Vol.XVI No.I Pg.2
March 1979


Robert F. Turner

There is talk of reinstating the military draft, and the news media says a party of "Libertines" on the U.T. campus will mount a protest. One representative of the party had some strong (perhaps threatening) things to say about a government that would restrict their "liberties."

In Roman antiquity a "libertine" was a manumitted slave — one who had bought or been given his freedom. In Ecclesiastical history, the Libertines were a political party in Geneva (-1555) who protested the rigors of Calvinism. There was also a pantheistic sect in France and Holland who denied the difference in good and evil. The dictionary says a libertine is one who is free from restraint; who acts according to impulse; who gives rein to lust; and gives synonyms such as: dissolute, licentious, profligate, loose in morals.

And, on top of all this, a mother told me her college-age son admired and perhaps envied me because I "did what I wanted to do." I'm Libertine??

Well, I hope not! Looking for some good in his comment (call an optimist a "liar" and he thinks you are complimenting his imagination) perhaps he liked my sunny disposition. Hmmm! And regardless of what he meant, there is more than one way to "do what one wants to do." There is such a thing as adjusting one's desires.

If you are cold you can move about vigorously and thank God for fresh, energizing circumstances. If hot, you have a marvelous opportunity to sweat off some of that fat. O.K., I'm being a bit facetious, but I'm very serious in urging you to develop a sense of contentment with what you have — not a "do nothing" contentment, but "use what I have" contentment.

The Libertine who makes self his life purpose contributes nothing of good to the world, and loses his soul. He asks government to "protect his rights" with never a thought of obligation to government, or to the God-given sense of "ought" that gave him certain "rights." (The no-God, evolutionary man has no "rights" except those he makes with his might.)

If we would accept our life as having divine purpose, and train our desires in keeping with that purpose, we can serve God in prison, shipwrecked at sea, or in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. "Troubled, yet not distressed..." (2 Cor. 4:8-18). "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content" (Phil. 4:11). Wanting to be the Lord's slave — this is the only true liberty.