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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 40


Every preacher connected with any church is laboring in one of these
two senses: as an overseer who labors in the word and teaching, or as
an evangelist. In the former capacity he may be there permanently. In
the latter capacity he is not there permanently, but setting in order
the things wanting, with a view to qualifying themselves to every
good word and work; to instruct and edify one another in love, but
intending to go on to another place as soon as he has finished his
work where he is. But the overseer who labors in the word and teaching
is not to assume any airs of authority, or any _great chair_ with his
_subordinates_ on more humble seats by his side. We abominate all these
great chairs, pulpits and preferences for public men. If they are good
men they do not want them, and if they are bad men they certainly
should not be honored with them. Really great and good men are plain
men—want no great chair nor great titles. They need no priestly robes,
clerical coats nor titles. They make a record that tells the story for
them. _They do the work._ Let us do the work, seek the simplicity of
Jesus and the humility of children. While we sing, “Nearer, my God, to
thee,” let us strive to live nearer to God and do our utmost to excel
in understanding and practicing precisely what the Lord has laid before
us in the Scriptures.


We will call no man _Reverend_. We make this a matter of conscience.
There is no more reason or gospel for addressing a preacher differently
from other men than there is for a preacher to be attired differently.
If a man is not preacher enough to be known as a _preacher_, without
the white necktie or the priestly coat, let him pass without being
known. We like to treat a preacher, or even a Roman priest, with common
civility, but we do all that when we treat him as any other gentleman.
We want no preacher’s garb nor titles, and will recognize none of them.
Many have those who have never been “born again;” who are not in the
kingdom of God—not Christians.


We must say a few things in the way of _generals_ before we come to
_particulars_. We visited a church some years since, and there was
quite a general impression among the members that their preacher did
not suit them—that he was not “the right man in the right place,” etc.
Many fine things were said,

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

Page 15
412 The Lord's Prayer (1779?), 414 The Levee (1779?), 417 Proposed New Version of the Bible (1779?), 419 To Joseph Priestley (February 8, 1780), 420 To George Washington (March 5, 1780), 421 To Miss Georgiana Shipley (October 8, 1780), 422 To Richard Price (October 9, 1780), 423 Dialogue between Franklin and the Gout (1780), 424 The Handsome and Deformed Leg (1780?), 430 To Miss Georgiana Shipley (undated), 432 To David Hartley (December 15, 1781), .
Page 68
The revolutionary Benjamin Rush, who had helped Paine with _Common Sense_, was dismayed because, in his view, Pennsylvania "has substituted mob government for one of the happiest governments in the world.
Page 103
Johnson's _American Economic Thought in the Seventeenth Century_ (London, 1932), which shows the intimate relation between economic and religious theories.
Page 152
(Source materials, pp.
Page 156
(A brilliant work, concluding that without the extraordinary diffusion of radical ideas in all classes in France, the States-General in 1789 would not have adopted revolutionary measures.
Page 188
And it was well I did: For the next Day, the Captain miss'd a Silver Spoon and some other Things that had been taken out of his Cabbin, and knowing that these were a Couple of Strumpets, he got a Warrant to search their Lodgings, found the stolen Goods, and had the Thieves punish'd.
Page 192
He was usually a great Glutton, and I promis'd myself some Diversion in half-starving him.
Page 222
We afterwards obtain'd a Charter, the Company being increas'd to 100.
Page 227
| +--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ |T.
Page 239
Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neighboring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences.
Page 275
Indeed, we are sometimes apt to think, that the Uneasinesses we ourselves have had, outweigh our Pleasures; but the Reason is this, the Mind takes no Account of the latter, they flip away un-remark'd, when the former leave more lasting Impressions on the Memory.
Page 298
At last comes the finishing Part of your Entertainment, which is, Perfuming the Beards of the Company; a Ceremony which is perform'd in this Manner.
Page 333
to be ranked) obtained Copies of it in MS.
Page 351
Sometimes a well-told Story, a Piece of a Sermon, a General's Speech to his Soldiers, a Speech in a Tragedy, some Part of a Comedy, an Ode, a Satyr, a Letter, Blank Verse, Hudibrastick, Heroic, etc.
Page 399
_grows_ | 5 50 | 6 10 | | 29 | 5 | _more_ | 5 48 | 6 12 | | 30 | 6 | _moderate.
Page 579
Then the next best thing seems to be, leaving them in the quiet enjoyment of their respective constitutions; and when money is wanted for any public service, in which they ought to bear a part, calling upon them by requisitorial letters from the crown (according to the long-established custom) to grant such aids as their loyalty shall dictate, and their abilities permit.
Page 603
that she is more unwilling to pay Tribute to Cesar, and has less Objection to Smuggling; but 'tis not, she says, mere Selfishness or Avarice; 'tis rather an honest Resentment at the Waste of those Taxes in Pensions, Salaries, Perquisites, Contracts, and other Emoluments for the Benefit of People she does not love, and who do not deserve such Advantages, because--I suppose--because they are not of her Party.
Page 622
Page 656
I know those gentlemen have plenty of ill will to me, though I have never done to either of them the smallest injury, or given the least just cause of offence.
Page 679