John Quincy Adams * * * * * (1767-1848; US President 1825-9)

Note: John Quincy Adams is frequently confused with John Adams (JQA's father).

"... Mr. [Thomas] Paine has departed altogether from the principles of the [American] Revolution... we may call it [Rights of Man] an address to the English nation, attempting to prove that they have a right to form a new constitution..." --John Quincy Adams in the Columbian Centinel (Letters of Publicola 2) on 11 June 1791

"... so great is my veneration for the Bible, and so strong my belief, that when duly read and meditated upon, it is of all books in the world that which contributes most to make men good, wise and happy, that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more steadily they pursue the practice of reading it through out their lives, the more lively and confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful Citizens of their Country, respectable Members of Society, and a real blessing to their Parents...
I have myself for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year...
My custom is, to read four five Chapters of the Bible, every morning immediately after rising from bed. _ It employs about an hour of my time...
It is essential, my Son, in order that you may go through this life with comfort to yourself and usefulness to your fellow creatures, that you should form and adopt certain rules or principles for the Government of your own conduct, and temper... It is in the Bible that you must learn them, and from the Bible how to practice them.
Those duties are to God to your fellow creatures,__ and to yourself. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thy self."(Luke x.27 / Matt xxii.40) "On these two commandments (Jesus Christ expressly says) hang all the law and the prophets"_ that is to say that the whole purpose of divine revelation is to inculcate them efficaciously upon the minds of men...
Let us then search the Scriptures...The Bible contains the Revelation of the Will of God, it contains the History of the Creation of the World and of mankind, and afterward the History of one peculiar Nation, certainly the most extraordinary Nation that has ever appeared upon Earth._ It contains a System of Religion, and Morality, which we may examine upon its own merits, independent of the sanction it receives from being the Word of God..." --John Quincy Adams in a letter * * * * to his son George Washington Adams on 1&8 September 1811 (Note: GWA was born in 1801 and committed suicide in 1829.)

"I offer to a merciful God at the close of this year my humble tribute of Gratitude... It has pleased him in the course of this year to lay his chastening hand upon me, and to try me with bitter Sorrow. My endeavors to quell the rebellion of the Heart have been Sincere; and have been assisted with the blessing from above-- As I advance in life; its evils multiply. the instances of mortality become more frequent and approach nearer to myself-- The greater is the need of fortitude to encounter the woes that flesh is heir to, and of religion to support pains for which there is no other remedy-- Religious Sentiments become from day to day more habitual in my mind-- They are perhaps too often Seen in this journal..." --John Quincy Adams in his diary on 31 December 1812 *

"... I never thought much of the eloquence or theology of Priestly. His Socrates and Jesus Compared is a wretched performance. Socrates and Jesus! A farthing candle and the sun!" ...
You ask me what Bible I take as the standard of my faith - the Hebrew, the Samaritan, the old English translation, or what? I answer the Bible containing the Sermon on the Mount - any Bible that I can...understand. The New Testament I have repeatedly read in the original Greek, in the Latin, in the Geneva Protestant, in Sacy's Catholic French translations, in Luther's German translation, in the common English Protestant, and in the Douay Catholic translations.
I take any one of them for my standard of faith... But the Sermon on the Mount commands me to lay up for myself treasures, not upon earth, but upon Heaven. My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ..." --John Quincy Adams (to John Adams?) on 24 December 1814 (Not found on mf#139; found a letter to his mother on this date)

"I hope you will not think me in danger of perishing everlastingly, for believing too much." --John Quincy Adams to John Adams (Nagel 231)

Bible is a succession of miracles "and that if any one of them is admitted, it is dealing with trifles to contend about any other." --John Quincy Adams on/about 11 July 1817 (50th birthday; not found, Nagel 235)

"election as president of the American Bible Society... after 1817 his diary began featuring rebuttals of genial Unitarianism and of intolerant Fundamentalism, both of which he considered to be threats to republican society." --Nagel 260

"... My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ & I cannot cavil or quibble away, not single words & ambiguous expressions but the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted & at others countenanced his disciples in asserting that He was God. You think it blasphemous to believe that the omnipotent Creator could be crucified__ God is a Spirit_ The spirit was not crucified _ The body of Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. The Spirit whether eternal or created was beyond the reach of the cross. You see my orthodoxy grows upon me, & I will[?] with you in the doctrine of Toleration & benevolence. You will marvel perhaps that with these sentiments I have been recently falling in with some of the Broadest Unitarians..." --John Quincy Adams in a letter to John Adams on 3 January 1817

John Quincy Adams was one of the founders of and an annual subscriber to * * * the Bible Society of Massachusetts. He was also a vice president of the American Bible Society * * * from 1818-48 *. Claims that JQA was chairman of ABS * * or unaffiliated with with ABS are incorrect * * *.

"... From the day of the Declaration [of Independence] the people of the North American union [United States]... were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct..." --John Quincy Adams in a speech on 4 July 1821 * (while JQA was US Secretary of State)

"The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. I speak as a man of the world . . . and I say to you, 'Search the Scriptures.' The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity." --John Quincy Adams on 4 July 1821 (unverified; sometimes incorrectly * sourced to John Wingate Thornton's Pulpit of the American Revolution; Federer cites other sources)

"... Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? ...
Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birth-day of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before? ...
if, without losing your reverence for the God to whom your Fathers, in their Declaration of Independence, made their appeal, you can shake off all belief, both of the prophecies and revelations of the Scriptures;--suppose them all to be fables of human invention... [the Bible still promises] specific future improvement in the condition of man, which consists in the extirpation of slavery and war from the face of the earth..." --John Quincy Adams in An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport * * * * * * on 4 July 1837 (Note: John Wingate Thornton accurately paraphrased JQA * as "The highest glory of the American Revolution, said John Quincy Adams, was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." However, many web sites convert this paraphrase into a 'quote' by omitting 'said John Quincy Adams' * * .)

"The neglect of public worship in This City is an increasing evil, and the indifference to all religion throughout the whole country portends no good. There is in the Clergy of all the Christian denominations, a time serving, cringing, Subservient morality, as wide from the Spirit of the Gospel as it is from the intrepid assertion and vindication of truth. The counterfeit character of of a very large portion of the Christian ministry, in this Country, is disclosed in the dissensions growing up in all the protestant Churches, on the Subject of Slavery.__ The abolitionists assume as the first principle of all their movements that Slavery is Sin.__ Their opponents halting between the alternative of denying directly this position and of admtting the duty binding upon them to bear their own testimony against it, are prevaricating with their own Consciences, and taxing their learning and ingenuity to prove that the Bible Sanctions Slavery_ That Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were Slave holders; and that St. Paul is the apostle of Man Stealers, because he sent Onesimus back to his master Philemon__ These preachers of the gospel might just as well call our extermination of the Indians, an obedience to divine commands because Jehovah commanded the children of Israel to exterminate the Canaanitish Nations..." --John Quincy Adams in his diary on 27 May 1838 *

"My birth day happens this day upon the Sabbath. Every return of the day comes with a weight of Solemnity more and more awful. How peculiarly impressive ought it then be, when the annual warning of the shortening thread Sounds in tones deepened by the church bell of the Lord's Day? The question comes with yearly aggravation upon my conscience-- what have I done with the seventy-four years that I have been indulged with the blessings of life? ..." --John Quincy Adams in his diary on 11 July 1841 *

"I deem myself fortunate in having the opportunity, at a stage of a long life drawing rapidly to its close, to bear at this place, the capital of our National Union, in the Hall of representatives of the North American people, in the chair of the presiding officer of the assembly representing the whole people, the personification of the great and mighty nation--to bear my solemn testimonial of reverence and gratitude to that book of books, the Holy Bible...
The Bible carries with it the history of the creation, the fall and redemption of man, and discloses to him, in the infant born at Bethlehem, the Legislator and Savior of the world." --John Quincy Adams in a speech to the American Bible Society on 27 February 1844, according to William Federer * (Note: ABS records do not show any JQA address to ABS.)

"[JQA's description of his success in ending the slavery gag rule] Blessed ever blessed be the name of God!" --John Quincy Adams in his diary on 3 December 1844 *

"I enter upon my eightieth year- with thanksgiving to God. for all the blessings, and mercies, which His Providence has bestowed upon me..." --John Quincy Adams in his diary on 11 July 1846 *

"May I never cease to be grateful for the numberless blessings received through life at His hands, never repine at what He has denied, never murmur at the dispensations of Providence, and implore His forgiveness for all the errors and delinquencies of my life!" --JQA in his diary, as quoted in Memoirs of John Quincy Adams 7:277 (Federer)

"Providence, has showered blessings upon me profusely. But they have been blessings unforseen and unsought. Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo do gloriam [Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory]." --JQA in a statement on 21 February 1848 Memoirs of John Quincy Adams (vol?) p.14 (Federer)

"Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." --John Quincy Adams (Federer does not give a date and cites only secondary sources.) (Note: JQA lived 1767-1848, so he was not part of the founding generation.)

"It is no slight testimonial, both to the merit and worth of Christianity, that in all ages since its promulgation the great mass of those who have risen to eminence by their profound wisdom and integrity have recognized and reverenced Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the living God." --JQA in an undated statement (Federer cites only secondary sources)

"[JQA] read the Bible each morning for an hour in English, French, or German. According to his lights, it was the proper way to start the day. He regretted not knowing Hebrew so he could enjoy the original. And on Sunday he invariably attended two and sometimes three church services of different denominations..." --Robert Remini

"The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes . . . of universal application—laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws. . . . Vain, indeed, would be the search among the writings of profane antiquity . . . to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis for morality as this Decalogue lays down." --John Quincy Adams (unverified; Letters of John Quincy Adams, to His Son, on the Bible and Its Teachings p.61,70-1)

"There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy." --John Quincy Adams (unverified; Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings p. 22-23) *

"There is scarcely a Sunday passes hear something of which is a pointed application to my own situation and circumstances..." --John Quincy Adams in a diary entry, as quoted by his son Charles Francis Adams in Memoirs of John Quincy Adams * 9:289 (Federer; SJ 917.3 A512 Reel 294.1-295.1, v. 1, 3, 8 of 12v., but title pub. by Lippincott in 1874-7 only has 2 v. "section within volume"??)

Near the end of his life he summed up his personal credo in these few words: "I reverence God as my creator. As creator of the world. I reverence him with holy fear. I venerate Jesus Christ as my redeemer; and, as far as I can understand, the redeemer of the world. But this belief is dark and dubious." *

"The jihad may be regarded as Islam's instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers."

Adams, in his essay series dealing with the Russo-Turkish War, and on Greece, (written while JQA was in retirement, before his election to Congress in 1830, Chapters X-XIV [pp. 267-402] in The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29. New York, 1830), states, "...he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God... the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force." (p.269?) *

And Adams captured the essential condition imposed upon the non-Muslim dhimmi "tributaries" subjugated by jihad, with this laconic statement, "The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute." (p.274-5?)

"Once at a dinner party in Boston he found himself in a loud theological debate with Horace Holley, a brilliant young Unitarian minister, in which Adams contended that Unitarianism's appeal was confined to 'the liberal class who consider religion as merely a system of morals.'" * (Nagel 261)

"No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon as the Bible." [misquote?]

"Duty is ours; results are God's."

"In what light soever we regard the Bible, whether with reference to revelation, to history, or to morality, it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue." --John Quincy Adams New Dictionary of Thoughts, 45

"There are two prayers I love to say. The first is the Lord's Prayer because Jesus taught it for us. The second is the Child's Prayer. I love to say it because it suits me and I’ve been saying to every night for many many years and I expect I will say it on my last night on earth. This simple prayer expresses my trust in Christ and acknowledges what I ask for is asking a favor, and not because I deserve it.
Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake;
I pray the Lord my soul to take;
For Jesus sake, Amen." --John Quincy Adams, as quoted in a letter to the editor of The Churchman * on 14 June 1890 (verified, but image and more context needed)

Questionable 'Quotes'

"Sir, I might go through the whole of the sacred history of the Jews to the advent of our Saviour and find innumerable examples of women who not only took an active part in politics of their times, but who are held up with honor to posterity for doing so. our Savior himself, while on earth, performed that most stupendous miracle, of raising of Lazarus from the dead, at the petition of a woman." --John Quincy Adams speaking before Congress on June 16/July 7 1838 (Not found in the Congressional Globe * *. However, the content, tone, and style seem consistent with other things JQA said, so it's probably a genuine quote.) (Federer cites A Cloud of Witnesses by Stephen Northrop.)