Friday, October 22, 2010

Quote of the day: America should not be an enemy to "the religion of the Gospel"

"Our country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies to the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be the introduction of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society."

- Elias Boudinot (1740-1821), American founding father, President of the Continental Congress, and U.S. congressman, from The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia:  Asbury Dickins, 1801), pg. xxii., quoted in The Founders on Religion:  A Book of Quotations, ed. by James H. Hutson (Princeton:  2005), pg. 191.

6 comments:

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

The quote could be much more interesting with some context. I wonder what was being proposed, or being done, that Boudinot feared could make America an enemy of the religion of the Gospel.

Mark in Spokane said...

Daniel,

A good question. Unfortunately, I don't have that context -- my sourcebook for these quotes doesn't contain lengthy excerpts.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The context is vs Paine's Age of reason

http://olivercowdery.com/texts/boud1790.htm

For a considerable time past, I have ardently wished to see some more able hand, meet Mr. Paine more on his own ground, in a plain and simple manner -- but after waiting several years, I have lost all hopes of being gratified; and therefore have been more easily persuaded to undergo, amidst a variety of other business,






[ xxii ]


the labour of copying once more, what was designed for a particular and special purpose; and altering the address, by applying it more directly to the author of the Age of Reason, and through him to all his brethren in scepticism.

I am averse to increasing the number of books, unless it be on important occasions, or for useful pur poses; but an anxious desire that our country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies to the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be introductive of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society; my compliance with the wishes of a few select friends, to make this work public, has been more easily obtained.

However, I am not sanguine of great success, knowing my own insufficiency for the task; neither do I expect to carry much conviction to the minds of those, who have been long engaged in the vices of infidelity; what I principally look for, is, to persuade the rising generation, and those who are but beginning to doubt or waver, to make the divine Scrip tures their serious and attentive study; and seek to understand the principles of the Gospel, before they pretend to judge of them, or to renounce them as untrue, or of but trifling importance. Thus they would do in any other science, and they cannot rea sonably adopt a different practice in religion.

Daniel said...

Interesting. Yes, it does help with the quotation. Thanks, Tom.

"I am averse to increasing the number of books. . ." I think I like this guy's attitude.

Tom Van Dyke said...

John Adams wrote a similar disparagement of Paine's Age of Reason:

"[Paine's] deism, as it appears to me, has promoted rather than retarded the cause of revolution in America, and indeed in Europe."

[Linking Christianity and republicanism.]

"His [Paine's] billingsgate, stolen from Blount's Oracles of Reason, from Bolingbroke., Voltaire, Berenger, &c.,

will never discredit Christianity, which will hold its ground in some degree as long as human nature shall have any thing moral or intellectual left in it."

I did a post on the entire letter awhile back.

http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2009/01/john-adams-christianity_16.html