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this labor is herewith submitted to the reader, but not without a
painful consciousness of its many imperfections.
The work naturally begins with the Eden myth, and is fol-
lowed by a consideration of the principal Old Testament
legends, showing their universality, origin and meaning. Next
will be found the account of the birth of Christ Jesus, with his

history until the close of his life upon earth, showing, in con-
nection therewith, the universality of the myth of the Virgin-
born, Crucified and Resurrected Saviour.
Before showing the origin and meaning of the myth (which
is done in Chapter XXXIX.), we have considered the Miracles
of Christ Jesus, the Eucharist, Baptism, the Worship of the
Virgin, Christian Symbols, the Birthday of Christ Jesus, the
Doctrine of the Trinity, Why Christianity Prospered, and the
Antiquity of Pagan Religions, besides making a comparison of
the legendary histories of Crishna and Jesus, and Buddha and
Jesus. The concluding chapter relates to the question, What do
we really know about Jesus?
In the words of Prof. Max Müller (The Science of Re-
ligion, p. 11): “A comparison of all the religions of the world,
in which none can claim a privileged position, will no doubt
seem to many dangerous and reprehensible, because ignoring that
peculiar reverence which everybody, down to the mere fetish
worshiper, feels for his own religion, and for his own god. Let
me say, then, at once, that I myself have shared these misgivings,
but that I have tried to overcome them, because I would not and
could not allow myself to surrender either what I hold to be the
truth, or what I hold still dearer than truth, the right of testing
truth. Nor do I regret it. I do not say that the Science of Re-
ligion is all gain. No, it entails losses, and losses of many
things which we hold dear. But this I will say, that, as far as
my humble judgment goes, it does not entail the loss of anything
that is essential to true religion, and that, if we strike the
balance honestly, the gain is immeasurably greater than the loss.”


“All truth is safe, and nothing else is safe; and he who keeps back the truth, or withholds it from men, from motives of expediency, is either a coward or a criminal, or both.”

But little beyond the arrangement of this work is claimed as original. Ideas, phrases, and even whole paragraphs have been taken from the writings of others, and in most, if not in all cases, acknowledged; but with the thought in mind of the many hours of research this book may save the student in this particular line of study; with the consciousness of having done for others that which I would have been thankful to have found done for myself; and more than all, with the hope that it may in some way help to hasten the day when the mist of superstition shall be dispelled by the light of reason; with all its defects, it is most cheerfully committed to its fate by the author.

Boston, MAss., November, 1882.

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