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The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

 
A Selection From His Precepts On Daily Life
 
 
Benjamin Franklin
 
 
 
Benjamin Franklin, in a portrait by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis
 
 
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An Editorial Note:
 
The life and the writings of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
show signs of a transcending inspiration. Many a theosophical idea
can be found in his Autobiography.  He made his own list of
“paramitas” or positive qualities he wanted to develop, and tried 
to improve his personal nature through daily efforts. He also wrote
and collected axioms expressing universal wisdom and ethics. The
following is a selection from his “Poor Richard’s Almanack”.[1]
After each axiom, the page number is added in parenthesis.
 
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
 
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1) How few there are who have courage enough to own their Faults, or  resolution enough to mend them! (p.7)
 
2) He that can compose himself, is wiser than he that composes books. (p.8)
 
3) The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise. (p.8)
 
4) Well done is better than well said. (p.8)
 
5) Who has deceived thee so often as thy self? (p.9)
 
6) To err is human, to repent divine; to persist devilish. (p.10)
 
7) Wise men learn by others’ harms; fools by their own. (p.11)
 
8) Declaiming against Pride, is not always a Sign of Humility. (p.11)
 
9) Keep conscience clear, then never fear. (p.11)
 
10) Great Good-nature, without Prudence, is a great Misfortune. (p.11)
 
11) Doing an Injury puts you below your Enemy; Revenging one makes you even with him; Forgiving it sets you above him. (p.11)
 
12) He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees. (p.12)
 
13) Avarice and happiness never saw each other, how then should they become acquainted. (p. 13)
 
14) Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing. (p.13)
 
15) Ah simple Man! When a boy two precious jewels were given thee, Time and good Advice; one thou hast lost, the other thrown away. (p.14)
 
16) When Knaves fall out, honest men get their goods: when priests dispute, we come at the Truth. (p.14)
 
17) Experience keeps a dear [i.e. expensive] school; yet Fools will learn in no other. (p.14)
 
18) How many observe Christ’s Birth-day; How few his Precepts! Oh! It is easier to keep Holidays than Commandments. (p.14)
 
19) Who is rich? He that rejoices in his Portion. (p.14)
 
20) An open foe may prove a curse; but a pretended friend is worse. (p.15)
 
21) It is easy to see, hard to foresee. (p.16)
 
22) Have you something to do tomorrow, do it today. (p.17)
 
23) Speak and speed: the close mouth catches no flies. (p.17)
 
24) What you would seem to be, be really. (p.18)
 
25) Make haste slowly. (p.18)
 
26) Thirst after desert [i.e., merit] - not reward. (p.20)
 
27) Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that have not wit enough to be honest. (p.20)
 
28) There are lazy minds as well as lazy bodies. (p.20)
 
29) Observe all men; thyself most. (p.20)
 
30) Wish not so much to live long, as to live well. (p.21)
 
31) There’s none deceived but he that trusts. (p.21)
 
32) None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error. (p.21)
 
33)  Wink at small faults - remember thou hast great ones. (p.21)
 
34) Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time it might make the worst man good throughout. (p.21)
 
35) Who’s strong? He that can conquer his bad habits. (p.23)
 
36) Tomorrow I’ll reform, the fool does say; Today itself is too late; - the wise did it yesterday. (p.23)
 
37) Fear to do ill, and you need fear nought else. (p.24)
 
38) Seek Virtue, and of that possessed, to Providence resign the rest. (p.25)
 
39) Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich Men poor. (p.26)
 
40) What signifies knowing the Names, if you know not the Natures of things? (p.27)

41) If evils come not, then our fears are vain; and if they do, fear but augments the pain. (p.28)
 
42) There are three things extremely hard: Steel, a Diamond and to know oneself.  (p.28)
 
43) Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful. (p.29)
 
44) Nor is a duty beneficial because it is commanded, but it is commanded because it is beneficial. (p.29)
 
NOTE:
 
[1] See the volume “Poor Richard’s Almanack”, a selection of the “choicest Morsels of WIT and WISDOM, written during the Years of the Almanack’s publication by that well-known Savant, dr. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN of Philadelphia”. Published in Mount Vernon, at the sign of THE PETER PAUPER PRESS. No date indicated. USA, 77 pages.
 
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In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.  
 
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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).
 
 
Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.
 
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The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin




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