If Jesus had formulated the scientific principles which pertain to his doctrines and his works, and had taught them to his disciples, there would have been no internal evidence whatever of the truth of his history, or that he ever existed. The reason is obvious. If his biographers had been in possession of that knowledge, no matter from what source they obtained it, it would have been possible for them to create a fictitious character possessing all the powers and attributes of Christ. A few years ago it would have been impossible for the most lively imagination to picture two men, standing a thousand miles apart, transmitting oral messages to each other over a wire stretched between them. If, however, a statement had been made by any one that he had seen the feat performed, the existence of the telephone to-day would be demonstrative evidence of the truth of his statement, however sceptical his own generation might have been. In other words, the discoveries of modern science would have developed the fact that he spoke the truth.
If it were known that the man who made the statement knew absolutely nothing of the science of electricity, the internal evidence of its truth would be all the stronger; for a man well versed in the science of electricity might be supposed to be capable of imagining the possibility of such an invention, and stating its existence as a fact. But a man ignorant of electrical laws could by no possibility conceive the idea of the telephone; he must be presented with the concrete fact in order to be able to state it intelligently.
It was so with the biographers of Jesus. They knew nothing of the scientific principles involved in the performance of his wonderful works. They knew only the facts, and they recorded them. He gave to his apostles, just enough information to enable them to continue his work. He stated the conditions of success, and promised the world that whosoever complied with those conditions should be able to do even greater works than he had done. He formulated the doctrine of immortality, and stated the conditions of its attainment. His biographers have recorded his words, but not his reasons, for he gave none. If, therefore, science demonstrates that the powers that he possessed are possible, that the conditions of their exercise are precisely what he declared them to be, and that they cannot be exercised without a strict compliance with those conditions, the internal evidence for the truth of his history is overwhelming. Modified by the nature of the subject, and of the proofs required, the same may be said of his spiritual doctrines.
His practical wisdom is nowhere shown more conspicuously than in his reticence. He had two very important reasons for withholding a full disclosure of the underlying principles of his philosophy, or of the laws which pertain to his physical manifestations. The first was that the world was not ready to receive the whole truth. This was said to his disciples during his last interview with them previous to his crucifixion. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." He had given to his followers all that it was expedient to give in that age. He had told them the conditions of salvation. He had taught them how to heal the sick. He had taught them how to employ their powers in doing good, both physically and spiritually. But he knew that the same power which he taught them how to use for the physical benefit of mankind might also, in the hands of wicked men, be employed for doing evil. He knew that the condition of its exercise for evil purposes was a full knowledge of the laws which pertain to it.
He knew that in the hands of the majority of the men of his day and generation it was a dangerous power, - too dangerous to be intrusted to the world in its then stage of public and private virtue, morality, religion, and enlightenment.
There was an exoteric doctrine which he promulgated to the world, and an esoteric doctrine which he deemed it inexpedient to divulge before the world was prepared to receive it. His whole career illustrates this important fact.
His habit of speaking to the multitude in parables, together with his reasons for so doing, constitutes the strongest evidence of his determination to conceal his esoteric doctrines from the common people.
"And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
"He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. . . .
"Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. . . .
"For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed. . . .
"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them;
"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."1
These passages make it as clear as words can formulate a proposition that he deemed it inexpedient to divulge to the people anything more than they could understand and assimilate. His estimate of men and his knowledge of their needs were perfect; and he gave to each class with whom he had to deal, just what was necessary to enable it to perform the work assigned to it. He taught the multitude the principles of morality and justice among men, and pointed the way to eternal life; but he did not teach them how to heal the sick. He taught his chosen ones the true method of healing the sick, and divulged the exact conditions of its exercise; but he did not teach them the scientific principles upon which his system of healing was founded. They were no more capable of understanding those principles than were the multitude capable of acquiring the power to heal the sick. He gave to each according to his needs; and, true to his spiritual mission, Christ enjoined upon all men the necessity of first seeking the kingdom of heaven, when all other needful things would be added unto them.