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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 301

inner and outer man, the inner light, inner
consciousness, conscience, the will, new modes of revelation, the
manner of the Spirit’s work, etc., etc. We have had a perfect surfeit
of all this kind of thing.

* * * * *

We do not need proud and vain young men to invent something new and
glorify themselves, but humble and devoted young men, who will be
content to “preach the word,” “contend earnestly for the faith once
delivered to the saints,” and persevere in pushing the gospel through
the world. We have no faith in these young _sap heads_ who are trying
to render themselves famous by pointing out to the world the errors of
Alexander Campbell. It is true that it is not absolutely impossible
that even a very young man should discover some important new truth, or
an old one, that had, for a time, been neglected and covered up, but it
is not at all probable; and certain it is, that it is not the province
of young men to spend a large share of their time in trying to present
something new. We claim not to have comprehended all truth, so as to
render it impossible for any thing more to be discovered; but the main
work is to impress the truth we have upon the rising generation, and
bring as many as possible under its influence. We want humble, working,
and pious men, to spread the principles of the gospel through the world.


No people can or ought to prosper that will not respect the wisdom of
God as set forth in both the teaching and example of our Lord and his
apostles. We can not make ourselves, as a great, rapidly increasing and
prospering body, an exception to this rule. If we desire and intend
to prosper in the great and good work of uniting saints, building up
the church and saving men, we must confine ourselves strictly to the
gospel—to the things of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus
Christ—determined to know nothing but Christ and him crucified—to
glory in nothing but the cross of Christ. Our mission, as a religious
body, as a christian ministry, and as christian writers, is not of this
world. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through
God, to the pulling down of strong holds. “We

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 13
* * * * * THE WAY TO WEALTH, _As dearly shown in the practice of an old Pennsylvania Almanac, entitled, "Poor Richard Improved.
Page 19
The people heard it, and approved the doctrine; and immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction opened, and they began to buy extravagantly.
Page 43
By the help of these, artful men overpower their wisdom and dupe its possessors: and if we may judge by the acts, _arrets_, and edicts, all the world over, for regulating commerce, an assembly of great men is the greatest fool upon earth.
Page 63
Yet this evil is not so great as it may appear at first sight.
Page 69
He was executed as a traitor.
Page 70
I am one of that class of people that feeds you all, and at present abused by you all; in short, I am a _farmer_.
Page 83
After employing your people in robbing the Dutch, it is strange that, being put out of that employ by peace, they still continue robbing, and rob one another? _Piraterie_, as the French call it, or privateering, is the universal bent of the English nation, at home and abroad, wherever settled.
Page 86
" With unchangeable esteem and affection, I am, my dear friend, Ever yours.
Page 114
Page 122
"But I received one from you of the 8th of January, which I own I did not answer.
Page 131
The time diminishes daily, and is usefully employed.
Page 132
For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years.
Page 137
" * * * * * "_Samuel Huntingdon, President of Congress.
Page 148
For I cannot conceive of a more happy man than he who, having been long loaded with public cares, finds himself relieved from them, and enjoying private repose in the bosom of his friends and family.
Page 150
"DEAR FRIEND, "I received your kind letter of April 17.
Page 164
We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death.
Page 173
[Without date, but supposed to be in 1789.
Page 194
Thus, if fire be an original element or kind of matter, its quantity is fixed and permanent in the universe.
Page 225
I send you a piece of the rock-salt which he brought up with him out of the mine.
Page 242
As we are accustomed to see all the animals with which we are acquainted eat and drink, it appears to us difficult to conceive how a toad can be supported in such a dungeon: but if we reflect that the necessity of nourishment, which animals experience in their ordinary state, proceeds from the continual waste of their substance by perspiration, it will appear less incredible that some animals, in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment; and that others, which are covered with scales or shells which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever.