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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 173

intended by the donor. The work is not a
_local work_, and needs no concentration of funds, but is at the door
of every man, and the way is open for every man that has it in him to
do anything, to do according to the ability that the Lord gives.


One dancing-master in a community, with some concessions of a preacher
who has an easy conscience on the follies of the age, a little in his
favor, with one saw of his bow across the strings of an old fiddle,
will inveigle a whole community of wild and thoughtless young people
into the dance and hold them there half a night, and not one of them
will complain of the _long meeting_. Restraining these influences is
not so easy. It requires a combined effort of all the godly. We have
done all we could to restrain those terrible demoralizing influences,
and a noble band of as true men and women as live have stood by us and
encouraged us by extending their patronage and words of comfort. Truly
are we thankful to these and to the Lord who has put it into their
hearts to do what they have to aid us. We have this consciousness, that
to the best of our ability we have done our part. We have tried all
the time to exercise the best wisdom we could, and have continually
implored the Lord for wisdom and strength to perform the difficult part
of the work, in the providence of God committed to our hand.


No modification of principle has ever made any impression on our
mind, only the impression that he who proposes it, is ready for
_back-sliding_. There are some principles that are self-evidently
right. They _can not be modified_. We may depart from them, but can
not modify them. The law of God is supreme in its authority. It is
absolute. Those of us who have taken it can stand by and maintain it,
on the one hand, or depart from it on the other. We can not change it
or modify it. There are but two things for men to do, who are not under
the law of God. One is to come under the law. The other is to reject
it. There are also but two things for those who have come under it. One
is to observe it. The other is to abandon it.

We are thankful to be assured that the great body of those who have
come under the law of 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]

Page 1
Letter to the same; concerning direct taxes in the colonies imposed without consent, indirect taxes, and the Albany plan of union 31 III.
Page 4
299 Concerning the dissentions between England and America 310 A Prussian edict, assuming claims over Britain 311 Preface by the British editor (Dr.
Page 32
We are obliged to carry a great part of our produce directly to Britain; and where the duties laid upon it lessen its price to the planter, or it sells for less than it would in foreign markets, the difference is a tax paid to Britain.
Page 36
(See the Observations on the Increase of Mankind, &c.
Page 46
Wherefore your committee are of opinion, That the commissioners intended to be sent to England[15], to solicit a memorial and redress of the many infractions and violations of the constitution; should also have it in charge, and be instructed to represent to our most gracious sovereign and his parliaments, the several unequal burthens.
Page 79
The inland parts of the continent of Europe are farther from the sea, than the limits of settlement proposed for America.
Page 200
_Queries from Mr.
Page 211
Hence also it is, that _appeals in real actions_, "whereby the lands, tenements, and hereditaments of British subjects may be drawn into question and disposed of[109]," do not lie, as of right and by law they ought not to lie, to the king in council.
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We only assert, that having parliaments of our own, and not having representatives in that of Great Britain, our parliaments are the only judges of what we can and what we ought to contribute in this case; and that the English parliament has no right to take our money without our consent.
Page 230
Unfortunately also for Mr.
Page 246
My time was never more fully employed.
Page 248
I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of _Vattel_.
Page 260
_ (scarce a groat for each individual of the nation) and spent forty millions sterling in the war, and the lives of fifty thousand men; and finally made peace without obtaining satisfaction for the sum claimed.
Page 262
think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.
Page 309
" And again, "He that by the plough would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.
Page 313
Page 334
In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires.
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_ Some wit of old--such wits of old there were-- Whose hints show'd meaning, whose allusions care, By one brave stroke to mark all human kind, Call'd clear blank paper ev'ry infant mind; When still, as opening sense her dictates wrote, Fair virtue put a seal, or vice a blot.