“Where there is Faith there is Love,
Where there is Love there is Peace,
Where there is Peace there is God,
Where there is God there is no need.”
There is a divine voice within us which only speaks when every other voice is hushed,—only gives its message in the silence.
“I shall study law,” said an ambitious youngster, “and those who are already in the profession must take their chances!”
The divine self-confidence of youth, the unshaken faith that believes all things possible, often makes cynics and world-weary people smile. Yet it is the grandest, most helpful attribute of man, the finest gift of the Creator to the race. If we could retain through life the faith of ambitious, self-confident, untried youth, its unquestioning belief in its ability to carve out its ideal in the actual, what wonders we should all accomplish! Such faith would enable us literally to remove mountains.
All through the Scriptures faith is emphasized as a tremendous power. It was by faith that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the waters of the Red Sea, and the wilderness. It was by faith that Elijah, Isaiah, Daniel, and all of the great prophets performed their miracles.
Faith was the great characteristic of Christ Himself. The word was constantly on His lips, “According to thy faith be it unto thee.” He often referred to it as the measure of what we receive in life, also as the great healer, the great restorer. Whenever He healed He laid the entire emphasis upon the faith of the healer and the one healed. “Thy faith hath made thee whole,” “Believe only and she shall be made whole,” “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Or He reproved His disciples for the lack of faith which prevented them from healing, as when He addresses them, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and suffer you.”
Morality believes; doubt fears. Faith creates; doubt destroys. Faith opens the door to all things desirable in life; doubt closes them. Faith is an arouser, an awakener of our creative forces. It opens the door of ability and arouses creative energies. Faith is the link in the Great Within which connects man with his Maker. It is the divine messenger sent to guide men, blinded by doubt and sin. Our faith puts us in touch with Infinite Power, opens the way to unbounded possibilities, limitless resources. No one can rise higher than his faith. No one can do a greater thing than he believes he can. The fact that a person believes implicitly that he can do what may seem impossible to others, shows there is something within him that has gotten a glimpse of power sufficient to accomplish his purpose.
Men who have achieved great things could not account for their faith; they could not tell why they had an unflinching belief that they could do what they undertook. But the mere fact of such belief was evidence that they had had a glimpse of interior resourcefulness, reserve power, and possibilities which would warrant that faith; and they have gone ahead with implicit confidence that they would come out all right because this faith told them so. It told them so because it had been in communication with something divine, that which had passed the bounds of the limited and had veered into the limitless.
Men and women who have left their mark on the world have been implicit followers of their faith when they could see no light, but their unseen guide has led them through the wilderness of doubt and hardship into the promised land.
When we begin to exercise self-faith, self-confidence, we are stimulating and increasing the strength of the faculties which enable us to do the thing we have set our heart on doing. Our faith causes us to concentrate on our object, and thus develops the power to accomplish it. Faith tells us that we may proceed safely, even when our mental faculties see no light or encouragement ahead. It is a divine leader which never misdirects us. But we must always be sure that it is faith, and not merely egotism or selfish desire that is urging us. There is a great difference between the two, and no one true to himself can be deceived.
When we are achieving right, when we are on the right track, our faith in the divine order of things never wavers. It sustains in situations that drive the self-centered egoist to despair. The man who does not see the Designer behind the design everywhere, who does not see the mighty Intelligence back of every created thing, cannot have that sublime faith which buoys up the great achievers and civilization-builders.
Our supreme aim should be to get the best from life, the best in the highest sense that life has to give, and this we cannot do without superb faith in the Infinite. What we accomplish will be large or small according to the measure of this faith. It is the man who believes in the one Source of All who believes most in himself; it is the man who sees good in everything, who sees the divine in his fellow-man, who has faith in everybody, who is the master man. The skeptic, the pessimist, has no bulwark of faith, none of the divine enthusiasm that faith gives, none of the zeal that carries the man of faith unscathed through the most terrible trials.
Without confidence in the beneficence of the great universal plan, we can not have much confidence in ourselves. To get the best out of ourselves we must believe that there is a current running heavenward, however much our surroundings may seem to contradict this. We must believe that the Creator will not be foiled in His plan and that everything will work together for good, however, many wars and crime, poverty, suffering, and wretchedness all about us may seem to deny this.
The abiding faith in a Power which will send things out right in the end, which will harmonize discord, has always been strong in men and women who have done great things in the world, especially in those who have achieved grand results despite the most severe trials and tribulations.
It takes sublime faith to enable a man to fight his way through “insuperable” difficulties, to bear up under discouragements, afflictions and seeming failure without losing heart; and it is just such faith that has characterized every great soul that has ever made good. Whatever other qualities they may have lacked, great characters have always had sublime faith. They have believed in human nature. They have believed in men. They have believed in the beneficent Intelligence running through the universe.
Some of the most important reforms in history have been brought about by very fragile, delicate men and women, not only without outside encouragement but in the teeth of the most determined opposition. They have agitated and agitated, hoped and hoped, and struggled and struggled until victory came. No one could even attempt the herculean tasks they accomplished without that instinctive, abiding faith in a Power superior to their own,—a Power which would work in harmony with honesty, with earnestness, with the integrity of purpose, in a persistent struggle for the right, but which would never sanction wrong.
Think of what the faith of St. Paul enabled him to do for the world! Think of what Christ’s little band of chosen disciples succeeded in accomplishing in spite of the might of the Roman empire pitted against them! The power of the greatest benefactors of the race came largely from the inspiration of faith in their mission, their belief that they were born to deliver a certain message to the world, that they were to make an important contribution to civilization. Think of what the faith of the inventor has done! It has kept him at his task, kept him nerved and encouraged in the face of starvation, kept him at his work when his family had gone back on him, when his neighbors had denounced him, and called him insane. Think of what the faith of Columbus, of Luther, of the Wesleys, has accomplished for mankind! It has ever been men with indomitable faith that have moved the world. They have been the great pioneers of progress.
An instinctive faith in the Divine Force which permeates the universe, which is friendly to the right and antagonistic to the wrong, has ever been the unseen helper that supported, encouraged, and stimulated men and women to accomplish the “impossible,” or that which to lower natures seems beyond human capacity. It is this which sustains brave souls in adversity and enables them to bear up, to believe and hope and struggle on when everything seems to go against them. It is the same principle which supported the martyr at the stake and enabled him to smile when the flames were licking the flesh from his bones.
Faith has ever been the greatest power in civilization. It has built our railroads, has revealed the secrets of nature to science, has led the way to all our inventions and discoveries, and has brought success out of the most inhospitable conditions and iron environments. In fact, we owe everything that has been accomplished to faith, and yet when we come to its practical application in our everyday affairs how few of us avail ourselves of this tremendous force! The vast majority are looking for some power outside to help, when we ourselves hold the key which has ever unlocked, and ever will unlock, all barred doors to aspiring souls.
If people could only realize what a potent building, creative force faith is, and would exercise it in their daily lives, we should have very few paupers, very few failures, very few sickly, diseased or criminal among us. If, by some magic, a strong, vigorous faith could be injected into the men and women of the great failure army to-day, the larger part of them would get out of this army and get into the army of the successful.
It is not alone in our life work, or in great or special undertakings that faith is necessary. We need it every moment of our lives, in everything, great and small, that concerns us. It is just as necessary to your health as it is to your success. To build up the faith habit, faith in human nature, the habit of believing in yourself, in your ability, of believing that you are sane, sound, and level headed, that you have good judgment and good horse sense, that you are victory organized and that you are going to attain your ambition, is to blaze a path to success.
A man begins to deteriorate, to go toward failure, not when he loses all of his material possessions, not when he fails in his undertakings, but when he loses faith in himself, in his ability to make his dreams come true.
When we remember that self-faith characterizes successful people, and lack of it the mediocres and the failures, one would think that everybody would cultivate this divine quality which by itself alone has done so much for the individual and for the world.
The reason why faith works such marvels is that it is the leader of all the other mental faculties. They will not proceed until faith goes ahead. It is the basis of courage, of initiative, of enthusiasm. Much of Napoleon’s power and early success came from his tremendous faith in his mission, the conviction that he was a man of destiny, that he was born under a lucky star, born to conquer. Shorn of his mighty belief in his star, stripped of the faith that he was born to rule, he would have been no more of a power in human affairs than the dullest private in the ranks of his army. When warned by his generals not to expose himself to the enemy, he would reply that the bullet or the cannon had not been cast which could kill Napoleon. This invincible belief in his destiny added wonderfully to his natural powers.
It was her conviction that she was chosen of God to free France from its enemies that made Joan of Arc, the simple, ignorant peasant girl of Domrèmy, the saviour of her country. Her mighty faith in her divine mission gave her dignityiraculous force of character, a positive genius, that made all the commanders of the French army obey her as private soldiers obey their superior officers. Faith in herself and her mission transformed the peasant maiden into the greatest military leader of her time.
There is no doubt that every human being comes to this earth with a mission. We are not accidental puppets thrown off to be buffeted by luck or chance or cruel fate. We are a part of the great universal plan. We were made to fit into this plan, to play a definite part in it. We come here with a message for humanity which no one else but ourselves can deliver, and faith in our mission, the belief that we are important factors in the great creative plan, that we are, in fact, co-creators with God, will add wonderfully to the dignity and effectiveness of our lives, will enable us to perform the “impossible.”
If every child were brought up in the firm belief that he was made for health, happiness, and success; if it were impressed on him that he should never entertain a doubt of his power to attain them, as a man he would be infinitely stronger in his powers of self-assertion and in his self-confidence; and these qualities strengthen the ability, unify the faculties, clarify the vision, and make the attainment of what the heart yearns for a hundred percent. more probable than if he had not been thus reared.
A child’s faith is instinctive, and if not tampered with, destroyed by wrong training, would continue through life. We see this sort of instinctive faith illustrated by the lower animals. Take the birds, or the domestic hen, for example. See how patiently she sits on the eggs week after week until the chickens are hatched. She cannot see the cowards when she begins to sit, but her belief that they will come if she does her part induces her to give up her liberty for weeks, and to go sometimes for days without food, that she may keep the eggs at the right temperature to produce the chickens.
The trouble with most of us is that we do not have sufficient faith in the creative power of the vigorous determination to do a thing, in the persistent endeavor backed by self—faith to accomplish what we desire. We give up too easily under discouragement. We haven’t sufficient stamina and grit to push on under disheartening conditions. We want to see clear through from the beginning to the end of whatever we undertake. We refuse to have faith. Yet much of the time throughout life we may have to work without any goal insight, or at least without any clear light to see it, but if the mental attitude is right we know that, somehow, we shall attain our heart’s desire. We have merely been shown a program which we are capable of carrying out, a table of contents of our capabilities, the signs of the corresponding realities, for faith is not an idle dream, an elusive picture of the imagination. We have not been mocked by ideals and aspirations, soul-yearnings and heart-longings for the things which have no possible realities. Faith is not a cheat. There is the ability to match the faith.
There is something about devotion to one’s inward vision, the intense desire and focusedrt to fulfill what we believe to be our mission here, that has a solidifying influence upon the character, gives poise and peace of mind, and also helps us to realize our vision.
The probabilities are that the iceberg which sent the Titanic, with sixteen hundred souls, to the bottom of the ocean did not even feel a tremor at the shock. More than seven-eighths of its huge bulk was below the water, deep down in the eternal calm of the sea, beyond the reach of storm or tempest. Like the giant iceberg, faith reaches down into the serene within of us, into the eternal calm of the soul. It is not disturbed by the surface commotions. A life poised in faith rides steadily, triumphantly, through the tempests and the hurricanes of existence.
You will constantly be confronted with things which tend to destroy faith in God and faith in yourself. There are many times in life when all we can do is to hold on to the hand of the Divine Guide until we have run through the storm zone. We have to learn to turn away from the heart-breaks of life and to face the light. We have to disregard the criticisms and the discouragement of others, as well as the assaults of fear and doubt, and press on to our goal.
If you go in business for yourself, if you are struggling to get an education, if you are making desperate efforts to realize your ambition, whatever it is, you will find plenty of pessimists who will predict your failure. They will tell you that you never can build up a business without a lot of capital and outside help in these times of terrific competition, that you cannot work your way through college, that you can never be whatever you are dreaming of and longing for for for to be. You will meet plenty of obstacles and much opposition, and it will take a very stiff backbone, a lot of sand, and grit to keep pushing on towards your goal against great odds, but faith is more than a tournament for all these. Nothing else will enable you to win out.
Remember it is not other people’s faith in you but your faith in yourself that counts most. It is a good thing to have other people’s good opinions, to have their confidence in us, their faith in the success of our efforts, but it is not imperative. Our own is. No man ever gets anywhere or does anything great in this world without faith in himself, without a superb belief that he is on the right track, that he is doing the thing he was made to do, that he is going to stick to it through thick and thin to the end. It takes faith to look beyond obstacles, to see the way over difficulties, to brave opposition, and to allow nothing to swerve us from our course.
You cannot keep anyonefrom succeeding who has an unshakable faith in his mission. You cannot crush the faith that wrestles with difficulties, that never weakens under trials or afflictions, that pushes on when everybody else turns back, that gets up with greater determination every time it is knocked down.
In the sacred Confucianism scriptures, we are told that a very devoted disciple of Confucius, on a pilgrimage to his master, was stopped on his journey by a broad river. As he could not swim and could not procure a boat, the zealous disciple resolved that he would walk on the water. Believing that the necessity of seeing his master was most urgent, and being filled with zeal in the performance of his mission, he boldly attempted—and succeeded. The record of this miracle is supposed by followers of Confucius to be just as authentic as the Bible account of the walking of Christ on the water.
If like this zealot, you have faith in your power to overcome difficulties, nothing can keep you from your goal. I like Joan of Arc, you believe you are appointed by God to perform certain work, it will help you wonderfully to make good. It will dignify your life and your efforts, and thus save you from a thousand temptations to waste your time in frivolous pursuits. It will put a higher value upon your importance to the world. To feel that you have a divine mission that no one else can perform, that you came here with a sacred message for mankind, and that it is up to you to deliver it will add a wonderful motive for effectiveness in your life work. The consciousness that you are keeping faith with your Creator and with yourself, that you are keeping faith with your fellowmen and earning their respect and love, that you are keeping faith with a splendid life purpose, with your holiest vision, gives satisfaction which nothing else can afford.
Cling to your faith no matter what happens. It is your best friend. Like the magnetic needle on the ship’s deck, which will find the northeast star, no matter how dense the fog, how dark the night, or how threatening the tempest, your faith, even though you cannot see, will find the way. It sees the open road, beyond the mountain of difficulties which shuts out the vision of the other faculties.
Some time ago, during one of our periodical business crises, some newspapers made merry over again statement of President Wilson that the condition of the United States, illustrated by the fact that eighty thousand freight cars were at the time side-tracked along the lines of one of our great railroads alone, could be changed by psychology. One of these papers sarcastically suggested that if we should take a dose of the psychology remedy and go to sleep somewhere in the misty, cloudy lands of theory, and dream that those eighty thousand empty freight cars were moving, we should see them move.
Now, in spite of newspaper skepticism, I believe that the psychology remedy if applied in every financial, business, or other crisis would prove absolutely effective. If all the people of this country would persistently hold a mental attitude of faith in our prosperity, which is the birthright of the inhabitants of this land of plenty; if they would have faith that our vast resources would enable us to carry on business, regardless of conditions in Europe or elsewhere, and if they would act in accordance with their faith, there would be no idle freight cars, no lack of work, no lack of money at any time.
It is the mental attitude of the people of the United States that causes financial panics and recurrent “hard times.” And there is something dead wrong in a state of mind which produces periodical crises, intervals of nationwide stagnation in a land with resources great enough to make every one of its tremendous citizens rich, in a land where the State of Texas alone could give everyone of them a better living than the majority get to-day.
Before we can give rise to business conditions stable we must have faith in the stability of our limitless wealth, in the opulence of the earth over which the Creator has given us control. We have got to hold the prosperous vision, to see better times with the mental eye, not dimly in the future, but now, to have more faith in our Maker, in our nation, in ourselves individually.
Why, if we analyze the matter, we will see that our unparalleled national prosperity has been built up largely by psychology. Its foundations had their root in the faith of our forefathers, in their belief in our country’s possibilities.
We all know that faith has preceded every achievement in the world’s history. The activities of the whole country today are based upon psychology, upon the mental attitude, the faith, the hope, the expectation of its citizens.
“Without a vision the people perish,” and when our vision, our faith, shrivels, when it is obscured or displaced by doubt, fear, anxiety, lack of confidence, all our activities suffer accordingly.
With abundant crops, with a lowering death rate and increasing longevity of our people, with constantly growing educational facilities, America ought to register every day of every year as a high water point of prosperity. But when a large portion of the people lack faith in the future, when, from time to time, uncertainty is in the air, when everybody is doubting and fearing, waiting to see what is coming next, of course, the business will stagnate. It will follow the prevailing mental attitude, hesitate, waver, doubt, stand still like the idle freight cars.
We are just beginning to see that faith is as much a real force as is electricity. It is faith that eradicates mountains—mountains of difficulty, of opposition, of doubt, of distrust. It clears the track of all obstructions. It makes stepping stones of stumbling blocks. Faith is the most powerful, the most sublime of human attributes. Without it, the bottom would drop out of civilization. It is the fundamental principle of life. Faith is the basis of health, success, happiness, of love itself. It believes in, hopes, trusts, clings to the loved one despite all faults and sins. It is faith that heals, that achieves, that hopes. The very feeling of harmony between ourselves and our God, that which gives assurance, a sense of protection, and of safety which nothing else can give, is born of our faith in Him, in whom we live and move and have our being.
We must realize and appreciate more and more our divinity, the fact that we are made in the image of our Creator, and that we must partake consciously of His qualities. Then we will have more faith in our community’s powers. When we are conscious of having qualities like His we can rise above apparent limitations, above hereditary weakness. It is all preëminently a question of holding the right thought—the thought that builds, the thought that creates, that produces, the thought that we have within us unlimited possibilities, which can be realized. A sublime self-faith is indispensable to all great achievements.
Let no one shake your faith in yourself. That is what brings you into the closest connection with God. It is your mainstay. There is no magic like faith; it elevates, refines, and multiplies the power of every other faculty.
Whether we are starting in life, or going downhill on the other side, facing the transition we call death, faith is our bracer, the trusty leader that will never fail to guide us to the home of our heart’s desire.
If you are filled with great faith you will not fear, though you walk through the valley of the shadow. Though the way may be dark faith will lead you into the light. The Power that has sustained you every moment of your existence, and without which you could not exist a fraction of a second, will certainly not leave you in your greatest need. It
If you bid your child jump into your arms, he would not hesitate even though it was so dark that he could not see you. He would jump because of his faith in you. He would know that he would be perfectly safe in doing whatever you told him. Why should we fear to jump into the arms of the Infinite when we come to death’s door, which is only the entrance to another life? Why should we fear to cross the valley that leads to the new life when we know that our great Father-Mother-God is on the other side waiting with outstretched arms to receive us?
“I will not doubt; adequately anchored in the faith,
Like some stanch ship, my soul braves every gale,
So strong its courage that it will not fail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of Death.
Oh, may I cry when body parts with spirit,
‘I do not doubt,’ so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath.”