Monday, April 3

Philosophy Teaching by Example

Separating fact from fiction, exactitude from nostalgia, and actuality from myth in early American history is often more than a little difficult. Though it is perhaps unwise to have anything like an idealized perception of that great epoch, nevertheless it is difficult to dismiss the breadth and depth of the fledgling colonial culture and by the substantive character of the people who populated it. Living in a day when genuine heroes are few and far between—at best—those pioneers and the times they vivified provide a startling contrast.

The fact is colonial America produced an extraordinary number of prodigiously gifted men. From William Byrd and George Wythe to Peyton Randolph and Patrick Henry, from Samuel Adams and John Hancock to Benjamin Franklin and George Washington the legacy of the seventeenth-century's native-born geniuses remains unmatched. Their accomplishments—literary, scientific, economic, political, and cultural—are staggering to consider. According to historian Paul Johnson, "Never before has one place and one time given rise to so many great men."

There are very few things that modern historians can agree on. But when it comes to God and His heroes, there is sudden consensus. The long-held notion that history is His story is fiercely resisted in our day. The once dominant view that history is not merely the record of what happened in the past but that it is a kind of moral philosophy worked out by great men and women of vision has been replaced by the odd assertions and assumptions by a handful of experts. It is too easy for us to forget—or to try to ignore—the fact that the doings of man are on the knees of an inscrutable and sovereign God. It is too easy for us to forget that the record of the ages is actually philosophy teaching by example.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Most modern historians are pawns. They receive the dictation of the great truths that God reveals in history, but they never ask the right questions or draw the right conclusions. Thankfully, Paul Johnson, Otto Scott, Victor Davis Hanson, and some others stumble onto the truth and connect dots, accidentally or on purpose.
Concerning the great men in late Colonial America--agreed. But how do they compare with the political and theological leaders, thinkers, writers, educators, orators who emerged out of the Texas landscape of the late 1940s to middle 1950s?