Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 25

complex factors.

Reinforcing Edwards's Great Awakening, George Whitefield, especially in
the Middle Colonies, challenged the growing complacence of colonial
religious thought with his insistence that man "is by nature half-brute
and half-devil." It has been suggested that Methodism in effect allied
itself with the attitudes of Hobbes and Mandeville in attacking man's
nature, and hence by reaction tended to provoke "a primitivism based on
the doctrine of natural benevolence."[i-27]

The "New English Israel" was harried by the Quakers,[i-28] who preached
the priesthood of all believers and the right of private judgment. They
denied the total depravity of the natural man and the doctrine of
election; they gloried in a loving Father, and scourged the
ecclesiastical pomp and ceremony of other religions. They were possessed
by a blunt enthusiasm which held the immediate private revelation
anterior to scriptural revelation. Faithful to the inner light, the
Quakers seemed to neglect Scripture. Although the less extreme Quakers,
such as John Woolman, did not blind themselves to the need for personal
introspection and self-conquest, Quakerism as a movement tended to place
the greater emphasis on morality articulate in terms of fellow-service,
and lent momentum to the rise of humanitarianism expressed in prison
reform and anti-slavery agitation. Also one may wonder to what extent
colonial Quakerism tended to lend sanction to the rising democratic

In the person of Cotton Mather, until recently considered a bigoted
incarnation of the "Puritan spirit ... become ossified," are discovered
forces which, when divorced from Puritan theology, were to become the
sharpest wedges splintering the deep-rooted oak of the Old Way. These
forces were the authority of reason and science. In _The Christian
Philosopher_,[i-29] basing his attitude on the works of Ray, Derham,
Cheyne, and Grew,[i-30] Mather attempted to shatter the Calvinists'
antithesis between science and theology, asserting "that [Natural]
Philosophy is no Enemy, but a mighty and wondrous Incentive to
Religion."[i-31] He warned that since even Mahomet with the aid of
reason found the Workman in his Work, Christian theologians should fear
"lest a Mahometan be called in for thy Condemnation!"[i-32] Studying
nature's sublime order, one must be blind if his thoughts are not
carried heavenward to "admire that Wisdom itself!" Although Mather
mistrusted Reason, he accepted it as "the voice of God"--an experience
which enabled him to discover the workmanship of the Deity in nature.
Magnetism, the vegetable kingdom, the stars infer a harmonious order, so
wondrous that only a God could have created it. If Reason is no complete
substitute for Scripture it offers enough evidence to hiss atheism out
of the world: "A Being that must be superior to Matter, even the Creator
and Governor of all Matter,

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 3
216 Opinions and conjectures, concerning the properties and effects of the electrical matter, and the means of preserving buildings, ships, &c.
Page 49
I applied very assiduously to my work; but I expended with Ralph almost all that I earned.
Page 75
The Godfreys expressed some resentment at this: and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me in possession of the whole house.
Page 88
In pursuance of an article in the original plan, a school for educating sixty boys and thirty girls (in the charter.
Page 89
since called the Charitable School) was opened; and amidst all the difficulties with which the trustees have struggled in respect to their funds, has still been continued full for the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for each boy and girl admitted into it, which is the general rule, at least twelve hundred children have received in it the chief part of their education, who might otherwise, in a great measure, have been left without the means of instruction.
Page 90
Franklin for his opinion, gave rise to that correspondence which terminated about a year afterwards, in erecting the college upon the foundation of the academy, and establishing that gentleman at the head of both, where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six years, to preside with distinguished reputation.
Page 113
Page 148
And also how electrical clouds may be carried within land very far from the sea, before they have an opportunity to strike.
Page 166
When the glass has received, and, by its attraction, forced closer together so much of this electric fluid, as that the power of attracting and condensing in the one, is equal to the power of.
Page 177
This (by the way) shews a new relation between metals and water heretofore unknown.
Page 199
Page 202
And it is probable, that all bodies whatsoever may have the quantity they contain of the electrical fluid, increased, or diminished.
Page 212
It would certainly, as you observe, be the easiest of all deaths.
Page 218
Air takes a sensible time to diffuse itself equally, as is manifest from winds which often blow for a considerable time together from the same point, and with a velocity even in the greatest storms, not exceeding, as it is said, sixty miles an hour: but the electric fire seems propagated instantaneously, taking up no perceptible time in going very great distances.
Page 228
wire, the whole quantity of electric fluid contained in the wire is, probably, put in motion at once.
Page 230
is founded, may be well enough accounted for without it.
Page 276
was done, and my family was only found a good deal frightened with the violence of the explosion.
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_ TO M.
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After the electric matter was spewed out as above from the hook of the phial prepared for the Leyden experiment, I hung another phial, in like manner prepared, to a hook fixed in the coating of the first, and held this other phial in my hand; now if there was any electric matter transmitted through the glass of the first phial, the second one would certainly receive and collect it; but having kept the phials in this situation for a considerable time, during which the globe was continually turned, I could not perceive that the second phial was in the least charged, for when I touched the hook with my finger, as in the Leyden experiment, I did not feel the least commotion, nor perceive any spark to issue from the hook.
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_Cabinet-work_, veneered in England, shrinks and flies in America, ii.