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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 78

for the saints,
pays a poor compliment to his brain and his ability as a preacher,
and a poorer compliment to the worshippers who have to be thus _drawn
out_. It is virtually a surrender to the world, and an acknowledgement
on the part of the preacher, that he has no confidence in the gospel,
or his ability to preach to attract the attention of the people, draw
them out, or turn them to God when they are drawn out. The church
that resorts to such artifices to draw the people out, virtually
acknowledges that she has no influence to _draw_ the people out; that
the preacher has no influence to _draw_ them out; that _their_ gospel
and worship have no power to _draw_ them out; but they have found out
what will _draw_ them out. A fine temple of show, extravagance and
folly; a popular choir, an organ, ice cream, strawberry festivals,
musical concerts, church fairs, etc., etc. These will draw. Certainly
they will. But what becomes of the preacher, the gospel, the worship
and the church? What becomes of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and
all that is divine?

Christ had not “where to lay his head.” What does that prove? Not
that his followers should not have where to lay their heads, or that
preachers should not; but, if following him and serving him should
reduce them to such destitution that they would not have where to lay
their heads, they should bear it patiently and not murmur, remembering
that their Lord and Master had not where to lay his head.

“Christ traveled on foot and preached.” What does that prove—that
preachers must _always_ travel on foot? Not at all. The Lord did not
always travel on foot. What then? That a preacher should travel on
foot if need be. We have traveled on foot to preach and would do it
again before we would give up preaching. We, therefore, take the cars,
steamboat, stage, private conveyance, any means most convenient.


But, now, why this constant higgling over _immersion_? Why this
continual getting up some kind of smoke about it, mist or confusion? It
is the right thing—the precise thing the Lord commanded. Why, then,
try to get up confusion about where it was obtained? Why not condemn
faith because we did not obtain it from the right people? It is the
_right thing_, but then a man obtained it in a _sectarian church_.
Ought he not to throw it aside, and obtain faith from the right source?
Then, where did a man get the gospel? Did he get it

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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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114 To the same 115 To the same 116 To Miss Stevenson 119 To Lord Kames 120 To the same 121 To the same 128 To John Alleyne .
Page 23
' "'It may be well to do so,' said Glaucon.
Page 42
_ If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, for which he contracts debts and ends his days in prison, _Alas!_ say I, _he has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.
Page 43
The skipper of a shallop, employed between Cape May and Philadelphia, had done us some small service, for which he refused to be paid.
Page 48
Pharmanes the philosopher told the Romans that truth was the centre on which all things rested: a chart to sail by, a remedy for all evils, and a light to the whole world.
Page 55
The present prospect of pleasure seems to bound their views, and the more distant scenes of happiness, when what they now propose shall be attained, do not strike their imagination.
Page 75
The walls are in a few minutes stripped of their furniture: paintings, prints, and looking-glasses lie in a huddled heap about the floors; the curtains are torn from the testers, the beds crammed into the windows; chairs and tables, bedsteads and cradles, crowd the yard; and the garden fence bends beneath the weight of carpets, blankets, cloth cloaks, old coats, and ragged breeches.
Page 100
_ "Craven-street, May 16, 1760.
Page 106
The present ministry are perplexed, and the measures they will finally take on the occasion are yet unknown.
Page 123
[20] Without too great expense.
Page 133
"The best wishes that can be formed for your health, honour, and happiness, ever attend you, from yours, &c.
Page 139
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most mischievous kind of gaming, mixed blood; and if a stop is not now put to the practice, mankind may hereafter be more plagued with American corsairs than they have been and are with the Turkish.
Page 152
It is plain he took us for a species of animals very little superior to brutes.
Page 158
My son's son (Temple Franklin), whom you have also seen, having had a fine farm of 600 acres conveyed to him by his father when we were at Southampton, has dropped for the present his views of acting in the political line, and applies himself ardently to the study and practice of agriculture.
Page 159
Bache after my departure for France, lay dormant among his papers during all my absence, and has just now broke out upon me _like words_ that had been, as somebody says, _congealed in Northern air_.
Page 175
But think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women, and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes, who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue, and retain them in the practice of it till it becomes _habitual_, which is the great point of its security.
Page 194
What becomes of that fluid? Does it rise above our atmosphere, and mix with the universal mass of the same kind? Or does a spherical stratum of it, denser, as less mixed with air, attracted by this globe, and repelled or pushed up only to a certain height from its surface by the greater weight of air, remain there surrounding the globe, and proceeding with it round the sun? In such case, as there may be a continuity of communication of this fluid through the air quite down to the earth, is it not by the vibrations given to it by the sun that light appears to us? And may it not be that every one of the infinitely small vibrations, striking common matter with a certain force, enters its substance, is held there by attraction, and augmented by succeeding vibrations till the matter has received as much as their force.
Page 210
And as the several currents arrive at this central rising column with a considerable degree of horizontal motion, they cannot suddenly change it to a vertical motion; therefore, as they gradually, in approaching the whirl, decline from right curved or circular lines, so, having joined the whirl, they _ascend_ by a spiral motion, in the same manner as the water _descends_ spirally through the hole in the tub before mentioned.