On the Mode of Education Proper
in a Republic
I shall proceed in the next place,
to inquire, what mode of education we shall adopt so as to secure to the
state all the advantages that are to be derived from the proper institution
of youth; and here I beg leave to remark, that the only foundation for
a useful education in a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this
there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty,
and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.
Such is my veneration for every religion that
reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments,
that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mahomed inculcated upon
our youth, than to see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious
principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that
of the New Testament.
It is foreign to my purpose to hint at the arguments
which establish the truth of the Christian revelation. My only business
is to declare, that all its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote
the happiness of society, and the safety and well being of civil government.
A Christian cannot fail of being a republican. The history of the creation
of man, and of the relation of our species to each other by birth, which
is recorded in the Old Testament, is the best refutation that can be given
to the divine right of kings, and the strongest argument that can be used
in favor of the original and natural equality of all mankind. A Christian,
I say again, cannot fail of being a republican, for every precept of the
Gospel inculcates those degrees of humanity, self-denial, and brotherly
kindness, which are directly opposed to the pride of monarchy and the pageantry
of a court. A Christian cannot fail of being useful to the republic, for
his religion teacheth him, that no man "livith to himself." And lastly,
a Christian cannot fail of being wholly inoffensive, for his religion teacheth
him, in all things do to others what he would wish, in like circumstances,
thy should do to him.