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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 309

his wife and children, they comment upon
the old adage, “charity begins at home.”

Declaim against foreign missions, and prepare to give the State Board
twenty-five dollars if the Board will send them one hundred dollars
worth of preaching. After they treat a preacher in this way a few
times, he is compelled from absolute necessity to abandon them. Thus,
isolated, forsaken and helpless, they take no publications, know
nothing of what is going on, pine away and die. This shows the utter
fallacy of little, weak and helpless congregations keeping themselves
isolated. They should act with their brethren, report themselves, be
known in all their efforts, and send in their contributions, no matter
how small. The ground of complaint here is, however, more on the part
of preachers than any place else. In all our preaching, we should
inculcate a missionary spirit, the importance of acting in harmony,
unitedly and with energy in all our undertakings to evangelize the


Men are talking of justification by _faith alone_; but the main trouble
is, that they have no faith. They have no confidence in the gospel,
the power of God. They have no confidence in preaching the cross
of Christ, the power and wisdom of God. They have no confidence in
preaching Christ to save the world. They never preach Christ with any
animation—any spirit or power. They have deserted God’s ordained power
to save men, and are dealing out their insipid theories of spiritual
influence, their views and philosophies, which have nothing in them to
save, if they were all true. Preaching theories of the Word or of the
Spirit, of the mode of the Divine existence, or of anything else, has
no power to convert or save any one. All the preaching of Calvinism
or Arminianism, of Trinitarianism or Unitarianism, of Necessity or
Freedom, or all the other theories ever preached, whether true or
false, never saved one soul of our poor fallen race. But the preaching
of the gospel, preaching Christ, the cross of Christ, is the ordained
work for the Christian ministry. This is unequivocally the power God
has authorized them to exercise in saving sinners. We know it will save
sinners, from the following three reasons:

1. The Holy Spirit declares it to be “the power of God, to every one
that believes.”

2. The apostles and first ministers of Christ preached it to the
salvation of thousands in a single day, and millions in a few years.

3. We are preaching the gospel almost every day of our life, and find
it bringing sinners to Christ. We have all faith in

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

Page 45
duty of the _proprietaries_ to pay their proportion of a tax, for the immediate preservation of their own estates, in this province.
Page 61
The business of the assembly at a stand for a few days.
Page 78
The growth of the children tends to increase the growth of the mother, and so the difference and superiority is longer preserved.
Page 112
_ down to 3_d.
Page 145
The truth is, that his number of souls is vastly exaggerated.
Page 168
Page 174
_ Those for discharging the debt are to continue till 1772, and longer, if the debt should not be then all discharged.
Page 222
This market, that, in the five years which have run on since the act passed, would have paid 2,500,000 guineas for tea alone into the coffers of the company, we have wantonly lost to foreigners.
Page 232
Page 264
it becomes difficult to know their minds, or what impression you make upon them.
Page 272
must be highly esteemed, and so well paid, as to become easily rich themselves; that there are also abundance of profitable offices to be disposed of, which the natives are not qualified to fill; and that, having few persons of family among them, strangers of birth must be greatly respected, and of course easily obtain the best of those offices, which will make all their fortunes: that the governments too, to encourage emigrations from Europe, not only pay the expence of personal transportation, but give lands gratis to strangers, with negroes to work for them, utensils of husbandry, and stocks of cattle.
Page 319
I own, that he puzzled me a little, but he did not satisfy me; and the subsequent observations I made, as above mentioned, confirmed me in my first opinion.
Page 322
The following is the original piece, with some additions and corrections made in it by the author.
Page 325
Accidents may increase those hopes, and encourage dangerous attempts.
Page 350
The committee shall make a report of their proceedings, and of the state of their stock, to the society, at their quarterly meetings, in the months called April and October.
Page 353
That our enemies may have spies abroad, and some even in these colonies, will not be made much doubt of, when it is considered, that such has been the practice of all nations in all ages, whenever they were engaged, or intended to engage, in war.
Page 381
observations on the free use of, 213.
Page 400
_Indemnification_, just ground for requiring cessions from an enemy, iii.
Page 404
Page 406
of vessels at sea, how to be stopped, 181.