„Man, in his present state, appears to be a degraded creature; his best gold is mixed with dross, and his best motives are very far from being pure and free from earth and impurity.“
— John Jay
1770s, Letter to Lindley Murray (1774), Context: Among the strange things of this world, nothing seems more strange than that men pursuing happiness should knowingly quit the right and take a wrong road, and frequently do what their judgments neither approve nor prefer. Yet so is the fact; and this fact points strongly to the necessity of our being healed, or restored, or regenerated by a power more energetic than any of those which properly belong to the human mind. We perceive that a great breach has been made in the moral and physical systems by the introduction of moral and physical evil; how or why, we know not; so, however, it is, and it certainly seems proper that this breach should be closed and order restored. For this purpose only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation. In this plan I have full faith. Man, in his present state, appears to be a degraded creature; his best gold is mixed with dross, and his best motives are very far from being pure and free from earth and impurity. Letter to (22 August 1774), as published in The Life of John Jay (1833) by William Jay, Vol. 2, p. 345.