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 46

bulk of commerce, for
which we fight and destroy each other, but the toil of millions for
superfluities, to the great hazard and loss of many lives by the
constant dangers of the sea? How much labour is spent in building and
fitting great ships to go to China and Arabia for tea and coffee, to the
West Indies for sugar, to America for tobacco? These things can not be
called the necessaries of life, for our ancestors lived very comfortably
without them.

A question may be asked. Could all these people, now employed in
raising, making, or carrying superfluities, be subsisted by raising
necessaries? I think they might. The world is large, and a great part of
it still uncultivated. Many hundred millions of acres in Asia, Africa,
and America are still in a forest, and a great deal even in Europe. On a
hundred acres of this forest a man might become a substantial farmer;
and a hundred thousand men, employed in clearing each his hundred acres,
would hardly brighten a spot big enough to be visible from the moon,
unless with Herschel's telescope; so vast are the regions still in wood.

It is, however, some comfort to reflect, that, upon the whole, the
quantity of industry and prudence among mankind exceeds the quantity of
idleness and folly. Hence the increase of good buildings, farms
cultivated, and populous cities filled with wealth, all over Europe,
which a few ages since were only to be found on the coast of the
Mediterranean; and this, notwithstanding the mad wars continually
raging, by which are often destroyed in one year the works of many
years' peace. So that we may hope the luxury of a few merchants on the
coast will not be the ruin of America.

One reflection more, and I will end this long, rambling letter. Almost
all the parts of our bodies require some expense. The feet demand shoes;
the legs stockings; and the rest of the body clothing; and the belly a
good deal of victuals. Our eyes, though exceedingly useful, ask, when
reasonable, only the cheap assistance of spectacles, which could not
much impair our finances. But the eyes of other people are the eyes that
ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine
clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.

* * * * *


Veritas luce clarior.[3]

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

Page 21
106 What We Know is Right 107 What is Campbellism? 156 What must I do to be Saved 317 Where is the Army of the Lord 251 Where is the Power 213 Who Crucified the Savior 195 Whom the Lord Receives 294 Why Infidels Oppose the Bible 423 Wielding the Sword of the Spirit 284 Will You also Go Away 35 Women in the Church 194 Young Preachers Must Be Practical .
Page 23
What an everlasting reason we find here for a most energetic, persevering, and godly effort to rescue them and bring them to God.
Page 58
We find “the body of Christ,” “the kingdom of God,” and “the Church of God,” spoken of in Scripture.
Page 67
We are writing for the good of the cause, and we rejoice to believe that we have the men, an extended body of them, able ministers of the gospel, who are devoted to the work, and willing to do anything in their power to advance the cause.
Page 72
But, put the question, What did you learn? and silence would reign.
Page 107
IS IT POSSIBLE TO AROUSE THE PEOPLE? Is it not possible to rescue the people from the pernicious and blinding influences of speculative theories and theorists, and induce them to receive the simple faith of Christ, become his disciples, love him and serve him? Have the leaders of the people, in these times, as they did in the days of the Lord’s pilgrimage on earth, stolen away the key of knowledge, and fastened them down with such an impenetrable spell of thick darkness that they are unwilling to be rescued from this servile slavery to human speculation to the rejection of the sun of righteousness? Or is the world so lost, the mind of the people so bewitched, the delusions around us so enchanting, that it is impossible to attract the attention of the people, arrest their affections or impress their hearts, by the love of God to man, by the sufferings of Christ, by all the divine sanctions.
Page 131
We do not make the terms, but simply exhort men to comply with them, as found in the Book of God.
Page 136
It is like cold, which is simply the absence of heat; for the suffering, in the absence of heat, is from want of heat.
Page 144
How perfectly had all worldly considerations dwindled into nothingness when the apostle counted all things but loss, that he might win Christ, and when he estimated the intolerable affliction imposed upon him, _light_, compared with the eternal _weight of glory_ in prospect! Such heavenly mindedness is the direct tendency of persecution, and only calculated to make the glories of christianity shine with greater luster, and, consequently, serves not the designs of those by whom it is inflicted.
Page 152
We can extend to him all the amenities and courtesies of life as a fellow-creature, citizen, neighbor, gentleman, etc.
Page 156
Let us not rely on _our own_ position, but the one the Lord has appointed; _our.
Page 158
Men who want good indorsers should be good men.
Page 171
It is not _inventive_ genius we need in the Church, nor _explorers_ to _invent_ something new, or to _make discoveries_; but we need humble and honest men, who know and love the truth, and will press it on the world.
Page 174
Great King, are well pleased with him and his law.
Page 255
Here it is argued that God foreknows “only in consequence of his decree.
Page 271
After we have governed the churches by the law of God, fifty years, they have advanced to the discovery that there is no church government in the law of God.
Page 272
_ To convert the world to Christ, put men under him as their Leader, Savior and everlasting trust, to follow him for evermore.
Page 290
Page 293
His _profession_ was too sacred to be alluded to without his being insulted.
Page 321
What a list must that be! What a spectacle must this world be, with all its dark crimes and acts of rebellion against the Majesty of heaven and earth, to the eye of the omniscient One! Every den of drunkenness, debauchery, profanity, lying and gambling, lies spread open to the All-seeing eye.