Monday, August 18, 2008

John Adams's benediction: the State Dining Room mantel

On the second day of his presidency, John Adams penned these words, which became part of the State Dining Room mantel:

"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house, and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."

Read more on this White House Page...


Brian Hamilton said...

John Adams, like almost all of our Founding Fathers, was a Theist - not a Christian.

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?" - John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815

History Matters said...


Thanks for reading and for your comment. There is some misunderstanding about some of our Founders, as well as what calling someone a Theist (or Deist) means. Even Theists could appreciate the value of following Biblical values.

It is probably incorrect to say that "most" of the Founders were not Christian. The opposite is true. Check out:

But let's not forget that John Adams also said, "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."

This and more John Adams quotes are found on this blog. Here are some others:

"We are basing the hope of mankind in our ability to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."


"Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." great is my veneration of the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens in their country and respectful members of society."


"The highest story of the American Revolution is this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

(Inaugural Address) - "And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessings upon the nation."

Our second president, John Adams, opined about possible influence of the Bible on society:

"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! Every member would be obliged in conscience to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a utopia, what a paradise would this be region be..."


upon approving the Declaration of Independence, John Adams declared that the Fourth of July `ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty';


President John Adams, one of only 2 signers of the Bill of Rights and First Amendment, declared `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';


Adams proclaimed a National day of fasting and prayer in 1798 (note that this was after the First Amendment was adopted). His proclamation said that the 9th day of May that year would be a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer that the people of the US would "offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it; that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate and perpetuated to the latest generations; that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period; that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages; that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures be blessed and prospered; that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.

"And finally, I recommend that on the said day the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the Bestower of Every Good Gift, not only for His having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation."