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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 85

or machine, counsel, design, and direction to an end
appearing in the whole frame, and in all the several pieces
of it, do necessarily infer the being and operation of some
intelligent architect or engineer, why shall not also in the
works of nature, that grandeur and magnificence, that
excellent contrivance for beauty, order, use &c. which is
observable in them, wherein they do as much transcend the
effects of human art as infinite power and wisdom exceeds
finite, infer the existence and efficacy of an omnipotent and
all-wise Creator?[i-450]

Then he directly referred to the Archbishop of Cambray's _Traite de
l'existence et des attributs de Dieu_. Oliver Elton observes that this
work "with its appeal to popular science, is the chief counterpart in
France to the 'physico-theology' current at the time in England."[i-451]
From the skeleton of the smallest animal, "the bones, the tendons, the
veins, the arteries, the nerves, the muscles, which compose the body of
a single man"[i-452] to "this vaulted sky" which turns "around so
regularly,"[i-453] all show "the infinite skill of its Author."[i-454]
Although Fenelon is applying Cartesian physics, here Descartes
reinforced Newtonianism; like Newton, Fenelon argued that cosmic motion
is ordered by "immutable laws," so "constant and so salutary."
Blackmore's _Creation, a Philosophical Poem_ (1712), aiming to
demonstrate "the existence of a God from the marks of wisdom, design,
contrivance, and the choice of ends and means, which appear in the
universe"[i-455] also furnished additional sanction for Franklin's
emphasis on the wondrous laws of the creation and the discovery of the
Deity in his Work. Like James Thomson, Blackmore seeks to show how

The long coherent chain of things we find
Leads to a Cause Supreme, a wise Creating Mind.[i-456]

In revolt against the contractile elements in Calvinism, Franklin
believed that God "is not offended, when he sees his Children solace
themselves in any manner of pleasant exercises and Innocent
Delights."[i-457] In his _Articles of Belief_ Franklin retains from his
_Dissertation_ his a priori concept of the Deity as a creator and
sustainer of "Wondrous Laws," immutable and beneficent. To the
depersonalized First Mover, however, he has added "some of those
Passions he has planted in us," and he suggests furthermore that the
Deity is mildly providential. A maker of systematic, if inhuman,
metaphysics in the _Dissertation_, the author of the _Articles_, in
spite of

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

Page 3
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73 Poimeen—Shepherd—Evangelist—Overseer 25 Policy in Preaching .
Page 29
We can comprehend but little of it.
Page 33
In an age when people compare themselves with their neighbors, look at the comparative size of their hymn books, the size, splendor and elegance of the temples in which they meet, the amount of money they raise, their church organs, festivals, choirs, popular preachers and numerical strength, the census is looked to with great concern; but where people are greatly devoted to the Lord, diligently striving to please him and be accepted of him in the great day, they are led to think of the piety of the people, their purity, their culture; their faith, and hope and love; their efforts to save men and build up the kingdom of God, and not to be troubled seriously about how they shall appear in the _census_.
Page 35
” Believes, in this passage, is literal.
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Infidelity has nothing for the world.
Page 74
Jesus, the Anointed, full of grace and truth, is the supreme authority.
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Page 147
” In the times of the ignorance before the gospel, this command to all men every where, to repent, did not exist.
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These are _professional singers_, chosen without any regard to their piety, and frequently without any regard to their moral character.
Page 236
Its evils are equal to the most brilliant description we have had.
Page 241
But pleasure-seekers are constantly devising how to while away time, to pass it off or murder it.
Page 245
He then promised it to Abraham, saying, “In thee, and in thy seed, all the nations of.
Page 248
But attention to this is no difference between _then_ and _now_, nor did the preacher, thirty years ago, fail to observe this difference, any more than now.
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Their cause is our cause, and their God is our God.
Page 270
Till recently, no difficulty was experienced in reducing it to practice.
Page 305
Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
Page 313
You have not time now to study the whole Bible and decide upon a sentence at a time, whether you believe it or not.
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Louis, Mo.
Page 328
These biographies of our great and good men should be read and studied by all, and especially our young preachers.