There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins by name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father’s books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough.
– Benjamin Franklin (Autobiography, volume 1)
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
– Paul (Colossians 4:6)
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
– Paul (Romans 12:18)
(Interesting and amusing that, taking his last sentence at face value, Franklin thought men of Edinburgh to both have a disputatious turn and be persons of good sense. 🙂 )