According to Franklin, everything could be explained logically or through scientific inquiries. He set out to prove this in numerous ways; perhaps the most famous is his kite experiment. Franklin was determined to distinguish that lightening was merely electricity, not a form of God’s wrath. He successfully did so by flying a kite in an electrical storm, proving the “Sameness of the Electric Matter with that of Lightning completely demonstrated.” (Franklin, 43). The Puritans thought every little thing that occurred was by God’s doing. When a disaster struck, they attributed it to God’s all-powerful control. Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan woman who had been captured by Indians, saw her disasters as providence, an intervention by God himself. Franklin did, however, acknowledge the idea of providence but did not apply it to everyday life, saying “â€¦Providence, or some guardian angel, preserved me, thro’ this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in” (Franklin, 29).
The Puritans and Franklin shared the belief that people should be virtuous throughout life. Franklin attempted to achieve moral perfection by living “â€¦without committing any fault at any time” (Franklin, 32). He thought one should be virtuous for his or her own sake, not to become righteous, stating it is “everyone’s interest to be virtuous who wish’d to be happy” (Franklin, 35). Franklin wished to be good not to glorify God, but rather to better himself for personal gain. He then created a list of thirteen virtues: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. Perfection was to be achieved after mastering each skill one at a time. Franklin, though never arriving at perfection, was “â€¦a better and happier man that I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it” (Franklin, 34). Puritans agreed that men should strive to be the best they could be, and attempt to live by a moral code of sorts. Out of Franklin’s thirteen virtues, humility was perhaps the most important. In all they did, Puritans wished to imitate Jesus. John Dane thought he had failed God because he “â€¦could not serve God as I should” (Dane, 11). The thought that he had failed to imitate Jesus’ way of life was so unbearable, it drove him to contemplate suicide. Mary Rowlandson sought comfort through bible scriptures, applying them to her day-to-day struggle as an Indian captive. When she forgot a Sabbath, she too thought she deserved to die, saying “it was easie for me to see how righteous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life” (Rowlandson, 15). Both Dane and Rowlandson believed they had fallen short of glorifying God, and their sins were heavy enough that death was a reasonable punishment.