An immense effect may be produced by small powers
wisely and steadily directed.
Noah Webster, 1821
Noah Webster, Father of American Scholarship, believed every individual should ask three questions: “Who made me? Why was I made? What is my duty?” The proper answers to these questions, and the practical result of them, constitute the whole business of life. He said that we are furnished with powers of reason to answer these questions, and by the design of our Creator, reason should be employed in every stage of life.
However, he cautioned, “reason without cultivation, without experience and without the aid of revelation, is a miserable guide.” We daily observe in the secular world the failure of reason without revelation. Reason without revelation leads to ignorance, error and action based upon the impulse of passion.
How do we receive revelation? By “aid of revelation”, Webster meant the Bible—communication of truth by God to men. He instructed to first, occupy your mind with study from the Scriptures to learn of the Will and Character of our Maker; second, learn the end or purpose He has given you for your life; and third, discover the duties He wants you to perform. “In all that regards faith and practice, the Scriptures furnish the principles, precepts and rules, by which you are to be guided.” God’s Word would reveal the answer to each of the questions if this became your “first study to occupy the mind.”
What are the results? It will define your reputation among men, you will have peace of mind, and real hope of future happiness when you conform your conduct to the commands of God revealed in the sacred Scriptures.
Today, when Biblical education is under attack, it will encourage us to return to the instruction of Noah Webster for guidance. Then, we may once again enjoy the blessings of liberty under law in our nation.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. II Cor. 3:17