Cut into the stone below the cornice of a beautiful public building, situated in one of our large cities, is the inscription, "Obedience To Law Is Liberty." Now this structure, devoted in great part to the courts of law, overlooks a lake shore, and it is on the lake side that the inscription is placed, where perhaps few people read it because on this side of the building the land falls away to a multiplicity of railroad tracks and newly made land beyond. A walk along the top of the embankment is the only point of vantage from which to make out the lettering, and this promenade is rarely used. The city dwellers who visit the building enter it from the street side, and it is safe to say that few of these know of the words of profound wisdom inscribed upon the opposite facade of their courthouse.

One day a Christian Scientist explored the lake front of this building, and his first glance upward presented to him the legend, "Obedience To Law Is Liberty." Then there began a train of thought. The irrefutable truth of that statement was inspiringly clear. Here was an eternal fact beside which the duration of a stone edifice was as nothing; and yet, as the very presence of the courthouse proved, it was a fact not uniformly practiced.

"Obedience To Law Is Liberty"! How simple it is; and yet at first glance a seeming paradox, because obedience implies some measure of restriction, and liberty suggests lack of restraint! Advocates of "personal liberty"—often a misleading term for license—would be reluctant to accept such a definition of liberty. Where is the freedom, they might ask, in being forced to obey hampering laws? But careful consideration of everyday life will reveal that there could be no true liberty, no untroubled enjoyment of peace, happiness, and harmony, in a lawless land. In the effort to spread their discord, error, vice, and crime can see no liberty in obedience to law; but what good citizen wants to give free rein to this undesirable triad?

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True Competition
November 1, 1930

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