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William Penn. (1644–1718). Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Part II

Of the Rule of Judging

155. In all Things Reason should prevail: ’T is quite another Thing to be stiff than steady in an Opinion.

156. This May be Reasonable, but that is ever Wilful.

157. In such Cases it always happens, that the clearer the Argument, the greater the Obstinacy, where the Design is not to be convinced.

158. This is to value Humor more than Truth, and prefer a sullen Pride to a reasonable Submission.

159. ’T is the Glory of a Man to vail to Truth; as it is the Mark of a good Nature to be Easily entreated.

160. Beasts Act by Sense, Man should by Reason; else he is a greater Beast than ever God made: And the Proverb is verified, The Corruption of the best Things is the worst and most offensive.

161. A reasonable Opinion must ever be in Danger, where Reason is not Judge.

162. Though there is a Regard due to Education, and the Tradition of our Fathers, Truth will ever deserve, as well as claim the Preference.

163. If like Theophilus and Timothy, we have been brought up in the Knowledge of the best Things, ’t is our Advantage: But neither they nor we lose by trying their Truth; for so we learn their, as well as its intrinsick Worth.

164. Truth never lost Ground by Enquiry, because she is most of all Reasonable.

165. Nor can that need another Authority, that is Self-evident.

166. If my own Reason be on the Side of a Principle, with what can I Dispute or withstand it?

167. And if Men would once consider one another reasonably, they would either reconcile their Differences, or more Amicably maintain them.

168. Let That therefore be the Standard, that has most to say for itself. Tho’ of that let every Man be Judge for himself.

169. Reason, like the Sun, is Common to All; And ’t is for want of examining all by the same Light and Measure, that we are not all of the same Mind: For all have it to that End, though all do not use it So.