what is the meaning of these phrases? "hereditary scheme of religion" and "the broad platform upon which his beliefs were constructed"?

One of the chief mouthpieces of the spirit was a certain Robert Baxter —not to be confused with the Baxter who some thirty years later was associated with certain remarkable prophecies. This Robert Baxter seems to have been a solid, earnest, prosaic citizen who viewed the Scriptures much as a lawyer views a legal document, with an exact valuation of every phrase —especially of such phrases as fitted into his own hereditary scheme of religion. He was an honest man with a restless conscience, which continually worried him over the smaller details, while leaving him quite unperturbed as to the broad platform upon which his beliefs were constructed. This man was powerfully affected by the influx of spirit—to use his own phrase, "his mouth was opened in power." According to him, January 14, 1832, was the beginning of those mystical 1,260 days which were to precede the Second Coming and the end of the world. Such a prediction must have been particularly sympathetic to Irving with his millennial dreams. But long before the days were fulfilled Irving was in his grave, and Baxter had forsworn those voices which had, in this instance at least, deceived him.


1 Answer 1


The phrase, “his own hereditary scheme of religion,” speaks to Baxter's own personal view of the religion. He has been influenced by his own family's personal views. For example, his father may have really liked a certain story of the holy book. This would have caused him to teach Baxter more about that one part. So each person in his family has influenced how he understands the religion.

“[T]he broad platform upon which his beliefs were constructed” could be the major values that are the important parts of his beliefs.

So the paragraph could mean that he might have trouble understanding how some points fit his beliefs. But these individual examples don't get cause him to doubt his beliefs.

  • Do you truly believe that a person who cannot even formulate a grammatical question in English will understand your answer?
    – Lambie
    Dec 30, 2019 at 19:12
  • @Lambie No. But I do believe that someone who did not formulate a grammatically correct question but is nonplussed by other phrasing within then text in question may be able to. But it's a fair point. My description is about as dense as the text in question. Dec 30, 2019 at 20:13
  • Yep, that ougta learn 'em. :)
    – Lambie
    Dec 30, 2019 at 20:16
  • @Lambie It was questionable writing and poorly chosen given the audience. Hopefully it's less awful now. Dec 30, 2019 at 20:32

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