By Jay Rogers
Published April 1, 1990
The academic institutions of the Northeast, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and several others, are “lynchpins” in the American university system. Philosophies which are born and bred in the classrooms of these schools are later transferred to every other univeristy in America – and often the world.
A brief survey of American history will show that the colleges and universities in the northeastern corridor of the United States have always been used of God to unlock the heart of the nation.
The spiritual darkness that presently characterizes the northeastern colleges and universities of our nation reflects the spiritual condition of the rest of our society. This should come as no surprise to those who are aware of America’s Christian history. For good or for evil, for the past 370 years, the Northeast has been the spiritual focal point of America.
The politics and ethics of the United States were birthed in the Northeastern cities of Boston and Philadelphia. The spiritual climate of the United States has also been deeply affected by this area. The most significant event of 1700s barring the revolution was the Great Awakening – which began among young people in Northampton, Massachusetts. The World Missions Movement was begun at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts as the result of a prayer meeting held by three students.
In the early 1800s, the Northeast was a center for sporadic spiritual revivals on many of the college campuses. The spiritual, moral, social and political foundations of the United States had their beginnings in the Northeast.
Since the beginning of the 1800s, however, the Northeast has become a breeding ground for anti-Christian ideas. Humanism, in the form of Transcendentalism and Universalism, had its roots in Massachusetts. Social philosophers, such as Emerson and Thoreau, contributed to the destruction of the Christian foundations of America. These ideas found a haven in the colleges of the Northeast. In the 20th century, Marxism, humanism, existentialism, socialism, radical feminism, New Age philosophy and immorality of all types have also found refuge in the many colleges and universities of the Northeast.
Despite this growing tide of wickedness, a gleaming ray of hope appears. God has a destiny for the college campuses!
- Harvard University – Reverend John Harvard gave half his property and his entire library to start this world renowned institution. Harvard’s original motto was: “For Christ and the Church.” The goal of a Harvard education was to establish Christian principles in the minds of students according to the Word of God. In addition to ministers, Harvard also produced some of the greatest statesmen of the 1700s, such as, John Hancock, John Adams, and Samuel Adams.
- Yale University – Yale was patterned after the design of Harvard. The founders of Yale were authorized to create an institution where “youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may be fit for employment both in the Church and Civil State.” Three Yale graduates were: the inventor Eli Whitney, the educator and author Noah Webster, and the patriot Nathan Hale who just before being hanged by the British said, “I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
- Boston University – “Learning, Virtue, and Piety” is the motto of one of the finest of the many learning institutions in Boston. Today, Boston University is perhaps the most strategic school in the United States since it has more international students than any other University. Many of these internationals are being trained to move into positions of leadership in their native lands. A revival among international students at Boston University would impact the entire world.
- Amherst College – Amherst was founded and was maintained for many years with the aim of educating young men to serve God. The school’s Latin motto, “Terras Irradient,” is an allusion to Isaiah 6:3: “The whole earth is full of His glory.” In the early years of the school frequent and powerful revivals often resulted in the salvation of many young men. Graduates of Amherst College have included the radical social reformer Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe), and Daniel W. Poor, the pioneer missionary to Ceylon.
- Smith College – Founded in Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College has always been considered to be one of the finest women’s colleges in the world. Smith is located in an geographical area that has traditionally been associated with powerful outpourings of the Holy Spirit. The First Great Awakening began in the 1730s in a Northampton Congregational church pastored by Jonathan Edwards. The western part of Massachusetts was also the site of many revivals in the Second Great Awakening.
- Mount Holyoke College – Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke seminary for women in South Hadley, Massachusetts. This institution was among the first of its kind and was a product of the social reforms of the Second Great Awakening. Mary Lyon sought to promote to the rights of women and personally trained more than fifty women who later became foreign missionaries.
- Wellesley College – One of the most beautiful of the American colleges founded in the 1800s, Wellesley was patterned after the system of education at Mount Holyoke. Wellesley College’s charter declared its foundation to be “distinctly and positively Christian in its influence, discipline and instruction.” From its beginning, Wellesley has enrolled many international students.
- Brown University – First chartered as Rhode Island College, Baptist followers of Roger Williams founded the school “to train ministers and educate youth properly in the Christian faith.” The rapid increase of Baptists in New England in the 1700s led to the need for a better educated leadership. Rhode Island College was the first of many educational projects begun in the American colonies as a result of the First Great Awakening.
- Dartmouth University – Yale graduate Eleazar Wheelock first founded Dartmouth as Moor’s Indian Charity School in Columbia, Connecticut, but it was later mover to Hanover, New Hampshire. In the beginning, it was a reflection of the early settler’s zeal to share the Christian faith with the Indians and to educate young Native Americans in the spirit of Jesus and the Bible. The school’s motto, “A Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness”, describes the prophetic calling which is firmly ingrained in Dartmouth’s foundation.
- Columbia University – This college was first founded by a royal charter in the vestry room of the Trinity Church schoolhouse in New York City. First known as King’s College, this school was a center of non-denominational learning. The first advertisement of the college disclaims any intention of imposing “on the scholars the peculiar Tenants of any particular Sect of Christians; but to inculcate upon their tender minds, the great Principles of Christianity and Morality, in which true Christians of each Denomination are generally agreed.” Some early Columbia graduates include Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Governor Morris.
- Princeton University – Reverend Jonathan Dickson, Princeton’s first president, once said, “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” Established during the First Great Awakening, the college was a direct result of spiritual revival and a recommitment of the early colonies to further a degree of excellence in education. Later, under President Jonathan Edwards, the school took on a missionary zeal to minister to the American Indians. Early Princeton graduates included James Madison, Aaron Burr and six members of he first United States Congress.
- Cornell University – A private university and member of the Ivy League, Cornell was originally founded as New York State’s land grant college under the Morill Act. In the early 1800s, the central portion of New York State was referred to as the “burnt-over district” due to the many revivals that occurred in this area. Charles G. Finney based his ministry in New York State during the early years of the Second Great Awakening.
- University of Pennsylvania – Originally founded by Quakers under the Morill Act, the University of Pennsylvania is primarily a residential campus located in the heart of central Philadelphia. Known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia is one of the cradles of liberty and was greatly affected by George Whitefield’s ministry during the First Great Awakening in the early 1700s. The University of Pennsylvania stands today as a key to unlocking awakening in our nation. The university has “recognized that the future of the city and its own future are one and the same.”
The schools of the Northeast are the hub on which the entire academic system of the nation turns. God himself is concerned with these schools; He had a hand in bringing them into being. He always honors His covenants with men and virtually every college in this area was founded with the purpose of bringing greater glory to God.
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