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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 110

vice and virtue—except the
reward of one and the punishment of the other, received in this life.
It proposes to believe the Bible, and would have men believe that it
teaches that he who was an atheist, a deist, and a scoffer at all that
God has said, and a blasphemer of the name of God till he breathed the
last breath, shall be received up into glory, and seated down with the
holy martyrs of Jesus, and enjoy God forever! No other system has so
far imposed upon the credulity of mankind, as to face the world, as
well as the heavens, and declare that the lake of fire prepared for the
devil and his angels, where the beast and the false prophet shall be
tormented day and night, forever and ever—the _gehena_ of fire, where
the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched—is in this world, and
that the wicked we see are actually enduring its punishments!

No infidel desires any better opposition to religion than this. No
man who hates the Bible, and wishes its influence upon the world
counteracted, desires any more effectual method of doing it than this,
so far as men will receive it. Those who fall under its influence will
neither worship God nor keep his commandments. Atheism itself has all
the incentives to a righteous life found in this system, and may be
trusted just as far. Its influence is to harden the heart, and fill the
world with impenitence and indifference.


If a man’s learning is combined with piety, devotion, and consecration
to Jesus Christ, and he is possessed with the humility and meekness
inculcated in Christianity, and his learning enables him to unfold
the unsearchable riches of Christ, with the simplicity, sincerity and
devotion necessary to commend it to the hearts and consciences of men,
it is of great value. If the Lord dwells in a man, if the great matters
of the kingdom of God fill his soul, and if his learning is used in
presenting the simple gospel of Christ in meekness, it may be of great
service to him; but, it requires much care to keep the Lord in front
of it, so that the hearers will see nothing but him. The more gifted
the man, the more learned and powerful, the better, if all his powers
are engaged in setting forth and honoring the Lord, sanctifying _Him_
in the eyes of the people. At the same time, he should rely upon not
learning only, or talent, or power that he possesses, but upon the
Lord, upon his

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Happening once to put her king into prize, the Doctor took it.
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I will give you what account I can of them at this distance from my papers, and if these are not lost in my absence, you will among them find many more particulars.
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He entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment,.
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He left me then, promising to remit me the first money he should receive in order to discharge the debt; but I never heard of him after.
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Andrew Hamilton, a famous lawyer of Philadelphia, had taken passage in the same ship for himself and son, and with Mr.
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It occasion'd my being more consider'd by Mr.
Page 53
Franklin, schoolmaster, at such a place.
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I taught him and a friend of his to swim at twice going into the river, and they soon became good swimmers.
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It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.
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We ventured, however, over all these difficulties, and I took her to wife, September 1st, 1730.
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For instance, my breakfast was a long time break and milk (no tea), and I ate it out of a twopenny earthen porringer, with a pewter spoon.
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"Strangers who came to see him were amazed to behold papers of the greatest importance scattered in the most careless way over the table and floor.
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In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those people.
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While at Bethlehem, I inquir'd a little into the practice of the Moravians: some of them had accompanied me, and all were very kind to me.
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He caus'd them to be regularly examined by the proper officer, who, after comparing every article with its voucher, certified them to be right; and the balance due for which his lordship promis'd to give me an order on the paymaster.
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This deliverance impressed me strongly with the utility of lighthouses, and made me resolve to encourage the building more of them in America if I should live to return there.
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_Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labor wears; while the used key is always bright, as Poor Richard says.
Page 178
McMaster in a volume of _The American Men of Letters Series_; his life as a statesman and diplomat, by J.