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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 277

thundering, “_It may be true, after all_.” There is no getting rid of
the fearful apprehensions, the wonderful forebodings, the consciousness
that all scepticism might be a mistake, after all. They know they have
nothing settled, nothing established, no fixed principles, no certain
knowledge. They know that they are acquiring no substantial knowledge.
Their work has not been to settle any thing, to fix any thing. They are
drifting about, floating in an uncertain current, not knowing whither
they are going. With them, all is in doubt, uncertainty, and obscurity.
They are completely unsettled, wandering in the dark, and without a
resting place. They are poor and miserable, blind and naked. They have
no encouragement, no support, and no promise, and nothing to promise
anybody else. Their pursuit is an empty chase, without any promise or
hope. There is not a more vain and empty bubble in this world, than
that pursued by these men. They are working without an object. They
know not what they are aiming at. Their work is not to prove any thing,
to settle any thing, or establish any thing; but to unsettle, confuse
and throw into doubt. What have they done for the world? What do they
propose to do for man? Nothing, only to pull down religion, do away
with the church, and put the Bible out of the world! They appear to
think that the principal thing now required to do, for the happiness of
the world, is to rid it of all religion. But where is the evidence that
they are doing any good? Where have they made the people happy? Where
have they done any good? What good are they now doing? None under the
shining sun.


What is a miracle? A miracle is not, as Hume defined it, “something
_contrary to the laws of nature_,” but something above the laws of
nature, or something that the laws of nature, in their legitimate and
ordinary operations, could not produce. For instance, the laws of
nature, in their legitimate and ordinary operations, from parents, can
produce offspring, and bring them to manhood and womanhood. But the
laws of nature, in their legitimate course of operation, never produced
a man and a woman, without parents, or never brought into existence
a man and a woman, at sufficient maturity to care for themselves and
live, without parents. No law of nature, in its legitimate and ordinary
course of operation, brought Adam and Eve into existence, at maturity,
and without parents. In other words, no law or laws of nature, in their
legitimate and ordinary operation, ever began the human

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

Page 30
" It should be remembered, however, that this tendency among Puritan clergy to call science to the support of theology had been inaugurated by Cotton Mather as early as 1693,[i-74] and that it was the Puritan Mather whom Franklin acknowledged as having started him on his career and influenced him, by his _Essays to do Good_, throughout life.
Page 54
Before attempting to appraise the real indebtedness of Franklin to the physiocrats, it is well to seek to learn how he came in contact with their ideas, and especially why by the year 1767 he was acutely susceptible to their doctrine.
Page 77
Scholars before and since M.
Page 86
His intellectual conviction of a matchless physical harmony, as yet unmatched in the world by a corresponding moral harmony, is joyously seen in _Preface to Poor Richard, 1735_: Whatever may be the Musick of the Spheres, how great soever the Harmony of the Stars, 'tis certain there is no Harmony among the Stargazers; but they are perpetually growling and snarling at one another like strange Curs.
Page 118
Inward harmony "is both the Glory and the Happiness, the Joy and Solace of created Beings, the celebrated Musick of the Spheres, the Eccho of Heaven, the Business of Seraphims, and the Imployment of Eternity" (p.
Page 120
Page 180
She was very hospitable, gave me a Dinner of Ox Cheek with great Goodwill, accepting only of a Pot of Ale in return.
Page 197
Denham, who was a Friend of Hamilton's, thought he ought to be acquainted with it.
Page 204
The Thing pleas'd me, for I was grown tired of London, remember'd with Pleasure the happy Months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and wish'd again to see it.
Page 263
'Tis strange to see Men of a regular Conversation become rakish and profane when intoxicated with Drink, and yet more surprizing to observe, that some who appear to be the most profligate Wretches when sober, become mighty religious in their Cups, and will then, and at no other Time address their Maker, but when they are destitute of Reason, and actually affronting him.
Page 319
These Things have render'd her Temper so much more pacifick than it us'd to be, that I may say, I have slept more, and more quietly within this last Year, than in the three foregoing Years put together.
Page 343
Read and your other friends here, in general, are well, and will rejoice to see you again.
Page 420
| Aspects, &c.
Page 428
Some Astronomers fancy they have seen a Satellite or Moon near _Venus_, like that belonging to the Earth: But it is not yet certain whether they have deceived themselves or not.
Page 437
1 | +----+-------+--------+---------+-------+-------+---------+----------+ [Illustration] +----+----------+----------+----+------+ | D.
Page 452
= | 5 11 | 6 49 | | 16 | 5 | _rain;_ | 5 13 | 6 47 | | 17 | 6 |Days dec.
Page 477
| [Venus] | | 7 | 23 | [Quartile] [Saturn] [Mercury] _Pot,_ | | 8 |[Pisces] 5 | [Trine] [Mars] [Mercury] _have_ | | 9 | 17 | _some in your_ | | 10 | 29 | _Mouth.
Page 549
I exhort you, therefore, to return to your duty; and, as the Indians say, to confirm my words, I send you a Birmingham tile.
Page 550
In a little book he sent her, called "None but Christ," he wrote an acrostick on her name, which for namesake's sake, as well as the good advice it contains, I transcribe and send you, viz.
Page 741
I tell her, that such Complaints are common to all Times and all Countries, and were made even in Solomon's Time; when, as we are told, Silver was as plenty in Jerusalem as the Stones in the Street; and yet, even then, there were People who grumbled, so as to incur this Censure from that knowing Prince.