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Haurels, disgraced even in the opinion of their employ. ers. Your contempt of our understandings, in comparison with your own appeared to be not much better founded than that of our courage, if we may judge by this circumstance, that in whatever court of Europe a Yankee negociator appeared, the wise British minister was routed, -put in a passion,-picked a quarrel with your friends, -and was sent home with a flea in his ear. But after all, my dear friend, do not imagine that I am vain enough to ascribe our success to any superiority in any of those points. I am too well acquainted with all the springs and levers of our machine, not to see that our human means were unequal to our undertaking, and that, if it had not been for the justice of our cause, and the consequent interposition of Providence, in which we had faith, we must have been ruined. If I had ever before been an Atheist, I should now have been convinced of the being and government of a Deity! It is HE, who “abases the proud, and exalts the humble.” May we never forget his goodness to us, and may our future conduct manifest our gratitude!
Now, can any honest man, after this, entertain a doubt that Dr. Franklin was indeed, “in practice very much a christian.”
I am aware that some good men have been offended and I may add, grieved too, that Dr. Franklin should ever have spoken slightingly of faith, &c. But these gentlemen may rest assured, that Doctor Franklin did this only to keep people from laying such stress on faith, &c. as to neglect what is infinitely more important, even Love and Good Works. And in this grand view, do not the holy apostles, and even Christ himself treat these things in the saine way? Every where speaking of "faith, and baptism, and long pray, ers," when attempted to be put in place of love and good works, as mere "beggarly elements, and even "damning hypocrisies."? However, let honest men read the following letter on the subject, by Dr. Franklin hiinself. While it serves to remove their doubts and prejudices, it may go to prove that if he had errors in religion, they were not the errors of the heart; nor likely
to do any harm in the world, but contrariwise, to make us all much better christians, and happier men, than we are.
The letter is in answer to one from an illustrious foreigner; who, on a trip to Philadelphia, made Dr. Franklin a visit
. The doctor, for some malady, advised him to try electricity; and actually gave him several shocks. He had not long been gone, before he wrote Dr. Franklin a most flattering account of the effects of his electricity-begged him to be assured he should never forget such KINDNESS-and concluded with praying that they might both have grace to live a life of Faith, that if they were never to meet again in this world, they might at last meet in heaven.
DR. FRANKLIN'S ANSWER.
Philadelphia, June 6, 1753.
I received your kind letter of the 2d instant, and am glad that you increase in strength; I hope you will continue mending till you recover your former health.
As to the kindness you mention, the only thanks I desire is, that you would always be equally ready to serve any other
your assistance, and so let good offices go round, for MANKIND ARE all of a family.
For my own part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon myself as conferring favours, but as paying debts. In my travels, and since my settlement, I have received much kindness from men, to whom I shall never have any opportunity of making the least direct return-and pumberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our services. The kindness from men, I can, therefore, only return on their fellow men, and I can only show my gratitude for those mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other children, and my brethren. For I do not think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator. You will see in this my notion of good works; that I am far from expecting, as you suppose, to merit heaven by them. By heaven, we
understand a state of happiness; infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such REWARDS. · He that, for giving a draught of water to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands, compared with those who think they deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mixed imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world, are rather from God's goodness, than our merit; how much more such happiness as heaven. For my part, I have not the vanity to think I deserve it, the folly to expect it, nor the ambition to desire it; but content myself in submitting to the will and disposal of that God who made mewho has hitherto preserved and blessed memand in whose FATHERLY GOODNESS I may well confide, that he will never make me miserable and that even the afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to my benefit.
The faith you mention has, doubtless, its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished. But I wish it were more productive of good works than I have generally seen it, I mean real good works; works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday keeping, sermon reading or hearing, performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produced any fruit. Your great master thought much less of these outward appearances and professions than many of his modern disciples. He preferred the doers of the word to the mere hearers; the son that seemingly refused to obey his father, and yet performed his commands, to him that professed his readiness, but neglected the work; the heretical but charitable Samaritan, to the uncharitable though orthodox priest and sanctified Levite; and those who gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirs. ty, raiment to the naked, entertainment to the stranger, and relief to the sick, though they never heard of his name, he declares they shall in the last day be accepted, when those who cry Lord, Lord, who value themselves on their faith, though great enough to perform miracles, buthave neglected good works, shall be rejected. He professed he came "not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance," which implied his modest opinion, that there were some in his time so good, that they needed not to hear even him for improvement; but now-a-days, we have scarce a little parson that does not think it the duty of every man within his reach, to think exactly as se does, and that all dissenters offend God. I wish to such more humility, and to you health and happiness, being
Your friend and servant,
What but the spirit of immortal love, which, not con. tent with doing much good in kife, fondly looks beyond, and feasts on the happiness that others are to derive from us long after we have ceased to live on earth; what, I ask, but that love. could have dictated
DR. FRANKLIN'S WILL.
“When thou makest a feast, call not thy rich neighbours: lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be inade thee.
“But when thou makest a feast, call the poor; and thou shalt be blessed. For they cannot recompense thee, for thou shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
LUKE, c. 14. Sentiments divinely sublime! Who, without emotions indescribable, can read them! And yet if they were lost from the Bible, they might be found again in the Will of Benjamin Franklin.
While many others "rise early, and late take rest, and eat the bread of labour and care,” that they may "die rich”-leaving their massy treasures, some scanty legacies excepted, to corrupt a few proud relatives, doctor Franklin acted as though the above text, the true sublime of wisdom and benevolence, was before him.
After having bequeathed his books, a most voluminous and valuable collection, partly to his family, and partly
to the Boston and Philadelphia philosophical societies; and after having divided a handsome competence among his children and grand children; he goes on as follows:
“I. Having owed my first instructions in literature to the free grammar schools in Boston, I give one hundred pounds sterling to the free schools in that town, to be laid out in silver medals as honorary rewards for the encouragement of scholarship in those schools.
"II. All the debts to my post-office establishment, which I held many years, I leave to the Philadelphia hospital.
"III. Having always been of opinion, that in democratical governments, there ought to be no offices of: great profit, I have long determined to give a part of my public salary to public uses; and being chiefly indebted to Massachusetts, my native state, and Pennsylvania, my adopted state, for lucrative employments, I feel it my duty to remember them, and having from long obser vation, and 'my own early experience, discovered that the best objects for assistance are indigent young persons, and the best modes of assistance, a plain education, a good trade, and a little money to set them up; and having been set up in business, while a poor boy, in Philadelphia, by kind loans of money from two friends there, which was the foundation of my
fortune and all the usefulness that the world ascribed to me, I feel a wish to be useful, after my death, to others, in the loans of money, I therefore devote, from the savings of my salaries, the following sums, to the following persons and uses:
"]. To the inhabitants of Boston and Philadelphia, one thousand pounds steriing to each city, to be let out by the oldest divines of different churches, on a five per cent. interest and good security, to indigent young tradesmen, not bachelors, (as they have not deserved much from their country and the feebler sex,) but married men.
“2. No borrower to have more than sixty pounds sterling, nor less than fifteen.
"3. And in order to serve as many as possible in their turn, as well as to make the payment of the princi.