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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 190

there is in this!
Who is to be saved by denying the personality of the Devil? Who is
comforted and built up with this sort of stuff? The infidel laughs. The
Universalist nods assent; but who repents? The scoffer is delighted.
That is the man for him! But does he quit scoffing? We have recently
heard of a man who had stripped his feet bare after a rain of a warm
summer’s day, and, walking up through the mud to an old preacher,
denied the personality of the Devil; when the preacher, pointing behind
the man, replied: “He must be _alive_ and _personal_, for _there is his
track fresh in the mud_!” Another preacher allowed that when the Devil
has a man so completely blinded that he does not believe there is any
Devil, or that he is a personal being, he never expects to have any
more trouble with him. He will never listen to the truth any more.


That there should be occasionally a young man, with the views that
have been fostered and encouraged by some among us, of a “pastorate,”
who would assume authority to cast persons out of the church, and give
letters of commendation, is not strange. There were some even in the
time of the apostles, when no such views of a “pastorate” existed, who
assumed such prerogatives and “prated against us” (the apostles.) In
III. John 9, 10, we have a reference to one of them. “I wrote to the
church,” says John, “but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence
among them, receives us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his
deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words: and not
content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and
forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church.” We have
fallen on the track of a few young men, and some old ones, of this
stripe; but their race is short. The brethren, whatever else is true of
them, are not prepared for clerical assumptions. They will not have the
manacles put on them. Such men will not trouble us long. Some of them
will go over to sectarianism at once, thinking that the shortest road
to a “pastorate.” Others will go to law, medicine, or to nothing. But
the main body of our young men are true and noble in the highest sense,
as humble and faithful as can be found anywhere. They are studying to
know and do the will of God. We are not sure that, as a class, they are

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Page 73
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Page 103
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Page 137
a stockade; they had purchased a quantity of arms and ammunition from New York, and had even plac'd quantities of small paving stones between the windows of their high stone houses, for their women to throw down upon the heads of any Indians that should attempt to force into them.
Page 148
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Page 153
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