I very much love Benjamin Franklin’s proverbs, so I thought I’d share one of those times I disagree with the sage.
“Fear not Death; for the sooner we die, the longer shall we be immortal.” – Benjamin Franklin from Poor Richard’s Almanack
Not so: we cannot reduce the time spent in eternity by one second by spending ten million more years on earth. Hence, I would rather spend ten million more years on earth, enduring the evil, patiently waiting for heaven, for it is only on earth that we lay up treasure in heaven. God himself lived as a mortal man on earth to lay up the treasures in heaven to give us. Indeed, it is our very desire for the good life in heaven that is why we should desire a good life in earth: the more we desire the one, the more we desire the other. If God so grants the blessing to me, I would live till he returns, and never miss a year doing good in this evil world by simply waiting in death for the resurrection.
It is only in heaven that we can enjoy the true treasure,
But only on earth can we lay up true treasure in heaven.
I’m sure Franklin understood that time spent on earth does not reduce time in heaven: his proverb is part in jest, and my wording as well. I disagree specifically with the inplication that “the sooner we die the better”, which is akin to saying it were better to never be born. This life has a great purpose: that purpose is heaven. The purpose of this temporal life is eternity, thus this temporal life is of eternal value.
I once read in a book by Chaim Potok something along these lines: comparing a lifetime to eternity, it is only the blink of an eye: but I realised that the significance of it was not in the duration of the blink, but in the eye that blinks.
Obviously, I agree with Benjamin on “fear not death”. 🙂 Though perhaps for a different reason.
It is Yahweh that gives the blessing of life, and it is only him we should fear, and tremble lest we displease him.