Freedom, an Ideal Realized

From the day that "there went up a mist from the earth," and Adam, falling into a deep sleep, dreamed himself into bondage, peaceless humankind, urged to it by irresistible impulse rarely in the least understood, has longed for, prayed for, fought for freedom. More than any other, freedom has been the ideal of the ages, miscomprehended, misinterpreted, misused, but always the ideal, steadfast because in its essence derived from unchanging Spirit. Every advance of the race recorded in human history has had its beginning in the restless search for freedom. Every war, waged since war began, has heard, where the fray was fiercest, the resounding battle-cry of freedom. Every reform,—political, sociological, religious,—has marshalled its forces under the inspiring banner of freedom.

The Hebrews of old left the land of Egypt and wandered forty years in the wilderness because they had faith in their ideal of freedom. Strengthened by freedom's righteous might, Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans barred the pass at Thermopylae before Xerxes and his myriads, saving Greece and possibly all Europe from the enervating sway of the Persian. The American Revolution of a century and a quarter ago was pre-eminently freedom-born and freedom-won. Those stalwart pioneers conquered, not because they were physically the more powerful, but because they had arrayed on their side the full force of deep conviction and resolute sincerity. Martin Luther dared to defy haughty Rome because he contended for freedom. The Pilgrim Fathers sailed unknown seas without fear because their compass pointed unwaveringly toward freedom. John Wesley preached, and his sermon was heard because it was charged with the living, earnest thought of freedom.

Chains Loosened
February 6, 1902

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