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Theosophy or psychological 6^-09770














(Btffotb Btclure*



IN 1892









[All rights reserved]


first Edition April, 1895; Second Edition Octooey, 1895

Re-issued in the Collected Works June, 1898

Reprinted January, 1899; July, 1903; January, 1911; May, 1917


HPHE -*- and discovery the discovery of God, of the the oneness discovery of of God the and Soul, the

Soul, such have been the three principal themes of

my Gifford Lectures, and I have ventured to make

at least an attempt to treat each of them, not simply

as a philosopher, but as an historian.

While the

philosophy of religion treats the belief in a First

Cause ofthe universe, and in anEgo or Self, andin the

true relation between the two, as matters of psycho-

logical development, or of logical consecution, it was

my purpose to show, not what the process of each of has in consequence found but little favour in the eyes

historical method is beset with grave difficulties, and

these discoveries may or must have been, but what it

has been in the history of the world, so far as it is

known to us at present

I am fully aware that this

of speculative philosophers.

So long as we look on

the history of the human race as something that

might or might not have been, we cannot wonder

that the student of religion should prefer to form his

opinions of.the nature of religion and the laws of its

growth from the masterwork of Thomas Aquinas,

the Summa Sacrae Theologiae, rather than from the

Sacred Books of the East. But whenwe have learnt


to recognise in history the realisation of a rational

purpose, when we have learnt to look upon it as in

the truest sense of the word a Divine Drama, the

plot revealed in it ought to assume in the eyes of the

philosopher also a meaning and avalue farbeyond the

speculations of even the most enlightened and logical to


I am not ignorant ofthe dangers of such an under-

taking, and painfully conscious of the imperfections

inevitable in a first attempt.

The chief danger is

that we are very prone to find in the facts of

history the ]esson which we wish

It Herder and from the historical school in general,

has proved, because, differing in this respect from

well known how misleading the Hegelian method



the idea, if not of the psychological the growth history of the

Hegel was



religion what ought

to be there according t'o his

view of the logical necessity in the development of

seeing in


human mind.

The result has been that the historical

side in Hegel's Philosophy of Religion is almost

entirely untrustworthy. My endeavour has been on

the contrary to yield to no presumptions, but to

submit to facts only, such as we find them in the

Sacred Books of the East, to try to decipher and

understand them as we try to decipher and under-

stand the geological annals of the

earth, and


discover in them reason, cause and effect, and, if

possible,that close genealogical coherencewhich alone

can change empirical into scientific knowledge. This

genealogical method is no doubt the most perfect



when we can follow the growth of religious ideas, ad

it were, from son to father, from pupil to teacher,

from the negative to the positive stage. But where

this advantages, is impossible, enabling the analogical us to watch method the same also dogmas has its

springing up independently in various places, and to

discover from their similarities and dissimilarities

what is due to our common nature, and what must be

attributed to the influence of individual thinkers.

Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus is not

necessarily what is true, but it is what is natural, it

constitutes whatwe have accustomed ourselves to call

NaturalEeligion,thoughfew historical students would

now maintain that SupernaturalEeligion has no right have been the one element shared in common by all

the Infinite, can be shown by historical evidence to

Only we must not forget that, like every


other concept, that of the Infinite also had to pass

through many phases in its historical evolution, be-

ginning with the simple negation of what is finite,

and the assertion of an invisible Beyond, and leading

up to a perceptive belief in that most real Infinite in

which we live and move and have our being. This

religion in its widest sense, namely the Perception of

Psychological volume I put religion forward to as prove a preliminary that what definition in my first of

courses of Lectures on Physical, Anthropological an<?

It has been my object in these three consecutive

to age on the historical stage of the world.

part of the Divine Drama of Man as acted from age

to the name of Natural Eeligion, or that it forms no


historical evolution of the concept of the objective

Infinite I tried to trace in my Lectures on Physical

Beligion, that ofthe concept of the subjective Infinite

in my Lectures on Anthropological Keligion, while

this discovery last volume of the oneness was reserved of the objective for the study God and of the the

subjective Soulwhich forms the final consummationof

all religion and all philosophy.

The imperfections to which a first attempt in a

comparative study of religions is liable arise from the

enormous amount of the materials that have to be

consulted, and from the ever-increasing number of

books devoted to their interpretation.

The amount

learn is single of impossible reading to scholarcan be that reasonable to would embrace possiblyforce and be too required not much, into expect the in and from order small critics a to scholar span must treat of

this subject as it ought to be treated is more than any

his life.

It is easy to find fault and say, Qui trop

embrasae, mal etreint, but in comparative studies it

engaged in a comparative study of many religions

the same thorough acquaintance with every one of

them which they have a right to expect from &


No one has felt more keenly than myself

the annoyance whenever I had to be satisfied with

a mere relata refero, or had to accept the judgments

of others, even when I knew that they were better

qualified to judge than myself.

This applies more particularly to my concluding

Lectures, Lect. XII to XV in this volume. These Lec-

tures contain the key to the whole series, and they

formed from the very beginning PREFACE. my final aim. They


are meant as the coping-stone of the arch that rests

on the two pillars of Physical and Anthropological

Religion, and unites the two into the true gate of the likewise the postulates of reason.

My object was to show that there is a constant the

temple of the religion of the future. Theyare to show

thatfrom apurely historical point of view Christianity

is not a mere continuation or even reform of Judaism,

but represents that, particularly a synthesis in of its Semitic theology and or Aryan theosophy thought it

which forms its real strength and its power of satis-

fying not only the requirements of the heart, but

action and reaction in the growth of religious ideas,

and that the first action by which the Divine was

separated of the human from and mind, placed was almost followed beyond by a the reaction reach

which tried to

reunite the


This process,

though visible in many religions, more particularly

in that of the Vedanta, was most pronounced in

Judaism in its transition to Christianity. Nowhere

had the visible the invisible world than God been in further removed from

ancient Jewish re-

ligion, and nowhere have the two been so closely

drawn together again and

made one as by that

fundamental doctrine of Christianity, the divine

sonship of man.

It has

been my chief object to

show that this reaction was produced or at least

accelerated by the historical contact between Semitic

and Aryan thought, chiefly at Alexandria, and on this

point I have to confess that I have ventured to go far

They seem to me to ascribe PBEFAOE. too little importance to


beyond Harnack, Drummond, Westcott, and others.

the influence of Greek philosophy in the formation of

the earliest Christian theology, while I feel convinced this opinion are the facts of language, the philoso-

phical terminology which both Jews like Philo and

Christianslike St.Clementemploy,andwhich is clearly

taken over from Greek philosophy. Whoever uses

such words as Logos, the Word, Monogenfa, the Only-

weighs with me more than anything else in forming

neverhaveadvancedbeyondthat ofthe Talmud. What

wouldhave been simply impossible, or wouldprobably

that withoutthat influence, the theology of Alexandria

begotten, Prototokos, the First-born, Hyios tou theou, savages would carry away fire-arms without getting

the Son of God, has borrowed the very germs of his

religious thoughtsfromGreek philosophy. To suppose

at that the the same Fathers time of powder the Church and shot took for these firing words them.

without borrowing the ideas, is like supposing that

Words may be borrowed and their ideas may be

modified, purified, magnified by the borrower, but the

substance is always the same, and the gold that is

in a gold coin will always remain the same gold,

even though it is turned into a divine image.


have tried to show that the doctrine of the Logos, the

very life-blood of Christianity, is exclusively Aryan,

and that it is one of the simplest and truest conclu-

sions at which the human mind can arrive, if the

presence of Reason or reasons in the world has once

been recognised.



We all know the words of Lucretius :

'Praeterea caeli rationes ordine certo

Et varia annorum cernebant tempera verti/ (v, 1182.)

If the human reason has once recognised Reason or

reasons a fatal error (logoi) to in ascribe the universe, them to the Lucretius gods, but may are call they it

to be ascribed to no one ? Is the Eeason or the Logos

in the world nothing but a name, a mere generalisa-

tion or abstraction, or is it a real power, and, if so,

whose power is it ?

If the Klamaths, a tribe of Red

Indians, declared that the world was thought and

willed one step by further the Old by One maintaining on high, the that Greeks this thought went only of

the Supreme Being, this Logos, as they called it, was

the issue, the offspring, the Son of God, and that it its fulness.

That predicate, however, was not of their

divine thought of manhood had been realised in all

vocabulary on Christ, in whom they believed that the

the highest predicate which they possessed in their

or the Word or the Son of God, were bestowing

Fathers of the Church in calling Christ the Logos

types being the type of manhood, the Alexandrian

the types of all created things. The highest of these

consisted of the logoi or ideas or, as we now say,

own workmanship, nor was it a mere modification of spoken Word or the Son of God.

time as the prototype of the masculine Logos or the

begets the Son, but it cannot be taken at the same

in the Epist$ f ni6 or knowledge with which the Father

God. That Wisdom, a feminine, may be recognised

the SemiticWisdom,which in the beginning was with



expressions This philosophical of personal concept piety addressed of the Son to of Yahweh God can- as

not be derived from the Old Testament concept of

Israel as the son of God, nor from the occasional

the Father of all the sons of man.

Son of God; as

applied to Jesus, loses its true meaning unless we take

it inits idiomaticGreek sense, as theLogos *, and unless

we learnto understandwhatthe Fathers ofthe Church

had fully understood, that the Logos or the Word of

God could become manifest to mankind in one form

only, namely, in that ofman, the ideal or perfect man.

I am quite willing to admit, on the other hand, that

a.n expression such as ' Son of Man ' is of Semitic

growth. It is a solecism even when translated into influence of Jewish thought.

Son of man meant

ever have spoken of Agnus Dei, except under the

simply man, before it was applied to the Messiah.

Thus only can we understand the antithesis which

meets us as earlyas the first century, e the Son of God,

not the son ofman 2/

in the sense of man. as little as any Eoman would

Greek. No Greek would ever have said son of man

how If we closely have the once doctrine entered of into the the Incarnation thoughts of is Philo con-

and St. Clement as the representatives of Jewish and

Christian theology at Alexandria, we shall perceive

nected with that of the Logos, and receives its true

historical explanation from it and from it alone.

1 In passages such as Matt. viii. 29, Mark xiv. 61, xvi. 39, 'Son of



Barnabas, xii. 10, ovxl vlbs &vep&Trov, <lAA& vtts rov


PBEFACE. taken any lower view of Christ, if they had been


with perfect honesty, and, in spite of of the sneers of

in the Logos that the earliest Greek converts could



only on

the strength

their old belief

Celsus and other Greek philosophers,, bring them-

selves to accept Jesus of Nazareth as the incarnate

Logos, as the Word or the Son of God. that there was between Christ and His brethren what

they call a difference of kind, not of degree, however

wide, they could not have answered the taunts of

their former fellow-students, they could not have

joined the Catechetical School at Alexandria or

followed such teachers as Athenagoras, Pantaenus, defence which was addressed to

If they had

satisfied with a mythological Son of God, or with a

Nazarene Christ, and if they had held, as some theo-

logians held afterwards, nay as some hold even now,

St. Clement, and Origen.

What Athenagoras, one of the earliest apologetes of ourmode ofthinking is notthe same as theirs, concern-

gods For though as no better the poets than men in their (that fictions is, as begetting represent sons), the

one think it ridiculous that God should have a son.

ing either God the Father or the Son. But the Son of

God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in opera-

tion ; for after the pattern of Him and by Him were

all things made, the Father and the Sonbeing one.'

Christianity, thought about the Son of God, we can

learn from


Marcus Aurelius, where he says (cap. x):

'Let no

All this refers to Christian theology or theosophy

only, and not to what we mean by Christian religion.


from joined the Christian community, after they had once

made their peace with their philosophical conscience, ments. What that personality was they muat have Christian writings which are lost to us 1 . To restore

the image of that personality must be left to each be-

who knew the Apostles, and he certainly knewmany

possibly have known Papias or some of his friends,

been born in the middle of the second century, may

known far better than we can, for Clement, having

the law of love on which hang all His command-

their heart the moral law which He had preached,

became true disciples of Christ and accepted with all

liever in Christ, according to the ideals of which his Galilean fishermen and their devotion to their Master

could have influenced, as they did, the religious beliefs

and the philosophical convictions ofthe whole of the

understand how the belief of a small brotherhood of

and their disciples. "What interests the historian is to

Christthat have been preserved to us by the Apostles

prehending the deep significance of the few words of

mind is capable, and according to his capacity of com-

must never forget that the Greek philosophers who

portant for the early history of Christianity, and we


drew its life

another source, from the

historical personality of Jesus, and not from the

Alexandrian Logos

This distinction is very im-

ancient world.

The ,key to that riddle should be

sought for, I believe, at Alexandria rather than at

Jerusalem. But if that riddle is ever to be solved, it

is the duty of the historian to examine the facts and

1 Bigg, Christian Platmists, p. 46.



the facts only, without anybias whether of orthodoxy,

of rationalism, or of agnosticism. To the historian Lectures.

orthodoxy has no existence. He has to dealwith facts

only,andwith deductions that canbejustified by facts.

I cannot give here the names of all the books

which have been of use to me in preparing these at Berlin, which I attended more than fifty years ago.

Since then the additions to our knowledge of ancient

religions, and of Christianity in its most ancient my obligations to the authors of some of the more

recent works which have been of the greatest use to

I feel deeply grateful to Professor Harnack, 1888, make us regret that they were never continued, analysis of whatever evidence there exists in illus-

tration of the epoch of Philo Judaeus. That epoch

was an epoch in the true sense of the word, for it

made both Greeks and Jews pause for a time before

valuable evidence, but likewise with the most careful

Judaeus, 1888, has supplied me not only with most

and to Dr. James Drummond, whose work on Philo

learnedSampton Lectures on the ChristianPlatonists,

storehouse of the Christian of well-authenticated Church, to Dr. Charles facts in Bigg> the history whose

whoseDogmen-geschichte, 1888,, is the mostmarvellous


however, conclude this preface withoutacknowledging

Many of them are quoted in the notes.

My earliest acquaintance with the subject treated in

this volume goes back to the lectures of Weisse, Lotze*

andNiedner at Leipzig, and of Schelling andNeander

form, have been so enormous that even a biblio-

graphical index would form a volume.

I cannot,


they went on, each on their own way.

It was a real

epoch in the history of Christianity, for Philo's works

were studied by St. Clement and the other Fathers

of the Alexandrian Church, and opened their eyes to

the see Prophets, the truth and in the likewise inspired in the writings inspired of writings Moses and of

Plato and Aristotle. It was a real epoch inthe history

of the world, if we are right in supposing that we owe

to the philosophical defenders ofthe Christian faith at

Alexandria the final victory of Christian philosophy

and Christianreligion overthe religion and philosophy

ofthe whole Roman Empire. withinthereach ofthe humanmind, has oflate been so

thinkers, as expressing the highest conception of God

greatlymisappropriatedthat it washightimeto restore

ble name, so well known among early Christian

that of Theosophy. It seemed to me that this venera-

my final course of Gifford Lectures, I have added

Psychological Religion, originally chosen for this


ought, perhaps, to explain why, to the title of

turnings, it to its proper or any function. other occult It should sciences be and known black once arts. for

all being that suspected one may of call believing oneself in a spirit-rappings, theosophist, without table-

I am painfully aware that at seventy my eyes are

not so keen as they were at seventeen, and I must

not conclude this preface without craving the in-

dulgence of my readers for any misprints or wrong

references that may have escaped me.

OXFOED, February, 1893.

F. M. M.







Die Weltgesehichte ist das Weltgericht. The fundamental

Principle ofthe HistoricalSchool. History ofBeligion is theTrue

Philosophy Belief in God. of Religion. The Real Natural Purpose Religion of the the Biography Foundation of Agni. of our

Natural Revelation. The True Object of comparing the Christian

and other Religions. Ancient Prayers. Egyptian, Accadian,

Babylonian, Vedic, Avestic, Gathas, Chinese, Mohammedan,

ModernHindu Prayers. Moses and the Shepherd. Advantages

of& Comparative Study ofReligions Religious Language. Literary Documents. Modern Date of

Historical Documents for Studying the Origin of Religion.

Sacred Books. Fragmentary Character of the Sacred Books of









India. Loss of the Sacred Literature of Persia. The Relation

between the Avesta and the OldTestament.' I am that I am' 27-57




How to compare Ancient Beligions andAncient Philosophies.

Common Humanity. Common Language. Common History.

Common Neighbourhood. Relation between the Religions of

Indiaand Persia. IndependentCharacterofIndianPhilosophy.

TheIndianYiew of Life. Language, the Common Background of

Philosophy, Philosophy. CommonAryan Was Greek Philosophyborrowed Religion and Mythology. from the Charites East ?

=Haritas.-The later Growth of Philosophy. Help derived by

Philosophy from Language. Independent Character of Indian






The The meaning Constituent ofPsychological Elements Religion. of Religion. I. Return My own ofthe Division. Soul to

God, after death. II. Knowledge ofthe unity of the Divine and

theHuman. VedaandVedanta

TJpanishads. Ved&nta-Sutras.

Commentaryby $ankaraMrya. CommentarybyRamanu^a.

Three Periods of Vedanta Literature. Peculiar Character of

Indian Philosophy. Philosophy begins with doubting the Evi*

dence of the Senses. firuti or Inspiration.

Tat tvam asi.




Different Statements from the TJpanishads. Passages from the

TJpanishads. Difficulties of Interpretation. Historical Progress

in the TJpanishads. Attempts to harmonise the different State- ceived in the Laws of Manu.

The Three Qualities,