Gospel of Interpretation: Appealing to the Intellectual As Well As to the Devotional Side

In an age distinguished, as is the present, by all-embracing research, exhaustive analysis, and unsparing criticism, no religious system can endure unless it appeals to the intellectual as well as to the devotional side of man’s nature. At present the faith of Christendom is languishing on account of a radical defect in the method of its presentation, through which it is brought into perpetual conflict with science; and the harassing and undignified task is imposed on its supporters of an incessant endeavour to keep pace with the advances of scientific discovery, or the fluctuations of scientific speculation. The method whereby it is herein endeavoured to obviate the suspense and insecurity thus engendered, consists in the establishment of these two positions: –

(1) That the dogmas and symbols of Christianity are substantially identical with those of other and earlier religious systems.

(2) That the true plane of religious belief lies, not where hitherto the Church has placed it, – in the sepulchre of historical tradition, but in man’s own mind and heart; it is not, that is to say, the objective and physical, but the subjective and spiritual; and its appeal is not to the senses but to the soul. And,

(3) That thus regarded and duly interpreted, Christian doctrine represents with scientific exactitude the facts of man’s spiritual history.” (p. lxxii) (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. From Preface to the Second (Revised) Edition, of The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ; emphasis added)