The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 341

the same practice both here and in New England.--To account
for this, we should remember, that the doctrine of _toleration_ was
not then known, or had not prevailed in the world. Persecution was
therefore not so much the fault of the sect as of the times. It was
not in those days deemed wrong _in itself_. The general opinion
was only, that those _who are in error_ ought not to persecute
_the truth_: but the _possessors of truth_ were in the right to
persecute error, in order to destroy it. Thus every sect believing
itself possessed of _all truth_, and that every tenet differing from
theirs was _error_, conceived, that when the power was in their
hands, persecution was a duty required of them by that God whom they
supposed to be offended with heresy.--By degrees, more moderate _and
more modest_ sentiments have taken place in the christian world;
and among protestants particularly, all disclaim persecution, none
vindicate it, and few practise it.--We should then cease to reproach
each other with what was done by our ancestors, but judge of the
present character of sects or churches by their _present conduct_

Now to determine on the justice of this charge against the present
dissenters, particularly those in America, let us consider the
following facts. They went from England to establish a new country
for themselves, _at their own expence_, where they might enjoy
the free exercise of religion in their own way. When they had
purchased the territory of the natives, they granted the lands out
in townships, requiring for it neither purchase-money nor quit-rent,
but this condition only to be complied with, that the freeholders
should support a gospel-minister (meaning probably one of the then
governing sects) and a free-school, within the township. Thus,
what is commonly called presbyterianism became the _established
religion_ of that country. All went on well in this way, while the
same religious opinions were general, the support of minister and
school being raised by a proportionate tax on the lands. But, in
process of time, some becoming quakers[99], some baptists, and of
late years, some returning to the church of England (through the
laudable endeavours and a _proper application_[100] of their funds
by the society for propagating the gospel), objections were made
to the payment of a tax appropriated to the support of a church
they disapproved and had forsaken. The civil magistrates, however,
continued for a time to collect and apply the tax according to the
original laws, which remained in force; and they did it the more
freely as thinking it just and equitable, that the holders of lands
should pay what

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

Page 16
188 Saved without Baptism 299 Scene in a Hotel 314 Sectarianism 357 Self-laudation 328 Shorter Catechism of Universalians 446 Small Improprieties and Annoyances 409 Speak Pleasantly 179 Spirit of Indifference 118 Some Things can not be Settled 50 Sound Men 225 Subtleties about Immersion 92 Suggestions to a Young Sceptic .
Page 24
The third epistle of Peter is the one in which they find their likeness, and they are following the directions in that epistle.
Page 42
Page 61
Are men receiving any _new_ revelations now? The Mormons and Spiritualists think they are.
Page 83
We can see why a man should want information about a country or a place where he intends or expects to go, but why any man should always be talking about a country or place to which he does not intend or expect to go, we never could see.
Page 122
Many of them, old men, that formerly had the spirit of the Lord, preached Christ with great power, with their souls full of the love of God, converted sinners, edified and comforted the children of God, now sit in the company of worldlings, read and discuss politics on the Lord’s day, while the house of God is forsaken.
Page 126
There were, in the days of our Lord’s pilgrimage, a class of materialists, who not only denied the resurrection of the.
Page 155
_ It leads him to exercise the utmost discrimination, to distinguish between truth and error, that he may not be imposed on and deceived, and induced to think something is the truth that is not, and thus have a spurious article imposed on him.
Page 190
) In III.
Page 193
Our opinions are worth nothing in reference to those who can not do what the Lord commands.
Page 221
He further asserts that the gospel which he preached, he did not receive from man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Page 236
But, to keep up the parties now in existence, and defend the peculiarities upon which they are predicated, and from which they receive their very existence, is considered _serving God_.
Page 254
“Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion,” is a standard work among Presbyterians, and used as a text-book in their theological schools.
Page 258
Jesuits can only excel in being Jesuits; schemers can only excel in scheming; but “the excellency of the power” that pushed this cause through this country was not of Jesuits nor schemers, but of God; the preaching of the cross, the wisdom of God and the power of God.
Page 273
Go not in your own strength, nor in your own name, and rely not upon your own wisdom.
Page 292
They read nothing, unless it be some silly love tale, book of fashion, or mere novel.
Page 302
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in the heavenly regions.
Page 312
A large proportion of all the work that has been done is the result of the sacrifices, labors and toils of this class of men.
Page 319
They will exchange the love of party for the love of Christ, and find it so much higher, holier, purer and happier, that they will ignore all party feuds, wrangling and strifes, and maintain simply “the faith once delivered to the saints.
Page 332
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