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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 276

he can have the privilege, and have room to walk about a
little, which is both a relief to the speaker and audience.

If the house is small, the platform should not be more than ten feet
square and eight inches high.


Neither Joseph Barker, nor any other man on the continent can give one
good reason for his hatred of the Bible, or desire to ridicule it.
Suppose it were all he says of it; superstition or what not; why is he
so enraged at it? What is it that exasperates him so? What is it that
puts such men to so much trouble? We suppose the stories of witches,
ghosts, etc., the signs of the zodiac, the moon, etc., etc., are
superstitions, but they do not trouble us, and we do not think it worth
while to war upon them. Why do not modern sceptics put the Scriptures
down on the same list with these, give them the go-by, and be at no
more trouble about them? Ah, why not? Simply because they can not.
They have within them spirits that can not rest. The Bible is a book
they can not let alone. It will not let them alone. It follows them by
day, and thunders in their ears at night. It is before them when they
rise up and when they lie down. It is before them in public and in
private. It alarms them with the terrible announcement that the dead
shall be raised, that the world shall be judged in righteousness, and
that the Lord shall render to every man according as his work shall
be. It annoys them with terrible threatenings, fearful punishments and
righteous retributions. It follows them with the only impartial history
the world ever had, spreading out alike the good and the bad, and
showing up the entire history of man.

Why do they not let the Bible alone? If it is only a fable, a legend,
or mere fiction, why trouble about it? “_Let it alone!_” says the
sceptic, “how can I let it alone, when it constantly tells me of every
sin I ever committed, describes even the thoughts of my heart, and
exposes every wicked desire I ever had? I can not let a book alone that
describes and publishes me to the world as a sinner.” What of all that,
if you do not believe it? There is the trouble. The apprehension that
_it may be true_, after all, hangs about men. They may rant, ridicule,
defy, scoff and laugh, but the fearful apprehension still

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

Page 4
299 Concerning the dissentions between England and America 310 A Prussian edict, assuming claims over Britain 311 Preface by the British editor (Dr.
Page 13
"That this constitution seemed rather more favorable for the crown.
Page 33
_ SIR, Since the conversation your excellency was pleased to honour me with, on the subject of _uniting the colonies_ more intimately with Great Britain, by allowing them _representatives in parliament_, I have something further considered that matter, and am of opinion, that such an union would be very acceptable to the colonies, provided they had a reasonable number of representatives allowed them; and that all the old acts of parliament restraining the trade or cramping the manufactures of the colonies be at the same time repealed, and the British subjects _on this side the water_ put, in those respects, on the same footing with those in Great Britain, till the new parliament, representing the whole, shall think it for the interest of the whole to re-enact some or all of them: it is not that I imagine so many representatives will be allowed the colonies, as to have any great weight by their numbers; but I think there might be sufficient to occasion those laws.
Page 50
As to ourselves, we need no longer have recourse to the late glorious stand of the French parliament to excite our emulation.
Page 63
FOOTNOTE: [16] This is the title of an octavo volume, consisting of nearly five hundred pages closely printed.
Page 123
Before we go farther, let it be observed, that the main design of the proprietaries in opposing this act was, to _prevent their estates being taxed at all_.
Page 141
petition proceeds to say, "that where such disturbances have happened, they have been _speedily quieted_.
Page 155
15 and 16.
Page 184
_ Suppose an act of internal regulations connected with a tax, how would they receive it? _A.
Page 248
Accordingly that copy which I kept (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the college of Massachusett's Bay, as you directed) has been continually in the hands of the members of our congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author.
Page 249
We are making all the provision in our power here to oppose that force, and we hope we shall be able to defend ourselves.
Page 291
Nor is it strange; since men of virtue are so rare, so very rare to be found.
Page 317
FOOTNOTE: [177] From the American Museum, vol.
Page 326
My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth.
Page 348
_ It is with peculiar satisfaction, we assure the friends of humanity, that, in prosecuting the design of our association, our endeavours have proved successful, far beyond our most sanguine expectations.
Page 349
Page 354
land, and search it, saying, Go, search the land_.
Page 366
What was that saying?--You do not, it seems, feel any occasion for such an excuse, though you are, as you say, rising 75, but I am rising (perhaps more properly falling) 80--and I leave the excuse with you till you arrive at that age; perhaps you may then be more sensible of its validity, and see fit to use it for yourself.
Page 407
_Nurses_, office at Paris for examining the health of, iii.
Page 416
_Sun_, supplies vapour with fire, i.