The form of his expressions, whether he uttered parables, proverbs, maxims, or apparent paradoxes, was intended to spur men's minds to profounder thought, to awaken the Divine consciousness within, and so teach them to understand that which at first served only as a mental stimulus. It was designed to impress indelibly upon the memory of his hearers truths perhaps as yet not fully intelligible, but which would grow clear as the Divine life was formed within them, and become an ever-increasing source of spiritual light. His doctrine was not to be propagated as a lifeless stock of tradition, but to be received as a living Spirit by willing minds, and brought out into full consciousness, according to its import, by free spiritual activity. Its individual parts, too, were only to be apprehended in their first proportions, in the complete connexion of that higher consciousness which He was to call forth in man. The form of teaching which repelled the stupid, and passed unheeded and misunderstood by the unholy, roused susceptible minds to deeper thought, and rewarded their inquiries by the discovery of ever-increasing treasures.
 Schleiermacher says beautifully (Christliche Sittenlehre, p. 72), that all our progress [in Divine knowledge] must consist solely in more correctly understanding and more completely appropriating to ourselves that which is in Christ.