Thomas Jefferson

In 1803 Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush concerning Jesus:

“…a system of morals is presented to us, which, if filled up in the true style and spirit of the rich fragments he left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man…

“His moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants and common aids. A development of this head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others.”


  1. Michael January 27, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Jefferson recognized the perfection of Jesus’ teachings, but believed that much of the New Testament misrepresented Him. How Jefferson thought he could know the truth about Jesus better than those who walked with Him (and who repeatedly reaffirmed the accuracy of their writings) I don’t know, but as a result Jefferson was able to pick and choose what he would believe. Sadly, since he denied that Christ was the Son of God, denied His power, and denied the resurrection, it is doubtful that he ever called on His name for salvation as the eternal Sacrifice for his sin. Left to attain righteousness on his own, he stumbled at the prophesied stumbling-stone (Rom. 9:30-33)

  2. Mom January 28, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    Jefferson almost saw the light! He needed only to humble himself and exercise faith to gain eternal life and wisdom.

  3. Donald January 29, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    That was interesting to read. What stood out to me is the way Christ’s “system” was appreciated by Jefferson, a man who was an expert at organizing and verbalizing his thoughts. Rather than becoming overly systematic or becoming frustrated and throwing out a system altogether, all of us need to grow in humility and maturity as we learn and conform to the perfect character balance of Christ’s perfect standard. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via email.