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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 218

long and
uninteresting sermons, which they have heard over and over again, until
they know every comma and semi-colon. And now the congregation has
dwindled down to insignificance, and the few who are faithful enough to
attend are annoyed with a lengthy harangue on the subject of the
non-attendance of the members. There is certainly a great impropriety
in this course. But few men are able to interest an audience with a
lengthy discourse on every first day of the week. Those men who have
been most successful in holding large audiences, where they preach
very frequently in the same place, are usually very brief in their
addresses, and very fearful of wearying the patience of their hearers.
Some men of very fine talent have lost their audiences, on no account
but their tediousness; and if it thus fares with men of talent, what
may we expect from men of slender abilities? It is very wearisome to
those, who can hardly be induced to attend the place of meeting at any
time, to hear a brother of limited information, and a poor speaker, for
the space of an hour or an hour and a half. Time seems doubly long to

The uneasiness seen in this class, causes all the rest to be uneasy,
and every one wishes the sermon to close. Some begin to leave, others
begin to button up their coats, get their hats and whips ready, look
at their watches, and appear almost on the rise, while some through
respect try to appear contented. Let the fault lie where it may in
such cases, it is as certain as any thing can be, that the preaching
is doing no good. If the same brethren would make their addresses
very short, and be as interesting as possible, they would not have
to complain half so often about the delinquency of their brethren in
attending meeting, and secure the reputation of much better preachers.

There is another kind of tediousness, almost as insufferable as long
sermons. The selecting and singing of long hymns, in a cold and formal
manner, after a tedious sermon, can have no good effect. Lengthy
ceremonies in administering the communion, are always in opposition
to its good influence, and very wearisome to the restless. But last,
though by no means least, it is not to be endured for elders to detain
the audience, while they may consult together five or ten minutes,
about appointments and other matters of this kind, and then be very
tedious in announcing them. All matters of this kind ought to be
despatched with readiness.


We doubt not

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

Page 66
--_Here_ we are separated by the best and clearest of boundaries, the ocean, and we have people in or near every part of our territory.
Page 71
the officers keep their corps full, and mind their duty.
Page 95
Of this there are many undeniable instances: the war between the Indians and the colonies of the Massachusett's Bay and New Hampshire, in 1723, by which those colonies suffered so much damage, was begun by the instigation of the French: their supplies were from them; and there are now original letters of several Jesuits to be produced, whereby it evidently appears, that they were continually animating the Indians, when almost tired with the war, to a farther prosecution of it.
Page 102
By it there appears to be in this colony at this time 35,939 white persons, and 4697 blacks, chiefly negroes.
Page 103
This explanation would have required apology for its insertion, were not the opinion pretty common in England, that _had not the French been removed from Canada, the revolt of.
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 156
They have such high ideas of the value of personal liberty, and such slight ones of.
Page 162
The person then, who first projected to lay aside the accustomed method of requisition, and to raise money on America by _stamps_, seems not to have acted wisely, in deviating from that method (which the colonists looked upon as constitutional) and thwarting unnecessarily the fixed prejudices of so great a number of the king's subjects.
Page 233
--Forget the restraint you lay on their trade for your own benefit, and the advantage a monopoly of this trade gives your exacting merchants.
Page 241
to take it from the Dutch, who planted it.
Page 248
Page 259
Thus she will have fewer people to assist in paying her debts, and that diminished number will be poorer.
Page 260
Whereas England, ever unquiet, ambitious, avaricious, imprudent, and quarrelsome, is half of the time engaged in war, always at an expence infinitely greater than the advantage to be obtained by it, if successful.
Page 274
But if he does not bring a fortune with him, he must work and be industrious to live.
Page 300
Yet, when such a considerable man as Mr.
Page 311
Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half starved their families; "silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire," as poor Richard says.
Page 365
Page 384
his plan for moving boats, ii.
Page 402
Page 420
_West_, Mr.