I have written much to try to show that the principal error in man's belief that Jesus sought to destroy was the heathen idea of the resurrection of the dead. Many facts prove that this was the case and among the following is strong evidence; those who held to that doctrine were the very ones who murdered Jesus. Consequently Jesus must have opposed their popular religious opinions, and he silenced even the Sadducees in regard to the resurrection. Jesus denied the resurrection of the body but he taught the resurrection of the science of life from the opinion of error. The belief that man lies in the ground till the last day or till time shall be no more was absurd, as it led men into all sorts of wickedness, and caused the thinking classes to disbelieve in any God whatever.
The Pagan philosophers were the only men who had any real idea of a wisdom that governed all things. They believed in one Great First Cause, and they reasoned that life was attached to matter, which decomposed and returned to its original elements, and that the soul escaped and entered some living form. Popular superstition contained the ideas of heaven and hell and many believed that at the end of the world, the particles of the body would be united and the soul would take possession. Lucretius describes the popular religious belief, which was too grossly absurd for wise men to accept; therefore such looked forward with delight to the change, for under their theories man had no hope after the body was dead. It was not strange therefore that as age advanced, they should like to fall asleep. The Christian was not reconciled to giving any peace to the man of sorrow, so he believed that man was again united with a body and sent to some place to be punished. This made some insane, while some killed themselves from despair.
As time rolled on and science progressed, these ideas looked more absurd, but as persons were afraid to investigate, they were nervous when their ideas were disturbed. Yet reformers came up changing the ideas of death, till at the time of Jesus the world had almost become believers in the supernatural and spiritualism was quite general. These beliefs showed that the people's minds had been exercised with the idea of man's existence after death and that they were ready to receive a truth that would explain it. Jesus sought to bring them out of their beliefs in harmony with his wisdom. Herod showed his belief in spiritualism when told that Jesus was performing miracles, by saying that it was John the Baptist, when he knew that both the persons had been alive at the same time. Jesus had this belief against him. His idea of spirits was different from that of the world. The latter arose from ignorance, while their belief produced the phenomena as is done in our days. The wisdom of Jesus, being of a higher order, showed him that the people's wisdom was based on a belief that could be destroyed; therefore in communicating to them he spiritualized all their ideas and only handled their beliefs to illustrate his wisdom which was of the First Cause, and could consequently control all phenomena and explain all beliefs.
The people, in their ignorance, would produce phenomena to all appearance the same as Jesus did, and they accounted for it on the doctrine of the agency of departed spirits. He knew that to apply his wisdom to the healing of the nation and the individual was a science, while the miracles they wrought were from a belief in a power that neither the person who operated or the one who was cured could explain. Under this error, the world was kept in ignorance of themselves, and all their life subject to disease and death. Those who made a difference between the cures of Jesus and those of the people, when they bring no proof to substantiate or explain it, make a distinction without a difference.
My object is to show that Jesus denied any difference in the cure; it was the same whether performed by him or them, but he did make a difference between the two modes of cure. The world received wisdom from the cures of Jesus, else he differed not from the magicians. The idea that Jesus derived his power from the spirits or from the devil or from any agency independent of wisdom was an error so strongly planted in the popular mind that the people would not receive his explanation. I will illustrate the trouble by my own case. I perform cures and so do others and the people admit both, and seeing no difference in them, judge me by others. Consequently, I am made as ignorant as they are, for they do not pretend to explain their cures but attribute them to the spirits. Now I know there is a difference and I can explain to the sick that it exists in the wisdom of the operator. It is the same in music. A person may play on an instrument by rote as well as another who plays scientifically and the world in its ignorance cannot see any difference, yet there are those who can see a difference, who may not be able to explain it, and whose attempted explanation may lead the people still further into error.
This was the difficulty with Jesus, and he told whom he cured to show themselves to the High Priest and rulers but say nothing. The blind man followed his counsel and merely said, "Whereas I was blind, now I see." Jesus saw a truth that led man out of matter into wisdom, and when this wisdom was reduced to practice, it became a science and the necessity of performing cures was the field for this science. As man's opinion made the people sick, his wisdom could explain the error and change the mind and out of this change the cures came. This wisdom put man into possession of a truth by which the mind becomes subject to it. Man's wisdom being in his mind, which to truth is matter, consequently dies with the matter. Job says, "Ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you." So at death man dies with all his wisdom. Jesus' life was not in man's wisdom but in God's wisdom. Therefore to him, their wisdom was matter. This matter I call mind, which is matter under control of this wisdom or Christ.
When Jesus said this Christ should rise, he meant that this wisdom should rise from the errors of mankind and should subject mind to this truth. According to Jesus, mind could not cover the word wisdom, for wisdom is wisdom and nothing else. John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." So this was the name of something that could not be changed. All matter is changing and subject to death, for death is the change of matter from one state to another. Mind, matter, soul and life apply to these various changes. In the days of Jesus, people had begun to reason about a resurrection. There had been some glimmering of the soul's immortality, but the idea that the body rose was not held by heathen religion, so the people had to reason out this belief. Job says, 19:26, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Still the doctrine of the resurrection was unknown to the wisest heathen; it was peculiar to the Gospel or disciples of Jesus. Still as they had some idea of immortality, they had begun to reason on the subject. The Sadducees asked Jesus whose wife should the woman who had seven husbands be in the resurrection. If the scriptures had taught a resurrection of the dead, this was a fair question, but Jesus knew that it was not taught by any writer of the Old Testament.
P. P. Quimby