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Quotes

Quote #1

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all Humility to acknowledge, that I owe the mention'd Happiness of my past Life to his kind Providence, which led me to the Means I us'd and gave them Success. (1.2)

Franklin plays it safe here by openly acknowledging God, just to make sure no one thinks that the fact he doesn't go to church makes him a non-believer. Quite the opposite. This kind of language strikes a pious and virtuous note right out of the gate: there's nothing more humble than chalking your success up to God.

Quote #2

My Parents had early given me religious Impressions, and brought me through my Childhood piously in the Dissenting Way. But I was scarce 15 when, after doubting by turns of several Points as I found them disputed in the different Books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. (1.88)

This is a pretty brave thing for Franklin to say. After all, some people have been hanged or burned for less than saying flat out that they have "doubt[s] of Revelation." This statement shows confidence about any potential repercussions to this statement and provides evidence (reading material) for why he has these doubts in the first place.

Quote #3

This Respect to all, with an Opinion that the worst had some good Effects, induc'd me to avoid all Discourse that might tend to lessen the good Opinion another might have of his own Religion; […] new Places of worship were continually wanted, and […] my Mite for such purpose, whatever might be the Sect, was never refused. (2.38)

This is pretty open-minded for an eighteenth-century guy. Franklin doesn't get into any fights about whose religion is better or worse, and he openly and generously gives to all religious causes that need help.

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