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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 307

at fault, that out of about forty male members in his congregation,
in Illinois, all but some three took some part in the public worship,
by way of reading, prayer, or exhortation. We have recently heard of
several churches of this sort. These can worship without a preacher,
can “draw out an audience,” and will, in a short time, send out
preachers. Bishops who thus bring forward their young men, are bishops
indeed. They do not imagine that their work is to sing, pray, preach,
break the loaf, rule, and do every thing, and that the duty of the
audience is simply to obey them. It is the work of a Christian bishop
to develop and bring out the talent in the congregation, and apply it
to the work of the Lord. Here is where our preachers are to come from.
The church must furnish the preachers of Christ. No other institution
will ever do it. We need not look to our colleges to make preachers.
They will never do it. We need the colleges as much as any of our
brethren have ever thought; but not to make preachers, but _to educate
our young men who want to preach or do anything else_.


He must be earnest. Men who preach the gospel of Christ must be
earnest. They must not trifle with the gospel and the souls of men.
The theme is too vast, the responsibility too great and the issues
too momentous to be treated in a careless, indifferent and prosing
manner. The idea of a man speaking of questions of life and death,
eternal happiness and eternal misery, the glories to be revealed at
the appearing and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the terrible
destruction that shall be the destiny to all who obey not the gospel,
in a cold, dull and unfeeling manner, is preposterous. These are the
most awful, momentous and sublime themes that ever dwelt upon the lips
of men; and let him who speaks of them, remember that he is pleading in
a case of life and death. Let him speak with earnestness, spirit and

He must be a man of perseverance. A man who can not preach a week
without any success, and not become discouraged, had better go home.
He is not the man. It is nothing strange to preach a dozen or fifteen
discourses without success. Let him preach again. If he still has
no success, let him humble himself before the Lord, in most fervent
prayer, and make another effort. If he shall still fail in

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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 18
By this means he early attracted our attention to what was just, prudent, and beneficial in the conduct of life.
Page 38
The sloop having touched at Newport in Rhode Island, I paid a visit to my brother John, who had for some years been settled there, and was married.
Page 39
When we arrived at New York, they informed me where they lodged, and invited me to come and see them.
Page 41
Had my reliance on the governor been known, some friend better acquainted with his character than myself, would doubtless have advised me not.
Page 47
The passengers upon this paid me more attention, and I was invited, together with my friend Ralph, to occupy the place in the cabin which the return of the Mr.
Page 50
Mandeville, author of the Fable of the Bees, who had instituted a club at a tavern in Cheapside, of which he was the soul: he was a facetious and very amusing character.
Page 69
I had for some time been ready for such an engagement; I therefore instantly took it upon myself, and, in a few years, it proved extremely profitable to me.
Page 96
The whole executive authority was committed to the president-general.
Page 144
Page 155
But there is a small portion between I, B, K, that has less of the surface to rest on, and to be attracted by, than the neighbouring portions, while at the same time there is a mutual repulsion between its particles, and the particles of those portions, therefore here you can get it with more ease, or at a greater distance.
Page 195
that a stream of the electric fluid passing through wood, brick, metal, &c.
Page 213
For his attempts to benefit mankind in that way, however well imagined, if they do not succeed, expose him, though very unjustly, to general ridicule and contempt; and, if they do succeed, to envy, robbery, and abuse.
Page 234
Hearing, a few days ago, that Mr.
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I am, Sir, with sincere respect, Your most obedient and most humble servant, EBEN.
Page 275
Among other instances, my own house was one day attacked by lightning, which occasioned the neighbours to run in to give assistance, in case of its being on fire.
Page 299
The Abbé owns, _p.
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_Franklin_, derivation of the name, i.
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