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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 194

a system of salvation for those who _never obey_,
and the gospel is set aside by our _opinions_.

There are but few sick persons that can not be immersed. We have
immersed some half-dozen in the most critical situations, and some
of them in less than two days of their death, without any physical
injury, and with great relief to the mind. But we only allude to this
to show that there are not many cases where it is not possible to obey
the gospel, and not because this is the _time to obey_. It is not the
proper time to be baptized, or to make a profession. The proper time is
when persons first hear and believe the gospel; when their health, and
strength, and reason, are unimpaired, and they can voluntarily _yield
themselves_ to the service of God. When we come to die, one promise of
God is worth more than all the opinions of uninspired men put together.


“The sword of the Spirit” is defined by the Spirit himself, through
Paul. It is the word of God. “Why is it called the sword _of the
Spirit_? Because the Spirit _gave it_, and not because he _uses_ or
_wields it_.” The Spirit gave it to men that they might use or wield
it. There is not a more unsupported theory in this apostate age than
the one that teaches that the Spirit wields the sword. He did not do
this even in the age of miracles. Jesus said to his Father “The words
that thou gavest me I have given them.” Given to whom? To the apostles.
What did he tell them to do with these words, or, which is the same,
the gospel? He commanded them, “Go into all the world and preach the
gospel to every creature.” Preaching the gospel is preaching the word,
or wielding the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. After
Jesus died and rose and ascended into heaven, he sent the Spirit
to guide the apostles into all truth; to bring all things to their
remembrance. On Pentecost the Spirit came, and they spake as the Spirit
gave them utterance. The history says, “When they heard this”—the word
spoken—“they were pierced in their heart.” The Spirit brought the word
to their remembrance, and the apostles preached it—spake as the Spirit
gave them utterance. In Solomon’s porch, Peter preached, or wielded the
sword—the word of God. Philip wielded the sword in Samaria. Peter
wielded the sword at the house of Cornelius. Paul commanded Timothy to
“Preach the word.”

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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Page 1
DARTON_, And of most Booksellers in the United Kingdom.
Page 2
' They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and, gathering round him, he proceeded as follows: 'Friends,' says he, 'the taxes are indeed very heavy; and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us.
Page 3
Darton, Junr.
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" [Illustration] 'Methinks I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no leisure?" I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, "Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Page 5
" Beware of little expences; "A small leak will sink a great ship," as Poor Richard says; and again, "Who dainties love shall beggars prove;" and moreover, "Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
Page 6
" But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice.
Page 7
1, 1805.
Page 8
" Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain; and "It is easier to build two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel," as Poor Richard says: so, "Rather go to bed supper-less, than rise in debt," Get what you can, and what you get hold, 'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.