THE UNITARIAN CONTROVERSY
IT was Emerson who had announced this truth, and his words went like morning over the land. Sadly, he had separated himself from the Church, because the Church required conformity, and he knew that authority must conform to the ideal, not the ideal to authority. He had left Boston, betaken himself not away from the paths of men and women, but away from the noise of the market place and the haste of commerce and the shallow contentions of the schools, and he had settled in Concord where he might discover himself, penetrate to the core of reality. He had no need of the machinery of society, he had his own faculties. One book, if read aright, was as good as the Bodleian Library, Concord was the world in miniature, his own household was mankind. Life was not activity, but thought and emotion, and the laboratory could never reveal truth, only discover evidence. So he sat in his quiet study and wrote in his journal, and beauty hung on his words like dew on a flower.
He had not renounced the world any more than he had renounced religion when he left the Church; he had preferred, merely, to question the vulgar interpretation of the world. He wished to look at nature as for the first time, to discover for himself its character and its meaning. He had returned from his adventure radiant with new truths, and announced them gently, reverently. "Every spirit," he said, concluding his lectures on Nature, "builds itself a house and beyond its house a world and beyond its world a heaven. Know then that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see.