When America was less than 30 years in truth, its spiritual Baptist was born in Boston to announce the advent of a New Jerusalem on earth. The spirit of Emerson could not be contained in the institutions of his time and it continues to admonish us today to cast aside any unworthy approximation of the word of God’s spirit in us today.
Freedom moved his pen to boldly reprove the thinkers of his day for imagining that tradition held any value in human affairs. The soul’s relation to its Source in the present living of life is far more of a law for man than any law that could be proscribed now or has been written in the past. The past could never presage the immediacy of the call of Spirit in present life.
After casting aside the organized religion of his day Emerson began a long career in fomenting a revolution in the free expression of ideas beyond the confines of social traditions. Emerson was not one to come to positions of personal integrity without deep consideration. His decision to leave the ministry was, in his way of thinking, an act of obedience to that same spirit of freedom that the institutions of religion were formed to foster. He did not disagree with the motive of worship but with the form that it had taken socially.
Emerson’s essays reveal the intuitive form of his higher calling to spiritual truth. In his famous essay “Self-Reliance” published in 1841 Emerson wrote:
It is easy to see a greater self-reliance--- a new respect for the divinity in man---must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; their property; in their speculative views.
The call to self-reliance is a call to find God within and to follow the freedom that flows from this connection. This is the essence of spiritual life; to reinterpret the past in the present by the living intelligence of the soul connected to its Source.