Rather train yourself for godliness; 1 Timothy 4:7
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
Benjamin Franklin was certainly one of America’s most important founding fathers. He was a statesman, author, scientist, governor and printer. He was an ambassador to both France and England, governor of Pennsylvania, founder of the University of Pennsylvania, signer of the most important founding documents of our country, including the Declaration of Independence, the articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States.
Benjamin was the 15th of 17 children in his family. His father did not have funds for a formal education, so he was self taught in science, economics and five languages, earning the moniker “Newton of our Age.” He made important discoveries in electricity, coining the terms positive and negative charges and called an electrical storage device a battery. He invented the lighting rod, the Franklin stove, bi-focal lenses the rocking chair as well as dozens of other inventions. His scientific discoveries and inventions earned him honorary degree’s from both Harvard and Yale Universities.
His writings and essays are wide-ranging and included many sayings that became known as Franklin proverbs including: “God helps them that help themselves,” and “Work as if you were to live 100 years; Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.”
In his autobiography, he noted that he ascribed to a list of 13 personal virtues that were considered his life goals. He chose 13 to correspond with the 13 original colonies. They were:
- TEMPERANCE – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- SILENCE – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- ORDER – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- RESOLUTION – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- FRUGALITY – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- INDUSTRY – Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- SINCERITY – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- JUSTICE – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting those benefits that are your duty.
- MODERATION – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- CLEANLINESS – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
- TRANQUILLITY – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- CHASTITY – Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. 😅
- HUMILITY – Imitate Jesus.
Franklin was instrumental in our Nation’s early days. When reading about the breath of his life, what caught my attention was that he kept these personal virtues in a small book on his person at all times to keep his nature moving toward righteousness. The Apostle Paul said to those living in Rome – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” What Paul and Benjamin Franklin had in common is that they knew that being transformed required effort and the renewing of our minds was an important daily life task. Maybe it’s important enough to write it down and to keep it as close to our hearts as a notebook in our coat pocket.
Loving the examples of those that have gone before us!