In the year 1776 the thirteen American colonies issued a Declaration of Independence, and in 1789 the National Assembly of France promulgated a declaration entitled "The Rights of Man." Both documents seemed to be due to political conditions; the first to a disagreement between the American colonies and the British home government as to taxation, the second to the failure of the French Assembly to effect a reconciliation with the King of France. Both declarations refer to God in terms which show that there was an appeal to His authority. The Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The French Assembly issued its statements "in the presence of the Supreme Being," and referred to liberty as "one of the rights of man."

In truth both declarations were more than political documents. They set forth metaphysical facts, facts which cannot be substantiated by the testimony of mere physical sense and can only be perceived mentally. According to material sense, "all men" are not endowed with the rights to liberty, or to life and happiness. According to sense perception, some men seem to be bound in hopeless slavery to sin, sickness, or other grievous taskmasters; nor can it be truthfully maintained, from the basis of physical observation alone, that man is endowed with the inalienable right to life, since it is common belief that all men must die. Again, as far as such observation is concerned, all men by no means manifest the right to the pursuit of happiness. The widespread misery to which the sight of material eyes and the hearing of material ears bear witness, would seem to indicate that multitudes are debarred from pursuing happiness, much more from overtaking and possessing it.

March 1, 1913

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