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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 44

rapidly sinking into forgetfulness. The man
that leads the people to God, to the Lord Jesus, by the gospel, and
maintains the will of God, will abide forever; while the man that tries
to catch the giddy throng with a little show of some human devices,
and who may attract their attention for a time, will pass away and be
forgotten forever.

We are for _progress_ in the true sense in every department, but not
for the _progress backward_. We are for the _progress_ in the church
that goes forward and converts sinners, and builds up churches; that
infuses piety, devotion to God and to the right way of the Lord; but
not for the progress that is _nearly all money_, and _almost no work_.
We are for the progress that goes _forward_ and not _backward_.


“In what are Christians to be united?”

They are to be united _on Christ_—on _being Christians_. This embraces
the entire revelation from God to man, all the truth uttered, the
commandments given and the promises made by our heavenly Father. The
truth must all be believed, the commandments obeyed, and the promises
must be hoped for. This includes the entire faith, obedience and hope
of the gospel. _In this_ we must be united.

II. “What are the essentials of Christianity which can not be

_Christianity itself_, as a whole and in all its parts, is essential.
All that is in it is essential, and all that is not in it is not
essential. We are for christianity itself, not in part, but the whole
of it, as it came from the infallible Spirit of all wisdom and all
revelation. It is all essential. Nothing may be added to it or taken
from it. The “doctrines and commandments of men,” the doctrines of
“expediency,” of “deductions” and “inferences,” from _principles_,
are not essential; but these are not christianity, nor any part of
it. Nothing in christianity can be compromised except at our peril.
The wisdom of God gives us no non-essentials. If the wisdom of man
pronounces anything given by the wisdom of God, or, which is the same,
any part of christianity, non-essential, such wisdom of man must be set
aside as presumptuous.

What an idea for men to sit on the _grave_ question of _essentials_
and _non-essentials_, in the divine institution given by our Lord and
confirmed by the most indubitable signs and wonders! What part of that
which has been given by the wisdom of God is essential, and what part
is not essential? It is all essential, or the wisdom of God would not
have given

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 9
"Had he died on the same day," you said, "one might have supposed a transmigration.
Page 11
But my father in the mean time, from a view of the expense of a college education, which, having so large a family, he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterward able to obtain,--reasons that he gave to his friends in my hearing,--altered his first intention, took me from the grammar school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr.
Page 20
He had some ingenious men among his friends, who amused themselves by writing little pieces for this paper, which gained it credit and made it more in demand; and these gentlemen often visited us.
Page 24
The Boston Gazette commenced Dec.
Page 40
I was backward; seemed desirous of being excused; had not had sufficient time to correct, etc.
Page 42
] [Footnote 56: Entrapped.
Page 64
I wrote him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment, craved his forbearance a little longer, which he allowed me, and as soon as I was able I paid the principle, with interest, and many thanks; so that erratum was in some degree corrected.
Page 65
I think this was in or about the year 1729.
Page 86
I purposed writing a little comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the advantages of possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite vice; and I should have called my book "The Art of Virtue,"[114] because it would have shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that does not instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle's man of verbal charity, who only, without showing to the naked and hungry how or where they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed.
Page 87
My list of virtues contained at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride showed itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing and rather insolent, of which he convinced me by mentioning several instances,--I determined endeavoring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.
Page 95
, and without informing them of the connection with the Junto.
Page 98
Those who chose never to attend, paid him six shillings a year to be excused, which was supposed to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reality, much more than was necessary for that purpose, and made the constableship a place of profit; and the constable, for a little drink, often got such ragamuffins about him as a watch that respectable housekeepers did not choose to mix with them.
Page 121
And here let me remark the convenience of having but one gutter in such a narrow street, running down its middle, instead of two, one on each side, near the footway; for where all the rain that falls on a street runs from the sides and meets in the middle, it forms there a current strong enough to wash away all the mud it meets with; but when divided into two channels, it is often too weak to cleanse either, and only makes the mud it finds more fluid, so that the wheels of carriages and feet of horses throw and dash it upon the foot pavement, which is thereby rendered foul and slippery, and sometimes splash it upon those who are walking.
Page 143
I was at their church, where I was entertained with good music, the organ being accompanied with violins,.
Page 146
War was declared in 1756.
Page 151
He was a man of letters, had seen much of the world, and was very entertaining and pleasing in conversation.
Page 160
as possible.
Page 163
Franklin's life, and was never before printed in English.
Page 164
Franklin should leave his friends and the world deprived of so pleasing and profitable a work; a work which would be useful and entertaining not only to a few, but to millions? The influence writings under that class have on the minds of youth is very great, and has nowhere appeared to me so plain as in our public friend's journals.
Page 173
Matthews' statement, "Franklin was the first of American humorists, and to this day he has not been surpassed in his own line.