It was then that his objective power of reason asserted itself, and he refused to allow his subjective mind to usurp control. He knew that his mission on earth could not be promoted by the employment of his subjective powers for the purpose of ministering to his own selfish wants. There-fore he spurned a temptation which, if yielded to, would weaken the altruistic sentiment which was regnant in him.
His next temptation followed the first in deductive logical sequence. It came in the form of a symbolical vision, in which he saw himself placed upon a pinnacle of the temple, and a voice said: "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." This suggestion was a sequence to the other, for it was as much as to say: "If you wish to heal the sick, exhibit your power in public, where all men can see and know that you have the power to preserve your own life. Then will you receive the plaudits of the multitude, and their faith in you will be made strong".
His answer to this, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," conveys, in one brief sentence, a valuable and important lesson pertaining to the exercise of subjective power, - a lesson the importance of which, in its application to the science of mental therapeutics, cannot be overestimated. In its general sense it means that subjective power should never be exercised for purposes of mere display. The tempter appealed to his love of approbation, his pride of power, his desire for the plaudits of the multitude, tempered by the insidious suggestion that, by the public exhibition of his power, he could all the more readily secure the confidence of the people and promote the object of his mission. He had refused to exercise his power for the purpose of securing his own ease and comfort, for the reason that his mission, in part, was to relieve the sufferings of others; and now he was tempted to promote that object by a public display in the presence of an admiring multitude. There was nothing morally wrong in either suggestion. It is not wrong, per se, to produce bread, or to take measures to secure our own comfort. Nor is it wrong, in itself, to give a public exhibition for a good purpose; but from the standpoint from which he viewed it, both were wrong in principle and practice.
The first would interfere with, and endanger the success of, his mission; the second would be trifling with the gift of God. It would be a wanton exercise of a power which is given, not for idle display, but for the promotion of the highest good. of mankind, when exercised within its legitimate sphere.
But there was another and a more potent reason still for his refusal to exercise his power for purposes of display. It is a reason which the world is just beginning to appreciate. It is a reason which finds its justification in the fundamental principles pertaining to the exercise of psychic power. As in all the words and deeds of Christ, there was a scientific principle underlying the sententious expression employed in his rejection of the second temptation. This principle applies with special force to the employment of psychic power to the healing of the sick.
It has been shown in a former chapter that the normal functions of the subjective entity consist in the performance of those acts which tend to the preservation and perpetuation of the human race. It has also been shown that all exercise of subjective power outside that domain is abnormal, and, consequently, injurious. As this subject has been sufficiently enlarged upon elsewhere, it need only be mentioned here. It was this principle which Christ desired to illustrate and enforce, and he never neglected an opportunity to do so by precept or example. As before remarked, it applies with special force to the exercise of that power for the purpose of healing, and it teaches a most important and salutary lesson both to healer and patient. It is this: that no one should ever presume to violate the laws of health for the mere purpose of showing to himself or to others that he has the psychic power to heal himself. A necessary or an unavoidable act may be performed which is ordinarily injurious to health, or even dangerous to life, and psychic power may be invoked to avert the natural consequences; but when one wantonly violates the laws of health for the mere purposes of display, he is apt to find that the power to avert the consequences has deserted him.
He has violated the commandment uttered by the Saviour on that occasion: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." He has violated a law of nature, a law of psycho-therapeutics, which Christ thus sententiously formulated for the guidance of all who should come after him. Like all the other laws which he revealed to mankind, it applies with equal force now as it did when he first promulgated it nineteen hundred years ago; and it may safely be said that there is no one act of his life that more clearly discloses his perfect knowledge of the laws which pertain to the normal exercise of subjective power than his rejection of the three temptations.
His next temptation came in the form of a symbolical vision, in which he saw himself, figuratively, upon the top of "an exceeding high mountain," from which he could view "the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them".
The other temptations attacked his usefulness as a man. The third was directed against his spiritual mission also. It came in a more insidious form than either the first or second, for its promises included both. It was equivalent to saying: " You see the wide world before you, with all its comforts, its honors and glory, its wealth and splendor and power. All these can you acquire by the exercise of that potent force with which you have been invested".
"Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve".