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

By Benjamin Franklin

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at the stars."
It should be remembered, however, that this tendency among Puritan
clergy to call science to the support of theology had been inaugurated
by Cotton Mather as early as 1693,[i-74] and that it was the Puritan
Mather whom Franklin acknowledged as having started him on his career
and influenced him, by his _Essays to do Good_, throughout life.

Only against this complex and as yet inadequately integrated background
of physical conditions and ideas (the dogmas of Puritanism, Quakerism,
Methodism, rationalism, scientific deism, economic and political
liberalism[i-75]--against a cosmic, social, and individual attitude, the
result of Old-World thought impinging on colonial thought and
environment) can one attempt to appraise adequately the mind and
achievements of Franklin, whose life was coterminous with the decay of
Puritan theocracy and the rise of rationalism, democracy, and science.


Franklin's penchant for projects manifests itself nowhere more fully
than in his schemes of education, both self and formal. One may deduce a
pattern of educational principles not undeservedly called Franklin's
_theories_ of education, theories which he successfully
institutionalized, from an examination of his Junto ("the best school of
philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the
province"[i-76]), his Philadelphia Library Company (his "first project
of a public nature"[i-77]), his _Proposal for Promoting Useful
Knowledge among the British Plantations in America_, calling for a
scientific society of ingenious men or virtuosi, his _Proposals Relating
to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania_ and _Idea of the English
School_, which eventually fathered the University of Pennsylvania, and
from his fragmentary notes in his correspondence.

Variously apotheosized, patronized, or damned for his practicality,
expediency, and opportunism, dramatized for his allegiance to
materiality, Franklin has commonly been viewed (and not only through the
popular imagination) as one fostering in the American mind an
unimaginative, utilitarian prudence, motivated by the pedestrian virtues
of industry, frugality, and thrift. Whatever the educational effect of
Franklin's life and writings on American readers, we shall find that his
works contain schemes and theories which _transcend_ the more mundane
habits and utilitarian biases ascribed to him.

Franklin progressively felt "the loss of the learned education" his
father had planned for him, as he realized in his hunger for knowledge
that he must repair the loss through assiduous reading, accomplished
during hours stolen from recreation and sleep.[i-78] Proudly he
confessed that reading was his "only amusement."[i-79] In 1727 he formed
the Junto, or Leather Apron Club, his first educational project.
Franklin was never more eclectic than when founding the Junto. To
prevent Boston homes from becoming "the porches of hell,"[i-80] Cotton
Mather had created mutual improvement societies through which neighbors
would help one another "with a

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

Page 7
259 Controversy 354 Controversy about the Spirit 355 Courtesy in Fellowship 231 Dancing is a Healthful Exercise 363 Dedication of Church Edifices 221 Delay in Turning to the Lord 282 Deluded 95 Design of Miracles 103 Developing the Talents of the Young 475 Dialogue about the Preacher 489 Disturbing Element 191 Eating the Lord’s Flesh and Drinking His Blood 40 Earnestly Contending for the Faith .
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462 Mark Those Who Cause Divisions 335 Men can and do Believe 345 Methodist Clerical Pretensions 265 Ministering Angels 58 Miracles 426 Moody and Sankey 267 My Church 403 My Kingdom is not of this World 466 No Campbellites 258 No Departure from the Jerusalem Church 20 No Division can come 48 No Modification of the.
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What was done on that day was not the same, no matter how we describe it, as the first act.
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And you can not accustom the body to it by piercing the thorn in deeper and deeper, till the body will become easy and comfortable; but you can in that way produce irritation, then inflammation, then mortification, and then death.
Page 59
As to clerical airs, the peculiar cut of the coat, the white necktie, and all other such “outward signs of inward grace,” they are the offspring of shallowness, weakness and folly, and wholly incompatible with the plainness, meekness and humility of Jesus and of good taste and sense.
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Many of them have been led into out-and-out infidelity.
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To these men we appeal and entreat them, in view of all that is dear to humanity; in view of the suffering Savior, and lost man; in view of their own children and the children of others, as well as the good of the world at large, to go into the field with a determination to preach the gospel of the grace of God; go everywhere, in the name of the Lord, where the people will.
Page 73
Somehow, from some source, we have a few among us who are styling the gospel “first principles,” and then insist that we must leave the first principles.
Page 85
There is an “everlasting punishment,” and no sound learning can make this mean everlasting _non-existence_.
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But men can not be happy—can not enjoy God, without justification, purification of heart and conscience; and, unless thus prepared for the enjoyment of God, they can not enjoy the world to come.
Page 124
One man, more curious to know the fate of the masses, than his own duty to God and man, in our Lord’s lifetime asked him: “Lord are there few that be saved?” To this the Lord responded: “Strive to enter in at the straight gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
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Who that has the grand theme of good tidings and great joy to all people, first announced by angels at the birth of our Lord and Savior, dwelling richly in his heart, can fail to have a burning and a constant zeal to spread the same grand and glorious theme to the ends of the earth, and thus contribute in causing it to bless the nations? If the winds of heaven and the waves of the sea, if the diseases of the sick and the terrors of death, if the graves of the dead and the gates of hades, were obedient to the mandate of Jesus Christ, and, if the veil of the temple was rent in twain, the rocks were sundered, the earth trembled and the sun was veiled in darkness when the Lord of glory died—should not the human heart always be filled, when his name is mentioned? If the mighty angels fall prostrate at the feet of Jesus, and hasten to perform the most.
Page 247
Christianity, therefore, in its embodied, or constitutional form, embraces christianity in its details.
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” _Con.
Page 270
Between Judaizers on the one hand, and Gnostic philosophers on the other, they amalgamated Christianity, Judaism and Paganism, and made Romanism.
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Burnet resides.