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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 210

without enlightening them; to rouse the
feelings without informing the judgment; to produce action without the
knowledge how to act, are wholly unscriptural, and equally at war with
the best interests of mankind. To hold a protracted meeting, while
talented orators shall picture to men, in the most startling manner,
the sinfulness of sin, the lost condition of man, the awfulness of
death, the ineffable bliss of heaven, and the unutterable horrors
of hell, without giving any adequate instructions how to obtain
deliverance from sin, or the dangers of punishment, and an ultimate
admission into the felicities of the eternal state of the blessed,
we all admit to be as irrational as unscriptural. Indeed, we can not
conceive anything more incompatible with all enlightenment and all
revelation, than to awaken the human soul to a sense of its danger,
without affording a knowledge of the means of escape. That such,
however, is the case in thousands of the revival movements of our
times, no intelligent person can deny. Who has not seen the penitent,
when the invitation has been extended, come, inquiring, “What must
I do to be saved?” and not a man on the ground who could answer the
question. Who has not heard the preacher invite, persuade and entreat
the sinner to come to the Lord, assuring him that he who seeks shall
find—he who comes shall in no wise be cast out—that if any man knocks
at the door, the Lord will open to him, and, when persons, induced
through such invitation, come seeking the way, not a man present could
point it out? We have all witnessed occasions of this kind. Nay, more,
we have known such seekers to come, time after time, seeking, honestly
and devoutly seeking, but still not finding! Yes, this is not the
worst. We have heard the preacher advise them to join the church, that
probably the Lord would bless them, that persons had been known to “get
religion” after joining the church, etc., etc., and we have known them
to take this advice, join the church, and remain for years, _seeking_
all the time, and still failing to find! Every community can testify
the same.

Now it is not strange that men should become sceptics, under the
influence of such a system as this. It is a failure. It makes false
promises, and men try them and find them to be false. Such a system
promises, that they who seek shall find, and hundreds, even thousands,
have sought—have done, and have done _honestly_, all the preachers
pointed out for them to do, and have failed to find.

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 16
My uncle Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promised to give me all his volumes of sermons, written, as I have said, in the short-hand of his invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.
Page 20
In a very short time I made great proficiency in this business, and became very serviceable to my brother.
Page 43
Keimer wore his beard long, because Moses had somewhere said, "Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard.
Page 63
He told me, that, when a boy, his first employment had been that of carrying clay to the brick-makers; that he did not learn to write till he was somewhat advanced in life; and that he was afterwards employed as an underling to a surveyor, who taught him his trade, and that by industry he had at last acquired a competent fortune.
Page 80
Page 89
Through the interposition of his benevolent and learned friend, Peter Collinson, of London, upon the application of the trustees, a charter of incorporation, dated July 13, 1753, was obtained from the honourable proprietors of Pennsylvania, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs.
Page 97
But, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that the restriction laid by Great Britain upon our commerce, obliging us to sell our produce to her citizens only, and to take from them various articles, of which, as our manufactures were discouraged, we stood in need, at a price greater than that for which they could have been obtained from other nations, must inevitably produce dissatisfaction, even though no duties were imposed by the parliament; a circumstance which might still have taken place.
Page 146
Page 178
--By quite dry air, I mean the dryest we have: for perhaps we never have any perfectly free from moisture.
Page 185
Page 189
Kinnersley, since printed in London) that the glass globe electrises _positively_, I concluded that the clouds are _always_ electrised _negatively_, or have always in them less than their natural quantity of the electric fluid.
Page 196
But a rod of half an inch diameter would conduct four times as much as one of a quarter.
Page 203
It may likewise easily be discovered, by a charged phial, whether the electrical fire be drawn out of the apparatus by a negative cloud, or forced into it by a positive one: and by which soever it be electrified, should that cloud either part with its overplus, or have its deficiency supplied suddenly, the apparatus will lose its electricity: which is frequently observed to be the case, immediately after a flash of lightning.
Page 232
The wire G extends through the pedestal to H, and may be raised and lowered by means of a male screw on it.
Page 266
**** I am, &c.
Page 315
decrease of population in, doubtful, 296.
Page 316
171, 172.
Page 327
Page 331
_ exports and imports, 250.
Page 341
_Warm_ rooms do not make people tender, or give colds, ii.