ETHAN ALLEN QUOTES

American Revolutionary War hero (1738-1789)

The gods of the valley are not the gods of the hills, and you shall understand it.

ETHAN ALLEN, reply to the King's attorney-general, Jun. 1770

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It is bad policy to fear the resentment of an enemy.

ETHAN ALLEN, response to the Continental Congress, refusing to move war materials captured from the British to a place of safe keeping until it could be returned

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Tags: fear, enemies


Those who invalidate reason, ought seriously to consider, whether they argue against reason, with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle, that they are laboring to dethrone; but if they argue without reason, (which, in order to be consistent with themselves, they must do,) they are out of the reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: reason


The discoveries of science have proved that the opinions concerning a firmament above, and a flat earth beneath, are completely inaccurate; but faith delights more in sublimity than truth; it soars far above science in its discoveries, and holds accuracy in contempt.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: science, faith


To suppose that God Almighty has confined his goodness to this world, to the exclusion of all others, is much similar to the idle fancies of some individuals in this world, that they, and those of their communion or faith, are the favorites of heaven exclusively; but these are narrow and bigoted conceptions, which are degrading to a rational nature, and utterly unworthy of God, of whom we should form the most exalted ideas.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: God, universe


I found myself in possession of happiness once more, and the evils I had lately suffered, gave me uncommon relish for it.

ETHAN ALLEN, A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity

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Tags: happiness, suffering


Who would imagine that the Deity conducts his providence similar to the detestable despots of this world? Oh horrible? most horrible impeachment of Divine Goodness!

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: God


Though "none by searching can find out God, or the Almighty to perfection," yet I am persuaded, that if mankind would dare to exercise their reason as freely on those divine topics as they do in the common concerns of life, they would, in a great measure, rid themselves of their blindness and superstition, gain more exalted ideas of God and their obligations to him and one another, and be proportionally delighted and blessed with the views of his moral government, make better members of society, and acquire, manly powerful incentives to the practice of morality, which is the last and greatest perfection that human nature is capable of.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: reason, God


Undoubtedly it is our duty, and for our best good, that we occupy and improve the faculties, with which our creator has endowed us, but so far as prejudice, or prepossession of opinion prevails over our minds, in the same proportion, reason is excluded from our theory or practice. Therefore if we would acquire useful knowledge, we must first divest ourselves of those impediments and sincerely endeavor to search out the truth: and draw our conclusions from reason and just argument, which will never conform to our inclination, interest or fancy but we must conform to that if we would judge rightly.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: prejudice, reason


In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in such parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue; which is of itself a strong presumption that in the infancy of letters, learning and science, or in the world's non-age, those who confided in miracles, as a proof of the divine mission of the first promulgators of revelation, were imposed upon by fictitious appearances instead of miracles.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: miracles


It may be objected that a man cannot subsist in the sun; but does it follow from thence, that God cannot or has not constituted a nature peculiar to that fiery region, and caused it to be as natural and necessary for it to suck in and breathe out flames of fire, as it is for us to do the like in air.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: sun


It is altogether reasonable to conclude that the heavenly bodies, alias worlds, which move or are situate within the circle of our knowledge, as well all others throughout immensity, are each and every one of them possessed or inhabited by some intelligent agents or other, however different their sensations or manners of receiving or communicating their ideas may be from ours, or however different from each other. For why would it not have been as wise or as consistent with the perfections which we adore in God, to have neglected giving being to intelligence in this world as in those other worlds, interspersed with another of various qualities in his immense creation? And inasmuch as this world is thus replenished, we may, with the highest rational certainty infer, that as God has given us to rejoice, and adore him for our being, he has acted consistent with his goodness, in the display of his providence throughout the university of worlds.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: UFOs, space travel


Perhaps we are the most selfish, oddest, and cunningest medley of beings of our size in the universe. However to complete the scale of being, it seems to have been requisite that the link of being called man must have been, and since under the Divine government, we have a positive existence, we cannot ultimately fail of being better than not to have been.

ETHAN ALLEN, Essay on the Universal Plenitude of Being and on the Nature and Immortality of the Human Soul and Its Agency

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Tags: humanity


Induced by a sense of duty to my country, and by the application of many of my worthy friends, some of whom are of the finest characters, I have concluded to publish the following narrative of the extraordinary scenes of my captivity, and the discoveries which I made in the course of the same, of the cruel and relentless disposition and behavior of the enemy, towards the prisoners in their power; from which the state politician, and every gradation of character among the people, to the worthy tiller of the soil, may deduce such inferences as they shall think proper to carry into practice. Some men are appointed into office, in these States, who read the history of the cruelties of this war, with the same careless indifference, as they do the pages of the Roman history; nay, some are preferred to places of trust and profit by the tory influence. The instances are (I hope) but rare, and it stands all freemen in hand to prevent their further influence, which, of all other things, would be the most baneful to the liberties and happiness of this country; and, so far as such influence takes place, robs us of the victory we have obtained at the expense of so much blood and treasure.

ETHAN ALLEN, introduction, A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity

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For many centuries after the establishment of Christianity, mankind became more barbarous, ignorant, and miserable than before, instead of assisting the human mind in its progress to improvement, that system completely retarded it; a gloomy superstition, which sprung out of these gospels, cramped its energies, and fettered its exertions; instead of guiding society to freedom, peace, and happiness, there was founded on the authority of these writings a system of the most horrible and debasing oppression.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: Christianity


But among all the pretended miracles performed by Jesus Christ, none make so great a figure as that of casting out devils; the number of people said to have been possessed with these evil spirits, seem to have been great indeed. This is a disease apparently unknown in any former age of the world, except in the case of Saul, who had one sent from God to trouble him; and it is also unknown (among enlightened people) in any other age or country since, it seems peculiar to God's own people alone, at this particular time. The accounts of this imaginary possession with the devil, have arisen out of the ignorance and superstition of these authors, in ascribing every unknown and violent disease to the influence of the devil; and their earnest wish to show the power of their hero in subduing him. In all the accounts that have been given of the Gods, or incarnations of God, by the Greeks, Romans, Hindus, and almost every other people, it appears indispensible, in order to exhibit his power, to create some opposite principle to vanquish, that his power may be better displayed. The case has been the same with the Evangelists, as with others; in their ignorant devotion, they have conjured up the devil as an antagonist, to make Jesus triumph over him. It seems by their accounts, that he and the devil were at this time striving which to get possession of the earth; and though they represent Jesus as victorious, yet the devil was not destroyed, and mankind were tormented between them, without any benefit.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: devil


A spiritualizing teacher is nearly as well acquainted with the kingdom of heaven as a man can be with his home lot. He knows the road to heaven and eternal blessedness, to which happy regions, with the greatest assurance, he presumes to pilot his dear disciples and unfold to them the mysteries of the canonical writings, and of the world to come; they catch the enthusiasm and see with the same sort of spiritual eyes, with which they can pierce religion through and through, and understand the spiritual meaning of the scriptures, which before had been "a dead letter" to them, particularly the revelations of St. John the divine, and the allusion of the horns therein mentioned. The most obscure and unintelligible passages of the Bible come within the compass of their spiritual discerning as apparently as figures do to a mathematician: then they can sing songs out of the Canticles, saying, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine;" and being at a loose from the government of reason, please themselves with any fanaticisms they like best.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: religion


That generation is all dead and passed away, yet the Son of Man has not made his appearance in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, to judge the world, and cause the tribes of the earth to mourn; nor has he sent forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, to gather his elect from one end of heaven to the other. Since all this has not come to pass immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, as he foretold, what character does he deserve but a false prophet, a deceiver, or an enthusiast? It is very unlike a God of truth to deceive the world in this manner. Is it like his Son to be the instrument of it? His words have passed away, but the earth has not, so that these prophecies and sayings have proved to be completely false; but though he prophesied of that day, yet he said that he did not know when it would come; even though him and his Father were one, yet the Father only knew of it!

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: Jesus


If the scriptures had been written with one half of the care and ability with which they have been explained and defended, they would not have been the cause of so much contention and mischief, and they would not have stood in need of so much explanation and defense.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: Bible


Virtue and vice are the only things in this world, which, with our souls, are capable of surviving death; the former is the rational and only procuring cause of all intellectual happiness, and the latter of conscious guilt and misery; and therefore, our indispensable duty and ultimate interest is, to love, cultivate and improve the one, as the means of our greatest good, and to hate and abstain from the other, as productive of our greatest evil.

ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man

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Tags: virtue, vice