Our Founding Fathers
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [The]Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. . . . [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.
[Why] should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.
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.... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be. I have examined all [religions]... and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen.
[The] Bible.... [is] a book containing the history of all men and of all nations and... [is] a necessary part of a polite education.
The Bible itself [is] the common inheritance, not merely of Christendom, but of the world.
To a man of liberal education, the study of history is not only useful, and important, but altogether indispensable, and with regard to the history contained in the Bible . . . "it is not so much praiseworthy to be acquainted with as it is shameful to be ignorant of it."
The reflection and experience of many years have led me to consider the holy writings not only as the most authentic and instructive in themselves, but as the clue to all other history. They tell us what man is, and they alone tell us why he is what he is: a contradictory creature that seeing and approving of what is good, pursues and performs what is evil. All of private and of public life is there displayed.... From the same pure fountain of wisdom we learn that vice destroys freedom; that arbitrary power is founded on public immorality.
[The Bible] is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.
[To] the free and universal reading of the Bible in that age, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is . . . a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.
The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.
The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal [secular] concerns of men.
Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses.