Benjamin Rush (1745-1813)
Physician, and known as the “Father of American Medicine.” Educator, and known as the “Father of Public Schools.” Public official, and philanthropist; member of the Continental Congress, and signer of The Declaration of Independence; Treasurer of the U.S. Mint under Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Madison; Founder of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery; member of the Abolition Society, and Founder and President of the Philadelphia Bible Society. Considered by many at the time to be one of the three most influential Founding Fathers, along with Washington and Franklin.
“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.”
Rush on education, 1798.
“Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.”
In letter to John Armstrong, March 19, 1783.
“In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be Republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”
In essay on, “Defense of the Use of the Bible as a School Book.”
“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.”
In letter to Elias Boundinot on July 9, 1788.
“Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages.”
In letter, “To American Farmers About to Settle in New Parts of the United States,” March 1789.
“Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity…It is rebellion against the authority of a common Father. It is a practical denial of the extent and efficacy of the death of a common Savior. It is an usurpation of the prerogative of the great Sovereign of the universe who has solemnly claimed an exclusive property in the souls of men.”
Minutes of the proceedings of a convention of delegates from the Abolition Societies established in different parts of the United States assembled in Philadelphia, 1794
“I know there is an objection among many people to teaching children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But let us not be wiser than our Maker. If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the Gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God.”
In his essays, 1798.
“My only hope of salvation is in the infinite transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of his Son upon the Cross. Nothing but his blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!”
In the Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, p. 166