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Quotes from the Founders

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Were the Founding Fathers Christians?

It can be easily demonstrated that a very high percentage – in fact, the overwhelming majority – of Founding Fathers were Christians, but certainly not all of them were. Today, citizens are regularly told about the lesser religious Founders (such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine), but hear nothing about the prominent Christians among the Founders (for example, 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration held what are today considered seminary or Bible school degrees, and many others of the signers were bold and outspoken in their personal Christian faith). Significantly, not one of the Founding Fathers was secular in his orientation; even Thomas Paine (certainly the least religious of the Founders) openly acknowledged God and announced his belief in his personal accountability to God, and he also directly advocated teaching creationism in the public school classroom (see "Thomas Paine Criticizes the Current Public School Science Curriculum"). Over 250 individuals are historically considered Founding Fathers (e.g., the signers of the Declaration, the signers of the Constitution, the framers of the Bill of Rights, leading state governors and generals in the Revolution, etc.), but typically critics list only the handful of the least religious from among the 250 to claim that all the Founders were deists or secular. - Wallbuilders.com

The following are quotes from several of them (This is a representative list only, there are many other quotes that could be listed)


Samuel Adams

Father of the American Revolution, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

I . . . recommend my Soul to that Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins. — Will of Samuel Adams

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Charles Carroll

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

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.

From an autographed letter in our possession written by Charles Carroll to Charles W. Wharton, Esq., on September 27, 1825, from Doughoragen, Maryland.

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William Cushing

First Associate Justice Appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court

Sensible of my mortality, but being of sound mind, after recommending my soul to Almighty God through the merits of my Redeemer and my body to the earth . . . — Will of William Cushing

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John Dickinson

Signer of the Constitution

Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity. — Will of John Dickinson

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John Hancock

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

I John Hancock, . . . being advanced in years and being of perfect mind and memory-thanks be given to God-therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed for all men once to die [Hebrews 9:27], do make and ordain this my last will and testament…Principally and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it: and my body I recommend to the earth . . . nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mercy and power of God. . . — Will of John Hancock

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Patrick Henry

Governor of Virginia, Patriot

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

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John Jay

First Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court

Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His beloved son. He has been pleased to bless me with excellent parents, with a virtuous wife, and with worthy children. His protection has companied me through many eventful years, faithfully employed in the service of my country; His providence has not only conducted me to this tranquil situation but also given me abundant reason to be contented and thankful. Blessed be His holy name! — Will of John Jay

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Daniel St. Thomas Jenifer

Signer of the Constitution

In the name of God, Amen. I, Daniel of Saint Thomas Jenifer . . . of dispossing mind and memory, commend my soul to my blessed Redeemer. . . — Will of Daniel St. Thomas Jenifer

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Henry Knox

Revolutionary War General, Secretary of War

First, I think it proper to express my unshaken opinion of the immortality of my soul or mind; and to dedicate and devote the same to the supreme head of the Universe – to that great and tremendous Jehovah, – Who created the universal frame of nature, worlds, and systems in number infinite . . . To this awfully sublime Being do I resign my spirit with unlimited confidence of His mercy and protection . . . — Will of Henry Knox

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John Langdon

Signer of the Constitution

In the name of God, Amen. I, John Langdon, . . . considering the uncertainty of life and that it is appointed unto all men once to die [Hebrews 9:27], do make, ordain and publish this my last will and testament in manner following, that is to say-First: I commend my soul to the infinite mercies of God in Christ Jesus, the beloved Son of the Father, who died and rose again that He might be the Lord of the dead and of the living . . . professing to believe and hope in the joyful Scripture doctrine of a resurrection to eternal life . . . — Will of John Langdon

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John Morton

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

With an awful reverence to the great Almighty God, Creator of all mankind, I, John Morton . . . being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and memory-thanks be given to Almighty God for the same, for all His mercies and favors-and considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the times thereof, do, for the settling of such temporal estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life . . . — Will of John Morton

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Robert Treat Paine

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

I desire to bless and praise the name of God most high for appointing me my birth in a land of Gospel Light where the glorious tidings of a Savior and of pardon and salvation through Him have been continually sounding in mine ears.

Robert Treat Paine, The Papers of Robert Treat Paine, Stephen Riley and Edward Hanson, editors (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1992), Vol. I, p. 48, March/April, 1749.

When I consider that this instrument contemplates my departure from this life and all earthly enjoyments and my entrance on another state of existence, I am constrained to express my adoration of the Supreme Being, the Author of my existence, in full belief of his providential goodness and his forgiving mercy revealed to the world through Jesus Christ, through whom I hope for never ending happiness in a future state, acknowledging with grateful remembrance the happiness I have enjoyed in my passage through a long life. . . — Will of Robert Treat Paine

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Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Signer of the Constitution

To the eternal, immutable, and only true God be all honor and glory, now and forever, Amen!. . . — Will of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

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Rufus Putnam

Revolutionary War General, First Surveyor General of the United States

First, I give my soul to a holy, sovereign God Who gave it in humble hope of a blessed immortality through the atonement and righteousness of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. My body I commit to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian manner. I fully believe that this body shall, by the mighty power of God, be raised to life at the last day; 'for this corruptable (sic) must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.' [I Corinthians 15:53] — Will of Rufus Putnam

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Benjamin Rush

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

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. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!

Benjamin Rush, The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, George Corner, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press for the American Philosophical Society, 1948), p. 166, Travels Through Life, An Account of Sundry Incidents & Events in the Life of Benjamin Rush.

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Roger Sherman

Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Constitution

I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. . . . that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God. . . . that God did send His own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners, and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the Gospel offer. — Lewis Henry Boutell, The Life of Roger Sherman (Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Company, 1896), pp. 272-273.

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Richard Stockton

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

I think it proper here not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian religion, such as the Being of God, the universal defection and depravity of human nature, the divinity of the person and the completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Savior, the necessity of the operations of the Divine Spirit, of Divine Faith, accompanied with an habitual virtuous life, and the universality of the divine Providence, but also . . . that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; that the way of life held up in the Christian system is calculated for the most complete happiness that can be enjoyed in this mortal state; that all occasions of vice and immorality is injurious either immediately or consequentially, even in this life; that as Almighty God hath not been pleased in the Holy Scriptures to prescribe any precise mode in which He is to be publicly worshiped, all contention about it generally arises from want of knowledge or want of virtue. — >Will of Richard Stockton

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Jonathan Trumbull Sr.

Governor of Connecticut, Patriot

Principally and first of all, I bequeath my soul to God the Creator and Giver thereof, and body to the Earth . . . nothing doubting but that I shall receive the same again at the General Resurrection thro the power of Almighty God; believing and hoping for eternal life thro the merits of my dear, exalted Redeemer Jesus Christ. — Will of Jonathan Trumbull

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John Witherspoon

Signer of the Declaration of Independence

I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other [Acts 4:12]. . . .If you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness, you must forever perish.— John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. V, pp. 276, 278, The Absolute Necessity of Salvation Through Christ, January 2, 1758.



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