[Rev. W. C. Wendte, in The Universalist Leader.]

A man is not liberal simply because he holds advanced or radical opinions. Whether he is liberal or not will depend upon the spirit in which he holds them. If that spirit is narrow, unsympathetic with others' thought, scornful, intolerant, and irreverent, such a man is not a liberal. He is a bigot, no matter how freely he has discarded the traditional creeds or how vehemently he denounces the authority of pope, council, church, or priesthood. On the other hand, a man who still clings to these, who accepts the old dogmas and cherishes the traditional forms of piety, if he displays a broad and kindly temper toward those who differ from him in opinion, if he is ready to believe in others' sincerity and is charitable toward their views,—if, in a word, he is "reverent toward others' reverence," that man is a liberal, no matter how orthodox his creed may be. For it is not the holding of this or that set of opinions, however advance, but the spirit in which they are held, which marks the true liberal. It is a great misfortune for the cause of freedom in religion that this is not more generally recognized by the advocates of a rational faith. The mistaken notion widely prevails among them that a man is liberal simply because he is opposed to orthodox forms of belief. The man who vehemently denounces the inherited traditional creeds and institutions of Christendom, and ridicules and heaps scorn upon those uphold them, usually justifies his course on the ground that he is a liberal.

[The Standard.]

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March 16, 1907

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