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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 293

to their inconsistent lives of folly
and vanity, is regarded as a mortal offence. We were threatened, not
long since, with being held _personally responsible_ for alluding to
the mischief done by dancing masters, in a public discourse. It turned
out that one was present, and, as if to publish himself as a live
dancing master, distinguish himself and render himself as notorious as
possible, immediately after the allusion to men of his calling, he cast
his eye around the house, and saw all eyes upon him, when he bounced
from his seat and went stamping out of the house, as if he intended
trying the strength of the floor, every time he set down his foot.
His _profession_ was too sacred to be alluded to without his being
insulted. Some of the people, we learned, called him _Professor_——!
Talk of preaching for such men! of writing to reform them! They would
not hear an angel from heaven, unless he would wink at their dancing.
They would not hear one who would rise from the dead, unless he would
wink at their sin. If they could, they would lead our fair daughters
to ruin, chuckle over the feat achieved, and dance on the graves of
heart-broken fathers and mothers. They are leeches upon society,
sucking the very life’s blood from the veins of better people, who
suffer themselves to be gulled by them, and, at the same time, grinning
like a weasel while cutting the throat of a chicken, and sucking its

The entire clan of amusement manufacturers, from the poor music
grinder on the street, up to Barnum, are pulling down, discouraging
and destroying the good built up by the hard toiling and struggles of
good people. It is useless to talk of their being gentlemen, polite,
or moral; their work is to pull down, to ruin, to destroy, and to
sink men and women in hell. Their work is against every prayer, every
exhortation and sermon; every Sunday school, church and gospel mission.
We may preach and pray, toil and struggle in tears, with our hearts
aching and bleeding, trying to save men, and so long as we countenance
worthless and silly amusements, we shall not be successful in saving
men. Not only so, but if we allow those who are determined to run their
length in all these amusements, to hang upon us, they will sink us all.


The preacher’s life should be one of activity and industry, one of
enterprise and diligence. The preacher can not be a _gentleman of
leisure_. This is not his profession. He can

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 61
But useful as I made myself, I perceived that my services became every day of less importance, in proportion as the other men improved; and when Keimer paid me my second quarter's wages, he gave me to understand they were too heavy, and that he thought I ought to make an abatement.
Page 77
Amongst the earliest friends of this institution must be mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the friend and correspondent of Dr.
Page 163
When it is made narrower, as the figure between the pricked lines, we call it the _golden fish_, from its manner of acting.
Page 164
By a little practice in blunting or sharpening the heads or tails of these figures, you may make them take place as desired, nearer or farther from the electrified plate.
Page 171
ADDITIONAL EXPERIMENTS: _Proving that the Leyden Bottle has no more electrical Fire in it when charged, than before: nor less when discharged: that, in discharging, the Fire does not issue from the Wire and the Coating at the same Time,.
Page 176
the magnetic needle, given a magnetism and polarity to needles that had none, and fired dry gunpowder by the electric spark.
Page 209
If he is still in New Spain, as you imagine from that loose report, I suppose it must be that they confine him there, and prevent his writing: but I think it more likely that he may be dead.
Page 213
The smaller your invention is, the more mortification you receive in having the credit of it disputed with you by a rival, whom the jealousy and envy of others are ready to support against you, at least so far as to make the point doubtful.
Page 215
Page 229
I think all the phenomena on which it.
Page 240
Canton's, it appears, that though by a moderate heat, thin glass becomes, in some degree, a conductor of electricity, yet, when of the thickness of a common pane, it is not, though in a state near melting, so good a conductor as to pass the shock of a discharged bottle.
Page 281
convinced me, that my hypothesis on this subject was erroneous.
Page 289
Page 297
These persons placed themselves one on each side of me, while I stood on a cake of wax, and took hold of the hook of that phial which was held by its coating (upon which a spark issued, but the phial was not discharged, as I stood on wax) keeping hold of the hook, I touched the coating of the phial that was held by its hook with my other hand, upon which there was a large spark to be seen between my finger and the coating, and both phials were instantly discharged.
Page 303
laws and taxes, 24, 26.
Page 304
Page 306
_Boerhaave_, his opinion of the propagation of heat, ii.
Page 307
Page 321
_Honours_, all descending ones absurd, iii.
Page 334
_Revelation_, doubted by Franklin in his youth, i.