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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 276

Approaches of Rest. This
makes an Equivalent tho' Annihilation should follow: For the Quantity of
_Pleasure_ and _Pain_ is not to be measur'd by its Duration, any more
than the Quantity of Matter by its Extension; and as one cubic Inch may
be made to contain, by Condensation, as much Matter as would fill ten
thousand cubic Feet, being more expanded, so one single Moment of
_Pleasure_ may outweigh and compensate an Age of _Pain_.

It was owing to their Ignorance of the Nature of Pleasure and Pain that
the Antient Heathens believ'd the idle Fable of their _Elizium_, that
State of uninterrupted Ease and Happiness! The Thing is intirely
impossible in Nature! Are not the Pleasures of the Spring made such by
the Disagreeableness of the Winter? Is not the Pleasure of fair Weather
owing to the Unpleasantness of foul? Certainly. Were it then always
Spring, were the Fields always green and nourishing, and the Weather
constantly serene and fair, the Pleasure would pall and die upon our
Hands; it would cease to be Pleasure to us, when it is not usher'd in by
Uneasiness. Could the Philosopher visit, in reality, every Star and
Planet with as much Ease and Swiftness as he can now visit their Ideas,
and pass from one to another of them in the Imagination; it would be a
_Pleasure_ I grant; but it would be only in proportion to the _Desire_
of accomplishing it, and that would be no greater than the _Uneasiness_
suffer'd in the Want of it. The Accomplishment of a long and difficult
Journey yields a great _Pleasure_; but if we could take a Trip to the
Moon and back again, as frequently and with as much Ease as we can go
and come from Market, the Satisfaction would be just the same.

The _Immateriality_ of the Soul has been frequently made use of as an
Argument for its _Immortality_; but let us consider, that tho' it should
be allow'd to be immaterial, and consequently its Parts incapable of
Separation or Destruction by any Thing material, yet by Experience we
find, that it is not incapable of Cessation of _Thought_, which is its
Action. When the Body is but a little indispos'd it has an evident
Effect upon the Mind; and a right Disposition of the Organs is requisite
to a right Manner of Thinking. In a sound Sleep sometimes, or in a
Swoon, we cease to think at all; tho' the Soul is not therefore then
annihilated, but _exists_ all the while tho' it does not _act_; and may
not this probably be the Case

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 7
159 To Samuel Huntingdon, President of Congress 160 To the Bishop of St.
Page 17
And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person; it creates envy;.
Page 29
We do not pretend to merit anything of God, for he is above our services; and the benefits he confers on us are the effects of his goodness and bounty.
Page 33
Sleep, when it follows, will be natural and undisturbed; while indolence, with full feeding, occasions nightmares and horrors inexpressible; we fall from precipices, are assaulted by wild beasts, murderers, and demons, and experience every variety of distress.
Page 50
Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.
Page 73
Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful? And do they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burden! On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent.
Page 77
There is a much better contrivance than this of the philosopher, which is, to cover the walls of the house with paper; this is generally done, and though it cannot abolish, it at least shortens the period of female dominion.
Page 86
He never said so much to me, it is true; but he always received me very kindly at his house, and openly countenanced my courtship.
Page 97
I know nothing of that affair but what you write me, except that I think Miss Betsey a very agreeable, sweet-tempered, good girl, who has had a housewifery education, and will make, to a good husband, a very good wife.
Page 103
London, April 11, 1767.
Page 109
I think I formerly took notice to you in conversation, that I thought there had.
Page 111
You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen; and you have escaped the unnatural state.
Page 118
Britain, at the expense of three millions, has killed one hundred and fifty Yankees this campaign, which is 20,000_l.
Page 120
's, are getting into some business that may afford them subsistence.
Page 163
But it is the will of God and nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life.
Page 168
Barclay was elected.
Page 191
Of all wells, from one fathom to six or seven, the water flew out at the top with a vehement motion.
Page 202
In such case the upper air will become the heavier, the lower the lighter.
Page 209
Now let us suppose a tract of land or sea, of perhaps sixty miles square, unscreened by clouds and unfanned by winds during great.
Page 223
Now if the quantity of fire before contained or diffused in the snow and salt was expelled in the uniting of the two matters, it must be driven away either through the air or the vessel containing them.