Seedtime and Harvest
THE GIFT OF FAITH
"And the Lord had respect unto Abel and in his offerings; But unto Cain and to his offering he had no respect." - Genesis 4:4, 5
If we search the Scriptures, we will
become aware of a far deeper
meaning in the above quotation than
that which a literal reading would give
us. The Lord is no other than your
own consciousness ". . . say unto the
children of Israel, I AM hath sent me
. . .Exodus 3:14." "I AM" is the self-definition of the Lord.
Cain and Abel, as the grandchildren of the Lord, can be only personifications of two distinct functions of your own consciousness. The author is really concerned to show the "Two Contrary States of the Human Soul," and he has used two brothers to show these states. The two brothers represent two distinct outlooks on the world possessed by everyone. One is the limited perception of the senses, and the other is an imaginative view of the world. Cain - the first view - is a passive surrender to appearances and an acceptance of life on the basis of the world without: a view which inevitably leads to unsatisfied longing or a contentment with disillusion. Abel - the second view - is a vision of fulfilled desire, lifting man above the evidence of the senses to that state of relief where he no longer pines with desire. Ignorance of the second view is a soul on fire. Knowledge of the second view is the wing whereby it flies to the Heaven of fulfilled desire.
"Come, eat my bread and drink
of the wind that I have mingled,
forsake the foolish and live."
- Proverbs 9:56
In the epistle to the Hebrews, the
writer tells us that Abel's offering
was faith and, states the author,
"Without faith it is impossible to
. . .Hebrews 11:6
"Now faith is the substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen. . . Through faith we understand
that the worlds were framed by the word
of God, so that things which are seen were
not made of things which do appear."
- Hebrews 11:1, 3
Cain offers the evidence of the senses which consciousness, the Lord, rejects, because acceptance of this gift as a mold of the future would mean the fixation and perpetuation of the present state forever. The sick would be sick, the poor would be poor, the thief would be a thief, the murderer a murderer, and so on, without hope of redemption.
The Lord, or consciousness, has no respect for such passive use of imagination - which is the gift of Cain. He delights in the gift of Abel, the active, voluntary, loving exercise of the imagination on behalf of man for himself and others.
"Let the weak man say, I am strong.:
- Joel 3:10
Let man disregard appearances and declare himself to be the man he wants to be. Let him imagine beauty where his senses reveal ashes, joy where they testify to mourning, riches where they bear witness to poverty. Only by such active, voluntary use of imagination can man be lifted up and Eden restored.
The ideal is always waiting to be incarnated, but unless we ourselves offer the ideal to the Lord, our consciousness, by assuming that we are already that which we seek to embody, it is incapable of birth. The Lord needs his daily lamb of faith to mold the world in harmony with our dreams.
"By faith Abel offered unto God a more
excellent sacrifice than Cain."
- Hebrews 11:4
Faith sacrifices the apparent fact for the unapparent truth. Faith holds fast to the fundamental truth that through the medium of an assumption, invisible states become visible facts.
"For what is faith unless it is to believe
what you do not see?"
- St. Augustine
Just recently, I had the opportunity to observe the wonderful results of one who had the faith to believe what she did not see.
A young woman asked me to meet her sister and her three-year-old nephew. He was a fine, healthy lad with clear blue eyes and an exceptionally fine unblemished skin. Then, she told me her story.
At birth, the boy was perfect in every way save for a large, ugly birthmark covering one side of his face. Their doctor advised them that nothing could be done for this type of scar. Visits to many specialists only confirmed his statement. Hearing the verdict, the aunt set herself the task of proving her faith - that an assumption, though denied by the evidence of the senses, if persisted in, will harden into fact.
Every time she thought of the baby, which was often, she saw, in her imagination, an eight month-old baby with a perfect face - without any trace of a scar. This was not easy, but she knew that in this case, that was the gift of Abel which pleased God. She persisted in her faith - she believed what was not there to be seen. The result was that she visited her sister on the child's eight-month birthday and found him to have a perfect, unblemished skin with no trace of a birth-mark ever having been present. "Luck! Coincidence! Shouts Cain. No. Abel knows that these are names given by those who have no faith, to the works of faith.
"We walk by faith, not by sight." - II Corinthians 5:7
When reason and the facts of life oppose the idea you desire to realize and you accept the evidence of your senses and the dictates of reason as the truth, you have brought the Lord – your consciousness - the gift of Cain. It is obvious that such offerings do not please Him.
Life on earth is a training ground for image making. If you use only the molds which your senses dictate, there will be no change in your life. You are here to live the more abundant life, so you must use the invisible molds of imagination and make results and accomplishments the crucial test of your power to create. Only as you assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled and continue therein are you offering the gift that pleases.
"When Abel's gift is my attire
Then I'll realize my desire."
The Prophet Malachi complains that man has robbed God:
"But ye say, Wherein have we robbed
thee? In tithes and offerings."
- Malachi 3:8
Facts based upon reason and the evidence
of the senses which oppose the idea seeking
expression, rob you of the belief in the
reality of the invisible state. But "faith is the
evidence of things not seen", and through
it "Good calleth those things which be not as though they were . . .
Call the thing not seen; assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled.
". . .that there may be meat in mine house,
and prove me now herewith, sayeth the
Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the
windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall not be room
enough to receive it."
- Malachi 3:10
This is the story of a couple living in Sacramento, California, who refused to accept the evidence of their senses, who refused to be robbed, in spite of a seeming loss. The wife had given her husband a very valuable wristwatch. The gift doubled its value because of the sentiment he attached to it. They had a little ritual with the watch. Every night as he removed the watch he gave it to her and she put it away in a special box in the bureau. Every morning she took the watch and gave it to him to put on.
One morning the watch was missing. They both remembered playing their usual parts the night before, therefore the watch was not lost or misplaced, but stolen. Then and there, they determined not to accept the fact that it was really gone. They said to each other, "This is an opportunity to practice what we believe." They decided that, in their imagination, they would enact their customary ritual as though the watch were actually there. In his imagination, every night the husband took off the watch and gave it to his wife, while in her imagination she accepted the watch and carefully put it away. Every morning she removed the watch from its box and gave it to her husband and he, in turn, put it on. This they did faithfully for two weeks.
After their fourteen-day vigil, a man went into the one and only jewelry store in Sacramento where the watch would be recognized. As he offered a gem for appraisal, the owner of the store noticed the wristwatch he was wearing. Under the pretext of needing a closer examination of the stone, he went into an inner office and called the police. After the police arrested the man, they found in his apartment over ten thousand dollars worth of stolen jewelry. In walking "by faith, not by sight", this couple attained their desire - the watch - and also aided many others in regaining what had seemed to be lost forever.
"If one advances confidently in the
direction of his dream, and endeavors
to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected
in common hours." – Thoreau