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Benjamin Franklin
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"Well known to be the greatest philosopher of the present age; -- all the operations of nature he seems to understand, --the very heavens obey him, and the Clouds yield up their Lightning to be imprisoned in his rod." --William Pierce, on Benjamin Franklin, 1787

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Ben Franklin - April 17, 1787

 "The worship of God is a duty...Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature. I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that he made the world, and governed it by His Providence...The pleasures of this world are rather from God's goodness than our own merit... Whoever shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive (essential) Christianity will change the face of the world... Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." - Benjamin Franklin

  "That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among the common People." --Benjamin Franklin, On that Odd Letter of the Drum, 1730

Benjamin Franklin signed Pennsylvania's 1776 Constitution, which stated in Frame of Government, Chapter 2, Section 10: "Each member of the legislature, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration: 'I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governour of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and Punisher of the wicked, and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.'"

See also:

o "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" (PDF from TheFederalistPapers.org) Considered to be the greatest autobiography produced in Colonial America, Franklin’s Autobiography portrays a fascinating picture of life in Philadelphia, as well as Franklin’s shrewd observations on the literature, philosophy and religion of America’s Colonial and Revolutionary periods and was originally written for Franklin’s son William, then the Governor of New Jersey.

o http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Franklin

o Benjamin Franklin: The Sage of America By Steven Forde - There was a time, not too long ago, when every schoolchild in America learned about Benjamin Franklin and his exploits; a great many read his brief Autobiography. Unfortunately, that time has passed. None of the American Founders is the icon he once was, of course, but in the case of Franklin, this is especially lamentable because Franklin addressed himself more to the common man, and to the young, than did his colleagues. He directed his writing largely to the formation of popular character and had a very salutary effect on that character for as long as he was widely read.


1777 Jean-Baptiste Greuze portrait of Franklin"A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved.  It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."  Benjamin Franklin

American Minute for April 17th - On APRIL 17, 1790, the son of a poor candle-maker died. The 15th of 17 children, he apprenticed as a printer and published a popular almanac. He retired at age 42, then taught himself five languages, invented the rocking chair, bifocal glasses and the lighting rod, which earned him degrees from Harvard and Yale. He helped found the University of Pennsylvania, a hospital, America's first postal system and fire department. He became the governor of Pennsylvania, signed the Declaration of Independence and called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention. He was president of America's first anti-slavery society. His name was Ben Franklin. In his Poor Richard's Almanac, May 1757, Ben Franklin wrote: "Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow." In a pamphlet for Europeans titled Information to Those Who Would Remove to America, 1754, Benjamin Franklin wrote: "Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems...pleased to favor the whole country."

Did Franklin foresee the Rise...and the Fall of the Constitution? (American Minute with Bill Federer JUNE 28) - Ben Franklin gave another address at the Constitutional Convention, 1787, titled Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy: "Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men...ambition and avarice-the love of power and the love of money...
   ...When united...they have...the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall, at the same time, be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it...What kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers..."

   ...The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh-get first all the people's money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever. It will be said that we do not propose to establish kings...But there is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government...
   ...They would rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among citizens; and that they like. I am apprehensive, therefore-perhaps too apprehensive-that the government of the States may, in future times, end in a monarchy...and a king will the sooner be set over us." 

American Minute for July 26th (2004): On JULY 26, 1775, Benjamin Franklin became the first U.S. Postmaster General, a position he held prior to the Revolution under the British Crown. Franklin established a volunteer fire department, a circulating public library, an insurance company, a city police force, a night watch and a militia. He set up the lighting of city streets and coined the electrical terms "positive" and "negative." On June 28, 1787, as Governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin hosted the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where he moved: "That henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning." Franklin wrote April 17, 1787: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin wrote his epitaph: "THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - Printer. Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear once more, In a new, And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended By The AUTHOR."

American Minute for July 26th (2011): On JULY 26, 1775, Benjamin Franklin became the first U.S. Postmaster General, a position he held prior to the Revolution under the British Crown.

Franklin's public career began when organized Pennsylvania's first volunteer militia during threaten Spanish and French attacks, and proposed a General Fast, which was approved by the Colony's Council and printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette, December 12, 1747: "Forasmuch as it is the Duty of mankind, on all suitable occasions to acknowledge their dependence on the Divine Being, to give Thanks for the Mercies received, and no less to deprecate his Judgments and humbly pray for his Protection; And as the calamities of a bloody War, in which our Nation is now engaged, seem every Year more nearly to approach us, and the Expedition form'd for the security of these Plantation hath been laid aside, As the Inhabitants of this Province & City have been sorely visited with mortal sickness in the Summer past, & there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord & amend our Ways, we may be chastized with yet heavier Judgments, We have, therefore, thought fit, on due consideration thereof, to appoint Thursday, the 7th Day of January next, to be observed throughout this Province as a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People, to observe the same with becoming seriousness & attention, & to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent Supplications; That Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the Rage of War among the Nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian Blood;...That he would take this Province under his Protection, Confound the designs and defeat the Attempts of its Enemies...It is recommended to all Persons to abstain from servile Labour on the said Day."

Franklin published the sermons of Evangelist George Whitefield, which helped spread The Great Awakening Revival. He established a volunteer fire department, a circulating public library, an insurance company, a city police force, a night watch and a hospital. He set up the lighting of city streets and coined the electrical terms "positive" and "negative."

On September 28, 1776, as Governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin signed the State's first Constitution, which stated: "Nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right...And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: 'I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.' And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this State." At the end of the Revolutionary War, Franklin signed the Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783, which began: "In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity..."

As Governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin hosted the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where on June 28, 1787, he moved: "That henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning."

Franklin wrote April 17, 1787: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin wrote his epitaph: "THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - Printer. Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear once more, In a new, And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended By The AUTHOR."

Endnotes Franklin, Benjamin. May 1757, in Poor Richard's Almanac. Carroll E. Simcox, comp., 4400 Quotations for Christian Communicators (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991), p. 297. John Bartlett, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1855, 1980), p. 347.

Benjamin Franklin's Virtue Chart: Did you know that in 1726, at the age of 20, while on an 80-day ocean voyage from London back to Philadelphia, he developed a "Plan" for regulating his future conduct? He was partially motivated by Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." He followed the plan he created "pretty faithfully" even to the age of 79 (when he wrote about it), and he was even more determined to stick with it for his remaining days because of the happiness he had enjoyed so far by following it.  See also: Ben Franklin and the Apostle Paul.

How America's Constitution Convention Began: Constitutional Convention: June 28, 1787, Thursday, was embroiled in a bitter debate over how each state was to be represented in the new government. The hostile feelings created by the smaller states being pitted against the larger states was so bitter that some delegates actually left the Convention. Benjamin Franklin, being the President (Governor) of Pennsylvania, hosted the rest of the 55 delegates attending the Convention. Being the senior member of the convention, at 81 years of age, he commanded the respect of all present, and, as recorded on James Madison's detailed records, he arose to address the Congress in this moment of crisis.

Benjamin Franklin in a pamphlet for Europeans titled "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America," 1754. "Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems...pleased to favor the whole country."

Benjamin Franklin Quotes:

"How many observe Christ's birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments." --Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1743

"I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous." Benjamin Franklin (The Busy-body, No. 3, 18 February 1728) Reference: The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Bigelow, ed., vol. 1 (350)

That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among the common People."

"We must hang together or assuredly we shall hang separately."

"My dear friend, do not imagine that I am vain enough to ascribe our success [Revolution] to any superiority…If it had not been for the justice of our cause, and the consequent interposition of Providence, in which we had faith, we must have been ruined. If I had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the being and government of a Deity!" - In a letter to William Strahan, August 19, 1784 

"I must own I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler." - On the impact of Independence on generations of Americans during the Constitutional Convention

Must See Did You Know? - Learn how America's Constitution Convention was embroiled in a bitter debate over how each state was to be represented in the new government and what Benjamin Franklin, at age 81, presented to resolve this impasse of the First Congress.


                                                                                            (http://americanminute.com/index.php?date=07-26&view=View)

American Minute with Bill Federer

July 26 - First Postmaster General of the United States - "As nations become corrupt and vicious..."

On JULY 26, 1775, Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General of the United States, a position he held under the British Crown before the Revolution.

Franklin's public career began when he organized Pennsylvania's first volunteer militia during threaten attacks from Spanish and French ships.

He then proposed a General Fast, which was approved by the Colony's Council and printed in his Pennsylvania Gazette, December 12, 1747:


"As the calamities of a bloody War...seem every year more nearly to approach us...there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord & amend our Ways, we may be chastized with yet heavier Judgments,

We have, therefore, thought fit...to appoint...a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People, to observe the same with becoming seriousness & attention, & to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent Supplications;

That Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the Rage of War among the Nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian Blood."

Franklin published evangelist George Whitefield's sermons, thereby spreading The Great Awakening Revival.

He established a volunteer fire department, a circulating public library, an insurance company, a city police force, a night watch and a hospital.


He set up the lighting of city streets and was the first to suggest Daylight Savings Time. He invented bifocal glasses, the Franklin Stove, swim fins, the lightning rod, and coined the electrical terms "positive" and "negative."

In 1754, Franklin wrote a pamphlet, "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America," for Europeans

interested in sending their youth to this land:

"Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practised.

Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel.


And the Divine Being seems to have manifested his approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness with which the different sects

treat each other; by the remarkable prosperity with which he has been pleased to favor the whole country."

On September 28, 1776, as Governor of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin signed the State's first Constitution, which stated:

 

 

"Nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right...

And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration,
viz: 'I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.'

And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this State."


At the end of the Revolutionary War, Franklin signed the Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783, which began: "In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity..."

As Pennsylvania's President (Governor), Ben Franklin hosted the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where on June 28, 1787, he moved:


"That henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning."

                                                            

Franklin composed his epitaph:
"THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - Printer.
Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents torn out,
And stripped of its lettering and gilding,
Lies here, food for worms;
Yet the work itself shall not be lost,
For it will (as he believed) appear once more,
In a new, and more beautiful edition,
Corrected and amended By The AUTHOR."

Franklin wrote April 17, 1787: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

Back to America's Christian Heritage Index


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