Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 83

keep both lines clear of
spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could get through a course
complete in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him
who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad
herbs at once (which would exceed his reach and his strength), but works
on one of the beds at a time, and having accomplished the first,
proceeds to a second, so I should have (I hoped) the encouraging
pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress made in virtue, by clearing
successively my lines of their spots, till, in the end, by a number of
courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen
week's daily examination.

This my little book had for its motto these lines from Addison's Cato:

"Here will I hold; if there's a power above us
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Through all her works), he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy."

Another from Cicero:

O vitae philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix et expultrixque vitiorum!
Unus dies bene, et ex praeceptis tuis actus, peccanti immortalitati est

"Oh Philosophy, guide of life! Diligent inquirer after virtue, and
banisher of vice! A single day well spent, and as thy precepts direct,
is to be preferred to an eternity of sin."

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of wisdom or virtue:

"Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and
honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and
necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I
formed the following little prayer, which was prefixed to my tables of
examination, for daily use.

"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase me in
that wisdom which discovers my truest interest: Strengthen my resolution
to perform what that wisdom dictates! Accept my kind offices to thy
other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours
to me."

I used also, sometimes, a little prayer which I took from Thomson's
Poems, viz.,

"Father of light and life, thou God supreme!
Oh teach me what is good; teach me thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit; and fill my soul

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 1
In this time, too, he found how prejudiced was the common English estimate of the value of the colonies.
Page 3
[2] "But the fighting face we put on and the reasoning we used with the insurgents .
Page 9
They had got an English Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened open with tapes under and within the cover of a joint stool.
Page 11
I was put to the grammar school[19] at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the church.
Page 28
He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls.
Page 46
Pemberton, at Batson's Coffee-house, who promised to give me an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extremely desirous; but this never happened.
Page 51
acquired a plentiful fortune in a few years.
Page 61
Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and, to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.
Page 74
I had some years before composed a little liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (in 1728), entitled "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion.
Page 79
Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T.
Page 94
It is true that, if you can clamber and get to the top of the staircase without using the steps, you will more easily gain them in descending; but certainly, if you begin with the lowest you will with more ease ascend to the top; and I would therefore offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the education of our youth, whether,--since many of those who begin with the Latin quit the same after spending some years without having made any great proficiency, and what they have learned becomes almost useless, so that their time has been lost,--it would not have been better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian, etc.
Page 113
; those, in case of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election from among the contributors.
Page 114
The office of justice of the peace I tried a little by attending a few courts and sitting on the bench to hear causes; but finding that more knowledge of the common law than I possessed was necessary to act in that station with credit, I gradually withdrew from it, excusing myself by my being obliged to attend the higher duties of a.
Page 116
with,' and it must be so.
Page 117
" This condition carried the bill through; for the members who had opposed the grant, and now conceived they might have the credit of being charitable without the expense, agreed to its passage; and then, in soliciting subscriptions among the people, we urged the conditional promise of the law as an additional motive to give, since every man's donation would be doubled; thus the clause worked both ways.
Page 120
An accidental occurrence had instructed me how much sweeping might be done in a little time.
Page 138
Bond, on some other occasion afterward, said that he did not like Franklin's forebodings.
Page 144
I forget how many companies we had, but we paraded.
Page 148
Collinson then gave them to Cave[184] for publication in his "Gentleman's Magazine;" but he chose to print them separately in a pamphlet, and Dr.
Page 157
While we stood there, the ship mended her pace, and soon left her neighbor far behind, which proved clearly what our captain suspected, that she was loaded too much by the head.