London, July 17, 1771
I HAVE received your kind letter of May 10. You seem so sensible of your error in so hastily suspecting me, that I am now in my turn sorry I took notice of it. Let us then suppose that accompt ballanced and settled, and think no more of it.--
In some former letter I believe I mention'd the price of the books, which I have now forgotten: But I think it was 3 S each. -- To be sure there are objections to the Doctrine of Pre-existence. But it seems to have been invented with a good intention, to save the honour of the Diety, which was thought to be injured by the supposition of his bringing creatures into the world to be miserable, without any previous misbehavior of theirs to deserve it. This, however, is perhaps an officious supporting of the Ark, without being call'd to such service. Where he has thought fit to draw a veil, our attempting to remove it may be deem'd at least an offensive impertinence, and we shall probably succeed little better in such an adventure to gain forbidden knowledge, than our first parents did when they ate the apples. --
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Publication information: Book title: The Ingenious Dr. Franklin:Selected Scientific Letters of Benjamin Franklin. Contributors: Nathan G. Goodman - Editor, Benjamin Franklin - Author. Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1931. Page number: 50.
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