THE LIGHT UNDER A BUSHEL. WHY JESUS SPOKE IN PARABLES
1. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house (Matthew, 5: 15).
2. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick that they which enter in may see the light For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad (Luke, 8: 16 & 17).
3. And the disciples came and said unto Him, Why speaketh 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. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand,' and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew, 13: 10-15).
4. It appears strange to hear Jesus say that the light should not be covered up when He constantly hid the meaning of His words under the veil of allegories, which are not understood by everyone. However, He explains this when He says to His disciples: "I speak to them in parables because they are not ready to understand certain things. They see, they listen, but do not understand. So it would have been useless to have told them everything at this time. Nevertheless, I have told you, because it has been given to you to understand these mysteries." So He treated the people as you would children whose ideas had not yet developed. In this manner we come to comprehend the real meaning of the words: "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." This sentence does not mean that we should reveal all things, without due consideration as to the convenience of this revelation. All teaching should be proportional according to the intelligence of those to be taught, because there are certain people for whom a too brilliant light would only blind, without enlightening them in any way.
The same thing happens to mankind in general, as can happen to an individual. The generations have their infancy, their youth and their maturity. Each thing must come at the right moment; the seed when sown out of season will not germinate. But what prudence holds back momentarily, soon or later will be discovered because when the correct degree of development has been reached Man seeks for himself the living light as he feels obscurity weighing upon him. God having given him intelligence to understand and be guided amongst the things of the Earth and of Heaven, Man then seeks to rationalize his faith. It is at this point that he must not put the candle under the bushel, seeing that without the light of reason faith becomes weak (See chapter 19, item 7).
5. If providence then in its wise precaution only reveals the truth gradually, it is obvious that these truths are disclosed in proportion as humanity shows itself sufficiently mature to receive them. Providence holds them in reserve and not under a bushel. However as Man enters into possession of them he almost always hides them from the masses, with the intention of dominating the people. These are the ones who truly place the light under a bushel. This is why every religion has its mysteries whose examination is prohibited. But as these religions begin to become outdated, so science and intelligence have advanced and broken through the veil of mystery. Having become adult, the masses could then penetrate to the bottom of these matters and so remove from their faith that which was contrary to their observations.
Absolute mysteries cannot exist and Jesus was right when He said that there was no secret that would not come to be known. Everything which is hidden will be discovered one day, and what man still does not comprehend will be revealed in succession, in more advanced worlds, when he reaches purification. Here on Earth Man still finds himself as in a thick fog.
6. We ask ourselves what advantage can be gained from the multitude of parables whose meaning remains impenetrable? It must be noted that Jesus only expressed Himself in parables in areas which were rather abstract in the doctrine. But having declared charity to one's neighbour and humility as the basic conditions for salvation, everything He said in this respect is completely clear, explicit and without any ambiguities. This is as it should be, this being a rule of conduct, a rule that everyone had to comprehend in order to be able to observe it. This was the essential point for the ignorant masses to whom He said only: "This is what you need to do in order to reach Heaven." On other matters He only disclosed His thoughts to His disciples. This was because they were more advanced, both morally and intellectually, so that Jesus could initiate them in the knowledge of more abstract truths. This is also why He said: to those who already have, even more shall be given (See chapter 18, item 15).
Nevertheless, even with the apostles He was not precise on many points, the complete understanding in these areas being reserved for later times. It was these parts which caused so many diverse interpretations until science on the one hand and Spiritism on the other hand revealed the new laws of Nature, so making the real meaning perceptible.
7. Today Spiritism projects its light over an immense number of obscure points. But it does not do this without due consideration. When the Spirits give their teachings they conduct themselves with admirable prudence. They consider gradually, one by one, the various known parts of the Doctrine, leaving the other parts to be revealed only when it will be opportune to bring them forth from obscurity. If they had presented the complete Doctrine right from the first moment fewer people would have shown themselves disposed to accept it, and those who were not prepared would have become frightened by it, so that the dissemination would have suffered as a consequence. So then if the Spirits have still not told everything outright, it is not because there are mysteries within the doctrine which only the privileged few may penetrate, nor is it because they have hidden the candle under the bushel, but because each piece of knowledge must come at the most opportune moment. They give time for each idea to mature and spread before presenting another, and for events to prepare the way for the acceptance of new ideas.