"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass; he shall have it." -- Mark 11:23
"Science was faith once." -- Lowell
1. The word faith is one that has generally been thought to denote a simple form of belief based mostly on ignorance and superstition. It is a word that has drawn forth something akin to scorn from so-called "thinking people" -- the people who have believed that intellectual attainment is the highest form of knowledge to be reached. "Blind faith" they have disdainfully chosen to call it -- fit only for ministers, women, and children, but not a practical thing on which to establish the everyday business affairs of life.
2. Some have prided themselves on having outgrown the swaddling clothes of this blind, unreasoning faith, and having grown to the point, as they say, where they have faith only in that which can be seen or intellectually explained.
3. The writer of The Epistle to the Hebrews, obviously a most intellectual man, and a learned theologian, before writing at length on the nature of faith and the marvelous results attending it, tried to put into a few words a condensed definition of faith:
4. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1 A.V.).
5. In other words, faith takes right hold of the substance of the things desired, and brings into the world of evidence the things that before were not seen. Further speaking of faith, the writer said, "Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:3 A.V.); that is, things that are seen are not made out of visible things, but out of the invisible. In some way, then, we understand that whatever we want is in this surrounding invisible substance, and faith is the power that can bring it out into actuality to us.
6. After having cited innumerable instances of marvelous things brought to pass in the lives of men, not by their work or efforts, but by faith, the Epistle says,
7. "And what shall I more say? for the time will fail me to 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 (Heb. 11:32-35).
8. Do you want any more power or any greater thing than is here mentioned -- power to subdue kingdoms, to stop the mouths of lions, quench fire, turn to flight whole armies, raise the dead to life again? Even if your desires exceed this, you need not despair or hesitate to claim their fulfillment, for One greater than you, One who knew whereof He spoke, said: "All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
9. Until very recently, whenever anyone has spoken of faith as the one power that can move mountains, we have always felt a sort of hopeless discouragement. While we have believed that God holds all good things in His hand, and is willing to be prevailed upon to dole them out according to our faith, yet how could we, even by straining every nerve of our being toward faith, be sure that we had sufficient to please Him? For does it not say, "Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him" (Heb. 11:6)?
10. From the moment we began to ask, we began to question our ability to reach God's standard of faith on which hung our fate. We also began to question whether, after all, there is any such power in faith to prevail with the Giver of "every good gift" so as to draw out of Him something that He had never let us have before.
11. Viewing faith in this light, there is not much wonder that logical minds have looked on it as a sort of will-o'-the-wisp, good enough for women and children to hang their hopes on, but not a thing from which any real, definite results could ever be obtained -- not a thing that the business world could rest upon.
12. There is a blind faith, to be sure. (Someone has truthfully said that blind faith is better than none at all; for, if held to, it will get its eyes open after a time.) But there is also an understanding faith. Blind faith is an instinctive trust in a power higher than ourselves. Understanding faith is based on immutable principle.
13. Faith does not depend on physical facts, or on the evidence of the senses, because it is born of intuition, or the Spirit of truth ever living at the center of our being. Its action is infinitely higher than that of intellectual conclusions; it is founded on Truth.
14. Intuition is the open end, within one's own being, of the invisible channel ever connecting each individual with God. Faith is, as it were, a ray of light shot out from the central sun -- God -- one end of which rays comes into your being and mine through the open door of intuition. With our consciousness we perceive the ray of light, and though intellect cannot grasp it, or give the why or wherefore thereof, yet we instinctively feel that the other end of the ray opens out into all there is of God (good). This is "blind" faith. It is based on Truth, but a Truth of which everyone is not at the time conscious. Even this kind of faith will, if persisted in, bring results.
15. What is understanding faith? There are some things that God has so indissolubly joined together that it is impossible for even Him to put them asunder. They are bound together by fixed, immutable laws; if we have one of them, we must have the other.
16. This is illustrated by the laws of geometry. For instance, the sum of the angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles. No matter how large or small the triangle, no matter whether it is made on the mountaintop or leagues under the sea, if we are asked the sum of its angles we can unhesitatingly answer, without waiting an instant to count or reckon this particular triangle, that it is just two right angles. This is absolutely certain. It is certain, even before the triangle is drawn by visible lines; we can know it beforehand, because it is based on unchangeable laws, on the truth or reality of the thing. It was true just as much before anyone recognized it as it is today. Our knowing it or not knowing it does not change the truth. Only in proportion as we come to know it as an eternal truth can we be benefited by it.
17. It is also a simple truth that one plus one equals two; it is an eternal truth. You cannot put one and one together without two resulting. You may believe it or not; that does not alter the truth. But unless you do put the one and one together you do not produce the two, for each is eternally dependent on the other.
18. The mental and spiritual world or realms are governed by laws that are just as real and unfailing as the laws that govern the natural world. Certain conditions of mind are so connected with certain results that the two are inseparable. If we have the one, we must have the other, as surely as the night follows the day -- not because we believe some wise person's testimony that such is the case, not even because the voice of intuition tells us that it is so, but because the whole matter is based on laws that can neither fail nor be broken.
19. When we know something of these laws, we can know positively beforehand just what results will follow certain mental states.
20. God, the one creative cause of all things, is Spirit, and visible to spiritual consciousness, as we have learned. God is the sum total of all good. There is no good that you can desire in your life which, at its center, is not God. God is the substance of all things -- the real thing within every visible form of good.
21. God, the invisible substance out of which all visible things are formed, is all around us waiting to come forth into manifestation.
22. This good substance all about us is unlimited, and is itself the supply of every demand that can be made; of every need that exists in the visible or natural world.
23. One of the unerring truths in the universe (by "universe" I mean the spiritual and natural worlds combined) is that there is already provided a lavish abundance for every human want. In other words, the supply of every good always awaits the demand. Another truth is that the demand must be made before the supply can come forth to fill it. To recognize these two statements of Truth and to affirm them are the whole secret of understanding faith -- faith based on principle.
24. Let us square this by the definition of faith, given earlier in the lesson: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Faith takes hold of the substance of the thing hoped for, and brings into evidence, or visibility, the things not seen.
25. What are usually called the promises of God are certain eternal, unchangeable truths that are true whether they are found in the Bible or in the almanac. They are unvarying statements of truth that cannot be altered. A promise, according to Webster, is something sent beforehand to indicate that something unseen is at hand. It is a declaration that gives the person to whom it is made the right to expect and claim the performance of the act.
26. The Nazarene recognized the unchangeable truth that, in the unseen, the supply of every want awaits demand. When He said, "Ask, and ye shall receive" (John 16:24), He was simply stating an unalterable truth. He knew that the instant we ask or desire (for asking is desire expressed) we touch a secret spring which starts on its way toward us the good we want. He knew that there need not be any coaxing or pleading about it; that our asking is simply our complying with an unfailing law which is bound to work; there is no escape from it. Asking and receiving are the two ends of the same thing. There is a very close connection between them.
27. Asking springs from desire to possess some good. What is desire? Desire in the heart is always God tapping at the door of your consciousness with His infinite supply -- a supply that is forever useless unless there be demand for it. "Before they call, I will answer" (Isa. 65:24). Before ever you are conscious of any lack, of any desire for more happiness, for fullness of joy, the great Father-Mother heart has desired them for you. It is He in you desiring them that you feel, and think it is only yourself (separate from Him) desiring them. With God the desire to give, and giving, are one and the same thing. Someone has said, "Desire for anything is the thing itself in incipiency"; that is, the thing you desire is not only for you, but has already been started toward you out of the heart of God; and it is the first approach of the thing itself striking you that makes you desire it, or even think of it at all.
28. The only way God has of letting us know of His infinite supply and His desire to make it ours is for Him to push gently on the divine spark living within each one of us. He wants you to be a strong, self-efficient man or woman, to have more power and dominion over all before you; so He quietly and silently pushes a little more of Himself, His desire, into the center of your being. He enlarges, so to speak, your real self, and at once you become conscious of new desire to be bigger, grander, stronger. If He had not pushed at the center of your being first, you would never have thought of new desires, but would have remained perfectly content as you were.
29. You think that you want better health, more love, a brighter, more cheerful home all your very own; in short, you want less evil (or no evil) and more good in your life. This is only God pushing at the inner door of your being, as if He were saying: "My child, let Me in; I want to give you all good, that you may be more comfortable and happy." "Behold, my servants shall eat. . .behold, my servants shall drink. . .behold my servants shall rejoice. . .behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart. . .And they shall build houses, and inhabit them" (Isa. 65:13, 14, 21).
30. Remember this: Desire in the heart for anything is God's sure promise sent beforehand to indicate that it is yours already in the limitless realm of supply, and whatever you want you can have for the taking.
31. Taking is simply recognizing the law of supply and demand (even if you cannot see a sign of the supply any more than Elijah did when he had affirmed for rain, and not a cloud even so big as a man's hand was for a long time to be seen). Affirm your possession of the good that you desire; have faith in it, because you are working with divine law and cannot fail; do not be argued off your basic principle by anyone; and sooner will the heavens fall than that you fail to get that which you desire.
32. "All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
33. Knowing the law of abundant supply, and the truth that supply always precedes the demand, demand simply being the call that brings the supply into sight; knowing that all desire in the heart for any good is really God's desire in us and for us, how shall we obtain the fulfillment of our every desire, and that right speedily?
34. "Delight thyself also in Jehovah; And he will give thee the desires of thy heart" (Psalms 37:4). Take right hold of God with an unwavering faith. Begin and continue to rejoice, and thank Him that you have (not will have) the desires of your heart, never losing sight of the fact that the desire is the thing itself in incipiency. If the good were not already yours in the invisible realm of supply, you could not, by any possibility, desire it.
35. Someone asks: "Suppose I desire my neighbor's wife, or his property; is that desire born of God? And can I see it fulfilled by affirming that it is mine?"
36. You do not and cannot, by any possibility, desire that which belongs to another. You do not desire your neighbor's wife. You desire the love that seems to you to be represented by your neighbor's wife. You desire something to fill your heart's craving for love. Affirm that there is for you a rightful and an overflowing supply, and claim its manifestation. It will surely come, and your so-called desire to possess your neighbor's wife will suddenly disappear.
37. So you do not in reality desire anything that belongs to your neighbor. You want the equivalent of that for which his possessions stand. You want your own. There is today an unlimited supply of all good provided in the unseen for every human being. No man must needs have less that another may have more. Your very own awaits you. Your understanding faith, or trust, is the power that will bring it to you.
38. Emerson said that the man who knows the law "is sure that his welfare is dear to the heart of being. . .He believes that he cannot escape from his good."
39. Knowing divine law and obeying it, we can forever rest from all anxiety, all fear, for "Thou openest thy hand, And satisfiest the desire of every living thing" (Psalms 145:16).
Preceding Entry: Lessons In Truth: 5. Affirmations
Following Entry: Lessons In Truth: 7. Personality and Individuality