If it were proposed in this volume to discuss historic or scholastic theology, or to enter the field of dogmatic or denominational speculation, no apology would be ample enough for the appearance of these simple lay studies.
Coming, as they do, from a. non-professional and thoroughly independent standpoint, they are clothed with no external authority. They are glimpses through the vision of the intuitive faculty; interpretations of the inner consciousness, rather than an intellectual or argumentative effort. They are inspired by no spirit of controversy, but are searches for Truth for its own sake; and their aim is to recognize it wherever found. Their acceptance by the reader must depend entirely upon the mirror-like recognition of their truthfulness by his own spiritual perception. While the intellectual faculty, though trained never so highly, is often at fault (as shown by the great divergence of external systems), the writer believes that the cultivated human intuition has something of that exactness and perfection of which instinct on the lower planes of life is s. prophecy. Divine truth is ever seeking to reveal itself through the channel of the Holy Spirit. "He will guide you into all truth." The soul-center of every human "image of God" is the highest and ultimate tribunal, before which principles, creeds, systems, and even bibles, must receive their interpretation.
There is no purpose other than the plain unfoldment of Truth and the delineation of living realities. No attack is made upon any existing theological system, as such, but rather an effort-— in these days of creed disintegration—to conserve and hold up all that is intrinsic, but, at the same time, to discriminate between the real and eternal on the one hand, and the incidental, traditional, and external on the other. Truth is an harmonious unit; and religion, nature, science, and evolution—when stripped of their misconceptions—mutually supplement and confirm each other. The persistent retention of outgrown creeds as unchangeable statements of truth has caused a reaction towards materialism, atheism, and pessimism; and it behooves every lover of his kind to aid in turning the unwholesome current. With the hope that some who peruse its pages may find a helpful inspiration, but with a keen sense of its limitations, the author submits his work to the indulgent consideration of its readers.
The substance of Chapters VI., VII,, and II. appeared in the Arena magazine, respectively in January, February, and March, 1892.
Boston, March, 1892