christian heritage

In a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779, Washington encouraged them to learn the religion of Jesus Christ:

“My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. 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. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

– George Washington, speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.
 

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

– George Washington
 

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports….Let it simply be 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? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

– George Washington, Farewell Address 1796
 

“Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments. Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.”

– George Washington, Prayer
 

“True religion affords to government its surest support.”

– George Washington

Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“I … [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.”
– Samuel Adams

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought , and dignity of self-direction which he bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting of the sun, may His Kingdom come.”

– Samuel Adams
 

“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.”

– Samuel Adams

United States Congressional Endorsement of the Bible and God

Congress printed a Bible for America and said:

“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”

– United States Congress 1782

“Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

– United States Congress 1782

“By Law the United States Congress adds to US coinage:”

“In God We Trust”– United States Congress 1864

John Adams, President of the United States of America, First Vice President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Bill of Rights, and Signer of First Amendment

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

– John Adams

“I have examined all, as well as my narrow sphere, my straitened means, and my busy life would allow me; and the result is, that the Bible is the best book in the world.”

– John Adams

“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 Adams

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” 

– John Adams

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.”

– John Adams

Statesmen… may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. 

– John Adams

Abigail Adams, Wife of John Adams

“The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation.”

– Abigail Adams

John Quincy Adams

“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” 
– John Quincy Adams

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” 
– John Quincy Adams

Patrick Henry, Early America Leader

The Bible… is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. 
– Patrick Henry

“There is one thing more I wish I could give [my family], and that is the Christian Religion. If they had that and I had not given them one shilling they would have been rich; and if they had not that and I had given them all the world, they would be poor.”
– Patrick Henry

“Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their 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.”
– Patrick Henry

John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

“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.”

– John Jay

“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.”

– John Jay

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“The only foundation for . . . 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.”

– Benjamin Rush

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! . . . My only hope of salvation is in the infinite transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Nothing but His blood will wash away my sins [Acts 22:16]. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!”

– 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.” 

– Benjamin Rush

“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 it was improper to read the Bible at schools.” 
– Benjamin Rush

“The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.” 
– Benjamin Rush

“The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life… [T]he Bible… should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.”

– Benjamin Rush

“By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects… It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published.” 
– Benjamin Rush

John Witherspoon, Continental Congress

“He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

– John Witherspoon

“I shall now conclude my discourse by preaching this Savior to all who hear me, and entreating you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ; for “there is no salvation in any other” [Acts 4:12].

– John Witherspoon

“It is very evident that both the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New are at great pains to give us a view of the glory and dignity of the person of Christ. With what magnificent titles is He adorned! What glorious attributes are ascribed to him!… All these conspire to teach us that He is truly and properly God – God over all, blessed forever!”

– John Witherspoon

John Dickinson, Signer Constitution of the USA, Continental Congress

“[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness… We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth.”

– John Dickinson

Benjamin Franklin

“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.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Jefferson, President

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

– Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man.

– Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

Daniel Webster, Early American Politician

“The Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.”

– Daniel Webster

“Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.”

– Daniel Webster

Noah Webster, American Schoolmaster

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

– Noah Webster, Preface Noah Webster Dictionary, 1828

The Christian religion… is the basis, or rather the source, of all genuine freedom in government… I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity have not a controlling influence.

– Noah Webster

The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.

– Noah Webster

The Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

– Noah Webster

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”

– Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

National Anthem of the United States of America, Francis Scott Key

“And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust'” 
– USA National Anthem, Third Verse

Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America

“[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

– Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America

“In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”

– Abraham Lincoln

“I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.” 
– Abraham Lincoln

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.”
– Abraham Lincoln

“This nation under God”

– Abraham Lincoln, Gettysberg Address and inscribed on Lincoln Memorial

“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

– Abraham Lincoln

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

– Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial

“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation…”

– Abraham Lincoln

United States Supreme Court

“This is a Christian nation”

– United States Supreme Court Decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian…This is a Christian nation”

– United States Supreme Court Decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892

Washington Monument

“Holiness to the Lord” (Exodus 28:26, 30:30, Isaiah 23:18, Zechariah 14:20)

– Washington Monument

“Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39)

– Washington Monument

“The memory of the just is blessed” (Proverbs 10:7)

– Washington Monument

“May Heaven to this Union continue its beneficence”

– Washington Monument

“In God We Trust”

– Washington Monument

“Praise be to God” (engraved on the monument’s capstone in Latin as “Laus Deo”)

– Washington Monument

James Madison, A Primary Author of the Constitution of the United States of America

“The belief in a God All-Powerful, wise, and good is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it.”

– 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.

– James Madison

I have sometimes thought there could not be a 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 [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.

– James Madison

 

Prayers by American Presidents

In September 1789, Congress asked President George Washington to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”

Washington complied, and in early October sent a proclamation to the governors of the states. The proclamation asked the governors to make Thursday, November 26 a day of Thanksgiving, saying:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington, an undated prayer for guidance from Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon:

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul…. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.

 

Abraham Lincoln; a prayer for peace (Second Inaugural address, March 4, 1865):

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues… until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid another drawn with the sword… so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Ronald Reagan; a prayer for healing (from a speech to the American people, February 6, 1986):

To preserve our blessed land we must look to God… It is time to realize that we need God more than He needs us… We also have His promise that we could take to heart with regard to our country, that “If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Let us, young and old, join together, as did the First Continental Congress, in the first step, in humble heartfelt prayer. Let us do so for the love of God and His great goodness, in search of His guidance and the grace of repentance, in seeking His blessings, His peace, and the resting of His kind and holy hands on ourselves, our nation, our friends in the defense of freedom, and all mankind, now and always. The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America… Our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal. Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on Earth. If I had a prayer for you today, among those that have all been uttered, it is that one we’re so familiar with: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace….” And God bless you all.

George H. W. Bush; a prayer to help others (Inaugural address, January 20, 1989):

My first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads. Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways… that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.