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Go Constantly to Church Whoever Preaches

To Sarah Franklin

Reedy Island Nov. 8. 1764 My dear Sally, 7 at Night.

We got down here just at Sunset, having taken in more live Stock at Newcastle with some other things we wanted. Our good Friends Mr. Galloway, Mr. Wharton, and Mr. James came with me in the Ship from Chester to Newcastle, and went ashore there. It was kind to favour me with their good Company as far as they could. The affectionate Leave taken of me by so many Friends at Chester was very endearing. God bless them, and all Pennsylvania.

My dear Child, the natural Prudence and goodness of heart that God has blessed you with, make it less necessary for me to be particular in giving you Advice; I shall therefore only say, that the more attentively dutiful and tender you are towards your good Mama, the more you will recommend your self to me; But why shou’d I mention me, when you have so much higher a Promise in the Commandment, that such a conduct will recommend you to the favour of God. You know I have many Enemies (all indeed on the Public Account, for I cannot recollect that I have in a private Capacity given just cause of offence to any one whatever) yet they are Enemies and very bitter ones, and you must expect their Enmity will extend in some degree to you, so that your slightest Indiscretions will be magnified into crimes, in order the more sensibly to wound and afflict me. It is therefore the more necessary for you to be extreamly circumspect in all your Behaviour that no Advantage may be given to their Malevolence. Go constantly to Church whoever preaches. The Acts of Devotion in the common Prayer Book, are your principal Business there; and if properly attended to, will do more towards mending the Heart than Sermons generally can do. For they were composed by Men of much greater Piety and Wisdom, than our common Composers of Sermons can pretend to be. And therefore I wish you wou’d never miss the Prayer Days. Yet I do not mean that you shou’d despise Sermons even of the Preachers you dislike, for the Discourse is often much better than the Man, as sweet and clear Waters come to us thro’ very dirty Earth. I am the more particular on this Head, as you seem’d to express a little before I came away some Inclination to leave our Church, which I wou’d not have you do.

For the rest I would only recommend to you in my Absence to acquire those useful Accomplishments Arithmetick, and Book-keeping. This you might do with Ease, if you wou’d resolve not to see Company on the Hours you set apart for those Studies. I think you should and every Body should if they could, have certain days or hours to [ ] She cannot be spoke with: but will be glad to see you at such a time.

We expect to be at Sea to morrow if this Wind holds, after which I shall have no opportunity of Writing to you till I arrive (if it pleases God that I do arrive) in England. I pray that his Blessing may attend you which is of more worth than a Thousand of mine, though they are never wanting. Give my Love to your Brother and Sister, as I cannot now write to them; and remember me affectionately to the young Ladies your Friends, and to our good Neighbours. I am, my dear Sally, Your ever Affectionate Father