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From the May 1927 issue of The Christian Science Journal

THE term "personal liberty" is much in the public thought in these days of widespread discussion over individual privileges and rights. It is often so misused, however, as to make it appear as an excusing shield, rather than as the dignified term for righteous individual freedom. While it may seem in many cases that one's sense of liberty is the effect of personal interpretation, it is well to remember that there is a divine sense of liberty far above mere personal opinion on the subject. Paul described it as "the glorious liberty of the children of God."

Through wrong education and selfishness, many still find it easy to act under the belief that the liberty enjoyed by the people of a free nation includes the right to indulge personal appetites and inclinations generally recognized as dangerous to humanity. Under this mistaken concept of liberty, which obscures one's sense of obligation to God and one's neighbor (including some responsibility for the welfare of the community), many insist on indulging in selfishness, whatever the effects of such indulgence on others. Under this wrong impulsion and indulgence, thousands yearly become dangerous to others, and oftentimes gravitate toward colorless and useless lives in institutions maintained at public expense. Carelessly acting from a false sense of liberty, many constantly impair their own and the nation's strength and morale, and not a few finally tax their fellow citizens to support them in a useless old age. Reaching this stage of fettered existence through a false sense of personal liberty, those so miserably deceived find themselves bereft of liberty, shackled by infirmity, and often without means for livelihood.

Urging their own personal rights for selfish indulgences, mortals may claim that their selections of ways and means for personal pleasures are matters of conscience. They may ask, as did Paul in writing to the Corinthians of the deeper import of conscience, "Why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?" But it may well be recalled that the apostle was asking this in connection with his right to serve God in righteousness and truth. For the apostle raised this question in a discourse wherein he said, "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils;" and, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, ... do all to the glory of God."

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