Paradise by the Bible’s light
“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 Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” (1)
I agree with John Adams that such a nation would be like heaven on earth. Likely all the other Founding Fathers agreed with him too. In all their writings, they quoted the Bible, either directly or indirectly, more than any other source. (2)
And the individual author they quoted more than any other except one was Sir William Blackstone. Blackstone was an English jurist whose “Commentaries on the Laws of England” in the years leading up to the American Revolution sold more copies in America than in England. James Madison, considered the “Chief Architect of the Constitution,” highly endorsed it.
Here’s some of what Blackstone wrote about the foundation of human laws.
“These laws laid down by God are the eternal immutable laws of good and evil…This law of nature dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this…”
“The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures…[and] are found upon comparison to be really part of the original law of nature. Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these.” (3)
Of course, a nation can establish a government of human laws based on divine law but still fail to be the paradise John Adams imagined if the people of that nation fail to obey those laws. Apart from a high regard for religion and morality, the peace of that nation, and its very freedom, is threatened.
Here’s what Adams had to say a few weeks before signing the Declaration of Independence.
“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.
The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.” (4)
(1) William J. Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia Of Quotations (St. Louis: Amerisearch, Inc., 2000) p. 5.
(2) Ibid, p. 49.
(3) Ibid, p. 52.
(4) Ibid, p. 8.