Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Occult Jesus by Charles Van Norden 1906

THE OCCULT JESUS by Charles Van Norden 1906

See also The Occult Spirit World & the Bible - 170 Books on DVDrom

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THE personality of the prophet Jesus, wonderful and powerful as it was, might have utterly failed to make any lasting impression upon the gross age in which He lived had He not been capable of certain activities of an unusual kind, which fixed the attention of the thoughtless, awed the mighty, and impressed the simple.

Indeed, His "works," in the sight of his contemporaries, were far more significant than His "words." A recent and more thoughtful age has reversed this verdict, and were it not for the words would reject the works altogether. As a matter of fact, both are needed to explain the historical Jesus. That He wrought "signs and wonders" was as necessary a part of His mission as that He should "speak as never man spake." That an ignorant and credulous age should pronounce His mighty works miracles was inevitable, and that a skeptical modern era of induction and experimentation should declare those ancient stories of triumph over ordinary conditions the legendary growths of after times, is also quite to have been expected. But neither the former superstition nor the recent skepticism has rightly interpreted the facts.

The commonplace Jesus would never have attracted historical notice had there not been in Him psychic gifts stirring in men veneration for an occult Jesus.

Let us briefly sum up these signs and wonders as recorded.

Jesus is said to have discerned the minds of men; or, as this age would express it, He was gifted in "mind-reading." The fourth gospel declares of Him, that "He knew men and needed not that any should testify of man; for He knew what was in man." This insight was extraordinary: He searched the heart of the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, and her present social status and past history were an open book to His all-seeing eye. The character and mood of Zaccheus were revealed to an upward glance, as the Master passed under a sycamore tree at Jericho; the treachery of Judas was in vain concealed from Him (Math. 26: 25); Simon Peter, and all the disciples, were the objects of a scrutiny which would have been uncanny, in its marvelous penetration, but for its spirit of love and benevolence (Luke 22: 31). Easily he penetrated the motives of his opponents, as the evangelists frequently assure us. In short, he was telepathic.

Moreover, He was endowed with that remarkable vision of things far away—past, present, and future—which psychologists name lucidity, and which in common parlance is called clairvoyance. He saw Nathaniel, afar, under the fig-tree, and He read the character and history of the distant stranger, whom He had never known in the ordinary way, accurately. During a dark night, from the shore, He "saw" the disciples toiling at the oar in a boat on the heaving sea of Galilee. At a distance, and without tidings, He knew that Lazarus lay stricken and entombed. Foresight of coming events was a frequent experience: He predicted Peter's downfall, His own death and resurrection, the persecution of the disciples, the fate of individual followers, the destruction of the Temple, the overthrow and annihilation of Jerusalem, the end of the world (aeon, age), the coming of a Divine Comforter, the election of the Gentiles, the completion of His work in a certain Coming, and a final Judgment. That He foresaw the entire future, is not only not asserted, but denied, and his prevision, like that of other clairvoyants, appears to have been occasional, incidental, and incomplete.

His works of healing were innumerable and incessant. Hysterics, epileptics, idiots, maniacs, the deaf, the blind, the dumb, the paralytic, the halt, the exhausted—all responded to His power in recovery from their peculiar ills, in cures that amazed and thrilled the multitude. Sometimes this was done by a mere word, sometimes it required touch, and in a few cases there was appearance of remedial agency (Mark 6: 56,7: 33,8: 22-25; John 9: 6, 7), but there are no recorded failures.

All this was of course pronounced miraculous in the days of the Roman emperors. It is every-day science now. Workers in the various societies of psychical research, in many countries, under supervision of some of the most able scientists of to-day, are reducing to law, that is, to generalized statement—for laws are only generalized results of experience, brief statements of discovered relationships between groups of facts—these seemingly uncanny and lawless outbreaks of human intelligence. Telepathy and lucidity are now well proven facts; and it begins to appear that they are universal gifts, more or less latent however, in most persons.

The mental cure of disease, involving great power of mind over body, must now be recognized by all thoughtful and observant persons, as a well-attested fact, under certain conditions. Doubtless much rubbish is represented in the pretensions of the "faith cure," the "mind cure," and "Christian science;" but there is now shown to be a basis of truth in their claims. Even the "miracles" of Lourdes, of Holywell, and other shrines are not fabrications, and the ministrants of these sacred places are by no means impostors. Moreover, any one, skillful in hypnotic control, can exorcise headaches, toothaches, almost any ache, and even hypochondria and drunkenness. The human soul is a vast thesaurus of possibilities very little explored. It is well to remember that it was Voltaire, prince of skeptics, who declared: "It takes twenty years to bring man from the state of embryo, and that of mere animal, to the point when his reason begins to dawn. It has taken thirty centuries to know his structure. It would take eternity to know something of his soul."

Out of the superstition, self-deception, and knavery of ages, begins to emerge a psychology large enough to comprehend even Jesus of Nazareth.

There is every historical reason to ascribe to Jesus great psychic power, and there is no reason for denying Him gifts which, in the eyes of contemporaries, established Him as an occult being superior to nature and in complete touch with the mysterious forces which overruled the world.

That He wrought miracles, no man in His time could doubt, and no intelligent person need to-day affirm. He found Himself a psychic of high degree, and used His most unusual gifts for the good of the people.

That He did heal the sick and verily cast out devils—or what seemed such in those days —and that He performed many wonderful works, then, we feel constrained to admit as scientifically allowable and as historically proven; and in that very situation we perceive large explanation of the success of His mission.

That the Master understood the scope and significance of His own psychic powers we can not insist; that the credulous popular explanations of His works were His own interpretation of Himself, we are far from declaring; that He ever resorted to trickery to win applause, to eke out His gifts, or even to gain a reasonable hearing, we utterly refuse to believe, as inconsistent with His character and general conduct.

The hypothesis of Spiritualism, now current, that He was a great Medium and had converse with "controls," who gave Him assistance from another world, was practically the theory of His enemies in His own day, who charged that He cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, or some other unclean spirit. This charge seemed to Him, although He believed in demonology, the grossest blasphemy. He was helped, He admitted, but by the Holy Spirit of the Most High; and to ascribe His power to lower agency was defamation of the Deity, so atrocious, that of all sins it alone could hope for no forgiveness. To His own view, Jesus was in this regard a soul inspired, and His works were possible to Him only through the efficacy of a life of singular purity and constant fasting and prayer (Mark 9: 29).

The Occult Jesus explains the Messianic Jesus: His signs and miracles formed an essential element not only in the success of His life and message, but no less in His own unfolding religious consciousness.

It must not be inferred that these signs and wonders served the Master as credentials of office for us, or as evidence of a divine mission for this age, for He was by no means alone even in the exalted possession and exercise of psychic gifts. His own disciples and many men have healed the sick, "cast out devils," and done very strange things. While signs and wonders were the necessary emphasis upon His ministration of mercy in a crass, brutal age, they are for us a pictorial illustration of the Gospel message. That He Himself attached no exaggerated value to His mysterious powers, in comparison with graces of character and the potency of a consecrated personality, appears in His warning to the Seventy when they came back from their mission exulting over their ability to cast out demons: "Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in Heaven!"

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