1. Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. . . . By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear.
2. In the 11th chapter of Hebrews, we find the achievements of faith piled mountain high: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death. . . . By Faith Noah . . . prepared an ark to the saving of his house. . . . By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac. . . . By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents. . . . By faith the walls of Jericho fell down. . . . And what shall I more say? for the time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens. Women received their dead by a resurrection.
3. The idea that faith is something that has to do only with one's religious experience is incorrect. Faith is a faculty of the mind that finds its most perfect expression in the spiritual nature, but in order to bring out one's whole character it should be developed in all its phases. That it is a power is self-evident. People who have faith in themselves achieve
far more than those who do not believe in their own ability. We call this self-faith innate confidence, but confidence is only a form of faith. Belief is another of the expressions of faith. Jesus apparently made no distinction between faith and belief. He said, "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" and "Whosoever . . . shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass; he shall have it." In an analysis of the constituent parts of man's consciousness, we locate belief in the intellect, working in the thought realm without contact with the more interior substance of Spirit, upon which true faith is founded.
4. In Spirit, faith is related to omnipresent substance or assurance. Jesus used the same illustration when He referred to Peter, a type of faith, as a rock upon which He would found His church. Here is proof that faith is closely allied to the enduring, firm, unyielding forms of earth substance. But free faith has power to do, and power to bring about results in the affairs of those who cultivate it.
5. Like the other faculties, faith has a center through which it expresses outwardly its spiritual powers. Physiologists call this center the pineal gland, and they locate it in the upper brain. By meditation man lights up the inner mind, and he receives more than he can put into words. Only those who have strengthened their interior faculties can appreciate the wonderful undeveloped possibilities in man. The physiologist sees the faculties as brain cells,
the psychologist views them as thought combinations, but the spiritual-minded beholds them as pure ideas, unrelated, free, all-potential.
6. Faith can be extended in consciousness in every direction. It will accomplish wonderful things if quickened and allowed free expression in its native realm. When Jesus said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you," He referred to faith's working in spiritual substance. Such results are possible only to the faith that co-operates with creative law. Where faith is centered in outer things, the results are not worthy of mention. Men have named them luck, accident, chance, and the like. Such charms seem to work for a little while, then suddenly change, so it is evident that they are not under any enduring law.
7. When faith is exercised in the intellectual realm, the results are usually profitable to the man of brains. If he has faith in his art, or his science, or his philosophy, it answers his purpose, for a time at least, but it never gets beyond the traditions and experiences of precedent. Intellectual people do no miracles through faith, because they always limit its scope to what the intellect says is law. It is when faith is exercised deep in spiritual consciousness that it finds its right place, and under divine law, without variation or disappointment, it brings results that are seemingly miraculous.
8. Faith has always played a very large part in the experiences of religious people because they have given it free scope, expecting great things through it from the Lord. But nearly all faith demonstrations have been the result of a sort of blind confidence that God would carry out whatever was asked of Him. Sometimes a petitioner has been disappointed, and a series of disappointments has usually led to doubt and to the conclusion that God has in some way changed His law. The early Christians were taught by Jesus and His disciples to have faith in God, and they did wonderful, so-called miraculous, works. As time went on and their attention was more and more drawn to worldly things, the Christians of a later day became separated from the spiritual forces within them, and their faith lost its energy. Then they began teaching that miracles were no longer necessary; that God had given them to the early Christians because they did not have the Bible or an organized church. They also taught that the miracles had been given to prove that Jesus was the Son of God.
9. Now we have a fuller understanding of the law of God, and know that whatever has been done once can be done again under like conditions. If Jesus and His disciples and the early Christians did marvelous things through the prayer of faith, we can do likewise. All that is required is perseverance in our use of faith until we make connection with the higher realms of consciousness, where, as Jesus said, though our faith be as small as the smallest of
seeds, it will spring forth and demonstrate its power to carry out every desire into which we infuse it. "Nothing shall be impossible unto you," if your faith is in Spirit, and if your work is in harmony with Divine Mind.
10. The Christian religion has been a great factor in the development of faith in the inner realms of man's being. "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." The power to see in Spirit is peculiar to faith. In its outer expression this power is sight; interiorly it is that which perceives the reality of the substance of Spirit. Mental seeing is knowing; when we perceive the truth of a proposition, we say, "I see, I see," meaning that we mentally discern.
11. Faith in the reality of things spiritual develops the faith center in the brain, called the pineal gland. When this mental eye is illuminated with spiritual faith, it sheds a radiance that hovers like a halo around the head and extends in lessening degree throughout the whole body. "When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light." The halo that the early artists painted around the heads of saints was not imaginary, but real. This illuminating power of faith covers the whole constitution of man, making him master of all the forces centering about spiritual consciousness. Faith and prayer go hand in hand.
12. "The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself
in that which he approveth." Have faith in what you do, and after it is done do not condemn yourself. We all are seeking happiness, contentment, and we know by experience that we are happy when we are in tune with our environment. There is a great variety of ideas that cause us inharmony. We think that if we have money and friends we can be happy; but things do not make happiness. It is our mental attitude toward things that fixes our relation to them, and the better we understand the innate substance of the world about us, the more do we appreciate it.
13. Faith is ever active, and it should be made the truth substance of every idea. We should have faith in our own power, capacity, and ability; if we are to have this faith our thoughts must be centered in the great universal Mind. Success lies in God. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin; then whatsoever is of faith is not sin. This is the new standard of righteousness for the man who would "put on Christ." It is his breastplate, his protection, while he is coming up into knowledge of the absolute good. Sin is a missing of the mark, and we miss the mark by not having faith.
14. Faith in the reality, power, and willingness of the mental and spiritual forces is absolutely essential to success in demonstrating the higher law. Jesus was the herald of a set of laws that will revolutionize the civilization of this world and will produce a new and higher type of man. He spoke of a new condition for the uplift of the race; He called it the
"kingdom of heaven," and He said that it must be built upon the foundation typified by Peter (a rock), which is faith. The development of the faith faculty in the mind is as necessary to the worker in spiritual principles as is the development of the mathematical faculty in the worker in mathematics. Neither of these faculties comes at a bound fully formed into consciousness, but both grow by cultivation. "Increase our faith," said the apostles, and Jesus answered: "Have faith in God."
15. Nearly all readers of Scripture recognize Peter as a type of faith. By studying his experiences we may get suggestions on the development of that faculty in ourselves. The fluctuating allegiance of Peter to Jesus illustrates the growth of faith in one who has had no development of that faculty. Faith and doubt contended for supremacy in Peter, and we wonder why Jesus chose as His chief disciple this vacillating, weak, and cowardly fisherman. But we observe that Peter was enthusiastic, bold at times, receptive and patient under reproof. He had never walked on the water, but when Jesus said, "Come," he boldly went out to meet Him. Doubt entered his mind, and he sank; but the helping hand was extended to him and he was made stronger by the experience. This and many other illustrations in the history of Peter show how faith grows in the mind, and we should not be discouraged if our first efforts fall short of the desired end.
16. A very little faith often produces surprising
results. The forces invisible are much closer than we think, and when we turn our attention in their direction the response is usually so pronounced and so swift that we cannot but feel that a miracle has been performed. A more intimate acquaintance with the divine law convinces us that under it all things are possible if we only believe, and if we at the same time conform our thoughts to its principle.
17. Peter (faith), James (judgment), and John (love) were the three apostles who were very close to Jesus, and they are more prominent in His history than any of the others. This indicates that these three faculties are developed in advance of the others, also that they are closely associated. Understanding reveals to us that God is a mind-principle whose foundation is ideas. When this character of the creative principle dawns upon us, we see how easy it is to commune with God. Through this communion we almost unconsciously strengthen faith, and we find that one faculty helps another to grow. But there must be room in which to grow, and room is made by love. Selfishness is limitation; it binds man in a little prison called personality. The only way to enlarge one's character and give play to all the faculties is through love. Love enlarges the field of consciousness by leveling the thoughts of enmity and opposition. Make friends with all your adversaries quickly, whether they be persons, thoughts, or things.
18. We are constantly making conditions
through our thoughts. Some people declare that everything is against them. If they miss a car, they say, "It is always that way," and they build up a state of mind in which everything seems contrary to them.
19. In all our experience we should condemn nothing that comes to us and nothing that we do. We know the law; let us keep it, and not set up any adverse conditions by our thoughts of condemnation. Whatever you are doing, be happy in it. If you are getting wrong results, do not believe in an angry God. You are getting the results of your acts, according to your faith. Be wise; pronounce nothing evil, and only good will come. Shall we call everything good? Yes. If the savage knew this law he could lift himself to a higher consciousness by it. We get out of savagery by idealizing the good.
20. Have faith in the innate goodness of all men and all conditions. Do not condemn, no matter how great the provocation. What you think, you create in your own consciousness. Enlarge your range of vision, and you may see good in what now seems evil. God is good and God is all, hence there can be no real condition but the good. Why should we waste our time fighting evil? If we build our character upon faith, understanding, and love, with the great I AM as the focal center, we shall become pillars in the temple of God.
Faith Affirmations (To be used in connection with Lesson Eight)
- "Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen."
- Holding continuously to the reality of things spiritual establishes them in mind -- they become mental substance.
- I believe in the presence and power of the one Mind, and it is to me substantial intelligence.
- "According to your faith be it done unto you."
- My doubts and fears are dissolved and dissipated; in confidence and peace I rest in God's unchangeable law.
- "Great is thy faith: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt."
- With my mind's eye I see more and more the reality of the true ideas ever existing in divine principle.
- "I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
- Jesus said: "Have faith in God."
- I am saved from pain and sorrow through my unswerving faith in the protection and care of God.
- "Lord, increase our faith."
- My faith grows greater day by day, because it is planted in Truth, and through it the mountains of mortal error are moved into the sea of nothingness.
- The understanding of Spirit clarifies my faith
- "I know him whom I have believed." I am persuaded that He is able, that He is willing, that He is eager, to give me whatsoever I ask."
- My faith comprehends the beauty of wholeness.
- My faith is of God and in God.
- "Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole."
Preceding Entry: Christian Healing 72-84: 7. Spirituality or Prayer and Praise
Following Entry: Christian Healing 96-106: 9. Imagination