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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 253

the Presbyterian ministry believe “this horrid doctrine.” If
they do not believe the Confession of Faith, they are sailing under
_false colors_ and their profession is a sham. If they do believe
their Confession of Faith, we leave the reader to judge whether they
believe “this horrid doctrine.” Let us hear the Confession: “God from
all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will,
freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as
thereby neither is God the Author of sin, nor is violence offered to
the will of the creature, nor is the liberty of contingency of second
causes taken away, but rather established.” _Con., page 18, God’s
Eternal Decree, chap. iii._

The reader will see nothing about infant damnation in that. Very well;
let us see what is in it. This is in it—that God did foreordain
unchangeably whatever comes to pass. There is more than this in it—he
did this “from all eternity.” Now let us hear the Confession tell what
one of these decrees is: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation
of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting
life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.” _Con. page 18._
When was this done? “From all eternity.” What was it done for? “For
the manifestation of his glory.” What was done? “Some men and angels
are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained unto
everlasting death.” That makes a plain case of it.

Let us hear the Confession again: “These angels and men thus
predestinated and foreordained are particularly and unchangeably
designed, and their number is so certain and definite that it can not
be either increased or diminished.” _Con. page 19._ This decree of
predestination and foreordination is _particularly_ and _unchangeably
designed_, and the number thus particularly and unchangeably designed
can not be _increased_ or _diminished_. But it will be said that this
is not said of _infants_, but of “angels and men.” So it is. But _when_
was this decreed? “From all eternity.” These _men_ “foreordained to
everlasting death” were thus “particularly and definitely designed”
“from all eternity.” We may not be able to explain precisely the
meaning of the words “from all eternity,” but they evidently mean
before they were created. Before they were born, then, some men
were foreordained to everlasting death. When they were born they
were _infants_; yes, _infants_ “particularly and unchangeably
_designed_” to everlasting death. Those of these infants foreordained,
“particularly and unchangeably designed to everlasting death,” who die
in _infancy are lost_. Here, then, in the Confession of Faith, which
Presbyterian ministers profess to believe, is the

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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 28
Let us consider some of the virtues singly.
Page 34
per minute, and therefore requires a longer time to spoil a bedchamber-full; but it is done, however, in proportion, and many putrid disorders hence have their origin.
Page 35
Page 71
No, say my lords the mob, you sha'n't have that.
Page 73
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means.
Page 77
His train of reasoning is ingenious and whimsical, but I am not at leisure to give you a detail.
Page 80
This was abusing their power and commencing a tyranny.
Page 97
Once more adieu, my dear sister.
Page 107
I have never before met with anything so satisfactory on the subject.
Page 115
Lavoisier, to show that the strongest fire we yet know is made in charcoal blown upon with dephlogisticated air.
Page 125
The weight, therefore, of an independent empire, which you seem certain of our inability to bear, will not be so great as you imagine.
Page 142
Merchants and traders in unarmed ships, who accommodate different nations by communicating and exchanging the necessaries and conveniences of life.
Page 152
I am too well.
Page 163
He is like the odd half of a pair of scissors, which has not yet found its fellow, and, therefore, is not even half so useful as they might be together.
Page 167
If my present state of health continues, I hope to finish it this winter: when done, you shall have a manuscript copy of it, that I may obtain from your judgment and friendship such remarks as may contribute to its improvement.
Page 168
He transmitted the accounts to Congress, and had advice of their being received.
Page 183
Page 186
Thunder, which is the effect of the trembling of the air, caused by the same vapours dispersed through it, has force enough to shake our houses; and why there may not be thunder and lightning under ground, in some vast repositories there, I see no reason; especially if we reflect that the matter which composes the noisy vapour above us is in much larger quantities under ground.
Page 214
It is thus that a hair in a microscope evidently appears to be a pipe, the sides showing darker than the middle.
Page 239
If he uses no such action, the legs and lower part of the body will gradually sink till he comes into an upright position, in which he will continue suspended, the hollow of the breast keeping the head uppermost.