I copied this post from Bill Fortenberry. It supports the bible is the foundation and supreme law of this land. The quotes are excellent and shows John Adams contradicting himself by quoting Jeremiah 17:9, but in another place he rejected the total depravity.
It is often said by historians that the founders of America consulted many sources of information such as the Greek and Roman histories as well as the histories of dozens of other civilizations and that their ideas of good government came from these sources apart from the teachings of Scripture. I agree with the claim that the founders investigated many historical documents from a wide variety of cultures, but the claim that their ideology was derived from these histories without comparing them to the teachings of God’s Word is not supported by their writings. Consider the following statements from John Adams as an example:
"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; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. I could, therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles. In favor of these general principles, in philosophy, religion, and government, I could fill sheets of quotations from Frederic of Prussia, from Hume, Gibbon, Bolingbroke, Rousseau, and Voltaire, as well as Newton and Locke; not to mention thousands of divines and philosophers of inferior fame.”
According to Adams, the general principles of Christianity can only be supported and never disproven even through the study of writings intentionally written in opposition to those principles. Thus, when we find Adams quoting from these sources, we cannot take those quotes as evidence that he consulted them independently of the Scriptures. Adams himself has assured us that he believed the principles of Christianity to be eternal and immutable. In fact, he later wrote:
"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. It contains more of my little Phylosophy than all the Libraries I have Seen: and Such Parts of it as I cannot reconcile to my little Phylosophy I postpone for future Investigation."
Obviously Adams did not consult the histories of other nations independently of his study of the Bible, but can we conclude that this practice was adopted by other founders? According to Adams, we can. In the preface to his Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States, he wrote:
“It can no longer be called in question, whether authority in magistrates, and obedience of citizens, can be grounded on reason, morality, and the Christian religion.”
As part of his defense of the American form of government, Adams made reference to many passages of Scripture and drew conclusions such as:
"To expect self-denial from men, when they have a majority in their favour, and consequently power to gratify themselves, is to disbelieve all history and universal experience; it is to disbelieve Revelation and the Word of God, which informs us, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
"In the institution of government it must be remembered, that although reason ought always to govern individuals, it certainly never did since the Fall, and never will till the Millennium; and human nature must be taken as it is, as it has been, and will be.”
These and many other statements from Adams reveal that he recognized a biblical foundation upon which the American legal system was built. But we need not focus only on Adams. We could turn to a number of other founders and find similar statements. James Madison, for example, wrote that:
“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.”
And a few days later he also wrote:
"I concur with you at once in rejecting the idea maintained by some divines, of more zeal than discretion, that there is no road from nature up to nature’s God, and that all the knowledge of his existence and attributes which preceded the written revelation of them was derived from oral tradition. The doctrine is the more extraordinary, as it so directly contradicts the declarations you have cited from the written authority itself.”
These statements reveal to us that Madison, like John Adams, understood that studying multiple sources of information would only serve to strengthen the validity of the teachings found in the Bible.
One of the clearest examples of Madison's recognition of the Christian principles undergirding our government can be seen in his statements regarding religious freedom. There we find him writing:
“The danger of silent accumulations & encroachments by Ecclesiastical Bodies have not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S. They have the noble merit of first unshackling the conscience from persecuting laws, and of establishing among religious sects a legal equality. If some of the States have not embraced this just and this truly Xn principle in its proper latitude, all of them present examples by which the most enlightened States of the old world may be instructed ... Ye States of America, which retain in your Constitutions or Codes, any aberration from the sacred principle of religious liberty, by giving to Ceasar what belongs to God, or joining together what God has put assunder, hasten to revise & purify your systems, and make the example of your Country as pure & compleat, in what relates to the freedom of the mind and its allegiance to its maker, as in what belongs to the legitimate objects of political & civil institutions.”
It is clear from this statement that Madison, like the Baptists who influenced him, based his concept of religious freedom on the teachings of the Bible. This sentiment is repeated in his Memorial and Remonstrance where we read:
“Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe, the religion which we believe to be of Divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man."
And later in that same Remonstrance, he argued that a particular bill should be voted down because:
“The policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity."
Once again, we find an example of one of our founders basing his position in regards to proper government on the teachings of the Bible rather than on a mere examination of history. We could go on. According to Madison's records of the Constitutional Convention, Mr. Pinckney proposed that there be a minimum property requirement for elected officials. Madison recorded Dr. Franklin rising up in strong opposition to this idea. He wrote:
"Doctor Franklin expressed his dislike to everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people. If honesty was often the companion of wealth, and if poverty was exposed to peculiar temptation, it was not less true that the possession of property increased the desire of more property. Some of the greatest rogues he was ever acquainted with were the richest rogues. We should remember the character which the Scripture requires in rulers, that they should be men hating covetousness. [This statement is a direct quote from Exodus 18:21] This Constitution will be much read and attended to in Europe; and if it should betray a great partiality to the rich, will not only hurt us in the esteem of the most liberal and enlightened men there, but discourage the common people from removing to this country."
After Franklin was finished, Madison tells us that "The motion of Mr. Pinckney was rejected by so general a no, that the States were not called." Dr. Franklin specifically chose to rely on a reference to Scripture to prove his point, and when he did so, he very effectively ended the debate on that subject.
We could go on again and consider the claim of Gouverneur Morris that:
"This hour of distress will come. It comes to all, and the moment of affliction is known to Him alone, whose divine providence exalts or depresses states and kingdoms. Not by the blind dictates of arbitrary will. Not by a tyrannous and despotic mandate. But in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of his just and holy laws. It is he who commands us that we abstain from wrong. It is he who tells us, ‘do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.'"
Clearly, this founder understood that the fate of our nation was dependent upon our obedience to the "just and holy laws" of God. And this was not an isolated sentiment from Mr. Morris. He expressed it often in his writings stating at one time that:
“It is justice, says the book of wisdom, which establisheth a nation. A view of Europe would naturally lead a pietist to apprehend, that the Almighty had prepared a scourge for the abominations, which prevailed among the people.”
And in another place:
"You may perhaps take a wider range, and ask whether this principle would not operate injuriously, by depriving the government of pecuniary resource, when engaged hereafter in a war not only just but unavoidable. to this I reply, in the language of Holy Writ, ‘thou shalt not do evil that good only just may come of it.’"
And yet again we find him writing:
“I do, not, my dear Sir, look westward for the sunrise of freedom. My eyes are turned to, and steadily fixed on the east. My trust is not in a President, Senate, and house of Representatives, but in Him who governs empires, the world, the universe.”
The veneration which Mr. Morris had for the Christian religion can also be seen in his comments on the failures of other governments such as this statement about Frederick the Great:
“Frederick the Great was, in one respect, a very little and shortsighted politician. His vanity led him to sacrifice the power and safety of his successors to purchase the incense of a few wits, who had undertaken to destroy the Christian religion; and here that has happened which is written; ‘The fathers ate sour grapes, which have set the children’s teeth on edge.’ The destruction of religion has loosened the bonds of duty, and those of allegiance must ever be weak, where there is a defect both of piety and morality.”
And in reference to the French Revolution, he wrote:
“Lastly, it is a duty to God. It is to his high Tribunal, that the monarchs of the earth must render a solemn account of their conduct; and he requires of them, that it be regulated by the principles of truth and justice, which alone endure forever, and which forever establish the peace and prosperity of empires.”
I could go on and on and on. Time does not permit me to delve into Hamilton's statements regarding Christianity and the French Revolution. I will simply point out that his view was identical to that which we have just read from Morris. And I will have to wait until a later time to give even a brief overview of James Wilson's statements regarding the Christian foundations of our nation. I will merely content myself for now with conveying his emphatic statement that "Human law must rest its authority, ultimately, upon the authority of that law, which is divine." And of course, I cannot mention that statement without also pointing out his claim that: “Christianity is part of the common law.” This meager listing will have to suffice for now, but let me assure the reader that there is much, much more that could be presented.