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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 321

Lord. What a list
must that be! What a spectacle must this world be, with all its dark
crimes and acts of rebellion against the Majesty of heaven and earth, to
the eye of the omniscient One! Every den of drunkenness, debauchery,
profanity, lying and gambling, lies spread open to the All-seeing
eye. Not an oath falls without his notice, not a fraud, a deception,
cheat, lie, or crime of any sort escapes Omniscience. All, all sins,
transgressions and misdemeanors of every sort are treasured up and kept
in store for the day of final account.

What adds to the solemnity of the matter is, that no amends can be
made in acts of the past. There they stand irrevocably, so far as we
are concerned. The Lord may wash away every stain in his own precious
blood, where persons come to him in a proper manner. But even this
does not amend for the past. It takes away our guilt, and is a means
of saving us. But the wrongs done remain wrong and will so remain for
ever. Repentance changes not the wrong done. In the same way, the
good neglected, during the year now closing, will so remain for ever.
We can do good, it is true, the coming year; but that we could have
done, and that it would have been our duty to have done, if we had
done good all last year. Opportunities for doing good never return.
Other opportunities may come, but they would have come if no previous
opportunities had been neglected. You had an opportunity this year to
have ministered to the wants of the poor widow, the orphan, the sick,
the afflicted and distressed, but these opportunities are now gone, and
gone forever. If neglected, there is no remedy; that neglect remains
forever. We may repent, obtain forgiveness and do good in time to come,
but all that good could have been done just as well had there been no
previous neglect, and would have been more liable to have been done,
for one delinquency opens the way for another and has a tendency to
induce it.

In closing the year, it is well enough for us to cast an eye back over
the ground, not to amend the year now closing, for that is impossible,
but to see where the delinquency has been, and determine that a similar
delinquency shall not be found in the work of the coming year. In
this way, we may profit by looking over the past. What, then has been
entered to our account on the records of eternity?

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 25
Honest John[39] was the first that I know of who mixed narration and dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, brought into the company and present at the discourse.
Page 33
My father received the governor's letter with some apparent surprise, but said little of it to me for several days, when, Captain Holmes returning, he showed it to him, asked him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man he was, adding his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think of setting a boy up in business who wanted yet three years of being at man's estate.
Page 42
The present value of a real is about five cents.
Page 85
What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence; but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoyed ought to help his bearing them with more resignation.
Page 86
In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions are not.
Page 92
I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommending that branch of education for our young women, as likely to be of more use to them and their children, in case of widowhood, than either music or dancing, by preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, with established correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to undertake and go on with it, to the lasting advantage and enriching of the family.
Page 101
This I advised; but he was resolute in his first project, rejected my counsel, and I therefore refused to contribute.
Page 103
This is an advantage itinerant preachers have over those who are stationary, as the latter cannot well improve their delivery of a sermon by so many rehearsals.
Page 105
He at first refused us peremptorily; but at dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of Madeira wine, as the custom of that place then was, he softened by degrees, and said he would lend us six.
Page 106
Possibly, as they disliked my late intimacy with the members of council, who had joined the governors in all the disputes about military preparations with which the House had long been harassed, they might have been pleased if I would voluntarily have left.
Page 116
Thomas Bond, a particular friend of mine, conceived the idea of establishing a hospital in Philadelphia (a very beneficent design which has been ascribed to me but was originally his) for the reception and cure of poor sick persons, whether inhabitants of the province or strangers.
Page 117
Unwilling to make myself disagreeable to my fellow-citizens by too frequently soliciting their contributions, I absolutely refused.
Page 123
Governor Hamilton, having received this order, acquainted the House with it, requesting they would furnish proper presents for the Indians, to be given on this occasion, and naming the speaker (Mr.
Page 125
" The House, however, by the management of a certain member, took it up when I happened to be absent, which I thought not very fair, and reprobated it without paying any attention to it at all, to my no small mortification.
Page 133
I have no particular interest in this affair, as, except the satisfaction of endeavoring to do good, I shall have only my labor for my pains.
Page 134
old Madeira wine, 2 gals.
Page 140
I was surprised to find it in so good a posture of defense; the destruction of Gnadenhut had made them apprehend danger.
Page 148
principal was Mr.
Page 167
"Methinks I hear some of you say, Must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says: Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Page 172