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John Witherspoon

Birthdate: 5. February 1723
Date of death: 15. November 1794

John Witherspoon was a Scottish-American Presbyterian minister and a Founding Father of the United States. Witherspoon embraced the concepts of Scottish common sense realism, and while president of the College of New Jersey , became an influential figure in the development of the United States' national character. Politically active, Witherspoon was a delegate from New Jersey to the Second Continental Congress and a signatory to the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence. He was the only active clergyman and the only college president to sign the Declaration. Later, he signed the Articles of Confederation and supported ratification of the Constitution. In 1789 he was convening moderator of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.

Quotes John Witherspoon

„Mistake me not, my brethren: I am not speaking against learning in itself; it is a precious gift of God, and may be happily improved in the service of the gospel; but I will venture to say, in the spirit of the apostle Paul's writings in general, and of this passage in particular, Accursed be all that learning which sets itself in opposition to the cross of Christ! Accursed be all that learning which disguises or is ashamed of the cross of Christ! Accursed be all that learning which fills the room that is due to the cross of Christ! and once more, Accursed be all that learning which is not made subservient to the honour and glory of the cross of Christ!“

—  John Witherspoon

From the sermon "Glorying in the Cross", published in 1768. Misquoted since 1845 as "Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ; cursed be all that learning that is not coincident with the cross of Christ; cursed be all that learning that is not subservient to the cross of Christ." So quoted by S. S. Cox in October 1845, in Permanent Documents of the Society for the Promotion of Collegiate and Theological Education at the West, Volume 1, p. 30.

„It is only the fear of God, can deliver us from the fear of man.“

—  John Witherspoon

From his sermon "Ministerial Character and Duty". Usually misquoted as "It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man."

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