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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 59

the true
ministers or servants of the kingdom, can but regard them as such, and
labor to melt them all away and put all the good material there is in
them into “God’s building,” “the temple of God,” and thus make this
material useful and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

As to clerical airs, the peculiar cut of the coat, the white necktie,
and all other such “outward signs of inward grace,” they are the
offspring of shallowness, weakness and folly, and wholly incompatible
with the plainness, meekness and humility of Jesus and of good taste
and sense.


All the perversions, innovations and corruptions of the pure and holy
religion of Jesus Christ that have found way into it and disgraced it,
have been introduced under some pretext of doing good—some plea of a
supposed benevolent nature. In some form or other they have all claimed
to have the good of the cause in view, and in some way have put up some
kind of claim to divine authority. Some of them were introduced by good
men, with good intentions, who saw not the evil that would follow,
while others, no doubt, were introduced by “designing men.” George
Fox was probably a good man, or a man of good intentions, and, when
he talked of the “light within,” and tried to sustain his position by
Scripture, he had no idea of the evil that would follow—much less did
he design it. Though he quoted Scripture, it was not as a rule of faith
and practice; not as a system of religion, nor as supreme authority,
but merely to give currency to the theory he was laboring to introduce
and support it in the minds of the people. The leading idea in the new
theory was that the _light within_ was the guide—the unerring rule;
that it was from God, and that he who followed it was following the
will of God, the influence of the Spirit. He certainly did not intend
to turn the hearts of the people away from God and lead them to follow
the imaginations of their own hearts. He clearly designed no such
wickedness as this; but what has followed? Where has the “light within”
led his followers? It has led some of them to neglect and forsake
the word of God; to regard the Bible simply as a good book, a true
history and guide to the people of its time, but not as an authority,
a rule of faith and practice for us. It has led some of them into
Spiritualism, others into Universalism, and some, more

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

Page 16
The air under the equator, and between the tropics, being constantly heated and rarefied by the sun, rises.
Page 31
Page 33
I suppose the first mischief was done by the fore-side of the whirl, the latter by the hinder-side, their motion being contrary.
Page 71
This conjecture I send you for want of something better ****.
Page 80
Why damp clothes should then occasion colds, is a curious question, the discussion of which I reserve for a future letter, or some future conversation.
Page 81
The waters as they run, exposed to the sun, air, and wind, are continually evaporating.
Page 111
This is not a chamber experiment; for it cannot be well repeated in a bowl or dish of water on a table.
Page 192
But this conjecture we submit to the judgment of physicians.
Page 213
Another very common cause of the smoking of chimneys, is, _their overpowering one another_.
Page 219
I have thus gone through all the common causes of the smoking of chimneys that I can at present recollect as having fallen under my observation; communicating the remedies that I have known successfully used for the different cases, together with the principles on which both the disease and the remedy depend, and confessing my ignorance wherever I have been sensible of it.
Page 258
make a single instrument there should be at least six glasses blown of each size; and out of this number one may probably pick thirty-seven glasses (which are sufficient for three octaves with all the semitones) that will be each either the note one wants or a little sharper than that note, and all fitting so well into each other as to taper pretty regularly from the largest to the smallest.
Page 265
Most tunes of late composition, not having this natural harmony united with their melody, have recourse to the artificial harmony of a bass, and other accompanying parts.
Page 280
] { It is endeavoured to give the alphabet o { a _more natural order_; beginning first with { the simple sounds formed by the breath, to {.
Page 293
_ _Craven-street, May 17, 1760.
Page 302
This is, in some measure, to be attributed to their situation, which hinders marriage, but is also to be attributed to their luxury and corruption of manners, which are greater than among any other set of people in England, and is the consequence of a nearer view of the lives and persons of a superior rank, than any inferior rank, without a proper education, ought to have.
Page 330
"--If you please.
Page 332
--The second of my premises is, that twenty-five shillings a month, with his share of the salt beef, pork, and peas-pudding, being found sufficient for the subsistence of a hard-working seaman, it will certainly be so for a sedentary scholar or gentleman.
Page 345
It was against granting the petition of the sect called erika, or purists, who prayed for the abolition of piracy and slavery, as being unjust.
Page 357
_Cayenne_ would be a great acquisition to Britain, iii.
Page 375
are with difficulty transplanted from one country to another, 121.