Mr. Adams next asked, “Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival [occurs] on this day?” That is, why were Christmas and the Fourth of July our two most-celebrated holidays in America? He answered his own question with these words:
Is it not that in the chain of human events the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission on Earth? – That it laid the cornerstone of human government on the first precepts of Christianity?
For well over an hour he continued his speech, confirming that Christianity was not only the basis of, but the reason for, our national independence.
John Quincy Adams was an outspoken Christian and an avid student of the Bible. He made it his practice to read through the Bible – in its entirety – once every year. It is not surprising, then, that John Quincy wanted his children to grow up knowing the Bible and how to study it.
The difficulty with his desire was that during the time that his son,
George Washington Adams, was growing up, John Quincy Adams was overseas serving as a diplomat. Therefore, in order to teach his son how to study the Bible, between 1811 and 1813 he wrote nine lengthy letters instructing his son how to get the most from a study of God’s Word.
Thirty years after he had written these letters, others found out about them and believed they would be beneficial for all young people. So, those letters were published in a small book: Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son, on the Bible and its Teachings. Today, we rarely think of a President as the author of a book on how to study the Bible, but John Quincy Adams was.