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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 259

the course_, tell the story. These are not led away by a few
glittering words, by sound, nor by clerical pretensions. You need not
read to them your dreamy philosophy, metaphysical speculations,
distinctions where there are no differences, prosing through your long
articles of twenty to thirty pages; they will not read all this, nor
will they believe without reading. They are plain and practical people,
and must known what they are doing. These know the gospel and love it.
They know the right way of the Lord and will not walk in any other way.

We work in faith, rest in hope, with the strong and blessed assurance
that this cause will live and go on triumphantly when our part of it
shall be finished. What we are concerned with, is how to do our part,
that may still remain, to the best purpose.


There is nothing in the Bible about the _resurrection of souls or
spirits_. The resurrection has to do with _bodies_, not _souls_ nor
_spirits_. It was the body of Jesus that rose from the dead. It was
bodies that came forth after Jesus rose and were seen of many. Mortal
bodies shall be quickened. The resurrection has nothing to do with the
spirit in the way of _raising_ it or making it _alive_. If man becomes
extinct at death there is nothing to raise from the dead. Other beings
might be created, but the words _resurrection_ and _creation_ are not
of the same meaning. The _creation_ of Adam was not the same as
_raising_ Lazarus from the dead. We use the two words, or find them
used in the Bible, _create_ and _resurrection_, to express two distinct
ideas. If man becomes extinct at death there remains no man to raise
from the dead. Other persons might be created, and there would be no
identity to lose, for they would not be _identical_, but _others_. We
need plain Bible truth; the matters of the Bible, and not theories
about the _pre-existence_ of spirits or the transmigration of _souls_.
The plain truth of the Bible will _save us_; idle speculations will
ruin us for this world and the world to come. Let us study and preach
the clear truth of divine revelation and enforce it on our race. It is
the only hope for all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples of the


Touching the “anointing with oil in the name of the Lord,” we think no
_literal_ “anointing with oil” is enjoined. The _praying for him_, in
the Christian dispensation, answers to the “anointing with oil,”

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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Drafts of three of the letters are deposited in the University of Pennsylvania, but the existence of one letter and the whereabouts of another were unknown to the late Mr.
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and the Weight of the Air contain'd.
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The great one of M.
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8, 1783.
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But as more perfect Accounts of the Construction and Management of that Machine have been and will be published before your Transactions, and from which Extracts may be made that will be more particular and therefore more satisfactory, I think it best not to print those Letters.
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_ When they were as high as they chose to be, they made less Flame and suffered the Machine to drive Horizontally with the Wind, of which however they felt very little, as they went with it, and as fast.
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It is a Globe of 26 feet diameter.
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A few Months since the Idea of Witches riding thro' the Air upon a Broomstick, and that of Philosophers upon a Bag of Smoke, would have appeared equally impossible and ridiculous.
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) PASSY, Dec.
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I hope they descended by Day-light, so as to see & avoid falling among Trees or on Houses, and that the Experiment was completed without any mischievous Accident which the Novelty of it & the want of Experience might well occasion.
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I am reliev'd from my Anxiety, by hearing that the Adventurers descended well near l'Isle Adam, before Sunset.
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On evalue qu'il a ete 50 minutes en l'air.
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"The Manuscript, containing some Particulars of the Experiment, which I enclose," mentioned in the Postscript, is a two-page account in French, in Franklin's handwriting, by an eye-witness of the voyage, M.
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"; p.