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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 198

the Omnipotent reigns,
and the wicked will be overthrown. It matters not how popular they may
be, how great their talent, how much money they may have, nor how great
their number, the strong arm of the Almighty can reach them and bring
them down. Their doom is certain.


Where has God forbidden infant baptism? Where has he forbidden
sprinkling for baptism? Where has he forbidden the offering of incense,
the counting of beads, in worship? What harm is there in all this?
This is sophistry, deception, delusion, and that, too, of a very low
and unworthy order at that. Where is the divine authority for doing
this or that? If there is no divine authority for doing this or that,
in religion, or worship, that very circumstance is _divine authority
against it_. “Who hath required this at your hand?” is the inquiry
of the word of God, to all such as introduce things into religion
or worship, not authorized in Scripture. We may add nothing to the
religion of Christ, the faith or practice, the precept or example, the
worship, the rewards or punishments.

Those who consider themselves free to do anything _not forbidden in
Scripture_, are out at sea, pretty much cut loose from the Bible. They
have in their horizon a broad range. They are not in search of divine
authority, not engaged in that for which there _is divine authority_,
but things for which there _is no divine authority_—things _not
forbidden_. They are not studying how to do the commandments, but
whether men can not be saved without doing the commandments; how to
obey the gospel, but how men can be saved without obeying the gospel;
not how to build up the church of God, set it in order and keep it in
order; how to worship according to the Scriptures; but how to make
the church attractive, entertaining and popular. Their theme is not
the gospel, nor is their mission turning the world from darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan to God; but to so model and fashion
the church as to please the world as it is, in its unconverted state,
without the work of turning it to God. Let them have their way, and
the church, in a short time, will be so let down that men will need no
conversion to come into it. There will be no cross nor self denial in
it. Be careful and not fall “into the trap,” as Luther did. If there is
no divine authority for a thing, that is enough. We need no Scripture
forbidding it.


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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 2
"--Thomas Jefferson.
Page 17
My early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his.
Page 20
They lived lovingly together in wedlock fifty-five years.
Page 33
By this means he set many of the facts in a very ridiculous light, and might have hurt weak minds if his work had been published; but it never was.
Page 36
Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very illiterate; and Keimer, tho' something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing nothing of presswork.
Page 47
Ralph only made some criticisms, and propos'd some amendments; but I defended my text.
Page 48
Thus he went on till the ship, whose departure too had been several times postponed, was on the point of sailing.
Page 51
but they were poor, and unable to assist him.
Page 60
[Illustration: "Mr.
Page 62
Keimer himself treated me with great civility and apparent regard, and nothing now made me uneasy but my debt to Vernon, which I was yet unable to pay, being hitherto but a poor aeconomist.
Page 64
Several of them had been appointed by the Assembly a committee to attend the press, and take care that no more bills were printed than the law directed.
Page 80
We kept no idle servants, our table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest.
Page 96
Franklin took his title from _Poor Robin_, a famous English almanac, and from Richard Saunders, a well-known almanac publisher.
Page 117
My answer to him was, that I had read or heard of some public man who made it a rule never to ask for an office, and never to refuse one when offer'd to him.
Page 130
people more willing to submit to a tax for that purpose.
Page 144
The only danger I apprehend of obstruction to your march is from ambuscades of Indians, who, by constant practice, are dexterous in laying and executing them; and the slender line, near four miles long, which your army must make, may expose it to be attack'd by surprise in its flanks, and to be cut like a thread into several pieces, which, from their distance, cannot come up in time to support each other.
Page 154
During this short time of my colonelship, being about to set out on a journey to Virginia, the officers of my regiment took it into their heads that it would be proper for them to escort me out of town, as far as the Lower Ferry.
Page 161
This of course the governor pass'd, and I was then at liberty to proceed on my voyage.
Page 184
Stockings, several sorts, for Men, Women and Children.
Page 188
We can by no means penetrate into the Designs of the Czar; who, notwithstanding 'tis confidently written that the Peace between him and Sweden is as good as concluded, hath a Fleet of thirty Men of War and two hundred Galleys at Sea near Aland.