Who is John Harvard?
“After God had carried us safely to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the city government; one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust. And as we were thinking and consulting how to effect this great work, it pleased God to stir up the heart of Mr. John Harvard (minister of Charlestown), a godly gentleman, and a lover of learning, living among us, to give the he one-half of his estate, it being in all about 1700 pounds, towards the erecting of a college, and all his library. After him another gave 300, others after them cast in more, and the public hand of the State added the rest, 400. The college was by common consent appointed to be at Cambridge, a place very pleasant and accommodate, and is called according to the name of the first founder, Harvard College.” -from New England’s First Fruits as quoted in The Crimson
What’s at the base of the statue?
Why do the older seals have two open books and one overturned book?
In the late 1980’s I was Headmaster of Lexington Christian Academy in Boston. It gave me the opportunity to host several administrative interns from Harvard. It also enabled me to visit Harvard and sit in on some classes. As I walked the campus, especially Harvard Yard, I noted the repeated use of “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae,” or Truth for Christ and the Church. –Christian Heritage Academy
The motto of the University adopted in 1692 was “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” which translated from Latin means “Truth for Christ and the Church.” This phrase was embedded on a shield as shown to the right, and can be found on many buildings around campus including the Widener library, Memorial Church, and various dorms in Harvard Yard. Interestingly, the top two books on the shield are face up while the bottom book is face down. This symbolizes the limits of reason, and the need for God’s revelation. – Harvard Graduate Christian Community
The overturned book does more than bring a viewer back to the Harvard of 1643. The original design, some scholars say, is a reminder of a wilderness college that thought of itself as a New World vanguard in Christ’s Puritan army. The open books represent the Old and New Testaments — the truth that any could read in the Bible. But the third book represented the yet unwritten truth of the future as the Puritans saw it: the book of truth that would be written by a second coming of Christ. (Puritan minister John Cotton predicted that millennial moment would arrive in 1655.) To the Puritans in Harvard’s seventh year, Veritas meant more than truth, or even divine truth. It meant “fulfillment,” the truth of a second coming. –Harvard Gazette (also includes a collection of the seals around campus)
Speaking of Harvard, what did the 1646 Rules and Precepts say:
2. Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3).
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