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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 226

God and whatever
political institution he may chance to fall out with and trying to set
the citizens in the kingdom of Christ in battle array with the citizens
of the civil government! Such a man has no use for a church only as a
kind of battering-ram to beat down some sinful institution that he
has just perceived is to ruin the nation. He would have the kingdom
of God a convenient engine, properly adjusted and poised, himself
commander-in-chief, so that he can now bring it to bear upon Masons,
then upon Odd Fellows, anon upon Sons of Temperance, then upon Slavery,
or any other monster that may rise. But the man who stands upon an
eminence lofty enough to discern the kingdom of God, beholds an
institution with an aim transcendently higher than deciding upon the
rights and wrongs of the political governments of the world, amending,
correcting, and perfecting them; the superlatively noble, grand, and
beneficent object of translating _individuals_, whether high or low,
rich or poor, bond or free, whether their political institutions are
good or bad, out of darkness into light, and out of the kingdom of
Satan into the kingdom of God, and in their few remaining days here,
no matter what their earthly condition, prepare them for guests of the
redeemed hosts who have washed their robes and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb, in the house not made with hands, eternal in the

_Seventh._ Christianity is _the thing_ to be promoted, and not to be
used as a mere _instrumentality_, by men who care nothing about _it_,
and who are doing but little to advance _it_, to promote some object of
their _own worldly ambition_. We must promote Christianity _itself_,
and not employ it as a mere means to promote something else.

“Well, sir, what would you have a christian do in regard to rulers and
civil governments?” says one. When acting as a citizen in the kingdom
of God, or in the house of God, “Pray for kings and all that are in
authority, that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life, in all
godliness and honesty.” “Be subject to the powers that be,” remembering
that “we have no continuing city here,” and that “this world is not our
home.” When acting as a citizen of the civil government, be candid,
quiet, peaceable, and kind, and do just what _you think right_,
allowing every man the same privilege, as Christ has left us all free
here, and leave the event with God.

There are spiritual-minded persons in almost all the parties around
us; and

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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

Page 15
Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; for _A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.
Page 33
Indeed, as there is a difference in constitutions, some rest well after these meals; it costs them only a frightful dream and an apoplexy, after which they sleep till doomsday.
Page 34
" Physicians, after having for ages contended that the sick should not be indulged with fresh air, have at length discovered that it may do them good.
Page 37
Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on.
Page 53
that never outlive the day in which they are born.
Page 65
These were some of the effects of the Roman law against libelling: those of the British kings that aimed at despotic power or the oppression of the subject, continually encouraged prosecutions for words.
Page 66
The members pleaded to the information, that expressions in parliament ought only to be examined and punished there.
Page 71
Are we farmers the only people to be grudged the profits of our honest labour? And why? One of the late scribblers against us gives a bill of fare of the provisions at my daughter's wedding, and proclaims to all the world that we had the insolence to eat beef and pudding! Has he not read the precept in the good book, _thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn_; or does he think us less worthy of good living than our oxen? Oh, but the manufacturers! the manufacturers! they are to be favoured, and they must have bread at a cheap rate! Hark ye, Mr.
Page 82
He must have known what humane judges feel on such occasions, and what the effects of those feelings; and, so far from thinking that severe and excessive punishments prevent crimes, he asserts, as quoted by our French writer, that "L'atrocite des loix en empeche l'execution.
Page 106
But sure I am that if _force_ is used great mischief will ensue, the affections of the people of America to this country will be alienated, your commerce will be diminished, and a total separation of interests be the final consequence.
Page 112
Colonel Onslow told me at court last Sunday, that I could not conceive how much.
Page 114
" * * * * * "_To Dr.
Page 116
" * * * * * "_Mr.
Page 152
You believed rather the tales you heard of our poltroonery and impotence of body and mind.
Page 174
" * * * * * _To_ * * *.
Page 175
Page 180
With great esteem, B.
Page 182
Has the question, how came the earth by its magnetism, ever been considered? Is it likely that _iron ore_ immediately existed when this globe was at first formed; or may it not rather be supposed a gradual production of time? If the earth is at present magnetical, in virtue of the masses of iron ore contained in it, might not some ages pass before it had magnetic polarity? Since iron ore may exist without that polarity, and, by being placed in certain circumstances, may obtain it from an external cause, is it not possible that the earth received its magnetism from some such cause? In short, may not a magnetic power exist throughout our system, perhaps through all systems, so that if men could make a voyage in the starry regions, a compass might be of use? And may not such universal magnetism, with its uniform direction, be serviceable in keeping the diurnal revolution of a planet more steady to the same axis? Lastly, as the poles of magnets may be changed by the presence of stronger magnets, might not, in ancient times, the near passing of some large comet, of greater magnetic power than this globe of ours, have been a means of changing its poles, and thereby wrecking and deranging its surface, placing in different regions the effect of centrifugal force, so as to raise the waters of the sea in some, while they were depressed in others? Let me add another question or two, not relating indeed to magnetism, but, however, to the theory of the earth.
Page 185
Page 213
For, by inspection of the figure given in the opposite page, respecting a section of our spout, with the vacuum in the middle, it is plain that if we look at such a hollow pipe in the direction of the arrows, and suppose opaque particles to be equally mixed.