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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 137

empty, cold, dark, and hungry, suffering and perishing, for light,
heat and food. Scepticism is no system, not a reality, substance or
entity of any kind, but the absence of all these. To speak in general
terms of faith, both christian faith and all other faith, the absence
of it, would be the absence by far of the greater part of all we know,
or that may be known by man. There is nothing more certain than that a
man who knows much, must believe much. Scepticism is not the possession
of reformatory principles, but simply the absence of them. There is
nothing that a man can be more conscious of, than that scepticism never
did, and never can, make a man better. Inherently, there is nothing
in it. It is the absence of something. The mere absence of faith, of
religion, doctrine and principles, most indisputably can do a man no
good, and can have no power to save him in any sense. To speak of
saving a man from starving by the absence of food, saving him from
thirst by the absence of water, or from darkness by the absence of
light, or from sickness by the absence of the only medicine that could
save him, is not more absurd, than to speak of unbelief reforming man.
Scepticism is not heat, but the absence of it; not light, but the
absence of it; not faith, but the absence of it; not knowledge, but the
absence of it; not medicine, but the absence of it; not nourishment,
but the absence of it. The sceptic is a man perishing with cold,
while he is graciously offered the warmth of christianity; groping in
darkness while the light of heaven is as free for him as the rays of
the sun; starving, with an invitation to eat of the bread that comes
down from heaven; dying with thirst, while God is holding out to him
the water of life; a sick man refusing to take an infallible remedy
from the physician, simply exercising the power to reject all that
could do him any good, resting, refusing, denying and dying.


In the kingdom of God the Lord is the center. He said, “I, if I be
lifted up, will draw all men to me.” “As Moses lifted up the serpent in
the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever
believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The
great apostle to the Gentiles, after giving a brief summary of side
considerations, and many of them weighty,

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
They were purchased by me from Dodd, Mead & Co.
Page 1
It was brought early in the morning to the _Champ de Mars_, a Field in which Reviews are sometimes made, lying between the Military School and the River.
Page 2
It is said that for some Days after its being filled, the Ball was found to lose an eighth Part of its Force of Levity in 24 Hours; Whether this was from Imperfection in the Tightness of the Ball, or a Change in the Nature of the Air, Experiments may easily discover.
Page 3
Montgolfier's Way will not cost more than half a Crown.
Page 4
It lodged in.
Page 5
Smaller Repetitions of the Experiment are making every day in all quarters.
Page 6
If those in the Gallery see it likely to descend in an improper Place, they can by throwing on more Straw, & renewing the Flame, make it rise again, and the Wind carries it farther.
Page 7
_ That is their Provision of Straw; of which they carried up a great Quantity.
Page 8
Beings of a Rank and Nature far superior to ours have not disdained to amuse themselves with making and launching Balloons, otherwise we should never have enjoyed the Light of those glorious objects that rule our Day & Night, nor have had the Pleasure of riding round the Sun ourselves upon the.
Page 9
from whence I could well see it rise, & have an extensive View of the Region of Air thro' which, as the Wind sat, it was likely to pass.
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I write this at 7 in the Evening.
Page 11
When the Tickets were engraved, the Car was to have been hung to the Neck of the Globe, as represented by a little Drawing I have made in the Corner A.
Page 12
* * * * * Le petit Ballon est tombe dans la Cour du Dongeon a Vincennes.
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"; p.