The American Bible Society, founded in 1816, was the first national Bible society in America. The original officers of the Society included: signers of the U. S. Constitution, revolutionary generals, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, a U.S. Attorney General, a U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, state governors, and others.
Prior to the American Revolution, the only English Bibles in the colonies were imported either from Europe or England. Publication of the Bible was regulated by the British government, and required a special license. Robert Aitken's Bible was the first known English-language Bible to be printed in America, and also the only Bible to receive Congressional approval. Aitken's Bible, sometimes referred to as "The Bible of the Revolution," is one of the rarest books in the world, with few copies still in existence today.
Founding Father Benjamin Rush's handwritten personal Bible study booklet entitled “References to Texts of Scriptures Related to Each Other Upon Particular Subjects.” In it he listed scriptures under various topics and wrote his own notes on those scriptures. We have included excerpts of the booklet below.
John Mitchell Mason was a minister from New York. He received a doctor of divinity degree from Princeton University in 1794 and was a pastor of two churches in New York City during his lifetime. Mason founded the first seminary of the Associate Reformed Church, in New York City , was president of Dickinson College ,and was a trustee (1795-1811) and provost of Columbia College (1811-1816). This sermon was preached by him in 1801.
Charles Chauncy (1705-1787) was a minister from Boston. He attended Harvard, graduating in 1721. Chauncy preached at the First Church in Boston for sixty years (1727-1787). Below is his 1773 sermon on Christian charity to the poor. The text of this sermon has been changed to reflect modern spelling.
John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829) was a minister from New York. He received a doctor of divinity degree from Princeton University in 1794 and was a pastor of two churches in New York City during his lifetime. Mason founded the first seminary of the Associate Reformed Church, in New York City (1804), was president of Dickinson College (1821-1824), and was a trustee (1795-1811) and provost of Columbia College (1811-1816).
Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity. Will of John Dickinson
John Jay was a strong Christian, serving both as vice-president of the American Bible Society (1816-21) and its president (1821- 27), and he was a member of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In this series of letters, John Jay expounds on the Biblical view of war.
Today's critics assert that Christians should not be involved with politics or government, and especially that ministers should not be involved. Such opposition is not new. In fact, two centuries ago, Founding Father John Witherspoon delivered a sagacious rebuttal to these same objections.