowledge of him must have been very imperfect. But the creator has not left mankind in ignorance on this subject. He has graciously revealed his character to man; and his revelations are recorded in a book, which by way of eminence, is called the Bible.

10. From the Bible we learn that God is a Spirit; hence we cannot see him. Spirit is not visible to human eyes. Yet we need not wonder that a substance which is invisible should possess amazing power. We cannot see the air or wind; yet we know by observation, that this fine, subtil fluid is a substance that supports our life, and when in rapid motion, it has immense force. We conclude then that a Being, consisting of pure spirit, may possess all the power necessary to the formation of the sun, moon, and stars, and every thing that we can see or feel. This great Being, in our language, is called God. He is a spirit that extends through the universe.

11. The scriptures inform us that God is not only all-powerful, but all-wise: and his wisdom is displayed in the admirable structure of whatever he has made; in the adaptation of every thing to its proper uses; in the exact order and beautiful arrangement and harmony of all parts of creation. The scriptures inform us also that God is a benevolent Being. “God is love,” and we have abundant evidence of this truth in the works of creation. God has not only made men and animals to inhabit the earth, but he has furnished the earth with every thing that is necessary for their support and welfare. The earth is stocked with plants, which are food for animals of various kinds, as well as for man; and plants and animals furnish man with food and clothing and shelter from the inclemency of the weather. The sea and rivers and lakes are also stocked with animals that supply food and other conveniences for man. The earth contains inexhaustible stores for supplying the wants and desires of living creatures.

12. We learn also from the Bible that God is a holy Being; that is, he is perfectly free from any sinful attributes or dispositions. If God was a wicked or malevolent Being, he would have contrived and formed every thing on earth to make his creatures miserable. Instead of this, we know from observation as well as experience, he has made every thing for their comfort and happiness. Having learned from the scriptures and from the works of creation, the character of God, and that he is your creator; the next inquiry is, in what relation do you stand to your maker, and what is his will respecting your conduct.

13. The first and most important point to be decided in your minds is that God is your Supreme or Sovereign Ruler. On this point, there can be no room for doubt; for nothing can be more evident than that the Being who creates another, has a perfect, indisputable right to govern him. God has then a complete right to direct all the actions of the beings he has made. To the lower animals God has given certain propensities, called instincts, which lead them to the means of their own subsistence and safety.

14. Man is a being of a higher order; he is furnished with understanding or intellect, and with powers of reason, by which he is able to understand what God requires of him, and to judge of what is right and wrong. These faculties are the attributes of the soul, or spiritual part of man, which constitutes him a moral being, and exalts him; to a rank in creation much superior to that of any other creature on earth.

15. Being satisfied that God is your creator and rightful governor, the next inquiry is, what is his will concerning you; for what purpose did he make you and endow you with reason? A wise being would not have made you without a wise purpose. It is very certain then that God requires you to perform some duties, and fill some useful station among other beings.

16. The next inquiry then is, what you are to do and what you are to forbear, in order to act the part which your maker has assigned to you in the world. This you cannot know with certainty without the help of revelation. But here you are not left without the means of knowledge; for God has revealed his will, and has given commands for the regulation of your conduct.

17. The Bible contains the commands of God; that book is full of rules to direct your conduct on earth; and from that book you may obtain all you want to know, respecting your relation to God, and to your fellow men, and respecting the duties which these relations require you to perform. Your duties are comprised in two classes; one including such as are to be performed directly to God himself; the other, those which are to be performed directly to your fellow men.

18. The first and great command is, to love the Lord your God with all the heart and soul and mind and strength. This supreme love to God is the first, the great, the indispensable duty of every rational being. Without this no person can yield acceptable obedience to his maker. The reasonableness of this command is obvious. God is a Being of perfect excellence, and the only being of which we have any knowledge, who possesses this character. Goodness or holiness is the only source of real happiness; it is therefore necessary to be holy in order to be happy. As the character of God is the only perfect model of holiness, it follows that all God’s creatures who are intended to be happy, must have the like character. But men will not aim to possess the character of holiness, unless they love it as the chief good. Hence the necessity of loving God with supreme affection.

19. Sin is the source of all evil. If sin was admitted into heaven, it would disturb the happiness of the celestial abode. Hence God has determined that no sinner shall be admitted into heaven. Before men can be received there, they must be purified from sin and sinful propensities. As this world is a state in which men are prepared for heaven, if prepared at all, it is indispensable that while they are in this world, they must be purified in heart, their evil affections must be subdued, and their prevailing dispositions must be holy. Thus when they are sanctified, and supreme love to God rules in their heart, they become qualified for the enjoyment of bliss with God and other holy beings.

20. It is true that, in this world, men do not become perfectly holy; but God has provided a Redeemer whose example on earth was a perfect model of holy obedience to God’s law, which example men are to imitate as far as they are able; and God accepts the penitent sinner’s cordial faith in Christ, accompanied with sincere repentance, and humble submission and obedience to his commands, in the place of perfect holiness of character.

21. The duties which you owe directly to God are entire, unwavering faith in his promises, reverence of his character, and frequent prayer and worship. Unbelief is a great sin, and so is profaneness, irreverence, contempt of his character and laws, neglect of prayer and of worship, public and private. All worship of images and saints, is an abomination to God; it is idolatry, which is strictly forbidden in the Bible; and all undue attachment to the pleasures, the amusements, and honors of the world, is a species of idolatry.

22. The second class of duties comprehends all such as you are bound to perform to your fellow men. These duties are very numerous, and require to be studied with care. The general law on this subject is prescribed by Christ in these words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” You are bound to do that to others which you desire them to do to you. This law includes all the duties of respect to superiors, and of justice and kindness to all men.

23. It has already been stated to you, that you are to obey your parents; and although obedience to other superiors may not always be required of you, yet you are bound to yield them due honor and respect in all the concerns of life. Nothing can be more improper than a neglect or violation of this respect. It is a beautiful anecdote, recorded of the Spartan youth, that in a public meeting, young persons rose from their seats when a venerable old man entered the assembly. It makes no difference whether the aged man is an acquaintance or a stranger; whoever he may be, always give him the precedence. In public places, and at public tables, it is extreme rudeness and ill manners for the young to thrust themselves into the highest and best seats.

24. The law of kindness extends also to the treatment of equals. Civility requires that to them all persons should give a preference; and if they do not accept it, the offer always manifests good breeding, and wins affection. Never claim too much; modesty will usually gain more than is demanded; but arrogance will gain less. Modest unassuming manners conciliate esteem; bold obtrusive manners excite resentment or disgust.

25. As mankind are all one family, the rule of loving our neighbor as ourselves extends to the performance of all duties of kindness to persons of all nations and all conditions of men. Persons of all nations, of all ranks and conditions, high and low, rich and poor, and of all sects or denominations, are our brethren, and our neighbors in the sense which Christ intended to use the word in his precept. This comprehensive rule of duty cannot be limited by any acts of our own. Any private association of men for the purpose of contracting the rule, and confining our benevolence to such associations, is a violation of the divine commands. Christ healed the sick and the lame, without any regard to the nation or sect to which they belonged.

26. One of the most important rules of social conduct is justice. This consists positively in rendering to every person what is due to him, and negatively, in avoiding every thing that may impair his rights. Justice embraces the rights of property, the rights of personal liberty and safety, and the rights of character.

27. In regard to property, you are to pay punctually all your just debts. When a debt becomes payable to another, you cannot withhold or delay payment without a violation of his right. By failure or delay of payment, you keep that which belongs to another. But the rule of justice extends to every act which can affect the property of another. If you borrow any article of your neighbor, you are to use it with care and not injure the value of it. If you borrow a book or any utensil, and injure it, you take a portion of your neighbor’s property. Yet heedless people who would not steal twenty-five cents from another, often think nothing of injuring a borrowed utensil, to twice or five times that amount.

28. In like manner, one who takes a lease of a house or land, is bound to use it in such a manner as to injure it as little as possible. Yet how often do the lessees of real estate strive to gain as much as possible from the use of it, while they suffer the buildings and fences to go to ruin, to the great injury of the owner! This is one of the most common species of immorality. But all needless waste, and all diminution of the value of property in the hands of a lessee, proceeding from negligence, amounts to the same thing as the taking of so much of the owner’s property without right. It is not considered as stealing, but it is a species of fraud that is as really immoral as stealing.

29. The command of God,”Thou shalt not steal,” is very comprehensive, extending to the prohibition of every species of fraud. Stealing is the taking of something from the possession of another clandestinely for one’s own use. This may be done by entering the house of another at night, and taking his property; or by taking goods from a shop secretly, or by entering upon another’s land and taking his horse or his sheep. These customary modes of stealing are punishable by law.

30. But there are many other ways of taking other men’s property secretly, which are not so liable to be detected. If a stone is put into a bag of cotton intended for a distant market, it increases the weight, and the purchaser of that bag who pays for it at its weight, buys a stone instead of its weight in cotton. In this case, the man who first sells the bag, knowing it to contain a stone, takes from the purchaser by fraud as much money as the weight of the stone produces, that is, as much as the same weight of cotton is worth. This is as criminal as it would be to enter his house and steal so much money.

31. If butter or lard is put up for a foreign or distant market, it should be put up in a good state, and the real quality should be such as it appears to be. If any deception is practiced, by covering that which is bad by that which is good, or by other means, all the price of the article which it brings beyond the real worth, is so much money taken from the purchaser by fraud, which falls within the criminality of stealing. If a buyer of the article in Europe or the West Indies is thus defrauded, he may never be able to know who has done the wrong; but God knows, and will punish the wrong doer. It is as immoral to cheat a foreigner as to cheat a neighbor.

32. Not only property in money and goods is to be respected; but the property in fruit growing in orchards and gardens. A man’s apples, pears, peaches, and melons, are as entirely his own, as his goods or his coin. Every person who climbs over a fence, or enters by a gate into another’s inclosure without permission, is a trespasser; and if he takes fruit secretly, he is a thief. It makes no difference that a pear or an apple or a melon is of small value; a man has as exclusive a right to a cent or a melon as he has to a dollar,a dime or an eagle.

33. If in a country where apples are abundant, men do not notice the taking of a few apples to eat, yet this indulgence is not to be considered as giving a right to take them. Where the injury is trifling, men in neighborhoods may do such things by consent. But there are many species of fruit so rare as to be cultivated with much labor and protected with care. Such fruit is often valued even more than money. The stealing of such fruit is one of the most common crimes, and as disgraceful to a civilized and Christian people as it is common. Let every man or boy who enters another’s inclosure and steals fruit, be assured he is as guilty as one who enters another’s house and takes the same value in money.

34. If in making payment or counting money, a mistake occurs by which a sum falls into your hands, which belongs to another person, you are as much bound by moral duty to correct the mistake and restore the money to the rightful owner, as you would be not to take it by theft. If persons suppose that because this money falls into their hands by mistake, and the mistake may never be known to the person who has a right to the money; this makes no difference in the point of morality; the concealment of the mistake and the keeping of the money are dishonest, and fall within the command “Thou shall not steal.”

35. When a man is hired to work for another by the day, the week, or the month, he is bound to perform what he undertakes; and if no particular amount of labor is promised, he is bound to do the work which is ordinarily done in such cases. If a man hired to do a day’s work spends half the day in idleness, he defrauds his employer of a part of his due; that is, of one half the value of a day’s labor. If the price of labor is one dollar for the day, then to waste half the day in idleness is to defraud the employer of half a dollar; this is as dishonest as to take half a dollar from his chest.

36. When a mechanic contracts to build a house or a ship, he is bound to perform the work in the manner which is promised. If he performs the work slightly, and with workmanship inferior to that which is promised and understood at the time of contracting, he defrauds his employer. Neglect of duty, in such a case, is as essentially immoral as the positive act of taking property from another without his consent.

37. The adulteration of liquors and drugs is extremely criminal. By adulteration, the value of a thing is diminished; and if an adulterated liquor or drug is sold for that which is genuine, a fraud is committed on the purchaser. The adulteration of wines is one of the most common and flagrant immoralities in commercial countries. The adulteration of drugs may be even more iniquitous, for then the physician cannot rely on their effects in healing the sick. All classes of people, but especially the common people, are continually subjected to frauds by such adulterations. A glass of genuine unadulterated wine is scarcely to be found, and foul mixtures are often used as medicines, for no pure wine is to be had in the neighborhood.

33. Tho modes used to defraud men in the kind or in the quantity or quality of commodities offered for sale, are almost innumerable. They extend to almost every thing in which fraud is not easily detected. This is a melancholy picture of the state of society; exhibiting unequivocal evidence of the depravity of men. It shows that the love of money is the root of all evil—a principle so powerful in the human heart as to overcome all regard to truth, morality, and reputation.

39. In all your dealings with men, let a strict regard to veracity and justice govern all your actions. Uprightness in dealings secures confidence, and the confidence of our fellow men is the basis of reputation, and often a source of prosperity. Men are always ready to assist those whom they can trust; and a good character in men of business often raises them to wealth and distinction. On the other hand, hypocrisy, trickishness, and want of punctuality and of fairness in trade, often sink men into meanness and poverty. Hence we see that the divine commands, which require men to be just, are adapted to advance their temporal as well as their spiritual interest.

40. Not only are theft and fraud of all kinds forbidden by the laws of God and man, but all kinds of injury or annoyance of the peace, security, rights, and prosperity of men. The practice of boys and of men, who do mischief for sport, is as wrong in morality as it is degrading to the character. To pull down or deface a sign-board; to break or deface a mile-stone; to cut and disfigure benches or tables, in a school house, court house, or church; to place obstacles in the highway; to pull down or injure fences; to tarmsli the walls of houses or the boards of a fence, and similar tricks that injure property or disturb the peace of society, are not only mean but immoral. Why will rational beings indulge in such feats of mischief and folly? Men are not made to injure and annoy one another, but to assist them; not to do harm, but to do good; not to lessen, but to increase the prosperity and enjoyments of their fellow men.

41. But you are required to be just not only to the property, but to the reputation of others. A man’s reputation is dearer to him than his property, and he that detracts from the good name of another is as criminal as the thief who takes his property. Say nothing of your neighbor maliciously, nor spread reports about him to lessen his reputation. On the other hand, vindicate his conduct in all cases when you can do it with a clear conscience. If you cannot defend it, remain silent.

42. Nor are you to be less careful of the rights of others, than of their reputation and property. By the laws of creation, and by our civil constitution, all men have equal rights to protection, to liberty, and to the free enjoyment of all the benefits and privileges of government. All secret attempts, by associations, or otherwise, to give to one set of men or one party advantages over another, are mean, dishonorable, and immoral. All secret combinations of men to gain for themselves or their party advantages in preferments to office, are trespasses upon the rights of others.

43. In every condition of life, and in forming your opinions on every subject, let it be an established principle in regulating your conduct, that nothing can be honorable which is morally wrong. Men who disregard or disbelieve revelation often err from the true standard of honor, by substituting public opinion or false maxims for the divine laws. The character of God, his holy attributes, and perfect law, constitute the only models and rules of excellence and true honor. Whatever deviates from these models and rules must be wrong, and dishonorable. Crime and vice are therefore not only repugnant to duty, and to human happiness; but are always derogatory to reputation. All vice implies defect and meanness in human character.

44. In whatever laudable occupation you are destined to labor, be steady in an industrious application of time. Time is given to you for employment, not for waste. Most men are obliged to labor for subsistence; and this is a happy arrangement of things by divine appointment; as labor is one of the best preservatives both of health and of moral habits. But if you are not under the necessity of laboring for subsistence, let your time be occupied in something which shall do good to yourselves and your fellow men. Idleness tends to lead men into vicious pleasures; and to waste time is to abuse the gifts of God.

45. With most persons, the gaining of property is a primary object, and one which demands wisdom in planning business, and assiduous care, attention, and industry in conducting it. But it is perhaps more difficult to keep property than to gain it; as men while acquiring property are more economical and make more careful calculations of profit and loss, than when they hold large possessions. Men who inherit large possessions are particularly liable to waste their property, and fall into poverty. The greatest hereditary estates in this country are usually dissipated by the second or third generation. The sons and grandsons of the richest men are often hewers of wood and drawers of water to the sons and grandsons of their father’s and grandfather’s servants.

46. As a general rule in the expenditure of money, it is safest to earn money before you spend it, and to spend every year less than you earn. By this means, you will secure a comfortable subsistence, and be enabled to establish your children in some honest calling; at the same time, this practice will furnish the means of contributing to the wants of the poor, and to the promotion of institutions for civilizing and Christianizing heathen nations. This is a great and indispensable duty. ..

47. In your mode of living, be not ambitious of adopting every extravagant fashion. Many fashions are not only inconvenient and expensive, but inconsistent with good taste. The love of finery is of savage origin; the rude inhabitant of the forest delights to deck his person with pieces of shining metal, with painted feathers, and with some appendage dangling from the ears or nose. The same love of finery infects civilized men and women, more or less in every country, and the body is adorned with brilliant gems and gaudy attire. But true taste demands great simplicity of dress. A well made person is one of the most beautiful of all God’s works, and a simple, neat dress, displays this person to the best advantage.

48. In all sensual indulgences be temperate. God has given to men all good things for use and enjoyment; but enjoyment consists in using food and drink only for the nourishment and sustenance of the body, and all amusements and indulgences should be in moderation. Excess never affords enjoyment; but always brings inconvenience, pain, or disease. In selecting food and drink, take such as best support the healthy functions of the body, avoid as much as possible the stimulus of high-seasoned food; and reject the use of ardent spirits, as the most injurious and most fatal poison.

49. 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. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted.

50. To young men I would recommend that their treatment of females should be always characterized by kindness, delicacy and respect. The tender sex look to men for protection and support. Females when properly educated and devoted to their appropriate duties, are qualified to add greatly to the happiness of society, and of domestic life. Endowed with finer sensibilities than men, they are quick to learn and to practice the civilities and courtesies of life; their reputation requires the nice observance of the rules of decorum; and their presence and example impose most salutary restraints on the ruder passions and less polished manners of the other sex. In the circle of domestic duties, they are cheerful companions of their husbands; they give grace and joy to prosperity; consolation and support to adversity. When we see an affectionate wife devoted to her domestic duties, cheering her husband with smiles, and as a mother, carefully tending and anxiously guarding her children and forming their minds to virtue and to piety; or watching with conjugal or maternal tenderness over the bed of sickness; we cannot fail to number among the chief temporal advantages of Christianity, the elevation of the female character. Let justice then be done to their merits; guard their purity; defend their honor; treat them with tenderness and respect.

51. For a knowledge of the human heart, and the characters of men, it is customary to resort to the writings of Shakspeare, and of other dramatic authors, and to biography, novels, tales, and fictitious narratives. But whatever amusement may be derived from such writings, they are not the best authorities for a knowledge of mankind. The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. The history of the Jews presents the true character of man in all its forms. All the traits of human character, good and bad; all the passions of the human heart; all the principles which guide and misguide men in society, are depicted in that short history, with an artless simplicity that has no parallel in modern writings. As to maxims of wisdom or prudence, the Proverbs of Solomon furnish a complete system, and sufficient, if carefully observed, to make any man wise, prosperous, and happy. The observation, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” if strictly observed by men, would prevent half the broils and contentions that inflict wretchedness on society and families.

52. Let your first care through life, be directed to support and extend the influence of the Christian religion, and the observance of the sabbath. This is the only system of religion which has ever been offered to the consideration and acceptance of men, which has even probable evidence of a divine original; it is the only religion that honors the character and moral government of the Supreme Being; it is the only religion which gives even a probable account of the origin of the world, and of the dispensations of God towards mankind; it is the only religion which teaches the character and laws of God, with our relations and our duties to him; it is the only religion which assures us of an immortal existence; which offers the means of everlasting salvation, and consoles mankind under the inevitable calamities of the present life.

53. But were we assured that there is to be no future life, and that men are to perish at death like the beasts of the field; the moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation; and they are adapted to the wants of men in every condition of life. They are the best principles and precepts, because they are exactly adapted to secure the practice of universal justice and kindness among men; and of course to prevent crimes, war, and disorders in society. No human laws dictated by different principles from those in the gospel, can ever secure these objects. 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.

54. As the means of temporal happiness, then, the Christian religion ought to be received, and maintained with firm and cordial support. It is the real source of all genuine republican principles. It teaches the equality of men as to rights and duties; and while it forbids all oppression, it commands due subordination to law and rulers. It requires the young to yield obedience to their parents, and enjoins upon men the duty of selecting their rulers from their fellow citizens of mature age, sound wisdom, and real religion—”men who fear God and hate covetousness.” The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe, which serve to support tyrannical governments, are not the Christian religion, but abuses and corruptions of it. The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government.

55. Never cease then to give to religion, to its institutions, and to its ministers, your strenuous support. The clergy in this country are not possessed of rank and wealth; they depend for their influence on their talents and learning, on their private virtues and public service. They are the firm supporters of law and good order, the friends of peace, the expounders and teachers of Christian doctrines, the instructors of youth, the promoters of benevolence, of charity, and of all useful improvements. During the war of the revolution, the clergy were generally friendly to the cause of the country. The present generation can hardly have a tolerable idea of the influence of the New England clergy, in sustaining the patriotic exertions of the people,under the appalling discouragements of the war. The writer remembers their good offices with gratitude. Those men therefore who attempt to impair the influence of that respectable order, in this country, attempt to undermine the best supports of religion; and those who destroy the influence and authority of the christian religion, sap the foundations of public order, of liberty and of republican government.

56. For instruction then in social, religious, and civil duties, resort to the scriptures for the best precepts and most excellent examples for imitation. The example of unhesitating faith and obedience in Abraham, when he promptly prepared to offer his son Isaac, as a burnt offering, at the command of God, is a perfect model of that trust in God which becomes dependent beings. The history of Joseph furnishes one of the most charming examples of fraternal affection, and of filial duty and respect for a venerable father, ever exhibited in human life. Christ and his apostles presented, in their lives, the most perfect example of disinterested benevolence, unaffected kindness, humility, patience in adversity, forgiveness of injuries, love to God and to all mankind. If men would universally cultivate these religious affections and virtuous dispositions, with as much diligence as they cultivate human science and refinement of manners, the world would soon become a terrestrial paradise.

See other articles on history:

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Christianity and the Founding of the United States

History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part I 1765 to May, 1780

American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1


Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)

Constitution of the United States and the operations of the government. by Noah Webster 1832 in his History of the United States (In plain English anyone can understand, even Barack Obama and Members of Congress)



558. Different forms of Government. In Asia the governments are all despotic; whole nations being subject to the arbitrary will of one man, under the denomination of Emperor, Sultan, King, Nabob or other title. In Europe, some nations are governed by the absolute sway of Emperors or kings; some are subject to a body of nobles; others are subjects of forms of government of a mixed character, consisting of a King, of nobles and representatives of the people. When the sole power of making laws is in the hands of one person, the government is called a monarchy, or an empire; the chief is called a monarch, emperor or autocrat; and the government is arbitrary or despotic. When the powers of government all center in a body of nobles, it is called an aristocracy, or oligarchy. The government of England is a mixed form, consisting of a King, lords and commons.

559. Republican Government. These United States present the first example, in modern times, of a government founded on its legitimate principles. By the laws of nature, reason, and religion, all men are born with equal rights. Every person is equally entitled to the protection of his person, his liberty, and his property; and of course is entitled to have a voice in forming the government by which this protection is to be secured. In this country, the people all enjoy these inestimable rights and privileges; and the constitution of the United States, formed by the delegates of the people, and ratified by the people represented in conventions, guaranties to them the enjoyment of their rights. This constitution is truly republican, and forms a splendid era in the history of man.

560. Distribution of the powers of government. In the constitution of the United States, as in most of those of the several states, the government is divided into three branches, a House of Representatives, a Senate, and a President, or executive power. The House of Representatives and the Senate form the legislative power, or power of enacting laws. The president is the chief magistrate, in whom is vested the power of executing the laws; that is, the power of enforcing them, or carrying them into effect. The reasons why the legislative power is vested in two branches or houses, are, that there may be a more full discussion of bills or proposed laws, for the purpose of ample deliberation, and a clear understanding of their nature and tendency; and also that one house may check, if necessary, any hasty or partial measures proposed by the other. The two houses are called the Congress of the United States.

561. Article I. The House of Representatives is composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states. The citizens who have the right of choosing, are called electors; and to be electors, they must have the qualifications which entitle citizens to vote for representatives in the several states; such as suitable age and character, and in some states, property. A representative in Congress must be twenty-five years of age, and have been seven years a citizen of the United States; and at his election, must be a citizen of the state in which he is chosen. The reasons are obvious. The age of twenty-five years is necessary to prevent young men, not mature in judgment, from being elected to one of the most important offices in government: and a man cannot represent a state, unless he is an inhabitant.

562. Apportionment of Representatives. The number of representatives in each state is according to the number of its free persons, and three fifths of all other persons, Indians not taxed being excluded. For the purpose of ascertaining the number of persons, a census or enumeration of inhabitants is taken every ten years; and Congress by law determine the number of inhabitants which entitles to a representative. This number is enlarged every ten years, to prevent the House of Representatives from being too numerous. The house establishes rules of proceeding in conducting debates, and elects a speaker, who presides for keeping order, and enforcing the rules.

563. Senate. The Senate of the United States is composed of two senators from each state, chosen by its legislature for six years, and each senator has one vote. The senators are divided into three classes, and one class or third go out of office every two years, and the vacancies are supplied by new appointments. A senator must be thirty years of age and an inhabitant of the state, and he must have been a citizen of the United States nine years, at the time of his appointment. The Vice President of the United States is president of the Senate, and has no vote, except when the votes of the Senate are equally divided. The smallest states have two senators, and the largest have no more; the senators being considered as representatives of the states, rather than of the people.

564. Distinct powers of the two houses. The House of Representatives has the sole right of impeachment, that is, the right or power to accuse officers of the government for maladministration, or for crimes, offenses, or neglect of duty in their offices. The Senate has the sole right and power to try offenders impeached. Each House is the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members; each determines the rules of its proceedings, and punishes or expels its own members for disorderly conduct. Senators and representatives receive a compensation for their services which is ascertained by law. They are privileged from arrest, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, during their attendance in the session, and in going to and returning from the same. Officers of government cannot hold a seat in either house.

565. Money Bills. All bills for raising a revenue must originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments to such bills, as in other cases. This restriction in regard to the raising of money, is founded on the principle that the House of Representatives is strictly the representation of the people, and is intended to prevent undue appropriation of money, which might be made by a house less dependent on the people. In Great Britain the right of originating money-bills is solely in the House of Commons; but for stronger reasons, as the House of Lords is a body wholly independent of the people, by hereditary right or royal grant of title.

566. Mode of passing bills. Bills, when presented to either house, must be read three times. On the first reading, no debate is had, but a vote is taken for a second reading; and on this reading, the bill, if opposed, is discussed, and then by vote is passed to a third reading, or rejected. Three readings,and regularly on different days, are required, and then, if not rejected, the bill passes to be engrossed. It is then engrossed on parchment, and passed to be enacted. The bill is then presented to the President of the United States, whose signature completes the act, and the bill becomes a law. But if the President objects to it, he returns the bill to the house in which it originated, with his objections in writing; and the bill is reconsidered. If on reconsideration, two thirds of the members are in favor of it, it becomes a law; if not, it dies.

567. Powers of Congress. The powers of Congress are specified in the constitution. They extend to the general concerns of the United States; leaving to the several states the right of making laws respecting their own local interests. The Congress can lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, pay the debts, and provide for the defense and welfare of the United States; but all such duties must be uniform throughout the United States. Congress can borrow money, regulate commerce, coin money, establish post-offices and post roads, institute courts, declare war, raise and support armies, provide a navy, organize the militia, secure to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries for a limited time, and punish crimes or a violation of their laws.

568. Restrictions of power. Congress cannot pass any ex post facto law, that is, they cannot pass a law to punish a crime after it has been committed; they cannot lay a direct tax, unless in proportion to the census or number of inhabitants; they cannot lay any tax or duty on exports, nor give any advantage to one state over another in commercial regulations; no money can be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of an appropriation by law; no title of nobility can be granted, nor can any officer of the government accept any present, emolument, office or title, from any King, prince or foreign state. No state can enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal, coin money, emit bills of credit, make any thing except gold and silver a tender in payment of debts, or pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts; nor can it lay any imposts or duties on exports or imports, without the consent of Congress.

569. Article II. The executive power is vested in a President, who, with the Vice-President, is elected for the term of four years. These officers are chosen by electors appointed by the states in such manner as the legislatures prescribe. The number of electors in each state is equal to the joint number of senators and representatives in that state. By an amendment to the constitution, the electors meet on the same day, in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom must not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. They must name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots, the person voted for as Vice-President. They make a certified list of all persons voted for,and transmit the same to the President of the Senate, who opens the certificates, in the presence of both houses of Congress, and the votes are counted. The person who has a majority of all the votes is declared President; or if no person has a majority, then from the persons having the highest number of votes, not exceeding three, the House of Representatives elect a President by ballot. In this case the votes are taken by states, each state having one vote. If no person has a majority of votes for Vice-President, then from the two highest on the list, the Senate elect one to be Vice-President.

570. Qualifications of the President. The President must be a natural born citizen of the United States, or a citizen at the time the constitution was adopted: and no person is eligible to that office unless he is thirty years of age and has been fourteen years a resident of the United States. In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the duties of the office, the powers of the President devolve on the Vice-President. The President receives a compensation ascertained by law. He takes an oath to execute his office with fidelity, and to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution, to the best of his ability.

571. Powers and duties of the President. The President is commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the states, when called into actual service of the United States. With the advice and consent of the Senate, he has power to make treaties; he nominates, and with the advice and consent of the Senate he appoints ambassadors and other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law. He fills vacancies in offices, which happen during the recess of the Senate, but their commissions expire at the end of the next session. He has power to convene Congress on extraordinary occasions, and it is his duty to give information to Congress of the state of the Union, to recommend measures to their consideration, and in general to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

572. Article III. Judiciary. The judicial power is that which consists in courts of law appointed to try and determine causes between individual persons and corporations. The constitution vests this power in one Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as the Congress shall ordain and establish. The judges of these courts hold their offices during good behavior. Their powers extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under the constitution and laws of the United States, and to treaties made under their authority; to cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States are a party; to controversies between states, between a state and citizens of another state, between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state or its citizens and foreign states, citizens or subjects. Trials of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, must be by jury.

573. Crimes, and rights of citizens. Treason against the United States consists only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Citizens of each state are entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens of the several states. A person charged with a crime, fleeing from justice, and found in another state, must, on demand of the executive of the state from which he fled, be delivered up to be returned to that state, which has jurisdiction of the crime.

Congress may admit new states into the union; and the United States guaranty to every state in the Union, a republican form of government. The constitution and laws of the United States, made in pursuance of it, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States, are the supreme law of the land. Congress cannot make any law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise of it; nor can they abridge the freedom of speech and of the press.

In comparison to other forms of government:

574. Advantages and evils of Monarchy. The advantages claimed for a government by a single person are secrecy and promptness in decision, and energy in action. A single man makes a law or decree without obstacles or delays, from opposing wills or opinions, and without liability to a disclosure of his designs. Hence in war monarchs have sometimes an advantage over republics; and in cases of extreme danger republics have sometimes created a dictator with unlimited powers for a time, to call into action the forces of the state. This was the fact in Rome, and during the war of the revolution Congress invested Gen. Washington with absolute command. But the danger of monarchy, is, that the monarch will, as he always can, oppress his subjects with arbitrary and unreasonable taxes, or violations of their rights. It has been found that few monarchs have exercised a paternal care over their subjects—Most of them have been tyrants, or have wasted the revenue of their kingdoms in luxury and vice and war.

575. Advantages and evils of Aristocracy. When the nobles of a state have the whole government in their hands, and have no dependence on the people for the possession of their power, they are often disposed, like monarchs, to oppress the people by taxes and unjust laws. In addition to this evil, their councils are often distracted with party spirit, by means of the jealousy, selfishness, and ambition of the different members of the government, by which such states are often kept in agitation, and the public interest is sacrificed. To counterbalance these evils, aristocracy may embody much wisdom; as nobles may have the advantage of a good education.

576. Advantages and evils of a Republic. The great benefit of a republican form of government is, that the people, being the source of all authority, elect their own rulers, who, after a limited time, for which they are elected, return to the condition of private citizens. In this case the rulers and ruled have a common interest. If the representatives of the people enact unjust or oppressive laws, the people have a remedy, in the power of electing different men for representatives at a subsequent election, who may repeal such laws. The evils of this form of government are, that ambitious and unprincipled men, in their strife for office, may and often do deceive and mislead the people, or corrupt them by offers of money and offices. In this case, the government often falls into the hands of wicked and profligate men.

577. Success of the Constitution of the United States. As soon as the constitution of the United States was ratified, and organized, the Congress took effectual measures to give it due effect. They passed laws distributing the powers of the government into several departments. They established a department of state, to carry on a correspondence with foreign powers,—a department of the treasury, to manage all the concerns of the revenue,—a department of war, to superintend the affairs of the army,—and a department of the post-office, to conduct the concerns of the public mails. They afterwards established the department of the navy. At the head of each department was placed a head or chief officer. They also passed a law for collecting revenue by duties or imposts on foreign goods imported. They funded the debt of the United States, by appropriating money to pay the interest. They assumed a part of the debts of the states, contracted during the war of the revolution, and provided for the payment of the interest. They established courts for the decision of causes; one in each state, called a district court; and a supreme court, with jurisdiction over the United States. These measures revived public credit, put in motion the enterprise and industry of our citizens, and gave these states rank and honor among the powers of the earth. From that time commenced the prosperity of the United States, which, with little interruption, has continued to this day.

The Origins of Civil Liberty:

578. Origin of Civil Liberty. Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian religion. Men began to understand their natural rights, as soon as the reformation from popery began to dawn in the sixteenth century; and civil liberty has been gradually advancing and improving, as genuine Christianity has prevailed. By the principles of the christian religion we are not to understand the decisions of ecclesiastical councils, for these are the opinions of mere men; nor are we to suppose that religion to be any particular church established by law, with numerous dignitaries, living in stately palaces, arrayed in gorgeous attire, and rioting in luxury and wealth, squeezed from the scanty earnings of the laboring poor; nor is it a religion which consists in a round of forms, and in pompous rites and ceremonies. No; 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.

579. Character of the Puritans. For the progress and enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, in modern times, the world is more indebted to the Puritans in Great Britain and America, than to any other body of men, or to any other cause. They were not without their failings and errors. Emerging from the darkness of despotism, they did not at once see the full light of Christian liberty; their notions of civil and religious rights were narrow and confined, and their principles and behavior were too rigid. These were the errors of the age. But they were pious and devout; they endeavored to model their conduct by the principles of the Bible and by the example of Christ and his apostles. They avoided all crimes, vices, and corrupting amusements; they read the scriptures with care, observed the sabbath, and attended public and private worship. They rejected all ostentatious forms and rites; they were industrious in their callings, and plain in their apparel. They rejected all distinctions among men, which are not warranted by the scriptures, or which are created by power or policy, to exalt one class of men over another, in rights or property.

580. Institutions of the Puritans in America. The Puritans who planted the first colonies in New England, established institutions on republican principles. They admitted no superiority in ecclesiastical orders, but formed churches on the plan of the independence of each church. They distributed the land among all persons, in free hold, by which every man, lord of his own soil, enjoyed independence of opinion and of rights. They founded governments on the principle that the people are the sources of power; the representatives being elected annually, and of course responsible to their constituents. And especially they made early, provision for schools for diffusing knowledge among all the members of their communities, that the people might learn their rights and their duties. Their liberal and wise institutions, which were then novelties in the world, have been the foundation of our republican governments.

581. Effects of the principles and institutions of the Puritans. The principles of the Puritans fortified them to resist all invasions of their rights; and prepared them to vindicate their independence in the war of the revolution. That war ended in the establishment of the independence of the United States. The manifestos, or public addresses of the first American congress, and the act declaring independence, proclaimed to all the world the principles of free governments. These papers circulated extensively in foreign countries. The French officers who assisted in the defense of American rights, became acquainted in this country with the principles of our statesmen, and the blessings of our free institutions; and this circumstance was the germ of a revolution in France. The constitution of the United States is made the model of the new governments in South America; and it is not without its influence in Greece, and in Liberia in Africa. It is thus that the principles of free government, borrowed from the Puritans, have been conveyed to foreign countries, and are gradually undermining arbitrary governments, with all their oppressive institutions, civil and ecclesiastical.

See other articles on history:

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini

Non Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of Jesus Christ by Johannes von Müller

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Christianity and the Founding of the United States

History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part I 1765 to May, 1780

American Statesman: Tribute to President George Washington Part 1