In several of Margaret Oliphant's novels, faith is so emphasized as to be part of the story line. This is found especially in her early works, in which she expresses an evangelical point of view inspired by her Scottish Presbyterian roots. She later viewed some of these novels as naive and polemical. However the issues she explores are far removed from conventional concerns with piety and good works: she portrays faith as something profound, arising from deep within the person.
In the last of these novels, The Minister's Wife, Oliphant examines evangelical faith from a greater distance, especially with regard to the extreme religious movement described in the story. As the years passed, Margaret Oliphant's faith became a more mystical experience, reflected later in many of her Stories of the Seen and Unseen.