The Founding Fathers and Religion

By Loyal to the Word


          It has become fashionable for liberals and others who hate the tradition of Americanism to downplay the influence of religion on the Founders. Often, they try to portray the Founders generally without Christian belief, as a group of Deists (Deists do not believe in Christ and do not believe that God plays an active role in the affairs of men).


The Founders – The Best Spirits, Were Inspired by God

         Contrary to this, the scriptures and the prophets indicate that the Founders were God-fearing, religious men. For instance, the Doctrine and Covenants assures as that God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood [during the American Revolution” (D&C 101).

         As President Brigham Young taught:

“The General Constitution of our country is good, and a wholesome government could be framed upon it, for it was dictated by the invisible operations of the Almighty; he moved upon Columbus to launch forth upon the trackless deep to discover the American Continent; he moved upon the signers of the Declaration of Independence; and he moved upon Washington to fight and conquer, in the same way as he moved upon ancient and modern Prophets, each being inspired to accomplish the particular work he was called to perform in the times, seasons, and dispensations of the Almighty. God's purpose, in raising up these men and inspiring them with daring sufficient to surmount every opposing power, was to prepare the way for the formation of a true Republican government.”
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:13).

         In April 1898, after he became President of the Church, President Woodruff declared that “those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits … [and] were inspired of the Lord” (Conference Report, April 1898, p. 89). David O. McKay referred to the Founders as “patriotic, freedom-loving men, who Latter-day Saints declare were inspired by the Lord” (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 319).


Thomas Jefferson Predicted the Restoration of Primitive Christianity

         Thomas Jefferson, arguably the greatest mind among the Founders, predicted the restoration of primitive Christianity in his later life. In 1820 he wrote that “truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by His pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity.” Jefferson further predicted that this Restoration would not occur in his lifetime, as he explained, “This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it” (Andrew Allison et al., The Real Thomas Jefferson, p. 366). Thomas Jefferson died July 4, 1826, about four years before the Church was established in 1830.

         Further, Thomas Jefferson also wrote, “Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity, I must leave to younger athletes to encounter and lop off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the mythologists of the middle and modern ages” (ibid.). It is clear that Thomas Jefferson was in touch with the Spirit of God to such an extent that he received important revelations about the future of Christianity.


The Founding Fathers Accept the Restored Gospel after Death

         Wilford Woodruff related a situation where he had the Founding Fathers appear to him in the St. George Temple and require that their ordinance work be done.


 



“I will here say, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.” These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.”
(Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 19:229).

         We know from the scriptures that only those who “would have received [the Gospel] if they had been permitted to tarry [on earth], shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God” (D&C 137:7). Since the Founders accepted the Gospel in the afterlife, we can conclude that they would have accepted the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ had it been preached in their lifetimes. This is further evidence that the Founders were mostly quite religious and spiritual, and sensitive to the things of God and religion.


Quotes from the Founding Fathers About Religion


George Washington

“The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes as Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.”
(July 9, 1776).

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
(General Orders, May 2, 1778).

“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”
(Speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779).

“The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity.”
(Fragments of the Draft First Inaugural Address, April 1789).

“No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
(First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789).

“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”
(Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, Vol. 1, p. 28, April 30, 1789).

“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.”
(Farewell Address, September 17, 1796).

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.”
(Farewell Address, September 17, 1796).

“Let it be simply asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”
(Farewell Address, September 17, 1796).

 

Benjamin Franklin

“If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?”
(Letter to an unknown person, 1757).

“The Being who gave me Existence, and thro’ almost three score Years has been continually showering his Favours upon me, whose very Chastisements have been Blessings to me, can I doubt that he loves me?”
(Letter to George Whitefield, June 19, 1764).

“Atheism is unknown there [in America]; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great Age in that Country, without having their Piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel.”
(“Information to those who would remove to America,” September 1782).

“God heals, and the Doctor takes the Fees.”
(Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736).

“I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – That God governs in the affairs of men.”
(Speech to the Constitutional Convention, June 28, 1787).

“…the soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this.”
(Letter to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790).

“As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”
(Letter to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790).


Thomas Jefferson

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”
(Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1775).

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
(Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

“I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man.”
(Letter to Jared Sparks, November 4, 1820).

“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!”
(Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785).

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, …their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
(Letter to Danbury Baptist Association, January 1, 1802. Note that such a wall of separation between church and state is not to prohibit churches from influencing the state, but to prevent the establishment of a state religion.).

“My views [of Christianity] … are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be – sincerely attached to His doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.”
(Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803. While it is clear that Jefferson’s earlier views of Christ were that he was not Divine, it is apparent that he changed his views about the Christ later on in his life, making references to “my Savior.” An example is his letter to Martin Van Buren on June 29, 1824 (Andrew Allison et al., The Real Thomas Jefferson, p. 300, 364-365)).

“I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus – very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor saw. They have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man, of which the great Reformer of the vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were He to return to earth, would not recognize one feature.”
(Letter to Charles Thomson, 1816).

“The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.”
(Letter to James Fishback, September 27, 1809).

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man:
1. That there is one only God, and He all perfect.
2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
3. That to love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

“But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin…. The impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin, …are the false shepherds foretold [in the New Testament] as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed Author himself with the horrors so falsely imputed to Him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian.”
(Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, June 26, 1822).


James Madison

“A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.”
(Letter to William Bradford, November 9, 1772).

“I have sometimes thought there could be no stronger testimony in favor of Religion or against temporal Enjoyments even the most rational and manly than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent Advocates in the cause of Christ, & I wish you may give in your Evidence in this way. Such instances have seldom occurred, therefore they would be more striking and would be instead of a ‘Cloud of Witnesses.’”
(Letter to William Bradford, September 1773).

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
(Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 1785).


John Adams

“Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited…. What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!”
(John Adam’s Diary, February 22, 1756).

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”
(John Adam’s Diary, July 26, 1796).

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”
(Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, October 11, 1798).

“But it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can surely stand.”
(Letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776).

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house [i.e. the White House] and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men rule under this roof.”
(Letter to Abigail Adams, November 2, 1800).

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
(Letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813).

“I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”
(Letter to Thomas Jefferson, December 25, 1813).

“Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.”
(Letter to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817).

“The American Union will last as long as God pleases. It is the duty of every American Citizen to exert his utmost abilities and endeavours to preserve it as long as possible and to pray with submission to Providence ‘esto perpetua [i.e. may it last forever].’”
(Letter to Charles Carroll, August 2, 1820).

“I love and revere the memories of Huss, Wickliff, Luther, Calvin, Zwinglius, Melancton, and all the other reformers how muchsoever I may differ from them all in many theological, metaphysical, & philosophical points. As you justly observe, without their great exertions and severe sufferings the USA had never existed.”
(Letter to F.C. Schaeffer, November 25, 1821).


Samuel Adams

“He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all. Our forefathers threw off the yoke of Popery in religion; for you is reserved the honor of leveling the popery of politics. They opened the Bible to all, and maintained the capacity of every man to judge for himself in religion.”
(Speech to the State House of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, August 1, 1776).

“The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe [Proverbs 18:10]. Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.”
(Letter to Elizabeth Adams, December 26, 1776).

“The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave... These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”
(Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772).

“…(may it be that) the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.”
(Fast Day Proclamation, March 20, 1797).

“The Opinion of others I very little regard, & have a thorough Contempt for all men, be their Names Characters & Stations what they may, who appear to be the irreclaimable Enemies of Religion & Liberty.”
(Letter to William Checkley, December 14, 1772).

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.”
(Letter to John Trumbull, October 16, 1778).

“I could dwell on the importance of piety and religion; of industry and frugality; of prudence, economy, regularity and an even government; all which are essential to the well-being of a family. But I have not Time. I cannot however help repeating Piety, because I think it indispensible. Religion in a Family is at once its brightest Ornament & its best Security. The first Point of Justice, says a Writer I have met with, consists in Piety; Nothing certainly being so great a Debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those Acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly Protection he affords us.”
(Letter to Thomas Wells, November 22, 1780).

“Let Divines, and Philosophers, Statesmen and Patriots unite their endeavours to renovate the Age, by impressing the Minds of Men with the importance of educating their little boys, and girls - of inculcating in the Minds of youth the fear, and Love of the Deity, and universal Phylanthropy; and in subordination to these great principles, the Love of their Country - of instructing them in the Art of self government, without which they never can act a wise part in the Government of Societies great, or small - in short of leading them in the Study, and Practice of the exalted Virtues of the Christian system, which will happily tend to subdue the turbulent passions of Men, and introduce that Golden Age beautifully described in figurative language; when the Wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard lie down with the Kid - the Cow, and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the Lyon shall eat straw like the Ox - none shall then hurt, or destroy; for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord.”
(Letter to John Adams, October 4, 1790).


Alexander Hamilton

“I now offer you the outline of the plan they have suggested. Let an association be formed to be denominated 'The Christian Constitutional Society,' its object to be first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.

“I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”
(Letter to Letter to James Bayard, 1802).

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”
(Final words after being fatally wounded in a duel with Aaron Burr, July 1804).


John Jay

“I recommend a general and public return of praise and thanksgiving to Him from whose goodness these blessings descend. The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the source from which they flow.”
(To the Committee of the Corporation of the City of New York, June 29, 1826).

“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”
(Letter to Peter Augustus Jay, April 8, 1784).

“The evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds.”
(Letter to Rev. Uzal Ogden, February 14, 1796).

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
(Letter to John Murray, Jr., October 12, 1816).


John Hancock

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent Measure should be taken to ward off the impending Judgments.

“All confidence must be withheld from the Means we use; and reposed only on that GOD who rules in the Armies of Heaven, and without whose Blessing the best human Counsels are but Foolishness--and all created Power Vanity.

“It is the Happiness of his Church that, when the Powers of Earth and Hell combine against it...that the Throne of Grace is of the easiest access--and its Appeal thither is graciously invited by the Father of Mercies, who has assured it, that when his Children ask Bread he will not give them a Stone....

“RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer...to confess the sins...to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven.”
(To Massachusetts Provincial Congress, April 15, 1775).


Patrick Henry

“The American Revolution was the grand operation, which seemed to be assigned by the Deity to the men of this age in our country.”
(Letter to Henry Lee, June 27, 1795).

“This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.”
(Will of Patrick Henry, November 20, 1798).

“Righteousness alone can exalt America as a nation. Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.”
(Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1799).

“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible.”
(Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1799).

“Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.”
(Letter to his daughter, August 20, 1796).


Gouverneur Morris

“There must be religion. When that ligament is torn, society is disjointed and its members perish.”
(Speech before the New York Historical Society, September 4, 1816).


George Mason

“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
(Virginia Declaration of Rights, Article 16, 1776).

“My soul I resign into the hands of my Almighty Creator, Whose tender mercies are all over His works…. humbly hoping from His unbounded mercy and benevolence, through the merits of my blessed Savior, a remission of my sins.”
(Will of George Mason, March 20, 1773).


Benjamin Rush

“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.”
(Letter to Elias Boudinot, July 9, 1788).

“…the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.”
(A Defence of the Use of the Bible as a School Book, 1798).

“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that is was improper to read the Bible at schools.”
(Letter to Jeremy Belknap, July 13, 1789).

“In proportion as mankind adopt [Christian] principles and obey its precepts, they will be wise and happy.”
(Letter to Jeremy Belknap, March 2, 1791).

“The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.”
(Letter to Jeremy Belknap, March 2, 1791).

“By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects.”
(Letter to John Adams, January 23, 1807).

“…the greatest discoveries in science have been made by Christian philosophers and … there is the most knowledge in those countries where there is the most Christianity.”
(Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, 1806).

“All systems of religion, morals, and government not founded upon it [the Bible] must perish, and how consoling the thought – it will not only survive the wreck of these systems but the world itself. ‘The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’”
(Letter to John Adams, January 23, 1807).

“Sailors, soldiers, Indians, nay more, Deists and Atheists, all pray by an unsubdued instinct of nature when in great danger or distress.”
(Letter to John Adams, June 4, 1812).

“Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.”
(To John Armstrong, March 19, 1783).

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”
(On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic, 1806).

“Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mahomed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.”
(On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic, 1806).


Thomas Paine

“Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but a hereditary one, but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you, THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU. Words need not be more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the honour, but denieth their right to give it; neither  doth he compliment them with invented declarations of his thanks, but in the positive style of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign, the King of heaven.”
(Common Sense, February 14, 1776).

“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
(The Rights of Man, 1791).


Note: Thomas Paine turned from Christianity later in life, but during the time he was most respected and influential in inciting the American Revolution - the role by which history is indebted to him - he was thoroughly Christian.


Noah Webster

“About a year ago, an unusual revival of religion took place in New Haven...and I was lead by a spontaneous impulse of repentance, prayer, and entire submission of myself to my Maker and Redeemer. In the month of April last, I made a profession of faith.”
(Letter to Thomas Dawes, December 20, 1808).

“The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person, a brother or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government..”
(History of the United States, published 1832).


Roger Sherman

“I believe that there is one only living and tru God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.”
(Personal creed which was adopted by his church).


Charles Carroll

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime & pure, [and] which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and [which] insured to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
(Letter to John McHenry on November 4, 1800).

“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.”
(Statement made on Charles Carroll's 89th birthday).


John Marshall

“The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it.”
(Letter to Jasper Adams on May 9, 1833).


Thomas McKean

“You will probably have but a short time to live. Before you launch into eternity, it behooves you to improve the time that may be allowed you in this world. It behooves you most seriously to reflect upon your conduct, to repent of your evil deeds, to be incessant in prayers to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins, to teach you to rely upon the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer and thereby to avoid those regions of sorrow, those doleful shades where peace and rest can never dwell, where even hope cannot enter. It behooves you to seek the fellowship, advice and prayers of pious and good men, to be persistent at the throne of grace and to learn the way that leadeth to happiness. May you reflecting upon these things and pursuing the will of the great Father of Light and Life, be received into the company and society of angels and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect and may you be qualified to enter into the joys of heaven, joys unspeakable and full of glory.”
(Discussion with John Roberts at his sentence to death, Respublica vs. John Roberts).

 

James Wilson

“After the lapse of six thousand years since the Creation of the world, America now presents the first instance of a people assembled to weigh deliberately and calmly, and to decide leisurely and peaceably, upon the form of government by which they bind themselves and their posterity.”
(Speech on Proposed Federal Constitution, November 24, 1787).


Richard Stockton

“I, Richard Stockton, being sick and weak in body but sound of memory, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following:

“First, I bequeath my soule into the hands of Almight God and my body to be buried at the discretion of my executors hereby named, in hopes through the merrits of Jesus Christ to obtain a joyfull resurrection.”
(Last Will and Testament).


Quotes from Other Relevant Historical Figures About Religion


John Quincy Adams

“In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”
(Speech to the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, July 4, 1837).


Christopher Columbus

“From my first youth onward, I was a seaman and have so continued until this day…. Wherever on the earth a ship has been, I have been. I have spoken and treated with learned men, priests, and laymen, Latins and Greeks, Jews and Moors, and with many men of other faiths. The Lord was well disposed to my desire, and He bestowed upon me courage and understanding; knowledge of seafaring He gave me in abundance, astrology as much as was needed, and of geometry and astronomy likewise. Further, He gave me joy and cunning in drawing maps and thereon cities, mountains, rivers, islands, and harbours, each one in its place. I have seen and truly I have studied all books – cosmographies, histories, chronicles, and philosophies, and other arts, for which the Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my emprise called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?”
(Christopher Columbus as quoted in Mark E. Petersen, The Great Prologue, p. 26. Compare with 1 Nephi 13:12).

 

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