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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 229

to determine precisely what the ancient faith was,
separating it from everything else, and maintaining it before the
world. They know they are right in this. In one word, they believe the
gospel, maintain and defend it, and nothing else. It is the system they
believe, maintain and defend and nothing else. They may not understand
everything contained in it, as others who have other systems, do
not understand everything in their system; but the system itself we
know to be right, infallibly right and that we are infallibly right
in maintaining it; not because we understand everything contained
in it; but because we know the author of it, and know him to be
divine—infallible. We know him, love him and regard him; therefore we
know that what proceeds from him is infallible, and love it and regard


Why does the speculator offer one dollar more to-day, than he did
yesterday, per barrel for flour? Because he believes the news he has
received, of an advance in some other market. Why does that pork dealer
advance the price one dollar per barrel? Because he believes the news
of an advance in some other market. Why does that trader refuse that
bank bill? Because he believes the statement in the detector, that it
is under par. Look through the various departments in life, business
transactions and all, and see what a vast amount of it is done by
faith. All business men are daily and hourly acting in matters where
thousands of dollars are involved upon faith, and acting with great
confidence, too. Look at that man at the post office, opening a letter
and reading! In a few minutes you see him stopping quickly and closing
an engagement, involving thousands of dollars! What is he acting upon?
Faith in the letter just received and read. Look at that other man,
waiting for a dispatch. Presently he receives and reads it. In a few
minutes he is waiting the arrival of the cars. As the cars approach,
you notice him eyeing the passengers as they come out of the train.
Presently he rests his eye upon a man. In the next moment the man is
arrested! What is he acting upon? Faith in the telegraphic dispatch
he had just received. Thus we perceive men are constantly acting upon
_faith_ in all the affairs of this life.

Is it possible that men who are thus constantly, and without
hesitation, acting upon faith, will have the assurance to apologize
for their unbelief in matters of religion, by saying they cannot
believe? It will also

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 7
But my father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain--reasons that he gave to his friends in my hearing--altered his first intention, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr.
Page 10
Their youngest son, In filial regard to their memory, Places this stone.
Page 14
With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand.
Page 24
This was, therefore, the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.
Page 26
He had a house, indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me; but he got me a lodging at Mr.
Page 27
In the mean time the intention was to be kept a secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the governor sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great honor I thought it, and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly manner imaginable.
Page 32
The breaking into this money of Vernon's was one of the first great errata of my life; and this affair show'd that my father was not much out in his judgment when he suppos'd me too young to manage business of importance.
Page 45
the Catholic religion by her husband, whose memory she much revered; had lived much among people of distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far back as the times of Charles the Second.
Page 56
Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterwards surveyor-general, who lov'd books, and sometimes made a few verses.
Page 59
Page 62
I soon after obtain'd, thro' my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable jobb as I then thought it; small things appearing great to those in small circumstances; and these, to me, were really great advantages, as they were great encouragements.
Page 85
in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax was best"; for something, that pretended to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.
Page 90
In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continu'd by me about twenty-five years, commonly call'd Poor Richard's Almanac.
Page 103
The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of printed copies, and provided pens and ink dispers'd all over the room.
Page 105
By our rules, no money could be dispos'd of till the next meeting after the proposal.
Page 119
I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could sweep such a street in three hours, a strong, active man might have done it in half the time.
Page 127
That the pay commence from the time of their joining the forces at Will's Creek, which must be on or before the 20th of May ensuing, and that a reasonable allowance be paid over and above for the time necessary for their travelling to Will's Creek and home again after their discharge.
Page 140
I gave him a commission, and, parading the garrison, had it read before them, and introduc'd him to them as an officer who, from his skill in military affairs, was much more fit to command them than myself; and, giving them a little exhortation, took my leave.
Page 142
Just as I was getting on horseback they came to my door, between thirty and forty, mounted, and all in their uniforms.
Page 159
soliciting such a general catastrophe, merely from a groundless fear of their estate being taxed too highly, was insisted on in the strongest terms.