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THE

DISTINCTIVE MESSAGES OF THE OLD RELIGIONS

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WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
ED IN BU R G H AND I, O N DO N
M D C C C X C II

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P RE FA C E.

I NEED not say that my design in this little book is not to describe the old religions, but to photograph their spirit. To describe any religion would require a volume twice the size of the present. But a photograph must be instantaneous or abortive. It is a generalised result; it only dates from the time when all the materials have been arranged in order. It does not involve work, it presupposes work. When you have completed the perusal of some elaborate encyclopædic article descriptive of a religious faith, the question which rises in the mind is this, Such being the facts, what then; what is its mental contribution to the life of the world 2 In our days this question has been dwarfed by another—the problem of development. In intellectual circles the whole inquiry has been how any one faith has passed into a different faith. Now,

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