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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 88

a man can make melody in his heart to the Lord “with
an organ,” a fiddle, banjo, clarionet, lute, fife or jew’s-harp, we
do not know, nor do we believe it. We want to do what is written, and
enjoin it on others, to do it. What is not written we do not want to
do. When the Lord so minutely describes _how_ we are to do anything, we
want to do it in that _way_. The _way_ he prescribes will do the thing
commanded; some other _way_ might not do what is commanded at all.


In our generation, a vast amount of ink and breath is wasted in writing
and preaching about infant sin, infant salvation, idiots, etc. There is
one thing certain about it, and that is, that our writing and preaching
about infant sin, infant salvation, Christ dying for infants and
idiots, never saved an infant, an idiot, or anybody else. We do not, by
our writing and preaching about them, make them sinful or righteous. It
is simply writing and preaching _about_ them, and not _to them_, and
certainly can do them no good. It is purely curious and speculative,
pleasant for men and women to talk about, who will not love and obey
the Savior themselves.

There are some things so clear in themselves that all can see them
on the mere mention of them. Infants and idiots can not understand,
believe, receive, reject, or obey the gospel. They can not repent,
pray, praise God or rejoice. The gospel is simply not addressed to
them. Infants and idiots are plainly and simply not _gospel subjects_.
How are they then to be saved? What salvation do you mean? Salvation
from _sin_, do you say? What sin? They never _sinned_, and have no
_actual_ sin, as the schoolmen style it. They are under no guilt. They
never transgressed any law, human or divine. They never rejected Christ
nor the gospel. They have no _personal_ sin or guilt; no personal
condemnation, and need no personal justification. The justification
we receive in believing and obeying the gospel, is from our _own
sins_, actual sins, sins we have committed ourselves. Infants have
no sins of this kind and need not this justification. The remission
of sins received, in turning to God, is for _sinners_; those who, in
their own persons have committed sins, and not for infants, who have
never sinned—who have no sins of this kind. They have no guilt, no
condemnation, and need no salvation from “old sins,” as Peter has it,
or past sins. They have no sins of this

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Notwithstanding the stroke of humour in the concluding paragraph of this address, Poor Richard (Saunders) and Father Abraham have proved, in America, that they are no common preachers.
Page 1
half bound 1 0 Wonders of the Horse, recorded in Anecdotes, Prose and Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Tales of the Robin & other Small Birds, in Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Instructive Conversation Cards, consisting .
Page 2
I stopped my horse, lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods.
Page 3
[Illustration: Published by W.
Page 4
"Fly pleasures and they will follow you.
Page 5
'So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful.
Page 6
Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think "it is day, and will never be night:" that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding; but "Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom," as Poor Richard says; and then, "When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.
Page 7
" [Illustration: Published by W.
Page 8
When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as Poor Richard says, "Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.
Page 9
' * * * * * Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue.