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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 112

Baptist stock we have now not less
than nine or ten parties of Baptists. How has the Presbyterian creed
succeeded in keeping its adherents together? It is thought to be a very
wise and powerful document. Has it kept Presbyterians together? It has
succeeded no better than the Baptist creed. With all its adhesive
power, Presbyterians, within the last century have sundered into
some eight parties. This needs no commentary. How has the Methodist
Discipline succeeded? It is itself nothing but an offshoot of the
Episcopalian creed, which did not prevent the Methodists from stranding
off from the established church. The Discipline has not been in
operation more than one hundred and twenty years. How has it succeeded
in keeping Methodists together during that period? During that time
Methodism has stranded into some eight or ten fragments. What comment
this furnishes upon the efficacy of human creeds to cement together.
Other creeds have done no better; and yet, in the face of all this, men
want human creeds to _keep them together_!

All history shows, beyond all dispute, that wherever human creeds have
prevailed, divisions have abounded, partyism has increased, and unity
has been diminished. But where the people had confidence in the Bible,
the law of God, the “perfect law of liberty,” union has more widely
extended, and peace has more generally prevailed. Why then, in the name
of reason, hold on to human creeds to keep churches together, when
they have so universally failed, and refuse the Bible, which has never

Faith in a creed can not convert persons, or bring them to God. If they
are Christians at all, faith in God, the Redeemer and Savior of men,
in the Word of God, in the Gospel of Christ, has made them such, and
to God and the word of his grace they should commit themselves, their
everlasting trust, and not allow themselves to be divided by human


This day was presented us some of the grandest objects of admiration,
both of nature and art, we ever beheld. We saw some of the grandest,
most stupendous and wonderful achievements of human enlightenment,
combined with industry, we had ever seen. At one moment we found
ourselves hundreds of feet above the tall pine trees, away in the
valley below, where, if we had been thrown off the track, we must have
been precipitated hundreds of feet down among the craggy rocks. In
another moment, we passed from the skirts of tree-tops, plunging into
the dark and dreary tunnel, cut through solid rock, hundreds of feet
under ground, where we could no more

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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Illustrated by twenty-two Cuts on Wood.
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& T.
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COURTEOUS READER, I HAVE heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by others.
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] 'So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make these times better, if we bestir ourselves.
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Handle your tools without mittens: remember, that "The cat in gloves catches no mice," as Poor Richard says.
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These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences: and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them?--By these, and other extravagancies, the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who, through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case it appears plainly, that "A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees," as Poor Richard says.
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consult, consult your purse.
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yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in gaol for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him.
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--I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacks, and digested all I had dropt on those topics during the course of twenty-five years.