More information about USA at
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of America's most instrumental statesman, was also an author, scientist and printer. He served as a diplomat to France and England, was the President (Governor) of Pennsylvania and founded the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to having signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. Benjamin Franklin was the 15th of 17 children and, because his father's profession of candle-making did not provide enough funds for a formal education, he began his apprenticeship as a printer at the age of twelve. Benjamin Franklin initially gained wide acclaim as a literary genius through the annual publication of his book, Poor Richard's Almanac (from 1732-1757). This work contained innumerable proverbs, such as:
"God heals, and the doctor takes the fees." - Poor Richard's Almanac. Carroll E. Simcox, comp., 4400 Quotations for Christian Communicators (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1991), p. 185.
"God helps them that help themselves. (June 1736)" - 1733, in Poor Richard's Almanac. Raymond A. St. John, American Literature for Christian Schools (Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, Inc., 1979), p. 126. John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1855, 1980), P. 347.
"Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow. (May 1757)" - 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's Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1855, 1980), P. 347.
In addition to having taught himself five languages, he became known as "the Newton of his Age." He made important discoveries in electricity, coining the terms "positive and negative charges," "conductor," "condenser," "battery," and "electric shock." He invented the lightning rod, which earned him the Royal Society's Copley Medal and honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale Universities in 1753. He also invented the Franklin stove, the rocking chair, bi-focal glasses; he organized the first postal system in America, the first volunteer fire department, a circulating public library, a city police force and the lighting of streets.
In 1748, as Pennsylvania's Governor, Benjamin Franklin proposed Pennsylvania's first Fast Day:
"It is the duty of mankind on all suitable occasions to acknowledge their dependence on the Divine Being... [that] Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the rage of war among the nations... [and that] He would take this province under his protection, confound the designs and defeat the attempts of its enemies, and unite our hearts and strengthen our hands in every undertaking that may be for the public good, and for our defence and security in this time of danger." - John Eidsmoe, Christianity and The Constitution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), p. 209. Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Glory of America (Bloomington, MN: Garborg's Heart'N Home, Inc., 1991), 1.17.
On June 6, 1753, Benjamin Franklin wrote from Philadelphia to Joseph Huey:
"I can only show my gratitude for these mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other children and my brethren. For I do not think that thanks and compliments, through repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator.
"You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards.... Even the mixed, imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world, are rather from God's goodness than our merit; how much more such happiness of heaven!
"For my part I have not the vanity to think I deserve it... but content myself in submitting to the will and disposal of that God who made me, who has hitherto preserved and blessed me, and in whose fatherly goodness I may well confide, that he will never make me miserable; and that even the afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to my benefit.
"The faith you mention has certainly its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavor to lessen it in any man. But I wish it were more productive of good works, than I have generally seen it; I mean real good works; works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday-keeping, sermon-reading of hearing; performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments...
"The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but, if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produce any fruit." - June 6, 1753, in a letter from Philadelphia to Joseph Huey. Jared Sparks, Works of Benjamin Franklin (Boston, 1840), Vol. VII. Verna M. Hall, The Christian History of the American Revolution (San Francisco: Foundation for Christian Education, 1976), pp. 189-190.
The inscription which Benjamin Franklin composed for the cornerstone reads:
"In the year of Christ, 1755: ... This building, by the bounty of the Government and of many private persons, was piously founded, for the relief of the sick and miserable. May the God of mercies bless the undertaking! - 1755, inscription he composed for the cornerstone of Pennsylvania Hospital. Catherine Millard, The Rewriting of America's History (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon House Publishers, 1991), p. 117.
In his Autobiography, published in complete form in 1868, Franklin mentions a small book that he carried with him all the time. In it was a list of 13 virtues that he had chosen as his lifetime goals. Among them number thirteen stated:
"Humility: Imitate Jesus..." - The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Catherine Millard, The Rewriting of America's History (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon House Publishers, 1991), p. 121-122.
Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Autobiography this prayer that he prayed every day:
"O powerful goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolution to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me." - Personal Prayer. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Catherine Millard, The Rewriting of America's History (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon House Publishers, 1991), p. 123.
"I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that he made the world, and governed it by His Providence." - "Maxims and Morals of Benjamin Franklin," by William S. Pfaff, ed.
"Hope and faith may be more firmly grounded upon Charity than Charity upon hope and faith." - "Maxims and Morals of Benjamin Franklin," by William S. Pfaff, ed.
"The pleasures of this world are rather from God's goodness than our own merit." - "Maxims and Morals of Benjamin Franklin," by William S. Pfaff, ed.
"Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the red sea, and pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters. This motto: "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." - "Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife," John and Abigail Adams.
"Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world." - "This Nation Under God," by Charles E. Kistler.
"A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district - all studied and appreciated as they merit - are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty." - "The New Dictionary of Thought - A Cyclopedia of Quotations," Tyron Edwards, D.D.
"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." - "Advice on Coming to America," George D. Youstra, ed.
"May we continue, under the influence of republican virtue, to partake of all the blessings of cultivated and Christian society." - "The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States," by B.F. Morris, pp. 253-254.
"It is that particular wise and good God, who is the Author and Owner of our system, that I propose for the Object of my praise and adoration.
For I conceive that He has in Himself some of those passions he has planted in us, and that, since He 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.
I conceive for many reasons that He is a good Being, and as I should be happy to have so wise, good and powerful a Being my Friend, let me consider in what Manner I shall make myself most acceptable to Him." - "The Papers of Benjamin Franklin," by Leonard Labaree, ed.
"That I may be preserved from atheism and infidelity, impiety and profaneness, and in my addresses to Thee carefully avoid irreverence and ostentation, formality and odious hypocrisy, Help me, O Father." - "The Papers of Benjamin Franklin," by Leonard Labaree, ed.