Jefferson’s Words of Wisdom

The neoclassical building known as the Jefferson Memorial is situated in West Potomac Park on the shore of the Potomac River. The first time I stood in it I was impressed not only with its architectural beauty, but even more by the inscriptions on the walls that are attributed to Jefferson. Before I go further I acknowledge he, like all of us, had his flaws, though he had impressive academic acumen unlike most of us. He has not been listed in the Vatican as a saint and has no reason to be. However, by reading the inscriptions we gain insight into the mood of those founding our nation. Following are some.

In the Rotunda: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

In the Southwest Portico: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We…solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of a right ought to be free and independent states…and for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Excerpted from the Declaration of Independence, 1776.

Northwest Portico:  “Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens…are a departure from the plan of the holy Author of our religion…No man shall be compelled to frequent or support religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.”

On the Northeast Portico: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.”

Pray that sound reasoning may once again prevail as evidence that God is blessing America. Be a prayer warrior for America.