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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 236

are communicated to man, or revelations made, either before
or after conversion, to saint or sinner, except _through the senses_.
Are not the revelations of God inscribed upon the sacred pages of the
Bible, the only teachings from heaven, for both the church and the
world, and are not these imparted to man through the senses? We do not
believe that there are any revelations from God, or teachings, binding
upon man, for saint or sinner, only those in the Bible, and these are
imparted to man through the senses. If this is sensuous philosophy,
then we are in for it.

[A] A discussion of the subject of Spiritual Influence was carried on
among the Disciples during the Decade, beginning in the year 1856.
Benjamin Franklin’s position, and indeed the gist of the controversy,
is presented in the opening and closing paragraphs of an editorial in
the _A. C. Review_.


Much as has been said upon the evils of sectarianism, within the last
forty or fifty years, it is still true, that no one has given the
subject too high a coloring. Its evils are equal to the most brilliant
description we have had. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how any
one could speak, in too strong terms, of this one evil; yet, the sin of
partyism, like many other sins of these times, is so fashionable and
popular, that it is scarcely seen to be a sin at all. It is true, all
seem to look upon it as a sin, for a man to create partyism and strife
in the party to which he belongs, or any other party. But, to keep up
the parties now in existence, and defend the peculiarities upon which
they are predicated, and from which they receive their very existence,
is considered _serving God_. Now, if it can be considered service to
the Lord, to build up and keep up that old mother and mistress of all
heresy, the Roman Catholic Church, then, why was not the very mystery
of iniquity, already working in John’s day, doing service to God, in
originating that grand establishment of sin and iniquity? Surely, it is
giving as much glory to God to set on foot a great or a small religious
scheme, as to keep it in motion after it is once started.

If it is doing the will of God to build up and sustain the Episcopalian
Church now; surely, he was doing the will of God who originated
it. This, no one will doubt. The same is true of the Lutheran, the
Presbyterian, the Methodist Episcopal and all

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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half bound 1 0 Wonders of the Horse, recorded in Anecdotes, Prose and Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Tales of the Robin & other Small Birds, in Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Instructive Conversation Cards, consisting .
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[Illustration: Published by W.
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" And again, "He that by the plow would thrive, Himself must either hold or drive.
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A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost;" being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.
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These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences: and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them?--By these, and other extravagancies, the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who, through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case it appears plainly, that "A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees," as Poor Richard says.
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But, ah! think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty, If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor pitiful sneaking excuses, and, by degrees, come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for, "The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt," as Poor Richard says; and again, to the same purpose, "Lying rides upon Debt's back:" whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living.
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'This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them.
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.