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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 93

seen from the Scriptures already cited, that in the former ages,
when they danced as a religious exercise, it was always in daylight,
and in no case promiscuous dancing of men and women together, and the
_time_ for it was when the Lord had wrought some great deliverance or
brought some signal, given some great victory.

Job xxi. 11-18: “They send forth their little ones like a flock, and
the children dance. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the
sound of the organ. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment
go down to the grave. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for
we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that
we should serve him? and what profit should we have if we pray unto
him?, Lo, their good is not in their hand; the counsel of the wicked
is far from me. How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how
oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his
anger. They are as stubble before the wind, as chaff that the storm
carrieth away.” Here we have a terrible description of the dancers for
pleasure, amusement; of their godless character and utter ruin.

Mark vi. 22: “And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and
danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said to
the damsel, Ask of me whatever you will, and I will give it to you.
And he swore to her, Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give to you,
to the half of my kingdom. And she went forth and said to her mother,
What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she
came in straightway with haste to the king, and asked, saying, I will
that you give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.”
Here we have a fine sample of the taste, the spirit and refinement of
the dancer and her mother. What had John the Baptist done that his head
should come off to gratify the mother of a dancing damsel? John had
said, “It is not lawful for you” (Herod) “to have your brother’s wife.”
This insulted Mrs. Herod, and she sought and obtained revenge through
her dancing daughter and a rash vow of the king. What a reward this for
dancing and pleasing the king—the head of the best man in his kingdom,
a prophet from God! This was dancing for pleasure,

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

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TO PARENTS, GOVERNESSES, AND SCHOOL MASTERS.
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Proprietors, W.
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Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
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There are no gains without pains; then help hands, for I have no lands;" or if I have, they are smartly taxed.
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'But with our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others: for, as Poor Richard says, "I never saw an oft-removed tree, Nor yet an oft-removed family, That throve so well as those that settled be.
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1, 1805.
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Poor Dick farther advises, and says, "Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse, Ere fancy you.
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1, 1805.
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'This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them.
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* * * * * Transcriber's Notes: Only the most obvious and clear punctuation errors repaired.