(promise) made unto one's faith

mia0815

Senior Member
Taiwanese
#1
Others have come to you to whom for golden promises made unto your faith you have given but riches and power and glory.
Less than a promise have I given, and yet more generous have you been to me.
You have given me deeper thirsting after life.
Surely there is no greater gift to a man than that which turns all his aims into parching lips and all life into a fountain.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

What does 'made unto your faith' in this context mean?
 

Cagey

post mod (English Only / Latin)
English - US
#2
As I understand it, the underlying idea is this:
(I assume that it is addressed to a deity.)

Others have promised to follow your faith [= to believe in you and do what your religion requires]. In return you have given them only riches and glory. (This implies that riches and glory are not very valuable, that they are not very important things to have.)
 

mia0815

Senior Member
Taiwanese
#3
Thank you. But this passage is addressed to a city's (Orphalese) people. I wondered if 'others' refer to the missionaries of other religions. source
 

Cagey

post mod (English Only / Latin)
English - US
#4
Thanks. Actually I got it backwards, though I thought I had read it carefully. :eek:

Other people have come to you. (Probably these are the missionaries, as you say.) You gave them riches, power and glory in return for promises made unto your faith. I believe this means that these people have sworn allegiance to the religion of the people he is addressing. The people he is addressing gave them power and wealth in return.

However, this makes them sound like conquerors or invaders who take on the local religion as a way to acquire power, perhaps they become priests, and not very much like missionaries, who usually impost their own religion on people. Perhaps my interpretation is not correct.
 

Parla

Member Emeritus
English - US
#6
It wasn't a speech to a deity; it was part of the prophet Almustafa's farewell speech to the people of Orphalese, where he has been living in exile for a dozen years and whom he has been advising on various philosophical and spiritual subjects. Gibran's book, published in 1923 and praised for both its poetry and its insights, consists of these pieces of advice and ends with the farewell speech made as the ship which is to take him to his homeland approaches.

I don't think the "others" of whom the prophet speaks were missionaries. I think they were just people who came promising, and seeking, material things and taking advantage of people's trust (faith).
 
Top