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Ancient Words: Heroes of Renown, Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1705 - 1790) one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He founded or contributed to the founding of: University of Pennsylvania · Library of Philadelphia · American Philosophical Society · Academy and College of Philadelphia · United States Postal Service · American Bible Society. Mr. Franklin has been described as a Deist in scholarly ranks today and Deism is defined (today) as the belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe.

The following assortment of information/quotations are found in Franklin’s Autobiography 1771. He was born in Boston Jan 12 on Milk Street, near Old South Church, and baptized in that church. He later secured funds to build the steeple for Christ Church in Philadelphia, PA. Christ Church, the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church, is known as “The Nation’s Church.” It hosted members of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution, signers of the Constitution and of the Declaration of Independence and Presidents George Washington, John Adams. For 56 years, the steeple made Christ Church the tallest structure in North America.

In Franklin’s acrostic according to his name, the following shows his Christian nature: B-e to thy parents an obedient son; N-ever give way to sloth or lust or pride; M-an’s danger lies in Satan, sin, and self; N-e’er shrink at suffering for thy Savior’s sake; R-eligious always in thy station be; A-dore the Maker of thy inward part; N-ow’s the accepted time, give God thy heart; N-one but the Three-in-One forevermore….and other letters in Franklin’s name display the same nature.

He wrote about formal church service: “Tho’ I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety and of its utility when rightly conducted…” He once said of the preacher, “His discourses were chiefly either polemic arguments or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying since not a single principle was inculcated or enforced, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.” Yet, Mr. BF continued to make annual offerings to, now Christ Church, until his death where his burial plot inside the church along with his daughter and grandson and other relatives remain.

His 13 Virtues along with precepts are named: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chasity, and Humility (Imitate Jesus he adds). Franklin learned about virtuous living from Solomon’s Proverbs as he wrote, “Conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit His assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer for daily use: ‘O powerful Goodness, bountiful Father which discovers my truest interests; strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children, as the only return in my power for Thy continual favors to me.’”

Electricity now powers the globe as the “return of God’s favor”! BF writes, “God has given us Reason, whereby we are capable of observing his Wisdom in the Creation, he is not above caring for us, being pleas’d with our Praise, and offended when we slight Him, or neglect his Glory.”—Thank you Benjamin, Hero of Renown (and your daily prayers for wisdom)!!

(Scott and Jane Johnson minister with ast Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to brgbible@gmail.com.)

• • •

Freedom

I am so grateful that I serve a risen Savior who forgave me and freed me from my sins that enslaved me! His forgiveness sets you and I free, if we repent.

This past Thursday we celebrated the 4th of July, where we as a nation celebrated our freedom.

I recently read a post that called our freedom, “free-dumb.” Meaning that we have become “dumb” ’to being “free.”

I am not a writer or English major but I do break down words.

I looked at the definitions of the word “freedom” and the two words: “free” and “dumb.”

The definition of freedom is:: “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”

The definition of free is: not costing or charging anything, having the legal and political rights of a citizen.

The definition of dumb is: lacking the human power of speech, lacking intelligence, temporarily unable to speak (as from shock or astonishment)

No country or civilization has ever gotten “freedom” completely right.

I thank God that in America we as believers still have” freedom” in Christ. We still have the “ freedom” to worship Him where a lot of our brothers and sisters around the world would kill for that!

As far as “free-dumb”, if we feel that there is no “charge” at being silent, unintelligent and unable to speak about what’s happening in our society, then the freedoms that we do enjoy will cease, because our voices will be replaced!

“Then some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “command your disciples to be quiet!” “I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:39-40.

“Who the Son has set free, shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

Live Loud but Live As Christ.

(Captain Jason Perdieu is corps officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.)

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