The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson
MORAL PRINCIPLES / ESPOUSED BY JESUS CHRIST
The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of
1. That there is only one God, and he all perfect.
2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself,
is the sum of religion. These are the great points on which he
endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these
the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.
1. That there are three Gods.
2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.
3. That faith is everything, and the more incomprehensible the
proposition, the more merit in its faith.
4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be
saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the
former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.
Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian? He who
believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious
dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin?
to Benjamin Waterhouse, 26 June 1822