The Great Stumbling-block, Unbelief in the Physical History of Christ. - Modern Science confirms the New Testament. - Internal Evidence of the Truth of the History of Jesus. - The Scien. tific Accuracy of his Statements. - The Exoteric and the Esoteric Doctrines. - Parables. - Esoteric Doctrines Reserved for Modern Science to discover. - The Spirit of Truth. - Jesus the first to proclaim the Scientific Truth. - The Doctrine of Faith. - Healing the Sick. - Natural Law. - Faith essential then as now. - Illustrative Incidents. - Jairus' Daughter. - Seven Scientific Steps. - Secrecy enjoined. - Scientific Reasons. - Rediscovery of the Science of Mental Therapeutics in Modern Times. - Nothing discovered that Jesus did not know. - Absent Treatment - The Power to heal transmitted to all Future Generations. - The Conditions. - Conclusions.
IT was no part of my original intention in writing this book to enter upon the discussion of theological questions, or to speculate upon the possible condition of the soul after the death of the body. Nor shall I, to any great extent, enter upon that prolific field of discussion at this time. Nevertheless, I cannot refrain from presenting a few thoughts which have forced themselves upon me concerning the relation which the hypothesis under consideration bears to the history and doctrines of the man Jesus Christ. In doing so I hope to offend no man's theology, and to avoid the accusation of seeking to "open the secret of spiritual life in the criminal court of empirical philosophy".
It has often been said that the laws which enable man to perceive spiritual truths, or to apprehend the relation which his spiritual nature bears to the Christ, cannot be formulated by any known methods of finite reasoning, that spiritual truth must be approached from the spiritual side, and that it must be perceived by the eye of faith. Nevertheless, there are many who have never been able to attain that faith in the spiritual nature of Christ, for the reason that they persist in approaching him by and through the finite processes of reasoning. Their conceptions of him come through the history of his physical life, and their doubts arise through their unbelief in the verity of the history of his physical manifestations. The history of critical warfare upon Christianity will bear out the statement that this is, and has ever been, the great stumbling-block. The assaults of scepticism have always been upon the man Christ; and, being unable to reconcile the accounts of his physical history and manifestations with the laws of nature, as understood by his critics, sceptics have ignored the spiritual side of his character, and ended in total unbelief in his divine attributes.
If, therefore, the discoveries of modern science can be made to throw any light upon the history of the man Jesus; if they confirm all that has been said of the physical phenomena which characterized his career, - the first great obstacle which stands in the way of the acceptance of the essential spiritual doctrines which he promulgated will be removed.
If, in addition to that, it can be shown that the discoveries of modern science not only confirm the story of his physical manifestations, but demonstrate the essential truth of the central idea which he promulgated concerning man's immortality, show the philosophy of his mission on earth, and prove that he was, and is, as a matter of scientific truth, the Saviour of the souls of men, there will be little left upon which scepticism can hang a reasonable doubt.
I undertake to say that modern science can do all this, and more.
It has often been said that the New Testament bears internal evidence of its own truth. This is true. But it is not true in the sense in which it has been stated. It has been said that such evidence consists in the alleged fact that at the time when Christ lived, there was no one else capable of formulating the code of ethics and morals which he promulgated. That this is not true is evidenced by the writings of many who preceded him. The golden rule itself, which may be said to embody the noblest conception which has been given to mankind of man's duty to his fellow-man, is found in the writings of Confucius. The code of ethics found in the writings of the ancient Greek philosophers will compare favorably with anything found in the New Testament. It is not in this, therefore, that the internal evidence of the truth of the New Testament is to be found.
But I undertake to say that in view of the state of scientific knowledge which existed at the time when Christ appeared on earth, it was absolutely impossible that a fictitious character could have been created, embodying the salient features of the physical history and character of Christ, by any one of his day and generation. The writers of the New Testament must have had an original from which to write the history, draw the character, and state the attributes of Christ. This is especially true of his physical history and manifestations; for no one but he was at that time capable of doing his work or of formulating with scientific accuracy the secret and source of his power. Nor was any one of his day capable of conceiving the ideas which he promulgated concerning his spiritual mission on earth, or of stating, as he did, the exact conditions upon which mankind must depend for salvation and immortality. He did not formulate the scientific principles which underlie his doctrines, for the world was not ready to receive, nor capable of appreciating, them; he only stated the facts. It has been left for the discoveries of modern science to demonstrate the scientific accuracy of his statements.
That he understood the principles which underlie his doctrines and constitute the secret of his power, goes without saying; but his biographers did not understand them, or, if they did, they were as reticent as he was.
Nor is it important to know whether they were or were no in possession of that knowledge. The point is, that they could not have created the character without the original to draw from, and, a fortiori, they could not have formulated the doctrines which, after the lapse of nineteen hundred years, prove to be scientifically correct. But it is said that they were inspired. Leaving out of consideration the theological idea of inspiration, it is certain that they were inspired in the highest and best sense of the word. They were inspired by the authoritative declarations of the Master, - by his statement of the great principles of his philosophy; by the words of him "who spake as never man spake," - words of which he made the declaration, that, "though heaven and earth shall pass away, my words shall not pass away." With this view of the source of the inspiration of the writers of the New Testament, the internal evidence of the essential truth of the history of Jesus Christ is demonstrative.