Freedom is a great boon; and we are happy in this land in possessing a great deal of freedom in many ways, yet we are, too many of us, slaves for all that. We are the slaves of our own habits and passions, and that is the most terrible kind of bondage we can endure, for there is none to deliver us from it. The oppression of others may be removed, and even if not, it can at the worst only hurt us outwardly. No wrongs we suffer at the hands of others can possibly really hurt us. Nothing scan make us angry but our own evil inclinations; nothing can make us resent a wrong but our own wish to do so, and it is the resentment and the anger that is hurtful to us more than the yoke of oppression that we endure. So if we wish for freedom from all that will hold us back from the Kingdom of Heaven, we must understand things truly, for it is the "Truth that makes us free." When once we learn to understand the truth about things we shall know that there is no power on earth, or anywhere except in ourselves that can harm us, and that we, and we only, can free ourselves from the thralldom of sin, and from trouble of all kinds; for if there is no evil within us, there will be no power in any of our outward circumstances to injure us. The outer conforms to the inner, the lower to the higher, in every case, for "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace"—and when we have life and peace we are free! free from the pains of an uneasy conscience, free from the fierce pangs of resentment and anger, and free from enemies of all kinds; for whatever others may say of him or do to him, the man of peace lives serenely in the Heaven within him, feeling only compassion and pity for those who would wrong him, but who are powerless to do so, for no one can be hurt by the actions of others, but only by his own. Therefore if we would live a free life, let us learn to conquer the evils in our character, and as we cast them aside, or rather root them out, so we shall feel that we are breathing a purer and freer air, and we shall find renewed strength for further victories over our lower natures, and our lives will he more full of joy and gladness and love toward all our brethren, and be full of compassion for the ignorant, for we shall then see things as they are. We shall then blame no man, for the Truth will have made us Free.
A blessed sweetness to thine heart,
And spread like perfume through the air
To make it fragrant everywhere.
—W. A. Richards