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First Landing Day April 29, 2014

Posted By Max Lyons, Thursday, April 24, 2014

The planting of the first permanent English colony on the shores of North America began on April 26, 1607 when 104 settlers and Parson Robert Hunt landed at Cape Henry. Their first official act was to conduct a Lord’s Day service. Several days later, on April 29th, they conducted a service and dedicated America to God. This has become the day that we recognize and celebrate as First Landing Day. Today at the original site there is a State Park that was recently renamed First Landing Park in honor and recognition of this event.


What was the religious motive behind the planting of this colony? You will find the answer to this question in a series of four charters, published 1606-1628, that authorized this colony. Richard Hakluyt, Robert Hunt and other members of the Virginia Company wrote the first charter for the colonizing of Virginia. All four charters state that it was the purpose of this endeavor to bring the gospel to the people who live in darkness. As stated in the 1606 Charter:


…Wee, greatly commending and graciously accepting of thiere desires to the furtherance of soe noble a worke which may, by the providence of Almightie God, hereafter tende to the glorie of His Divine Majestie in propagating of the Christian religion to suche people as yet live in darknesse and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worshippe of God may in tyme bring the infidels and salvages living in those parts to humane civilitie and to a settled and quiet govrmente, doe by these our letters patents graciously accepte of and agree to theire humble and well intended desires;… [i]


In this first charter it was also recognized that the Christian faith was to be preached and therefore planted:


…and wee doe especially ordaine, charge and require the said Presidents and Councells and the ministers of the said several Colonies respectively, within their several limits and precincts, that they with all diligence, care and respect doe provide that the true word of God and Christian faith be preached, planted and used, not only within every of the said several Colonies and plantacions but alsoe as much as they may amongst the salvage people which doe or shall adjoine unto them, according to the doctrine, rights and religion now professed and established within our realm of England;… [ii]


As we celebrate the 408th anniversary of the Christian founding of our nation, let us remember the mighty and providential acts of our awesome God and let us purpose to continue to bring the gospel to all who are in our sphere of influence.

[i] The Charters of Virginia 1606-1621(Virginia Beach, Va: Patriot Prints, 1994) Chapter four

[ii] Ibid, chapter two

Tags:  American history  Christian history  Jamestown 

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Forefathers Monument 125th Anniversary

Posted By Max Lyons, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Plymouth Rock Foundation invites you to the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the National Monument to the Forefathers.  This exciting event will be held in Plymouth, MA July 31- August 2, 2014. Speakers include Marshall Foster, William Federer, John Eidsmoe and Paul Jehle. Events include seminars, historic tours and “A Venture Almost Desperate” a historic drama of the Pilgrims’ struggle for religious freedom. To register, or for more information, go to and click “Celebrate Faith.” Max Lyons, in costume as Jamestown Governor Edward Maria Wingfield, will present a seminar entitled "Jamestown: Preparation for Plymouth.” Please feel free to tell others about this historic opportunity! 

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FACE Welcomes Max Lyons as Director of Teaching Services

Posted By Carole Adams, Thursday, April 3, 2014
Dear Friends,

I’m very happy to announce to you that Dr. Max Lyons has come “home” to FACE to serve as our Director of Teaching Services.  The director’s focus is giving Principle Approach support to schools, churches, and homeschools by providing training and inspiration, giving practical individual consultation, and directing conferences.  

While these times most definitely "try men’s souls," they offer extraordinary opportunity and possibility for Christian education.  Please know that you have true friends and a strong support system at FACE.  I’m writing to invite you to call upon Max with your questions, concerns, or other needs.  As you will see in the following letter of introduction and bio, Max has been associated with the Foundation for many years and has an impressive depth of practical experience in the Principle Approach.
Carole Adams
The Foundation for American Christian Education

Dear Principle Approach School Administrators,

I believe that God has prepared me to assist Principle Approach schools, homeschools, and churches to develop enduring, exemplary programs. I am available for consulting, teacher training, and sharing of practical tools that I have developed.  I look forward to partnering and serving you as you serve the precious children and families in your care.

I am taking this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Director of Teaching Services for the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE). I began as a teacher, then an administrator in Christian schools. I’ve served as principal, board member, and head administrator. I served on the Board of FACE for fourteen years. My wife Margie and I homeschooled our four children using the Principle Approach teaching grades K4-10 over a twenty-year period.

We have had the privilege of developing a number of resources over the past three decades for use by Principle Approach teachers and homeschoolers. These include several books, Bible curriculum and numerous smaller “adaptable samples.” I have created many materials to assist in the administration and development of Principle Approach schools, many that are now available through FACE.

My personal life mission statement is: to master the dynamic principles and precepts of Scripture, practice them and impart them effectively, inspiring others to walk in God’s liberty by practicing Christian self-government.

Decades ago God began to show me that His Word applies to all of life and I have discovered that a diligent application of its principles brings liberation from the curse of sin and Satan and freedom to enjoy God’s goodness. This is true liberty.  I desire to share these essential truths and principles with other God-seekers.

Hosea lamented that, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” We live in a time when knowledge has been greatly multiplied but Biblical knowledge is diminished or rejected. We have moved from a period of illiteracy, not being able to read and understand, to a-literacy, being able to read and understand, but not having the desire to do so. This is especially true of any sort of Biblical truth.  How can we walk in God’s truth when we don’t know it and love it? What little Biblical truth we obtain in church, at home, and in Christian schools (for only 10% of Christian youth) is soon swept away by anti-Christian “truth” taught and “caught” by the culture, i.e. internet, television, movies, music, literature and friends, all the entrance “gates” to our children’s lives. If we truly want to know God’s truth and walk in it, we must exert Herculean efforts every day, for the gates of hell oppose us.

The problem is compounded as most Christians do not understand and embrace the Biblical worldview. In most churches Christianity is taught and embraced as a religion, not a worldview. Therefore its teachings are usually limited to basic doctrine, salvation and issues such as personal finances, marriage and family, etc. However the vast majority of churches would never venture into the topics of government, economics, psychology, sociology, education, science, arts/entertainment, and other subjects. With no teaching in these areas, the assumption is that either the Bible does not address these subjects, or worse, that what God has to say on these subjects is not important.

My desire is to help believers sharpen their “sword of the Spirit” to defeat their personal enemies and the enemies in our culture. This happens as they embrace the applicability of the Word of God to every aspect of their lives and implement it, advancing the kingdom of God personally and societally.

Please mark your calendar for our Principle Approach Summer Training Series. These four inspiring days are designed to unleash the love of learning! This Series will be offered August 11-14, 2014 in Chesapeake, Virginia. Details will be published soon.

Please feel free to contact me just to say hello or to see how I can assist you and your ministry.

Max Lyons, Ph.D.
Director of Teaching Services  
The Foundation for American Christian Education

Tags:  home school teaching  Principle Approach  Staff 

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Pilgrims and Poetry

Posted By Connie Moody, Thursday, November 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, November 4, 2013

Thanksgiving is our American tradition of thanking God for His mercies and blessings.  Our Pilgrim Fathers began the tradition with a joyous harvest celebration to recognize the Hand of Providence in overcoming hardships and supplying all their needs.  Many Americans (it should be all Americans) are familiar with William Bradford, governor and historian of the Plymouth colony and his history Of Plimouth Plantation, "but very few know that he is one of the most prolific American poets of the seventeenth-century…."[1]  Add to your Thanksgiving studies and readings the poetry of William Bradford.  Be inspired to try your hand at retelling His-story through poetry and leave your contribution to the legacy of American liberty in verse.


     "[A]s New England gradually changed from a savage wilderness to a prosperous settlement Bradford felt more and more alone in his struggle to preserve the separatist principles that brought the Pilgrims to the new land. Many were moving away from Plymouth to become wealthy trade merchants in Boston or hungrily buying up land away from the colony. Bradford finally gave up his writing Of Plimouth Plantation in despair of a lost vision. He pursued instead the writing of poetry for the purpose of helping the separatists and puritans to remember their heritage, to warn them of worldliness and heretical groups that were trying to lead them astray and to encourage them to return to their ‘first love’—the dream and vision of building a community completely upon the principles of God’s Word and separation from the world.

     "Bradford was like a spiritual father to the Pilgrims. His fatherly love could not bear to see his ‘children’ seemingly set on destroying themselves by turning away from the truths they once held so dear. His poems, then, reflected a different dimension of Bradford than his prose. He was no longer just an historian, but a heart-broken pastor or shepherd seeing to save the lost sheep of his fold…

     "[Bradford] felt a sense of great hurt that Plymouth was pushed into the background. Plymouth was more than just a colony to the Pilgrims. It was a noble experiment and a symbol of faith, truth and liberty. They thought that if Plymouth failed, it would appear that their ideals had failed too. It was a spiritual battle between good and evil, God and Satan, and to let Plymouth fall would be to admit defeat…

     "In order to help the people to see how far they had really deviated from the beginning, Bradford wrote his lengthy poem, ‘Some Observations.’ It gave an account of New England’s history from its first encounter with the Indians in 1620, through the different stages of spiritual decline up to 1654. In this poem he tried to contrast the early years of God’s merciful providence and blessing with the later years of backsliding and carnality….

      "The poetry of William Bradford may be thought of by some as mere mechanical versification, instead of genuine poetry. Versification was very common during the early years of America as a means of recording historical events, illustrating sermons and teaching morals to children. It was true that Bradford himself called his own poetry merely ‘useful verse,’ meant to teach more than inspire. Yet his verse went beyond just arranging words in a certain meter or ending the lines with rhyme. Bradford used a variety of poetic tools to express his ideas, including metaphor, simile, alliteration, personification, apostrophe and pun. He used twenty-two poetic tools in all, and some very effectively…

      "The fact that Bradford’s poetry was virtually ignored for more than three-hundred years was probably based on the conclusion that his verse did not compare to the greater poets of his day or ours. This conclusion, whether true or not, was very unfortunate, for his poetry not only gave us a better look at Bradford the man, but also a more complete record of the Pilgrims, valuable historical background on the events in Europe which led to the separatist movement and an informative description of the various religious groups during Bradford’s time, both in Europe and America….”[2]

      Below is the second section of Bradford’s poem titled, Some Observations of Gods mercifull dealing with us in this wilderness, and his gracious protection over us these many years. Blessed be his name. In this segment of the longer poem Bradford rehearses the providence and mercy of God in the midst of great tribulation especially in the early years of the Colony. In this poem of heroic couplets, Bradford testifies of the Pilgrim faith in God and trusting His wisdom in allowing the trials of life believing that God intends good to come from the hardships and His purposes to be accomplished. Whether in poetry or prose, songs or psalms, God’s command to remember and retell remain a sustaining encouragement for the generations and help to overcome in the struggle of materialism versus spirituality.

II. The Founding of Plymouth

When we came first, we were in number small,
Not much above a hundred, in all;
And in a number, we did here arrive,
And, by God's mercy, were all brought alive.
But when we came, here was no house nor town,
Nor certain place we knew, where to sit down,
Nor any friends, of whom we could expect
Us for to help, or any way direct.
Some forth were sent, to seek a place fitting,
Where we might harbor, and make our dwelling.
But in a place, where one cold night they lay,
They were assaulted, about break of day,
By these Indians, with great clamor loud,
Whose arrows fell, like to a dropping cloud.
Yet none were hurt, though some had clothes shot through;
But them repelled, from this their rendezvous,
And, with their musket, made them fly and run;
So that long after none at us would come.
But now sharp winter storms came us upon,
So here we made our habitation;
And till such time as we could houses get,
We were exposed to much cold and wet,
With such disease as our distempers bred;
So that within the space of three months' tide,
The full half of our weak company died;
And the condition of the rest was sad,
But the Lord compassion on them had,
And them again to health and strength restored,
And cheered them up; with courage as before,
And hath enabled them for to go on,
And, with comfort, the work to lead along.
And many of them still there be,
And some their children's children married see.
Famine once we had, wanting corn and bread;
But other things God gave us in the stead,
As fish and ground-nuts, to supply our meat,
That we might learn on providence to wait,
And know, by bread man lives not in his need,
But by each word that doth from God proceed.
But a while after, plenty did come in,
From His hand only, who doth pardon sin;
And all did flourish, like the pleasant green,
Which, in the joyful spring, is to be seen.[3]

[1] Tim Paulsen, preface to The Poetry of William Bradford.

[2] Paulsen, introduction.

[3] Poet: William Bradford - All poems of William Bradford. Accessed November 4, 2013 at


Paulsen, Tim, ed. The Poetry of William Bradford (Manuscript). Arcata, CA: Humboldt State University, 1981.


For a deeper understanding take the online course Mastering Providential History: The Pilgrim Study.

Tags:  Pilgrims  poetry  Thanksgiving  William Bradford 

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Is it still okay to commemorate Columbus Day?

Posted By Connie Moody, Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013

"The determination of the people of the United States to celebrate fitly the great discovery which has advanced civilization and changed the face of the world, makes it certain that a new interest has arisen in the life of the great man to whom, in the providence of God, that discovery was due.”

Edward E. Hale, Roxbury, Mass., June 1st, 1891.
Preface to The Life of Christopher Columbus From His Own Letters and Journals, 1891.

Columbus Day is established to commemorate the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. Officially established as a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, it was unofficially celebrated in many cities and states as early as the late 1700’s. In recent years, controversy over the "worthiness” of the man and a day dedicated to the significance of his achievements has prompted individuals and communities to institute alternatives—holiday revisionism, if you will.

Christopher Columbus holds a place on the Chain of Christianity® as a key individual used by God in the westward move of the Gospel. His legacy is admittedly a mixed one; Columbus, after all, was human. In our current postmodern milieu, rather than being studied and understood in light of Providential purpose and history and Christian character, Columbus, the man, is often discounted, derided, and debased. For instance, he bears the disdain of many moderns who attribute to him the personal responsibility for the decimation of native populations from small pox. Clearly this was not his intent and would have been the likely consequence of the inevitable intersection of the Old World with the New through whichever agent and in whatever year it was introduced.

The real debate is between absolutes and "relativisms"—between the presupposition that God in His Sovereignty moves men and nations, sets their boundaries, orders their steps, and numbers their days, so disease epidemics must also be consider in light of the Gospel purposes of Providence, and its relative counterfeit that there is no supernatural Creator-God that brings good out of destruction and that the "noble savage” of the Indies and his indigenous values and behaviors were as worthy, if not more so, than any other. Post-moderns argue that the Native American civilizations encountered on the islands of the Caribbean in 1492 require reconsideration, no, reconstruction, in the cause of cultural egalitarianism and social justice, and history must be rewritten to reflect this.

As Gai Ferdon points out in her book, A Republic If You Can Keep It (2008),

Traditional scholarship, which required rigorous interaction with primary sources and the search for authorial intent, is replaced with a type of literary iconoclasm typically deployed in the service of the "oppressed,” whose ranks have swelled to include almost all groups except white Anglo-American heterosexual males. Though cultural relativism requires that no nation’s past be narrated more prominently than another, postmodernism tends to elevate the histories of so-called oppressed non-western [or indigenous] cultures. National narratives are re-written for purposes of social justice as an attempt to equalize the political, economic, and social aspects of societies.

Ferdon goes on to quote Alvin J. Schmidt from his book Menace of Multiculturalism (1997) with this declaration, "Multiculturalists often damn the facts of history … by publishing ‘noble lies’ that will make minorities and ethnic groups feel good, as well as make their cultures appear equal, or perhaps even superior, to the Euro-American….”[1]

Why not use this Columbus Day to engage in "traditional scholarship, which required rigorous interaction with primary sources and the search for authorial intent”? Why not read the words of Columbus to discover for yourself that "the Bible was the principal source of inspiration for the great Columbian enterprise”[2] by reading Columbus’ own testimony in his Book of Prophecies (El Libro de las Profecias in the original Spanish language, c. 1501-1505)? An excellent companion to this primary source document and worthy your effort is Christopher Columbus, His Life and Discovery in the Light of His Prophecies by Kay Brigham, an author who also compiled an English translation of his Prophecies. Another valuable primary source for study is the English translation of The Log of Christopher Columbus.

Columbus’ convictions and dependency on the Word of God didn’t make him perfect and as Washington Irving pointed out in the chapter "Observations on the Character of Columbus” in his history The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, "These remarks, in palliation of the conduct of Columbus, are required by candor. It is proper to show him in connection with the age in which he lived, lest the errors of the times should be considered his individual faults. It is not the intention of the author [Irving], however, to justify Columbus on a point where it is inexcusable to err [human slavery]. Let it remain a blot on his illustrious name and let others derive a lesson from it.”[3]

Today is Columbus Day. What lessons will you derive from the legacy of this man? How will you commemorate the Hand of Providence as it moved and God set His early stepping-stone for a new frontier for Liberty on an unknown land that lay across the "Sea of Darkness"?  Today IS Columbus Day.

[1] Gai M. Ferdon, A Republic If You Can Keep It, America’s Authentic Liberty Confronts Contemporary Counterfeits (Chesapeake, VA: Foundation for American Christian Education, 2008), 41.

[2] Kay Brigham, Christopher Columbus, His Life and Discoveries in Light of His Prophecies (Barcelona, Spain: CLIE Publishers, 1990), 53.

[3] Washington Irving, The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus to which are added those of His Companions, Vol. II (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1871), 562.

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Tags:  character  Christopher  Columbus 

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The Christian Roots of Our Constitution

Posted By Verna M. Hall, Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Why is the Constitution of the United States of America a Christian document setting forth the Christian form of civil government?  Simply because its nature and essence, its structure and framework are to be found in the Word of God, the Holy Bible.  This does not mean that we have a Theocracy, but it does give us a Christian republic.  There have been many republics in the history of government, both before and after the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but only the United States of America can claim to have been founded as a Christian Republic. . . .

"To understand where the power or sovereignty of government resides, is a leading point in understanding America's Christian Constitution.  Unless this point is accepted, the Constitution becomes like other constitutions, and government is treated as a force, an entity outside the individual, against which he must forever war or contend. . . .

"Where a people believe the power of government to reside determines whether they believe that man exists for the state or that the state exists for man. . . .

"To the colonists, civil government was understood to be a mirror of the people's ability to be self-governed; to show forth how little or how much self-government they lived.

"As we consider the form of government our Constitution sets forth, we find at it has three essential elements: 1) Representation1, 2) Three branches—legislative, judicial, and executive2, and 3) The Dual aspect of the state and the nation3.  Upon these pillars is erected the superstructure of our state and national constitutions.  And because these elements did not originate with an external government, but are the Biblical admonitions to the individual desiring to live the life of a Christian, we find these pillars of government in every aspect of our American life.

"As we understand that these elements find their roots in Scripture, we can unequivocally state that the Constitution of the United States of America is the Christian form of civil government.  The determining factor, we submit, is not whether Christians formed the Constitution, but whether the form is Christian according to the Word of God.

 "We submit these facets of our Constitution as illustrative of its Christian nature and form."

1.Deuteronomy 1:13-15

2. Isaiah 33:22

3. Matthew 22:37-40, In these verses the "individual's relation to God and to man are hereby stated, and for the Christian there must be consistency in his behavior, whether he is dealing with one neighbor, or infinite millions.  Both commandments must be lived by each Christian and in their stated sequence—in extension they become the national-federal concept of our Constitution, self-government with union.  For our nation, they become the Monroe Doctrine."

Post excerpted from:
Verna M. Hall, "The Christian Roots of our Constitution," unpublished talk (1965).  Published in The Journal, Vol. VIII, The Foundation for American Christian Education, 1999, pp.6-11.

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Mothers, Guardians of Our Children's Souls

Posted By Connie Moody, Saturday, May 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013

(Excerpted in full from "Biblical Motherhood” by Rosalie J. Slater, The Journal II, FACE, 1990, pp. 73, 74.)


Lydia Sigourney, an American Christian mother, describes the role of motherhood in her Letters to Young Ladies, and in her Letters to Mothers. In her Preface to the latter volume she writes:

     "You are sitting with your child in your arms. So am I. And I have never been as happy before. Have you? How this new affection seems to spread a soft fresh green over the soul. Does not the whole heart blossom thick with plants of hope, sparkling with perpetual dewdrops? What a loss, had we passed through the world without tasting this purest, most exquisite fount of love.

     "Now, how shall we bring up the babe, which Heaven hath lent us? Great need have we to repeat the question of the father of Samson, to the angel who announced his birth, ‘how shall we order the child?’ Surely, we shall unite with fervour in his supplication to the father of Angels, ‘teach us what we shall do unto the child.’

     "Are you a novice? I am one also. Let us learn together. The culture of young minds, in their more advanced stages, has indeed been entrusted to me, and I have loved the office. But never before, have I been so blest, as to nurture the infant, when as a germ quickened by Spring, it opens the folding doors of its little heart, and puts forth the thought, the preference, the affection, like filmy radicles or timid tendrils, seeking where to twine.

     "Ah! how much have we to learn, that we may bring this beautiful and mysterious creature, to the light of knowledge, the perfect bliss of immortality! Hath any being on earth, a charge more fearfully important than that of the Mother? God help us to be faithful, in proportion to the immensity of our trust.

     "The soul, the soul of the babe, whose life is nourished by our own! Every trace that we grave upon it, will stand forth at the judgment, when the ‘books are opened.’ Every waste-place, which we leave through neglect, will frown upon us, as an abyss, when the mountains fall, and the skies shrivel like a scroll. Wherever we go, let us wear as a signet-ring, ‘the child! the child!’ Amid all the musick of life, let this ever be the key-tone, ‘the soul of our child.’” [Sigourney, Letters to Mothers, pp. vii-viii; Hall-Slater Library Collection.]

  Thus the opening words of Lydia Sigourney set the tone for the quality of her reasoning with mothers upon the life subject of educating and guiding the development of our children. Through her consideration of many subjects we sense the tender spiritual and moral concern that she is addressing. In her chapter titled "Early Culture,” she gives counsel and direction:

"Mothers, take into your own hands, the early instruction of your children. Commence with simple stories from the Scriptures, from the varied annal of history, from your own observation of mankind. Let each illustrate some moral or religious truth, adapted to convey instruction, reproof or encouragement, according to your knowledge of the character and disposition of your beloved students….

      "Cultivate in your children, tenderness of conscience, a deep sense of accountability to God, a conviction that their conduct must be regulated by duty, and not by impulse…. Give one hour every morning, to the instruction of your children, one undivided hour to them alone…. Review what has been learned throughout the day, recall its deeds, its faults, its sorrows, its blessings, to deepen the great lessons of God’s goodness and forebearance, or to soothe the little heart into sweet peace with Him and all the world, ere the eyes close in slumber. [Sigourney, Letters to Mothers, pp. 91-92.]

    Like all early mothers of our Republic, Lydia Sigourney knew that motherhood in America was critical to the development of a character to support Christian self-government. So her teachings always recalled mothers of America, even as the Scriptures recall to us the mothers of Israel, to their accountability to all who entrusted them with the education of their children.

  "And now, Guardians of Education, whether parents, preceptors, or legislators—you who have so generously lavished on woman the means of knowledge—complete your bounty by urging her to gather its treasures with a tireless hand. Demand of her as a debt the highest excellence which she is capable of attaining. Summon her to abandon selfish motives and inglorious ease. Incite her to those virtues which promote the permanence and health of nations. Make her accountable for the character of the next generation. Give her solemn charge in the presence of men and angels. Gird her with the whole armour of education and piety, and see if she be not faithful to her children, to her country, and to her God.

      ". . . For the strength of a nation, especially of a republican nation, is in the intelligent and well-ordered homes of the people. And in proportion as the discipline of families is relaxed, will the happy organization of communities be affected, and national character become vagrant, turbulent, or ripe for revolution.” [Sigourney, Letters to Young Ladies, as quoted in Verna Hall’s, Christian History, Vol. I, p. 410].

Look forward to the release of Lydia Sigourney’s Letters to Mothers to be reprinted by FACE later this year. You’ll want to own this reprinted treasure and gift it to all the women and mothers you know to promote and restore "the intelligent and well-ordered homes" of America through Biblical womanhood and motherhood.

Tags:  baby  child  Lydia Sigourney  motherhood  Mothers Day 

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Emma Hart Willard, Christian Woman

Posted By Connie Moody, Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March is designated National Women’s History Month. Now, we know that every month—every moment—is Christ, His-story, but we’ll use this opportunity to share a bit about a woman who contributed to the telling of His-story, Emma Hart Willard.

Emma Hart inherited from her parents a passion for learning, a broad Christian benevolence, and a deep sense of patriotism. As a young girl in Connecticut she used her "vigorous mind” and "her opportunities well, and in her desire and ability to acquire knowledge she far exceeded her years.” (Emma Willard and Her Pupils, Mrs. Russell Sage, publisher, New York, 1898, 10) Emma early applied her passion for learning to teaching and eventually founded the Troy Female Seminary in New York. Her original designs were to increase the learning of women and, in turn, to increase their influence as wives and mothers—as the superintendents of the home and hearth, the nursery of Christian character and self-government—and thus to secure the footings of the new Republic.

Applying her character as a diligent and self-directed scholar, "It is easy to evolve the fair picture of the enthusiastic young wife [of Dr. John Willard] studying to qualify herself to be the companion of the wise and good man who had enthroned her in his affections. She delves into his medical library, she unravels the mysteries of Physiology, she takes up the study of Geometry, and comes by successive steps to Locke’s "Essay Concerning Human Understanding.” (Emma, 12)

Having opened a boarding school in her home to help with family finances, Emma is described as an individual of "persevering industry.” "A model wife and mother, she still finds opportunity to supplement her routine of school duties by her own researches in science and literature, that she may unfold their mysteries to her classes.” (Emma, 13)

Absent during Willard’s early career are Webster’s Dictionary, grammars, readers, and his essential blue-backed Speller. His histories complete with catechisms on constitutional republicanism are yet unpublished. "She had no models from which to copy.” (Emma, 15) She had only the fruit of her own studies, her plans, and her reflective observations on learning to guide her instruction. Emma Willard was a pioneer in education in the young American Republic. "Finding herself still restricted by adequate text-books, she resolved to make her own.” (Emma, 16) Among her contributions are History of the United States or Republic of America (1828) and Universal History (1835). In addition, being a teacher of teachers, Emma Willard designed and documented guides, graphics, and map series so that the "student will then view the plan of universal history, with ‘its two eyes, chronology and geography.’” Daniel Webster wrote of her History of the…Republic…, "I keep it near me as a book of reference, accurate in facts and dates.”

The prefaces to her books contain exhortations and instructions to the teacher illuminating methods and applying principles of teaching and learning. In her History of the United States she points out, "Moral improvement is the true end of intellectual. Hence, the propriety of sometimes turning aside in the relations of history, to make such moral reflections as they may suggest; and if it is proper for the historian to make them, it is proper for the student to notice them.” (History of the United States or the Republic of America, Emma Willard, N. J. White: New York, 1835, ix)

In a later abridged edition of the History, she adds, "We have, indeed, been desirous to cultivate the memory, the intellect, and the taste. But much more anxious have we been to sow the seeds of virtue, by showing the good in such amiable lights, that the youthful heart shall kindle into desires of imitation….There are those, who rashly speak, as if in despair of the fortunes of our republic; because, say they, political virtue has declined. If so, then there the more need to infuse patriotism into the breasts of the coming generation. And what is so likely to effect this national self-preservation, as to give our children, for their daily reading and study, such a record of the sublime virtues of the worthies of our earliest day… what our country, and our liberties have cost? And what but the History of our peculiar, and complicated fabric of government, by which, it may be examined, as piece by piece the structure was built up, can impart such knowledge of the powers it gives, and the duties it enjoins, as shall enable our future citizens, to become its enlightened and judicious supporters?” (History, abridged, 1850, V-VI) The appendix of the unabridged History includes the Declaration of Independence, Washington’s Farewell Address, and the Constitution of the United States. Willard insisted that these "should be studied by the youth of our country, as their political scriptures.” (History, ix)

JOIN US in celebrating Christ, His-story through the life of a Christian woman, wife, mother, teacher, and lifelong student: Emma Hart Willard.

Tags:  education  Emma Willard  history  self-education 

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The Prime Meridian of American Character

Posted By Connie Moody, Sunday, February 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013

Excerpt from the ORATION OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP given February 21, 1885 upon The Dedication of the Washington National Monument  


Who can delineate it worthily? Who can describe that priceless gift of America to the world in terms which may do it any sort of justice, or afford any degree of satisfaction to his hearers or to himself?

     Modest, disinterested, generous, just—of clean hands and a pure heart—self-denying and self-sacrificing, seeking nothing for himself, declining all remuneration beyond the reimbursement of his outlays, scrupulous to a farthing in keeping his accounts, of spotless integrity, scorning gifts, charitable to the needy, forgiving injuries and injustices, brave, fearless, heroic, with a prudence ever governing his impulses and a wisdom ever guiding his valor—true to his friends, true to his whole country, true to himself—fearing God, believing in Christ, no stranger to private devotion or public worship or to the holiest offices of the Church to which he belonged, but ever gratefully recognizing a Divine aid and direction in all that he attempted and in all that he accomplished—what epithet, what attribute could be added to that consummate character to commend it as an example above all other characters in merely human history!…

      … [T]he Glory of Washington will remain unique and peerless until American Independence shall require to be again achieved, or the foundations of Constitutional Liberty to be laid anew.…[Italics added.]

     … A celebrated philosopher of antiquity, who was nearly contemporary with Christ, but who could have known nothing of what was going on in Judea, and who alas! did not always "reck his own rede”—wrote thus to a younger friend, as a precept for a worthy life: "Some good man must be singled out and kept ever before our eyes, that we may live as if he were looking on, and do everything as if he could see it.”

     Let me borrow the spirit, if not the exact letter, of that precept, and address it to the young men of my Country: "Keep ever in your mind and before your mind’s eye the loftiest standard of character. You have it, I need not say, supremely and unapproachably, in Him who spake as never man spake and lived as never man lived, and who died for the sins of the world. That character stands apart and alone. But of merely mortal men the monument we have dedicated to-day points out the one for all Americans to study, to imitate, and, as far as may be, to emulate. Keep his example and his character ever before your eyes and in your hearts. Live and act as if he were seeing and judging your personal conduct and your public career. Strive to approximate that lofty standard, and measure your integrity and your patriotism by your nearness to it or your departure from it. The prime meridian of universal longitude, on sea or land, may be at Greenwich, or at Paris, or where you will. But the prime meridian of pure, disinterested, patriotic, exalted human character will be marked forever by yonder Washington Obelisk!”

      Yes, to the Young Men of America, under God, it remains, as they rise up from generation to generation, to shape the destinies of their Country’s future—and woe unto them if, regardless of the great example which is set before them, they prove unfaithful to the tremendous responsibilities which rest upon them!1  


1 Hall, V. M. (2000). George Washington: The Character and Influence of One Man. Chesapeake, VA: Foundation for American Christian Education. 283-4.

Tags:  character  Robert Winthrop  Washington  Washington Monument 

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Religious Liberty: Conscience vs. Coercion

Posted By Connie Moody, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

CON´SCIENCE, n. con´shens. [Fr. from L. conscientia, from conscio, to know, to be privy to; con and scio, to know (that is, with knowledge)….] (bold parenthetical note added)

Internal or self-knowledge, or judgment of right and wrong; or the faculty, power or principle within us, which decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions and affections, and instantly approves or condemns them.

C̵OER´CION, n. Restraint, check, particularly by law or authority; compulsion; force. South.[1]

January 16 each year is the anniversary of the ratification of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786). Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia Statute became the foundation for the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Like many of the documents of our founding generation, the Statute affirms the ideals first restored by Christ and upheld by the first century church—the primitive gospel of liberty and the limitations of men ruling over men. At this time the world was reminded of the truth that men were created free and with the capacity to reason and with conscience—the power of principle within us. The world has been witness to scores of individuals of many religious convictions for whom liberty of conscience became more important than their very lives. On the Chain of Christianity®, many apostles, disciples, saints, reformers and our own Pilgrim Fathers suffered persecution and sacrificed their livelihood and lives to shake off "the yoke of antichristian bondage”—the coercive compulsion of the civil authority to force a system of faith, worship, or belief-based actions on its citizens or force their restraint in the practice of the same.

"Be it enacted. . . that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain,
their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge,
or affect their civil capacities.”
Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom

Each individual is entitled by virtue of the Creator to believe and to act on his beliefs be they Christian or Muslim, Atheist or Buddhist, Jewish or Roman Catholic (of course, not all will be saved based on their beliefs—only by His grace). The role of the state is to limit the free exercise of religion only to the extent that such belief-based actions intrude on or inhibit the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of others. It is never the role of the civil government to use its power and authority to force citizens to exercise or support (e.g., government spending of some tax dollars) a religion or to unduly limit the exercise of one’s beliefs.

Christianity, not the Virginia Statute, originally gave this idea of individual religious liberty to the world and, thus, to all religions in nations embracing the principle. Of all people, then, the followers of Christ should best guard and steward it—they must live it, for "to reach the essence of liberty, and certainly to secure its blessings in co-operative living, choice must be exercised in conformity with moral principles. There must be a sense of personal responsibility, of self-restraint, and therefore of self-government…. The blessing of liberty, which political government may safeguard or destroy but can never itself provide, are therefore intimately connected with personal belief in, and practice of, Christian doctrine.” (Felix Morely, in T&L, p. 236)

What are we, as heirs to His Spirit of Liberty, doing to actively confess the faith and walk as children of Light in liberty of conscience? How are we actively standing against civil compulsion to violate conscience?

Remember, doing what is right and not doing what is wrong OR doing what is wrong and not doing what is right requires the consent of conscience. "My consent (active or tacit) is my title to keeping conscience in God’s will.” (T&L, p. 232)

For more on this topic, please see Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle Approach, pp. 224-239.

Read more about religious liberty and the separation of church and state from a recent post at William J. Federer's American Minute. Click here. also has resources for teaching about Religious Liberty (especially regarding students’ rights in public schools),

[1] Webster, N. (2006). An American Dictionary of the English Language, facsimile copy of the 1828 edition. Chesapeake, VA: Foundation for American Christian Education.

Tags:  coercion  conscience  religious liberty  Thomas Jefferson  Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom 

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