Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 29

inclination,
wrong his neighbours, and eat, and drink, &c., to excess.

But perhaps it may be said, that by the word _virtue_ in the above
assertion is meant merit; and so it should stand thus: Without
self-denial there is no merit, and the greater the self-denial the
greater the merit.

The self-denial here meant must be when our inclinations are towards
vice, or else it would still be nonsense.

By merit is understood desert; and when we say a man merits, we mean
that he deserves praise or reward.

We do not pretend to merit anything of God, for he is above our
services; and the benefits he confers on us are the effects of his
goodness and bounty.

All our merit, then, is with regard to one another, and from one to
another.

Taking, then, the assertion as it last stands,

If a man does me a service from a natural benevolent inclination, does
he deserve less of me than another, who does me the like kindness
against his inclination?

If I have two journeymen, one naturally industrious, the other idle, but
both perform a day's work equally good, ought I to give the latter the
most wages?

Indeed, lazy workmen are commonly observed to be more extravagant in
their demands than the industrious; for, if they have not more for their
work, they cannot live as well. But though it be true to a proverb that
lazy folks take the most pains, does it follow that they deserve the
most money?

If you were to employ servants in affairs of trust, would you not bid
more for one you knew was naturally honest than for one naturally
roguish, but who has lately acted honestly? For currents, whose natural
channel is dammed up till the new course is by time worn sufficiently
deep and become natural, are apt to break their banks. If one servant is
more valuable than another, has he not more merit than the other? and
yet this is not on account of superior self-denial.

Is a patriot not praiseworthy if public spirit is natural to him?

Is a pacing-horse less valuable for being a natural pacer?

Nor, in my opinion, has any man less merit for having, in general,
natural virtuous inclinations.

The truth is, that temperance, justice, charity, &c., are virtues,
whether practised with or against our inclinations; and the man who
practises them merits our love and esteem; and self-denial is neither
good nor bad but as it is applied. He that denies a vicious inclination,
is virtuous in proportion to his resolution; but the most perfect virtue
is above all temptation; such as the virtue

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

Page 34
"[i-103] Though Franklin may have stopped short of theoretical science,[i-104] he was not only interested in making devices but also in discovering immutable natural laws on which he could base his mechanics for making the world more habitable, less unknown and terrifying.
Page 44
He cast type, made paper molds, mixed inks, made contributions to press building, did engraving, forwarded experiments in stereotyping, and worked at logotypy.
Page 73
.
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[i-211] To Josiah Quincy, Sept.
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Jorgenson, C.
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M.
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] Thus I spent about 18 Months in London.
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|* *| * | * | | * | * | * | +--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ |R.
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pamphlet, entitled _Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania_.
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plump, and outweighed that great good Book by abundance.
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Among the old _Romans_ the Barbers were understood to be exactly of the same Complection I have here described.
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_Saint Monday_ is generally as duly kept by our working people as _Sunday_; the only difference is, that, instead of employing their time cheaply at church, they are wasting it expensively at the alehouse.
Page 669
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also amongst them.
Page 741
_' "But the Inconsistence that strikes me the most is, that between the Name of your City, Philadelphia, (_Brotherly Love_,) and the Spirit of Rancour, Malice, and _Hatred_ that breathes in its Newspapers.
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They therefore deferr'd their Answer till the Day following; when their Speaker began, by expressing their deep Sense of the kindness of the Virginia Government, in making them that Offer; "for we know," says he, "that you highly esteem the kind of Learning taught in those Colleges, and that the Maintenance of our young Men, while with you, would be very expensive to you.
Page 778
Succinct survey of Ralph in M.
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Etc.