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An essay by Richard King


Title:     Faith
Author: Richard King [More Titles by King]

A few days after the receipt of the picture I discovered the artist and went to "beard him in his den." While I was talking with him, he declared that he had just received a "message" from this spirit to draw me a picture which, it was inferred, would convey some "recollection" to me. Sitting at the other side of an ordinary desk, the artist picked up one piece of chalk after another, making a series of circular marks over the paper. This went on for nearly an hour-and-a-half. Occasionally something like a definite design seemed to come out of all this chaos in chalk, if I may so express it, only to be rubbed out again immediately, the circular movements still continuing. Then at last, a few vigorous strokes, and suddenly a definite picture came out, a picture which was continued until it was finally complete. This picture represented a tall arch, through which the artist had painted the most beautiful effect of evening sky--the evening sky when sunset is fading into blue-green and the first stars are twinkling. And around this arch was chalked a kind of heavy festoon of drooping ostrich feathers. The picture when finished was certainly very beautiful, and I have it in my possession at the present moment. _But it conveyed absolutely nothing to me_, and certainly brought back no recollection to my memory of a previous life whatsoever. But the "medium" so thoroughly believed in his "power to convey" that I felt quite unhappy about having to confess my unfamiliarity. In fact, I left the studio--if studio it could be called--convinced by the beauty of the pictures, but still unconvinced that they were really pictures painted by a spirit artist. The only belief I did come away with was the belief that the "medium" thoroughly believed in himself and the reality behind his belief. And, in a way, I envied him; yes, I envied him, even though his faith may prove but illusory after all. For I have reached the age when I realise that I am not at all sure that men and women do really want _truth_, and that a faith which gives comfort and happiness is, for the practical purpose of going through life happily and dying in hope, a far more comforting philosophy. I, alas! _cannot believe_ what I am not convinced is a scientifically proved fact; but I am to be pitied far more than envied for my--temperamental limitation--shall I call it? The man or woman who possesses a blind faith in something above and beyond this world is the man and woman to be envied, even though everybody cannot emulate their implicit trust.

[The end]
Richard King's essay: Faith