Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Forgotten Founding Father by Joshua Kendall

"Every civil government is based upon some religion or philosophy of life. Education in a nation will propagate the religion of that nation. In America, the foundational religion was Christianity. And it was sown in the hearts of Americans through the home and private and public schools for centuries. Our liberty, growth, and prosperity was the result of a Biblical philosophy of life. Our continued freedom and success is dependent on our educating the youth of America in the principles of Christianity."
~ Noah Webster

This book was a bit of a disappointment. While I am glad I read it and it was filled with interesting information about Webster's life, it missed some critical points explaining why the 1828 is such a treasure. 

The 1828 is unique in that it is not a dictionary of common usage. Webster's effort was to elevate the American language based on the usage and meaning in the bible. He was familiar enough with the King James to have made his own revision. 

The 1828 is an invaluable resource for students of the King James, The Book of Mormon, students of the Founding Fathers many of whom took classes from Webster, as well as those who study Emily Dickinson and her contemporaries.

Look up the words education and marriage in a modern dictionary and compare the definitions with the 1828, you will see why anyone who takes an interest in character education prefers Webster's 1828. Webster's dictionary defines over 1,000 words from the King James bible that are not in common usage today. The dictionary is a priceless American and Christian treasure to this day.

The entire preface of the dictionary, which is brief, is well worth reading. Here are a few of its beautiful lines:

It satisfies my mind that I have done all that my health, my talents and my pecuniary means would enable me to accomplish. I present it to my fellow citizens, not with frigid indifference, but with my ardent wishes for their improvement and their happiness; and for the continued increase of the wealth, the learning, the moral and religious elevation of character, and the glory of my country.
To that great and benevolent Being, who, during the preparation of this work, has sustained a feeble constitution, amidst obstacles and toils, disappointments, infirmities and depression; who has twice borne me and my manuscripts in safety across the Atlantic, and given me strength and resolution to bring the work to a close, I would present the tribute of my most grateful acknowledgments. And if the talent which he entrusted to my care, has not been put to the most profitable use in his service, I hope it has not been "kept laid up in a napkin," and that any misapplication of it may be graciously forgiven.
~New Haven, 1828 N. Webster

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