Increase our Faith

Increase our Faith

Of tempting others. Forgiveness, Faith, Service.

(The Gospel History, Section 113)

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye would say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou planted in the sea; and it would have obeyed you. But who is there of you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit down to meat; and will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded? Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do.

“Increase our Faith”

(The Saviour of the World, Vol VII Book I Poem VII)

The Lord beheld

His timorous followers, solicitous saw
Their souls, as reeds sway up and down by force
By the current’s flow or breeze blown off the land;
Stability was not in them; they veered;
For all their love, they could not hold to Him:
Increase their faith? Alack, what faith had they?
Were chills to blow, they’d yield them to the blast!
Know ye then what ye ask? There is a force
Strong to move mountains; shift your sturdy tree,
Whose roots spread wide and hold straight, lift up
And steadfast plant—in the tumultuous sea
Unmoved by the leeward waters; that is faith.
The faith ye ask for as a child might cry
To hold the moon in his bib, all unaware.
How great the moon, how small is he! Would men
Subdue the world, and bring it—a tamed beast,
To the marriage of its Lord. Have they but faith
A little faith, behold, the thing is done!
Not stubborn hearts of men, not devils’ wit,
Not nature’s forces gathered to a head.
Not all of these in strong alliance bound,
Are able to resist a man who prays
For he believes in God: see you, that man,
Alone in the confidence of Almighty God.
Commands the powers of heaven; nought can resist
The force of him whose God pulls with him; see
The stronghold falls to faith! The man is nought;
But faith attaches weakness to that Power
Which made and keeps the worlds; faith’s finger raised,
And, lo, an army brings its force to bear,
The cohorts of the Lord! An idle sail,
Spread on a sea becalmed is all man’s power;
That sail before a driving wind, the ship
Bears forward buoyant,—so the man inspired,
Inflated by faith in God, drives that ship,
The lagging cause he labours for; it runs
Before the wind of the Almighty’s breath
In which the man has faith; the thing is done,
Impossible to men! The mountains move—
Mountains of difficulty men quail before:
Fixed trees of vicious custom rooted long
In ways of nations and in hearts of men—
They flee before the Lord! Of this be sure;
The ship goes forever, this sail to carry her,
And all the Power of God waits on your faith;
Have faith, My friends!

Alas, you have small faith

A grain of mustard seed on a man’s palm
Is greater than your faith, else were ye free
To do the things ye would—the works of God:
All have ye zeal for service—that is much;
See the conditions under which ye serve
Lacking the freedom of adoring faith:
Your servant ploughs for you or keeps your sheep;
Returns he tired at the day’s end. What say
Ye to the man, ‘Sit down to meal, my friend?’
Or rather, say ye not, ‘Prepare my meal,
Make yourself neat and serve me; after that,
When I have eaten, ’tis your turn to sit
And eat what is left over!’

E’en see ye,

Who thinks to keep the law at every point—
And leave your God your debtor, what to Him
Taskmaster’s service every while fulfilled?
A man must do his duty, none can more,
Nought bring ye to your Lord; ashamed ye cry,
‘Unprofitable slaves, we do but that
We must for ’tis our duty!’

Nought have ye,

Toiling all day, serving all night, to bring
To your Father who loves you well; add faith,—
The child’s regard fixed on the Father’s face
With outgoings of love, behold, your works,
Your labors manifold, are well fulfilled.
And God receives them as a Mother takes
Her little child’s first gift made by his hands;
Your God becomes your Debtor.

St. Luke xvii. 5-10