Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Reason
 
  The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination; since inclination will at length come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.
Joseph Addison.    
  1
 
  Motives that address themselves to our reason are fittest to be employed upon reasonable creatures: it is no ways congruous that God should be always frightening men into an acknowledgment of the truth.
Francis Atterbury.    
  2
 
  We ought not to attempt to draw down or submit the mysteries of God to our reason; but, on the contrary, to raise and advance our reason to the divine truth. In this part of knowledge, touching divine philosophy, I am so far from noting any deficiency, that I rather note an excess; whereto I have digressed because of the extreme prejudice which both religion and philosophy have received from being commixed together, as that which undoubtedly will make an heretical religion and a fabulous philosophy.
Francis Bacon.    
  3
 
  The proper work of man, the grand drift of human life, is to follow reason, that noble spark kindled in us from heaven.
Isaac Barrow.    
  4
 
  In the language of English philosophy, the terms reason and understanding are nearly identical, and are so used by Stewart; but in the critical philosophy, of Kant a broad distinction has been drawn between them. Reason is the principle of principles;—[it] either speculatively verifies every special principle, or practically determines the proper ends of human action…. There are unquestionably in the human mind certain necessary and universal principles, which, shining with an intrinsic light of evidence, are themselves above proof, but the authority for all mediate and contingent principles. That which is thus above reasoning is the reason.
William Thomas Brande.    
  5
 
  As there is a pleasure in the right exercise of any faculty, so especially in that of right reasoning; which is still the greater by how much the consequences are more clear and the chains of them more long.
Thomas Burnet: Theory of the Earth.    
  6
 
  Understanding is discursive, and in all its judgments refers to some other faculty as its ultimate authority. It is the faculty of reflection. Reason is fixed, and in all its decisions appeals to itself as the ground and substance of their truth. It is the faculty of contemplation. It is indeed far nearer to sense than to understanding.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  7
 
  There are few things reason can discover with so much certainty and ease as its own insufficiency.
Jeremy Collier.    
  8
 
  Reason is always striving and always at a loss, while it is exercised about that which is not its proper object.
John Dryden.    
  9
 
  All reasoning is retrospect; it consists in the application of facts and principles previously known. This will show the very great importance of knowledge, especially that kind which is called Experience.
John Foster: Knowledge.    
  10
 
  The thread and train of consequences in intellective ratiocination is often long, and chained together by divers links, which cannot be done in imaginative ratiocination by some attributed to brutes.
Sir Matthew Hale.    
  11
 
  In reasoning we recede as far as possible from sensible impressions; and the more general and comprehensive our conclusions and the larger our abstractions, provided they are sustained by sufficient evidence, the more knowledge is extended and the intellect improved. Sensibility is excited, the affections are awakened, on the contrary, on those occasions in which we tread back our steps, and, descending from generalities, direct the attention to individual objects and particular events. We all acknowledge, for example, our constant exposure to death; but it is seldom we experience the practical impression of that weighty truth, except when we witness the stroke of mortality actually inflicted. We universally acknowledge the uncertainty of human prospects, and the instability of earthly distinctions; but it is when we behold them signally destroyed and confounded that we feel our presumption checked and our hearts appalled.
Robert Hall: Funeral Sermon for the Princess Charlotte.    
  12
 
  It is not the province of reason to awaken new passions, or open new sources of sensibility; but to direct us in the attainment of those objects which nature has already rendered pleasing, or to determine among the interfering inclinations and passions which sway the mind, which are the fittest to be preferred.
Robert Hall: Modern Infidelity.    
  13
 
  Touching the law of reason, there are in it some things which stand as principles, universally agreed upon; and out of those principles, which are in themselves evident, the greatest moral duties we owe towards God or man may, without any great difficulty, be concluded.
Richard Hooker.    
  14
 
  There is no opposing brutal force to the stratagems of human reason.
Roger L’Estrange.    
  15
 
 
 
  Reason, in the English language, is sometimes taken for true and clear principle; sometimes for clear and fair deductions; sometimes for the cause, particularly the final cause.
John Locke.    
  16
 
  In a creature whose thoughts are more than the sands, and wider than the ocean, fancy and passion must needs run him into strange courses, if reason, which is his only star and compass, be not that he steers by.
John Locke.    
  17
 
  Pure reason or intuition holds a similar relation to the understanding that perception holds to sensation.
John Daniel Morell.    
  18
 
  The way to subject all things to thyselfe, is to subject thyselfe to reason: thou shall govern many if reason govern thee: wouldst thou be crowned the monarch of a little world? commend thyselfe.
Francis Quarles: Enchir., ii. 19.    
  19
 
  Reason cannot show itself more reasonable than to leave reasoning on things above reason.
Sir Philip Sidney.    
  20
 
  It is a passive, not an active, power…. It is not acquirable, and it can no otherwise be assisted than by the suggestions sought for or presented. In some degree it is inherent in every man not being entirely an idiot…. In itself, as an ultimate principle of our nature, it is never erroneous; what we call wrong conclusions being conclusions obtained by some artificial process taking the place of reason,… or they are conclusions just in themselves, and wrong only as regards the assumptions or suggestions out of which they arise. It is a power which may, however, be lost.
Benjamin H. Smart.    
  21
 
  Though reason is not to be relied upon as universally sufficient to direct us what to do, yet it is generally to be relied upon, and obeyed, where it tells us what we are not to do.
Robert South.    
  22
 
  For a rational creature to conform himself to the will of God in all things carries in it a rational rectitude or goodness; and to disobey or oppose his will in anything imports a moral obliquity.
Robert South.    
  23
 
  The word reason itself is far from being precise in its meaning. In common and popular discourse it denotes the power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and right from wrong, and by which we are enabled to combine means for the attainment of particular ends…. Reason is sometimes used to express the whole of those powers which elevate man above the brutes, and constitute his rational nature, more especially, perhaps, his intellectual powers; sometimes to express the power of deduction or argumentation.
Dugald Stewart.    
  24
 
  It is an old and true distinction, that things may be above our reason without being contrary to it. Of this kind are the power, the nature, and the universal presence of God, with innumerable other points.
Jonathan Swift.    
  25
 
  There is no way to deal with this man of reason, this rigid exacter of strict demonstration for things which are not capable of it.
John Tillotson.    
  26
 
  How many excellent reasonings are framed in the mind of a man of wisdom and study in a length of years!
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  27
 
  “Child,” said my father to me, when I was young, “you think to carry everything by dint of argument. But you will find, by and by, how very little is ever done in the world by clear reason.” Very little indeed!  28
  It is true of almost all men, except so far as we are taught of God,—
        “Against experience we believe,
  We argue against demonstration;
Pleased while our reason we deceive,
  And set our judgment by our passion.”
  29
  Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason. It is our part, by religion and reason joined, to counteract them all we can.
John Wesley: Letter to Joseph Benson, Oct. 5, 1770: Wesley’s Select Letters, 1837, 203.    
  30
 
  The unwise and incautious are always prone to rush from an error on one side into an opposite error. And a reaction accordingly took place, from the abuse of reasoning, to the undue neglect of it, and from the fault of not sufficiently observing facts, to that of trusting to a mere accumulation of ill-arranged knowledge. It is as if men had formerly spent vain labour in threshing over and over again the same straw and winnowing the same chaff, and then their successors had resolved to discard these processes altogether, and to bring home and use wheat and weeds, straw, chaff, and grain, just as they grew, and without any preparation at all.
Richard Whately: Preface to Bacon’s Essays.    
  31
 
 
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