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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 133

his most intimate friends, who know him better
than all others.

But, why do not infidels make an ado about infidels falling? They never
fall! They have never attained to anything from which they can fall.
They are at the bottom and there is nothing below them to which they can
fall. We know of a case where an infidel has recently covered himself
all over with slime, but nothing of consequence is said about it. Why
not? If he had been a preacher of the gospel his case would have been
published half round the world before now. But he is _an infidel_, and
the idea of purity is not associated with infidelity, in the public
mind. There is no noise about it. His brethren, infidels, bring him
to no trial, call him to no account, appoint no committee, and have
no examination of the case! Why not? He _professed nothing_, and they
_profess nothing_. Such things do not disgrace them, or bring scandal
on them.


The opponents of the truth will catch every unkind or unpleasant word;
every unlovely expression or harsh sentence, and comment on it, in the
absence of argument, and even divert attention from the main matter. We
should, then, simply study how to present the truth, in the clearest,
most agreeable and acceptable manner; how to show people the truth,
convince them and enlist their souls in it. This is the great matter to
study, and not how to avoid differences and not discuss them at all. We
are studying how to practice this, and we desire all the friends of the
Lord to study it and give the adversary no advantage.


Sceptics float in thin ether, if not some times in pure vacuum,
in vast, unknown and unknowable regions of pure fancy and idle
imagination. They roam in everlasting inquisitiveness in the immense
realms of intangibles and invisibles. They are variously styled in
New Testament terminology, “clouds without water,” “wandering stars,”
“filthy dreamers,” etc., etc. They spend their time, confuse themselves
and shatter their brains, in explaining “degrees in glory,” “degrees
in punishment,” “different spheres,” “the possibility of holding
converse with departed friends,” “the origin of sin,” “how God will
overrule evil for the good of man and his own glory,” “the origin of
the devil, if there be any,” or, “who made the devil,” or, “whether
he is a real being, or only a personification of evil,” “whether God
did not know, when he created man, that he would sin,” “why he created
man, knowing that he would sin,” “whether he did not know, when

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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

Page 0
CAVE, at _St.
Page 3
Page 5
Lay two books on two glasses, back towards back, two or three Inches distant.
Page 8
The impossibility of electrising one's self (tho' standing on wax) by rubbing the tube and drawing the fire from it; and the manner of doing it by passing the tube near a person or thing standing on the floor, &c.
Page 11
Page 12
If the phials were both charged through their hooks, the cork, when it has been attracted and repell'd by the one, will not be attracted, but equally repelled by the other.
Page 20
Then apply the giving wire to the shot, and give the spark it wanted, so will the cork return: Give it another, which will be an addition to its natural.
Page 21
Page 22
When the surface of water has the least motion, particles are continually pushed into the situation represented by FIG.
Page 24
When a ridge of mountains thus dams the clouds, and draws the electrical fire from the cloud first approaching it; that which next follows, when it comes near the first cloud, now deprived of its fire, flashes into it, and begins to deposite its own water; the first cloud again flashing into the mountains; the third approaching cloud, and all the succeeding ones, acting in the same manner as far back as they extend, which may be over many hundred miles of country.
Page 28
When electrical fire strikes thro' a body, it acts upon the common fire contained in it, and puts that fire in motion; and if there be a sufficient quantity of each kind of fire, the body will be inflamed.
Page 29
the melted part would burn the floor it dropp'd on.
Page 30
'Tis supposed, that all kinds of common matter do not attract and retain the electrical, with equal strength and force; for reasons to be given hereafter.
Page 31
If a piece of common matter be supposed intirely free from electrical matter, and a single particle of the latter be brought nigh, 'twill be attracted and enter the body, and take place in the center, or where the attraction is every way equal.
Page 36
But if a needle be stuck on the end of the punch, its point upwards, the scale, instead of drawing nigh to the punch and snapping, discharges its fire silently through the point, and rises higher from the punch.
Page 40
Were these two points perfectly equal in acuteness, the leaf would take place exactly in the middle space, for its Weight is a trifle, compared to the power acting on it: But it is generally nearest the unelectrified plate, because, when the leaf is offered to the electrified plate at a distance, the sharpest point is commonly first affected and raised towards it; so that point, from its greater acuteness, receiving the fluid faster than its opposite can discharge it at equal distances, it retires from the electrified plate, and draws nearer to the unelectrified plate, till it comes to a distance where the discharge can be exactly equal to the receipt, the latter being lessened, and the former encreased; and there it remains as long as the globe continues to supply fresh electrical matter.
Page 41
Take care in cutting your leaf to leave no little ragged particles on the edges, which sometimes form points where you would not have them.
Page 45
But the instant the parts of the glass so open'd and fill'd have pass'd the friction, they close again, and force the additional quantity out upon the surface, where it must rest till that part comes round to the cushion again, unless some non electric (as the prime conductor) first presents to receive it.
Page 50
If not, they are not.
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Historical Geography and its Species, Natural; Civil; Ecclesiastical; National; Periodical, ancient, middle, modern; Parallel and Critical.