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for the occasion ; and he gave a decided preference to the former ; certain points of the argument and emphatical' passages being pressed with a dexterity much improved by repetition, until every accent and modification of the voice, he says, was in inimitable musical cadence.
Franklin became an intimate private acquaintanee of Whitfield, and took an active part in procuring a large covered building for the accommodation of his congregation. On a subsequent occasion he offered to accommodate him at his house during his stay at Philadelphia, and continued to correspond with him at intervals during the rest of the preacher's life. He says nobly, that while some of his enemies affected to suppose
Whitfield had sinister views in his public collections, he, who knew him intimately (being employed in printing his sermons, journals, &c.) never suspected it, but believed him to be in all his conduct decidedly an honest man. Franklin however blames him for committing himself so often to paper, and contends that he would have left a much more numerous and respectable body of admirers, had he never written any thing for the press. The following letter is too characteristic of the writer, and too excellent in its sentiments, to be here omitted :
Mr FRANKLIN to the Rev. GEORGE WHITFIELD.
Philadelphia, June 6, 1753. Sir,– I received your kind letter of the 2nd instant, and am glad to hear that you increase in strength. I hope you will continue mending till you recover your former health and firmness. Let me know whether you still use the cold bath, and what effect it has.
As to the kindness you mention, I wish it could have been of more service to you. But if it had, the only thanks I should desire is, that you would always be equally ready to serve any other person that may
need 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 numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our services. Those kindnesses from men I can therefore only return to their fellow-men, and I can only shew my gratitude for these 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
notion of good works, that I am far from expecting 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 of 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 me, who has hitherto preserved and blessed me, and 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 certainly its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any man, 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 and 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 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 ; those who gave food to the hungry,. drink to the thirsty, vaiment to the naked, entertain.. ment to the stranger, and relief to the sick, though they never heard of his name, he declares shall in the last day be accepted; when those who cry,
Lord! Lord ! who value themselves upon their faith, though great enough to perform miracles, but have neglected good works, shall be rejected. He professed that he came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance ; which implied his modest opinion that there were some in his time who thought themselves so good, that they need not 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 sit under his petty ministrations, and that whoever omits them offends God. I wish to such more humility, and to you health and happiness ; being
Your friend and servant,
Franklin acted in every thing upon system, as far as his knowledge and opportunities permitted. His partnership business at Charlestown having fully answered his expectations, he carried out the principle on a wider scale, in proportion as he found neighbouring colonies in want of printers. The plan he adopted was, to select one of the most competent and discreet of his own workmen, and enter into explicit articles of partnership with him for six years ; Franklin furnishing all the capital for materials, &c. in the first instance, and his partner devoting himself to procure and conduct the business. He speaks with great satisfaction of the general issue of these engagements; they remunerated him for his money, and established several respectable families in the different colonies ; most of his partners being able to purchase his interest at the end of their term, and the connexion ending in all cases, he assures us, with personal good-will. Men of business will consider this no slight proof both of his discretion and good fortune. In his personal narration, he endeayours to show from these circumstances, the-importance of very specific articles being in all cases drawn up between partners in trade.
His situation in the capital of Pennsylvania gave Franklin full opportunity for the display of his powers as a rising tradesman, politician, and philosopher:-points of his character essentially depending on each other. He was too prudent not to secure first (let all men of business observe) those pecuniary advantages, and that opulent ease, by which alone he could have become the important public man we find him. His newspaper, about the year 1740, was almost the only one in great demand in the central states of America, and became very lucrative ; he therefore found the pleasing truth of one of his proverbial sayings, that “after getting the first hundred pounds, it is much easier to get the second, and realize, at least, three-fourths of another. Learning is to the studious, riches to the careful; as well as favour to the bold, and heaven to the virtuous.”
In 1742 Franklin launched his first practical invention in philosophy, by presenting a friend, Mr. Robert Green, of Philadelphia, with the model of an open stove for the better warming of rooms and economy of fire-wood, pit-coal being unknown at this period, as an article of fuel, in that city; and he published, shortly after, a pamphlet to promote its use, entitled " An account of the new invented Pennsylvanian fire-places, wherein their construction and manner of operation is particularly explained; their advantages above every other method of warming rooms demonstrated; and all objections that have been raised against the use of them answered and obviated.'
The provincial governor of the day, Mr Thomas, offered our philosopher a patent for his invention, which he respectfully declined. It rewarded him sufficiently, he states, that his friend Grace, for one, should find it useful to him in the way of trade ; and with regard to the public, he argued that our personal advantages from the inventions of others should induce us to communicate to the world, as freely as possible, any discoveries we may be enabled to make. Although, therefore, in England his invention was not only pirated, but a patent granted to an ironmonger for the sale of it, with some slight alteration (which was no improvement) Franklin allowed the trick to succeed, hating disputes, as he says, and determined not to profit by patents. On this same principle, he afterwards suffered several patents to be worked from his invention, without any compensation.