Again had reason triumphed over the natural, instinctive suggestions of his human nature. Again had he refused to employ the power with which he had been invested, outside the limits of its legitimate domain. Again had he taught a lesson to humanity by illustrating the normal relations between the objective and subjective faculties, - between reason and instinct. In his rejection of the last temptation he did more, - he exhibited his entire devotion to the objects of his spiritual mission. He had come into the world, taking upon himself the yoke and burden of common humanity. He was circumscribed by the limitations of its laws, municipal, ecclesiastical, and natural. He willingly obeyed them all. His lot was cast among a poor and humble people. He must mingle familiarly with them if he would impress them with the grand and awful simplicity of his philosophy. If he placed himself above the laws of the land, he would be proscribed. If he transcended or violated the laws of nature, his example would be lost to common humanity.
If he sought the worldly wealth and secular power which was within his grasp, he would be feared, but not loved, by the people whose destiny it was to be the first recipients of his teachings, the beneficiaries of his power, the witnesses of his example, the recorders of his testament.
This digression from the main point of our present argument seemed necessary in order to show how perfectly the subjective mind of Jesus was under the control of his objective reason. Besides, 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, and his firm determination never to exercise that power outside of its legitimate domain, or for purposes of private advantage or emolument, than his rejection of the three temptations. That these principles actuated him is shown by his every act and word. That he taught them in their purity to his apostles is shown in the indignant reply of Peter to Simon the sorcerer, who offered a money consideration to Peter to purchase the secret of his power. Knowing that Simon was a professional magician, and suspecting that he desired only to add to his repertoire of stock exhibitions of occult powers, the apostle rebuked him in these memorable words: -
"Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God."1
I now recur to the main question under discussion: How did Jesus obtain the scientifically accurate and exclusive knowledge of the laws pertaining to the exercise of subjective power, of which every act and word of his demonstrates his possession?
The ready and easy answer of unreasoning faith is, "Miracle." But is it necessary in this case to invoke the aid of such an explanation? Clearly not. Without entering upon the discussion of the vexed question of the possible existence of the power to work a miracle, it must be held as a self-evident proposition that we should never convert an event into a miracle when there is a satisfactory explanation within the known laws of nature.
In this case the necessity does not exist to presuppose a miraculous intervention of Divine power, since God has given to every human soul the inherent power, under certain conditions, to perceive and comprehend the fixed laws of nature. What those conditions are, we may never know. That they exist, the events within common knowledge amply demonstrate. That they are exceptional, goes without saying. No one man has ever been able to perceive all the laws during his objective existence. One perceives the law of numbers, another that of the harmony of sounds, another that of the harmony of colors, and so on.
Jesus Christ perceived spiritual law.
That his intuitions were scientifically exact, so far as they pertained to the subject of his physical manifestations in healing the sick, is amply demonstrated by comparison of what he did and said with the discoveries of modern science within this, the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
1 Acts viii. 20, 21.
I have purposely refrained from commenting on the accounts of his physical manifestations other than those of healing the sick, for the reason that science in the Western world as yet furnishes little or no data for comparison. I cannot refrain, however, from calling the attention of the reader to the fact that a few years ago sceptics were just as incredulous regarding the biblical accounts of Christ's healing the sick as they still are regarding his feeding of the multitude on the five loaves and the two fishes. It must be remembered that experimental knowledge of the occult sciences is still in its infancy in the Western world, and that what is regarded as a miracle to-day may be known to be a scientific fact to-morrow. In the mean time enough is known to the scientific world to-day to demonstrate the essential truth of the physical history of Jesus of Nazareth. It remains to show what light the scientific discoveries of the nineteenth century shed upon his spiritual philosophy.