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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 36

said to be “born of water and of the
Spirit.” This is precisely all there is in it.

There is nothing about the resurrection in it, the first resurrection
or any other resurrection, unless it be a resurrection to a new life.
Nor is anything in the resurrection ever called “a birth of the
Spirit.” We are perfectly aware that the dead will be quickened by the
Spirit, and that the Spirit of Christ will quicken their mortal bodies;
that Christ was the “first-born from the dead,” the “first-born among
many brethren,” and that the dead will be raised at the sound of the
trumpet, but there is not one word about all this or an allusion to
it in the conversation with Nicodemus. Nor is there one word about or
allusion to the everlasting kingdom in that conversation. We must not
make something out of that conversation that is not in it.

Nicodemus was standing on his birth-right, “born in thy house,” as
expressed Gen. xvii. 13, for membership. The Lord sweeps this away in
one sentence: “Except a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of
God.” His being born in the house or family of Abraham availed nothing.
“Flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God.” No matter in
whose family he was born nor whose blood coursed in his veins, a man
must be born again, born from above, born of water and of the Spirit,
or he cannot enjoy the kingdom of God. As the Spirit is the agent
through whom the gospel is preached, and the gospel the instrument
by which the Spirit makes believers, the agent is mentioned for the
effect, which is belief—made believers by the Spirit and baptized into
Christ, into one body. It is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, of the
apostles and by the word.

There is no such thing as the new birth without the Spirit, nor any
such thing as entering into the kingdom of God or the body of Christ.
The faith, the work of the Spirit in preaching the gospel, through
the apostles, and baptism, or, figuratively, “born of water,” must be
present. The man who believes the gospel with all his heart and is
immersed into Christ is “born of water and of the Spirit” in the sense
intended by the Savior.


We need a higher morality, a more pure and unadulterated piety and
greater simplicity of benevolence. We do not want money extracted
from the pockets of the people by the Church offering them sensual
gratification, amusements and entertainments,

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

Page 3
Page 10
The family continued all of the Church of England till about the end of Charles II.
Page 12
He had a mechanical genius, too, and on occasion was very handy in the use of other tradesmen's tools; but his great excellence lay in a sound understanding and solid judgment in prudential matters, both in private and public affairs.
Page 15
They were wretched stuff, in the Grub Street[28] ballad style; and when they were printed.
Page 20
" This, however, I should submit to better judgments.
Page 47
All was in vain; sheets of the poem continued to come by every post.
Page 53
] [Footnote 74: The woman who, according to legend, wiped the face of Jesus on his way to Calvary, and carried away the likeness of his face, which had been miraculously printed on the cloth.
Page 55
My acquaintance with ingenious people in the town increased.
Page 58
But I was scarce fifteen when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of revelation itself.
Page 61
From hence the long continuance of the club, which I shall.
Page 86
) But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this comment was never fulfilled.
Page 89
"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of mankind.
Page 109
But if the demand was not directly from the Crown, that phrase was found not so proper, and some other was to be invented.
Page 116
In 1751 Dr.
Page 131
Page 136
The flyers, not being pursued, arrived at Dunbar's camp, and the panic they brought with them instantly seized him and all his people; and though he had now above one thousand men, and the enemy who had beaten Braddock did not at most exceed four hundred Indians and French together, instead of proceeding and endeavoring to recover some of the lost honor, he ordered all the stores, ammunition, etc.
Page 154
He delivered to me some letters from my friends there, which occasioned my inquiry when he was to return, and where he lodged, that I might send some letters by him.
Page 155
He was asked how long time that would require.
Page 172
Page 174
= Years later, while in London in 1773, Franklin showed his ability with his pen.