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

By Benjamin Franklin

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everything had to be done
according to the patterns given to Moses in the typical dispensation,
how can any man infer that we may depart from the substance? We had
better take heed now. We may not add any thing, nor take any away from
what the Lord gave. We may not preach any other gospel, or even pervert
the gospel of Christ.

It was a little matter to charge that Jesus had “an unclean spirit,”
but those who did it sinned against the Holy Spirit, and are in danger
of “eternal damnation.”

It was a little matter for Ananias and Sapphira to lie about the price
of their possessions, but it was soon followed by a judgment from the

It was a little matter for the Corinthians to get up a feast when they
met to worship, but on account of it many were sickly, weakly, and some
had died.

Some of the little matters now among us will be found sufficient to
stop the ark of God, and cause more than three thousand to be defeated.
If Moses were to address some of our men, he would say to them, as
he did to Aaron, “What hath this people done to thee that thou hast
brought so great a sin upon them?” or as Joshua said to Achan: “Why
hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall trouble thee this day.” Let us
hear and live.


We are asked to define what we mean by one-idea ism, and explain to
us how the universe is made up of atoms. With this request we will
cheerfully comply. It is to be carried away with one idea. The idea may
be a good one, or it may not; but one-ideaism, is giving an idea undue
importance. A man addicted to one-ideaism, can no more cover it than a
leopard can change his spots. If he attempts to pray, he will commence
with something else as a stepping stone, regularly paving the way and
unmistakably making his way to his favorite idea. When it is put
forth and he is delivered of it he is relieved for the time being,
especially, if he finds that it annoys some one. If you call on him for
an exhortation, a sermon, or if he writes, he may wind round and round,
trace back and forward, but it will, in spite of himself, in all his
efforts to conceal it, be manifest to all, that he takes no interest in
all he is saying, only as it subserves his purpose, in paving the way
to the one idea,

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

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16 The Waste of Life 22 Self-denial not the Essence of Virtue 25 On the Usefulness of the Mathematics 27 The Art of procuring Pleasant Dreams 31 Advice to a young Tradesman 37 Rules of Health 39 The Ephemera; an Emblem of Human Life.
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But,' continued he, 'you have thought of the defence of the country; you know what garrisons are necessary, and what are not; you know what number of troops is sufficient in one, and not sufficient in another; you will cause the necessary garrisons to be re-enforced, and disband those that are useless?' "'I should be of opinion,' said Glaucon, 'to leave none of them on foot, because they ruin a country on pretence of defending it.
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We have had some experience of it: several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, nor kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor counsellors; they were totally good for nothing.
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In return, I will tell you some of those we have heard from ours.
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Therefore, as soon as they arrive within hearing, they stop and halloo, remaining there till invited to enter.
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* * * * * "_To Mrs.
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I hope my nephew will therefore establish a.
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On receiving this leave and those charters, the adventurers voluntarily engaged to remain the king's subjects, though in a foreign country; a country which had not been conquered by either king or parliament, but was possessed by a free people.
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And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and, by early marriage, youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life; and possibly some of those accidents or connexions, that might have injured the constitution or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented.
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Your parliament never had a right to govern us, and your king has forfeited it by his bloody tyranny.
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In short, the company agreed unanimously that it was the best porter they had ever tasted.
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If by any accident afterward the axis should be changed, the dense internal fluid, by altering its form, must burst the shell and throw all its substance into the confusion in which we find it.
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I know not whether I have expressed myself so clearly as not to get out of your sight in these reveries.
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I want to know whether your Philosophical Society received the second volume of our Transactions.
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can drive into it? Is it not thus that the surface of this globe is continually heated by such repeated vibrations in the day, and cooled by the escape of the heat when those vibrations are discontinued in the night, or intercepted and reflected by clouds? Is it not thus that fire is amassed, and makes the greatest part of the substance of combustible bodies? Perhaps, when this globe was first formed, and its original particles took their place at certain distances from the centre, in proportion to their greater or less gravity, the fluid fire, attracted towards that centre, might in great part be obliged, as lightest, to take place above the rest, and thus form the sphere of fire above supposed, which would afterward be continually diminishing by the substance it afforded to organized bodies, and the quantity restored to it again by the burning or other separating of the parts of those bodies? Is not the natural heat of animals thus produced, by separating in digestion the parts of food, and setting their fire at liberty? Is it not this sphere of fire which kindles the wandering globes that sometimes pass through it in our course round the sun, have their surface kindled by it, and burst when their included air is greatly rarefied by the heat on their burning surfaces? May it not have been from such considerations that the ancient philosophers supposed a sphere of fire to exist above the air of our atmosphere? B.
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Glass, wax, silk, wool, hair, feathers, and even wood, perfectly dry, are non-conductors: that is, they resist instead of facilitating the passage of this subtile fluid.
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in the plate_, forming a long and sharp cone.
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It is certain that the skin has _imbibing_ as well as.