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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 201

we can consult them and learn the terms on which they
will receive us; but when we act thus we must not deceive ourselves,
and think we are becoming servants of the Lord in so doing. We are
simply becoming servants of men.


In what sense except an extremely _general one_ are the Romish,
Episcopalian, Methodist and Presbyterian clergy of one class? Not that
there is much fraternity, fellowship or agreement among them; nor even
that there is any general sympathy, harmony or co-operation; nor that
they are engaged in _one work_. They belong to separate kingdoms. In
their official acts they never act together. If they act together at
all, it is not officially, nor in any sense, only on certain occasions,
to be friendly, courteous and polite toward each other, but with the
distinct understanding that it is _not official_. Their actions are
as distinct as those of a United States Congressman and a member of
the British Parliament. They are both _officers of State_, and so far
on _common ground_, and, as such, treat each other with respect and
courtesy; but, in their official acts, they have no fellowship, and are
not under the same government. In the same way the clergy of the
different parties we have mentioned, in their official acts never act
together, and have no fraternity. They are not acting under the same
government, nor are they officers in the same kingdom. The official
acts of one of them are not regarded by another at all.

In what sense, then, are they _classed together_, or what is it that is
_common_ among them? Simply that they are _ministers of religion_, or
men whose lives are devoted to religious instruction, and matters of
church. But not of the same order, nor of the same church; not of the
same religion; not of the same faith, nor of the same practice. They
do not speak the “same thing,” nor are they of the “same mind and the
same judgment,” or “perfectly joined together.” They are not of the
“one fold and one shepherd.” They are not “one as we” (the Father and
the Son) “are one;” nor were they “all baptized into one body,” nor are
they in “one body,” with “one Spirit” and “one hope,” under “one Lord,”
and with “one faith,” and “one baptism,” and “one God and Father of
all, who is above all, and in you all.”

We have not a railing accusation to bring against these men as a
class, nor do we hate or denounce them; nor have we an unkind

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

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Illustrated by twenty-two Cuts on Wood.
Page 1
coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
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The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, 'Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?'----Father Abraham stood up, and replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard says.
Page 3
" What, though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy.
Page 4
" And again, "Three removes are as bad as a fire," and again, "Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee:" and again, "If you would have your business done, go; if not, send.
Page 5
" [Illustration: Published by W.
Page 6
"If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing," as Poor Richard says; and, indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again.
Page 7
" When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, "It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.
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[Illustration] 'And now to conclude, "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other," as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that; for it is true, "We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.
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' * * * * * Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue.