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Whether to deck with clouds the uncolored sky,
[Here follows the reading of some book, or part of a book, discoursing on and exciting to moral virtue.]
PETITION. PREL. Inasmuch as by reason of our ignorance we cannot be certain that many things, which we often hear mentioned in the petitions of men to the Deity, would prove real goods, if they were in our possession, and as I have reason to hope and believe that the goodness of my heavenly Father will not withhold from me a suitable share of temporal blessings, if by a virtuous and holy life I conciliate his favor and kindness; therefore I presume not to ask such things; but rather, humbly, and with a sincere heart, express my earnest desire that he would graciously assist my continual endeavours and resolutions of eschewing vice and embracing virtue; which kind of supplications will at the same time remind me in a solemn manner of my extensive duty.
That I may be preserved from atheism, impiety, and profaneness; and, in my addresses to Thee, carefully avoid irreverence and ostentation, formality and odious hypocrisy, -Help me, O Father!
That I may be loyal to my prince, and faithful to my country, careful for its good, valiant in its defence, and obedient to its laws, abhorring treason as much as tyranny, - Help me, O Father!
That I may to those above me be dutiful, humble, and submissive ; avoiding pride, disrespect, and contumacy, - Help me, O Father!
That I may to those below me be gracious, condescending, and forgiving, using clemency, protecting innocent distress, avoiding cruelty, harshness, and oppression, insolence, and unreasonable severity, — Help me, O Father!
That I may refrain from calumny and detraction ; that I may abhor and avoid deceit and envy, fraud, flattery, and hatred, malice, lying, and ingratitude, – Help me, O Father!
That I may be sincere in friendship, faithful in trust, and impartial in judgment, watchful against pride, and against anger (that momentary madness), -Help me, O Father!
That I may be just in all my dealings, temperate in my pleasures, full of candor and ingenuousness, humanity and benevolence, — Help me, O Father!
That I may be grateful to my benefactors, and generous to my friends, exercising charity and liberality to the poor, and pity to the miserable, -Help me, O Father!
That I may possess integrity and evenness of mind, resolution in difficulties, and fortitude under affliction ; that I may be punctual in performing my promises, peaceable and prudent in my behaviour, — Help me, O Father!
That I may have tenderness for the weak, and reverent respect for the ancient; that I may be kind to
my neighbours, good-natured to my companions, and hospitable to strangers, — Help me, O Father!
That I may be averse to craft and over-reaching, abhor extortion, perjury, and every kind of wickedness, — Help me, O Father!
That I may be honest and open-hearted, gentle, merciful, and good, cheerful in spirit, rejoicing in the good of others, — Help me, O Father!
That I may have a constant regard to honor and probity, that I may possess a perfect innocence and a good conscience, and at length become truly virtuous and magnanimous, -Help me, good God; help me, O Father!
And, forasmuch as ingratitude is one of the most odious of vices, let me not be unmindful gratefully to acknowledge the favors I receive from Heaven.
For peace and liberty, for food and raiment, for corn, and wine, and milk, and every kind of healthful nourishment, — Good God, I thank thee!
For the common benefits of air and light; for useful fire and delicious water, -Good God, I thank thee!
For knowledge, and literature, and every useful art; for my friends and their prosperity, and for the fewness of my enemies, — Good God, I thank thee !
For all thy innumerable benefits; for life, and reason, and the use of speech; for health, and joy, and every pleasant hour, — My good God, I thank thee!
RULES FOR A CLUB
PREVIOUS QUESTION, TO BE ANSWERED AT EVERY MEETING.
Have you read over these queries this morning, in order to consider what you might have to offer the . Junto touching any one of them ? viz.
1. Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physic, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge.
2. What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in conversation ?
3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately, and what have you heard of the cause ?
These Rules were drawn up in the year 1728, and designed as general regulations for a Club, called THE JUNTO, consisting of a select number of Franklin's acquaintances in Philadelphia, whom he had induced to associate and hold weekly meetings for mutual improvement. The plan was to propose and discuss queries on points of morals, politics, and natural philosophy. “Our debates," says Franklin, “ were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were, after some time, made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties." This association produced all the advantages anticipated from it. Forty years after its establishment, it became the basis of the AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL Society, of which Franklin was the first president, and the published Transactions of which have contributed largely to the advancement of science and the diffusion of valuable knowledge in the United States.
When the Philosophical Society was instituted, a book containing many of the questions discussed by the JUNTO was put into the hands of Dr. William Smith, who selected from it, and published in his “ Eulogium on Franklin,” (p. 13,) the following specimens. — EDITOR.
"Is sound an entity or body?
4. Have you lately heard of any citizen's thriving well, and by what means ?
5. Have you lately heard how any present rich man, here or elsewhere, got his estate?
6. Do you know of a fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation; or who has lately committed an error, proper for us to be warned against and avoid ?
7. What unhappy effects of intemperance have you lately observed or heard; of imprudence, of passion, or of any other vice or folly ?
8. What happy effects of temperance, of prudence, of moderation, or of any other virtue ?
9. Have you or any of your acquaintance been lately sick or wounded? If so, what remedies were used, and what were their effects ?
10. Whom do you know that are shortly going voyages or journeys, if one should have occasion to send by them?
“ Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind, the universal monarch to whom all are tributaries ?
“ Which is the best form of government, and what was that form which first prevailed among mankind ?
“Can any one particular form of government suit all mankind ?
“ What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the Bay of Fundy, than the Bay of Delaware ?
“Is the emission of paper money safe?
“What is the reason that men of the greatest knowledge are not the most happy ?
“ How may the possessions of the Lakes be improved to our advantage ? “Why are tumultuous, uneasy sensations, united with our desires ?
“Whether it ought to be the aim of philosophy to eradicate the passions ?
“ How may smoky chimneys be best cured ?
“ Which is least criminal, a bad action joined with a good intention, or a good action with a bad intention ?
"Is it inconsistent with the principles of liberty in a free government, to punish a man as a libeller, when he speaks the truth ? "