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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 224

men’s labor, and building up
nothing, all the while prating about _progression_ and _reformation_.
Tremendous progress, that miserable prating, whining, and grumbling
that never builds up anything but always pulls down, catches the
sheep and scatters them! Mighty _reformers_ they, who never reformed
anybody since God made them, who never built up a church or gave any
prosperity to the cause, any place, or did anything more than scatter
and devastate! Atheism has done this much, and will do it again. If men
have found any new light worth anything, and are themselves men of any
force, improvement will appear; fruits will follow their labors. But
nothing can be more manifest than that God did not send those men who
only spread desolation, who only pull down, scatter, and kill, we care
not what fine theories they propagate, nor how prettily they may talk.
We want men who will preach the Lord Jesus Christ, who will regard him,
adore him, and obey him, and not a set of self-willed men, who idolize
their own notions, and are determined to have them and propagate them,
if the Lord’s name is forgotten, and the fold scattered asunder. Mercy
and peace upon the Israel of God. Mark them who cause divisions and


Are we, as disciples of Christ, citizens of a kingdom not of this
world, a religious community, to be distracted, disconcerted, and
thrown into confusion? or, are we drawn to a common center, by an
attraction so heavenly, commanding, and binding, that no side-influence
can divert us from our course? The Lord is about to test us, prove us,
and show whether we are true, sincere, and men of integrity to the
great principles which we profess, and have been inculcating, or will
turn traitor to them, despise them, and trample them under our feet. We
have been preaching union upon the Bible, and the Bible alone, to our
neighbors; but, the time has come to test us practically, and compel us
to apply our philosophy in an instance of the greatest moment, and best
calculated, of all others, to show its power—its moral and spiritual
efficacy among ourselves.

What course shall we take, then, during the coming campaign? Shall
preachers of the gospel of Christ enter the pulpit, with exciting
political news in their heads and hearts, and make Kansas-Nebraska, and
anti-Kansas-Nebraska, Slavery and anti-Slavery speeches? Shall their
themes be the Constitution, Liberty, Popular Sovereignty, North, South,
Fillmore, Buchanan, Fremont, American, Democratic and Republican. Shall
these be the themes that consecrate the house of God during the coming
months, while thousands are perishing for the word

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

Page 8
382 Experiments, observations, and facts, tending to support the opinion of the utility of long pointed rods, for securing buildings from damage by strokes of lightning.
Page 11
To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you, I flatter myself will afford the same pleasure to you as to me.
Page 16
At ten years of age, I was called home to assist my father in his occupation, which was that of a soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he had served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New England, because he found his own, that of dyer, in too little request to enable him to maintain his family, I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &c.
Page 17
But his greatest excellence was a sound understanding and solid judgment, in matters of prudence, both in public and private life.
Page 18
They are buried together at Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription: "Here lie JOSIAS FRANKLIN and ABIAH his wife: They lived together with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; and without private fortune, without lucrative employment, by assiduous labour and honest industry, decently supported a numerous family, and educated with success, thirteen children, and.
Page 32
I was surprised at receiving so much: I took them, however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm, eating the third.
Page 35
Being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, he heard of me, and wrote to inform me of the chagrin which my sudden departure from Boston had occasioned my parents, and of the affection which they still entertained for me, assuring me that, if I would return, every thing should be adjusted to my satisfaction; and he was very pressing in his entreaties.
Page 39
Rely upon what I tell thee: those are women of bad characters; I perceive it in all their actions.
Page 63
The last was a shrewd and subtle old man.
Page 90
In all employments, generous, just he prov'd, Renown'd for courtesy, by all belov'd.
Page 95
Unwilling that his scheme should prove abortive, he sought the aid of Franklin, who readily engaged in the business, both by using his influence with his friends, and by stating the advantageous influence of the proposed institution in his paper.
Page 96
" This proposed, that application should be made for an act of parliament, to establish in the colonies a general government, to be administered by a president-general, appointed by the crown, and by a grand council, consisting of members, chosen by the representatives of the different colonies; their number to be in direct proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives.
Page 122
Also by little wheels of the same matter, but formed like water-wheels.
Page 178
Through another part of the cork passed one leg of a small glass syphon, the other leg on the outside came down almost to the bottom of the phial.
Page 197
Page 214
I know not whether they will be published; if not, I will get them transcribed for your perusal[69].
Page 216
Page 226
_Proposal of an Experiment to measure the Time taken up by an Electric Spark, in moving through any given Space.
Page 272
Which end is also more likely to be obtained by the length and loftiness of the rod; as protecting more extensively the building under it.
Page 315