BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
(1706-1790) Printer, Author, Scientist, Inventor, Governor of Pennsylvania, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Diplomat, Statesman, U.S. Minister to France.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

“I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did.”

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.”

“Experience is a dear teacher, and fools will learn from no other.”

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ‘tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.”

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better,than the builders of Babel; We shall be divided by our partial local interest; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from tis unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
    I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one of more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”

"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. ... Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."

“If we pursue security to the point where we give up that which makes us Americans, the enemy has won.”

“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 Christianity will change the face of the world...Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
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2003