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

By Benjamin Franklin

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praises they sing, the salvation he graciously gives and the
immortality he proposes to bestow. The theme of the song is the great
matter. To sing with the spirit and the understanding is commanded,
and to teach and admonish in singing is also commanded. The main body
of the singing now done is not with the spirit nor the understanding,
nor is anything _taught_ or any one _admonished_. This is _no worship_.
Singing merely to make music is no more worship than performing on a
piano or violin.


But that Christ will come—“that same Jesus”—as literally as he was
seen go up into heaven from Mount Olivet, we entertain not one doubt.
That the dead will be raised and pass the final judgment, after which
the wicked will go away into everlasting punishment—into the fire of
_gehena_, where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched, at the
same time that the righteous enter into life eternal—we entertain not
one doubt. These are clear and awful matters of divine revelation, and
the main matters to set forth and enforce on men, and not theories
_about_ these great matters. Is it true that a man may “lose his
own soul?” that a man may be “cast into hell?” that “both soul and
body” may be “destroyed in hell?” that wicked men “shall go away into
everlasting punishment?” that they may be “tormented day and night,
forever and ever?” Is it true that God “has appointed a day in which
he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has
ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has
raised him from the dead?” Beyond all question, it is true. In raising
Jesus from the dead, God has given assurance to all men that he will
judge the world in righteousness. The assurance that God will judge the
world in righteousness is the reason for repentance. He commands all
men, everywhere, to repent, because he has appointed a day in which he
will judge the world in righteousness.


Is there one true and divine religion in the world? The answer of the
people in this country generally is, that there is. Touching this
answer we entertain not a doubt. There is in this world one religion
from God, and of supreme and absolute authority. It covers the whole
ground, and leaves not the least room for any other. All others are
departures from it, corruptions of it, or amalgamations with something
else. That one religion was given by Christ and his apostles. Christ
is the

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

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_That the laws made by them for the purposes aforesaid shall not be repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws of England, and shall be transmitted to the king in council for approbation as soon as may be after their passing; and if not disapproved within three years after presentation, to remain in force.
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Franklin) then in Boston (who hath very eminently distinguished himself, before and since that time, in the literary world, and whose judgment, penetration, and candor, as well as his readiness and ability to suggest, forward, or carry into execution, every scheme of public utility, hath most deservedly endeared him, not only to our fellow-subjects throughout the continent of North America, but to his numberless friends on this side the Atlantic) occasioned the following remarks from him, which perhaps may contribute in some degree to its being laid aside.
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to think and say, as what they ought to think: I shall therefore, as your excellency requires it of me, briefly mention what of either kind occurs to me on this occasion.
Page 78
And if we even suppose them confined by the waters of the Mississippi westward, and by those of St.
Page 90
"_ We have already seen in what manner the French and their Indians check the growth of our colonies.
Page 124
And as the proprietors knew, that the hundred thousand pounds of paper-money, struck for the defence of _their_ enormous estates, with others, was actually issued, spread through the country, and in the hands of thousands of poor people, who had given their labour for it; how base, cruel, and inhuman it was to endeavour, by a repeal of the act, to strike the money dead in those hands at one blow, and reduce it all to waste paper, to the utter confusion of all trade and dealings, and the ruin of multitudes, merely to avoid paying their own just tax--Words may be wanting to express,--but minds will easily conceive,--and never without abhorrence! The _second_ amendment proposed by their lordships was, "That the located uncultivated lands, belonging to the proprietaries, shall not be assessed higher than the _lowest_ rate, at which any located uncultivated lands belonging to the inhabitants shall be assessed.
Page 132
" I felicitate them on the _honour_ they have thus bestowed upon themselves; on the _sincere_ compliments thus given and accepted; and on their having with such noble freedom discarded the snivelling pretence to modesty, couched in that threadbare form of words, "though we say it, that should not say it.
Page 137
" Such a declaration from the wiser part of the province is really a little surprising.
Page 150
In the mean time, why do you "believe it will preclude all _accommodation_ with them on just and reasonable terms?" Do you not boast, that their gracious condescensions are in the hands of the governor; and that "if this had been the usual time for business, his honour would have sent them down in a message to the house.
Page 199
Burke's speech, in 1774, p.
Page 237
Encourage and reward these leasing-makers, secrete their lying accusations, lest they should be confuted, but act upon them as the clearest evidence; and believe nothing you hear from the friends of the people.
Page 238
free him from the controul of even your own civil governors.
Page 242
Let it be remembered however, that she rejected the plan we formed in the congress at Albany, in 1754, for our own defence, by an union of the colonies; an union she was jealous of, and therefore chose to send her own forces; otherwise her aid to protect us was not wanted.
Page 248
We hear, that more ships and troops are coming out.
Page 256
These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favoured and the people oppressed: from whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manners of connections, necessarily ensues; by which the whole state is weakened and perhaps ruined for ever.
Page 295
And though more of your company should be really desired; yet in this case, too much reservedness is a fault more easily excused than the contrary.
Page 370
Dollond's saying, that my double spectacles could only serve particular eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly informed of their construction, I imagine it will be found pretty generally true, that the same convexity of glass through which a man sees clearest and best at the distance proper for reading, is not the best for greater distances.
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