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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 240

the place of even
being truly turned from sin to righteousness—from the power of Satan
to God—we have conversions that merely consist in opposing all creeds
and parties but the one into which the converts happen to fall, while
they frequently love the Lord no better than before their conversion.
In the place of that universal philanthropy exhibited by our Lord’s
death, for the whole world, such converts are merely filled with party
bigotry, which _dislikes_—yes, even _hates_—every body not of the
“same faith and order.” Under the influence of such religion, people
live near each other, see each other every day—yet associate not, nor
allow their children to associate, nor even worship the Lord their God
in the same house. And why this careful separation? They differ in
faith! What difference? Well, they cannot tell exactly, but the learned
_doctor_ who sermonizes for them, knows the difference. Go to him, and
he will explain it to you. This is no extreme case. Nine-tenths of the
members of churches cannot tell the difference between their own church
and another. Yet, it is so great, that they cannot fellowship the other.


To make serious reply to this deceitful, deceptive and empty pretence,
is a little hard to do. To see a person who can not go three squares
to the house of God on foot, especially if it should be a little
unpleasant, who can dance till midnight, “for amusement,” speaking of
its being _healthful_, is ridiculous in the extreme. It may be, for
anything we know, that for any person who has become so useless as
to sit, day after day, and not move enough to circulate their blood,
dancing would prove healthful. But there are a thousand things better
for them. A visit to the sick, to the poor and the distressed, with
something for their necessities, would be vastly better for both soul
and body. Almost any kind of useful labor would be more healthful, and
leave vastly less remorse of conscience. But if a person has such an
aversion to labor to visiting the sick, the poor and needy, or doing
anything useful, they deserve no health, and the world will only be the
better off when they are out of it. More health, permanent happiness
and real enjoyment are found in an industrious and useful life than all
the seekers of pleasure ever knew. The man of useful life has no time
for pleasure and amusement. His time is taken up, wholly taken up,
and he is so happy in it, that it appears short, in constant

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

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Darton, 58, Holborn Hill.
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coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
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The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, 'Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?'----Father Abraham stood up, and replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard says.
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--If we are industrious, we shall never starve; for "at the working man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter.
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"--If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master? be ashamed to catch yourself idle, when there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, your country, and your king.
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'So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful.
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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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" However, remember this, "They that will not be counselled cannot be helped;" and farther, that "If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles," as Poor.
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] W.