FROM OUR EXCHANGES

[F. Rhondda Williams in Christian World.]

The only real instrument for obtaining a message of authority in the spiritual realm is spiritual insight. Legal authority serves a purpose for a time, and is necessary for the childhood stage of the individual and of the community. External authorities are often useful and helpful if they are not too arrogant, which, however, they usually are. There is an element of authority in the church, and even in social convention, in tradition, and in the Bible, but these must never be absolute authorities; they must never be set up to crush the liberty of search, the right of judgment, and the alertness of conscience. We do not mean by this that every man is his own authority, but only that every man must be in the last resort the channel through which the supreme authority of God announces itself to him. If a man's moral nature were only his private concern, it could have no authority; its authority lies in the fact that it is the medium through which the supreme will presses into his life. In the face of a mighty organization of law to cover life, Jesus asked the people, "Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" Jesus often threw man back upon personal judgment and personal communion with God. It is essential to spiritual progress that the individual should be free to make his own way to the primary sources, that he should have free access to the fountains of life in direct spiritual communion. If any creed, or law, or church, or person stand between him and that, it is necessary to remove the barrier. Spiritual fulness is only possible where there is spiritual freedom. Beware, however, of a spurious freedom, the mere negative kind which is only interested in breaking down barriers.

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August 10, 1912
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