The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 54

childhood piously in the Dissenting way. But I
was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as
I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt
of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands;
they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's
Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary
to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which
were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the
refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments
perverted some others, particularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of
them having afterwards wrong'd me greatly without the least
compunction, and recollecting Keith's conduct towards me (who was
another freethinker), and my own towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at
times gave me great trouble, I began to suspect that this doctrine,
tho' it might be true, was not very useful. My London pamphlet, which
had for its motto these lines of Dryden:

"Whatever is, is right. Though purblind man
Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link:
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam,
That poises all above;"

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness and
power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world, and
that vice and virtue were empty distinctions, no such things existing,
appear'd now not so clever a performance as I once thought it; and I
doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself unperceiv'd into
my argument, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is common in
metaphysical reasonings.

I grew convinc'd that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings
between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of
life; and I form'd written resolutions, which still remain in my
journal book, to practice them ever while I lived. Revelation had
indeed no weight with me, as such; but I entertain'd an opinion that,
though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by
it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably these actions might
be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they
were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the circumstances of
things considered.

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

Page 15
422 Reason, Providence, and the Spirit of God, Teach us to Obey God 150 Receiving Sinners without Baptism 175 Reckless Twaddle 78 Recognition of, by Sects 301 Reflections for Dancers 112 Reformation a Success 96 Reign of a Thousand Years 263 Religion and Politics 336 Resurrection—Adamic Sin 325 Resurrection of Lazarus 89 Revelation of the Mystery 372 Riches of Faith .
Page 26
The only fear we have is, that when they look and see the vastness of the work, they will think, like one of old, “There be more against us than for us.
Page 37
Those who appeal to entertainments, amusements, fine companies of men and women, the dance, lotteries, festivals, fairs, etc.
Page 40
_ Let us do the work, seek the simplicity of Jesus and the humility of children.
Page 73
We must have them for the instruction of the vast numbers who have been brought in without understanding them, and who must understand them before they can be intelligent christians, and we must have them for the multitudes who have never been brought to God.
Page 92
vi.
Page 94
We are sorry that we have forgotten so much of the comment and so many of the good points in the discourse.
Page 104
All such we entreat, to study and labor to do the Lord’s work, and he will supply their wants out of his inexhaustible storehouse.
Page 111
From the one original.
Page 121
all ground of suspicion against him, as an aspirant to the throne, or any other part in the civil government, or one who would in any way meddle in the civil institutions of his country, by declaring that his kingdom is not of this world.
Page 125
—Nothing like this can be found in this life.
Page 169
These persons are not Bible characters, and these religions are not Bible religions.
Page 190
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church.
Page 229
We know him, love him and regard him; therefore we know that what proceeds from him is infallible, and love it and regard it.
Page 237
If ever the adversary of man discovered an effectual stratagem, by means of which to defeat all piety, and do execution in opposing the faith of God’s elect, it was when he succeeded in sowing the seeds of dissension in the church of God.
Page 285
Now, the precise opposite of this is true of every human creed on earth.
Page 289
Luther, Calvin, Wesley and Clarke, admitted that the ancient practice was immersion, but they thought sprinkling or pouring _would do_.
Page 299
” In the same Spirit, the New Testament closes, saying, “Whoever _will_, let him come.
Page 315
P.
Page 327
The book ought to have a large sale.