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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #124 --- Common Sense

Updated on December 2, 2015

Quotations on Common Sense

The development of common sense can be brought about by employing such knowledge of human nature as is known, and by doing as others do until you have found some better way of accomplishing your purpose.

---Milo B. Hillegas, Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, Vt., June 23, 1916.

Common sense requires that we make only good use of our God-given senses.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 27, 1964.

Blessed is the man who can keep life’s sensations from destroying his sense.

---John Wesley Holland, Brookfield Courier, Brookfield, N.Y., Feb. 20, 1929.

Common sense does not expect that a man shall give more than his best to a cause.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., April 16, 1937.

Common sense does not revolt against the inevitable.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., April 16, 1937.

If you would be wise, learn the definition of common sense.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 16, 1948.

Some people act so foolish that you would think that there is a law against simple common sense.

---E.W. “Ed” Howe, Youngstown Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, June 1, 1912.

Common sense is the kind of sense you have when you are outwitted, and suddenly discover that you haven't all the sense there is.

‑‑‑Nephi Jensen, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 1925.

Never build up your intellect at the expense of your common sense.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., Feb. 17, 1930.

Common sense is the only lubricant that keeps civilization from burning out of its bearings.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American-Press, Lake Charles, La., March 29, 1930.

The best use that can be made of common sense is to give it the job of holding a man’s tongue when he has nothing to say.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug. 27, 1935.

Common sense never shows off with band accompaniment.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., March 25, 1937.

Common sense never gives a parade.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 10, 1937.

Common sense never makes any funny noises.

—Jack Warwick, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Jan. 12, 1944.

Many people who see only the dark side of life never carry the lamp of common sense.

---Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio, Nov. 16, 1899.

Prudence is merely well‑trained common sense.

‑‑‑The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 18, 1918.

It is useless to acquire knowledge unless you have a little common sense with which to season it.

‑‑‑The Chicago DaiIy News, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 10, 1921.

Common sense can easily lower your cost of living it up.

---Chinook Opinion, Chinook, Mont., Oct. 26, 1961.

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.

‑‑‑Clarendon News, Clarendon, Texas, June 8, 1933.

An ounce of common sense is worth a pound of expert testimony.

‑‑‑Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 30, 1910.

Common sense is weighed by the grain and not by the pound.

‑‑‑Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, Jan. 14, 1892.

Life's current coin is made of plain common sense.

‑‑‑Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, Mont., June 12, 1935.

Common sense consists almost entirely of not doing what you want to do.

‑‑‑Greeneville Democrat‑Sun, Greeneville, Tenn., Aug. 15, 1923.

Common sense can easily lower your cost of living it up.

‑‑‑Harlem News, Harlem, Mont., Oct. 27, 1961.

Common sense is the clothing of the mind; it guards against indecent exposure of the intellect.

---Pocatello Tribune, Pocatello, Idaho, Jan. 13, 1943.

Common sense is the basis of all sense except nonsense.

‑‑‑Rocky Mountain Herald, Denver, Colo., May 16, 1868.

The people of this world do not need more leisure time, but more time for common sense.

‑‑‑Rogersville Review, Rogersville, Tenn., Feb.. 2, 1956 .

Love and common sense trot on the same track.

‑‑‑Wheeling Intelligencer, Wheeling, W.Va., Sept. 16, 1908.

How shall we praise common sense and to what shall it be compared? For its possession is beyond lands and treasure, and its value more than fine gold.

It is like the cosmic power that streams from the sun and holds the planets in their course.

Its strength runs through all souls as electricity permeates all matter.

No clod is without its atomic forces and no mind is devoid of latent common sense.

It is the motive and final test of all reforms; it resolves at last all wars.

It is the balance wheel of creation, the intent of God, the mind of destiny.

Theories crumble, facts lose their potency, science changes, enthusiasms wane, love grows cold, laws and customs cease, the world and all that therein is and men and all that men create and imagine pour into the chasm of decay, but common sense abides. Before ever the earth was, its seat was in the bosom of the Eternal, and when the earth shall be no more it shall still dwell amid the thoughts of the Almighty.

It is the one thing needful to all men and women, to the physician, the chief element of his skill, to the lawyer the core of his learning, to the judge the rock of his decisions, to the merchant the guide and rule of his trading, to the preacher the gist of his persuasion, to the artist the secret of his appeal.

The works of our hands and brains that have it shall endure and those that have it not shall perish.

It is the food of success, the breath of energy, the blood of efficiency, the establisher of laws and the executioner of follies.

It is inevitable as the steps of doom.

It judges all things, even God.

Having it not, passion fades or becomes septic.

It is the universal rust, corroding all creeds.

It is the court of last resort, supreme over all

It is the consuming microbe that at last devours all superstitions, as the worms destroy the ancient tree.

When hate or privilege or injustice or any connivance against human welfare succeeds and flourishes, common sense waits and smiles and in the fullness of time breathes upon them and they are gone.

‑‑‑Frank Crane, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 23, 1919.

The best commentary a man can get on the Bible is a full endowment of common sense. He may not translate Greek or Hebrew with it, but he will translate the Bible into deeds of human kindness and high morality.

‑‑‑A.J. Gearheard, The Shreveport Times, Shreveport, La., July 27, 1924.

A great deal is said about common sense, and someone is every now and then essaying a definition of common sense. The best conception of it that we know anything about is just thinking; the ability to think, the habit of thinking. Many people stumble along through their everyday work without thinking. Their minds are not at work. They are living a mechanical existence, going through a dull and lifeless routine. Their hands are busy but their heads are idle. They never make any progress. They are on a dead level all their lives. They don't think. Common sense is just using your mind, using what you have. It is not having more sense than other folks, it is just making use of what you have in the daily routine, in the ordinary daily affairs of life. A person who is in the habit of using his mind won't always be blundering, forgetting something, overlooking something, having to go back and retrace his steps and do it all over again.

‑‑‑P.I. Lipsey, The Baptist Record, Jackson, Miss., June 25, 1925.

Common sense. This is a phrase with a well‑known meaning in a general way, but which it might be helpful for us all to pay more attention to. It does not mean the sort of sense that is most common, for that is hardly true. But rather sense about common everyday things, things that we

all have to deal with in the common affairs of life.

All of us are concerned about how we may come into possession of the genuine article of common sense and the largest quantity of it. Without presuming to know more than others about this matter, we venture the following suggestions modestly for what you may think of them.

First, common sense is acquired by using the sense you have; or you may say it is making use of the sense you have. Certainly it ought to grow and improve with use. It is a tragedy that many people do not make use of their minds. They blindly follow precedent, or imitate the copy somebody else furnishes, or pursue the line of least resistance. Many people work with their hands while their brains are idle. Working with the hands ought to stimulate the brain to function, but the brain goes to sleep when we do the same thing in the same way every day.

Another thing necessary is to cultivate the habit of close and accurate observation. Look where you are going. Watch what is going on. Look under the surface of things. It is a good thing for young people to have to give an account orally or in writing of what they have seen and heard today, or as they walked down the street or out in the field, or went to church. Telling it will make one more observant hereafter. Many things pass us unobserved all the time and we pass them unobserving. Some people never see the sky above them; some never see much around them. How can they be expected to know anything or to have a judgment of any value?

Another very necessary condition of common sense is to live in a world of reality and not in a fictitious world. Some people live in dreamland, or fairyland, or in books all the time, and are walled in from the world around them. It is impossible for them to have common sense, that is sense about common things. The real world is unreal to them and the fictitious world doesn't fit in with the world of facts. For this reason it is unfortunate for a boy or girl to be raised in a schoolroom, to go to school all their lives and never go anywhere else. This world is made up of people and not of books and magazines. A newspaper comes nearer being a part of the real world than do books.

Some people raised in the midst of fine literary surroundings are never able to adapt themselves to the actual world, and never show a high grade of common sense. ... The wrong done a child in excessive reading of fiction is not primarily in the low ideals of life, but in the unreal life these books depict. In many case they are not true to the facts of life. Highly imaginative stories are destructive of common sense, while books and magazines which show you how to do something make for common sense.

But more than all these things there is a religious element in common sense without which it is impossible of attainment. Good sense must take in the fundamental facts of life. The man who leaves God out of his reckoning is a "fool for the lack of sense." This is said in no spirit of rancor or vindictiveness, but just as a plain fact which must be reckoned with. It is a fundamental truth of good sense that "the fool hath said in his heart there is no God." (Psalms 14:1; 53:1.) He is blind to the most patent and most universally acknowledged fact in the world. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. If you start with this there is hope for you. Don't be a fool and leave God out of your reckoning. This does not mean simply that one is not to be avowed or theoretical atheist: but that we are to count God in on all that we do. That is common sense. And the failure to do so is utter folly.

James has a good work for us about the way to attain wisdom, which is just another name for common sense. He says that it is from God and may be had for the asking, if we have faith. And then he tells us something of the character of the wisdom that is from above, that it is 'first pure' which means that it is uncorrupted by any selfish interest. A balanced judgment is only possible to a man who is not seeking some advantage to himself by the decision at which he arrives. He must be honest, sincere, transparent, not influenced by the effect on him personally. He must desire above all things that right shall be done, that justice shall stand, that the common interest shall be advanced. Common sense and dishonesty do not live in the same house.

Then James says if the wisdom is 'pure' it will be peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated. It will not be contentious and insistent. It can afford to wait, and even to suffer. He says also it will be full of mercy and good fruits. Common sense is about as good an article of household furniture as can be found in several states.

‑‑‑P.I. Lipsey, Baptist Record, Jackson, Miss., April 11, 1929.

Common sense is a great standard. It calls for the facts of life as opposed to fancies. The rule,"'use your brains," is applied in all directions today. All who desire laudable success in life manifest their appreciation of brain power by employing it in the common, every day

Religion today must be an allegiance to truth, uncompromised and unpolitic: it must be open‑soled and honest to the core. There is a profound saying on common‑sense religion in the writings of the Apostle Paul to this effect: "Tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience: experience, hope; and the hope will not be put to shame." (Romans 5:3-5.) Tribulation‑‑that is, wear and tear, the friction of nature and life, the stress and strain, the rolling and tumbling as of stones upon the beach, pounded and tussled by the waves. This is the tribulation that worketh patience. Patience is the power to stand firm, to endure and suffer. This process begets the fixed possession of character. And the result of wise, just, healthful, noble living is hope. Hope is not a visionary thing, the hue on a cloud at sunset, the light of a star, the sparkle of a beam of light on a polished surface. Hope is the culmination of all that is profoundest in one's experience. It is the final product of one's very best. It is the glorious mountain top which catches on its silvery top the first beam of the sunrise, and the last glow of the dying day. It is the common‑sense result of solid character.

The gospel of common sense teaches with emphasis the development of character, and at death leaves a trail of moral influence behind to help on the work of improving the world. ...

The rewards of the religious life are for all who work together, hold together toward improving human life on the earth. It means a more human government, nobler laws reflecting Golden Rule justice and nobleness of life; a live, robust morality as the fundamental, everlasting thing; an heroic courage, manliness, determination, perseverance: a resolute mind to make the world better. The deepest thing in religion, the root thing in religion, is to feel that after we have done our utmost, and laid ourselves down to our quiet sleep and passed onward and upward forever, that the everlasting forces will still go on, making the world more and more beautiful, and the lot of mankind happier and happier, and that we have added our little trifle of help."

‑‑‑George B. Gilmour, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, March 11, 1912.

Common sense is practical wisdom in dealing with the little affairs that come up. Common sense is not sense common to all persons but sense in common things‑‑practical wisdom in dealing with common affairs. Common sense thus defined is an important factor in discipline. It knows when to speak, and when to keep silent: when to make a request and when to command; when to command, and when to reprove.

‑‑‑W.H. Callin, Autumn Leaves, Lamoni, Iowa, December 1908.

Wisdom is really consecrated common sense‑‑discretion, forethought.

-‑‑George D. Harris, San Antonio Daily Express, San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 18, 1909.

Common sense is called “common” by universal consent but it is too often far from being common. Common sense cannot be sharply defined, but the man who possesses it is always in demand. To have it is to be wise, to know how to adapt one’s self to circumstances, to know the wise thing to do or say just at the right time. A man of common sense is not so set on one way or so rigid in his opinions that he cannot be moved. He knows just when to yield and how much. Learning is not wisdom. A very scholarly man may lack the sense to be useful. “Sense in the head is better than cents in the pocket,” said one man wisely, “for without sense money is not likely to be put to any useful purpose.” The man of sense knows just how to take hold of things and make them work right.

The possession of common sense is a gift in the first place but may be cultivated. One needs to study human nature that he may adapt himself to different people and situations. He needs a quick perception of the needs of the present moment and quickness in action, as well as coolness and self-control. He needs to know when to lead and when to follow and how far to go. The world is always in need of the man with common sense.

---Lucius W. Nieman, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 28, 1912.

A man never borrows trouble as long as common sense has anything to advance him.

‑‑‑W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times‑Union, Jacksonville, Fla., July 20, 1923.

Stubbornness, when backed by common sense, is one of the cardinal virtues.

-‑‑Bert Moses, Pocatello Tribune, Pocatello, Idaho, Oct. 31, 1923.

Common sense is just an accurate balancing of all the other senses.

Common sense will always have a better market than undependable genius.

Common sense is not a talent but an achievement.

Common sense goes on a vacation when anger assumes control.

-‑‑Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., April 12, 1930.

Any knowledge must be mixed with common sense to be sane and safe. The trouble with a little scientific knowledge is that it may cause its possessor to lose sight of common sense. I had rather be in the hands of a person who had no scientific knowledge at all than at the mercy of one who had a smattering of it and did not realize the dangers of a little knowledge.

With all knowledge little and much, we must have common sense. Without it a little knowledge is dangerous and much knowledge is dangerous and no knowledge is dangerous.

---Wickes Wamboldt, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., Nov. 12, 1937.

Common sense is the world’s stabilizer.

---Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 4, 1936.

If you would be wise, learn the definition of common sense.

---Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 16, 1948.

Common sense is the kind of sense a fellow has after subtracting from the sense he has, the sense he thinks he has.

‑‑‑Nephi Jensen, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 27, 1948.

Trouble about common sense, it takes a search warrant to find much of it.

---Liston Dickson Elkins, Waycross Journal-Herald, Waycross, Ga., July 21, 1938.

Of all our qualities nothing is so rare as common sense. Perhaps we should put it differently: Common sense in fact is common enough; it is its use that is rare. We have it and we fail to use it. We leave it to the mercy of any impulse or passion that may come along; almost any feeling or prejudice or interest may prove too strong for common sense at moments of need. So common sense goes under and we pay the price.

That acute satirist, Samuel Butler, says somewhere that "common sense is the voice of the Lord," by which he means that common sense is the highest thing in us‑‑which is probably why we listen to it so seldom. It is practically identical with conscience. We remember what it has said when it is too late.

What we need to realize, therefore, is not that we lack common sense, but that we make so little use of it. We let it be the weakest of our guides instead of the strongest; we leave it to be the victim of any passing call, any momentary whim or impulse, any mood or temper. We want our common sense to be a real resource, a practical help; not merely something in whose light we read our past errors. It is so easy to see our mistakes‑‑afterward. If we would just try to see a little more clearly beforehand, we should often find that common sense is a ready friend, standing at our elbow with the best counsel‑‑so near that we usually take no notice. It may be called the prophet that has no honor in its own land.

Other influences, not prophets in any sense, bear down on us and shout at us, and drown the voice of this less strenuous counsellor. We constantly do things that we know intuitively to be unwise, wrong, unreasonable; we do them and then regret what we have done when we reap the results. For common sense is of no use afterward, except as the candid friend who says, "I told you so." And "I told you so" always arouses our frantic irritation.

So when we say of a person that he has no common sense we generally mean that he does not use it. Probably his sense of right and wrong, of wisdom and unwisdom, is as strong as any; but other more clement influences and impulses interfere. This is why people of the so‑called artistic nature are often accused of lacking common sense. They have it, but they have other insistent and unreliable moods that overwhelm it. Moods are good enough in their way; they give life its variety, even when they are dismal. Perpetual sunshine is unnatural and unwholesome; we must get into the valleys sometimes if we are to appreciate the hills. But we should control our moods rather than let them control us.

The strong sailing ship uses the winds at best it may, takes advantage of them, declines to go absolutely at their dictation. If the winds once take charge the vessel is in a bad way. Wrecks must happen sometimes, as they do in human life, but how much more often they would happen if there were no wise guidance at the helm? Common sense is the man at the helm; we let others come along and thrust him from the helm and push it as they like‑‑passions, anger, spite, the hasty temper, the fierce prejudice, do what they will with us in our moments of urgency. And the dispossessed helms man stands by, watching, knowing what will happen, helpless because we will not let him fulfill his office.

And after the mischief has been done we are likely to blame anything but the true cause, yet we know in our hearts what was the true cause; we blame our luck or our disposition, the hot blood that we will not govern‑‑we blame Providence, fortune or our neighbor.

Neglected common sense in men and in nations‑‑what high evils it has brought about! What immense outlay, cost of life and treasure, might be saved if common sense were allowed its function. But common sense must not be a cold, calculating faculty; it may be something more divine than simple caution and wariness. Its work should lie in directing to the highest good, not the mere avoidance of trouble or loss. Common sense will look further than today; it will see tomorrow. It will see slow results and not look for immediate returns. It will lead us away from the petty and the selfish, because it knows that these must bring disaster at the end. It may give us fires and light for the dark hours, but it will look for the sunrise.

The most beautiful things, the varying atmosphere, the sunlight, green grass and trees, are common enough; so also is the sense that can guide us, guidance. "Where shall wisdom be found?" But there is plenty of wisdom, in thought, in books, in ourselves, only we do not practice it: we leave it useless. our troubles chiefly come not from lacking but from refusing to use.

---Arthur L. Salmon, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., July 2, 1919.


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