Saturday, December 4, 2010

John Hancock on Religion in Society

We all know that John Hancock was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence (hence the phrase, "Put your 'John Hancock' right on the dotted line."). But did you also recall that he was governor of Massachusetts? And do you know any of the words in his inaugural address as governor?

Here is a sample of his ideas from his inaugural address as Governor of Massachusetts, 1780.

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement that shall not infringe the rights of conscience, which I rejoice to see established by the Constitution on so broad a basis; and if anything can be further done on the same basis for the relief of the public teachers of religion and morality, an order of men greatly useful to their country, and who have particularly suffered in the defense of its rights by the depreciation of currency; as also for the relief of widows and orphans, many of whom have been distressed in the same way, and who are particularly committed by Heaven to the protection of civil rulers, I shall most readily concur with you in every such measure.

A due observation of the Lord's Day is not only important to internal religion, but greatly conducive to the order and benefit of civil society. It speaks to the senses of mankind, and, by a solemn cessation from their common affairs, reminds them of a Deity and the accountableness to the great Lord of all.

As found in:
John Hancock: his book, by Abram English Brown, page 269.

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