Ralph Waldo Emerson, (U.S.A.), promoted the power of the individual. Emerson can be summarized by this quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” He was a powerful influence on the American ideal of individualism.
Devout men, in the endeavor to express their convictions, have used different images to suggest this latent force; as, the light, the seed, the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Daemon, the still, small voice, etc., - all indicating its power and its latency. It is serenely above all mediation. In all ages, to all men, it says, I am; and he who hears it feels the impiety of wandering from this revelation to any record or to any rival.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1904). The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Lectures and Biographical Sketches. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company p. 96 - 97
If all things are taken away, I have still all things in my relation to the Eternal. We pretend not to define the way of its access to the private heart. It passes understanding.
Ibid., p. 98
The Divine Mind imparts itself to the single person: his whole duty is to this rule and teaching.
Ibid., p. 99
Yourself a new-born bard of the Holy Ghost, — cast behind you all conformity, and acquaint men at first hand with Deity. Look to it first and only, that fashion, custom, authority, pleasure, and money are nothing to you,—are not bandages over your eyes, that you cannot see,—but live with the privilege of the immeasurable mind. Not too anxious to visit periodically all families and each family in your parish connection, - when you meet one of these men or women, be to them a divine man; be to them thought and virtue; let their timid aspirations find in you a friend; let their trampled instincts be genially tempted out in your atmosphere; let their doubts know that you have doubted, and their wonder feel that you have wondered. By trusting your own heart, you shall gain more confidence in other men. For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life….. Discharge to men the priestly office, and, present or absent, you shall be followed with their love as by an angel.
Ibid., p. 559
And what is God? We cannot say, but we see clearly enough. We cannot say, because he is the unspeakable, the immeasurable, the perfect; but we see plain enough in what direction it lies. First, we see plainly that the All is in man: that, as the proverb says, “God comes to see us without bell.”’ … Love, Freedom, Power, these are of God. For all these and much more there is a general nature in which they dwell, or of which they are phases, and this is Spirit. It is essentially vital. The love that is in me, the justice, the truth, can never die, and that is all of me that will not die. All the rest of me is so much death, —my ignorance, my vice, my corporeal pleasure. But I am nothing else than a capacity for justice, truth, love, freedom, power. I can inhale, imbibe them forevermore. They shall be so much to me that I am nothing, they all. Then shall God be all in all. Herein is my Immortality. And the soul affirms with the same assurance I shall live forever, as it affirms Justice shall be forever.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Waldo Emerson, Waldo Emerson Forbes, (1910). Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson: with annotations: Volume 4. Boston and New YorkL Houghton Mifflin Co. pp. 127-128