The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 73

in form of articles of agreement to be subscribed, by which
each subscriber engag'd to pay a certain sum down for the first
purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them. So
few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of
us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to find more than
fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this
purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this
little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was opened
one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory
notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution
soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other
provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became
fashionable; and our people, having no publick amusements to divert
their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in
a few years were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more
intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned articles, which were to
be binding upon us, our heirs, etc., for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the
scrivener, said to us, "You are young men, but it is scarcely probable
that any of you will live to see the expiration of the term fix'd in
the instrument." A number of us, however, are yet living; but the
instrument was after a few years rendered null by a charter that
incorporated and gave perpetuity to the company.

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the
subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's
self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be suppos'd to
raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's
neighbors, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that
project. I therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and
stated it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested me to
go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers of reading. In
this way my affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after practis'd it
on such occasions; and, from my frequent successes, can heartily
recommend it. The present little sacrifice of your vanity will
afterwards be amply repaid. If it remains a while uncertain to whom
the merit belongs, some one more vain than yourself will

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

Page 29
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They judge of this love by his integrity to the Lord, as seen in a strict adherence to the gospel, the teaching of the Lord and his apostles; his example; his appointed worship; all he said and did; his devotion to the Lord in all respects; a settled and determined adherence to him in all things.
Page 49
, all of which we have a right to form in any way which we may conceive most conducive to the interests of the Redeemer’s cause.
Page 53
We have made a standing arrangement for paper this year, of which the present pamphlet is a sample, and we shall do our utmost to have the whole volume printed in a neat and legible manner.
Page 54
It can not live and the obstruction remain, at least, only for a short time.
Page 99
God will depart from all who turn away from the simplicity of the apostolic practice, under the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Page 101
Here is where we must look for Evangelists.
Page 104
If men live in unbelief, commit some capital offence,.
Page 120
When arraigned before Pilate, and charged with claiming to be a king, he explained the matter, and obviated the charge, or set it aside, by saying, “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Page 128
the man Moses was there separate from the body; alive, conscious, and held a conversation with the Lord, in regard to his great sufferings to be accomplished at Jerusalem.
Page 140
The immersion in the Spirit is not _into one_ body, or _into_ anything.
Page 222
The Lord never taught his disciples to keep the seventh or Sabbath day, nor did his apostles ever teach this.
Page 228
The men who believe the gospel, who love it, and hold on to it—keep the faith, press it to their hearts, love and reverence him who gave it, will live co-existent with the years of God.
Page 234
It is deplored always, or at least the occasion of it.
Page 269
Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius.
Page 292
” Can a man of sense believe that he strengthens the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life, and still believe that he is doing good in preaching that all men shall have life? When our Universalist friends get so that they can answer these questions and explain the difficulties involved clearly and satisfactorily, the people may become satisfied that they _are not sceptics_.
Page 293
It turned out that one was present, and, as if to publish himself as a live dancing master, distinguish himself and render himself as notorious as possible, immediately after the allusion to men of his calling, he cast his eye around the house, and saw all eyes upon him, when he bounced from his seat and went stamping out of the house, as if he intended trying the strength of the floor, every time he set down his foot.
Page 294
If the preacher is a man of enterprise, he can have an engagement for a sermon, a lecture, a meeting for prayer, or something of the kind almost every night, either in the church, or some place in a short distance in the community, where he may be waking up some interest among the people.
Page 328
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Editors and preachers now-a-days think theirs is a toilsome, weary lot.