Yale College & Its 8th President, Timothy Dwight, who exposed France's Voltaire
Yale College was founded in the Colony of Connecticut on October 9, 1701 by ten Congregational Christian ministers as the Collegiate School at Killingworth, Milford and Saybrook.
In 1716, it was moved to New Haven, Connecticut.
Jeremiah Drummer, noted for defending colonial charters, solicited donations for the college from Irish playwright Sir Richard Steele, scientist Sir Isaac Newton, and merchant Elihu Yale.
Drummer stated: "that the business of good men is to spread religion and learning among mankind."
Elihu Yale (1649-1721) was an American-born English merchant who amassed a considerable fortune working for the British East India Company as governor of Fort St. George in Madras, India.
He donated books and goods to the college from his estate in the amount of $2,800, for which a building was named.
In 1718, Puritan clergyman Cotton Mather suggested the college be renamed Yale College.
The purpose of Yale College, as recorded by the proceedings of the trustees, November 11, 1701, was:
"To plant, and under ye Divine blessing to propagate in this Wilderness, the blessed Reformed, Protestant Religion, in ye purity of its Order, and Worship."
The act authorizing the college passed by the Connecticut General Court declared:
"Youth may be instructed in the arts and sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for public employment both in Church and Civil State."
In 1745, it was recorded that Yale College:
"... has received the favorable benefactions of many liberal and piously disposed persons, and under the blessing of Almighty God has trained up many worthy persons for the service of God in the State as well as in the Church."
The rules of Yale College set by the founders, stated:
"Whereunto the Liberal, and Religious Education of Suitable youth is under ye blessing of God, a chief, & most probable expedient ... we agree to ... these Rules:
- The said rector shall take especial care as of the moral behaviour of the students at all times so with industry to instruct and ground them well in Theoretical divinity ... and (not to) allow them to be instructed and grounded in any other Systems or Synopses ...
To recite the Assemblies Catechism in Latin ... (and) such explanations as may be (through the Blessing of God) most conducive to their establishment in the Principles of the Christian Protestant Religion.
- That the said Rector shall cause the Scriptures daily ... morning and evening to be read by the Students at the times of prayer in the School ...
Expound practical Theology ... Repeat Sermons ... studiously Indeavor(ing) in the education of said students to promote the power and the Purity of Religion and best edification and peace of these New England Churches."
The founders of Yale College stated:
"Every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a Godly, sober life."
In 1755, Yale students were instructed:
"Above all have an eye to the great end of all your studies, which is to obtain the clearest conceptions of Divine things and to lead you to a saving knowledge of God in his Son Jesus Christ."
In 1720, the students of Yale College were instructed:
"Seeing God is the giver of all wisdom, every scholar, besides private or secret prayer, where all we are bound to ask wisdom, shall be present morning and evening at public prayer in the hall at the accustomed hour."
In 1787, the requirements of Yale College stated:
"All scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, that fountain of truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion, both in public and secret ...
All the scholars are obliged to attend Divine worship in the College Chapel on the Lord's Day and on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving appointed by public Authority."
Every president of Yale was an ordained Congregational Christian minister till 1899.
When Yale 7th president, Rev. Ezra Stiles, died in 1795, Rev. Timothy Dwight IV was elected to take his place, serving as Yale's 8th President, 1795 to 1817.
Timothy Dwight was a grandson of the Great Awakening preacher and Princeton president Jonathan Edwards.
As a child, Dwight learned the alphabet and was reading the Bible at age 4.
He entered Yale at 13 and graduated at age 17 in 1769.
Dwight was a tutor at Yale from 1771 to 1777.
His first public address of note was "Valedictory Address" of 1776, stating that Americans were:
"... people, who have the same religion, the same manners, the same interests, the same language, and the same essential forms and principles of civic government."
Dwight was licensed as a Congregational Christian preacher in 1777, and was appointed a chaplain in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, serving in the brigade of General Samuel Holden Parsons.
When his father died, he returned to the family farm and worked to pay off their debts, as he was the eldest of 13 children.
He served in the very first sessions of the Massachusetts Legislature, called General Court.
From 1783 to 1795, he was the pastor of the Congregational Church at Greenfield Hill in Fairfield, Connecticut.
In 1793, Dwight delivered an influential sermon to the General Association of Connecticut, titled "Discourse on the Genuineness and Authenticity of the New Testament."
During Timothy Dwight's 22 years at Yale, the college grew from 110 to 313 students.
He created the Departments of:
Dwight also founded Andover Theological Seminary and laid the groundwork for the Yale Divinity School.
He pioneered women's education, advocated for the use of moral persuasion instead of corporal punishment, was critical of slavery, and opposed encroachment on Indian lands.
While at Yale, Dwight was also a founder of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
He met and gave Christian instruction to Henry Opukahaia, the first Hawaiian convert to Christianity, whose testimony inspired missionaries to sail to the Hawaiian "Sandwich" Islands.
One of Dwight's students was Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph.
Another of his students was Lyman Beecher, the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Henry Ward Beecher, the famous New England preacher.
When Dwight first became president of Yale, students were becoming enamored with "French infidelity," secularism, and France's deistic "cult of reason."
He met with students on campus, allowed them to state all their arguments criticizing Biblical faith, then he proceeded to answer them one by one.
By the time of Dwight's death, JANUARY 11, 1817, over a third of the graduates had not only become professing Christians, but 30 entered the full-time ministry.
Yale Scientist Benjamin Silliman, the first to distill petroleum in America, observed the campus during Dwight's tenure:
"It would delight your heart to see how the trophies of the cross are multiplied in this institution. Yale College is a little temple: prayer and praise seem to be the delight of the greater part of the students."
At the time of the French Revolution, Yale President Timothy Dwight gave an address in New Haven titled "The Duty of Americans at the Present Crisis," July 4, 1798.
In this address, he explained how Voltaire's atheism inspired the French Revolution and led the Reign of Terror, 1793-1794, where 40,000 people were beheaded and 300,000 were butchered in the Vendée.
"About the year 1728, Voltaire, so celebrated for his wit and brilliancy and not less distinguished for his hatred of Christianity and his abandonment of principle, formed a systematical design to destroy Christianity and to introduce in its stead a general diffusion of irreligion and atheism.
For this purpose he associated with himself Frederick the II-King of Prussia, and Mess. D'Alembert and Diderot, the principal compilers of the Encyclopedie, all men of talents, atheists and in the like manner abandoned.
The principle parts of this system were:
- The compilation of the Encyclopedie: in which with great art and insidiousness the doctrines of ... Christian theology were rendered absurd and ridiculous; and the mind of the reader was insensibly steeled against conviction and duty.
The overthrow of the religious orders in Catholic countries, a step essentially necessary to the destruction of the religion professed in those countries.
The establishment of a sect of philosophists to serve, it is presumed as a conclave, a rallying point, for all their followers."
Timothy Dwight continued describing Voltaire's plan of national secular transformation:
"4. The appropriation to themselves, and their disciples, of the places and honors of members of the French Academy, the most respectable literary society in France, and always considered as containing none but men of prime learning and talents.
In this way they designed to hold out themselves and their friends as the only persons of great literary and intellectual distinction in that country, and to dictate all literary opinions to the nation."
Voltaire sought to influence society through honor and dishonor, fame and shame, a tactic studied by numerous philosophers from Sun Tzu and Plato to Montesquieu.
This is similar to modern televised award ceremonies which confer prestigious recognition in media, entertainment, and academia, to those whose behavior is deemed acceptable, while giving condescending acceptance speeches deriding ideological counterparts.
This effectively sets the national trend as to what is "in," and acts upon the psyche of impressionable people as an adult version of peer pressure, manipulating the deep-seated human craving for acceptance and shunning of rejection.
Community organizer Saul Alinsky wrote:
"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon ... Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
George Orwell wrote in his novel 1984:
"Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation."
Dwight explained how this was part of Voltaire's plan:
"5. The fabrication of books of all kinds against Christianity, especially such as excite doubt and generate contempt and derision.
Of these they issued by themselves and their friends who early became numerous, an immense number; so printed as to be purchased for little or nothing, and so written as to catch the feelings, and steal upon the approbation, of every class of men ...
- The formation of a secret Academy, of which Voltaire was the standing president, and in which books were formed, altered, forged, imputed as posthumous to deceased writers of reputation, and sent abroad with the weight of their names.
These were printed and circulated at the lowest price through all classes of men in an uninterrupted succession, and through every part of the kingdom."
This is similar to revisionist television docudramas which alter past history to promote a future political agenda,
George Orwell wrote in 1984:
"Those who control the past control the future, and those who control the present control the past."
Joseph Goebbels, the National Socialist Workers Party's Minister of Propaganda & National Enlightenment, skillfully engineered mob emotions to accept the killing of the Jews in Germany.
Goebbels pioneered the tactic currently referred to as "fake news," stating:
"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly -- it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over ...
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.
It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."
Similar to Machiavelli's "the end justify the means," Dwight explained Voltaire's tactics:
"In societies of Illuminati ... the being of God was denied and ridiculed ...
The possession of property was pronounced robbery.
Chastity and natural affection were declared to be nothing more than groundless prejudices.
Adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of the like infernal nature, were taught as lawful ... provided the end was good ...
The good ends proposed by the Illuminati ... are the overthrow of religion, government, and human society, civil and domestic.
These they pronounce to be so good that murder, butchery, and war, however extended and dreadful, are declared by them to be completely justifiable ...
The means ... were ... the education of youth ... every unprincipled civil officer ... every abandoned clergyman ... books replete with infidelity, irreligion, immorality, and obscenity ..."
"Where religion prevails, Illumination cannot make disciples, a French directory cannot govern, a nation cannot be made slaves, nor villains, nor atheists, nor beasts.
To destroy us therefore, in this dreadful sense, our enemies must first destroy our Sabbath and seduce us from the house of God ..."
Timothy Dwight concluded:
"Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them and it languishes, consumes, and dies.
If indifference ... becomes the prevailing character of a people ... their motives to vigorous defense is lost, and the hopes of their enemies are proportionally increased ...
Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England.
If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it and nothing would be left which would be worth defending."
In 1801, Yale President Timothy Dwight compiled a songbook, The Psalms of David, which included hymns written by Isaac Watts and someone authored by himself, such as one based on Psalm 137, titled "I Love Thy Kingdom":
I love Thy kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode,
The church our bled Redeemer saved
With His own precious blood ...
Jesus, Thou Friend divine,
Our Saviour and our King,
Thy hand from ev'ry snare and foe,
Shall great deliverance bring."