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June 8, 2011

“God helps them that help themselves.”


FRANKLIN’S FAMOUS VERSION OF AN ANCIENT SAYING:

“God helps them that help themselves.”
       Popularized by
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
       American statesman, scientist, author and publisher
       Franklin included this in
Poor Richard’s Almanack, which he published from 1732 to 1758. Its appearance in his widely-read almanac helped popularize the saying in America, but Franklin didn’t coin it. There are various other earlier versions. “God helps those who help themselves” was used in 1698 by British politician Algernon Syney. Other variations date back as far as Aesop’s Fables, written in the sixth century BC. The moral of Aesop’s fable “Hercules and the Waggoner” (sometimes spelled Wagoner or Wagoneer) is traditionally translated as “The gods help them that help themselves.” It is widely, but wrongly, believed that “God helps them that help themselves” comes from the Bible. In fact, it doesn’t. 


THE ANTI-THIEVERY COUNTERQUOTE:

“God never helps those who are caught helping themselves.”
       A humorous American proverb of unknown origin
       Cited in
A Dictionary of American Proverbs


THE THIEF’S COUNTER-COUNTERQUOTE:

“God may not help those who help themselves, but you’ll notice he don’t stand in front of you with no flaming sword and say, ‘What you got there?’”
      
Stephen Longstreet (pen name of Henri Weiner; 1907-2002)
       American author, artist and scriptwriter 
       Comment by a character in his novel
All or Nothing (1983)


THE RICH MAN’S GOSPEL:

“In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves...Neither the individual nor the race is improved by alms giving. Those worthy of assistance, except in rare cases, seldom require assistance.”
      
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
       American businessman and philanthropist who was the richest man in the world in his day
       This quotes comes from
Carnegie’s essay “Wealth,” fist published in the North American Review in June 1889, then included in his book The Gospel of Wealth (1891).


THE EURODANCE RAP VARIATION:

“What we need to do is take ourselves from the shelf
‘Cause God won’t help those who won't help themselves
While you sit on your asses with rose colored glasses, hey –
Brutes build troops and masses, believe me.”

      
Snap!
       A revolving group of Eurodance musicians and rappers based in Germany 
       Lyrics from their song “Angel (Rays of Love)” (2004)

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