[Papercut Press] 2002-09-16 - Veritas

Part 1

3 John 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

When Harvard University was founded in the 1630's it was much different from it is today. Harvard was founded from many sources but derives it's name from John Harvard, who, when he died at age 31, left half his estate and his entire library for the establishment of the school. There were many slogans or seals attached to Harvard. The first one was Veritas. It is Latin for the word "truth." Another early Latin slogan for Harvard was Christo et Ecclesiae. This was put on the charter for the school in 1692 and means Christ and Church. For a while these two were combined as Veritas, Christo et Ecclesiae, which would obviously mean: Truth, Christ and Church.

It is amazing and sad to think where Harvard is today if you ever were to examine from where it started. I suppose it is simply amazingly sad. However, it we take a glance into their standards for admission and conduct among the students, most of whom would be 14 years of age or younger, we will get a glimpse into how different the faith of a Christian was 400 years ago from where it is today. Christians used to be educated on a much different level than we are today. Much of our faith centers on us; our feelings, our desires, our needs and the question that guides us is often not how we can glorify God, but rather it is centered on what God has done for ME lately. You guessed it if you think I feel our current trends are a flawed way to live for Christ.

Today and Tuesday I am going to give you some of the 19 requirements for entrance and conduct for a student at Harvard in the 1630's. It hope that it will challenge you to realize that kids, some not even in their teens (Increase Mather dropped out of Harvard at age 12 because he could not handle the fact that the only drink served at meals [Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner] was beer.) had these standards applied to their Christian conduct while they were in school. The expectations were high and frankly our expectations are so low that I fear for the church of Christ. Of the 19 the first one was the standard for admission and the rest regard their expected standard of conduct. I have edited them some but I have retained much of the original.

  1. The student should be able to read and speak Latin fluently. He must be able to decline perfectly the paradigms of "Nounes and verbes in the Greeke toungue." "Nor shall any claime admission before such qualifications."
  2. "Every one shall consider the mayne End of his life and studyes, to know God and Jesus Christ which is Eternall life. John 17:3."

Actually those two are enough to think about. Can you imagine if those who went to college today had such a standard? Can you imagine pre-teens having such a standard? It was a different world, sure, but you would think that with all the advancements we have made in technology that we would be more educated and not less educated. The real question is if you can imagine one student could meet this standard? It should only humiliate us into faithfulness now. Wherever we are in life, such standards from the past should cause us to examine our use of time and priorities. Are we really living for the Lord? Is Christ the Real focus of who we are? Is the main end of all I learn to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3? Only we know ourselves and I challenge you with the question.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com