It is evident that he carried rationalism in religion to an extent that seems hardly consistent with his position as a priest of the English Church.
Here he made it his aim to combine in a higher unity the learning and to some extent the rationalism of J.
Yet this appeal to the intelligence is not rationalism: the latter makes reason the supreme authority, rejecting all which does not conform to it; the Bible is treated like any other book, to be accepted or rejected in part or in whole as it agrees with our canons of logic and our general science, while religion submits to the same process as do other departments of knowledge.
Up to the revolutionary year 1830 his religious views had remained strongly tinged with rationalism, Hegel remaining his guide in religion as in practical politics and the treatment of history.
His critical principles are explained in the preface, where he dwells on the necessity of starting as much as possible from trustworthy contemporary sources, or at least from those nearest to antiquity - the touchstone by which verbal traditions can be tested being contemporary poems. He inclines to rationalism, rejecting the marvellous and recasting legends containing it in a more historical spirit; but he makes an exception in the accounts of the introduction of Christianity into Norway and of the national saint St Olaf.