Milk for Babes and Strong Meat for Men
Theosophist, Supplement to April, 1882
When the great poet and writer, Coleridge, tried to establish his Watchman—a periodical in prose and verse, intended to advocate liberal opinions—owing partly to its too learned and philosophical contents, and partly to the fact that its views were not those which its supporters had expected, The Watchman was dropped at the tenth number. Without presuming to compare, in any way, our humble work and ability to those of the most versatile genius of England, we may yet remark that, luckier than the poet, inasmuch as we had not yet to drop our publication, nevertheless we are very often threatened to lose subscribers on the ground that the journal is too profound for them to understand, and its matter too abstruse for the general reader. The objection is an unreasonable one, since for one metaphysical article there are ten, which are quite understandable by any one of general knowledge, and we often publish papers, which, as far even as nonspecialists are concerned, are likely to awaken their interest, if not to entirely meet their approbation. Thus, since the first appearance of the THEOSOPHIST, we had to labour under a variety of difficulties in order to please all our readers. Some wanted it less philosophical; others clamoured for more metaphysics; many took exception to the spiritualistic or phenomenal element in it; while still more complained of being unable to come to a definite conclusion in regard to the “beliefs” and “creed of the Theosophical Society,” whose organ it was. All this is, as it should be; the various complaints being a perfect test that our journal has hitherto carried out faithfully its original programme: namely, an impartial hearing to all; no dogmatism or sectarianism; but a constant and patient work of investigation into, and comparing notes with all and every claim, which is held in common by either small or large bodies of our fellowmen. That these claims, once laid down, were not always followed by adequate explanations, and sometimes failed entirely in giving their raison d’être, is no fault of ours, and no one could reasonably take us to task for it. It certainly is not our province—even though we do defend the right of every man to hold to his particular view or views—to explain, least of all to support the views so expressed. In the first place, it would necessitate a universal knowledge of things—an omniscience we were never so foolish and conceited as to lay claim to; and secondly, even admitting the capability of the editor, in a few cases, to express her opinion thereon, the explanation would prove worthless, since passing but through one side of the lens of our personal opinion—it would naturally modify the whole aspect of the thing. Having first of all to satisfy the “thousand and one” creeds, beliefs and views of the members of the Society, who belong to the greatest variety of creeds, beliefs and views, the THEOSOPHIST has to make, as far as it can, room for all, and having done so, to remain as impartial as possible under the circumstances. So narrow-minded and bigoted is the majority of the public that the person, liberal enough to afford to his brother and fellowman the opportunity he loudly exacts for himself, is a rara avis indeed. Our Journal—we say so with a just pride—is the only one in the whole world, which offers such opportunities to the adherents of every religion and philosophical system, or even ideas. It is for them to make the best of the chance so offered, and we can do no more.