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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 71

against the "collected passions, prejudices, and private
interests" of collective legislative bodies.[i-346] He wrote to Caleb
Whitefoord: "It is unlucky ... that the Wise and Good should be as
mortal as Common People and that they often die before others are found
fit to supply their Places."[i-347] The great proportion of mankind,
weak and selfish, need "the Motives of Religion to restrain them from
Vice."[i-348] No less extreme than J. Q. Adams's retort to Paine's
_Rights of Man_, that it is anarchic to trust government "to the custody
of a lawless and desperate rabble," was Franklin's distrust of the
unthinking majority.[i-349]

Having helped to free the colonies, Franklin fittingly became, if not
one of the fathers of the Constitution, then, due to the serenity with
which he helped to moderate the plans of extremists on both sides, at
least its godfather. If, as Mr. James M. Beck asserts, the success of
the Constitution has been the result of its approximation of the golden
mean, between monarchy and anarchy, the section and the nation, the
small and the large state, then its success may be attributed not a
little to Franklin's genius.[i-350] After small and large states had
waged a fruitless struggle over congressional representation, Franklin

The diversity of opinion turns on two points. If a
proportional representation takes place, the small States
contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an
equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large States
say their money will be in danger. When a broad table is to
be made, and the edges the artist takes
a little from both, and makes a good joint.[i-351]

The former imperialist could not logically become a state rights
advocate. Engrossed essentially in "promoting and securing the common
Good,"[i-352] he derided the advantage the greater state would have,
asserting that he "was originally of Opinion it would be better if every
Member of Congress, or our national Council, were to consider himself
rather as a Representative of the whole, than as an Agent for the
Interests of a particular State." When Mr. Randolph considered,

To negative all laws, passed by the several States,
contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the
articles of union: (the following words were added to this
clause on motion of Mr. Franklin, "or any Treaties

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

Page 25
They have but one idea ingrained and imprinted on their entire being, and that is to hang on with a grasp like death itself to the goods of this world.
Page 34
If we let go of the rule that governed the first church, what rule shall we adopt? If we cut loose from the divine, shall we adopt a human rule? If so, what human rule? Some one of these already made? or shall we have the presumption and folly to think we can make a better one than these human rules already in use? We are not ready to cut loose from the Jerusalem Church, its rule of faith and practice, its precept and example.
Page 56
A man addicted to one-ideaism, can no more cover it than a leopard can change his spots.
Page 91
One female danced alone.
Page 133
There is no noise about it.
Page 137
The mere absence of faith, of religion, doctrine and principles, most indisputably can do a man no good, and can have no power to save him in any sense.
Page 142
Page 143
This scheme of opposition was well tried during the first three centuries of the christian era, but, although it, to some extent, gratified the malice of the persecutors, it was never very successful.
Page 164
It is liberality to allow every man the same liberty you enjoy, but a sham, a pretence and hypocrisy to recognize him as a preacher of Jesus, when you do not believe he is in Christ, and would not give him the right hand of fellowship and take him into.
Page 173
There are but two things for men to do, who are not under the law of God.
Page 189
_ That there is no pardon of sin—that as you put your hand in the fire, the burn must follow—as you spend your money, you must become poor—as you dissipate, your physical energies must be impaired; so, as you sin, in all cases the penalty must follow.
Page 190
They are studying to know and do the will of God.
Page 219
The punishment in the world to come is threatened in view of _our own_, or what schoolmen call “_actual_ sin.
Page 234
Page 267
None claiming to be baptized with the Holy Spirit now prophesy.
Page 281
with men’s hands, as though he needs anything, seeing that he gives to all life, and breath, and all things, and has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined before the times appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.
Page 282
” I.
Page 295
Is it then more probable that he was sprinkled of John _in_ Jordan, than that he was immersed of John _in_ Jordan? It is a fact that after the Lord was baptized “he went up straightway _out of the water_.
Page 297
Not only so, but the answer of the Lord was inappropriate, if he had intended Peter to be Pope.
Page 330
Though you might not always agree with him, you always knew where he stood.