I call that mind free which masters the senses, and which
recognizes its own reality and greatness:
Which passes life, not in asking what it shall eat or drink,
but in hungering, thirsting, and seeking after righteousness.
I call that mind free which jealously guards its
intellectual rights and powers, which does not content itself with a passive
or hereditary faith:
Which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come; which
receives new truth as an angel from heaven.
I call that mind free which is not passively framed by
outward circumstances, and is not the creature of accidental impulse:
Which discovers everywhere the radiant signatures of the
infinite spirit, and in them finds help to its own spiritual enlargement.
I call that mind free which protects itself against the
usurpations of society, and which does not cower to human opinion:
Which refuses to be the slave or tool of the many or of the
few, and guards its empire over itself as nobler than the empire of the
I call that mind free which resists the bondage of habit,
which does not mechanically copy the past, nor live on its old virtues:
But which listens for new and higher monitions of
conscience, and rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and higher exertions.
I call that mind free which sets no bounds to its love,
which, wherever they are seen, delights in virtue and sympathizes with
Which recognizes in all human beings the image of God and
the rights of God's children, and offers itself up a willing sacrifice to
the cause of humankind.
I call that mind free which has cast off all fear but that
of wrongdoing, and which no menace or peril can enthrall:
Which is calm in the midst of tumults, and possesses itself,
though all else be lost.
-William Ellery Channing