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Truth wins its way slowly. It is well, however, for us to remember that it does so surely. No part of it can always remain either covered up or lost. It is now established that God's general method in creation was that of those long upward processes which we indicate by the word evolution; and if the interpretations represented by this volume are correct, it will eventually be everywhere confessed that his method in redemption is the same.
The aim in creation was to bring matter to its highest possibilities by allying it with the vital, the moral and the spiritual, as these exist in man; and the goal of redemption will be attained when man reaches that summit where the spiritual in him will assimilate all else to itself, causing even his coarse clay to disappear in the process. Indeed this work might, not too unsuitably, have been entitled “Evolution through Christ."
The Twentieth Century version of the New Testament has been used, not because it was regarded as absolutely correct at every point, but because it is in present day English, and because by using it in place of improved translations which he himself might have attempted, the author could give all his readers the opportunity of verifying his quotations. The Old Testament passages, on the other hand, have, as a rule, been drawn from the English revision of 1885.
It is safe to assume that righteousness is everywhere the same in its character and its operations, that it never exists apart from love, and that men can and do detect its presence where it is displayed and its absence where it is not displayed; and that this is as true when we come to the consideration of theories touching God's dealings with our race as it is in matters of less scope and moment.
In the pages which follow I have used both the Old and New Testaments as books composed of writings which represent the ideas of God and his righteousness which existed in the minds of leading thinkers of the Israelitish race at various times during several centuries of the history of that remarkable people. These ideas I have regarded as partly true and partly false. I have taken the ground that the false was very largely the contribution of the priests, who were guilty of every sort of greed and oppression; while the true was set forth in a growingly worthy manner by the prophets, who scorned all that was base and sordid and unfair, preached high ideals in the name of God, and accepted ruin, torture and even