On pages 138 & 139 of Walter J. Black, Inc.’s The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Roslyn, 1941), I found a short story of the speckled axe. A man once came to Franklin’s neighbor, who was a smith, in hopes of buying an axe. When he saw the axe, he requested that “the whole of its surface” be “as bright as the edge.”
The smith consented to find it bright for him if he would turn the wheel; he turned while the smith pressed the broad face of the axe hard and heavily on the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing. The man came every now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on, and at length would take his axe as it was, without farther grinding. “No,” said the smith, “turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet, it is only speckled.” “Yes,” says the man, “but I think I like a speckled axe best.”
And I believe this may have been the case with many, who, having for want of some such means as I employed found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle and concluded that a speckled axe was best.”
Franklin is not thinking of Biblical sanctification, but the point of his story strikes home. Far be it from us that we would make peace with our sin, that we would tire at the wheel of sanctification and exclaim, “A speckled soul is best,” or, “I will just have to do with this pet sin.” “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). Let us move forward into practical righteousness, since we have received the judicial righteousness of Christ. Let us not weary of keeping our covenant, since we are united to Christ by an everlasting covenant in His blood (1 Corinthians 11:25).