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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 262

attempts to talk to us. We knew but
little about the matters of which he talked, and really did not desire
to say enough to discover to him how little we did know. But after
further acquaintance we inquired of him as follows: “If a man will take
the Scriptures, read them, believe them, and do what they require,
will he not be a Christian?” With somewhat of an air of surprise, he
replied: “No; he must have something more than that.” This “something
more than that” was the perplexing part. What more could there be than
the Scriptures require? _Then, if there is something more than the
Scriptures require, how did any man find it out?_ And, still further,
what is it? _If it is not required in Scripture, how does any man know
that it is required at all?_ Of course we mean on the human part, or
that which is required _of man_. When we inquire how a man is to obtain
a crop of corn, we do not mean how he is to _make soil_, how he is to
get atmosphere, sunshine, rain, etc., but how he is to perform _his
part_. If the soil has not in it the qualities to produce corn; if the
right state of atmosphere is not given, the sun does not shine, and
the rain does not come, he is not to blame. It is useless to preach
about the properties of the soil, the atmosphere, the warm sunshine,
the rain, etc., in showing a man how to grow corn. On all these matters
a man might preach philosophically, learnedly and correctly, but not
another grain of corn would grow, for all his fine talk. This is not
the _practical_ nor the _human part_. But the man must be instructed
how to put the ground in order, how to plant and cultivate, in showing
him _how_ to obtain a crop of corn, _with_ the divine blessing, but
certainly not _without it_.

_First._ We have long since settled the question about the authority of
the Bible. That is no more an open question, unless we please, for the
sake of argument, to look at it as an open question. We receive what
the Bible says _implicitly_, or because _the Bible says it_.

_Second._ Then it is _the rule_, and there is not a reason in this
world for not taking it and _going by it_. It is the rule, the final,
the absolute authority. It must be received in all things.

_Third._ Then the gospel preached by the apostles—precisely, no more,
no less, no other—must

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 3
The notes one of my uncles (who had the same kind of curiosity in collecting family anecdotes) once put into my hands, furnished me with several particulars relating to our ancestors.
Page 6
The six concluding lines I remember, though I have forgotten the two first of the stanza; but the purport of them was, that his censures proceeded from good-will, and, therefore, he would be known to be the author.
Page 8
By much trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire.
Page 12
I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last year.
Page 19
it, which my brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me in an unfavorable light, as a young genius that had a turn for libelling and satyr.
Page 49
My brother-in-law, Holmes, being now at Philadelphia, advised my return to my business; and Keimer tempted me, with an offer of large wages by the year, to come and take the management of his printing-house, that he might better attend his stationer's shop.
Page 51
But, however serviceable I might be, I found that my services became every day of less importance, as the other hands improv'd in the business; and, when Keimer paid my second quarter's wages, he let me know that he felt them too heavy, and thought I should make an abatement.
Page 52
The New.
Page 55
Such a one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle.
Page 70
Franklin, with a personal application to your proper self.
Page 71
Extend your views even further; do not stop at those who speak the English tongue, but after having settled so many points in nature and politics, think of bettering the whole race of men.
Page 83
{ 6 } Put things in their places.
Page 97
I began now to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs, beginning, however, with small matters.
Page 112
I have been continued one of its trustees from the beginning, now near forty years, and have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the youth who have receiv'd their education in it, distinguish'd by their improv'd abilities, serviceable in public stations and ornaments to their country.
Page 127
2.
Page 131
In conversation with him one day, he was giving me some account of his intended progress.
Page 133
How different was the conduct of our French friends in 1781, who, during a march thro' the most inhabited part of our country from Rhode Island to Virginia, near seven hundred miles, occasioned not the smallest complaint for the loss of a pig, a chicken, or even an apple.
Page 142
Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the governor and the House, in which I, as a member, had so large a share, there still subsisted a civil intercourse between that gentleman and myself, and we never had any personal difference.
Page 156
Fothergill, to whom I was strongly recommended, and whose counsel respecting my proceedings I was advis'd to obtain.
Page 159
But the proprietaries were enraged at Governor Denny for having pass'd the act, and turn'd him out with threats of suing him for breach of instructions which he had given bond to observe.