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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 99

higher assurance
of the preparation of the heart, the designs and resolutions being
genuine, and bind the individual no more solemnly to be faithful to the
end. The confession that God requires, is the greatest confession that
man can make, and the making of it is the best evidence a man can give
that his heart is right. The first test of loyalty God has required
of the penitent confessor, is the strongest, highest, and most solemn
to which man can submit, and the submission to it, is the strongest
evidence of loyalty the person can give. The authority that requires
this submission, is the highest and most binding that can rest upon
a human being; and, if it does not govern, control and restrain the
person, no authority can.

If such a confession as this—one that takes in God and man, heaven
and earth, the Savior and his words, the whole revelation from God,
the sublime confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, made in a
proper manner, will not show that the heart is right. You need not add
any such catechisms or experiences as are common in these times. They
are all perfect nothingness compared with this great confession, which,
like the spider’s web, may catch flies and gnats, while the dangerous
wasp and hornet will pass through with ease. The safe ground, and the
only safe ground, is to follow the simple and infallible leadings of
the Spirit of God. Appeal to the sacred record, and examine his divine
and unerring procedure the day he came down from heaven and guided the
apostles into all truth. What did he require of men on that day, before
receiving them into the church? Follow him as he guided the apostles in
all the cases of conversion mentioned in the sacred record. What did he
require in all these cases? The same must be required now, and no more.
We must be led by the Spirit of God, in converting sinners, and not by
human creeds; we must be guided by the wisdom of God and not by the
wisdom of man; we must have confidence in the ways of God and show no
hankering after the ways of man. God will depart from all who turn away
from the simplicity of the apostolic practice, under the immediate
guidance of the Holy Spirit. No man is led by, or has the spirit, who
has not full confidence in requiring precisely the same of all who
enter the church required by the apostles, as by the Holy Spirit, who
guided them. He simply

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 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

Page 27
The governor gave me an ample letter, saying many flattering things of me to my father, and strongly recommending the project of my setting up at Philadelphia, as a thing that would make my fortune.
Page 43
_ as long as I stayed in London.
Page 49
I told him his wish was unnecessary, for I would leave him that instant; and so, taking my hat, walked out of doors, desiring Meredith, whom I saw below, to take care of some things I left and bring them to my lodgings.
Page 56
I wrote him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment, craving his forbearance a little longer, which he allowed me; as soon as I was able, I paid the principal with the interest, and many thanks: so that _erratum_ was in some degree corrected.
Page 60
For though I did indeed receive and send papers by the post, yet the public opinion was otherwise; for what I did send was by bribing the riders, who took them privately; Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it, which occasioned some resentment on my part, and I thought so meanly of the practice, that, when I afterward came into his situation, I took care never to imitate it.
Page 66
Page 68
"MY DEAREST SIR, "When I had read over your sheets of minutes of the principal incidents of your life, recovered for you by your Quaker acquaintance, I told you I would send you a letter expressing my reasons why I thought it would be useful to complete and publish it as he desired.
Page 86
My scheme of _Order_ gave me the most trouble; and I found that though it might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman-printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours.
Page 111
I had lived near what was called the Jersey market, and saw, with pain, the inhabitants wading in mud while purchasing their provisions.
Page 114
I then judged that if that feeble woman could sweep such a street in three hours, a strong, active man might have done it in half the time.
Page 118
They get victory sometimes, but they never get good-will, which would be of more use to them.
Page 123
While I was at the camp, supping one evening with the officers of Colonel Dunbar's regiment, he represented to me his concern for the subalterns, who, he said, were generally not in affluence, and could ill afford, in this dear country, to lay in the stores that might be necessary in so long a march through a wilderness where nothing was to be purchased.
Page 137
I therefore never answered Monsieur Nollet, and the event gave me no cause to repent my silence; for my friend, Monsieur Le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up my cause and refuted him: my book was translated into the Italian, German, and Latin languages; and the doctrine it contained was, by degrees, generally adopted by the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of the abbe; so that he lived to see himself the last of his sect, except Monsieur B----, of Paris, his _eleve_ and immediate disciple.
Page 160
Franklin, in which he ably opposed the principles laid down in the preface to Mr.
Page 172
Franklin, by one of his intimate friends, is so ably and accurately drawn, that we cannot refrain adding it to the foregoing.
Page 174
In the private deportment of his life, he in many respects has furnished a most excellent model.
Page 184
_ Perhaps a third.
Page 194
This is the strongest of all proofs that the colonies, far from being unwilling to bear a share of the burden, did exceed their proportion; for if they had done less, or had only equalled their proportion, there would have been no room or reason for compensation.
Page 209
We cannot, even against our enemies, take advantage of an act of God.
Page 210
" "Nay," said he, "you must not kill a man that has done no harm, only for being white.