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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 289

in doubt; hence his remark that “it is of equal
validity with the laver of salvation.” There was no doubt about what he
calls “the laver of salvation,” but there was doubt about sprinkling.
The one needed argument and the perversion of the passage in Ezekiel to
support it; the other was universally acknowledged.

We admit that the evidence is abundant “that pouring and sprinkling
were used” from the beginning of the fourth century not only to the
rise of the Anabaptists, but till now; but that pouring and sprinkling
were held in doubt, in general, and utterly repudiated by many,
is equally abundantly proved. The discovery that _baptizo_ means
_immerse_, and nothing else, could not have been made by any of the
fathers, for at that time no one denied that such was its meaning. In
the few instances where sprinkling or pouring was used, it was not on
the ground that _baptizo_ meant pour or sprinkle, but on the ground
that pouring or sprinkling would do in extreme cases of weakness where
they deemed the persons unable to endure immersion. No man can produce
one scrap of authority to show that any man at that early period, or
for many long centuries after, ever attempted to defend pouring or
sprinkling on the ground that _baptizo_ meant pour or sprinkle. Those
who practiced sprinkling or pouring generally in the early ages, did
not think they were doing what the Lord commanded, or what the apostles
practiced, but something else that _would do_. Luther, Calvin, Wesley
and Clarke, admitted that the ancient practice was immersion, but
they thought sprinkling or pouring _would do_. This was the ground of
argument for many long centuries. The idea of trying to prove that any
person was ever sprinkled or poured upon, for baptism, in the time of
the apostles, is a mere modern invention, and the idea that _baptizo_
means sprinkle or pour, is of equal modern date. These are new grounds
altogether, taken by modern men, who have been driven from the old
ground. It will not do in our time to admit—as all the ancients
did—that the apostles immersed—that immersion was the ancient
practice—that _baptizo_ means _immerse_, and nothing else, but that
“this rite has been _changed somewhat_,” and that _something else will
do as well_. This is too barefaced for our time, and the opposition
have changed their ground, and are now trying to make us believe that
their practice is sustained by the meaning of _baptizo_ and the ancient


During our discussion in Decatur, Ill., we presented the following,
substantially, as the “Shorter

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 38
I did so, and we held it for three months.
Page 50
Denham, with whom I often spent an hour when I had leisure, he dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only of returning to Pennsylvania, which he was now about to do.
Page 58
" He had not then the least intimation of my intention to set up there or anywhere.
Page 64
But now another difficulty came upon me which I had never the least reason to expect.
Page 65
, for in those matters he was very judicious.
Page 66
" It was well received by the common people in general; but the rich men disliked it, for it increased and strengthened the clamor for more money, and they, happening to have no writers among them that were able to answer it, their opposition slackened, and the point was carried by a majority in the House.
Page 67
His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with him, set up in his place at Philadelphia, having bought his materials.
Page 70
It might, too, be much better done if I were at home among my papers, which would aid my memory, and help to ascertain dates; but my return being uncertain, and having just now a little leisure, I will endeavor to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get home, it may there be corrected and improved.
Page 77
was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection.
Page 80
| * | * | * | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | R[esolution] | | | * | | | * | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | F[rugality] | | * | | | * | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | I[ndustry] | | | * | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | S[incerity] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | J[ustice] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | M[oderation] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | C[leanliness] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | T[ranquillity] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | C[hastity] | | | | | | | | |----------------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----| | H[umility] | | | | .
Page 81
" Another from Cicero: "O vitae Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix expultrixque vitiorum! Unus dies, bene et ex praeceptis tuis actus, peccanti immortalitati est anteponendus.
Page 94
I have already mentioned that I had only one year's instruction in a Latin school, and that when very young, after which I neglected that language entirely.
Page 98
It was managed by the constables of the respective wards in turn.
Page 108
He told me the following anecdote of his old master, William Penn, respecting defense.
Page 120
I had observed that the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried away; but it was suffered to accumulate till wet weather reduced it to mud, and then, after lying some days so deep on the pavement that there was no crossing but in paths kept clean by poor people with brooms, it was with great labor raked together and thrown up into carts open above, the sides of which suffered some of the slush at every jolt on the pavement to shake out and fall, sometimes to the annoyance of foot passengers.
Page 140
We had not marched many miles before it began to rain, and it continued raining all day.
Page 157
Accordingly, some days after, when the wind blew very fair and fresh, and the captain of the packet, Lutwidge, said he believed she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made the experiment, and owned his wager lost.
Page 160
Hanbury called for me and took me in his carriage to that nobleman's, who received me with great civility; and after some questions respecting the present state of affairs in America and discourse thereupon, he said to me: "You Americans have wrong ideas of the nature of your Constitution; you contend that the king's instructions to his governors are not laws, and think yourselves at liberty to regard or disregard them at your own discretion.
Page 163
It was taken by the English in 1758.
Page 165
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.