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

By Benjamin Franklin

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recently, into
exciting revival, mourners’ bench-meetings, in which old members have
been trying to “get religion,” as seekers do in Methodist and other
revivals. Many of them have been led into out-and-out infidelity.
This is where the “light within” has led them. Original Quakerism has
virtually run out.

Numerous other bewildered people are seeking an evidence of pardon
and acceptance with God directly from heaven. They are trying to find
this evidence in their feelings, impressions, emotions, impulses,
sensations, dreams, some sound or voice, and not in the promise of God.
This direct or immediate evidence, in their view of it, is from the
Spirit of God and perfectly reliable. The promise of God, with them, is
the _mere word_, the _bare word_, the _mere letter_ of Scripture. They
are thus completely turned aside from the testimony of the Spirit of
God, as confirmed by the most grand and awful displays of supernatural
power, to their own imaginations, their own spirits, and as completely
perverted as if they never had received any revelation from God.

There is no teaching of the Spirit of God among men only that found
upon the pages of the Bible. Those led by the teaching of the Spirit of
God spread on the pages of the Bible are led by the Spirit of God, but
those not led by that teaching are not led by the Spirit of God at all.
They may be led by their own spirits, desires, feelings, emotions,
impressions, sensations; by men, or even the adversary, “captive at
his will;” but they are not led by the Spirit nor under his influence
at all. When they turn away from the teaching of the Spirit of God
recorded in the Bible, it matters not much to what they turn, whether
they profess to be led by the “light of nature,” so called, “the light
of reason,” “the light of conscience,” the “light within,” impressions,
feelings, emotions, sensations, by men, or the adversary, they turn
away from God, from Christ and from the Holy Spirit. They are perfectly
deluded, and, if they thus continue, they must come to ruin. God will
eventually overthrow all who turn away from him, no matter to what they

Men may claim to have the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit, talk about
the Spirit, pray about the Spirit, sing about the Spirit, and at the
same time despise the things of the Spirit, the things commanded by the
Spirit, and do despite to the work of the Spirit. Such men manifestly
have not the Spirit. All their claim to having the Spirit

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

Page 1
Clark, University of Wisconsin_ HERMAN MELVILLE, _Willard Thorp, Princeton University_ JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY THOMAS PAINE, _Harry H.
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Newton was a believer in scriptural revelation.
Page 88
Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done so much as he did to make others unbelievers.
Page 120
" Faith he calls "an unintelligible Chymaera of the Phantasie" (p.
Page 231
_Order_, too, with regard to places.
Page 364
How important an Affair then to _Britain_ is the present Treaty for settling the Bounds between her Colonies and the _French_, and how careful should she be to secure Room enough, since on the Room depends so much the Increase of her People.
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_| 6 28 | 5 32 | | 28 | 4 |Day inc.
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| | 28 | 14 | [Saturn] rise 11 20 | | 29 | 26 | [Sextile] [Sun] [Jupiter] | | 30 |[Aires] 9 | [Jupiter] sets 11 37 | +----+-----------------+---------------------------------------------+ *(page break)* =APRIL= hath XXX Days.
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] | [Pis.
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| 7 | 5 | _thunder;_ | 4 38 | 7 22 | | 8 | 6 |Days inc 5 36 | 4 37 | 7 23 | | 9 | 7 | _flying_ | 4 37 | 7 23 | | 10 | G |Whitsunday.
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_ Thy Praise my Morning Song, my daily Theme, My Ev'ning Subject, and my Midnight Dream, When Grief oppresses, and when Pain assails; When all the Man, and all the Stoic fails; When fierce Tentation's stormy Billows roll; When Guilt and Horror overwhelm my Soul; With outward Ills contending Passions join'd, To shake frail Virtue, and unhinge the Mind; [When] +----+---+----------------------------+--------+--------+ | | | Remark.
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{12 [Libra] 28 Deg.
Page 526
The iron manufacture employs and enriches British subjects, but is it of any importance to the state, whether the manufacturers live at Birmingham, or Sheffield, or both, since they are still within its bounds, and their wealth and persons still at its command? Could the Goodwin Sands be laid dry by banks, and land equal to a large country thereby gained to England, and presently filled with English inhabitants, would it be right to deprive such inhabitants of the common privileges enjoyed by other Englishmen, the right of vending their produce in the same ports, or of making their own shoes, because a merchant or a shoemaker, living on the old land, might fancy it more for his advantage to trade or make shoes for them? Would this be right, even if the land were gained at the expence of the state? And would it not seem less right, if the charge and labour of gaining the additional territory to Britain had been borne by the settlers themselves? And would not the hardship appear yet greater, if the people of the new country should be allowed no representatives in the parliament enacting such impositions? Now I look on the colonies as so many counties gained to Great Britain, and more advantageous to it than if they had been gained out of the seas around its coasts, and joined to its land: For being in different climates, they afford greater variety of produce, and being separated by the ocean, they increase much more its shipping and seamen; and since they are all included in the British empire, which has only extended itself by their means; and the strength and wealth of the parts are the strength and wealth of the whole; what imports it to the general state, whether a merchant, a smith, or a hatter, grow rich in Old or New England? And if, through increase of people, two smiths are wanted for one employed before, why may not the _new_ smith be allowed to live and thrive in the _new_ country, as well as the _old_ one in the _old_? In fine, why should the countenance of a state be _partially_ afforded to its people, unless it be most in favour of those who have most merit? And if there be any difference, those who have most contributed to enlarge Britain's empire and commerce, increase her strength, her wealth, and the numbers of her people, at the risk of their own lives and private fortunes in new.
Page 545
Whereas a freeborn _Englishman_ ought not to be ashamed or afraid to see or speak to any Man living.
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But whatever they were, I suppose he has sent copies of them hither, having heard some whisperings about them.
Page 674
Till this is done, which can only be by a Revolution (and I think you have not Virtue enough left to procure one), your Nation will always be plundered, and obliged to pay by Taxes the Plunderers for Plundering and Ruining.
Page 714
They should not be suffered to remain, with [all] their new-created Chivalry, _entirely_ in the Situation of the Gentleman in the Story, which their _omnia reliquit_ reminds me of.
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