In their book, Washington’s God: Religion, Liberty, And The Father Of Our Country, Michael and Jana Novak note:
Both the writings of the ancients (especially military heroes) and of the Bible were storehouses of wisdom, and so Washington studied both. When he ordered busts and portraits for the ornamentation of his parlors at Mount Vernon, he chose exemplars of the use of power from across the centuries: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Charles XII of Sweden, Frederick II of Prussia. He also hung prominently on the wall of his large dining room, the most public room at Mount Vernon, two key portraits: the Virgin Mary and St. John. He kept clearly in mind–and exemplified in his own speech and behavior–the twin message of the Bible: that men are capable of both brutishness and nobility.
For Washington himself, calming his own inner furies had been an arduous task. As a young man, he had been quite prone to outbursts of anger, so he well understood that there was a war within himself.1