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to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine protection! Our prayers, sir, were heard ; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favour. To that kind Provi. dence we owe this happy opportunity of con. sulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time ; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, That GOD governs in the affairs of men ! And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this ; and I also believe, that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the building of Babel : we shall be divided by our little partial local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move,
That henceforth prayers, imploring the assist. ance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business ; and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
[Note by Dr. Franklin.)" The Convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary!!"
To Dr. Priestley.
London, September 19, 1772. DEAR SIR, In the affair of so much importance to you, wherein you ask my advice, I cannot, for want of sufficient premises, counsel you what to determine ; but, if you please, I will tell you how. When those difficult cases cicur, they are difficult chiefly because, while we have them under consideration, all the reasons, pro and con, are not present to the mind at the same time ; but sometimes one-set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us. To get over this, my way is, to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns, writing over the one pro and over the other con: then, during three or four days' consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives that at dif. ferent times occur to me for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights, and where I find two (one on each side), that seem equal, I strike