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Why history?

From the preface to John Abbott’s History of Henry the Fourth (1856):

“History
is our Heaven- appointed instructor. It is the guide for the future.
The calamities of yesterday are the protectors of today.

“The
sea of time we navigate is full of perils. But it is not an unknown
sea. It has been traversed for ages, and there is not a sunken rock or
a treacherous sand- bar which is not marked by the wreck of those who
have preceded us.

“There is no portion of history fraught with
more valuable instruction than the period of those terrible religious
wars which desolated the sixteenth century. There is no romance so wild
as the veritable history of those times. The majestic outgoings of the
Almighty, as developed in the onward progress of our race, infinitely
transcend, in all the elements of profoundness, mystery, and grandeur,
all that man’s fancy can create.

“The cartoons of Raphael are
beautiful, but what are they when compared with the heaving ocean, the
clouds of sunset, and the pinnacles of the Alps? The dome of St.
Peter’s is man’s noblest architecture, but what is it when compared
with the magnificent rotunda of the skies?”

And that is why history, studied from the framework of the biblical worldview, is one of the three core subjects of the classical curriculum.

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