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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 316

matter how bungling he was.

DR. P.—I think but little about preachers, have fewer favorites, and
more rarely speak in praise or complaint of preachers, than almost any
man you can find. I am not thinking of the _messenger_, but of the

DR. F.—I can not bear a prosing, stammering and dry preacher. I have
not heard our preacher present anything _new_ in three months. I like
to _learn something_ when I go to hear preaching.

DR. P.—When were you at meeting last? I do not recollect seeing you for
some three months in the meeting house.

DR. F.—I have been pressed with—I have not been very well—the preaching
has not suited me, and there are many in the church that should have
been excluded long since.

DR. P.—No wonder you have heard nothing _new_ from our brother; for
you have not heard him at all. If his preaching had been the best in
the world, it would have done you no good, while you did not hear it.
I will tell you, my dear brother, how to make preaching better to us:
Read the Scriptures every day; pray night and morning; talk to every
one you meet _about religion_, and your heart will be full of the
theme. You will then like to hear any man who can preach at all. Attend
all the meetings, participate in the songs, prayers, exhortations and
all the other parts of public worship, and you will then be interested
in all that you hear from good men.

DR. F.—Your notions of preaching will not do. Our city is one of
intelligence. This community, you must recollect, is highly enlightened,
and we must have a man here that keeps pace with the age. We frequently
have statesmen, lawyers, physicians and men of the first rank in
attendance, and it is useless to think of interesting these with any
_common_ talents. We must have a man of taste, refinement, and highly

DR. P.—When did our Lord ever try to arrest the attention of the elite
of this world by _show_, by mere human _polish_ and _flourish_? Never,
never, Doctor, as you certainly know. Are you not aware, my dear sir,
that the wisdom of God is not in this vain and worldly thing that you
speak of? Sensible people, those truly enlightened and great, can
understand the gospel, appreciate and receive it, when it is simplified
and made appreciable to the masses of the people. Not only so, doctor,
but the class you aim to please, though enlightened in the things of
the world, and accomplished, they are more unenlightened in

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

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Touch the top first, and on approaching the bottom with the other end, you have a constant stream of fire, from the wire entering the bottle.
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--To _C_, standing on the floor, both appear to be electrised: for he having only the middle quantity of electrical fire, receives a spark upon approaching _B_, who has an over quantity; but gives one to _A_, who has an under quantity.
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Page 21
Water being electrified, the vapours arising from it will be equally electrified; and floating in the air, in the form of clouds, or otherwise, will retain that quantity of electrical fire, till they meet with other clouds or bodies not so much electrified, and then will communicate as beforementioned.
Page 22
Common fire, as well as electrical.
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For the electrical fire is never visible but when in.
Page 30
Thus common matter is a kind of spunge to the electrical fluid.
Page 32
This shape may be rendered visible in a still air, by raising a smoke from dry rosin, dropt into a hot tea-spoon under the electrised body, which will be attracted and spread itself equaly on all sides, covering and concealing the body.
Page 39
The circumstances of the breaking of the glass differ much in making the experiment, and sometimes it does not break at all: but this is constant, that the stains in the upper and under pieces are exact counterparts of each other.
Page 40
The corner that happens to be uppermost when the leaf is rising, being a sharp point, from the extream thinness of the gold, draws and receives at a distance a sufficient quantity of the electrical fluid to give itself an electrical atmosphere, by which its progress to the upper plate is stopt, and it begins to be repelled from that plate, and would be driven back to the under plate, but that its lowest corner is likewise a point, and throws off or discharges the overplus of the leaf's atmosphere, as fast as the upper corner draws it on.
Page 43
Now, I suppose, that glass in its first principles, and in the Furnace, has no.
Page 48
And as the oil of turpentine being an electric _per se_, would not conduct what came up from the floor, was obliged to jump from the end of one chain, to the end of the other, through the substance of that oil, which we could see in large sparks; and so it had a fair opportunity of seizing some of the finest particles of the oil in its passage, and carrying them off with it: but no such effect followed, nor could I perceive the least difference in the smell of the electrical effluvia thus collected, from what it has when collected otherwise; nor does it otherwise affect the body of a person electrised.
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The Distance, Velocity, Size, Solidity, and other Properties of those Bodies considered; and the wonderful Phaenomena of.
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[10] In the dark the electrical fluid may be seen on the cushion in two semi-circles or half-moons, one on the fore part, the other on the back part of the cushion, just where the globe and cushion separate.