Sunday, May 16, 2010

Abraham and Ben Franklin

Okay, so this post really doesn't have much to do with Ben Franklin, but I thought it was a cool story from my current read, "Abraham in Egypt" by Hugh Nibley. This is from page 206:

But Abraham's most famous lesson in tolerance was a favorite story of Benjamin Franklin, a story which as been traced back as far as a thirteenth-century Arabic writer and may be much older. The prologue to the story is the visit of three angels to Abraham, who asked him what he charged for meals; the price was only that the visitor "invoke the name of God before beginning and prasie it when you finish." But one day the patriarch entertained an old man who would pray neither before eating nor after, explaining to Abraham that he was a fire worshiper. His indignant hose thereupon denied him further hospitality and the old man went his way. But very soon the voice of the Lord came to Abraham, saying: "I have suffered him these hundred years, although he dishonored me; and thou couldst not endure him one night, when he gave thee no trouble?" Overwhelmed with remorse, Abraham rushed out after his guest and brought him back in honor: "Go though and do likewise," ends the story, "and they charity will be rewarded by the God of Abraham." In the oldest version of the story the Lord says, "Abraham! For a hundred years the divine bounty has flowed this man: is it for thee to withhold thy hand from him because his worship is not thing?" One is strongly reminded of the Nephite law, which declared it "strictly contrary tot he commands of God" to penalize one's neighbor if he does not choose to believe in God (Alma 30:7)

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