PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
OF all records which might have reached us across the gulfs of time, but have failed to do so, unquestionably the most precious would be those which contained in detail the history of the world’s foremost Revelators and Saviours, showing the particulars of their characters, training, and careers in such wise as would render intelligible the manner in which, by heeding the divine call and living the divine life, they came to know the divine doctrine, and were able to minister to the world’s redemption by supplying its supreme need – the need for a perfect system of thought and rule of life. In the presence of such records it would have been impossible to doubt the reality and accessibility of the world spiritual and celestial, of inspiration and revelation, or to have fallen into the disastrous misconceptions which in manifold cases have usurped the place of history, and, by ascribing to the Revelators the divinity which inspired them and their work, have ministered to the falsification and degradation of religion. It has been made the essential condition of the present record of a work which, whether by its derivation, its nature, or its destined results, is second to none of the kind in view, that it be so ordered as to preclude the possibility of the like or any other misconceptions.
The doctrine of the restoration of which this book is the record has already been for some time before the world, and found wide promulgation and high acceptance. But the work of the Revelator is of two kinds, being both doctrinal and experiential or evidential. And the world needs for its full conviction both classes of knowledge. It must have actual facts as well as abstract truth. This record of the former is, therefore, the necessary supplement and complement to the account already made public of the latter.
The fullness and frankness of this narrative necessarily exceed
those by which biographies are ordinarily characterised. As the history, not of a person only, but of a soul, and that a soul the work of whose latest earth-life was so ordered as to constitute it a demonstration such as has never before been vouchsafed to our planet, of the soul’s nature, history, and powers, the rules whereby biographies are commonly regulated were wholly inapplicable and inadequate. To have observed them, as by having recourse to suppression or modification in respect of matters ordinarily deemed too intimate and delicate to be openly disclosed, would have been fatal to the purpose in view, and caused the chief life related to have been to such extent lived in vain, both as regards the liver of it and the world for whose sake it was lived.
The same justification is pleaded for the outspokenness of the narrative generally in regard to certain contemporaneous tendencies, schools, institutions, writings, and persons. Nothing would have been more pleasing to the writer than to exclude whatever might jar on individual susceptibilities. But the direction under which he has written allowed of no indulgence of his own preference in this respect. The judgments pronounced represent no merely human opinion. They were imparted from the spheres where all things mundane are fully known and infallibly estimated. And having been imparted for the general good, and not for the private information of their immediate recipients, the suppression of them, no matter how praiseworthy the motive, would have constituted an act of unfaithfulness both to the illuminating influences to whom they were due, and to the world for whose instruction and correction they were designed.
Conspicuous among the objects of these remarks is the well-known institution called the Theosophical Society and its promoters. The time will assuredly come when that movement will be accounted an important factor in the religious history of our age, and any light that can be thrown on its origines will be of no less value than would be such light on the origines of Christianity itself.