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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 211

They know
positively that the system is a _failure_, for they have tried it, and
found it to be such. It is precisely what we might expect, that persons
trying such a system, seeking and striving honestly for years and not
finding, should be brought to doubt that there is any truth or reality
in the whole concern; and we have no doubt, that such unenlightened
excitement will be chargeable with a large amount of the unbelief, so
rapidly increasing in our times.

But if the preachers on all such occasions, were enlightened, so that
when any sinner is awakened, becomes penitent, and desirous to know
what he should do to be saved, and he _could_ and _would_ tell him
forthwith what God required him to do, in the unequivocal language
of the New Testament, who can fail to see that the results would be
entirely different? This, we affirm, may and should be the case in
every instance, and we hesitate not to say, in the most unequivocal
language, that such _is the case_ under the preaching of enlightened
men. We go even further, and declare with all possible emphasis, that
God never authorized any man to preach who could not, on any occasion,
point out to the believing, inquiring penitent, what he should do to
be saved, or what he should do to enter into the kingdom of God. We
have it recorded from the Lord’s own lips, and from the lips of his
inspired apostles, what they directed inquirers or seekers to do, to
obtain pardon and admission into Christ’s kingdom, and any preacher who
can not or can, but has not the honor to do it, give their holy and
infallible directions to the dying sinner, _seeking_ his way to God,
was never called, sent nor authorized by God to preach the gospel, and
should not be regarded as such.

It is also of the highest importance that we employ gospel means for
the awakening sinners and arousing them from their slumbers. Some
preachers have contracted the habit of making an immense variety of
appeals to affecting occurrences—describing sympathetic scenes, simply
for the purpose of producing feeling in the audience. Great injury may
be done in this way, by arousing human sympathy, moving the soul and
causing men to act, who do not love the Lord and have not had the first
serious thought of consecrating their lives to his holy service. We say
not this, because we fear too much excitement, too much feeling, or too
much interest, but because the excitement is not of the right kind. The
work is of

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 28
FOOTNOTE: [10] These letters to Governor Shirley first appeared in the London Chronicle for Feb.
Page 47
22, 1757.
Page 48
Our proprietaries, sir, have done the same; and, for the sake of the commonwealth, the province has hitherto submitted to the imposition: not indeed, without the most strenuous endeavours to lay the load equally, the fullest manifestations, and the strongest protestations against the violence put upon them.
Page 66
" On a little farther reflection, he must I think be sensible, that the circumstances of the two cases are widely different.
Page 70
Their own interest will then induce the American governments to take care of such forts in proportion to their importance, and see that.
Page 92
Page 115
That you may be assured I do not misrepresent this matter, I shall give you the last-mentioned amendment (so called) at full length; and for the truth and exactness of my copy I dare appeal to Mr.
Page 116
But by this amendment, the jury (if they may be so called) are all officers of the governor's sole appointing, and not one of them can be challenged; and though a common militia-man is to be tried, no common militia-man shall be of that Jury; and so far from requiring all to agree, a bare majority shall be sufficient to condemn you.
Page 126
The words of the clause being, "That [the commissioners named] or the major part of them, or of the survivors of them, _with the consent_ or approbation of the governor or commander in chief of this province for the time being, shall order and appoint _the disposition of the monies_ arising by virtue of this act, for and towards paying and clothing two thousand seven hundred effective men," &c.
Page 128
"That the proprietary estate ought, with other estates, to be taxed:" and thereby did in effect determine and pronounce, that the opposition so long made in various shapes to that just principle, by the proprietaries, was fundamentally _wrong_ and _unjust_.
Page 129
Thus that matter ended during that administration.
Page 168
" These are the wild ravings of the, at present, half-distracted Americans.
Page 181
Page 207
Page 248
Page 256
trunk with a few withered branches; briars and thorns were on the ground beneath it; our ships had brooms at their topmast heads, denoting their being upon sale; and Britannia herself was seen sliding off the world, no longer able to hold its balance; her fragments overspread with the label _date obolum Belisario_.
Page 358
The few that remain will be unable to resist.
Page 383
Page 393
_Elocution_, how best taught, ii.
Page 404