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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 311

way of every kind of communications to men.

The true state of the case is, that the medium of language is
sufficiently perfect and entirely adequate for all the purposes of
a revelation to mankind. The communication from God to man found in
the Bible is sufficiently clear and intelligible for all the purposes
of its original design. The man who will make an honest effort, can
understand the will of God concerning him—can discriminate between
good and evil, right and wrong, the way to hell and the way to heaven.
But the man who will not make an honest effort, would not be a
Christian if one would rise from the dead before his eyes. If he had
seen the Lord in person he would have found occasion for caviling. The
seed of the kingdom must fall into a _good_ and _honest_ heart.

It is useless to fall out with the medium through which revelation has
come to man. The best medium in existence was employed, the very one
through which we communicate man with man, and the one with which man
is more familiar than any other—the medium of _language_.


We have lately been reflecting upon an opportunity for doing great
good perfectly within our reach, to which many are paying but little
attention. Who among our brethren are thinking how many humble,
unassuming and comparatively obscure men we have, who are actually
doing a great work, and not only doing it at their own charges, but
doing it without thanks or even credit from their brethren? While we
are paying much attention to a few men of popularity, influence and
fame, we are overlooking a large number of the best, truest, most
self-sacrificing men the Lord has given us. These, too, are the men who
are doing the main body of the work, and they are the main supports
of the cause. They are men of good sense, piety and devotion; men
of excellent character, an honor to the cause and a credit to the
brotherhood, who are penetrating the private neighborhoods, preaching
in private houses, school houses, barns, shops, and open groves,
and bringing thousands to the fold every year; and in the place of
the brethren making any arrangement to support them, or even saying
anything to encourage them, they are saying discouraging things of
them, such as that “they can’t preach”—“they are little preachers,”
etc., etc.

Now, we desire to hear of some old church, where wealth abounds,
instead of monopolizing money and talent in preaching in their midst,
where probably they can do but little good,

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 0
First Visit to Boston 55 V.
Page 6
Franklin is also interesting to us because by his life and teachings he has done more than any other American to advance the material prosperity of his countrymen.
Page 15
I was named after this uncle, there being a particular affection between him and my father.
Page 23
One was called _The Lighthouse Tragedy_, and contained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake, with his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on the taking of _Teach_ (or Blackbeard) the pirate.
Page 25
My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family.
Page 27
My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a newspaper.
Page 29
My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an order of the House (a very odd one), that "_James Franklin should no longer print the paper called the New England Courant_.
Page 43
I knew he was a good swimmer, and so was under little concern about him; but before he could get round to lay hold of the boat, we had with a few strokes pull'd her out of his reach; and ever when he drew near the boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few strokes to slide her away from him.
Page 69
Andrew's in Scotland) gave a contrary opinion: "For the industry of that Franklin," says he, "is superior to anything I ever saw of the kind; I see him still at work when I go home from club, and he is at work again before his neighbors are out of bed.
Page 70
My hopes of success, as I told him, were founded on this, that the then only newspaper, printed by Bradford, was a paltry thing, wretchedly manag'd, no way entertaining, and yet was profitable to him; I therefore thought a good paper would scarcely fail of good encouragement.
Page 90
" "Yes," says the man, "_but I think I like a speckled ax best_.
Page 108
This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, _"He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
Page 110
The small fines that have been paid by members for absence at the monthly meetings have been apply'd to the purchase of fire-engines, ladders, fire-hooks, and other useful implements for each company, so that I question whether there is a city in the world better provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning conflagrations; and, in fact, since these institutions, the city has never lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time, and the flames have often been extinguished before the house in which they began has been half consumed.
Page 120
Page 129
, etc.
Page 132
"That in the dry summer months the dust be all swept up into heaps at proper distances, before the shops and windows of houses are usually opened, when the scavengers, with close-covered carts, shall also carry it all away.
Page 133
We were to have six hundred pounds a year between us, if we could make that sum out of the profits of the office.
Page 160
But between us personally no enmity arose; we were often together; he was a man of letters, had seen much of the world, and was very entertaining and pleasing in conversation.
Page 176
THE WHISTLE To Madame Brillon Passy, November 10, 1779.
Page 187
The French Court hath prohibited all communication with the Gevaudan upon severe Penalties.