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"Unlikely Hero's : Part 5" 9/26/23

Dear Brothers and Sisters, A good case may be made that we think far too little of young people today. It is certainly true that we think less of adolescents than earlier generations. Take Benjamin Rush for example. Rush began studying at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) at age ten and graduated at age fifteen. He went on to study medicine, receiving a degree from the University of Edinburgh. When he returned to the colonies he opened his own medical practice and was appointed chemistry professor at the College of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pennsylvania) at 24 years of age. Such accomplishments may not be as achievable today, but they do serve as a corrective to our view of young peoples capacity to accomplish great things. Rush was also a patriot, appointed to the Continental Congress he was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. After the war, Rush continued to be active in the political realm, but his attention shifted back towards the medical field. He advocated for better treatment of the mentally ill, pointing out that their overall health improved when given productive work and when they were cared for in a normal hospital setting rather than chained up in dungeons (Yes those kinds of common sense observations needed to be made). Rush also advocated for abolition in America, arguing on scientific grounds that blacks were not inferior to whites. Rush supported efforts to educate children, such as the American Sunday School Union, because he believed that it was not education that led to a prosperous society, but rather education that was grounded in the Scriptures. Historian Glenn Sunshine notes that Rush was not alone in this perspective. 200 years prior, Martin Luther wrote "I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which means are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt." There is a lesson here, namely that all areas of life need to be brought under the Word of God. Benjamin Rush did what he did because of his faith in God. His view of people as made in the Imago Dei (the image of God) greatly informed his views on mental health, slavery, education, and even politics. What shapes your worldview? What are you doing to bring God's ways to bear in all spheres of your life and the lives of those under your care??? Grace & Peace, Matt
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