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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 123

high and low, rich and poor, bond and free; and thus labor to bring
them into the kingdom that is not of this world—a kingdom that can
not be moved—where the pure in heart can enjoy God, his Holy Spirit,
and his people, though the wicked rule and the civil governments
are corrupt, with the blessed assurance that they shall one day be
delivered from all the perplexities of an imperfect and sinful state.
Here we must all turn our attention at last.

Civil governments can never be perfected. They will always be working
wrongs and cruelties some place. The wisdom and power of man can
not avoid this. The wickedness and selfishness of men, also, are in
the way, so that the civil institutions of the country can never be
perfected; and he has studied Christianity to but little purpose, who
thinks its aim to be the perfection of the human contrivances of the
world. It looks above this, to the purification and perfection of
_individuals_, in their regeneration and personal sanctification, and
preparation for a better state. It does not, like some fleshly systems,
look upon this world as _man’s all_; but, as momentary, a pilgrim
state, not our home, not our continued city, but merely the preparatory
state to a better world. How soon this world will all be nothing to
all these political wranglers, who have suffered themselves to be made
tools for political parties, to the neglect of the church of God,
without one soul ever being able to see that all their noise, ever did
any good in any way. How silly it is, as well as unchristian, for old
friends, neighbors and _brethren_ to disagree and fall out about the
intricate and deceptive schemes of political wire-workers. Such men are
doing no good for their church or country. The very circumstance of
their falling out with their best friends, shows that they are insane
upon the very subject upon which they propose to enlighten the world,
and, of all men in the world, the most unsafe, to guide either church
or state.


Looking at the eternal benefits Christianity has conferred upon us, and
the rich inheritance it proposes to confer in the world to come, the
little a poor mortal can do in a short lifetime sinks into nothingness,
and deserves not to be mentioned. When we think of him who became poor,
that we through his poverty might be rich—that he became a little lower
than the angels, that he, by the grace of God, should taste of death
for every man—that he had not where to

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 20
It is impossible ever to enjoy ourselves rightly, if our conduct be not such as to preserve the harmony and order of our faculties, and the original frame and constitution of our minds; all true happiness, as all that is truly beautiful, can only result from order.
Page 34
It is recorded of Methusalem, who, being the longest liver, may be supposed to have best preserved his health, that he slept always in the open air; for, when he had lived five hundred years, an angel said to him, "Arise, Methusalem, and build thee a house, for thou shalt live yet five hundred years longer.
Page 53
that never outlive the day in which they are born.
Page 65
The subjects were terrified from uttering their griefs while they saw the thunder of the Star Chamber pointed at their heads.
Page 72
And cheap enough they will be, I will warrant you, till people leave off making them.
Page 73
Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful? And do they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burden! On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent.
Page 75
Tremble, thou wretch, That hast within thee undivulged crimes Unwhipp'd of justice! "Close pent-up guilt, Raise your concealing continents, and ask These.
Page 80
If we really believe, as we profess to believe, that the law of Moses was the law of God, the dictate of Divine wisdom, infinitely superior to human, on what principle do we ordain death as the punishment of an offence which, according to that law, was only to be punished by a restitution of fourfold? To put a man to death for an offence which does not deserve death, is it not a murder? And as the French writer says, _Doit-on punir un delit contre la societe par un crime contre la nature?_[8] [8] Ought we to punish a crime against society by a crime against nature? Superfluous property is the creature of society.
Page 83
"What the devil!" says another, "have we then _thieves_ among us? It must not be suffered.
Page 97
" * * * * * _To the same.
Page 103
Franklin's answer to these letters.
Page 111
'_Late children_,' says the Spanish proverb, '_are early orphans_.
Page 164
I thank you much for your notes on banks; they are just and solid, as far as I can judge of them.
Page 167
This, however, nations seldom do, and we have had frequent instances of their spending more money in wars for acquiring or securing branches of commerce, than a hundred years' profit, or the full enjoyment of them can compensate.
Page 175
You might easily display your excellent talents of reasoning upon a less hazardous subject, and thereby obtain a rank with our most distinguished authors.
Page 191
One Hopkins had his plantation removed half a mile from its place.
Page 197
When other buildings happen to be within the striking distance from such clouds, the fluid passes in the walls, whether of wood, brick, or stone, quitting the walls only when it can find better conductors near them, as metal rods, bolts, and hinges of windows or doors, gilding on wainscot or frames of pictures, the silvering on the backs of looking-glasses, the wires for bells, and the bodies of animals, as containing watery fluids.
Page 227
The quantity of this evaporation is greater or less, in proportion to the surface exposed by the same quantity of water to those causes of evaporation.
Page 235
Not having a watch that shows seconds, in order to measure the time taken up by the boat in passing from end to end, I counted as fast as I could count to ten repeatedly, keeping an account of the number of tens on my fingers.
Page 241
And this will also be the case when both the opening _before_ the fire and the funnel _above_ the fire are contracted, provided the funnel above the fire is more contracted in proportion than the opening before the fire.