The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 187

of cedar, the arms so long as
to reach to the four corners of a large thin silk handkerchief when
extended; tie the corners of the handkerchief to the extremities
of the cross, so you have the body of a kite; which being properly
accommodated with a tail, loop, and string, will rise in the air,
like those made of paper; but this being of silk is fitter to bear
the wet and wind of a thunder-gust without tearing. To the top of
the upright stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp pointed
wire, rising a foot or more above the wood. To the end of the twine,
next the hand, is to be tied a silk ribbon, and where the silk and
twine join, a key may be fastened. This kite is to be raised when a
thunder-gust appears to be coming on, and the person who holds the
string must stand within a door or window, or under some cover, so
that the silk ribbon may not be wet; and care must be taken that the
twine does not touch the frame of the door or window. As soon as
any of the thunder clouds come over the kite, the pointed wire will
draw the electric fire from them, and the kite, with all the twine,
will be electrified, and the loose filaments of the twine will stand
out every way, and be attracted by an approaching finger. And when
the rain has wetted the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the
electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from
the key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key the phial may
be charged; and from electric fire thus obtained, spirits may be
kindled, and all the other electric experiments be performed, which
are usually done by the help of a rubbed glass globe or tube, and
thereby the sameness of the electric matter with that of lightning
completely demonstrated.



_Hypothesis, of the Sea being the grand Source of Lightning,
retracted. Positive, and sometimes negative, Electricity of the
Clouds discovered.--New Experiments and Conjectures in Support of
this Discovery.--Observations recommended for ascertaining the
Direction of the electric Fluid.--Size of Rods for Conductors to
Buildings.--Appearance of a Thunder-Cloud described._

_Philadelphia, September, 1753._


In my former paper on this subject, written first in 1747, enlarged
and sent to England in 1749, I considered the sea as the grand source

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

Page 5
65 Belief in the Bible is Infallibly Safe 371 Believers only to be Baptized 350 Bible Names 368 Bodies Resurrected, not Spirits 395 Born of Water and the Spirit 21 Boundary Line of Repentance 166 Branches of the Church 292 Cain’s Wife 105 Call no Man Reverend 30 Can not a Man know that he is a Christian 381 Christianity 159 Christian Zeal 196 Christmas .
Page 12
Divine Plan 246 No Preachers on Dancing 12 No Side Structure 59 Not of One Class 295 Not Receiving the Reformation, but Christ 68 Not to Keep Company 419 Observing the Sabbath 333 One Baptism 190 One Idea Ism 56 One Immersion 410 One Religion 235 One Way to God .
Page 26
In a few instances entire congregations may be carried away with worldly policies and appliances; but the whole number thus lost will amount to but little, compared with the grand throng that will stand together for the faith once delivered to the saints, and that will go on.
Page 85
Page 108
of the blood of the everlasting covenant, by the glories of heaven, or the terrors of hell, to turn to the Lord and follow him who loved us and gave himself for us? Is the public mind so distracted, and are the people so confused and lost to all that God has said and done, that they can not be induced to love Christ better than all human theories, regard him and feel the force of all his love to our lost and ruined world? Are the people so set upon gnawing the bone of contention, keeping up sectarian feuds; disputing upon the lifeless, soulless and profitless controversies thrust upon them, that they will neither hear the Lord nor be interested in the word of his grace? Must the public mind be wholly occupied with the useless distinctions between the views of men, the useless comparisons of doctrines and commandments of men, the comparative merits of different human systems, and an eternal train of customs unknown to the primitive church, thus bewildering the people and blinding their minds that they may neither see the Lord nor regard his authority? Is it impossible to bring the authority of the Almighty again to bear upon the world, to lift up the Lord before the people, that he may draw all men unto him, convert them to the Lord and place them under him? Is it impossible to rescue the people from the blinding influences of these times—from being merely followers of men, and believing human theories, which have no power to save, in the place of believing the great truth, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures—that he was buried, and that he rose from the dead? Is it impossible to interest the public mind with the things of God—with the revelation from God to man, with the religion of Christ itself? Is the love of God gone from the world? Has the Holy Spirit of God abandoned the church? Is the human race mad, insane and ruined, so that all pleadings and entreaties to turn to God must fail? Must the holy religion of Christ be set aside for the silly disputes of these times? Shall that holy religion that saved such vast multitudes in the days of the apostles, fired the hearts of the missionaries of the cross and supported the holy martyrs in passing through all the cruel scourgings, tortures and privations for the name of the Lord, be contemned, despised and rejected by the people of our day? O, that God would enable us to _arouse_ the people of this.
Page 119
Christianity literally subverts everything else, sets aside all isms, doctrines and commandments of men of every grade, as the most insignificant childish play.
Page 135
If a man would deny, repudiate, and condemn all the foundations of all the houses in his city, or if he would go and tear his neighbor’s foundations all down, it would give him no foundation for a house, but would simply put them in the same condition with himself—that is, _without any foundation_.
Page 149
Page 161
Why do men regret to hear us say of a man, “He is a gospel man;” “He is a sound man;” “He is a New Testament man.
Page 169
This ends all controversy about their claims to be the true religion.
Page 182
He reads up and keeps fully posted in all that is transpiring among us, and is fully alive to all the dangers now threatening the cause—the insidious steps now tending to undermine and overthrow all we have done.
Page 187
It has caused the blood of fifty millions of martyrs to flow.
Page 196
All the followers of Christ are members of this one body, or citizens of this one kingdom.
Page 197
We must resist all broad-guagism, liberalism, this terrible demoralization, and maintain the purity of the religion of Christ itself.
Page 213
We answered, “a cup of cold water sir, if you please, when dinner is ready.
Page 230
A mere earthly truth, even if proved by divine testimony, could produce no more than an earthly impression; but a heavenly truth, if proved by earthly testimony, would produce a heavenly impression.
Page 242
We claim that the religion of Jesus Christ is a complete, perfect and divine system, in itself; distinct from, superior to, and as high above every thing else as heaven is above this earth; and that all who desire to do so, can determine what it is, practice it and be christians.
Page 262
What more could there be than the Scriptures require? _Then, if there is something more than the Scriptures require, how did any man find it out?_ And, still further, what is it? _If it is not required in Scripture, how does any man know that it is required at all?_ Of course we mean on the human part, or that which is required _of man_.
Page 294
The preacher must make it an every day work to preach.
Page 306
” There is no telling the evils that have arisen in some old congregations, from preachers assuming that their audiences knew all about what are usually called first principles, and not preaching them.