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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 269

doing. This is _Truth_ likewise, and _A_ acts
according to it when he steals the Horse. Besides, if it is prov'd to be
a _Truth_, that _A_ has not Power over his own Actions, it will be
indisputable that he acts according to Truth, and impossible he should
do otherwise.

I would not be understood by this to encourage or defend Theft; 'tis
only for the sake of the Argument, and will certainly have no _ill
Effect_. The Order and Course of Things will not be affected by
Reasoning of this Kind; and 'tis as just and necessary, and as much
according to Truth, for _B_ to dislike and punish the Theft of his
Horse, as it is for _A_ to steal him.

VII. _If the Creature is thus limited in his Actions, being able to do
only such Things as God would have him to do, and not being able to
refuse doing what God would have done; then he can have no such Thing as
Liberty, Free-will or Power to do or refrain an Action._

By _Liberty_ is sometimes understood the Absence of Opposition; and in
this Sense, indeed, all our Actions may be said to be the Effects of our
Liberty: But it is a Liberty of the same Nature with the Fall of a heavy
Body to the Ground; it has Liberty to fall, that is, it meets with
nothing to hinder its Fall, but at the same Time it is necessitated to
fall, and has no Power or Liberty to remain suspended.

But let us take the Argument in another View, and suppose ourselves to
be, in the common sense of the Word, _Free Agents_. As Man is a Part of
this great Machine, the Universe, his regular Acting is requisite to the
regular moving of the whole. Among the many Things which lie before him
to be done, he may, as he is at Liberty and his Choice influenc'd by
nothing, (for so it must be, or he is not at Liberty) chuse any one, and
refuse the rest. Now there is every Moment something _best_ to be done,
which is alone then _good_, and with respect to which, every Thing else
is at that Time _evil_. In order to know which is best to be done, and
which not, it is requisite that we should have at one View all the
intricate Consequences of every Action with respect to the general Order
and Scheme of the Universe, both present and future; but they are
innumerable and incomprehensible by any Thing but Omniscience. As we
cannot know these,

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 7
My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me in continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, which I may experience as others have done; the complexion of my future fortune being known to Him.
Page 12
In the latter, indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had to educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping him close to his trade; but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading people, who consulted him for his opinion in affairs.
Page 25
2.
Page 28
Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time had many clean-dressed people in it, who were all walking the same way.
Page 32
The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I liked it.
Page 35
I received on the way Vernon's money, without which we could hardly have finished our journey.
Page 36
His drinking continued, about which we sometimes quarreled; for, when a little intoxicated, he was very fractious.
Page 46
I copied and sent him a great part of it, which set in a strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope of advancement.
Page 54
Stephen Potts, a young countryman of full age, bred to the same, of uncommon natural parts, and great wit and humor, but a little idle.
Page 55
My acquaintance with ingenious people in the town increased.
Page 65
, for in those matters he was very judicious.
Page 87
I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner: the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly; the modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong; and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.
Page 88
"That as soon as a party has gained its general point, each member becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, and occasions .
Page 96
] requires also that this examination be daily repeated.
Page 98
When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.
Page 129
The British government, not choosing to permit the union of the colonies as proposed at Albany, and to trust that union with their defense, lest they should thereby grow too military and feel their own strength, suspicions and jealousies at this time being entertained of them, sent over General Braddock with two regiments of regular English troops for that purpose.
Page 138
As soon as the loss of the wagons and horses was generally known, all the owners came upon me for the valuation which I had given bond to pay.
Page 145
This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancor against me, which was before not a little on account of my conduct in the Assembly respecting the exemption of his estate from taxation, which I had always opposed very warmly, and not without severe reflections on his meanness and injustice of contending for it.
Page 149
Dr.
Page 162
We replied that the act had no such intention, and would have no such effect; that the assessors were honest and discreet men under an oath to assess fairly and equitably, and that any advantage each of them might expect in lessening his own tax by augmenting that of the proprietaries was too trifling to induce them to perjure themselves.