Ben Franklin’s Habitude of Virtues

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Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 and died in 1790 at the ripe old age of 84. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a leading author, printer, political theoristpoliticianpostmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, 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 invented the lightning rodbifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He helped start many civic organizations, including a fire department and a university.

Now how does someone become an expert in so many things, write so much, invent so much and accomplish so much in a lifetime? In the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin he writes what could be called the Habitude of Virtues. He lists 13 tidbits of wisdom!

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself. i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

These are the 13 Habitudes of Virtue set forth by Benjamin Franklin back in the late 1700s. They are wisdom for the ages.

Presented on Tidbits Radio 7.20.13 by Dr. Ron Ross

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