Ernest Holmes at the Wiltern Theatre, Sunday morning, July 4, 1937.
Ever since the dawn of civilization, ever since the first humans began to grasp the significant fact that they were individual beings in a universe that seemed to be more or less hostile to them, the entire search of the human mind, its whole endeavor, has been to get free from evil, from bondage and the shackles of lack, want, fear, superstition, uncertainty, pain, disease, poverty, and fear of the hereafter. And because of this, human systems exist — organized philosophies spring up, sciences develop, educational systems are conducted, collective security is sought after, and religions are formulated to allay the fear of humankind relative to the soul.
The great demand in the world today is for a sense of security, freedom, and liberty. But we must be very certain that we do not swap one image of bondage for another. I have read a large part of the religious and philosophic history of the world and I have noticed that almost invariably, when the world traded one kind of religion for another, it didn’t get a good deal. The Pilgrim Fathers who came to the shores of New England came to worship God in their own way, but the moment they got there, everybody in the colony worshiped God in the way that the strong-minded members of that colony decided was the way to worship God. That was not freedom.
True freedom — true liberty — has something cosmic behind it. If the time has come that modern science has proved that we cannot move a piece of paper without changing the balance of the entire physical universe; if we have come to the place where such a profound unity is maintained that physicists believe there is no such thing as disunity in the physical world; then we can easily see what the great spiritual leaders of the ages meant when they told us of that greater unity in which we all live and move and have our being, and that the idea of freedom itself is tied up with the true concept of the unity of good. If our nature is one, if God is one — and we know that God must be one, for the universe cannot be divided against itself — then we are all tied into an indivisible unity. We shall have to get back to this unity to find the meaning of freedom. Nothing in any part of this cosmic whole could be considered freedom that would destroy the liberty of some other part of it. That would be self-destruction, would it not? So we know that true liberty must spring from true unity.
I believe that the true spirit of democracy is a spiritual conception where there is freedom, liberty without license, and a flexibility that makes evolution possible on the foundation of freedom. As we enter into the spirit of the meaning of Independence Day, the day when liberty, symbolically, was conceived, the day when freedom, objectively, in our country was announced, we should think of it not merely as a political system or form of government, but we should think of it as a spiritual conception, an idea in the Divine Mind Itself, taking form in human experience.