the incredible wisdom of
Benjamin Franklin

We can all learn something from this incredible American....

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals. Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it. Without justice, courage is weak. Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something. Wink at small faults; remember thou hast great ones. Where there is marriage without love, there will be love without marriage. When you're finished changing, you're finished. Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Well done is better than well said.

Would you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason. We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately. We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough. To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions. To bear other peoples afflictions, every one has courage enough, and to spare. To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness. What signifies knowing the names, if you know not the nature of things. All things are easy to industry, all things are difficult to sloth. Either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing. Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few. Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgement. Applause waits on success. Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow. An undutiful daughter will prove an unmanageable wife. Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you will be hindered tomorrow. One today is worth two tomorrow's; never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. A wolf eats sheep but now and then, ten thousands are devoured by men A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.

A good example is the best sermon. A child thinks 20 shillings and 20 years can scarce ever be spent. A cheerful face is nearly as good for an invalid as healthy weather. You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again. Those things that hurt, instruct. Any fool can critcize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. He does not possess wealth; it possesses him. Those who would give up essential freedoms for security, deserve neither freedom nor security. The first mistake in public business is the going into it. Experience is the best teacher, but a fool will learn from no other.

By heaven we understand a state of happiness infinite in degree, and endless in duration. Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. There never was a good war or a bad peace. Necessity never made a good bargain. If you would be loved, love and be lovable. He that won't be counselled can't be helped. Genius without education is like silver in the mine. The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. There was never a good war or a bad peace. Eat to live, not live to eat.

God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: "This is my country." To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it. They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance. The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart. Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Those disputing, contradicting, and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them. There is no man so bad, but he secretly respects the good. There can't be good living where there is not good drinking. There are three great friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.

The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one. Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other. The magistrate should obey the laws, the people should obey the magistrate. Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young. The doors of wisdom are never shut. The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest. That it is better that 100 guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer, is a maxim that has been long and generally approved. Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak. One today is worth two tomorrows.

Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it. The nearest way to come at glory, is to do that for conscience which we do for glory. If you can't pay for a thing, don't buy it. If you can't get paid for it, don't sell it. Do this, and you will have calm and drowsy nights, with all of the good business you have now and none of the bad. If you have time, don't wait for time. He that waits upon a fortune, is never sure of a dinner. Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-shut afterwards. Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee. It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous. Industry, perseverance, and frugality make fortune yield. If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect. Lend money to an enemy, and thou will gain him, to a friend and thou will lose him.

If you have something to do tomorrow, do it today. Let thy child's first lesson be obedience, and the second may be what thou wilt. If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and governments. I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work. How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments. Historians relate, not so much what is done, as what they would have believed. Hear not ill of a friend, nor speak any of an enemy. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. If you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas.

No man ever was glorious, who was not laborious. Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power. Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man. Promises may fit the friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies. Pride that dines on vanity, sips on contempt. Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Learn of the skilful; he that teaches himself, has a fool for his master. Now I've a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good morrow. He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stands a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure, too.

No gains without pains. Many complain of their memory, few of their judgment. Man's tongue is soft, and bone doth lack; yet a stroke therewith may break a man's back. Make haste slowly. Love your neighbour; yet don't pull down your hedge. Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. Life with fools consists in drinking; with the wise man, thinking. Pay what you owe, and you'll know what's your own. Don't throw stones at your neighbours, if your own windows are glass. He who waits upon fortune is never sure of dinner.

Even peace may be purchased at too high a price. Energy and persistence conquer all things. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise. Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout. Drive thy business, let not that drive thee. Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never mended well. Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: This is my country. Don't judge men's wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance. Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.

Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them. Diligence is the mother of good luck. Creditors have better memories than debtors. Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor. Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. Drink does not drown care, but waters it, and makes it grow faster. Haste makes waste. He that lives upon hope will die fasting. He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas. He that hath a trade hath an estate; he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honor.

He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged. He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals. He that cannot obey, cannot command. Fear to do ill, and you need fear nought else. Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it is. Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him. Happy that nation, fortunate that age, whose history is not diverting. Happiness consists more in the small conveniences of pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life. Half a truth is often a great lie. Good sense is a thing all need, few have, and none think they want.

God works wonders now and then; behold a lawyer, an honest man. God helps them that help themselves. God heals, and the doctor takes the fee. He does not possess wealth that allows it to possess him.

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