The net result is that ancient Revelations, being given for a certain age and certain social conditions, often cannot and ought not to be carried out in the present state of Society; that ancient documents are difficult to verify—often impossible—as coming from those whose names they bear; that there is no guarantee against forgeries, interpolations, glosses, becoming part of the text, with a score of other imperfections; that they contain contradictions, and often absurdities, to say nothing of immoralities. Ultimately every Revelation must be brought to the bar of reason, and as a matter of fact, is so brought in practice, even the most “orthodox” Br[=a]hma[n.]a in Hin[d.][=u]ism, disregarding all the Sh[=a]s[t.]raic injunctions which he finds to be impracticable or even inconvenient, while he uses those which suit him to condemn his “unorthodox” neighbours.
No Revelation is accepted as fully binding in any ancient religion, but by common consent the inconvenient parts are quietly dropped, and the evil parts repudiated. Revelation as a basis for morality is impossible. But all sacred books contain much that is pure, lofty, inspiring, belonging to the highest morality, the true utterances of the Sages and Saints of mankind. These precepts will be regarded with reverence by the wise, and should be used as authoritative teaching for the young and the uninstructed as moral textbooks, like—textbooks in other sciences—and as containing moral truths, some of which can be verified by all morally advanced persons, and others verifiable only by those who reach the level of the original teachers.
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