Whatever is true and right and good is orthodox; whatever is not is heterodox. The true orthodox spirit is the spirit of sincerity, candor, and truthfulness, as well as the spirit of love, kindness, and good will. It is the desire and effort to be undeceived wherein one has been deceived, and neither to deceive nor be deceived about anybody or anything. In its highest meaning it is the spirit of truth, the spirit of freedom, and the spirit of goodness. Unfortunately this is not the popular conception; for, as Roberston says, "there is a tendency in the masses always to think—not what is true, but—what is respectable, correct, orthodox." And one will readily see that correct is used in its low and not in its high sense. Even respectable is not used in its best sense, as nothing ought to be respectable nor really is, that is not true and right and good.

Tolstoi, in his translation of the Gospels, refers to the scribes and Pharisees as "orthodox people." This is just what they were according to the popular and corrupted meaning of orthodoxy, and just what they were not according to its high and true meaning. Jesus, on the other hand, judged by the standards of the scribes and Pharisees was the prince of heretics, but judged by the true standard of orthodoxy he is the ideal orthodox man, not only of his own age but of all the ages. While the leaders of the popular and traditional parties of his time, as well as of all times, put the past above the present; tradition, custom, and authority above reason, conscience, and love; popular opinions above unpopular truths; definitely formulated and lifeless creeds above unfolding and living truth, Jesus regarded nothing as orthodox which was not true and right and beneficent, and everything as orthodox that was.

January 30, 1909

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