May 22, 2020
As you will see in
today’s discussions, founding father and signer of the Declaration of
Independence, Benjamin Rush, was a genius of the highest order. Gifted by God, he put those gifts to work and
blessed both this nation and other nations as well.
and symbols, the Scripture references that abound in our founding fathers'
commentaries, and their labors of love and covenant to establish this great
nation make abundantly clear that they purposed to have "one nation under
God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
those Pennsylvania citizens who grew up under that Charter of Liberties
established by William Penn was Benjamin Rush. Born December 24, 1745 in
Byberry, about 12 miles from Philadelphia, Rush was another example of the
geniuses our nation was turning out under the spiritual climate and atmosphere
of colonial governments that clearly honored and recognized God the Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ as the head and author of all government.
Patrick Henry, Roger Sherman, Jonathan Edwards, John Jay, and a host of other
Americans of that era, Benjamin Rush was one who grew up under Christian
tutelage. His father died when he was six years old, and he was sent to
live with his uncle, Rev. Samuel Finley, who ran West Nottingham Academy.
He graduated at age 15 with his Bachelor of Arts degree and planned to study
Law. He had a natural affinity for medical studies, however, and a grant
from Benjamin Franklin afforded him the opportunity to study medicine at the University
of Edinburgh. He returned to Philadelphia in 1769 where -- at age
point forward in his life, Benjamin Rush's biography reads like a composite of
many of his peers. In 1771 he published essays on slavery, temperance,
and health, and in 1774 he delivered the annual oration before the
Philosophical society on the " Natural History of Medicine among the
Indians of North America." He early engaged in pre-Revolutionary movements
and wrote constantly for the press on colonial rights.
He was a
member of the provincial conference of Pennsylvania, and chairman of the
committee that reported that it had become expedient for Congress to declare
independence, and Surgeon to the Pennsylvania Navy from September 17, 1775, to
July 1, 1776. He was then elected to Congress, and on
26 when he married then-sixteen-year-old Julia Stockton. Their marriage
was considered a marriage of "beloveds" lasting for 42 years before
Benjamin Rush died. The love and care they displayed for one another was
a constant source of comment in Philadelphia's society. They had thirteen
children together, four of whom died before their parents, nine who outlived
them, and two whose lives gained enduring distinction -- one as a diplomat, the
other as a physician.
Physician-General, he was in constant attendance of the wounded during the
battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown. During the
sicknesses that almost crippled Washington's armies at Valley Forge, he
remained on duty almost to the detriment of his own healthy. Yet he found
the time to write four rather long letters to the people of Pennsylvania, in
which he made known his very strong objections to the Articles of Confederation
of 1776, urging a revision on the grounds that giving legislative powers to a
single house would prove highly dangerous.
February of 1778, he resigned his post as Physician-General to make public his
opposition to the way in which the wounded soldiers were being cared for, and
to highlight the lack of hospital stores. His resignation was not looked
upon kindly by George Washington, but Rush and Washington had never really had
warm relations between themselves.
National Archives in Washington, DC tell us that Benjamin Rush "further
refused compensation for his services to the Continental Armies, despite the
fact that he was nearly broke financially. He was a founder of Dickinson
college and the Philadelphia dispensary, and was largely interested in the
establishment of Public schools, concerning which he published an address, and
in the founding of the College of Physicians, of which he was one of the first
censors. He was a member of the State convention that ratified the Constitution
of the United States in 1787, and of that for forming a state constitution in
the same year, in which he endeavored to procure the incorporation of his views
on Public schools, and a Penal code on which he had previously written essays.
After that service he retired from political life."
American Biography reads that, "He was a member of nearly every
medical, literary, and benevolent institution in (his country), and of many
foreign societies, and for his replies to their queries on the subject of
yellow fever received a medal from the king of Prussia in 1805, and gifts from
other crowned heads, He succeeded Benjamin Franklin as president of the
Pennsylvania society for the abolition of slavery, was president of the
Philadelphia medical society, vice-president and a founder of the
Philadelphia Bible Society*, advocating the use of the Scriptures as a textbook
in the public schools, an originator of the American philosophical society,
of which he was a vice-president in 1799-1800.
“He taught, more clearly than any other physician of his day, to
distinguish diseases and their effects, gave great impulse to the study of
medicine in this country, and made Philadelphia the centre of that science in
the United States, more than 2,250 students having attended his lectures during
his professorship in the Medical College of Philadelphia. Yale gave him the
degree of LL. D. in 1812." (Emphasis, mine) (*The Philadelphia Bible
Society was America's very first Bible Society.)
Rush was considered impulsive and indiscreet (perhaps more than anything else
because of some ill-considered remarks made about George Washington during the
winter in Valley Forge**), but his zeal for the public good was limitless. He
taught at the College of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. He
attacked slavery and strong drink, classical education and tobacco, carrying on
a one-man crusade and undoubtedly spending himself in too many causes.
Dr. Rush was credited with curing the epidemic of yellow fever in
Philadelphia. The King of Prussia, the
Queen of Eritrea, and the Emperor of Russia honored him for his replies to
their questions on yellow fever. Despite his incredible record of
successes, Rush never convinced his scientific friend, Thomas Jefferson, that
the doctors of their time did more good than ill.
good generals often have happen to them, Washington suffered a series of defeats
and setbacks during the War of Independence. It was during this period in
Washington's leadership that Rush was convinced by other generals that
Washington needed to be removed as Commander-in-Chief, and he joined their
campaign for his removal. By his own account, it was the worst mistake of
wrote John Adams, "He [Washington] was the
highly favored instrument (of God) whose patriotism and name contributed
greatly to the establishment of the independence of the United States."
Constitutional Conventions, he argued, "Unless
we put Medical Freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine
will organize into an undercover dictatorship . . . to restrict the art of
healing to one class of men, and deny equal privilege to others, will be to
constitute the Bastille of Medical Science. All such laws are un-American and
despotic and have no place in a Republic ... The Constitution of this Republic
should make special privilege for Medical Freedom as well as Religious
To say the
least, his argument -- though at the time it made little headway -- has proved
to be prophetic.
He was far
ahead of his time in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and is regarded
today as both the "Father of American Medicine" and the "Father
of American Psychiatry." The emblem of the American Psychiatric
Society bears his portrait. He was the author of numerous studies on
addiction, identifying many of the causes of addiction -- along with
"causal agents" -- and finally concluded near the end of his life
that "abstinence is the only cure for alcohol addiction."
His proposals for public
education would bring chills to the ACLU today.
They’d like nothing better than to erase all mention of Benjamin Rush
when it comes to our educational system.
He well knew what a good education was all about – as we can easily see
from his biographical background.
Rush's proposals for public education would bring chills to the ACLU
today. They’d like nothing better than to
erase all mention of Benjamin Rush when it comes to our educational
system. He well knew what a good
education was all about – as we can easily see from his biographical
For a guy
who was so into medicine and it studies, Benjamin Rush was also deeply involved
in education. Oddly and uniquely enough, besides being known as "The
Father of American Medicine," and "The Father of American
Psychiatry," he is also known as "The Father of Public Schools Under
the Constitution." He was the first to advance the idea of free
public schools, and also a pioneer in the opportunity for women's education. He
helped Abigail Adam's (John Adam's wife) dream become a reality by establishing
the Young Ladies Academy of Philadelphia, one of America's first
educational institutions for women.
textbooks, formed curriculum plans, crafted educational policies, and helped establish
five universities and colleges. As the founder of public education in America,
listen to his definition of what education should contain:
"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."
28, 1787 when Dr. Benjamin Rush proposed his plan for public education in
America he wrote:
"Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught
to read and write - - - (and a)bove all, let both sexes be carefully instructed
in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most
essential part of education."
to the various levels of education he added, "It will be necessary to
connect all these (academic) branches of education with regular instruction in
the Christian religion."
already noted that he founded the first Bible Society in America. He also
helped found "The First Day Society" which was the beginning of
Sunday Schools across America. Interestingly, Francis Scott Key -- the
author of The Star Spangled Banner -- later became the Vice President of
the American Sunday School Union. (More
on him in a moment.)
Dr. Rush wrote a lengthy pamphlet entitled "A Defense of the Use of the Bible
as a Schoolbook.Here is how that writing began:
"It is now several months since I promised to give you my
reasons for preferring the Bible as a schoolbook to all other compositions.
Before I state my arguments, I shall assume the five following propositions:
I . That Christianity is the only true and perfect religion; and
that in proportion as mankind adopts its principles and obeys its precepts,
they will be wise and happy.
2. That a better knowledge of this religion is to be acquired by
reading the Bible than in any other way.
3. That the Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in
his present state than any other book in the world.
4. That knowledge is most durable, and religious instruction
most useful, when imparted in early life.
5. That the Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in
any subsequent period of life.
My arguments in favor of the use of the Bible as a schoolbook
it before, and I'll say it again. So much for today's liberal, leftist,
atheistic, ACLU-driven argument that the Bible needs to be eliminated from all
mention in public education -- much less the mention of the name of God or
Jesus Christ. It's all nothing more than tripe from a bunch of God-hating
revisionists who would like nothing more than to eliminate all mention of the
Lord Jesus Christ and any use of Scripture in the public arena.
having studied the life of Benjamin Rush, I'm convinced that he is another of
our Founding Fathers who would be enraged at the suggestion (by our modern
left) that he was an atheist, or an agnostic, or a deist! As David Barton
of WallBuilders has so succinctly put it, "His stand as a Christian was
In case you
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not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76502
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