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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 268


It will be said, perhaps, that _God permits evil Actions to be done,
for_ wise _Ends and Purposes_. But this Objection destroys itself; for
whatever an infinitely good God hath wise Ends in suffering to _be_,
must be good, is thereby made good, and cannot be otherwise.

VI. _If a Creature is made by God, it must depend upon God, and receive
all its Power from Him, with which Power the Creature can do nothing
contrary to the Will of God, because God is Almighty; what is not
contrary to His Will, must be agreeable to it; what is agreeable to it,
must be good, because He is Good; therefore a Creature can do nothing
but what is good._

This Proposition is much to the same Purpose with the former, but more
particular; and its Conclusion is as just and evident. Tho' a Creature
may do many Actions which by his Fellow Creatures will be nam'd _Evil_,
and which will naturally and necessarily cause or bring upon the Doer,
certain _Pains_ (which will likewise be call'd _Punishments_;) yet this
Proposition proves, that he cannot act what will be in itself really
Ill, or displeasing to God. And that the painful Consequences of his
evil Actions (_so call'd_) are not, as indeed they ought not to be,
_Punishments_ or Unhappinesses, will be shewn hereafter.

Nevertheless, the late learned Author of _The Religion of Nature_,
(which I send you herewith) has given us a Rule or Scheme, whereby to
discover which of our Actions ought to be esteem'd and denominated
_good_, and which _evil_; It is in short this, "Every Action which is
done according to _Truth_, is good; and every Action contrary to Truth,
is evil: To act according to Truth is to use and esteem every Thing as
what it is, &c. Thus if _A_ steals a Horse from _B_, and rides away upon
him, he uses him not as what he is in Truth, _viz._ the Property of
another, but as his own, which is contrary to Truth, and therefore
_evil_." But, as this Gentleman himself says, (Sect. I. Prop. VI.) "In
order to judge rightly what any Thing is, it must be consider'd, not
only what it is in one Respect, but also what it may be in any other
Respect; and the whole Description of the Thing ought to be taken in: So
in this Case it ought to be consider'd, that _A_ is naturally a
_covetous_ Being, feeling an Uneasiness in the want of _B's_ Horse,
which produces an Inclination for stealing him, stronger than his Fear
of Punishment for so

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

Page 9
Franklin's writing in pencil in the margin of Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the impressing of seamen .
Page 23
but I must pass it, not only for the reason mentioned, but want of room besides.
Page 38
The first shews the spout to be a contracted rain, instead of the diffused one that follows; and the latter that the cloud was not formed by ascending water, for then it would have ceased growing when the spout vanished.
Page 45
The encrease of the surface of any body lessens its weight, both in air, and water, or any other fluid, as appears by the slow descent of leaf-gold in the air.
Page 78
But being naturally aukward at every circumstance of ceremony, I shall not attempt it.
Page 88
The din of the market[19] increases upon me; and that, with frequent interruptions, has, I find, made me say some things twice over; and, I suppose, forget some others I intended to say.
Page 90
Superior beings smile at our theories, and at our presumption in making them.
Page 93
the same with that, which, being attracted by, and entering into other more solid matter, dilates the substance by separating the constituent particles, and so rendering some solids fluid, and maintaining the fluidity of others; of which fluid, when our bodies are totally deprived, they are said to be frozen; when they have a proper quantity, they are in health, and fit to perform all their functions; it is then called natural heat; when too much, it is called fever; and when forced into the body in too great a quantity from without, it gives pain, by separating and destroying the flesh, and is then called burning, and the fluid so entering and acting is called fire.
Page 111
Our friend Sir John Pringle, being soon after in Scotland, learned there, that those employed in the herring-fishery could at a distance see where the shoals of herrings were, by the smoothness of the water over them, which might possibly be occasioned, he thought,.
Page 121
Page 140
It is well to have the command of them.
Page 153
| | | | |Oct 29, 1776 | | Nov | | | | | | | | | | | | 1| 10 | | | 78 |WSW | E½N | 109 |No ob|68 12| | | --| | 4 | 71 | 81 | | | | | | | | 2| 8 | | 71 | 75 | N | | | | |Some sparks in | | --| 12 | | | 78 | | | 141 |ditto|65 23|the water these| | --| | 4 | 67 | 76 | | | | | |two last nights| | 3| 8 | | | 76 | NW | ESE½E| | | | | | --| 12 | | | 76 | | EbS | 160 |37 0|62 7| .
Page 206
If the motion upwards of the air in a chimney that is freely supplied, be observed by the rising of the smoke or a feather in it, and it be considered that in the time such feather takes in rising from the fire to the top of the chimney, a column of air equal to the content of the funnel must be discharged, and an equal quantity supplied from the room below, it will appear absolutely impossible that this operation should go.
Page 287
The club, for which it was written, was held at Philadelphia; and, if I am well informed, was composed of men considerable for their influence and discretion; for though the chief measures of Pensylvania usually received their first formation in this club, it existed for thirty years without the nature of its institution being publicly known.
Page 292
Then let fine gilt books be given as prizes to such boys, as distinguish themselves, and excel the others in any branch of learning, making three degrees of comparison: giving the best prize to him, that performs best; a less valuable one to him, that comes.
Page 305
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Page 371
Franklin's answer to, 367.
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