It has been brightened slightly for clarity. The truths above illustrated, suggest important advices to children, that is, to such young persons as are able to understand and apply them. The following untitled sermon was delivered by Professor William Henry Green (1825-1900) of Princeton Theological Seminary at eight in the evening of April 3, 1881 in the West Spruce Street (Tenth) Presbyterian Church... Be the first to know about the latest posts on Presbyterians of the Past. At a Glance …. Amen. To apply this to our present subject, or rather the occasion of it, allow me to observe, that the circumstances of solemn transactions are often deeply engraven upon very young minds. 15. of the patriarch Jacob blessing his grand-children, the sons of Joseph, when he was about to die—“And he blessed Joseph and said, God before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, did walk, the God which fed me all my life long to this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac: And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” We are told by an ancient writer of the Christian church, that Ignatius, afterwards bishop of Antioch, was one of those children thus brought to Christ for his blessing; and there is no reason, that I know of, to oppose the tradition. There is much to be seen of the proper glory of the Redeemer in this passage of scripture. Our Lord has made the remark in the passage where the text is, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter therein.” This is directly levelled against the pride of self-sufficiency, and every rough and boisterous passion. Unfortunately, the reason the subject of educating children was selected is not known, but it may be he believed the foundation of everything he had worked for was in fact education in the home and church with families bound in the Covenant of Grace. No doubt the reason of the conduct of the disciples was, that they supposed the children could receive no benefit. Under this particular, it is proper to recommend a decency of deportment, and a contempt of all vanity and affectation, as well as simplicity and sincerity of speech, and a contempt of all artifice [trickery] and refinement. According to an old story, the most fiery and compelling pro-independence speech at the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, came from the Rev. Consider what you have heard, and the Lord give you understanding to improve and apply it, for Christ’s fake. John Witherspoon Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the Institute promotes the application of fundamental principles of republican government and ordered liberty to contemporary problems through a variety of academic and other educational ventures. John Witherspoon was a minister, college president, member of the Continental Congresses, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Think of the amiableness of early piety in the sight of men; and its acceptableness in the sight of God—“I love them that love me,” says he by his prophet; “and they that seek me early shall find me.”, (2.) 1, 2, 3, 4. “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. A member of the Continental Congress, Witherspoon was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. You ought, at the same time, to remember that, as the prophet Jeremiah says, “it is good for a man to hope and quietly to wait for the salvation of God.” The answer of prayer may come at a much greater distance than we are apt to look for it. I do not found the lawfulness of infant baptism on this passage alone, and mean to enter into no controversy on the subject this time; but, as it is clearly established in other passages, it may well be understood here. This declaration of our Savior—“Of such is the kingdom of God”—may imply, that, in fact, the real disciples of Christ chiefly consist of those who are called in their earlier years. It is more powerful than the most sanguinary laws. I think this declaration implies, that children are much more early capable of receiving benefit, even by outward means, than is generally supposed. John Witherspoon College exists to provide Christ-centered, classical education to students for service to the church and the world. Now the single subject of this discourse shall be to inquire, What is the import of this declaration? This seems agreeable to the language of scripture; for we are told God hath set in the church “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers,” (not for converting sinners, but) “for perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ.” It seems to add further weight to this, that most of those who are recorded in scripture as eminent for piety, were called in early life; and we know not but it may have been the case with others, though not particularly mentioned: Those I have in view, are Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Josiah, Daniel and the three Children [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego], in the Old Testament, and in the New, John Baptist and John the beloved disciple; of whom I may just observe, that no other reason has ever been given for the Savior’s distinguishing him by particular affection, but that he was the youngest of the twelve. During 1777, the College of New Jersey was evacuated when the British Army closed in. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, universities, colleges, and other institutions across the country have been … He took over 300 volumes on the voyage, intended for the college library. John Witherspoon of the College of New Jersey who was a founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Sources. He was archbishop of Cambrai beginning in 1695 and came under influence of followers of the Quietist Madame Guyon. 23.—“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? I will not enlarge on some refined remarks of persons as distinguished for learning as piety; some of whom have supposed, that they are capable of receiving impressions of desire and aversion, and even of moral temper, particularly, of love or hatred, in the first year of their lives. (1.) A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he gained a reputation in the Church of Scotland as a leader of the left-wing “Popular Party,” and his works made him well-known in the American colonies. He wrote Maxims of the Saints. Esteem, embrace, improve the precious but flying season [limited time you have]. Children are the subjects of prayer; and, of consequence, within reach of the promise. Every argument that tends to shew the importance of early piety, may be applied, with equal or greater force, to shew the danger of delay in more advanced years. Mr. Bearce is a free-lance writer in Houston, Texas. Then parents should be thankful. Fenelon” who was François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon (1651-1715). Such is the attention of children, that they often seem to know their parents tempers sooner and better than they know their own, and to avail themselves of that knowledge to obtain their desires. Witherspoon mentioned Richard Baxter (1615-1691) who is likely known to readers of this site, but likely unknown is “M. And what is public opinion? Because of his sound education and writings, Witherspoon was then offered the position of President of the College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) in 1767. John Rodgers was the pastor, and he would go on to edit an edition of Witherspoon’s works. A very judicious and pious writer, Mr. Richard Baxter, is of opinion, that in a regular state of the church, and a tolerable measure of faithfulness and purity in its officers; family instruction and government are the usual means of conversion, public ordinances of edification. John Witherspoon 1768-94* John Witherspoon was the only clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration of Independence. xviii. Mothers! Be circumspect and edifying in your example. After suffering various injuries, John Witherspoon had problems with his eyes and was blind for the last two years of his life. And, in the first place, we may understand by it, that children may be taken within the bond of God’s covenant; become members of the visible church, and, in consequence, be relatively holy. He was also involved in raising funds and redeveloping the college, and George Washington donated 50 gold guineas after a request from Witherspoon. The apostle has given an excellent description of this, 2 Cor. During the July 28 Board of Education meeting, Board member Debbie Bronfeld introduced a resolution to remove the name of John Witherspoon from the middle school as soon as possible. The disciples, we are told, “rebuked those that brought them,” supposing, doubtless, that it was an impertinent and unnecessary interruption of their master, and that the children could receive no benefit at that early time of life; and who knows but, like the human wisdom of later times, they might think the attempt superstitious as well as unnecessary; however, our Lord was of a different opinion, and said—”Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.”. John Witherspoon, Actor: Friday. During his tenure at the College of New Jersey, John Witherspoonincreased the student population, and he also developed the curriculum adding courses in Civil Government, International Law, and French. Witherspoon, his wife Anna Walker and their five children arrived in America in 1768. John Witherspoon played well loved characters in his TV shows and movies and has many fans all over. There is not the least doubt that many prayers, and especially of this kind, may have their answer and accomplishment after the believer that offered them has been many years sleeping in the dust. What ground of praise to the condescending Savior! (3.) John Witherspoon Family, Childhood, Life Achievements, Facts, Wiki and Bio of 2017. The instances of conversion in advanced life, are very rare: and when it seems to happen, it is perhaps most commonly the resurrection of those seeds which were sown in infancy, but had been long stifled by the violence of youthful passions, or the pursuits of ambition and the hurry of an active life. He was a member of the New Jersey State Legislature (1783-1789), the only clergyman and college president to sign the Declaration of Independence and a delegate to the Continental Congress (1776-1782). Witherspoon was educated at Haddington Scotland after which, with the intention of becoming a minister, he did a Master of Arts at the University of Edinburgh. Though some young persons religiously educated, by falling into dissolute society, become open profligates, there are others who retain the form without the life of religion: Therefore, if nature hath given you amiable dispositions; if these have been cultivated by a pious and prudent education; if you feel the restraint of natural conscience; if you are desirous of public praise, or afraid of public shame, do not neglect any of these preservatives from sin; but yet endeavor to obtain, and see that you be governed by a principle superior to them all, the hope of final acceptance with God through Christ. His church work extended beyond pastoral guidance and preaching to his college students, to considerable activity in the judicatories, so much so that on May 21 Witherspoon would be honored as the convenor of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America when it gathered in Philadelphia. John has 2 jobs listed on their profile. On Aug. 11, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education unanimously voted to change the name of John Witherspoon Middle School, removing reference to the slave-owning former University president and signatory of the Declaration of Independence.. PPS interim superintendent Barry Galasso will assemble a committee comprising Princeton-area students, staff, … We know, that under the Old Testament, they received the sign of circumcision, which in the New Testament, is said to be “a seal of the righteousness that is of faith” (Rom, iv. Witherspoon retained his position as President of the College of New Jersey until he died in 1794. Robert G. Bearce. John Witherspoon 1942 –. In the midst of the ongoing support of the Black Lives Matter movement, this has created the opportune moment for John Witherspoon Middle School to rid itself of its slave-owning and anti-abolitionist namesake, John Witherspoon. Copyright © 2021 Presbyterians of the Past. Far be it from me to lay any thing in opposition to the infinite power and absolute sovereignty of God; but let us also beware of considering these as opposed to the natural course of things, or the use and efficacy of means. Almighty power can easily have access to them, and can, in answer to prayers, as well as endeavors, form them for their Maker’s service. John Witherspoon in 1776, "in which civil liberty was lost, and religious liberty preserved entire. At any rate, as no doubt the parents would often relate the transaction to their children, this would be a kind of secondary memory, and have the same effect upon their sentiments and conduct. Part of his focus was to train religious leaders, and the college became involved in the issue of religious freedom in America. This is an important truth, and deeply fraught with instruction to all, of every rank. In this, from our Lord’s answer, it is probable he thought them mistaken. It is not impossible that some of those young children might recollect and be affected with the majesty and condescension of Jesus of Nazareth, and the impression be attended with happy fruits. "There is not a single instance in history," declared Rev. Meanwhile, two of John Witherspoon 's students— Samuel Stanhope Smith, who would become Princeton’s seventh president, and Reverend William Graham (class of 1773)—founded Hampden-Sydney College in Hanover, Virginia in 1774 and Augusta Academy (known today as Washington and Lee University) in 1782. and, What we may understand our Savior as affirming, when he says, of young children or infants, “of such is the kingdom of God?” After this, I will give such advices [applications] as the truths that may be established shall suggest, and as they seem to me most proper to enforce. There is a remarkable anecdote handed down to us, respecting the famous St. Augustine. Well known to movie audiences for his appearances in the series of Friday movies starring rapper Ice Cube, character actor John Wither-spoon ’ s popularity took root in a new generation after he had spent more than 30 years in show business. Part of his focus was to train religious leaders, and the college became involved in the issue of religious freedom in America. (2.) (1.) Do not forget the improvement of this subject, which our Savior himself has pointed out; imitate the temper of children; learn to be humble and teachable, gentle and easy to be intreated. Many benefits may arise from this. He had been an instrumental part of the American Revolution as the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence, and as he spoke to the crowd in Old Church the United States Constitution was working its way through ratification for completion in 1790. Born in Scotland and educated at the University of Edinburgh, Witherspoon was a prominent 18th-century intellectual associated with the moral philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment. This is a subject of great extent and may also be taken up in a great variety of lights. (Shutterstock) Support, by your conduct and conversation, the public credit of religion.—What is more powerful over the minds of men and the manners of the age, than public opinion. Whatever reason there may be to complain of the frequency of hypocrisy, or seeking the applause of men, I am afraid there is no less reason to complain of the want of attention to that precept of the apostle, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others;” or of our Lord himself, Matt. John Witherspoon College. Witherspoon had just passed his second decade in the presidency of the College of New Jersey where he not only molded the minds of a multitude of ministers, public servants, attorneys, and physicians while leading the school as a committed Presbyterian minister unashamed of his confessional Calvinist commitments and Scottish Common Sense Realism presuppositions. View John Witherspoon’s profile on LinkedIn, the world's largest professional community. Be not satisfied with, or trust in outward privileges. (6.) But my experience furnishes me with no example of one brought up in ignorance and security, after a long course of profaneness turning, at the close of life, to the service of the living God. He took over 300 volumes on the voyage, intended for the college library. Beloved comedic actor John Witherspoon, who starred in the Friday movie franchise passed away yesterday, October 29, at his Sherman Oaks, California home; he was 77.. He was also involved in estab… Our Savior spoke a parable on purpose to teach men, that they should pray and not faint, Luke xviii. Shirley Satterfield Middle School. Clergyman, author, and educator John Witherspoon was born on the 5 February 1722 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland to Reverend James Alexander Witherspoon and Anne Walker. February 5, 1, 2. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings—as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” The graces of the spiritual life recommended to us by this beautiful image, are humility, gentleness, teachableness, sincerity, and calmness to be reconciled: all which are remarkable in young persons and are frequently dull or vitiated by growing years. Others make a distinction, not without ground, as it seems founded upon the wisdom and equity of the divine government; That when the gospel comes to a people that had long sitten in darkness, there may be numerous converts of all ages; but when the gospel has been long preached in plenty and purity, and ordinances regularly administered, few but those who are called in early life are ever called at all. In the same manner those habits which men contract in early life, and are strengthened by time, it is next to impossible to change. Witherspoon had just passed his second decade in the presidency of the College of New Jersey where he not only molded the minds of a multitude of ministers, public servants, attorneys, and physicians while leading the school as a committed Presbyterian minister unashamed of his confessional Calvinist commitments and Scottish Common Sense Realism presuppositions. I am one of those who think that it may, as well as many others, be, with much advantage, considered doctrinally; and that a clear view of divine truth upon every subject, will have the most powerful and happy influence, not only in directing our sentiments, but in governing our practice. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. Do not satisfy yourselves with a name to live while you are dead. 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