Archive for the ‘Benjamin Franklin’ Category

The Law is Powerless to Change us

September 4, 2009

Benjamin Franklin made 13 virtues for himself, including: Silence (‘speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation’), frugality, industry (‘lose not time; be always employed in something useful’) and tranquility (‘be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable’).

He set up a book with a page for each virtue, lining a column in which to record “defects.” Choosing a different virtue to work on each week, he daily noted every mistake, starting over every 13 weeks in order to cycle through the list four times a year.

For many decades Franklin carried his little book with him, striving for a clean thirteen-week cycle. As he made progress, he found himself struggling with yet another defect. “There is perhaps no one of natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it. Struggle with it. Stifle it. Mortify it as much as one pleases. It is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself….even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1997, p. 35

…These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col.2.23

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Ben Franklin’s False Hopes

November 26, 2008

Franklin said

“I have no doubts that I shall enjoy as much of both as is proper for me. That Being who gave me Existence, and thro` almost threescore Years has been continually showering his Favours upon me, whose very Chastisements have been Blessings to me, can I doubt that he loves? And if he loves me, can I doubt that he will go on to take care of me not only here but hereafter?” This to some may seem presumption ; to me it appears the best grounded hope ; hope of the future built on experience of the past.

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.2 by Arnold Dallimore, page 449

In other words, he mistook general providential care for being in a state of grace. He failed to realise that God causes His sun to rise on the evil and sends rain on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).

Franklin doubted the deity of Christ (though Jesus made it clear that failure to recognise who Jesus was would lead to eternal death – John 8:24) and the Bible as the Word of God.

He remained in unbelief

After Whitefield ’s death

“Mr Whitefield used to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.”

Ibid 453

Deism – Benjamin Franklin

November 23, 2008

Benjamin Franklin was a deist – God did not watch over all the details of men’s lives

I see with you that our affairs are not well managed by our rulers here below; I wish I could believe with you, that they are well attended to by those above: I rather suspect, from certain circumstances, that though the general government of the universe is well administered, our particular little affairs are perhaps below notice, and left to take the chance of human prudence or imprudence, as either may happen to be uppermost. It is, however, an uncomfortable thought, and I leave it.

George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, Vol.2 by Arnold Dallimore, 452