And all your children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of your children.
There are three radical defects in the theory of a secular education.
I. IT IGNORES THE EXISTENCE AND THE FUNCTIONS OF CONSCIENCE. Whatever conscience may be, all agree that it is that which is educable. That it is a moral something in man, that may be trained to be in him a monitor and a guide — something that will respond to every voice of truth and of justice. While it is true that some well-informed or enlightened consciences may go astray, yet the rule is, that, as is the conscience so is the virtue of the individual. What are the prime factors in an educated conscience?
1. Belief in a personal God — the Author and Creator of the human mind — He who is, in Himself, the supreme reason of virtue.
2. Reverence for God's laws.
3. The dread of the Divine displeasure. By what force would you deter man from vice and crime? By the displeasure of good citizens? But that displeasure is the creation of a religious education. By the beneficence of public morals? But that beneficence is written all over the constitution of nature, whose author is God. Without this recognition of a personal God — whose laws are to be revered, whose displeasure is to be dreaded — without such an educated conscience there can be no authority, as there can be no standard, either for private or public virtue.
II. IT OVERLOOKS THE FACT THAT SECULAR EDUCATION CONTAINS NO ELEMENT TO PURIFY AND REFORM. Science enlightens, but it cannot renew and elevate human nature which is depraved in principle and sinful in practice. Knowledge is power; but it is a power for good or evil, according to the controlling motives.
III. IT OVERLOOKS THE FACTS THAT THE STABILITY OF OUR GOVERNMENT IS IN THE MORAL CONVICTIONS OF THE PEOPLE.
(J. P. Newman, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.