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

By Benjamin Franklin

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Calvinism, convinced that "The love
of God is a calm and rational thing, the result of thought and
consideration."[i-60] His biographer thinks that Mayhew was "the first
clergyman in New England who expressly and openly opposed the scholastic
doctrine of the trinity."[i-61] Coupling "natural and revealed
religion," he does not threaten but he urges that one "ought not to
leave the clear light of revelation.... It becomes us to adhere to the
holy Scriptures as our only rule of faith and practice, discipline and
worship."[i-62] In Mayhew one finds an impotent compromise between
Calvinism and the demands of reason, fostered by the Enlightenment. Like
Mayhew's, in the main, are the views of Dr. Charles Chauncy, who
reconciled the demands of reason and revelation, concluding that "the
voice of reason is the voice of God."[i-63] Jason Haven and Jonas Clarke
are typical of the orthodox rationalists who were alive to the
implications of science, and to such rationalists as Tillotson and
Locke. Haven affirms that "by the light of reason and nature, we are led
to believe in, and adore God, not only as the maker, but also as the
governor of all things."[i-64] "Revelation comes in to the assistance of
reason, and shews them to us in a clearer light than we could see them
without its aid." Clarke observes that "the light of nature teaches,
which revelation confirms."[i-65] Rev. Henry Cumings, illustrating his
indebtedness to scientific rationalism, honors "the gracious Parent of
the universe, whose tender mercies are over all his works ...,"[i-66] a
Deity "whose providence governs the world; whose voice all nature obeys;
to whose controul all second causes and subordinate agents are subject;
and whose sole prerogative it is to dispense blessings or calamities, as
to his wisdom seems best."[i-67] Simeon Howard discovers the
"perfections of the Deity, as displayed in the Creation" as well as in
the "government and redemption of the world."[i-68] Both Phillips
Payson[i-69] and Andrew Eliot[i-70] affirm the identity of "the voice of
reason, and the voice of God."

No clergyman of the eighteenth century was more terribly conscious of
the polarity of colonial thought than was Ezra Stiles. Abiel Holmes has
told the graphic story of Stiles's struggles with deism after reading
Pope, Whiston, Boyle, Trenchard and Gordon, Butler, Tindal, Collins,
Bolingbroke, and Shaftesbury.[i-71] If he finally, as a result of his
trembling and fearful doubt, reaffirmed zealously his faith in the
bibliolatry and relentless dogma of Calvinism,[i-72] Newtonian
rationalism was a means to his recovery, and throughout his life a
complement to his Calvinism.[i-73] Turning from his well-worn Bible, the
chief source of his faith, he also kindled his "devotion

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Text Comparison with A Book of Gems Choice selections from the writings of Benjamin Franklin

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Page 46
Go on and speak to them the word of the Lord—the words of everlasting life—turn them to God and save them.
Page 83
We have thought of this matter much, both before and since we saw the suggestion, and find it not so easy to determine what ought to be done.
Page 85
There is no benevolence in tampering with the divine penalties in any way, either in out-and-out denying the existence of any punishment after death, or modifying it.
Page 96
To give up a creed just like the Bible, and take the Bible itself as a rule of faith and practice, a man would lose nothing, for he would find all his creed in the Bible.
Page 115
No matter if repentance is not mentioned in Saul’s conversion.
Page 127
Hence Peter says, “We were eye witnesses of His majesty, for he received from God the Father, honor, and glory, when there came such a voice from the excellent glory.
Page 152
feel kindly toward him as a fellow-creature, as a citizen, neighbor or gentleman, if he is one, but we do not know him as a preacher of Jesus, nor a teacher in the kingdom at all.
Page 164
He gave himself for that church.
Page 192
We do not believe the Lord will accept meeting in two or three conventions in a year, and making three or four contributions and a few speeches for missionary work.
Page 210
Indeed, we can not conceive anything more incompatible with all enlightenment and all revelation, than to awaken the human soul to a sense of its danger, without affording a knowledge of the means of escape.
Page 215
You must resolve that you will put off the interest of your soul no longer, but that you will go earnestly about the matter, and seek and persist in seeking, until your sins are pardoned.
Page 218
Time seems doubly long to them.
Page 234
It is deplored always, or at least the occasion of it.
Page 240
To see a person who can not go three squares to the house of God on foot, especially if it should be a little unpleasant, who can dance till midnight, “for amusement,” speaking of its being _healthful_, is ridiculous in the extreme.
Page 261
In religion, on the part of the man of faith, certain principles are settled, and not to be opened anew, and investigated from the foundation, every time any new phase may appear.
Page 273
” The examination was to _precede_ the eating, and not to decide whether.
Page 281
” Now for the charitable part of his discourse: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
Page 283
“That servant who knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
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These men do not desire large wages for their work.