The Essays which are collected in this small volume are in part fragments of a design which I formed very early in life. It seemed to me that a careful examination of the religious teaching of representative prophetic masters of the West, if I may use the phrase, would help towards a better understanding of the power of the Christian Creed. Their hopes and their desires, their errors and their silences, were likely, I thought, to shew how far the Gospel satisfies our natural aspirations and illuminates dark places in our experience. The expectation, unless I am mistaken, will be found to be justified even by these isolated and imperfect sketches. If the student will extend the same method of inquiry, as I had hoped to do, to Homer, Heraclitus, Virgil, Epictetus, Plotinus - to name the men from whom I believe we may gain most - he will learn, as perhaps he can learn in no other way, what the apostolic message is as a revelation, a revelation not in thought but in life.
This is not a reprint, but the original publication of 1891.