A Book of Gems Choice selections from the writings of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 105

and are executed for
it, though this may be a just recompense of reward, it will not purify
their souls and prepare them to enjoy God. When men pass the boundary
line of life, they pass all the means, in the economy of God, for
preparing them for heaven, and no punishment will ever do what the
grace of God could not do.


The mission of infidels is not to build up anything but to pull down
churches, civil laws, governments, morals, the characters of men and
women, peace, happiness, protection of home, property and life. They
come with a mission of denials of the truths contained in the Bible—a
mission of war upon the Bible, religion, and the friends of purity
and mercy. They come not with a mission of peace and good will to
man, but a mission of hatred towards the Bible and all it enjoins—a
mission to pull down and destroy—to spread desolation among other
men’s labors and lay their work in ruins, leaving nothing but wrecks
and devastation. They come to neutralize, paralize and dishearten
all efforts for the amelioration of man’s condition—to discourage,
enfeeble and ignore all efforts to rise. They come not into our midst
with a warm, kind and affectionate appeal to the attentive, thinking
and reflective portion,—the more spiritually minded; but appeal to the
lukewarm, back-sliding, or the apostate, who is beginning to stand at a
distance, who already is descending upon the retrograde plane—not to
rescue him, or to prevent his retrograde movement, but to accelerate
it. The appeal to him is not to give him confidence, but to destroy his
confidence in his Bible, his religion, his brethren, and fill him with
doubts and distrusts. It is not to embolden him, but to intimidate him
and fill him with fears, and discourage him from all good forever.

The mission of infidels is not to enlighten, civilize and ennoble
the nations. They have never enlightened, civilized or elevated a
nation or a people since the world was made. They have never organized
society, established peace and order in any place on this earth. They
have established no civil institutions, no system of morals, no code
of laws, no system of education, and no institutions of learning
that deserve the name. Even the literature of the country has almost
entirely been left to the believers in the Bible. It is an easy work
to pull down civil government, subvert the foundation of organization,
condemn the means of enlightenment, and object to them. It is an easy
matter to deny everything and prove nothing; to doubt,

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

Page 86
One may observe that this moral bifurcation was inveterate in Franklin's mind, never resolving itself into a fondness for the idea that human nature is inexorably the product of institutions and outward social forms.
Page 138
") Bleyer, W.
Page 153
Page 159
Contains no bibliography.
Page 160
(Lists of "Collected Works," "Separate Works," and "Contributions to Periodicals" constitute a convenient abridgment of Ford, but the list, "Biographical and Critical," limited to two pages, is at best inadequately suggestive.
Page 186
For when my Mother some time after spoke to him of a Reconciliation, and of her Wishes to see us on good Terms together, and that we might live for the future as Brothers, he said, I had insulted him in such a Manner before his People that he could never forget or forgive it.
Page 269
This is _Truth_ likewise, and _A_ acts according to it when he steals the Horse.
Page 299
The Letter, sign'd "_Would-be-Something_," is come to hand.
Page 307
It is doing all the Good we can to others, by Acts of Humanity, Friendship, Generosity, and Benevolence: This is that constant and durable Good, which will afford Contentment and Satisfaction always alike, without Variation or Diminution.
Page 355
AT NEW YORK Communicated to Mr.
Page 357
In the Spring of the Year, when they first creep out of their Holes, they are feeble, heavy, slow, and easily taken; and if a small Bounty were allow'd _per_ Head, some Thousands might be collected annually, and _transported_ to _Britain_.
Page 475
Page 500
| | 13 |[Leo] 3 | Sirius rise 8 7 | | 14 | 17 | [Moon] with [Jupiter] _a_ | | 15 |[Virgo] 2 | [Quartile] [Jupiter] [Mars] _Child's_ | | 16 | 16 | 7 *s sou.
Page 598
I shall make but small Use of the old Man's Privilege, that of giving Advice to younger Friends.
Page 642
This may seem extraordinary, but I assure you it is not uncommon here.
Page 669
Page 713
Others object to the _Bald Eagle_ as looking too much like a _Dindon_, or Turkey.
Page 760
These Employments of Men and Women are accounted natural and honourable.
Page 778
[66] John Fothergill (1712-1780).
Page 781
For Franklin's own comments see _Writings_, IX, 358-9, 556.