Allan Kardec

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The power of faith. Religious faith. The state of unshakable faith. The parable of the dry fig-tree. INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SPIRITS: Faith, the mother of hope and charity. - Human and Divine faith.


1. And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down to Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for of times he falleth into the fire, and oftimes into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, 0 faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart and said, Why could we not cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, because of your unbelief For verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto the mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew, 17:14-20).

2. In one sense it is certain that confidence in one's own strength gives Man the capacity to carry out material things which he would not be able to do if he doubted himself. However, here we wish to deal exclusively with the moral sense of these words. The mountains which faith can transport are the difficulties, the resistances, the ill will, in fact all those things which Man has to face, even when we refer to good things. The prejudices, routines, materialistic interests, selfishness, the blindness of fanaticism and the prideful passions are but a few of the mountains which block the way of those who work for human progress. Robust faith gives perseverance, energy and resources which allow us to overcome these obstacles, be they large or small. From wavering faith results only uncertainty and the kind of hesitation which those adversaries we need to combat take advantage of; this faith does not even try to find the means to win because it does not believe it can.

3. Another acceptance of the term gives us to understand that faith is the confidence we have in the realization of something, and the certainty of attaining a specific end. It gives us a kind of lucidness which permits us to see, in thought, the goal we wish to reach and the means of getting there, so that those who have faith go forward, in a manner of speaking, with absolute security. In either one of these cases, it can give place to the realization of great things.

Faith which is real and sincere is always calm; it permits patience which knows how to wait, because having its foundation in intelligence and the understanding of life, it is certain of reaching the objective it aspires to. Vacillating faith feels its own weakness; when its interest is aroused it becomes frenzied and thinks it can supply the force it lacks by using violence. Calmness during the struggle is always a sign of strength and confidence; whereas on the contrary violence denotes weakness and self-doubt.

4. It behoves us not to confuse faith with presumption. True faith is linked to humility; those who have it, deposit more confidence in God than in themselves, as they know they are but simple instruments of Divine Purpose and can do nothing without God. This is the reason why the good Spirits come to their aid. Presumption is less faith than pride, and pride is always punished sooner or later by the deceptions and frustrations inflicted upon it.

5. The power of faith can be demonstrated in a direct and special manner in magnetic action. Through the intermediary of faith, Man acts on the fluids, which are a universal agent, modifying their qualities and giving them in a manner of speaking, irresistible impulsion. From this it follows that whoever joins a normally great fluidic power to that of ardent faith can, solely by the strength of their willpower directed towards goodness, operate those singular phenomena of healing and other occurrences known in olden times as miracles, but which are nothing more than the consequences of a Law of Nature. This is the reason for Jesus saying to His apostles that if they did not cure it was because they had no faith.


6. From the religious point of view faith consists of the belief in the special dogmas which constitute the various religions. All of them have their articles of faith. From this aspect faith may be either blind or rationalized. Blind faith examines nothing and accepts without verification both truth and falsehood, and at each step clashes with evidence and reason. Taken to the extreme it produces fanaticism. While sitting upon error, sooner or later it collapses. Only faith that is based on truth guarantees the future, because it has nothing to fear from the progress of enlightenment, seeing that what is true in obscurity is also true in light Each religion claims to have possession of the exclusive truth. But for someone to proclaim blind faith on a point of belief is to confess themself impotent to demonstrate that they are right

7. It is commonly said that faith cannot be prescribed, from which many people declare it is not their fault if they have no faith. Beyond doubt, faith cannot be prescribed, and what is even more certain, it cannot be imposed. No, it cannot be prescribed but only acquired, and there is no one who is prevented from possessing it, even amongst those who are most refractory. We are speaking of basic spiritual truths and not of any particular belief. It is not the part of faith to seek these people out, but they who should go and seek faith, and if they search with sincerity they are bound to find. it. You can be sure that those who say: There is nothing I should like more than to believe, but I cannot," only say this with their lips and not with their hearts, seeing that while they are saying it they close their ears. However, the proof is all around them, so why do they refuse to see? On the part of some it is indifference; of others the fear of being forced to change their habits. But in the majority there is pride which refuses to recognise the existence of a superior force because they would then have to bow down before it.

In some people faith appears to be inborn, a spark being enough to cause it to unfold. This ease of assimilation of spiritual truths is an evident sign of previous progress. On the contrary, in others there is difficulty of assimilation which is a no less evident sign of their backward natures. The first already believe and understand, having brought with them on being reborn the intuition of what they know. Their education is complete. The second still have everything to learn; their education is still to come. Nevertheless, come it will, and if it is not completed in this existence then it will be in another.

The resistance of the unbeliever, we must agree, is almost always due less to himself than to the manner in which things have been put to him. Faith needs a base, one that gives complete understanding of what we are asked to accept. In order to believe it is not enough to see; above all else it is necessary to understand. Blind faith is no longer of this century, so much so, that it is exactly blind dogmatic faith which produces the greatest number of unbelievers today, because it tries to impose itself, demanding the abdication of the most precious prerogatives of mankind, which are rationalization and free-will. It is principally against this kind of faith that the unbeliever rebels, so showing that it is true to say faith cannot be prescribed. Due to the non-acceptance of any proofs, blind faith leaves the Spirit with a feeling of emptiness which gives birth to doubt. Rationalized faith, when based on facts and logic, leaves no doubts. Then the person believes because they are certain; and no one can be certain unless they understand. This is why they are unshakable, because unshakable faith is that which can stand face to face with reason in all epochs of humanity.

This is the result to which Spiritism conducts us, so triumphing against incredulity, as long as it does not encounter systematic and preconceived opposition.


8. And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves: for the time of figs was not yet And Jesus answered and said unto it, no man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. And His disciples heard it And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass. (Mark, 11:12-14 & 20-23.)

9. The dried up fig-tree is a symbol of those people appearing to have a tendency towards goodness, but who in reality produce nothing worthwhile. They are like the preachers who show more brilliance than substance, whose words have a superficial varnish to them in order to please the ear, but which on close examination reveal nothing substantial for the heart, and after having listened to them we ask ourselves of what benefit they have been.

It also symbolizes all those who can be useful but are not; of all utopias, empty orders and doctrines without solid bases. What is most lacking in the majority of cases is true faith, productive faith, the kind of faith which moves the fibres of the heart, in a word, the faith which moves mountains. These people are like trees covered in leaves but devoid of fruits. This is why Jesus condemns them to sterility, for the day will come when they will find themselves dry, even to the roots. This is to say that all orders and doctrines which have produced no good for humanity will be reduced to nothing. That all persons who are deliberately purposeless or idle, because they have not put into action the resources they have brought with them, will be treated as the fig-tree which dried up.

10. Mediums are the interpreters of the Spirits, supplying the lack of material organs through which they may transmit their instructions. Here is the reason why they are endowed with faculties for this purpose. In these present days of social renewal, they have a very special incumbency. They are like trees who are destined to supply spiritual sustenance to their brothers and sisters. Their numbers multiply so there may be abundance of nutriment. They are everywhere, in all countries, in all social classes, amongst rich and poor, great and small, so that no place may be without them to demonstrate to mankind that all are called. However, if they turn away from the providential objective for which this precious faculty was conceded, if they employ it for futile or prejudicial things, if they put it to the service of mundane interests, if the fruits are bad instead of being good, if they refuse to utilize it for the benefit of others, if they take no benefit from it for themselves, thereby becoming better persons, then they are like the sterile fig-tree. God will take away the gift that has become useless in their hands, that seed from which they did not know how to bring forth fruit, and will allow them to fall into the hands of evil Spirits.


11. In order to be profitable, faith must be active; it must not become benumbed. Mother of all the virtues which lead to God, it has a duty to attentively keep watch over the development of the children it generates. Hope and charity are inferences of faith and all three together form an inseparable trinity. Is it not faith which helps us to have hope in the realisation of God's promises? If there was no faith what would there be to hope for? Is it not faith which gives love? If you do not have faith, what would be your worth and what quality would your love have?

Faith, that divine inspiration which awakens all those noble instincts which lead Man towards goodness, is the base of all regeneration. Therefore it is necessary that this base be strong and durable, as even the smallest doubt will cause it to shake, and what then of the edifice constructed upon it? Consequently, this edifice must be raised upon immovable foundations. Your faith must be stronger than the sophisms and mockery of the incredulous, seeing that faith which cannot stand up to ridicule is not true faith.

Sincere faith is gripping and contagious; it communicates itself to those who have none or who do not even desire it. It finds persuasive words which touch the soul, whereas apparent faith only uses high sounding words which leave those who hear cold and indifferent. Preach through the example of your faith, so as to transmit it to mankind. Preach through the example of your works, so as to demonstrate the merit of faith. Preach through the firmness of your hope, so they may see the confidence which fortifies and puts one in condition to confront all life's vicissitudes.

So then, have faith with all that it contains of beauty and goodness, with its pureness and rationality. Do not accept a faith that cannot be substantiated. Love God knowing why you love Him. Believe in His promises knowing why you believe in them. Follow our counsel convinced of the end to which we direct you and the ways by which we take you in order to achieve it. Believe and wait without losing heart; miracles are the works of faith - JOSEPH, a Protecting Spirit (Bordeaux, 1862).


12. In Man, faith is the inherent sentiment of his future destiny; it is the consciousness he has of the immense faculties implanted in his inner-self, a source in latent state, which it is his duty to make blossom forth and grow by the action of his will.

Till today faith has only been understood in its religious sense because Christ exalted it as a powerful lever, and because He has been seen only as the Head of a religion. However, Christ, Who performed material miracles, showed us through these same miracles what Man can do when he has faith, that is to say, the will to desire and the certainty that this wish maybe achieved.

Did not the apostles also perform miracles by following ~ example? Moreover, what were these miracles if not natural effects whose causes were not understood at that time, but which can be explained in great part today, and which by the study of Spiritism and magnetism will become totally comprehensible?

Faith is either human or divine, according to how Man applies his faculties, to the satisfaction of terrestrial needs or to celestial and future aspirations. A man of genius who throws himself into the realisation of a great undertaking will triumph if he has faith, because he feels sure of succeeding and that he is bound to reach the end envisaged. This certainly puts an immense force at his disposal. A good man, believing in his celestial future, desiring to fill his existence with beautiful and noble actions in the certainty of the happiness which awaits him, draws on his faith for the necessary force and so accomplishes miracles of charity, devotion, and abnegation. Finally, there are no evil tendencies which cannot be combated by faith.

Magnetism is one of the greatest proofs of the power of faith when put into action. It is through faith that it cures and produces those singular phenomena in other times called miracles.

I repeat: faith is both human and divine. If all incarnates could be persuaded of the force which they carry within themselves, and if they wished to place their will at the service of this force, they would be capable of producing these so called miracles that are nothing more than the development of a human faculty. - A Protecting Spirit (Paris, 1863).

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