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We are forgiven by God—and that affects how we forgive others.


Benjamin Franklin was into virtue, as were many of the founding fathers of the United States. That 18th century was a society in which self-discipline was lauded, almost worshipped.

Franklin was particularly interested in 13 virtues. Number one, temperance: "Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation."

Two, silence: "Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself, avoid trifling conversation."

Three, order: "Let all your things have their place, let each part of your business have its time."

Four, resolution: "Resolve to perform what you ought, perform without fail what you resolve."

Five, frugality: "Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, waste nothing."

Six, industry: "Lose no time, be always employed in something useful, cut off all unnecessary actions."

Seven, sincerity: "Use no hurtful deceit, think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly."

Eight, justice: "Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty."

Nine, moderation: "Avoid extremes, forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."

Ten, cleanliness: "Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation."

Eleven, tranquility: "Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable."

Twelve, 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."

Thirteen, humility: "Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

Not only was Franklin interested in virtue, but he kept a careful account of it. Franklin actually had a notebook, a journal, a kind of ledger book where he kept account of each day. For each day in the week, there was space for recording self-assigned demerits. Franklin resolved to count the ...

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Mark Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of 9Marks.

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