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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 132

with a hot iron, tingle; or any face, not past feeling,
blush. But the Bible is no way responsible for it, not even in
appearance. Beecher was no Bible man. Bible men were not his admirers,
nor the men that gathered around him, that liked him only the more for
his broad views, his liberality, when he pronounced that beautiful
benediction on the Pope, “God bless his old soul,” and said he could
commune with the Pope, or worship at a pagan altar; declared that there
is not a particle of divine authority, in any church in the world;
that he was inspired as much as the apostles; and would baptize a man
every month if he desired it; that there is no authority for infant
baptism; but he was for it now stronger than ever, because it was a
good thing—it had been tried! This man identified with the Bible? Not
a word of it. The Bible is responsible for none of the scandal and
disgrace that hang upon him and must hang there forever. No, not a word
of it, you unbelieving man; we turn all over to you; we have here a
specimen of _your work_; _unbelief_; what it can do in a short time;
how it can drag a man down, and the ruin to which it can bring him.
Here is the fruit of unbelief; he can eat of it, and all unbelievers
can view it, and see what comes of a man that contemns the Bible and
puts its authority at defiance.

Gentlemen, unbelievers, if you like to view the results of unbelief,
and the ruin that follows in its train, come up here and see what
it has done in the case of an illustrious man; a man whose fame has
extended throughout the civilized world; a man of wonderful versatility
of thought, and immense gifts as a speaker and writer, with such an
opening as no other man on the continent had. This man had reached
mature years, and his influence had become so great, that many good
people would not hear a word against him, nor believe that his terrible
skeptical talk meant any harm. It was only _independence_. But, in the
midst of such a career of popularity, and that not of an ephemeral
character either, as no other man in this nation ever had, up springs
trouble in the midst of his most intimate friends, and those he knew
better, and had associated with more intimately than any others.
It comes not from persecutors without, nor from enemies or envious
preachers within, but

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 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 5
, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josiah.
Page 18
However, that did not quite please him, as he thought it tended to make me too vain.
Page 20
" Philadelphia was one hundred miles farther; I set out, however, in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and things to follow me round by sea.
Page 28
In this, however, he was mistaken.
Page 39
Page 43
Veronica_ displaying her handkerchief, with the miraculous figure of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she explained to me with great seriousness.
Page 45
Perhaps the most.
Page 72
"Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for here again I will suppose the subject of my letter to resemble Dr.
Page 79
I proposed to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included, under thirteen names of virtues, all that at that time occurred to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully expressed the extent I gave to its meaning.
Page 87
Page 96
The choice was made that year without opposition; but the year following, when I was again proposed (the choice, like that of the members, being annual), a new member made a long speech against me, in order to favour some other candidate.
Page 98
The utility of this institution soon appeared; and many more desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for one company, they were advised to form another, which was accordingly done; and thus went on one new company after another, till they became so numerous as to include most of the inhabitants who were men of property; and now, at the time of my writing this (though upward of fifty years since its establishment), that.
Page 109
At midnight a number of them came thundering at our door, demanding more rum, of which we took no notice.
Page 110
The country members did not at first relish the project: they objected that it could only be serviceable to the city, and, therefore, the citizens alone should be at the expense of it; and they doubted whether the citizens themselves generally approved of it.
Page 114
And here let me remark the convenience of having but one gutter in such a narrow street, running down its middle, instead of two, one on each side, near the footway.
Page 116
By this plan the general government was to be administered by a president-general, appointed and supported by the crown; and a grand council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several colonies, met in their respective assemblies.
Page 133
I inquired concerning the Moravian marriages, whether the report was true that they were by lot; I was told that lots were used only in particular cases: that generally, when a young man found himself disposed to marry, he informed the elders of his class, who consulted the elder ladies that governed the young women.
Page 169
The resemblance is correct; the head is a copy from the excellent bust produced by the chisel of Houdon.
Page 170
"As a legislator, he affords a bright example of a genius soaring above corruption, and continually aiming at the happiness of his constituents.
Page 211
As a proof of that honour, I shall only mention one well-known recent fact.