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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 82

not what you call it, we
become an insignificant sect, a denomination, a christian sect, and
will be nothing more forever. _Ichabod_ will be written on us. But that
day _will never come_. Mark that. We hope that none among us will ever
make the experiment, but if they do, they will simply land in faction,
to dwindle away and die.

But, we have come to a crisis, and, it is predicted, we will soon come
to nothing if we do not do something. We intend to _do something_ and
are _doing something_, but not forming ecclesiastical confederations
to bind burdens on the necks of the people, nor scheming to get
_clerical power_. We have come to no crisis. The few scheming men that
have so fully demonstrated their aim, have come to a _crisis_ and to
a _complete defeat_. But that will not produce any perceptible jar in
the movements of the hosts of Israel. That is a mere circumstance. The
Lord’s hosts are in motion and the work is going on. Why stand with a
human figment in view, when we have stupendous matters of fact before
our eyes? Look into the columns of our publications and see the reports
that come up every week from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, and
from the North of the Dominion of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and
tell us what of the crisis? The men in the field at work have come to
no crisis and to no panic. The Lord of hosts is with them, and they are
not to be turned aside from their work.

Read the accounts of churches established every week, the houses for
worship built, the preachers coming over from the ranks of Babylon, as
well as private members, and the vast acquisition to their numbers from
the world, and then tell us what of the crisis! Go into the field and
_go to work_, every man, in faith and hope and love, and win souls to
Christ, and the Lord of hosts will be with you, and good brethren will
come up to the help of the Lord and support you. But if we continue
the schemes that are now confessedly _failures_, or devise new ones,
we will dry up the fountains of liberality till we can do nothing. The
children of God will give money to convert and _save sinners_, but they
will not give money to _build up a hierarchy_.


We are not inattentive to the suggestion that we are wearing ourselves
out in holding protracted meetings, and that we should devote ourself

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 19
it, which my brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me in an unfavorable light, as a young genius that had a turn for libelling and satyr.
Page 27
In the mean time the intention was to be kept a secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the governor sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great honor I thought it, and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly manner imaginable.
Page 36
I was backward; seemed desirous of being excused; had not had sufficient time to correct, etc.
Page 37
But, as I may not have occasion again to mention the other two, I shall just remark here, that Watson died in my arms a few years after, much lamented, being the best of our set.
Page 38
I picked out six or seven, that, by the handwriting, I thought might be the promised letters, especially as one of them was directed to Basket, the king's printer, and another to some stationer.
Page 40
Circulating libraries were not then in use; but we agreed that, on certain reasonable terms, which I have now forgotten, I might take, read, and.
Page 45
She was lame in her knees with the gout, and, therefore, seldom stirred out of her room, so sometimes wanted company; and hers was so highly amusing to me, that I was sure to spend an evening with her whenever she desired it.
Page 51
to live very agreeably, for they all respected me the more, as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and that from me they learned something daily.
Page 54
Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures.
Page 59
Page 74
Reading was the only amusement I allow'd myself.
Page 84
" And I believe this may have been the case with many, who, having, for want of some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits.
Page 88
I have, however, found the following.
Page 89
My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun and spread at first among young and single men only; that each person to be initiated should not only declare his assent to such creed, but should have exercised himself with the thirteen weeks' examination and practice of the virtues, as in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of such a society should be kept a secret, till it was become considerable, to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper persons, but that the members should each of them search among his acquaintance for ingenuous, well-disposed youths, to whom, with prudent caution, the scheme should be gradually communicated; that the members should engage to afford their advice, assistance, and support to each other in promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement in life; that, for distinction, we should be call'd The Society of the Free and Easy: free, as being, by the general practice and habit of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice; and particularly by the practice of industry and frugality, free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, and a species of slavery to his creditors.
Page 98
Whitefield, who had made himself remarkable there as an itinerant preacher.
Page 106
Logan, who had always been of that sect, was one who wrote an address to them, declaring his approbation of defensive war, and supporting his opinion by many strong.
Page 136
By this act I was appointed one of the commissioners for disposing of the money, sixty thousand pounds.
Page 147
He said much to me, also, of the proprietor's good disposition towards the province, and of the advantage it might be to us all, and to me in particular, if the opposition that had been so long continu'd to his measures was dropt, and harmony restor'd between him and the people; in effecting which, it was thought no one could be more serviceable than myself; and I might depend on adequate acknowledgments and recompenses, etc.
Page 150
his lordship's letters were not ready; and yet whoever waited on him found him always at his desk, pen in hand, and concluded he must needs write abundantly.
Page 155
This was a most pleasing spectacle to those who had been so long without any other prospects than the uniform view of a vacant ocean, and it gave us the more pleasure as we were now free from the anxieties which the state of war occasion'd.