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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 230

be observed that the men thus acting are not
merely a few credulous and thoughtless persons, but business men of all
classes—men of the first order of mind, thus showing that they _can_
believe and _do_ believe, in matters of great importance, and thus
demonstrating that they can believe in matters of religion, as well
as others, if they will but give a candid attention to the evidence.
The same faculties of the mind exercised in believing the news of the
day, political, commercial, or of sickness, health, or accidents, etc.,
are exercised in believing the divine testimonies. The same mind that
believes the testimony of men, is exercised in believing the testimony
of God. The difference in the effect produced upon the human soul,
by divine testimony, or divine faith, from that produced by human
testimony, or what is purely human faith, is not that the same mind,
or the same faculties of the mind are not exercised in both cases, nor
is it owing to the difference between divine and human testimony; but
the difference is in the things believed—the difference between divine
and human things believed. Heavenly things believed would, beyond all
dispute, make a different impression from that produced by the belief
of earthly things, however true they might be. A mere earthly truth,
even if proved by divine testimony, could produce no more than an
earthly impression; but a heavenly truth, if proved by earthly
testimony, would produce a heavenly impression. The same mind that
understands and believes that there is an advance in the flour market,
believes that the Lord rose from the dead, but the effect produced
by the faith in one instance, is very different from that produced
in the other instance; not because different powers are exercised in
believing; nor because the testimony differs; but because the things
believed differ.

The relation a thing believed sustains to the believer, is the main
cause of its effect upon him. Robert Owen, who professed to have
read, and traveled forty years, without being able to find any
evidence of the truth of christianity, has lately become a believer in
Spiritualism. How is it, that he is so slow to believe in one case,
but so ready to believe in the other? The reason is to be found in
the relation these two things to be believed, sustain to him. The
belief in modern Spiritualism involves nothing, requires nothing and
promises nothing. It is merely a speculative subject, for vain and
idle curiosity; placing no man under any new obligations who believes
it. It is a very suitable thing to catch a

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
None of the letters appear in Sparks' edition of Franklin's Works, and while all but one are included in the collections compiled by Bigelow and Smyth, there are numerous inaccuracies, some of which will be specified hereafter.
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There was some Wind, but not very strong.
Page 3
Several Gentlemen have ordered small ones to be made for their Amusement.
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I waited for it to send it to you, expecting it would be more satisfactory than anything I could write; but it does not appear.
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This Balloon was larger than that which went up from Versailles and carried the Sheep, &c.
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Multitudes in Paris saw the Balloon passing; but did not know there were Men with it, it being then.
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One of these courageous Philosophers, the Marquis d'Arlandes, did me the honour to call upon me in the Evening after the Experiment, with Mr.
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Air, will carry up a greater Weight than the other, which tho' vastly bigger was filled with an Air that could scarcely be more than twice as light.
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Charles & Robert's Experiment, which was to have been made at this Day, and at which I intended to be present.
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I am the more anxious for the Event, because I am not well inform'd of the Means provided for letting themselves gently down, and the Loss of these very ingenious Men would not only be a Discouragement to the Progress of the Art, but be a sensible Loss to Science and Society.
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faire encore quelques observations, impatiente de la Lenteur de cette operation, a repris son Vol a 4 heures et 1/4, avec un excedant de Legerete d'environ 100 Livres par une Ascension droite et une rapidite telle qu'en peu de tems le Globe s'est trouve hors de vue.
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" Since Franklin's copy of the _Proces-Verbal_ differs only in his spelling the word "_sang-froid_" instead of "_sens-froid_," I do not print it.
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6, "M.