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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 225

of God, and dying in
their sins? We say, and would if we had a voice louder than the seven
thunders of the Apocalypse, and more immutable than the oath of the
angel of God, standing with one foot upon the land, and the other upon
the sea, say, _no_, by NO MEANS, for the following reasons:

_First._ Jesus and his apostles, in all their official acts, never
attempted to correct the political institutions of the country, no
matter how corrupt they were, but left them, and those who made them,
to take care of their own responsibilities. We must follow their
precedent, or we are not the disciples of Christ.

_Second._ Our Lord and his apostles, in all their official procedure,
never made a decision, or gave even an opinion, upon the merits or
demerits of any form of civil government, republican, monarchical,
either limited or absolute. They left all these matters to take their
course, and lifted their thoughts above them to a spiritual kingdom,
that shall endure when time shall be no more. We must do as they did,
or forfeit our claim to be one with them.

_Third._ The Lord and his apostles never made a decision, or gave an
opinion, on any system of slavery, though slavery existed, in some form
or other, in every country where they preached and wrote, in all their
official career. We must humble ourselves to the same limits.

_Fourth._ We have the infallible directions of the Spirit of God, to
believers, connected with slavery, both masters and servants, and these
directions we must give, when we speak on the subject at all, or depart
from the faith, because we are opposed to it. Every man who does not
do this, manifestly repudiates the practice and teachings of the holy

_Fifth._ Jesus and his apostles did not found slavery of any kind, and
neither our Lord nor his religion can be responsible for any system of
slavery or its results, no matter how good or how bad. Slavery is an
institution of the world, as all other political institutions are, and
neither the kingdom of God nor its subjects are responsible for its

_Sixth._ Our Lord and his apostles never formed an issue between the
kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world. How utterly preposterous
and absurd it is, to the mind of one who has noticed, that our Lord
never made an issue between his kingdom, or his religion, and any civil
government or kingdom of the world, to see some misguided creature
trying to form a direct issue between the kingdom of

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

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, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josiah.
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I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination to go to sea, but my father declared against it; but, residing near the water, I was much in it and on it.
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I sat up in my chamber the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening to be returned in the morning, lest it should be found missing.
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I lived very contented, and forgot Boston as much as I could, and did not wish it should be known where I resided, except to my friend Collins, who was in the secret, and kept it faithfully.
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Ralph only made some criticisms and proposed some amendments; but I defended my text.
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Such a conduct is easy for those who make virtue and themselves their standard, and who try to keep themselves in countenance by examples of other truly great men, of whom patience is so.
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--Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself: avoid trifling conversation.
Page 84
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure; Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!" The precept of _Order_, requiring that _every part of my business should have its allotted time_, one page in my little book contained the following scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of a natural day.
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I have already mentioned that I had only one year's instruction in a Latin school, and that when very young, after which I neglected that language entirely.
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This is an advantage itinerant preachers have over those who are stationary, as the latter cannot well improve their delivery of a sermon by so many rehearsals.
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Fothergill,[11] who was among the best men I have known, and a great promoter of useful projects.
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of defending both their country and ours.
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" He smiled at my ignorance, and replied, "These savages may indeed be a formidable enemy to your raw American militia; but upon the king's regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible they should make any impression.
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"No matter, Mr.
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I apprehend that this may partly be occasioned by the different opinions of seamen respecting the modes of loading, rigging, and sailing of a ship; each has his method; and the same vessel, laden by the method and orders of one captain, shall sail worse than when by the orders of another.
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The king, Louis XV.
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_ But suppose Great Britain should be engaged in a _war in Europe_, would North America contribute to the support of it? _A.
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he knows; even the letters from thence are unsigned, in which any dislike is expressed of the rioters.
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How would the gods my righteous toils succeed, And bless the hand that made a stranger bleed? No more.
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In this situation of this Assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark, to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning.