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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 294

not afford an hour or two
every morning in primping, turning himself first this way and then that
before a glass, smoothing down his hair, stroking his mustache and
fitting on his attire. He can not afford another half-hour sucking an
enormous cigar and filling a filthy spittoon, a thing that ought to be
tolerated in no parlor, or genteel society. He should be a man of no
idle habits, such as lounging upon cushions, loafing on the streets, at
the corners, in shops, stores or places of business, or idleness. He
should rise early, unless prevented from getting to rest sufficiently
early, by preaching at night, dress himself out and out for the day
in fifteen minutes, and spend at least five hours in his books. This
should be a regular work, an every day work. Five hours only brings him
to about ten o’clock in the morning, about the proper time to see sick
persons, the poor, or any whom it may be his duty to visit. Three hours
can now be devoted in this way. This brings him to one o’clock. Allow
him two hours to take refreshment and rest himself. Now it is three
o’clock, a good hour for him again to be among the people, where he may
frequently spend two hours profitably.

If the preacher is a man of enterprise, he can have an engagement for
a sermon, a lecture, a meeting for prayer, or something of the kind
almost every night, either in the church, or some place in a short
distance in the community, where he may be waking up some interest
among the people. It is the business of the preacher to seek an
opportunity for something of this kind, and have some work all the time
going on round him, arresting the attention of the people, rousing them
from their slumbers, setting them to thinking and working.

It is useless to stand and preach in one pulpit and wait for the people
to come there, thus depending upon that wholly for saving men. We must
go beyond that, find every nook and corner where a few people can be
collected and preach the word to them, exhort them, persuade them and
plead with them to turn to the Lord. The preacher must make it an every
day work to preach. We must get in the way of preaching from house
to house and from place to place, thus filling the whole land with
the doctrine of the cross. We must be men of activity, perseverance
and zeal, not waiting for “calls,” but penetrating the

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

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Notwithstanding the stroke of humour in the concluding paragraph of this address, Poor Richard (Saunders) and Father Abraham have proved, in America, that they are no common preachers.
Page 1
& T.
Page 2
I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods.
Page 3
"Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry.
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" II.
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" Beware of little expences; "A small leak will sink a great ship," as Poor Richard says; and again, "Who dainties love shall beggars prove;" and moreover, "Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
Page 6
Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half starved their families; "Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire," as Poor Richard says.
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consult, consult your purse.
Page 8
" Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain; and "It is easier to build two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel," as Poor Richard says: so, "Rather go to bed supper-less, than rise in debt," Get what you can, and what you get hold, 'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.