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The Bible’s Own Account of Itself. Edward Maitland. 1st Edition: Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1891. 2nd Edition, complete with Appendix: Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1905. 83 pp. Third Edition: John M. Watkins, London, 1913.


            Information: This book was (until we put it in this site) a rare one, very difficult to find. However, as far as we can see, its message is still of the greatest importance to the well being of the world. May it be a sign of the times. Here you have the complete Html text, with its title pages, the Arguments and Contents (with the links to all the chapters) and the Prefaces to the First and Second Editions:











Author of “The Keys of the Creeds,” “The Story of the New Gospel of

Interpretation,” “The Life of Anna Kingsford,” etc., and Joint

Writer with Dr. Anna Kingsford of “The

Perfect Way,” etc.









Or in cloth covers, gilt, ONE SHILLING AND SIXPENCE.









(p. x)




            Preface to the Second Edition (iii-viii)

            Preface to the First Edition (ix)


            CHAPTER I – The failure of Orthodoxy and Agnosticism to interpret the Bible due to their common error in assuming its standpoint to be literal, instead of that which the Bible itself claims – namely, the mystical. (1-5)


            CHAPTER II – The sources of information whereby to determine this question are four in number, being (1) the Bible itself; (2) the consensus of qualified commentators; (3) the general usage in corresponding scriptures; (6-11) and


            CHAPTER III – (4) The intrinsic nature of the case, as arising from the function of religion, and discerned by the spiritual consciousness. (12-15)


            CHAPTER IV – The doctrine of the Bible in neither that of Orthodoxy nor of Materialism, but of Pantheism, in that it involves the divinity of inherency in such wise that evolution, which is the manifestation of inherency, is accomplished only by the realisation of divinity, the only barrier to which realisation is man’s own will. (16-22)


            CHAPTER V – The necessary unity, duality, and trinity of Original, and therein of all, Being. The mystical “woman,” of the Bible, in the universal Substance; in the individual, the Soul. Her recognition and appreciation to constitute the “Woman’s Age.” The two trinities, of the Unmanifest and the Manifest, and the failure of Orthodoxy to distinguish between them. (23-26)


            CHAPTER VI – The passage of Original Being from the static to the dynamic state, in which it is designated “Holy Spirit,” is followed by the “generation” of the gods and the world. (27-30)


            CHAPTER VII – The narrative of the Creation, the Flood, and the Nativity. Divine incarnation, rightly defined, both a logical necessity and an actual fact. (31-36)


            CHAPTER VIII – The divinity of inherency, evolution, immortality, regeneration, and re-incarnation, as indispensable to divine incarnation, implied in the promise make to Eve in the sentence pronounced on the serpent, and similarly in the declaration of Jesus to Nicodemus. (37-41)


(p. xi)

            CHAPTER IX – The “Divine Marriage.” The initial and final stages of man’s spiritual evolution, represented by “Adam” and “Christ,” “Eve” and “Mary,” “David.” Method of redemption purely spiritual. Unscriptural and blasphemous nature of the Orthodox presentations. The sacrifice alone of divine appointment, and efficacious, that insisted on by the prophets in opposition to the priests. These two orders in conflict throughout the Bible. How to “put on Christ.” The Higher Alchemy and the true Resurrection. (42-48)


            CHAPTER X – The Soul’s Intuition, the interpreter deliverer, represented in the Bible as a woman, and symbolised also by the “ass.” Raab, Jael, Esther; David and Daniel; Balaam, Samson and Jesus. The ego in man, the problem of this the same as the as the God in the universe. “Christ” macrocosmic as well as microcosmic. The Church Invisible as “body” of the former. The love of God by which man is saved, the love of perfection. The Finding of Christ the completion of the Intuition and realisation of the Ideal. Jesus, why selected to be the new exemplar. (49-55)


            CHAPTER XI – The mystic exodus from the mystic Egypt, a recovered ritual of the ancient mysteries. (56-61)


            CHAPTER XII – The significance of the work represented by this exposition as indicative of the meaning of the Age. The “time of the end,” the “end of the world,” the “abomination of desolation,” the “budding of the fig-tree,” the coming to “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God,” the “drying up of the Euphrates and passage of the kings of the East,” the “Two Witnesses,” their resurrection and ascension, the “war in heaven” and “standing up of Michael,” the “coming of the Son of man” and descent of the “Holy City” – the intended sense of these expressions, and their present actual realisation in that sense. The Mystic and the Materialist, the former’s admonition to the latter, and exposition of the order of the Christ. (62-69)



            Letter, “On the Trinity.” (70-75)

            Extract from Letter, “The Church and the Bible.” (76-83)



(p. iii)






            Since the publication, in 1891, of “The Bible’s Own Account of Itself,” Edward Maitland has passed over to the other side. His withdrawal took place on the 2nd October, 1897 – a little more than nine years after the death of his colleague, Dr. Anna Kingsford. He has left behind him an interesting account of his life and work in “The Life of Anna Kingsford,” his last book, which was published in 1896. From this we learn that he had the “idea of a mission” early in life, and that this idea gathered force and consistency until it was made clear to him that “not destruction merely, but construction, not exposure of error but the demonstration of truth, was comprised in it.” When, in January, 1847, he first met Dr. Anna Kingsford, who had a similar idea, they recognised that their mission, which they declared was derived from “the Church invisible, celestial, and incorruptible,” was a joint mission, and that “it was summed up in the word ‘interpretation.’”


            Mystics have always known that the true and intended sense and meaning of all holy scripture is to

(p. iv)

be found, not in the letter, but in a hidden interpretation to be put upon the letter. Thomas à Kempis (for example), in “The Imitation of Christ,” says of Moses and the prophets: “They may indeed sound forth words, but they give not the spirit. They deliver the letter, but Thou, O Lord God, disclosest the sense. They publish mysteries, but Thou explainest the meaning of the things sealed. They cry out with words, but Thou givest understanding to the hearer.” Before the publication of the writings of Dr. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, there were not any writings that disclosed the sense and explained the meaning of the “things sealed.” But, thanks to Dr. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, this is not so now. When, in 1881, the time had come “for the unsealing of the world’s Bibles,” they knew that their “own appointed mission” was that of “unsealing the Bibles of the West.” How they performed their mission, how they rescued the spirit of the Bible from a literalism that had hidden and well nigh destroyed it, is shewn in their great work, “The Perfect Way; or, The Finding of Christ,” which was published in 1882. This book, which was “the very life-blood of their souls,” by rightly interpreting the Bible, has restored the true, esoteric, and spiritual Christianity to the world. “The Perfect Way should be in the hands of every student of the Divine, for it contains a Divine Revelation. It is a book to be classed with the Divine books of the world.


            Already are numerous clergy of the various communions into which, for want of the key of knowledge, the Church has split, recognising the necessity of adopting the new interpretation as that alone which, by making religion intelligible and reasonable, can save it, and with it the world; and in view of the complete, inexpugnable, and absolute demonstration afforded of the spiritual nature of existence, the being of God, the soul and immortality, “no one can henceforth pose as a Materialist without convicting himself of wilful ignorance and blindness; and determined rejection of

(p. v)

positive fact.” (1)


            “To assume that Carlyle would have “persisted in his description of the Bible as ‘that Hebrew bundle of old clothes,’ after he had read the new exposition, would be to suppose him so firmly fixed in his prejudices as to be inaccessible to evidence and reason on the subject. The recovery of the esoteric sense has completely changed the condition of Biblical interpretation. To continue to treat Scriptures on the old lines and from the old standpoint will, henceforth, be an act of wilful perversity.” (2)


            But Edward Maitland ever insisted that “in order to have cognisance of thing interior, mystic, spiritual, men must direct their minds forcibly and reverently to the region of the consciousness within themselves, leading meanwhile the life which accords with such high thought:” (3) and he pointed out that, though the results of his and Dr. Anna Kingsford’s labours were before the world and accessible to all, they belong to a lever of thought which cannot possibly be reached or comprehended by those who choose to assume that man is a mere shell, material, phenomenal, hollow, and unsubstantial, and who accordingly will not let themselves think inwards and upwards to reality, but only outwards and downwards to appearance:” (4) for “in order to appreciate the solution of any problem, man must first be conversant with the elements of that problem, and for this he must be sensitive and vitalised in that plane of the consciousness to which the problem is related. The mere Materialist can no more comprehend things belonging to the spiritual plane than the mere athlete can comprehend things belonging the intellectual and metaphysical plane; but he is not therefore justified in denying their reality.” (3)


            Respecting the practice of ascribing to the Bible meanings which it expressly, emphatically and

(p. vi)

repeatedly disavows, as by giving literal and material significations to statements obviously and declaredly mystical and spiritual, thereby converting it into gross and blasphemous nonsense, and of insisting on this as its real meaning, to the total falsification of that meaning, Edward Maitland said: “I have only to say that if such practice be not folly, ignorance and dishonesty, I know of no practice that is.” (1)


            In “The Life of Anna Kingsford” the following passage occurs with reference to the year 1891, and the writing of “The Bible’s Own Account of Itself,” Edward Maitland there says:


            “By a train of events so exceptional as to seem to be ordered, I had been brought into relations with a certain weekly paper which was about the last I ever anticipated writing in. This was the Agnostic Journal and Eclectic Review, which I knew only as an organ of unbelief in its most pronounced form, its editor avowing it to be the object of his life utterly to discredit the Bible and destroy all that passed for Christianity. The few numbers that I had seen of it had simply disgusted me by the dense materialism and coarse profanity of its writers. The editor, nevertheless, was – I was assured – better than his paper, and his revolt was not really against religion as such, but against the presentation of it to the destruction of which I myself was devoted. What if I could, in his columns, get pure spiritual teaching to an audience otherwise inaccessible on that side of their nature? The chief priest and Pharisee class had proved themselves as deaf as of old to any but the conventional orthodoxies. Appeal to them was useless. There was no room in the sumptuous inns of a press inveterately sacerdotal for the humanity represented by our work. How about the publicans and sinners of the lowly cave and stable represented by the Agnostic Journal? I was bound to get a hearing, wherever it might be accorded, and what more likely than that the very novelty of the attempt to convict the dominant

(p. vii)

orthodoxy of heresy and falsehood out of its own sacred books, and thus to rehabilitate these, would win a hearing which would otherwise be denied?

            “Such were the conditions under which I consented to contribute to the paper in question the series of articles entitled ‘The Bible’s Own Account of Itself,’ and subsequently published under that name. I had despatched the first of the series over-night, without any particle of misgiving; but on rising the next morning I found myself labouring to an extraordinary degree with apprehension at the prospect of the encounter I had challenged, feeling that I had gone into a hornet’s nest, or thrown myself, like another Daniel, into a den tenanted by far less noble creatures than lions, since, as materialists and vivisectionists, they had, most of them, so far suppressed their humanity as to be rather demon than human. Thus pondering and shrinking, I sat at the foot of my bed, when suddenly Mary (1) threw herself upon me in an all-pervading embrace, giving me an immense accession of force and courage, and exclaiming in her own unmistakable accents, ‘Caro! (1) They who are on your side are more than they who are against you. The mountain is full of horses and chariots of fire round about you!’ And from that time forth, for all the years I wrote in that paper, I found myself possessed of force and lucidity amply sufficient to sustain me in every exposition and secure victory in every encounter; and from many of its readers – some of them life-long unbelievers – I received tokens of grateful appreciation declaring that as I put spiritual things before them, they had no difficulty in accepting them.” (2)


            It will be noticed that the above-mentioned communication from Dr. Anna Kingsford was heard by Edward Maitland. This was the first occasion, he tells us, after the death of his Colleague, on which he was able “to catch the tone and accents of the voice.”

(p. viii)

            I have carefully compared this book with the Author’s MS. which is in my possession. A few additions have been made to the text of the last edition so as to give the work complete, and I have inserted a few additional notes. I have also added, by way of Appendix, two letters, written by Edward Maitland, which have a bearing upon the subjects dealt with in this book, and these I trust will be found useful to many.

                                                                                              SAML. HOPGOOD HART.

            CROYDON, August, 1905.




(v:1) E.M. letter A.J., 15th September, 1894.

(v:2) From M.S. dated 19th September, 1891 (endorsed “approx. from memory”), of letter written by E.M. “in reply to Saladin.”

(v:3) E.M. letter A.J., 8th September, 1894.

(v:4) E.M. letter A.J., 29th December, 1894.

(vi:1) E.M. letter A.J., 29th December, 1894.

(vii:1) “Mary” and “Caro” were the initiation names given to Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland respectively. Anna Kingsford had passed over to the other side on the 22nd February, 1888. S.H.H.

(vii:2) Life of A.K., Vol. II, pp. 406, 407.



(p. ix)






            These chapters were originally written as an exposition of the Mysticism of the West, in distinction from that of the East as propounded by the Theosophical Society.

            In view of a certain identity between the two systems, it is but right to state here that the work represented by these chapters, and formulated in the joint writings of the late Dr. Anna Kingsford and myself, was commenced prior to the formation of the Theosophical Society, and carried out in complete independence of its teachings. Such resemblance as occurs is due, therefore, to the correspondence originally subsisting between the religious systems of the East and the West.


                                                                                                                                 E. M.

            London, September, 1891.



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