Good hearts produce good laws and bring good government said William Penn who founded the territory that became the state of Pennsylvania.
On this Fourth of July, what exquisite words to contemplate.
That philosophy, along with God’s mandate to reach kings and leaders with His Word, are the foundation for Capitol Ministries’ mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the political arenas from neighborhood councilmen to foreign leaders in international federal Capitols, for God’s Word makes good hearts.
As we celebrate our nation’s 239th birthday, here are some historical quotes to contemplate from Godly men with good hearts-our founding fathers-who based the U.S. Constitution and our very foundation on biblical principles.
John Adams, the second President of the United States; first Vice President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Bill of Rights.
“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.”
“[The Fourth of July] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States; Diplomat; Secretary of State; U.S. Senator; U.S. Representative; ‘Old Man Eloquent;’ Hell-Hound of Abolition.
“The Declaration of Independence cast off all the shackles of this dependency. The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent nation of Christians.”
“[T]here was no anarchy. From the day of the Declaration, the people of the North American union, and of its constituent States, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.”
Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Father of the American Revolution; Ratifier of the US Constitution; Governor of Massachusetts.
“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Diplomat; Printer; Scientist; Signer of the Constitution; Governor of Pennsylvania.
“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
Patrick Henry, Revolutionary General; Legislator; ‘The Voice of Liberty’; Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution; Governor of Virginia.
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”
Thomas Jefferson, The third President of The United States; Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Diplomat; Governor of Virginia; Secretary of State.
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, (A)nd if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
“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.”
James Madison, The fourth President of the United States; A Primary Author of the Constitution of the United States of America; author of the Federalist Papers; Framer of the Bill of Rights; Secretary of State.
“We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”
“Religion [is] the basis and foundation of Government.”
“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Surgeon General of the Continental Army; Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution; ‘Father of American Medicine’; Treasurer of the U.S. Mint; ‘Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution.’
“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.”
It is both poignant and astonishing that two of the most prominent founding fathers of the United States died within 5 hours of each other on July 4 – on the 50th anniversary of the very day that their courageous actions helped bring forth a new nation.
Former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, fellow revolutionaries and visionaries who had worked together to draft the Declaration of Independence that was published on July 4, 1776, died on that very day in 1826.
Adams, the second President of the United States who served from 1797-1800, believed in a strong central government. Jefferson, the third President of the United States who served 1801-1809, believed in deferring to individual states’ rights. The men began as friends and turned into enemies over their conflicting political views, but reconciled and for the last 14 years of their lives, became as brothers.
In the year they died, the men were the last surviving members of the original American revolutionaries. On July 4, at the age of 90, Adams lay on his death bed in his Quincy, Mass. home. Before he died in the early evening hours, some reports record his last words as, “At least Jefferson still survives.”
But 83-year old Jefferson had died at his home of Monticello five hours earlier. It is reported that Jefferson wished to live until July 4 so “that he might breathe the air of the Fiftieth Anniversary.”
B. L. Rayner in his 1829 biography “Life of Thomas Jefferson,” wrote that Jefferson expressed concern for the future of his university and his country, and that one of his last statements was, “Warn the committee to be on their guard,” a warning to his descendents to be ever vigilant in defending freedom.