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

By Benjamin Franklin

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do this, and tries to accomplish it, studies dishonesty and how
to practice it. In its very nature it is corrupting, and must end in
degrading a man. Young men ought to shun it as they would a viper.


No man goes through the country delivering able and finely-prepared
discourses advocating _dancing_, going to theatres, playing innocent
games for amusement, etc., etc. These things, like the weeds in the
garden, need no advocates, but come themselves, and that, too, in
opposition to all moral feeling, restraints and entreaties. They are
not cultivated fruit, but the spontaneous growth that must be removed
before we can have the precious fruits of the Spirit. They are the
fruits of the flesh, of the carnal mind. The man who builds up
churches, maintains the spiritual devotions, order, purity, discipline,
elevates and ennobles humanity, must work; war against the flesh and
all the works of the flesh; cultivate, be faithful and watchful. He has
something to do more than to inquire, what harm is it?

The Romish Church has reached the climax in the _easy_ system.
She makes her members chiefly of infants before they can make any
successful resistance, and then never excludes except for heresy. In
this way she has grown up to the enormous number of about _two hundred
million_, or one-sixth of the inhabitants of the world. Dancing,
drunkenness, or any other works of the flesh except _heresy_ forfeit no
membership in that carnal body. We do not want to go _back_ toward that

There are more than _seven thousand_ or _seven times seven thousand_,
remaining, who have not consented to any departure, who are to-day as
determined for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,
as A. Campbell was in the best days of the _Christian Baptist_, and
the man who talks to them about any new departure under the name of
_progression_, or any other name, is not only idling away his time and
talent, but letting _himself down_ in their estimation from the faith
to sectarianism. They estimate a man, not by his learning, his talent
or money, but by his love to the Lord Jesus the Christ. They judge of
this love by his integrity to the Lord, as seen in a strict adherence
to the gospel, the teaching of the Lord and his apostles; his example;
his appointed worship; all he said and did; his devotion to the Lord in
all respects; a settled and determined adherence to him in all things.

Men may turn away from him, and some will, as some did

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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

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At the same time that the wire and top of the bottle, &c.
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The fire takes the shortest course, as Mr _Watson_ justly observes: But it does not appear, from experiment, that, in order for a person to be shocked, a communication with the floor is necessary; for he that holds the bottle with one hand, and touches the wire with the other, will be shock'd as much, though his shoes be dry, or even standing on wax, as otherwise.
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Set the electrified phial on one, and then touch the wire; that book will be electrified _minus_; the electrical fire being drawn out of it by the bottom of the bottle.
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--To electrise _plus_ or _minus_, no more needs to be known than this, that the parts of the tube or sphere that are rubbed, do, in the instant of the friction attract the electrical fire, and therefore take it from the thing rubbing: the same parts immediately, as the friction upon them ceases, are disposed to give the fire they have received, to any body that has less.
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--We light candles, just blown out, by drawing a spark among the smoke between the wire and snuffers.
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_ sufficiently.
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Let a cork-ball, suspended by a silk thread, hang between them.
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The magical picture is made thus.
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And accordingly some old sea-captains, of whom enquiry has been made, do affirm, that the fact agrees perfectly with the hypothesis; for that, in crossing the great ocean, they seldom meet with thunder till they come into soundings; and that the islands far from the continent have very little of it.
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Apply the wire of a well-charged vial, held in your hand, to one of them (A) Fig.
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Between F, A, H, there is a larger portion that has yet a less surface to rest on and to attract it; here therefore you can get it away still more easily.
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From the before mentioned law of electricity, that points, as they are more or less acute, draw on and throw off the electrical fluid with more or less power, and at greater or less distances, and in larger or smaller quantities in the same time, we may see how to account for the situation of the leaf of gold suspended between two plates, the upper one continually electrified, the under one in a person's hand standing on the floor.
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--Glass, a body extremely elastic (and perhaps its elasticity may be owing in some degree to the subsisting of so great a quantity of this repelling fluid in its pores) must, when rubbed, have its rubbed surface somewhat stretched, or its solid parts drawn a little farther asunder, so that the vacancies in which the electrical fluid resides, become larger, affording room for more of that fluid, which is immediately attracted into it from the cushion or hand rubbing, they being supply'd from the common stock.
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[12] See farther experiments, s 15.