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Compilations : Baha'i Scriptures Part 5

763. Consider how powerful are the teachings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh. At a time when His Holiness was in the prison of Akka and under the restrictions and threats of two bloodthirsty kings, notwithstanding this fact, his teachings spread with all power in Persia and other countries. Should any other teaching, or any principle, or any community fall under the threat of a powerful and bloodthirsty monarch it would be annihilated within a short space of time. At present for fifty years the Bahá'ís in Persia and most regions have been under severe restrictions and the threat of sword and spear. Thousands of souls have given their lives in the arena of sacrifice and have fallen as victims under the swords of oppression and cruelty. Thousands of esteemed families have been uprooted and destroyed. Thousands of children have been made fatherless. Thousands of fathers have been bereft of their sons. Thousands of mothers have wept and lamented for their boys who have been beheaded. All this oppression and cruelty, rapacity and bloodthirstiness did not hinder or prevent the spread of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. They spread more and more every day, and their power and might became more evident.

764. It may be that some foolish person among the Persians will affix his name to the contents of the Tablets of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh or to the explanations given in the letters of Abdu'l-Bahá and sent it to that esteemed Assembly. Ye must be aware of this fact, for any Persian who seeks fame or has some other intention will take the entire contents of the Tablets of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh and publish them in his own name or in that of his community, just as happened at the Universal Races' Congress in London before the War. A Persian took the substance of the Epistles of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh, entered that Congress, gave them forth in his own name and published them, whereas the wording was exactly that of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh. Some such souls have gone to Europe and have caused confusion in the minds of the people of Europe and have disturbed the thoughts of some Orientalists. Ye must bear this face in mind, for not a word of these teachings was heard in Persia before the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh. Investigate this matter so that it may become to you evident and manifest. Some souls are like parrots. They learn any note which they may hear, and sing it, but they themselves are unaware of what they utter. There is a sect in Persia at present made up of a few souls who are called Babis, who claim to be followers of His Holiness the Báb, whereas they are utterly unaware of His Holiness. They have some secret teaching which are entirely opposed to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, and in Persia people know this. But when these souls come to Europe, they conceal their own teachings and utter those of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh, for they know that the teachings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh are powerful, and they therefore declare publicly those teachings, they say that they are taken from the Book of the Bayan, and the Book of the Bayan is from His Holiness the Báb. When ye get hold of the translation of the Book of the Bayan, which has been translated in Persia, ye will discover the truth that the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are utterly opposed to the teachings of this sect. Beware lest ye disregard this fact. Should ye desire to investigate the matter further, inquire from Persia.

765. In fine, when travelling and journeying throughout the world, wherever one finds construction, it is the result of fellowship and love, while everything that is in ruin shows the effect of enmity and hate. Notwithstanding this, the world of humanity has not become aware and has not awakened from the sleep of heedlessness. Again it engages in differences, in disputes and wrangling, that it may set up ranks of war and may run to and fro in the arena of battle and strife.

So is it with regard to the universe and its corruption, existence and non-existence. Every contingent being is made up of different and numerous elements, and the existence of everything is a result of composition. That is to say, when between simple elements a composition take place a being arises; the creation of beings comes about in this way. And when that composition is upset, it is followed by decomposition, the elements disintegrate, and that being become annihilated. That is to say, the annihilation of everything consists in the decomposition and the separation of elements. Therefore every union and color of leaves, of flowers and of fruits, will make an admirable garden, and will appear in the utmost loveliness, freshness and sweetness. Likewise, when difference and variety of thoughts, forms, opinions, characters and morals of the world of mankind come under the control of one Supreme Power, that influence of composition among the elements is the cause of life, while dissociation and separation is the cause of death. In short, attraction and harmony of things are the cause of the production of fruits and useful results, while repulsion and inharmony of things are the cause of disturbance and annihilation. From harmony and attraction, all living contingent beings, such as plant, animal and man, are realized, and from inharmony and repulsion decay sets in and annihilation becomes manifest. Therefore whatever is the cause of harmony, attraction and union among men is the life of the world of humanity, and whatever is the cause of difference, of repulsion and of separation is the cause of the death of mankind. And when ye pass by a garden wherein vegetable beds and plants, flowers and fragrant herbs are all combined so as to form a harmonious whole, this is an evidence that this plantation and this rose garden have been cultivated and arranged by the care of a perfect gardener, while when ye see a garden in disorder, lacking arrangement, and confused, this indicates that it has been deprived of the care of the skilful gardener, nay, rather, it is nothing but a mass of weeds. It has therefore been made evident that fellowship and harmony are indicative of training by the real Educator, while separation and dispersion prove wildness and lack of the Divine Training.

Should any one object that, since the communities and nations and races and peoples of the world have different formalities, customs, tastes, temperaments, morals, varied thoughts, minds and opinions, it is therefore impossible for ideal unity to be made manifest and for complete union among men to be realized, we say that differences are of two kinds: one leads to destruction, and that is like the different between warring peoples and competing nations who destroy one another, uproot each other's families, do away with rest and comfort and engage in bloodshed and rapacity. That is blameworthy. But the other difference consists in variation. This is perfection itself and the cause of the appearance of Divine bounty. Consider the flowers of the rose garden. Although they are of different kinds, various colors and diverse forms and appearances, yet as they drink from one water, are swayed by one breeze and grow by the warmth and light of one sun, this variation and this difference cause each to enhance the beauty and splendor of the others. The differences in manners, in customs, in habits, in thoughts, opinions and in temperaments is the cause of the adornment of the world of mankind. This is praiseworthy. Likewise this difference and this variation, like the difference and variation of the parts and members of the human body, are the cause of the appearance of beauty and perfection. As these different parts and members are under the control of the dominant spirit, and the spirit permeates all the organs and members, and rules all the arteries and veins, this difference and variation strengthen love and harmony, and this multiplicity is the greatest aid to unity. If in a garden the flowers and fragrant herbs, the blossoms and fruits, the leaves, branches and trees are of one kind, of one form, of one colour, and of one arrangement, there is no beauty or charm, but when there is variety in the world of oneness, they will appear and be displayed in the most perfect glory, beauty, exaltation and perfection. Today nothing but the power of the Word of God which encompasses the realities of things can bring the thoughts, minds, hearts and spirits under the shade of One Tree. He is the Potent in all things, the Vivifier of souls, the Preserver and the Controller of the world of mankind. Praise be to God, in this day the light of the Word of God has shone forth upon all regions; and from all sects, communities, nations, tribes, peoples, religions and denominations, souls have gathered together under the shadow of the Word of Oneness, and have in the utmost fellowship united and harmonized!

766. Some time ago, during the war, a Tablet was written regarding the teachings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh which may appropriately be appended to this epistle: --

O people of the world!

The dawn of the Sun of Reality is assuredly for the illumination of the world and for the manifestation of mercy. In the assemblage of the family of Adam, results and fruits are praiseworthy and the holy bestowals of every bounty are abundant.

It is an absolute mercy and a complete bounty, the illumination of the world, fellowship and harmony, love and union; nay, rather mercifulness and oneness, the elimination of discord and the unity of whosoever are on the earth in the utmost of freedom and dignity. The Blessed Beauty said: "All are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch." He likened the world of existence to one tree and all the souls to leaves, blossoms and fruits (thereon). Therefore all the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits must be in the utmost of freshness, and the bringing about of this delicacy and sweetness depends upon union and fellowship. Therefore they must assist each other with all their power, and seek everlasting life. Thus the friends of God must manifest the mercy of the Compassionate Lord in the world of existence and must show forth the bounty of the visible and invisible King. They must purify their sight, and look upon mankind as the leaves, blossoms and fruits of the tree of creation, and must always be thinking of doing good to some one, of love, consideration, affection and assistance to somebody. They must consider every one on the earth as a friend; regard the stranger as an intimate, and the alien as a companion. They must not be bound by any tie; nay, rather they should be free from every bond. In this day the one who is favored in the threshold of grandeur is the one who offers the cup of faithfulness and bestows the pearl of gift to the enemies, even to the fallen oppressor, who lends a helping hand, and considers every bitter foe as an affectionate friend.

These are the commands of the Blessed Beauty, these are the counsels of the Greatest Name. O ye dear friends! The world is engaged in war and struggle, and mankind is in the utmost conflict and danger. The darkness of unfaithfulness has enshrouded the earth and the illumination of faithfulness has become concealed. All nations and tribes of the world have sharpened their claws and are warring and fighting with each other. The temple of man is shattered. Thousands of families are wandering disconsolate. Thousands of thousands of souls are besmeared with dust and blood in the arena of battle and struggle every year, and the tent of happiness and life is overthrown. The prominent men become commanders and boast of bloodshed, and glory in destruction. One says: "I have severed with my sword the necks of a nation"; and one: "I have leveled a kingdom to the dust"' and another: "I have overthrown the foundation of a government." This is the pivot around which revolve the pride and glory of mankind. In all regions friendship and uprightness are denounced and reconciliation and regard for truth are despised. The herald of peace, reformation, love and reconciliation is the Religion of the Blessed Beauty which has pitched its tent on the apex of the world and proclaimed its summons to the people.

Then, O ye friends of God! Appreciate the value of this precious Revelation, move and act in accordance with it and walk in the straight path and the right way. Show it to the people. Raise the melody of the Kingdom, and spread abroad the teachings and ordinances of the loving Lord so that the world may become another world, the darkened earth may become illumined and the dead body of the people may obtain new life. Every soul may seek everlasting life through the breath of the Merciful. Life in this mortal world will quickly come to an end, and this earthly glory, wealth, comfort and happiness will soon vanish and be no more. Summon ye the people to God and call the souls to the manners and conduct of the Supreme Concourse. To the orphans be ye kind fathers, and to the unfortunate a refuge and shelter. To the poor be a treasure of wealth, and to the sick a remedy and healing. Be a helper of every oppressed one, the protector of every destitute one, be ye ever mindful to serve any soul of mankind. Attach no important to self-seeking, rejection, arrogance, oppression and enmity. Heed them not. Deal in the contrary way. Be kind in truth, not only in appearance and outwardly. Every soul of the friends of God must concentrate his mind on this, that he may manifest the mercy of God and the bounty of the Forgiving One. He must do good to every soul whom he encounters, and render benefit to him, becoming the cause of improving the morals and correcting the thoughts so that the light of guidance may shine forth and the bounty of His Holiness the Merciful may encompass. Love is light in whatsoever house it may shine, and enmity is darkness in whatsoever abode it dwell.

O friends of God! Strive ye so that this darkness may be utterly dispelled and the Hidden Mystery may be revealed and the realities of things made evident and manifest.

Haifa, Palestine December 17, 1919.
THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE

767. Two things are most urgently necessary to the political realm: the Legislative Power, the Executive Power.

The center of the executive power is the government, and the legislative power lies in the hands of thoughtful and wise men. On the other hand, if these strong pillars and firm foundations are not complete and comprehensive, how can it be supposed that there will be safety and salvation for the nation? But as, in these latter days, such excellency is rare, the government and the whole body of the nation are in sore need of just and discerning directions. Thus it is of the utmost importance to establish an assembly of learned men who, being proficient in the different sciences and capable of dealing with all the present and future requirements, will settle the questions in accordance with forbearance and firmness.

Firstly: the elected members must be religious persons, God-fearing, high-minded and followers of the law. Secondly: they should have an accurate knowledge of the divine commandments, of the most important fundamental matters and of the rules of the loosing and binding of domestic and foreign relations; they should possess a knowledge of the sciences and arts necessary to civilization, and finally be contented with the income derived from their personal property. ...

The election of temporary members of the assemblies of the kingdom should depend upon the choice and satisfaction of the public, for members elected by the people are pledge to carry out their will and to follow out their instructions. Consequently they are careful to administer impartial justice, and to live according to true religion, so that they may establish a good reputation and keep their dignity in the eyes of the people.

768. All the civic affairs and the legislation of material laws for the increasing needs of the enlightened humanity belong to the House of Justice. This, the House of Justice, will be not only a body for the legislation of laws according to the spirit and requirement of the time, but a board of arbitration for the settlement of all disputes arising between peoples. When the Universal House of Justice is organized the members will do their utmost for the realization of greater cordiality and comity amongst the nations. The laws of Bahá'u'lláh are the unchangeable, organic laws of the Universal House of Justice. They are the very foundation upon which the structure of additional legislation is built. ... As regards the places for the convening of such a general body, it will be decided by the members. The Universal House of Justice has only the legislative function; the executive power belongs to the administrative department of government. At first, National Houses of Justice will be established in every country, and they will elect in turn members to the Universal House of Justice. Again I repeat, the House of Justice, whether National or Universal, has only legislative power, and not executive power. For example, in Europe and America the Parliament or Congress enacts laws, while the Government executes these laws. The House of Justice cannot fulfil two functions at the same time -- legislative and executive ...

Friends of God! Set forth the example of Justice! Justice is a universal quality. From the highest to the lowest, justice should be sacred; from the sovereign to the merchant, the minister of state to the artisan, all must be just. Be just, respect the rights of each man -- "do unto others what you would have them do unto you." A workman who commits an injustice is as much to blame as a tyrant. Each one of us can choose between justice and injustice. I hope that you will be just in your relations with others, that you will never harm your fellows, that you will respect the rights of all men and, above all, consider the rights of other before your own.

Star of the West, Vol. 7, No. 15.
SALUTATION TO THE FRIENDS OF GOD

769. O ye who are attracted by the fragrance of God! Verily, this mundane world is a mirage of the desert, but the Kingdom is like unto a sea of great surges and rolling waves.

Those who longed for the mirage have indeed become more thirsty the more they hastened toward it, and for a drop of water have they perished in grief.

Ye see, as the condition really is, that the people of the world are striving day and night for the sake of attaining perfect happiness and a tranquil existence; but the result is no other to them than disappointment, affliction, lamentation and destruction.

But those who have advanced to the Kingdom of God, have assuredly advanced unto a sea of clear and limpid water, and thus have attained unto the greatest bounty, the perfect rest, and the eternal life to which there is no abrupt end. Their faces have shone with joy, their souls were delighted with happiness, their hearts were illumined and their cups overflowing with abundance. Their edifices have risen high, their palaces have been adorned, their suns have shone, their stars gleamed, and their diadems radiated dazzling light. Their dominions have expanded and their lights have spread to all ages and generations. These are their upraised thrones, their palaces, their luminous lamps and their shining moon throughout all horizons.

These are their traces in this world: how much more, then, would be their light in the highest of the high -- consider therefore, O ye servants of the Merciful!

Since this is so, have no more care for the world and its desires; but rather cling to the spiritual world and its gifts; spread the fragrances of God, be submissive to the Word of God, establish a spiritual meeting place wherefrom the utterance of sanctity and purity will arise to God; assembly there with fragrance and spirituality and celebrate the name of your Lord by day and by night. At that time ye should become illumined lamps, spiritual stars -- nay, rather eternal suns! This is a favor that was longed for by the spirits of godly people and the hearts of queens in former ages.

May salutations and praise be upon you!
PRAYERS

770. Praise be unto Him whose light hath risen, whose appearance hath become exalted, whose signs are promulgated, and whose evidences are fulfilled. The tongue of the realities of all things hath uttered: "Glory be unto my God, El-Baha!" Thanks for His manifest Beauty and for His great Splendor! -- for He hath quickened mankind with the spirit of guidance and hath rendered clear the White Path of gifts, through the arguments which are brilliant and clear to the hearts of the intelligent, and whereby these hearts are moved, enlightened, illuminated and become cognizant of the Mighty Message in this Manifest Day of the manifestation of the honorable station when the mystery of existence floweth as flow the souls in the bodies.

771. My Lord! My Lord! I praise Thee and I thank Thee for that whereby Thou hast favored Thy humble servant, Thy slave beseeching and supplicating Thee, because Thou hast guided him unto Thine obvious Kingdom and caused him to hear Thine exalted Call in the contingent world and to behold Thy Signs which prove the appearance of Thy victorious reign over all things.

772. Praise be unto Thee, for Thou hast sent down unto us this spiritual table, supreme benefit and heavenly blessing. O our Lord! Strengthen us to partake of this heavenly food, so that its fine essence may run through the pillars of our spiritual being and we may thereby obtain a celestial power for serving Thy Cause, promulgating Thy Signs, and adorning Thy vineyard with lofty trees, the fruits whereof shall be near and of perfuming fragrance. Verily Thou art the Possessor of great bounty! Verily Thou art the Clement, the Merciful!

773. O Thou Forgiving Lord!

Although certain souls finished the days of life in ignorance, were estranged and selfish, yet the ocean of Thy forgiveness is, verily, able to redeem and make free the sinners by one of its waves. Thou redeemest whomsoever Thou willest and deprivest whomsoever Thou willest not! Shouldst Thou deal justly, we all are sinners and deserve to be deprived; and shouldst Thou observe mercy, every sinner shall be made pure and every stranger shall become a friend. Therefore, forgive and pardon and grant Thy mercy unto all. Thou art the Forgiver, the Light-giver, the Compassionate!

774. O Thou Benevolent God!

Grant us a shelter in Thy threshold and inform us of Thy mysteries! Make our eyes seeing and our ears hearing! Suffer our hearts and souls to be drawn unto Thee by the power of supplication and prayer.

O God, wandering are we: point out to us the way of Truth!

Thirsty are we: give us the Water of Life!

Hungry are we: spread before us the Supper of the Lord!

Sad are we: bring to our hearts the joy of heaven.

Prisoners of the nether world are we: bestow upon us the freedom

of the realm of might!

Attached to the terrestrial world are we: make us wooers of the

celestial world.

In the bondage of passion, desire and temptation are we: release

us from these chains and fetters.

Humble and lowly are we: make dear to us the kingdom of Thy

Glory.

Deprived are we: make us the confidants of mystery.

Faded are we: refresh and rejoice us by the outpouring of the

Holy Spirit.

Dead are we: quicken us by the life eternal, so that in this age

of Lights we may obtain an abundant share from the bounties of

the forgiving Lord, enter the Kingdom of God, seek after the unending

Outpouring, and attain unto the Everlasting Gift.

Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Bestower, the Merciful; and

Thou art the Forgiver, the Glorious, the Helper!

Make me one of those who cut themselves from everything save Thee, who sanctify themselves from everything pertaining to the world, and who separate themselves from the defects of the suspicious.

O my God! Let my heart be dilated with joy by the spirit of confirmation from Thy kingdom, and illumine my sight with beholding the hosts of success continually descending upon me from Thy omnipotence. Thou art the Almighty, the Invincible, the Powerful!

776. O my Lord! O my Lord! This is a lamp, lighted by the Fire of Thy Love, and ablaze with the Flame which is ignited in the Tree of Thy Mercy.

O my Lord! Increase its enkindlement, heat and flame, with the Fire which is kindled in the Sinai of Thy Manifestation. Verily, Thou art the Confirmer, the Assister, the Powerful, the Generous, the Loving!

777. O Creator, we are poor, shower Thy goodness upon us. We are needy; give us a portion of Thy wealth. We are in want; satisfy our needs. We are humble; raise us to honor.

All the birds and beasts are fed from the Table of Thy gifts, and all the creatures are made happy by the abundance of Thy favor! Deprive not this helpless soul from Thy great bounty, and favor this impotent one with Thy power. Give me, in a right way, my daily living, and confer a blessing upon my necessities, that we may be independent of any beside Thee, and be free from the remembrance of any but Thee.

I beg that we may walk in Thy path, and seek Thy face, and declare Thy secrets. Thou art the loving, the powerful; and Thou art the breadgiver of the world of man!

778. O my God, my God!

I am a servant attracted to Thee, humbly coming to the door of Thy Oneness and addressing the kingdom of Thy Mercy.

Yea, my God, permit me to be entirely Thine, occupied in thinking of Thee, inflamed by the fire of Thy love, and separated from all save Thee, so that I may work in Thy Cause, spread Thy wisdom, transmit Thy knowledge and the joy of knowing Thee.

Yea, my God, I am a flame lighted by the hand of Thy power. Let it not be extinguished by the winds of trials. Increase my love for Thee, my ardor for the Beauty of Thy Oneness, the fire that burneth in me in the Sinai of Thy Singleness, and the eternal life in me, through Thy bounty and grace; for Thou art the Protector, the Watcher, the Pitiful and the Merciful!

779. O loving God! I am a young child, a suppliant, a captive. Be Thou my refuge, my support, my protector. I am in distress: give me the means of tranquillity. I am needy: bestow upon me the treasure of the Kingdom. I am dead: give me the Spirit of Life. I am weak: favor me with power and strength, so that I may be a servant in Thy Threshold, with perfect purity and sanctity; sacrifice myself unto Thee, be quit of myself and seek Thee, walk in the path of Thy good pleasure, speak Thy secret, and witness the signs of Thy Oneness wherever I look. O God! Make me ablaze, like unto the fire of Thy love, and make me free from attachment to this mortal world, until I find the peace of soul and the rest of conscience.

Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty! Thou art the Hearer, the Seer!

780. O my God! O my God!

Praise be unto Thee! for Thou hast created me of the most excellent substance, in the most honored form, and in the most exalted kind of Thy creation; didst nurture me from the breast of Thy favor, didst nurse me in the bosom of Thy mercy, until I grew up under the protection of Thy divinity, in the cradle of Thy training, and reached full growth through Thy favor and grace. Then Thou hast made me to experience various circumstances and suffer countless calamities, afflictions and troubles in myself and griefs in my soul. Thou hast guided me to the fountain of Thy favor and illumined my sight through the light of Thy guidance, quickened my spirit with Thy fragrances of holiness and moved my heart with the breeze of the garden of Thy care. Then I became rejoiced at the appearance of Thy Beauty, the rising of Thy Lights and the dawning of the morn of Thy Oneness. Thou hast delivered me from the depths of sorrows, saved me from the darkness of griefs and dilated my breast by showing unto me Thy greatest Signs in the Day of Resurrection. O my Lord! Engage me in Thy love, so as to cut myself from aught but Thee, to be consumed with the love of Thy Beauty, to burn with the fire of love for Thy Face, so that I may be entirely drawn unto Thee and become ablaze by the fire enkindled in the Tree of Sinai. O my Lord! Verily, with Thee I am free from all else, while turning unto Thy Glorious Kingdom. Deliver me from every gloomy sorrow; shelter me under the protection of Thy greatest favor; save me from attachment to this inferior world. O my Lord! Verily, I am humble; elevate me through Thy greatest bounty! I am poor; enrich me by Thine abundant treasury! I am ill; heal me by Thy precious medicine, and make me a sign of Thy favor among Thy servants! Verily, Thou art powerful to do that which Thou willest! Verily, Thou art Potent and Supreme!

781. O my Lord!

Thou knowest that the people are encircled with pain and calamities and are environed with hardships and trouble. Every trial doth attack man and every dire adversity doth assail him like unto the attack of a serpent. There is no shelter and asylum for him except under the wing of Thy protection, preservation, guard and custody.

O Thou the Merciful One! O my Lord! Make Thy protection my armory, Thy preservation my shield, humbleness before the door of Thy Oneness my guard, and Thy custody and defense my fortress and my abode. Preserve me from the suggestions of myself and my desire, and guard me from every sickness, trial, difficulty and ordeal.

Verily, Thou art the Protector, the Guardian, the Preserver, the Sufficer, and verily, Thou art the Merciful of the Most Merciful!

782. O compassionate God! Thanks be unto Thee for Thou hast awakened me and made me conscious. Thou hast given me a seeing eye and favored me with a hearing ear; hast led me to Thy Kingdom and guided me to Thy Path. Thou hast shown me the right way and caused me to enter the Ark of Deliverance. O God! Keep me steadfast and make me firm and unyielding. Protect me from violent tests and preserve and shelter me in the strongly fortified protection of Thy Covenant and Testament. Thou art the Powerful! Thou art the Seeing! Thou art the Hearing! O Thou the Compassionate God! Bestow upon me a heart which, like unto glass, may be illumined with the light of Thy love, and confer upon me a thought which may change this world into a rose garden through the spiritual bounty. Thou art the Compassionate, the Merciful! Thou art the Supreme, Beneficent God!

783. O my Lord! Confirm me to serve Thy beloved and to be submissive and humble before Thy chosen ones. Make me to know the meaning of Thy Words and inform me of the mysteries of Thy signs. Place me in the shadow of the standard of Thy Testament and preserve me from Thy tests which break backs and unveil the sins of the black sliders and tend to disgrace the party of deception and the people of wickedness. Verily, Thou art the Mighty, the Pardoner!

784. Praise be to Thee! O my God, and the God of all things; my Splendor and the Splendor of all things; my Hope and the Hope of all things; my Sovereign and the Sovereign of all things; my King and the King of all things; my Beloved and the Beloved of all things; and my Mover and the Mover of all things!

I ask Thee not to prevent my attaining the Sea of Thy Benevolence, nor to keep me from the Shore of Thy Nearness!

O God! All else beside Thee will not profit me, and the nearness of all else save Thee will not suffice me.

I ask Thee by Thy Riches, whereby Thou hast been independent of all else beside Thyself, to make me of those who look unto Thee and arise for Thy service.

O God! Forgive Thy servants and worshippers; verily, Thou art the Forgiver, the Merciful!

THE VICTORY OF THE COVENANT
785. He is El-Abha!

From the lights of that shining brilliancy and brightness, the horizons have already shone:

Blessed are they who are successful!

From that blessed Tree in Mount Sinai a call has been vociferously raised:

Blessed are they who are hearing!

From that holy fragrance in that White Spot all sides are regions have been perfumed:

Blessed are they who inhale the sweet fragrance!

The Light of Unity has been transfigured in the Temple of Seclusion:

Blessed are they who are wishing for Light!
The face of El-Baha has been uncovered:
Blessed are they who are thereby attracted!

The cup of bounty, overflowing with the wine of fulfillment, is passing around:

Blessed are they who are drinking!

The Kingdom of El-Abha and the Supreme God has been honored and glorified:

Blessed are they who are winning a place in the Kingdom!

The clouds of generosity are overflowing with the greatest abundance -- truly, it is a great abundance! The hearts have been enlightened from the Lights of the Face of the Beloved -- truly, it is a clear Light!

Abdu'l-Bahá, the Servant of Baha, has clad Himself in the mantle of servitude and devotion, for the beloved of El-Baha -- truly, this is a great Victory!

CHAPTER EIGHT
THE LOOM OF REALITY

786. Verily, if my Lord destine unto me and cause me to taste the sweetness of the cup of the great martyrdom, my greatest desire will be fulfilled. Fear not if this Branch be severed from the material earth and cast aside the leaves -- nay, rather, its leaves will flourish, for this Branch will grow after it is cut from the earth, will ascend until it shelters the universe, its foliage will reach the Supreme Apex and bear fruits, imparting fragrance perfume into the world.

787. As to life, however, it has no beginning, nor will it have any end. The eternal grace of God has always been the cause of life. It has had no starting point and it will not approach any end. But concerning the degrees through which the soul has gone, these degrees are spiritual. Consider all the advancement of the world of humanity which is at present manifest and known. This has been realized through the spirit. The manifestation of the divine laws and disciplines which are essential to the realities of beings; and in the world of the Kingdom they are ideals which in the appearance of the holy Manifestations of God are realized.

788. The fruits of the deeds of man, i.e., the harvest of the reward of man's conduct, is gathered in the heavenly realm.

789. But as to evolution: it is true of both body and the spirit. Consider how many sciences, arts, discoveries and achievements have come into existence since the days of Moses till the present time through the progress of the human soul in knowledge and perfections. Similarly, how much the soul has evolved from the moral point of view.

When the body of man is perfected, physical evolution comes to an end, since nature does not seek to build a higher form than that of man. But the evolution of spirit continues until reason, the mental powers, and the emotional capacities are evolved in it. These are not produced by entities which pass from body to body, but by the universal or World Spirit of man. The results of each individual life-experience go to the general enrichment of humanity. As a hundred lamps may be lit from a single flame, so the one World Spirit illumines the minds of countless men. Without this spirit, man's body, like the lamp, is lifeless matter.

790. Have full assurance that love is the mystery of the appearance of God; that love is the divine aspect of God; that love is spiritual grace; that love is the light of the Kingdom; that love is as the breath of the Holy Spirit in the spirit of man. Love is the cause of the manifestation of truth in the material world. Love is the essential bond of union which exists between God and all things in their ultimate reality. Love is the source of the greatest happiness of the material and the spiritual worlds. Love is the light by which man is guided in the midst of darkness. Love is the communication between truth and man in the realm of consciousness. Love is the means of growth for all who are enlightened.

Love is the highest law in this great universe of God. Love is the law of order between simple essences, whereby they are apportioned and united into compound substances in this world of matter. Love is the essential and magnetic power that organizes the planets and the stars which shine in infinite space. Love supplies the impulse to that intense and unceasing meditation which reveals the hidden mysteries of the universe.

Love is the highest honor for all the nations of men. To that people in whom God causes love to appear the Supreme Concourse, the angels of heaven, and the hosts of the kingdom of the Glorious One make salutation. When the hearts of a people are void of this Divine power -- of the love of God -- they will descend to the lowest estate of mortals, they will wander in the desert of error, they will fall into the slough of despair and there is no deliverance for them. They become like worms which delight in groveling in the earth.

O friends of God! be ye manifestations of the love of God and lamps of guidance in all horizons, shining by the light of love and harmony.

How beautiful is the shining of this shining!

791. Thou hast written that thou art a student in the progressive spiritual school. Happy is thy condition! If the various progressive schools join themselves to the universal university of the Kingdom, such knowledge and sciences will be brought into light that man will see the potentialities of the "Open Tablet" of existence are infinite; will realize that all the created things are as letters and words; will be instructed in the lessons of the degrees of significances; will perceive the signs of oneness in the primordial atoms of the earth; will hear the voice of the Lord of the Kingdom; will behold the confirmations of the Holy Spirit and will find such ecstasy and joy that, unable to contain himself in the vast area of existence, he will prepare himself for the journey toward the Kingdom and will hasten to the immensity of the Realm of Might. As soon as a bird is fledged, it cannot keep itself on the ground; nay, rather it soareth up toward the Supreme Apex -- except the birds whose feet are tied, whose wings are clipped, whose feathers are broken and who are soiled with water and clay. 792. O thou seeker of Truth! The realm of the Kingdom is a unit. The only difference lies in this: that when the season of spring dawneth, a new and wonderful motion and rejuvenation is witnessed in all the existing things; the mountains and meadows are revived; the trees find freshness and delicacy and are clothed with radiant and bright leaves, blossoms and fruits. In like manner the preceding Manifestations form an inseparable link with the subsequent dispensations; nay, rather, they are identical with each other. Since the world is constantly developing itself, the rays become stronger, the outpouring becometh greater and the sun appeareth in the meridian orbit.

793. O thou yearner after the Kingdom! Each Manifestation is the heart of the world and the proficient Physician of every patient. The world of humanity is sick, but that skilful Physician hath the healing remedy and He bestoweth Divine teachings, exhortations and advices which are the remedy of every ailment and the dressing for every wound. Undoubtedly the wise physician discovereth the needs of the patient at every season and prescribeth suitable medicine. Therefore, when thou wilt compare the teachings of the Beauty of Abha with the requisitions and necessities of the present time, thou wilt conclude that they are to the sick body of the world the swift healing antidote; nay, rather, they are the remedy producing everlasting health. The prescription of the proficient physicians of the past and the future will not be the same; nay, rather, they will be in accord with the ailment of the patient. Although the medicine is changed, yet all of these changes are for the sole purpose of healing the sick. In former dispensations the sick body of the world could not bear strong and overpowering remedies. That is why His Holiness the Christ said: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, the Spirit of the Comforter, who is sent by the Father, is come, He will guide you unto all truth." Therefore, in this age of lights, specific teachings have become universal, in order that the outpouring of the Merciful One environ both the East and the West, the oneness of the Kingdom of humanity become manifest and the luminosity of truth enlighten the world of consciousness. The descent of the New Jerusalem is the heavenly religion which secures the prosperity of the human world and is the effulgence of the illumination of the realm of God. In reality Emmanuel was the forerunner of the second coming of His Highness the Christ and the herald of the path of the Kingdom.

This is self-evident, that the letter is an organic member of the word. This membership denoted subordination; that is, that the letter draws its life from the word and hath spiritual relationship with it and is accounted a part of it. The apostles were the Letters and His Highness Christ the Essence of the Word; and the significance of the Word, which is the Everlasting Outpouring, casts a splendor upon those Letters. Since a letter is a part of the word itself, it is intrinsically identical with the word.

I hope that thou shalt arise to perform all that which His Highness Emmanuel hath predicted. Know thou this of a certainty, that thou shalt become assisted. The confirmations of the Holy Spirit are descending uninterruptedly. The power of the Word shall penetrate in such wise that the Letter will become the reflective mirror of the Sun of the Word, and the radiation of the lights of the Word shall illuminate the whole earth. But the heavenly Jerusalem, which is established upon the apex of the world and the Holy of Holies of the Almighty, which hath hoisted its banner, comprehendeth and includeth in it all the perfections and teachings of the former dispensations. Likewise, it is the herald of the oneness of the world of humanity, the ensign of universal peace, the spirit of eternal life, the lights of divine perfections, the surrounding bestowal of the realm of existence, the adornment and grandeur of the world of creation, and the cause of the tranquillity of humankind.

794. Turn thy attention toward the holy Tablets.[1] Read and reflect upon the Tablets of Ishraqat, Tajalliyat, the Words of Paradise, the Glad Tidings, Tarazat and the Book of Aqdas. These divine teachings in this day are the remedy of the ailments of the world of man, and the dressing of the wounded body of existence; they are the spirit of life, the ark of salvation, the magnet of the everlasting glory, and the penetrative power in the reality of man!

[1 For quotations from the Tablets referred to here, see Contents.]

795. The beloved of God must be the cause of spreading the Heavenly Love. They must impart spiritual concord; deal with all men in the utmost sincerity and kindness in accord with the commands and exhortations of the Merciful One. And they must treat all with benevolence. They must render devoted service to the friends, wish prosperity for enemies, show kindness to the bad tempered, and be affectionate toward the unjust. They must become a salutary water to thirsty ones, a swift healing to sick persons, a remedy to the ailing; comfort the minds of those afflicted with calamities; become the light of guidance to the erring, an affectionate guide to the wandering, a seeing eye to the blind, a hearing ear to the deaf, an eternal life to the dead, and an everlasting joy to the dispirited.

796. Prayer and supplication are two wings whereby man soars toward the heavenly mansion of the True One. However, verbal repetition of prayer does not suffice. One must live in a perennial attitude of prayer. When man is spiritually free his mind becomes the altar and his heart the sanctuary of prayer. Then the meaning of the verse "He will lift up from before his eyes the veil" will become fulfilled in man.

797. People think religion is confined to an edifice, to be worshipped at an altar. In reality it is an attitude toward divinity which is reflected through life. The confirmations of the Spirit come to that man or woman who accepts his life with radiant acquiescence. Release comes by making of the will a door through which the confirmations of the Spirit come. By religion we mean those necessary bonds which unify the world of humanity. This has ever been the essence of religion, for this object have all the Manifestations come to the world. Alas! that the leaders of religion afterwards have abandoned this solid foundation and have fabricated a set of blind dogmas and rituals which are at complete variance with the foundation of divine religion.

798. Indifference breeds deterioration. Silence is the cause of retrogression. Thoughtlessness leads to forgetfulness. Passivity, inaction, produce oblivion. Consequently do ye not seek one moment of rest by day or by night. Nay, rather strive after composure of heart in the heaven of Unity. Do ye not for one moment obey the instinct of the worldly consciousness for ease. Seek ye divine happiness through the hardships and sorrows of this physical world, and behold spiritual well-being in the struggles of this fleeting existence. Distill sugar and honey from the bitter poison of suffering. Recognize the caress of divine favor in the arrows of misfortune. Consider the lowest degree of humiliation in the path of the Blessed Perfection as the highest station of Glory. Know descent to be identical with ascent, and consider death itself the essence of life.

799. The Word of God is the storehouse of all good, all power and all wisdom. The illiterate fisherman and savage Arabs through it were enabled to solve such problems as were puzzles to eminent sages from the beginning of time. It awakens within us that brilliant intuition which makes us independent of all tuition, and endows us with an all-embracing power of spiritual understanding. Many a soul after fruitless struggles in the ark of philosophy was drowned in the sea of conflicting theories of cause and effect, while those on board the craft of simplicity reached the shore of the Universal Cause, aided by favorable winds blowing from the point of divine knowledge. When man is associated with that transcendent power emanating from the Word of God, the tree of his being becomes so well rooted in the soil of assurance that it laughs at hurricanes of skepticism violently attempting its destruction. For this association of the part with the Whole endows him with the Whole, and this union of the particular with the Universal makes him all in all.

800. Evil does not exist. Death is only the lack of life; therefore death does not exist. Darkness is only the lack of light. Evil is only the lack of good. Ignorance is only the lack of knowledge. Poverty is the lack of wealth. Misleading is the lack of guidance. Miserliness is the lack of generosity. The non-existence of light is darkness. The lack of sight is blindness. The lack of hearing is deafness. All these things are non-existent. God did not create any evil thing. God did not create a man poor. Poverty is only the lack of wealth. Guidance is the gift of God, and if a man is deprived of it, he will be misled; but he is not misled by God -- it is only the result of the lack of guidance.

801. Everything save man has one condition, but man has two. The animal has one condition of nature, but man has the animal nature and the Divine nature. If the Divine nature predominates he will be good, but if the human nature predominates he will be evil. One will lift him up, but the other will send him to the lowest depths. Man can become so degraded that he will worship a stone, which is of the lowest kingdom; but the spiritual will raise him to the Supreme Realms. Jesus Christ had the same two conditions, the earthly and the heavenly; man has the same. Man has the power of knowledge which will exalt him to heaven, and the power of ignorance which will debase him to the lowest condition. The more a person advances in Divine matters, the more will he receive the attributes of light; and the more he retrogrades, the more he will receive the qualities of darkness. The world is dark and in darkness, but the spiritual world is light. This is the Heavenly Kingdom.

802. People must live for one another, and not live in seclusion as do the monks and nuns. People should not live solitary lives. Light is of no value in an empty room. A tree is of no service to any one on the summit of a mountain, but should stand in a place where it will give shade and where its fruits can be gathered. The believers should be together as much as possible. Two lamps in a room give more light than one.

803. Man must work, and in that work show the qualities of God and thus do good. His work, both material and spiritual, must reveal what he himself is. By his arts, sciences, inventions and all of his work, man must reveal his highest capacity.

804. 9 is the last number and it is the greater number. 10 is simply the continuation of the number 1 because 10 is 1 and 100 is 1. Place the units up to 10 and we simply return to the number 1. The units end at 9. Number 9 is the highest, and from it all other numbers are made. The calculation of the word "Bab" is 5 and Baha is 9. If you multiply 9 by 5 you have 45. Now 45 is the Arabic numerical value of the word Adam.

As Adam is the Father of humanity, and means the real man, therefore the product of the Báb and Baha is equal to the number Adam. There is no great difference between the Greatest Name and the name of Adam. In their nature they are one. (The digits of 45 added equal 9.) Also, 1 plus 2 equals 3; 3 plus 3 equals 6; 6 plus 4 equals 10; 10 plus 5 equals 15; 15 is the number of Eve. By the physical marriage of Adam and Eve the race originated, and by the appearance of the Manifestation (Bahá'u'lláh) and the Báb, the Spiritual Generation had its origin. Therefore there is great knowledge and understanding when the two names are made into one, because if you add from 1 to 9 consecutively, the result is equal to the number of Baha and the Báb multiplied together, which equals 45, and it is equal to the number of Adam; and this is the wisdom in it. The name of God which Christ gave to His disciples was the Name of the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh. It was the same spiritually, but it was a Name which was never pronounced. All the Bible was written for Bahá'u'lláh. Everywhere, "Lord of Hosts" refers to the Manifestation.

805. The highest expression of the life of man on this planet in this age and many ages to come is Celestial: that is, to live and act in accord with the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and to be steadfast in the love of Abdu'l-Bahá. The principles of the Religion of the Blessed Perfection adorn the spirit with the highest attributes of the Kingdom of Abha, illumine the heart with the Sun of the love of God, make him a servant of the world of humanity, a standardbearer of Universal Peace, and an orb shining from the heaven of righteousness.

He forgets himself and lives in the flow of the love of the True One; he embraces all mankind with an ineffable tenderness, striving day and night to serve his fellowman. He becomes a herald of the Supreme Concourse and wins the good pleasure of the Lord of Hosts. He will be attracted with the love of the Beloved, and immerse his whole being in the ocean of humility and meekness. He will enlist himself in the army of human progress, to realize the limitless advancement of the human race. Through his zeal, he will sacrifice everything in the path of God, and quaff from the chalice of eternal life.

This is the most glorious bounty of this Age; this is the bestowal of the Bahá'í Circle; this is the Light that illuminates every heart. This is the water that allays every thirst one; this is the Divine Elixir that changes man into the image and likeness of the Almighty.

806. To tamper with psychic forces while in this world interferes with the condition of the soul in the world to come. These forces are real, but are not to be active on this plane.

The child in the womb has its eyes, ears, hands and feet, but these powers are not in activity. The whole purpose of the womb-life is the coming forth into this world. So, the whole purpose of this matrix-world life is the coming forth into the world of Reality, where all these (psychic) forces will be active. They belong to that world.

This mineral and these trees have no knowledge of the animal and human worlds; they cannot imagine them, they deny their very existence. While the human world is helping the animal and developing the vegetable kingdoms, these kingdoms are unconscious of it. Similarly, the human world cannot comprehend the world of the Kingdom; it is absolutely ignorant of the Kingdom, while the heavenly spirits have influence in the human world.

Observe how clear this point is, yet the professors and philosophers of the world ignore this Reality! The psychic mediums, however, are speaking of the world of thought and not the world of Reality. But a heavenly soul who is conscious of the divine world, whose eye of discernment is open, who is severed from the world of nature, and has attained to spiritual power -- this soul is cognizant of the divine world and the world of spirits. Reality is pure spirit, it is not physical. That is, it occupies no space.

807. By God, who is the only God, and there is no God but Him, this servant swears the masters did not come that man should adore them, or worship them, or acknowledge their prophethood. No! rather the masters of all time have suffered for no other purpose than this -- that fleshly veils might be rent asunder and Reality become manifest.

808. There are before you so many temptations, trials, afflictions, calamities and difficulties because you have to be purified through fire and sifted through the sieve in order to separate the wheat from the tares. Verily, I say unto you: none will be saved but the believers, and from the believers only the sincere, and even those are in great danger, especially in such a time.

Consider ye! What calumny, slander, cruelty and oppression were brought down upon the Apostles by the Israelites for the sake of faith and assurance. They extended the hands of pillage, they persecuted and tortured those sanctified souls. Therefore, there is no doubt but that you will become afflicted with trial, calamity and oppression in the Path of the Beauty of Abha. But these trials are the essence of bestowal, and pure bounty, and the proofs of your acceptance at the Threshold of Oneness. Consequently, when the fire of trials is lighted, celebrate ye in joy, dance with overflowing emotions, rejoicing that, praise be to God, you have become the target of contempt in the Path of the Beauty of Abha, and are hated by the people of passion and desire!

809. This Cause has become world-wide. In a short space of time it has permeated throughout all regions, for it has a magnetic power which attracts all intelligent men and women toward this center. If a person become informed of the reality of this Cause, he will believe in it, for these teachings are the spirit of this age.

The Bahá'í Movement imparts life. It is the cause of love and amity amongst mankind. It establishes communication between various nations and religions. It removes all antagonisms. And when this Cause is fully spread in Europe, warfare will be a thing of the past, universal peace will be realized, the oneness of the world of humanity will be recognized, and religion and science will work hand in hand.

The Bahá'í Movement bestows upon man a new spirit, a new light, and a new motion. It enlarges the sphere of thought. It illumines the horizon of the intellect. It expands the arena of comprehension.

This is the ultimate goal of human life. This is the fruit of existence. This is the brilliant pearl of cosmic consciousness. This is the shining star of spiritual destiny.

810. Though unity was produced in bygone centuries, still complete unity was not feasible, for the means and causes of union were wanting, and among the five continents of the world connection and communication did not exist. Moreover, even among the people of one continent, intercourse and interchange of ideas was difficult. Therefore intercourse, unity, connection and interchange of ideas among all the people of the world through one center was impossible. But now the means of connection are man, and the five continents of the world are really as one.

The connection of commerce, art, science and agriculture is now evident, and has absolute sway. Therefore union and harmony are possible to be produced among all. These means of connection are the wonders of this glorious century and great epoch. Former centuries were deprived of this possibility, for this enlightened century has another power, another splendor, another condition. That is why you see it daily bringing forth some new wonder. Finally it will ignite shining lights in the gatherings of the world. Like the aurora of the morning, the signs of these great lights are already apparent on the horizon.

The first light is political union, and a little trace of this has already appeared.

The second light is harmony of ideas in regard to essential matters, and the effect of this will soon be apparent.

The third light is the union of freedom; that likewise will surely be produced.

The fourth light is the union of religion, and this is the essential foundation. The evidence of this union will appear in the gatherings of the world with divine power.

The fifth light is the union of nations. In this century the union of brotherhood will appear in absolute might -- at last all the people of the world will consider themselves natives of one country.

The sixth light is the union of all classes. All the people of the world will be as one kind.

The seventh light is the union of one language. That is, a language will be made which all the people will learn and through it converse one with another.

These things which have been mentioned will surely come to pass, for they are confirmed by a heavenly power. Consider that in Persia there were so many different classes, antagonistic sects and diverse ideas that its conditions were the lowest in the world. But now through the breath of the Holy Spirit it has attained to such a degree of union and connection that these different people, antagonistic creeds and hostile classes are as one soul. You will see them associating, conversing and mingling with one another in perfect union, brotherhood and fraternity. In large meetings you can see Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Moslems associating in perfect union, brotherhood, love, freedom and joy.

Consider what the power of the Greatest Name has done!

811. As to your question regarding the stars: Know that these brilliant stars are numberless and their existence is not devoid of wisdom both useful and important.

Rather they are worlds, as is this world of ours. But they differ in their bodies, by the difference of elements, from this earthly body. The differ in formation. The beings existent upon these bodies are according to their formation.

As to the worlds whereunto Christ (unto whom be Glory) referred: They are spiritual, divine, heavenly, single, unlocated -- souls know them. But, verily, the sight of the people of the Kingdom of El-Abha perceives them, and the intellect of the people of the Supreme Concourse apprehends them.

812. The disease which afflicts the body politic is lack of love and absence of altruism. In the hearts of men no real love is found, and the condition is such that unless their susceptibilities are quickened by some power so that unity, love and accord develop within them, there can be no healing, no relief among mankind. Love and unity are the needs of the body politic today. Without these no progress nor prosperity can be attained. Therefore the friends of God must adhere to that Power which will create this love and unity in the hearts of the sons of men. Science cannot cure the illness of the body politic. Science cannot create amity and fellowship in human hearts. Neither can patriotism or racial prejudice effect a remedy. It can be accomplished solely through the divine bounties and the spiritual bestowals which have descended from God in this Day for that very purpose.

This is an exigency of the times, and the divine remedy has been provided. The spiritual Teachings of the Religion of God alone can create this love, unity and accord in human hearts. Therefore, hold to these heavenly agencies which God has provided so that through the love of God this soul-tie may be established, this heart-attachment realized, the light of the reality of unity be reflected from you throughout the universe.

The secrets of the whole economic question are divine in nature, and are concerned with the world of the heart and spirit. In the Bahá'í Teachings this is most completely explained, and without the consideration of the Bahá'í Teachings it is impossible to bring about a better state.

813. Bahá'ís consider it more blessed and a greater privilege to bestow than to gain and receive. They believe that bestowing good upon one another is the greatest means of help to both. This is not the principle and practise of their calumniators, who make even religion a source of livelihood.

814. The body of man, which has been formed gradually, must similarly be decomposed gradually. This is according to the real and natural order and divine law. If it had been better for it to be burned after death, in its creation it would have been so planned that the body would automatically become ignited after death, be consumed and turned into ashes. But the divine order formulated by the heavenly ordinance is that after death this body shall be transferred from one stage to another different from the preceding one, so that according to the relations which exist in this world, it may gradually combine and mix with other elements, thus going through stages until it arrive in the vegetable kingdom, there turning into plants and flowers, developing into trees of the highest paradise, becoming perfumed and attaining the beauty of color.

Cremation suppresses it speedily from attainment to these transformations, the elements becoming so quickly decomposed that transformation to these various stages is checked.

815. Now as to what thou askest concerning the Spirit and its return to this world of humanity, and this elemental space: Know that the Spirit in general is divided into five sorts, the Vegetable Spirit, the Animal Spirit, the Human Spirit, the Spirit of Faith, and the Divine Spirit of Sanctity.

The Vegetable Spirit is the virtue perceptive, resulting from the admixture and absorption of the vital elements generated in the heart, which apprehend sense impressions.

The Human Spirit consists of the rational faculty, which apprehends general ideas and things intelligible and perceptible.

Now these spirits are not reckoned as "Spirit" in the terminology of the Scriptures and the usage of the people of Truth, inasmuch as the laws governing them are the same laws as govern all other phenomenal being, in respect to generation and corruption and production and change and reversion, as is clearly indicated in the Gospel where it says: "Let the dead bury their dead." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit"; inasmuch as he who would bury these dead was alive with the vegetative, animal and rational human soul, yet did Christ (to whom be Glory!) declare such to be dead and devoid of life, in that this person was devoid of the Spirit of Faith, which is of the Kingdom of God.

In brief, for these three spirits there is no restitution or return, but they are subordinate to reversions and production and corruption.

But the Spirit of Faith, which is of the Kingdom, consists of the all-comprehending grace and the perfect attainment, and the power of sanctity, and the divine effulgence from the Sun of Truth on luminous, light-seeking essences, from the Presence of the Divine Unity. And by this Spirit is the life of the spirit of man, when it is fortified thereby, as Christ (to whom be Glory!) saith: "That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." And this Spirit hath both restitution and return, inasmuch as it consists of the Light of God and the unconditioned grace. So, having regard to this state and station, Christ (to whom be Glory!) announced that John the Baptist was Elias "who was for to come" before Christ. And the likeness of this station is as that of lamps kindled from one another: for these, in respect to their glasses and oilholders, are different, but in respect to their Light, one, and in respect to their illumination, one; nay, each is identical with the other, without imputation of plurality, or diversity, or multiplicity, or separateness. This is the Truth, and beyond the Truth there is only error.

816. But as to the question of the Trinity: Know, O advancer unto God, that in each one of the cycles wherein the Lights have shone forth upon the horizons, and the Forgiving Lord hath revealed Himself on Mount Paran, or Mount Sinai, or Mount Seir, there are necessarily three things, the Giver of the Grace, the Grace, and the Recipient of the Grace: the Source of the Effulgence, the Effulgence, and the Recipient of the Effulgence; the Illuminator, the Illumination, and the Illuminated. Look at the Mosaic cycle -- the Lord and Moses, and the Fire the intermediary; and in the Messianic cycle, the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost and the intermediary; and in the Muhammadan cycle, the Lord and the Apostle, and Gabriel the intermediary. Look at the sun and its rays, and the heat which results from its rays; the rays and the heat are but two effects of the sun, but inseparable from it and sent out from it; yet is the sun one in its essence, unique in its real identity, single in its attributes, nor can anything possibly resemble it. Such is the essence of the truth concerning the Unity, the real doctrine of the Oneness, the undiluted reality as to the divine Sanctity.

817. In short, by religion we mean those necessary bonds which unify the world of humanity. This has ever been the essence of the religion of God. This is the object of divine teaching and laws. This is the Light of the everlasting Life. But a thousand times, alas! this solid foundation is abandoned and forgotten, and the leaders of religion have fabricated a set of blind dogmas and rituals which are at complete variance with the foundation of divine religion. As these dogmas differ from each other, they become oppositions, oppositions breed strife, and strife ends in war and bloodshed. Thus religion, which was destined to become the cause of friendship, has become the cause of enmity. Religion, which was to confer everlasting life, has become a fiendish weapon of death. Hence, these superannuated, tattered dogmas, which are current among present day religions, must be totally given up; and thus, free from past traditions, the people must investigate the real objects of divine religion -- when the true religion of God shall become unveiled in the utmost beauty and sublimity in the assemblage of the world.

818. Search untiringly for truth and reiterate the teachings which harmonize with the crying needs of the hour. This will be the cause of the progress of man, the illumination of the Orient and the Occident. The important thing is to spread the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh in our own century. Whoever listens to these Teachings properly explained, will say: "Here is the Truth -- that which will render life a greater thing!"

819. The days of human existence are like vanishing shadows. Compared to the world of Reality, they are brought to a close with extreme speed. From amongst the world of humanity those who lead a heedless life are afflicted with manifest loss; for when the days of their life come to a sudden end, there is no trace, no leaves, no blossom, no fruit. They shall remain in the lowest degree, and no mention is left behind for them. From king to servant, all walk this fleeting path and live in this circle, but none shall endure save those who are freed from every tie. They are not greedy after comfort, nor do they seek flitting pleasures. They are not longing for honor, neither pursue the phantasmal imaginations of glory and wealth. They are the devotees, the tried soldiers of Bahá'u'lláh -- wanderers over mountain and desert. In the state of complete renunciation they call the people to the Kingdom of God, and they are the cause of the guidance of souls. Like unto the candle, they are aflame with all the virtues of the world of humanity. This is everlasting glory. This is eternal life. This is true attainment. This is the divine sublimity of the creation of God.

820. Were it not for the favors of the Blessed Perfection, no one would have given us any importance. There are some who become proud and haughty and forget this fact. In their utter blindness they consider themselves to be important. Then they fall from their high pedestal, and great is the noise thereof.

Meekness and humility are the hallmarks of faith. As soon as a believer feels himself the least degree superior to others, the beginning of his spiritual decline has set in, all unaware to himself. There are no offices in this Cause. I do not and have not "appointed" any one to perform any special service, but I encourage every one to engage in the service of the Kingdom. The foundation of this Cause is pure spiritual democracy, and not theocracy. The difference between me and others is this: I confess and acknowledge my own inability, weakness and humility, and know that all these outward confirmations are the favors of the Blessed Perfection. There are some who imagine, and little by little come to believe, that their spiritual successes are by and through themselves.

821. There are two kinds of love, one universal and one individual. You must love humanity in order to uplift and beautify humanity. Even if people slay you, yet must you love them. Individual love cannot be forced, and you are not required to love anybody personally; but if they are in your lives, see to it that they are means to your development and that you are means to their development, through your universal love for them. We are creatures of the same God, therefore we must love all as children of God even though they are doing us harm. Christ loved his persecutors. It is possible for us to attain to that love. God manifested His Love by creating man in His own image. Man must manifest this love by developing himself and others in the image of God.

822. It is possible so to adjust oneself to the practise of nobility that its atmosphere surrounds and colors every act. When actions are habitually and conscientiously adjusted to noble standards, with no thought of the words that might herald them, then nobility becomes the accent of life. At such a degree of evolution one scarcely needs try any longer to be good -- all acts are become the distinctive expression of nobility.

823. As there is no one who has not his place indicated in the world (for nothing useless exists on this earth), we must treat every one with respect and affection, for in each individual we can see a sign of the divine favor and power, that power which has been able to draw such a being out of matter, make of him a creature with sensorial faculties, and endow him with intellectual and spiritual potentiality. This is one of the proofs of the divine power. Let us respect these living proofs of God.

824. The centers of divine perfections are the Manifestations of God as seen in His prophets. In whichever country, or at whatever time they come, they are the center of the divine perfections; and as the sun in the material heavens develops the material beings, so do these spiritual suns develop the world of souls.

Let us turn toward the spiritual Sun and acquire a spiritual light which will render the world luminous, so that we may be freed from matter and acquire celestial qualities, that this limited existence may become eternal.

825. The Divine Reality is far removed from man. It is absolutely remote and independent in Its essence; abstract, limitless, impersonal beyond human comprehension.

Man is limited, weak, without power, helpless. The Divine Reality represents power absolute, capacity for all things, fulfilment for all the needs of man.

The Divine Reality is to man what the sun is to the earth. The sun is life, radiance, heat, power, energy. The earth is dead, inert, helpless, incapable of initiative or change.

The sun in its remoteness could never reach the earth -- and the earth, wretched, helpless -- could never attain to the glory and splendor of the sun. An intermediary there must be. In some way the radiant, life-giving power of the sun must be brought to the darkened earth, and this becomes possible through the media of light and heat. Through their means this dark ball of earth becomes the home of fragrant, blooming life.

As there must be an intermediary to transmit to the earth the life-giving power of the sun, so must there be an intermediary to bring God to man; and this is realized through the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit. As the media of light and heat carry fragrance and bloom to the earth, so the Holy Spirit brings to man perfection and inspiration. The earth alone is but a senseless clod -- touched by the sun it becomes life and energy. So the Holy Spirit touches the heart of man and awakens him to eternal life. It gives to man all possibilities. The cause of life widens before his eyes; eternity opens to him and becomes his, and every moment it is his inviolable possession. Limitations disappear, and he becomes more and more sensitive to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. All things are his own.

Without the intermediary of the Holy Spirit, man would remain dull, helpless and deprived of attainment. But touched by that Divine Elixir he becomes tender, loving, responsive, and capable of every perfection of existence.

Turn your faces away from the contemplation of your own finite selves and fix your eyes upon the everlasting radiance, then will your souls receive in full measure the divine powers of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the infinite bounty.

826. In the Bahá'í Cause, arts, sciences and all crafts are considered as worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fulness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and minister to people's needs. Service is prayer. A physician ministering to the sick, gently, tenderly, free from prejudice, and believing in the solidarity of the human race -- he is offering praise.

827. When the teachers delivers an address, first of all his own words must have a supremely powerful effect over himself, so that others in turn may be affected; his utterances must be like a flame of fire, burning away the veils of dogma, passion and desire. Moreover, he must be in the utmost state of humility and self-effacement, that others may be rendered mindful. He must have attained the station of renunciation and annihilation. Then, and not until then, will he teach the people with the humility of the Supreme Concourse.

828. Truthfulness is the foundation of all the virtues of the world of humanity. Without truthfulness, progress and success in all the worlds of God are impossible for a soul to attain. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the other divine qualities will also become realized.

829. Economy is the foundation of human prosperity. The spendthrift is always in trouble. Prodigality on the part of any person is an unpardonable sin. We must never live on others like a parasitic plant. Every person must have a profession, whether it be literary or manual, and must live a clean, manly, honest life, an example of purity to be imitated by others. It is more kingly to be satisfied with a crust of stale bread than to enjoy a sumptuous dinner of many courses, the money for which comes out of the pockets of others. The mind of a contented person is always peaceful and his heart at rest. He is like a monarch ruling over the whole world. How happily such a man helps himself to his frugal meals! How joyfully he takes his walks, how peacefully he sleeps!

830. The food of the future will be fruit and grains. The time will come when meat is no longer eaten. Medical science is yet only in its infancy, but it has shown that our natural diet is that which grows out of the ground. The people will gradually develop up to the condition of taking only this natural food.

831. Economics must commence with the farmer and thence reach out and embrace the other classes, inasmuch as the number of farmers is greater than that of other groups. Therefore it is becoming that the economic problem be solved for the farmer first, for the farmer is the first active agent in the body politic.

In brief: from among the wise men of every village a Board should be organized, and the affairs of that village should be under the control of the Board. Likewise, a general storehouse should be founded and a secretary appointed for it. At the time of the harvest, with the approval of the members of the Board, a determined percentage of the entire harvest should be appropriated for the storehouse.

This storehouse is to have seven revenues: tithes, taxes on animals, wealth without inheritors, all things who owner cannot be discovered, a third of all treasure found in the ground, a third of the output of the mines, and voluntary contributions.

On the other hand, there are seven expenditures. First, the general running expenses of the institution, salaries, etc., and the administration of public safety, including a department of hygiene.

Second, tithes to the general government. Third, taxes on animals for the State. Fourth, support of an orphanage. Fifth, support of cripples and incurables. Sixth, support of educational institutions. Seventh, supplying any deficiency in the expenses of the poor.

If anything is left in the storehouse, that must be transferred to the general treasury of the nation for general national expenses. When such a system is established, each individual member of the body politic will live in the utmost comfort and happiness, and the degrees will be preserved. There will be no disturbance of these degrees whatsoever, for they are the essential needs of the body politic.

The body politic is like an army. An army needs a commander-in-chief, colonel, captain, lieutenant, and private. It is impossible for all to enjoy the same rank; preservation of degrees is necessary, but each member of that army must live in the utmost comfort and ease.

Likewise a city is in need of a mayor, judge, merchant, banker, artisan and farmers. Undoubtedly these degrees should be preserved, otherwise the public order would be disturbed.

The government of a country should make laws which conform to the divine law.

832. All the prophets were sent, all the books were revealed, that the law of love might be promoted. Let us have love and more love, a love that melts all opposition, that sweeps away all barriers, that conquers all foes, a love that aboundeth in charity, large-heartedness, tolerance, and noble striving, a love that triumphs over all obstacle, a boundless, an irresistible, sweeping love! Ah me! Each one must be a sign of love, a center of love, a sun of love, a star of love, a palace of love, a mountain of love, a world of love, a universe of love! Hast thou love? Then thy power is irresistible. Hast thou sympathy? Then all the stars will sing thy praise.

833. In whatsoever matter man wisheth to engage, he must first acquire some capability and make provisions and preparations therefore. In this day, whatever soul intendeth to raise the voice of the Kingdom, and to draw people under the Tree of Life in the ideal paradise, and to invite them to eternal life, must first be delivered from all attachments, must even shut his eyes to rest, quietude, and to the mortal existence of this world.

I hope that thou hast abandoned all such mortal things, and when thou hast attained to this great bounty, that is, when thou art delivered from the attachments of this mortal world, and hast intended to endure all calamities in the path of God -- in such wise that reproaches on the part of the enemy will seem to thee as praise and glorification, and the blame of the people of hatred will appear like unto admiration and applause, and the bitterness of afflictions will taste as the honey of favor and all hardships be as sweetness -- then canst thou step into the path of the Kingdom and become the herald of God.

Consequently, do thou show a steadfast and firm footing in this station, engage in guiding the people and call them unto the Kingdom; then wilt thou find how the divine magnet -- the power of the Word of God -- will attract hearts and bestow ecstasy and enthusiasm upon souls!

When thou reachest this station, there shall remain no obstacles and no veil shall intervene, and all that is thy highest wish shall be realized.

834. In these times thanksgiving for the bounty of the Merciful One consists in the illumination of the heart and the awareness of the soul. This is the reality of thanksgiving.

835. Verily know that the word of Abdu'l-Bahá, and his speech, is a hidden mystery and concealed fact. No one is informed of its greatness and importance at this time, but in future centuries the signs thereof will be manifested, the lights will dawn forth, the fragrances will be diffused and the greatness and importance will be known. Know thou its value, and deem great its station.

836. The power of the sympathetic nerve are neither entirely physical nor entirely spiritual, but are between the two (systems). The nerve is connected with both. Its phenomena shall be perfect when its spiritual and physical relations are become normal.

When the material world and the divine world are well correlated, when the hearts become heavenly and the aspirations grow pure and divine, perfect connection shall take place. Then shall this power produce a perfect manifestation. Physical and spiritual diseases will then receive absolute healing.

837. Verily, I bow my face to the dust of the Threshold of El-Baha and to Him who sitteth on the Throne, I petition as a suppliant captive, begging Him to make thee to behold His glorious face and to purify thine insight from aught else save Him among the people. Verily, He is the refuge of all and our great protection!

We are all poor at His door, weak before His power, lowly at His threshold, and we possess the power neither of good nor evil. He is indeed the Confirmer, the Strengthener, the Benevolent!

Truly hath He opened before our faces the doors of the Kingdom, granted us the treasures of His mysteries through the divine bounty, and hath chosen us for His love, for attainment unto His lights, the study of His teachings, the spreading of His name, the guidance unto His path, and service in His great vineyard. I pray for confirmation in thy behalf, and thou shouldst pray for strength on my part. Thy prayers for me should be that I may attain martyrdom in His path, that my spirit may be His sacrifice, and that my blood may be shed for His love.

Verily, I long for that cup, which is overflowing with the bounty of God, as a patient desiring to be healed, as a thirsty soul seeking water, as the poor in quest of wealth, and as one in separation yearning after the meeting of the beloved.

838. This period of time is the Promised Age, the assembling of the human race to the "Resurrection Day," and now is the great "Day of Judgment." Soon the whole world, as in spring, will change its garb. The turning and falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter time is done. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand. The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains are teeming with red flowers; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like the angels in the highest heavens, announcing the glad tiding of that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the real essence of all things to move and quiver.

O my spiritual friend! Dost thou know from what airs emanate the notes sung by these birds? They are from the melodies of peace and reconciliation, of love and unity, of justice and security, of concord and agreement. In a short time this heavenly singing will intoxicate all humanity; the foundations of enmity shall be destroyed; unity and affection shall be witnessed in every assembly; and the lovers of the love of God at these great festivals shall behold their splendor.

Therefore, contemplate what a spirit of life God hath given that the body of the whole earth may attain life everlasting! The Paradise of El-Abha will soon spread a pavilion from the pole-star of the world, under whose shelter the beloved shall rejoice and the pure hearts repose in peace.

839. You ask if, through the appearance of the Kingdom of God, every soul hath been saved. The Sun of Reality hath appeared to all the world. This Luminous Appearance is salvation and life; but only he who hath opened the eye of reality and who hath seen these lights will be saved.

840. When the people of Baha desire to enter the sacred union of matrimony, eternal connection, ideal relationship, spiritual and physical association of thought and conception of life must exist between them; so that in all the grades of existence and all the worlds of God this union may continue forever; for this real union is a splendor of the light of the love of God.

The bridegroom must, before the bridesman and a few others, say: "Verily, we are content with the will of God." And the bride must rejoin: "Verily, we are satisfied with the desire of God." This is Bahá'í matrimony.

841. What thou hast written was perused. Thou hast questioned how thou canst accept this divine Cause, for thou art a member of the church. Know thou: in the day of the Manifestation of Christ, many souls became portionless and deprived because they were members of the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem. According to that membership, they became veiled from his brilliant Beauty. Therefore, turn thy face to the Church of God, which consists in divine instructions and merciful exhortations. For what similarity is there between the church of stone and cement, and the Celestial Holy of Holies?

Endeavor that thou mayest enter this Church of God. Although thou hast given oath to attend the (material) church, yet thy spirit is under the Covenant and Testament of the spiritual divine temple. Thou shouldst protect this. Although they consider the wine and the bread in the church as the blood and body of Christ, yet this is but appearance and not reality. The reality of Christ is the words of the Holy Spirit. If thou art able, take a portion thereof.

842. The performance of the celebration of baptism would cleanse the body, but the spirit hath no share; but the divine teachings and the exhortations of the Beauty of Abha will baptize the soul. This is the real baptism. I hope thou wilt receive this baptism.

843. O friends! It is the wish of Abdu'l-Bahá that the friends may establish general unity and not a particular meeting of unity. You must have great consideration of this fact, for while during past cycles such events were, in the beginning, a means for harmony, they became in the end the cause of trouble.

We are all servants of one Threshold, attendants at one Court, waves of one sea, drops of one river, the dust before one door, and plants of one garden. There must arise no trouble to deprive one from that which is the real purpose.

To organize assemblies is praiseworthy and acceptable, but these must be established for certain matters. For example: assemblages for teaching, gatherings for the spread of the fragrances of God, gatherings for the relief of orphans, gatherings for the protection of the poor, assemblages for the spread of learning and, in a word, there must be assemblages for matters which concern the well-being of men, such as organization of a society of commerce, societies for the expansion of agriculture. To be brief, similar societies are very acceptable and praiseworthy, and concern all in general and not a particular number.

In a word: that which is conducive to the development of the people is acceptable, and whatever is the cause of disaffection is blameworthy. I hope all the friends of the East and West shall rest in the same assemblage and adorn one gathering, appearing with all the heavenly attributes and virtues in the world of humanity.

844. If thou wishest to find the Truth, then compare the days of the Manifestation of the Beauty of Abha with the days of Christ; consider that this day is identically like that, and the same doubts and oppositions are put forth (by the deniers).

845. Thou hast written regarding Buddha and Confucius. Now is not the time when we discuss the stations and positions of those who have passed away. We must concentrate our attention upon the present. What hath transpired in a former time is past. Now is the time when we restrict our discussion to the most great luminary of peace and salvation in this age, to talk of the Blessed Perfection, and to voice His exhortations, behests and teachings. Buddha and Confucius were kings in bygone ages who have disappeared. Their sovereignty in this world is ended and their cycle fulfilled.

846. This world resembles the human body and the Kingdom of God is like the spirit of life. Think how narrow and dark is the material world of man, how afflicted with disease and maladies; but how bright and spacious is his Spiritual World! Through this illustration thou mayest comprehend in what manner is the Spiritual World portrayed in this earthly world and in what degree is its power effected. Though the Spirit is concealed, its power is manifested and clear in the phenomenal world; and so with the Kingdom of God, though it is veiled from the eyes of ignorant people, to men of perception it is discernible and evident. Therefore, thou must become utterly heavenly that thou mayest forget the earthly conditions and be immersed in the perception of Divinity to such a degree that thou wilt be unconscious of the surrounding material existence.

847. Thou hast asked regarding the phrase "He is God!" written above the Tablets. By this Word it is intended that no one hath any access to the Invisible Essence. The way is barred and the road impassable. In this world all men must turn their faces toward "Him-whom-God-shall-Manifest." He is the "Dawning-place of Divinity" and the "manifestation of Deity." He is the "Ultimate Goal," the "Adored One" of all and the "Worshipped One" of all. Otherwise, whatever flashes through the mind is not that Essence of essences and the Reality of realities; nay, rather, is it pure imagination woven by man and is surrounded, not the surrounding. Consequently, it returns finally to the realm of suppositions and conjectures.

848. Know thou verily:
My throne is my mat.
My glorious crown in my servitude toward God.
My standard is the commemoration of God.
My hosts are the knowledge of my Master.
My sword is the guidance of God.

My dominion is my humility, my submissiveness, my lowliness, my abasement, my supplication and my beseeching unto God -- this is that permanent reign which no one is able to dispute, gainsay or usurp!

849. This day is not a day of seclusion and solitude, but a day of proclaiming the manifestation of the light of the Beauty of thy Supreme Lord.

Therefore, abandon silence and seclusion and solitary nooks, and go forth into the arena of explanation. Convey the Message of thy Lord with clearest speech and most complete elucidation. This is better for thee than solitude.

The season for seclusion in quiet nooks is the season of winter when the cold and the winds increase. But during the spring, the wafting of gentle breezes, the passing of fragrances from the rose, the state of equilibrium in the atmosphere and the green hue of valleys and prairies, it is best for man to leave solitude and enjoy the blessings of the outdoors.

850. Thank thou God that thou hast stepped into the arena of existence in such a blessed Age and hast opened ears and eyes in such a Day of Promise.

851. Although a person of good deeds is acceptable at the Threshold of the Almighty, yet it is first "to know," and then "to do." Although a blind man produceth a most wonderful and exquisite art, yet he is deprived of seeing it. Consider how most animals labor for man, draw loads and facilitate travel; yet, as they are ignorant, they receive no reward for this labor and toil. The cloud raineth, roses and hyacinths grow; the plain and meadow, the garden and trees become green and blossom; yet they do not realize the results and outcome of all these. The lamp is lighted, but as it hath not a conscious knowledge of itself, none hath become glad because of it. Moreover, a soul of excellent deeds and good manners will undoubtedly advance from whatever horizon he beholdeth the lights radiating. Herein lies the difference: by faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practise of good deeds.

852. The spirits of men are not at all annihilated -- they are immortal. The spirits of heavenly souls will find eternal life, that is, they will attain the highest and most great stations of perfection; but the spirits of the heedless souls, although eternal, are yet in a world of imperfection, concealment and ignorance. For instance: No matter how much the mineral has existence and life, yet is comparison to man, it is entirely non-existent and deprived of life. For where (a heedless) man is translated from life to death, his comparative station will be that of a mineral existence.

853. The Cause of Bahá'u'lláh is the same as the Cause of Christ. It is the same temple and the same foundation. Both of these are spiritual springtimes and seasons of the soul-refreshing awakening and the cause of the renovation of the life of mankind. The spring of this year is the same as the spring of last year. The origins and the ends are the same. The sun of today is the sun of yesterday. IN the coming of Christ, the divine teachings were given in accordance with the infancy of the human race. The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh have the same basic principles, but are according to the stage of the maturity of the world and the requirements of this illumined age.

854. One of the requirements of faithfulness is that thou mayest sacrifice thyself and, in the divine path, close thine eye to every pleasure and strive with all thy soul that thou mayest disappear and be lost, like unto a drop, in the ocean of the love of God.

855. Organize ye spiritual assemblies; lay ye the foundation of union and concord in this world; destroy ye the fabric of strife and war from the face of the earth; construct ye the temple of harmony and agreement; enkindle ye the light of the realm of the oneness of humanity; open ye your eyes; gaze and behold ye the other world! The kingdom of peace, salvation, uprightness and reconciliation is founded in the invisible world, and it will by degrees become manifest and apparent through the power of the Word of God!

The Spirit of Truth is soaring on the Supreme Apex, like unto a bird, in order that it may discover a severed heart and alight therein and make its nest.

856. There are prophecies concerning this Manifestation in the

Buddhistic books, but they are in symbols and metaphors, and some spiritual conditions are mentioned therein, but the leaders of religion do not understand. They think these prophecies are material things; while those signs are foreshadowing spiritual occurrences.

Unless man maketh spiritual progress in the world of spirit, intellect, and heart, he cannot gather universal results from material advancements. Now you must gird up the loins of endeavor, and reflect duty, so that you may quicken the people of Japan through the Spirit of God.

857. There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the use of remedies, of medicines; the second consists in praying to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practised.

Illness caused by physical accident should be treated with medical remedies; those which are due to spiritual causes disappear through spiritual means. Thus an illness caused by affliction, fear, nervous impressions, will be healed by spiritual rather than by physical treatment. Hence, both kinds of remedies should be considered. Moreover, they are not contradictory, and thou shouldst accept the physical remedies as coming from the mercy and favor of God, who hath revealed and made manifest medical science so that His servants should profit from this kind of treatment also. Thou shouldst give equal attention to spiritual treatments, for they produce marvellous effects.

Now, if thou wishest to know the divine remedy which will heal man from all sickness and will give him the health of the divine Kingdom, know that it is the precepts and teachings of God. Guard them sacredly.

858. The real brotherhood is spiritual, for physical brotherhood is subject to separation. The wars of the outer world of existence separate humankind but in the eternal world of spiritual brotherhood separation is unknown. Material or physical association is based upon earthly interests, but divine fellowship owes its existence to the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual brotherhood may be likened to the light while the souls of mankind are as lamps. The lamps are many, yet the light is one.

859. The aim of the Theosophists is to attain to Truth, but the Truth is unattainable except through the favor of the Holy Spirit. The light hath a center, and if one desire to seek it otherwise than from the center, he can never attain unto it. In this solar system the source of light is the sun, and ever light is acquired from the sun; even the lamps of the night are ignited through the sun, for if there were no sun the trees would not grow nor the mines develop so that oil be extracted from those trees and mines, and the lamps of the night be lit by it. Is it possible that one attain to the light in the globular sphere without the mediation of the sun? No, by the life of God! To suppose it, is pure imagination. But the Truth is this: The main source of the lights is the Sun and the rays are shed from it upon all the regions.

860. Arise to serve the Cause of God in the vineyard of God, and water the developed and flourishing trees with the waters of the mysteries which are deposited in the innermost parts of the words of the Books; and be assured that the fountain of assurance will gush out in the hearts of the firm and steadfast believers, and the divine graces will strengthen them from all sides, and the Lord will enable them to diffuse the fragrances. And He will make them manifest signs, beaming stars, shining lights, fruitful trees, flowing fountains, perfect words and mature proofs. Then know thou that verily Abdu'l-Bahá is between the fangs of the dragon of afflictions and in the grasp of dangers night and day.

861. Know thou, verily, insight seeth that which sight seeth not and apprehendeth that which the body perceive not, inasmuch as the sight seeth the mirage as water, the images pictured in the mirror as a reality and genuine, and it seeth the earth as stationary, and the great stars as though they were small. But the insight correcteth the mistake of the sight and apprehendeth the reality and seeth that the mirage is not water, that the images pictured in mirrors are naught else save reflections, that the earth is moving and the distant stars are large. Consequently, the truth of insight, its effectiveness and power, is proven, as well as the weakness of sight, its inefficiency and defects.

862. Then know thou that the power of the Word of God is effective both in the spirit and the body, and the influence of the Spirit of God is predominant over the material as well as over the essential and spiritual. And that, verily, God is powerful in all things, and that the signs (or verses) have exoteric and esoteric meaning, and neither their outward preventeth their inward, nor doth their inward prevent their outward meaning.

863. It behooveth him to seek only the divine bounties and subjects which lead to the real knowledge of the invisible, through the mediation of the Holy Spirit. Then he will perceive the reality of the triune powers in man, through his innate perception. For, verily, the signs of these triune powers which exist in mankind are spirit, mind and soul. The spirit is the power of life, the mind is the power which apprehendeth the reality of things, and the soul is an intermediary between the Supreme Concourse and the lower concourse. The soul hath two phases: the higher aspireth to the Kingdom of El-Baha, and the lights of the mind shine forth from that horizon unto its higher sphere; the other phase inclineth to the lower concourse of the material world and its lowest sphere is enveloped in the darkness of ignorance. But when light is poured upon this phase, and if this phase of the soul is capable of receiving it, then "truth hath come and falsehood vanisheth, for falsehood is of short duration" -- otherwise, darkness will surround it from all directions and it will be deprived of association with the Supreme Concourse and will remain in the lowest depths.

864. As to the manifestation of the Greatest Name (Bahá'u'lláh): This was the Divine Manifestation which appeared in the earthly world. This is He whom God promised in all His Books and Scriptures, such as the Bible, the Gospels and the Qur'an. All of these Books indicate this fact, and the least doubt cannot possible occur to the minds concerning this clear fact, as is recorded in detail in the heavenly Books, especially in the brilliant and holy Tablets. But notwithstanding this fact, if there is any one who hesitates therein, do not dispute with him, nay, rather, prove this to him with all joy and fragrance, lest he may be obstinately compelled to rebellion.

865. Shouldst thou come with the whole of thy being to God and be attracted to the lights of the Kingdom of God, and be enkindled by the fire of the love of God, then wilt thou see that which thou canst not see today, wilt comprehend the inner significances of the Word of God and thoroughly understand the mysteries contained in the holy Books.

But as to the Jewish doctors, Christian priests and monks who read those Books, verily, they know the letter only and they utter the words, like parrots, without understanding their inner meanings. They comprehend them not, because they are engrossed in worldly desires and lusts, and their hearts are attached to mundane allurements. Verily, are they not heedless of God, and understand nothing, and find not the right path?

866. Deliver the glad tidings in the following manner: "The Promised One of all the nations of the world hath become apparent and manifest! Each community and religion expecteth the coming of their Promised One, and His Highness Bahá'u'lláh is the Promised One of all! Therefore, the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh is conducive to harmony, raiseth the canopy of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity upon the apex of the contingent beings and unfurleth the ensign of universal brotherhood and ideal commonwealth upon the summit of the mountains and hills!"

867. The Temple is the most great foundation of the world of humanity, and it hath many branches. Although the Temple is the place of worship, with it is connected a hospital, pharmacy, pilgrims' house, school for the orphans, and a university for the study of higher sciences. Every Temple is connected with these five things. The Temple is not only a place for worship; nay, it is perfect in every way.

868. As to human souls: Unless they acquire the light, they are unable to shine upon other individuals. But when a man ariseth to expound the arguments of God and invite people to enter into the religion of God, and when he uttereth those arguments and advanceth consummate proofs concerning the appearance of the great Kingdom, then intense love shall become manifest in his heart. This love causeth the development of his spirit by the grace of the beneficent Lord.

869. Know thou that prayer is indispensable and obligatory, and man under no pretext whatsoever is excused from performing prayer unless he be mentally unsound, or an insurmountable obstacle prevent him. The wisdom of prayer is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True One, because in that state man with all heart and soul turneth his face towards His Highness the Almighty, seeking His association and desiring His love and compassion. The greatest happiness for a lover is to converse with his beloved, and the greatest gift for a seeker is to become familiar with the object of his longing; that is why with every soul who is attracted to the Kingdom of God, his greatest hope is to find an opportunity to entreat and supplicate before his Beloved, appeal to His mercy and grace and be immersed in the ocean of His utterance, goodness and generosity.

Besides all this, prayer and fasting are the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests. The obligatory prayer is revealed from the Supreme Pen and is translated in America.

870. Verily, I address thee with all spiritual love and gladness from this my residence at the base of Mount Carmel, which is blessed through all ages by the prophets, as recorded in the ancient Books. And I beseech His Highness the Merciful One to ordain thee a faithful footing in the Kingdom of God and to provide for thee all things by which thy mind may be brightened, thy tongue become eloquent, and that whereby the doors of the meanings hinted at in the sacred Books and Tablets be opened to thy mind. Verily, the people are veiled from comprehending the meanings of the Gospel, the Bible and the Qur'an, and know not the interpretation of the scriptures of God, except those whose eyes are opened by the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Thou shalt behold men-servants and maid-servants of Baha in those far distant lands and wide countries, speaking the secrets of the Gospel and the mysteries of the Bible and the allusions of the Qur'an and the explanation of the Words of the Merciful One. Those are the servants to whomsoever God hath assigned His mercy which overfloweth existence.

871. If one possesses the love of God, everything that he undertakes is useful, but if the undertaking is without the love of God, then it is hurtful and the cause of veiling one's self from the Lord of the Kingdom. But with the love of God every bitterness is changed into sweetness and every gift becometh precious. For example: a musical and melodious voice imparteth life to an attracted heart but lureth toward lust those souls who are engulfed in passion and desire.

With the love of God, all sciences are accepted and beloved, but without it, they are fruitless; nay, rather, they are the cause of insanity. Every science is like a tree; if the fruit of it is the love of God, that is a blessed tree. Otherwise it is dried wood and finally food for fire.

872. Every great Cause in this world of existence findeth a visible expression through three means; first, intention; second, confirmation; third, action. Today on this earth there are many souls who are the spreaders of peace and reconciliation and are longing for the realization of the oneness and unity of the world of man; but this intention needs a dynamic power, so that it may become manifest in the world of being. Today the divine instructions and lordly exhortations of Bahá'u'lláh promulgate this most great aim, and the confirmations of the Kingdom are the supports and defenders of this eminent intention. For the power of the Word of God is penetrative and the existence of the divine Kingdom is uninterrupted. Therefore, ere long it will become evident and clear that the ensign of the Most Great Peace is the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. For the intention, the power and the action, all the three essential elements are brought together and the realization of everything in the contingent world dependeth upon these three principles.

873. Whatsoever question thou hast in thy heart, turn thou thy heart toward the Kingdom of Abha and entreat in the Threshold of the Almighty and reflect upon that problem, then unquestionably the light of truth shall dawn and the reality of that problem will become evident and clear to thee. For the teachings of His Highness Bahá'u'lláh are the keys to all doors. Every hidden secret will become discovered and every hidden mystery will become manifest and apparent.

874. The various sects who today consider themselves servants of the world of humanity are possessed of good intention, but they are inert, not active; captive, not free; silent, not eloquent; slow, not fast. They have sluggish movement and great intention. These two do not agree.

875. Verily, I say unto thee, that if for the appearance of that Divine Essence thou desirest to have a definite proof, an indisputable testimony and a strong, convincing evidence, thou must prepare thyself to make thy heart empty and thine eye ready to look toward the Kingdom of God. Then, at that time, the radiance of that widespread effulgence shall descend upon thee successively, and that motion rendered thee by the Holy Spirit shall make thee dispense with any other strong evidence that leadeth to the appearance of this Light, because the greatest and strongest proof for showing the abundance of the Spirit to the bodies is the very appearance of its power and influence in those bodies.

Think thou deeply of this in order to know the reality of my explanation and demonstration.

876. I now assure thee, O servant of God, that if thy mind become empty and pure from every mention and thought, and thy heart attracted wholly to the Kingdom of God, forgetting all else beside God and coming in communion with the Spirit of God, then the Holy Spirit will assist thee with a power which will enable thee to penetrate all things, and a dazzling spark which enlightens all sides, a brilliant flame in the zenith of the heavens, will teach thee that which thou dost not know of the facts of the universe and of the divine doctrine. Verily I say unto thee, every soul which today ariseth to guide others to the path of safety and infuse in them the Spirit of Life, that soul the Holy Spirit will inspire with evidences, proofs and facts, and the lights will shine upon it from the Kingdom of God. Do not forget what I have conveyed unto thee from the breath of the Spirit.

877. To the sincere ones, tests are as a gift from God, the Exalted, for a heroic person hasteneth, with the utmost joy and gladness, to the tests of a violent battlefield, but the coward is afraid and trembles and utters moaning and lamentation. Likewise, an expert student prepareth and memorizeth his lessons and exercises with the utmost effort, and in the day of examination he appeareth with infinite joy before the master. This test is just as thou hast written: it removeth the rust of egotism from the mirror of the heart until the Sun of Truth may shine therein. For no veil is greater than egotism and no matter how thin that covering may be, yet it will finally veil man entirely and prevent him from receiving a portion from the eternal bounty.

878. Praise be to God! According to the commandments and exhortations of Bahá'u'lláh, we are the well-wisher of all governments and act toward all the nations of the world in peace and love. We have no intention but that which is good and no desire but the good pleasure of God. We mean well toward every people and seek to have sincerity and good will toward every government. In return for arrows and swords, we present milk and honey, and we heal the deadly poison with the swift healing antidote. Night and day we are in action and exertion, in order to dress the wounds and cure the pain, to care for the afflicted and comfort even the ill-natured ones, so that, through the assistance and favour of God, this darkness of selfish prejudice shall vanish, and the error of folly and ignorance shall be changed into divine guidance.

879. To me, prison is freedom; to me incarceration is an open court; to me humility is identical with glory; to me adversity is a gift and death is life. I hope that thou also wilt take a portion from this sea and seek a reflection from these lights, becoming an ignited lamp so that the winds of contradiction will not blow it out, and day by day more revelation and vision may descend, and thou be enkindled more than before with the fire of the love of God.

880. All the people have formed a god in the world of thought, and that form of their own imagination they worship; when the fact is that the imagined concept is comprehended by the mind which is the comprehended, for imagination is accidental (effect), while mind is essential (cause). Surely the essential is greater than the accidental.

Therefore consider: All the sects and peoples worship their own thought; they create a god in their minds and proclaim him to be "the creator of all things," while that form is a superstition. Thus people adore and worship illusion.

The Essence of the Divine Entity and the Unseen of the Unseen is holy above imagination and beyond thought. Consciousness doth not reach It. Within the capacity of comprehension of a created reality that Ancient (uncreated) Reality cannot be contained. It is a different world; from it there is no information; arrival thereat is impossible; attainment thereto is inaccessible and prohibited. This much is known: It exists, and Its existence is certain and proven -- but the condition is unknown.

All the philosophers and sages knew that It is, but they were perplexed in the comprehension of Its existence and were at last discouraged, and left this world in great despair. For the comprehension of the condition and mysteries of that Reality of realities and Mystery of mysteries, there is need for another power and another sense. That power and sense is not possessed by mankind, therefore they have not found any information. For example: If a man possess the power of hearing, the power of tasting, the power of smelling and the power of feeling, but no power of seeing, he cannot see. Hence, through the powers and senses present in man the realization of the Unseen Reality, which is pure and holy above the reach of doubts, is impossible. Other powers are needed and other senses required. If those powers and senses are obtained, then information can be had; otherwise, not.

881. As for the symbol of the cross, appointed in former times: Know verily, that the cross form is a wonderful figure and consists of two right lines placed crosswise -- one perpendicular to the other -- and this figure exists in all things.

Meditate upon these words and pay attention to the tissue in all existing substances, either plant, animal, or man, and thou wilt see that they all are formed of the cross figure or two crosswise lines. Consider this intently with true meditation. Then thou wilt be taught by the Holy Ghost that it is for this reason that God hath chosen this symbol to be displayed as the token of sacrifice in all periods of the ages.

I will explain to thee, in future time, the mystery of sacrifice. There is nothing more beautiful than this tree united with the cross. Verily, this tree is a type of the Tree of Life in conjunction with the cross; in this, the mystery of sacrifice.

882. As for the crescent: It hath reference to the beginning of the religion of God which shall grow to be a full moon.

883. Know thou, verily, the Kingdom is a magnet of the divine world, and it attracteth the iron of pure hearts which are capable of the bounties of the Lord of Might.

884. O my dear one! This day is the day of purification, the day of sanctification, the day of turning toward God, the day of severance from all save God, the day of lowliness and humiliation, the day of serving the beloved ones of God, the day of becoming utterly destitute of and free from egotism and desire, and the day of purity and sacrifice in the path of God. This is incumbent upon thee, so that thou mayest be accepted in the court of the Almighty and praised in His lofty Threshold of Holiness.

885. Verily, I say unto thee, the Covenant of God and His Alliance is a Lamp diffusing lights from the Supreme Concourse unto the horizons of earth and heaven. Whosoever hath this Divine Lamp before his face, his forehead shall glisten with manifest light and his speech shall take effect in all minds and spirits, and God shall assist him by the power which penetrateth the essences of things.

886. Why art thou sad and sorrowful, disappointed and grieved! Praise be to God! the eternal bounty is in succession, the divine glory is apparent and manifest, the display of Providence and the light of guidance is glistening and shining from the Kingdom of Abha and the appearance of the Greatest Sun is clear and evident. If thou art outwardly far, yet thou art near in spirit, and if thou art absent in body, thou art present in heart and spirit.

Arise and wash thy body, wear a pure gown, and, directing thyself to the Kingdom of God, supplicate and pray to Him. Sleep in a clean, well prepared and ventilated place, and ask for appearance in the world of vision. Thou wilt have visions which will cause the door of doubts to be closed, which will give thee new joy, wonderful dilation, brilliant glory. Thou wilt comprehend realities and meanings.

887. Happiness consists of two kinds; physical and spiritual. The physical happiness is limited; its utmost duration is one day, one month, one year. It hath no result. Spiritual happiness is eternal and unfathomable. This kind of happiness appeareth in one's soul with the love of God and suffereth one to attain to the virtues and perfections of the world of humanity. Therefore, endeavor as much as thou canst in order to illumine the lamp of thy heart with the light of love.

888. Know that the pure hearts upon which the mysteries of the Kingdom of God are printed and pictured, are reflectors one to another, and thus the one can discover the secrets of the other, because such hearts are only mirrors confronting each other on which the secrets of unity, affinity and concord are printed and reflected. Accordingly, it would be possible that a certain servant of the servants of the Merciful might discover a treasured mystery or a preserved sign, whatever his shortcomings or defects might be; yet we do indeed rely upon God, the Forgiver.

889. O ye friends! O ye maid-servants of the Merciful! Those Assemblies are the emblems of the Supreme Concourse and the prototypes of the congregations of the spirits in the Kingdom of Abha. Avail yourselves of the opportunities of this time, neither let the occasion slip by unheeded.

890. Concerning the one thousand years as recorded in the Book: It signifieth the beginning of this Manifestation until the end of its predominance throughout the contingent world; because this Cause is great, its powers are growing and its signs are dazzling. It shall continue in elevation, exaltation, growth, promulgation and promotion until it shall reach the apex of its glory in one thousand years -- as the day of this Manifestation is one thousand years. Thou shalt see its conquering power, its manifest dominion, its eternal might and its everlasting glory.

891. As to the question of "after my departure" to the neighborhood of the mercy of my Lord: Know that there shall appear wonderful traces; the breath of God shall pass by; the fragrance of God shall spread and the Spirit of God shall run in the body of the contingent world both before and after my departure; but I supplicate God that He may grant the greatest spirituality in these days.

892. O ye beloved of God, be not grieved when people stand against you, persecute you, afflict and trouble you and say all manner of evil against you. The darkness will pass away and the light of the manifest signs will appear, the veil will be withdrawn and the Light of Reality will shine forth from the unseen Kingdom of El-Abha. This we inform you before it occurs, so that when the hosts of people arise against you for my love, be not disturbed or troubled; nay, rather, be firm as a mountain, for this persecution and reviling of the people upon you is a pre-ordained matter. Blessed is the soul who is firm in the path!

893. Souls are like unto mirrors, and the bounty of God is like unto the sun. When the mirrors pass beyond (the condition of) all coloring and attain purity and polish, and are confronted with the sun, they will reflect in full perfection its light and glory. In this condition one should not consider the mirror, but the power of the light of the sun, which hath penetrated the mirror, making it a reflector of the heavenly glory.

894. I know, verily, that the universal, never ending, eternal, bright and divine establishments are only the diffusing of the breaths of God, and the spreading of the instructions of God, and all that are beside these, though they be the reigning over all regions of the earth, or the construction of railroads from the earth to the heavens, or means of transportation with the rapidity of rising lightning from the globe of earth to the globe of the sun, all are but mortal, perishing, demolishing and disadvantageous, in comparison with the divine establishments. Because the latter are intrinsic matters, while the former are but metaphorical matters; the latter are truth, while the former are imaginary.

895. Communication is not confined to writing. This is a trace, while the spiritual message is fruitful and effective. That is the essential, and without it communication is useless.

896. Verily I read thy letter, which expressed thy surprise at some of the commandments of the law of God, such as the concerning the hunting of innocent animals. Be not surprised at this. Ponder over the contingent realities, their mysteries, wisdom, connection and relations. The world is harmonious in all things and the connection therein is mighty and nothing is missing. All things are eaters and eaten in the physical creation. The plant sucks from the mineral, the animal eats and swallows the plant, and the human eats the animal. Then the mineral (in turn) eats the human body. Physical bodies are transferred from death to death and from life to life. Therefore, all things are subject to transformation and change except the Cause of existence, which cannot be changed or transferred, because it is the foundation for life in all kinds and species and in all possible realities in the world of creation.

If thou observest closely through a microscope the water which man drinks and the air which he breathes, thou wilt see that in every breath which man breathes, that breath contains numerous animals, and in every draught of water great number of animals exist. This could not be prevented, because the contingent beings are eaters and eaten and, by this, existence is caused; otherwise, the relations between existent things would cease. When a thing decomposes and decays, being bereft of life, it becomes promoted to a world of life greater than the former. For instance, it ceases in a mineral life and is elevated to that of the animal; then leaving the animal life it advances to the human, and this is on account of the favor of thy Lord, the Merciful, the Clement.

I ask God to strengthen thee in comprehending the mysteries deposited in the reality of existence.

897. The nineteen-day fast is a duty to be observed by all. All should abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. This fast is conducive to the spiritual development of the individual. The Greatest Name should be read every day.

898. As to those souls who are preaching the Word of God, it behooveth them to shake the dust of every land through which they have passed from their shoes and to be with God and without need of the rich -- although their bed be the soil, their light be the stars of the sky and their food the herbs of the desert -- because theirs is the wealth of the Kingdom, the honor of the realm of might and the bounty of the divine world; and they are not in need of this world and its cares. Their throne is the mat of humility, their honor is in suffering every lowliness in the path of the Loving Lord, their wealth is being empty-handed of the pomps of the world and its vanities, and their provision is trusting in God and being severed from all that is on the earth and its wealth.

899. It is New Year; that is to say, the rounding of the cycle of the year. A year is the expression of a cycle of the sun; but now is the beginning of a cycle of Reality, a New Cycle, a New Age, a New Century, a New Time and a New Year. Therefore it is very blessed.

I wish this blessing to appear and become manifest in the faces and characteristics of the believers, so that they, too, may become a new people, and having found new life and been baptized with fire and spirit, may make the world a new world, to the end that the old earth may disappear and the new earth appear; old ideas depart and new thoughts come; old garments be cast aside and new garments worn; ancient politics whose foundation is war be discarded and modern politics founded on peace raise the standard of victory.

900. The mystery of sacrifice is that man should sacrifice all his conditions for the divine station of God. The station of God is mercy, kindness, forgiveness, sacrifice, favor, grace and giving life to the spirits and lighting the fire of His love in the hearts and arteries.

901. The human spirit hath an impression and effect in the world, but the divine spirit giveth life to the souls and conferreth eternal life upon those who are attracted to the fragrances of God. This is the Great Cause from the Kingdom of thy Lord.

902. Know thou, verily, there are many veils in which the Truth is enveloped: gloomy veils; then delicate and transparent veils; then the envelopment of light, the sight of which dazzles the eyes, as doth the sun which is enveloped only in its own light and, as we look at it, the sight is blinded and the eyes are dazzled.

903. From the spiritual point of view, there is no difference between women and men. "The nearer we draw to God, the nearer He comes to us" without regard to whether the person be a man or a woman.

904. The House of Justice, however, according to the positive commandments of the Doctrine of God, has been specialized to the men, for a reason or exercise of wisdom on the part of God, and this reason will presently appear, even as the sun at midday.

905. Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary, the spiritual temple, shall be erected in America! I entreat God to assist the confirmed believers in accomplishing this great service and with entire zeal to rear this might structure which shall be renowned throughout the world.

Whosoever arises for the service of this construction shall be assisted with a great power from His Supreme Threshold and upon him spiritual and heavenly blessings shall descend, which shall fill his heart with wonderful consolation and enlighten his eyes by beholding the glorious and eternal God!

906. You have asked me two questions: "That if the same spirit is manifest in all the Manifestations and Prophets, then what is the distinction or difference between Christ (or rather, Jesus) and the other Prophets; also between Father and Son?"

Know that the human spirit is one, but it manifests itself in various members of the body in a certain (measure or) form. The human spirit is existent in the sight; it is also existent in the brain, which is the location of great functions and powers; it is also existent in the heart, which organ is largely connected with the brain or the center of the mind; and the heart, or that center which is connected with the brain, has a distinct and separate function, effect and appearance.

Figuratively speaking, the Father is the center of the brain and the Son is the center of the heart; the rest of the Prophets are members and parts.

907. When thou desirest and yearnest for meeting in the world of vision; at the time when thou art in perfect fragrance and spirituality, wash thy hands and face, clother thyself in clean robes, turn toward the court of the Peerless One, offer prayer to Him and lay thy head upon the pillow. When sleep cometh, the doors of revelation shall be opened and all thy desires shall become revealed.

908. Know thou, verily, the brilliant realities and sanctified spirits are likened to a shining crescent. It has one face turned toward the Sun of Truth, and another face opposite to the contingent world. The journey of this crescent in the heaven of the universe ends in becoming a full moon. That is, that face of it which is turned toward the divine world becomes also opposite to the contingent world, and by this, both its merciful and spiritual, as well as contingent, perfections become manifest.

909. Thank God for that He hath awakened thee from thy sleep, found thee after thy being lost and quickened thee after thy death. Verily, I beseech God to confirm thee by a power by which thou mayest be enabled to worship God and to serve His Cause and to be submissive and lowly before the beloved of God.

910. By God, the True One, verily pure hearts are as clear and brilliant mirrors which imprint the one on the other, and hearts discover the secrets of hearts. Therefore, they chant the verses of longing and recite the odes of glorification and praise. Consequently, the recourse is to pages of hearts, not to pages filled with written lines.

911. O thou maid-servant of God! Be tranquil and know, verily, that the Holy Ghost in this glorious age reacheth every soul that is sincerely faithful, firm and drawn to the Kingdom of the Great Lord. Verily, I address thee with a heart overflowing with the love of God.

912. Thou has asked, very humbly, for certain things and all were worthy to be coveted. Especially the rescue from self-love. This is a strange trait and the means of the destruction of many important souls in the world. If man be imbued with all good qualities but be selfish, all the other virtues will fade or pass away and eventually he will grow worse.

913. Know that the return of Christ for a second time doth not mean what the people believe, but, rather, signifieth the One promised to come after Him. He shall come with the Kingdom of God and His power (or reign) is in the world of hearts and spirits and not in that of matter. For the material world is not comparable to a single fly's wing, rather is less in the sight of thy Lord, wert thou of those who know! Verily Christ came with His Kingdom from the beginning which hath no beginning and will come with His Kingdom to the eternity of eternities, inasmuch as in this sense Christ is an expression of the divine reality, the simple essence and heavenly entity which hath no beginning or ending. It hath appearance, arising and manifestation and setting in each of the cycles.

914. (As to the significance of the inscription upon the Bahá'í ring): The Inscription is composed of two "Ba" and of four "Ha." The explanation of "Ha" has been written in the commentary upon "Bism'illah, Errahman, Errahin"; it is very detailed, and not suitable for this letter: you must refer to the commentary.

The repetition of the "Ba" refers to the Invisibility and to the Presence.

With regard to the four "Ha" which are the four columns of the Temple of Unity, their perfect number is ten: one plus one equals two; two plus one equals three; three plus three equals six; six plus four equals ten, and ten with this signification is found in the Qur'an, where it is said: "And we have made it (or him) perfect in the figure ten." Furthermore, "Ha" has the value of five, and there "Ha" is the Divine Essence and Reality. That is clear and visible for the number five, which is the number of the Báb.

It is because of this that upon the stone of the noble ring, the "Ba" has been combined with the "Ha" and in the same way the Greatest Name appears in the inscription, for the number is nine. If you multiply nine, which is the number of Baha, with that of the Báb, which is five, that makes nine times five or forty-five.

And in the same way if you multiply five, which is the number of the Báb, with nine, which is the number of Baha, that makes forty-five, and this number is equal to the number of Adam. Similarly, if you add together the units of nine, that also makes forty-five. If now you add together the units of the number of the Báb, that makes fifteen, which is equal to the number of Eve, and is in conformity with the Hadiss: "I and Ali, we are the Father and Mother of this people."

"Adam" signifies the overflowing Reality, distributive, active, which represents the appearance of the Names and Qualities of God, the Divine conditions (or stations); whereas Eve is the passive Reality, taking, dependent, receptive, existing through the Divine Names and Qualities. Briefly, such are the least of the mysteries of the composition of the Greatest Name upon the stone of the Divine ring.

Observe also that the three planes represent the world of God, the World of Command, and the World of Creation, which are the sources of the signs. The world of God is the source of Glorious Bounty; the world of Command is the pure and luminous Mirror which depends upon the Sun of Truth; and the world of Creation is the source of the acquisition of Lights which is due to the Supreme Conjunction: To take from God; to give to the creatures.

In brief: the true "Ba," which is the universal Reality, once descended and distributed into the third degree from the Supreme Grade, to the inferior creatures, becomes the collector and creator of all the worlds.

Upon the horizon of Eternal Glory two luminous stars have arisen in brilliance: one to the right and one to the left. This supreme mystery is the two diagrams placed to the right and to the left of the Greatest Name upon the stone of the noble ring: this is the mystery of the appearance of the Beauty of Abha and of the Supreme Highness (the Báb). And though these two diagrams at the right and the left have the form of stars, they also represent the body of man, with the head, the two arms and the two legs, since this diagram has five points.

915. One of the teachings is that love and faithfulness must so prevail in the hearts that men may see the stranger as a friend, the sinner as an intimate fellow, may count enemies as allies, regard foes as loving comrades, call their executioner the giver of life, and consider the denier as a believer and the unbeliever as a faithful one -- that is, men must behave in such a manner as may befit the believers, the faithful, the friend and the confidant. If this lamp may shine in a befitting manner in the assemblage of the world you will find that the regions will become fragrant and the world will become a delectable paradise, the surface of the earth will become an excellent garden, the world will become as one home, the different nations will become as one kind, and the peoples and nationalities of the East and West will become as one household. I hope such a day will come and such lights may dawn and such a Countenance may appear in the utmost beauty.

916. Verily, I say unto thee that the gifts of thy Lord are encircling thee in a similar way as the spirit encircles the body at the beginning of the amalgamation of the elements and natures in the womb; the power of the spirit begins then to appear in the body gradually and successively according to the preparation and capacity to receive that everlasting abundance. I ask God to help thee that the spirit will carry out its power in thee as desired and wished.

917. Know thou, verily, man before reaching (spiritual) maturity passes his days and only apprehends trivial things which are clear on account of their exoteric indications, but when he attains full development, then he grasps the realities of things and their esoteric facts. Every day after maturity is equivalent to one year before it, on account of (man's) perception, understanding, apprehension and discoveries.

Now, thou hast reached development and apprehended the degree of maturity: Gaze at the grades of the existence, the realities of things, the allegories in the epistles of God, and the mysteries in the Old and New Testament. By the life of Baha, the covering will be removed from thee, and thou will be informed of that which all the philosophers and wise men are unable to apprehend. Verily, this is a gift which God assigns only to such of His chosen servants as He willeth. Verily, Thy Lord will inspire thee with the mysteries of God, the Protector, the Self-subsistent.

918. Observe the pages of the universe and discover the traces which appeared! Hast thou seen or heard in any of the previous centuries or generations that which is manifested in this Glorious Age? If the writings of the previous centuries, the middle centuries and the later centuries, be compared with that which is manifested in this one century, they will not weight against it! Nay, rather, they are as drops of water in comparison with the ocean. Magnified is He, who hath crowned this century with the appearances of His Kingdom!

919. Consider the past, so that thou mayest become informed of the mysteries which shall be disclosed in the future. When the disciples were calling in the name of Christ, the Jews scoffed, scorned and laughed at them. They were saying: "They are taken with madness, and madness is made an art." They even beat them with whips, threw stones at them, prevented the people from approaching them, and were saying: "This man (Christ) is naught but a sorcerer, he blasphemeth God and is possessed of a devil."

Then observe how that persecution and scorn were changed to glory, honor and reverence. Ultimately, the Jews honored their sublime stations and acknowledged their loftiness, which was exalted, promoted and glorified in the center of the horizons until it reached the degree of exaggeration in deeds. They made for them likenesses and pictures, decorated with jewels shining in the eyes; they placed these likenesses or pictures in the temples, churches and monasteries built on the tops of the mountains, and worshipped them with respect, glory, majesty and reverence. This is the condition of the neglectful ones who are deprived of the Truth (the Manifestations of God) at the day of their existence among them. After the ascension of their (prophets') spirits unto the Center of purity and pity, then the negligent ones repent and return, making likenessess and pictures according to their own ideas, which do not bear resemblance (to the Reality), and they worship the same. This is the station of the ignorant ones who are as animals, following every croaker and shaken by every wind. "Forsake them to play in their shallow waters."

920. There is many a young child who is mature and grown, and many an aged one who is ignorant and stupid. Growth and maturity are in intellect and understanding, and not in age and duration of life.

921. Thou hast written concerning the impersonality of the Divinity. Personality is in the manifestation of the Divinity, not in the essence of the Divinity. The reality of the divine world is purified and sanctified from limits and restriction. But the pure Mirror, which is the manifestor of the Sun of Truth and in which the Sun of Truth is manifest in full appearance -- that Mirror is restricted, and not the Lights. The soul pervadeth throughout the entire body, and its commands are effective in all the parts and limbs of man. Notwithstanding its utmost sanctification (or abstraction) this soul is manifest and evident in all its grades, in this material form. By "seeing God" is meant beholding the Manifestation of Himself; for witnessing the sun in its entire splendor, in a clear glassy surface, is identical with witnessing the essence of the sun itself.

When the souls of the sincere depart, then their unreal vision is changed into a vision of reality. Even as man, when in the age of childhood and imperfection, though he seeth things, yet that vision is superficial and external. But when he reacheth the world of perfection and becometh endowed with reasoning faculty and discrimination and comprehension, then that vision of his is a vision of reality and not appearance.

It is evident that the divine nearness is an unlimited nearness, be it in this world or the next one. This is a nearness which is sanctified from the comprehension of minds. The more a man seeketh light from the Sun of Truth, the nearer he will draw. For instance, a clear body is near unto the sun, and a black stone is far from the sun. This nearness dependeth upon clearness, purity and perfection, and that remoteness is due to density, dullness and imperfection.

922. As to the question whether souls will recognize each other in the spiritual world: This fact is certain; for the Kingdom is the world of vision, where all the concealed realities will become disclosed. How much more the intimate souls will become manifest. The mysteries of which man is heedless in this earthly world, those will he discover in the heavenly world, and there will he be informed of the secret of truth; how much more will he recognize or discover persons with whom he has associated. Undoubtedly, the holy souls who find a pure eye and are favored with insight will, in the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries, and will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality of every great soul. They will even manifestly behold the Beauty of God in that world. Likewise will they find all the friends of God, both those of former and recent times, present in the heavenly assemblage.

As to the difference and distinction between Lazarus and that "rich man": The first was spiritual, while the second was material. One was in the highest degree of knowledge and the other in the lowest depths of ignorance. The difference and distinction will naturally become realized between all men after their departure from this mortal world. But this distinction is not in respect to place, but it is in respect to the soul and conscience. For the Kingdom of God is sanctified (free) from time and place; it is another world and another universe. But the holy souls are promised the gift of intercession. And know thou for a certainty, that in the divine worlds, the spiritual beloved ones will recognize each other, and will seek union, but a spiritual union. Likewise a love that one may have entertained for another will not be forgotten in the world of the Kingdom. Likewise, thou wilt not forget the life that thou hast had in the material world.

O thou maid-servant of God! Hold fast to the most strong handle, and be thoroughly attracted to the Kingdom of Abha, until thou mayest at every instant find a new confirmation and attain to a wonderful gift and become a cause for the guidance of souls.

923. If thou art desirous of health, wish thou health for serving the Kingdom. I hope thou mayest attain a perfect insight, an inflexible resolution, a complete health and spiritual and physical strength in order that thou mayest drink from the fountain of eternal life and be assisted by the spirit of divine confirmation.

Engage thou in commemorating God at every morn and turn unto the Horizon of Mercifulness.

Take some honey, recite Ya Baha-ul-Abha, and eat a little thereof for several days. For these thy prevailing disease are not on account of sins, but they are to make thee despise this world and know that there is no rest and composure in this temporal life.

924. That substance which is the cause of the moderation and perfection of the body is that perfect moderate temperament which is produced by the organization and admixture of constituent elements; that substance is material, not spiritual. But reason, which comprehends the realities of things, is a spiritual reality, not material. Therefore the animal is deprived of reason, and it is specialized to mankind.

925. No one hath any way to the Reality of Deity except through the instrumentality of the Manifestation. To suppose otherwise is theory and not fact.

926. Leave thou the "New Thought" and seek after the New Kingdom. The "New Thought" is a part of the New Kingdom. When thou hast found the latter, thou hast found the former; nay, rather, thou hast found all things.

927. The end of every (material) work is without result, because it is perishable and inconstant, but the first (real) work is attraction to the fragrances of God, enkindlement with the fire of the love of God, reading the verses of unity and beholding the lights from the dawningplace of mystery. After that cometh the training of the soul, purification of character and service to humanity. If thou art able to accomplish any one of these, the result is eternal and the fruit everlasting.

928. Know thou, verily, all the doors are closed except the door of the Kingdom of God! All the trees are without fruit except the tree of life planted in the paradise of God! All the winds are disquieting to the soul except the breeze of God! All the cups are bitter except the cup of the love of God! Every benefit vanisheth except the food of heaven. It is encumbent upon thee to partake thereof.

929. O maid-servant of God! The Spirit knoweth the spirit, the Spirit addresseth the spirit and the Spirit associateth with the spirit.

930. Thou hast asked: "Is it possible that this new and living Cause is to take the place of the dead religion of England when there hath been organized certain sects who have arrived at high stations of spiritual knowledge and to exalted degrees of merciful powers, and have become distinguished in virtue over all predecessors: notwithstanding this, is it possible that this new Cause will attract the attention of such people to such a degree as to unite their hearts and gather them under its overshadowing protection?"

O thou dear friend! Know thou that the distinguished individual of ever age is according to the virtues of that age. The distinguished personage who was in the former age, but in this brilliant age and divine cycle, the noble personage, the radiant star, the distinguished one, will manifest with virtues which will eventually amaze the peoples, for He is in spiritual virtues and divine perfections loftier than all the individuals; nay, rather, He is the source of divine benediction and the center of the Radiant Circle. He is certainly comprehensive. There is no doubt that He will reveal Himself to such a degree as to bring all under His overshadowing care.

When thou considerest carefully thou wilt find this order and system to be established in all things. The whole attracteth the part, and the center of the circle is the axis of the compass. Consider His Holiness the Spirit (Christ): Since He was the center of spiritual power and the origin of divine benediction, although in the beginning He gathered but few under His power, yet later, through that conquering power, He ushered all sects under the shadow of the Christian tabernacle. Compare the present with the past, see the great difference. By this thou canst measure and reach the reality, and know for a certainty that the difference among the sects of the world is due to the difference of comprehensions. As long as the perceptive powers differ, surely the opinions and thought differ also. But if one great perceptive Power which comprehendeth all, cometh to the center, the differing opinions become united, and ideal unity and oneness are revealed.

931. As to the question of translating the Books and Tablets of the Blessed Beauty: it will soon be done in all languages with the utmost of eloquence and excellence. When the Tablets of His Holiness (Bahá'u'lláh) are translated in accordance with the original, with excellence and eloquence, then the lights and significances will dawn and brighten every eye. Endeavor thou with all thy power to make the translation as the original.

932. Know thou that the Kingdom of God hath pitched its tents, hoisted its banner and uplifted its pavilions in this extensive space. The hosts of the angels of God have come down with standards of signs; marched off towards all horizons; opened the cities of the hearts by the power of thy Lord, the Generous; and have blown the great trumpet. The Holy Spirit hath freely given eternal life to every pure heart, and the souls become attracted through the effulgence of the beauty of the glorious Kingdom and through the brilliancy of the light of truth over all regions. The clamor of the spiritual people hath risen with praise and glory to God, the All-glorious!

933. By the life of God! Verily, the gift of guidance, during this great century and this age of lights, is greater than reigning over the earth and all that is therein.

934. The wisdom of all these tribulations that poured successively upon thee was this -- that thou shouldst be prepared and made ready for this Cause, that thou mightest expect the attainment to the greatest guidance, for all these trials were but a preparation for thine entrance into the most exalted paradise and the beginning of obtaining this most great benefit.

935. The prophets also acknowledge this opinion, to-wit: That education hath a great effect upon the human race, but they declare that minds and comprehensions are originally different. And this matter is self-evident; it cannot be refuted. We see that certain children of the same age, nativity and race, nay, from the same household, under the tutorship of one teacher, differ in their minds and comprehensions.

No matter how much the shell is polished, it can never become the radiant pearl. The black stone will not become the world illumining gem. The calocynth and the thorny cactus can never by training and development become the blessed tree. That is to say, training doth not change the human substance, but it produceth a marvelous effect. By this effective power all that is registered, in latency, of virtues and capacities in the human reality will be revealed.

It is for this reason that, in this new cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary.

936. Tell them they should do as they think best in these matters. Should they marry, divorce, leave their homes, move to other places, etc., -- all these matters pertaining to their material affairs -- Abdu'l-Bahá says:

"They must do as they wish; they must solve their own problems; they are grown-ups. We do not like to tell people what they should do in these matters. My work is universal; my time and thoughts are for the whole world on the most important problems relating to affairs that concern the spiritual welfare of nations and individuals. When the believers are insistent, Abdu'l-Bahá must give them answers, and it is their wish always that Abdu'l-Bahá grants them. He knows what their wish in reality is. They must make mistakes to learn, and to unfold the higher which is within themselves. The initial wish does not come from Abdu'l-Bahá. It comes from them. It is generally clothed with such words as these: 'We only wish to do that which Abdu'l-Bahá wishes us to do.' And they are sincere in this, for they do not know the subtlety of the ego of man. It is the Tempter (the subtle serpent of the mind), and the poor soul not entirely emancipated from its suggestions is deceived until entirely severed from all save God."

937. If thou wishest the divine knowledge and recognition, purify thy heart from all beside God, be wholly attracted to the ideal, beloved One; search for and choose Him and apply thyself to rational and authoritative arguments. For arguments are a guide to the path and by this the heart will be turned to the Sun of Truth. And when the heart is turned unto the Sun, then the eye will be opened and will recognize the Sun through the Sun itself. Then one will be in no need of arguments, for the Sun is altogether independent, and absolute independence is in need of nothing, and proofs are one of the things.

938. Hypnotism hath a weak influence over the bodies, but hath no result. But the power of the Kingdom of God is great. If thou canst, endeavor to obtain a share of that power.

939. O ye cohorts of God! Today in the world of existence, each community is wandering in a wilderness, moving in accord with some passion and desire, and running to and fro in pursuance of its own imagination. Among the communities of the world, this community of the "Greatest Name" is free from every thought, keeping aloof from every project and scheme, arising with the purest designs and intentions, and striving and endeavoring with the utmost hope to live in accordance with the divine teachings in order that the face of the earth become the delectable paradise, the nether world become the mirror of the Kingdom, the universe become another universe, and the human race attain to higher morals, conduct and manners.

Through the protection and help of the Blessed Perfection -- may my life be a sacrifice to His beloved! -- you must conduct and deport yourselves in such a manner that you may stand out among other souls distinguished by a brilliancy like unto the sun. If any of you enters a city he must become the center of attraction because of the sincerity, faithfulness, love, honesty, fidelity, truthfulness and loving-kindness of his disposition and nature toward all the inhabitants of the world, that the people of the city may all cry out: "This person is unquestionably a Baha'i; for his manners, his behavior, his conduct, his morals, his nature and his disposition are of the attributes of the Baha'is." Until you do attain this station, you have not fulfilled the Covenant and the Testament of God. For according to the irrefutable texts, He has taken from us a firm covenant that we may live and act in accord with the divine exhortations, commands and lordly teachings.

O ye cohorts of God! Now is the time when the signs and perfections of the "Greatest Name" become manifest and clear in this golden cycle in order that it may become demonstrated and established beyond doubt that this period is the period of the Blessed Perfection, and this cycle is distinguished from all other cycles and epochs.

O ye cohorts of God! In the moment of catastrophe, find ye patience, resignation and submission.

The more the calamities are intensified the less become ye disturbed. Withstand ye, with perfect assurance, the flood of trials and calamities, through the power of His Highness, the Almighty.

940. Thou hast asked in regard to the 10th verse of the 21st chapter of Revelation, and to the 17th verse:

Know that the firmament of the bright sun of the world of possibilities is divided into twelve sections (according to mathematical principles) which are called the twelve constellations; likewise the Sun of Truth manifests and pours forth His bounty in twelve constellations of holiness. By these constellations are meant holy souls who are the manifestations of purity and the dawning points of the lights of Unity. Observe that in the day of His Holiness the Interlocutor of God (Moses), there were twelve holy souls who were the leaders of the Truth. In like manner, in the cycle of His Holiness the Spirit (Christ), note that there were twelve apostles under the shadow of the light of the Most High, and the Sun of Truth was manifested through those bright dawningplaces like unto the phenomenal sun. Likewise, in the time of His Holiness Muhammad, consider that there were twelve dawning points of holiness who were the manifestations of confirmation. Such is the case.

Accordingly, St. John, the divine, declared in his vision regarding the twelve doors and the twelve foundations. By the great and holy city of Jerusalem, which is descended from heaven, is meant the sacred law of God. This subject has been repeatedly explained in many Tablets and in the Scriptures of the ancient Prophets. For example, it is said in one place: "I beheld Jerusalem marching on to the wilderness." The purport is that this heavenly Jerusalem has twelve doors through which the advancing souls enter into the City of God. These doors are the souls who are the stars of guidance and doors unto bounty and knowledge. "At the gates twelve angels stood." By "angel" is meant the power of the confirmation of God; that the candle of the power of the divine confirmation shines forth and is illumined in those souls. That is to say, that each one of those souls will be confirmed by the mightiest power. Those twelve gates surround the whole universe. This signifies that all existence is under the shadow of those souls; also, that these doors are the foundation of the city of God, the divine Jerusalem; that upon each of these foundations the name of one of the Apostles of His Holiness the Spirit (Christ) is written. That is to say, the manifestation of the perfections, glad tidings, virtues and high attributes of that holy soul.

In brief, it is said that: "And he that talked with me had a golden rod to measure the city and the gates thereof and the walls thereof." The purport is this, that certain souls guided with a rod of the plant, that is, a reed wherewith he shepherded the sheep, like unto the rod of Moses; others trained with a rod of iron and drove them, as in the time of Muhammad. In this Greatest Day the rod of the plant and the rod of iron are changed into a rod which is of pure gold and is from the endless treasuries of the Kingdom of God.

By the instrumentality of this, all people shall be trained. Observe the difference: in a certain time the teachings of God were like unto the twigs of a tree, and by them the signs of God were spread, the law of God promulgated and the religion of God founded. Later a time came when the rod of the divine Shepherd was like iron; and now in this blessed and glorious cycle that rod is become like unto pure gold. What a great difference exists between them! Therefore know that the law of God and the divine teachings show a great advance in this day. They have reached a degree of supremacy, compared with former ages. Nay, rather, this is pure gold, while that was iron and wood.

941. Praise be to God that thou hast found guidance, sought illumination and turned thy face toward the Kingdom of the True One.

This turning the face toward God is the healing of the body, the mind and the soul. When this advancement toward God has become complete, one is able to overcome passion and desire, become protected from sin and transgression and be delivered from heedlessness. It will bestow eternal life and grant the imperishable gift.

Therefore sacrifice all thy talents at the feet of that heart-enkindling Beloved, and characterize thyself with such deeds and words that thou mayest become the cause of the guidance of others, and remain steadfast and firm in the Testament and Covenant.

942. The Hosts of the Kingdom of Abha are drawn up and filed in battle array on the plain of the Supreme Apex and are expecting that a band of volunteers will step upon the field of action with the intention of service, so that they may assist that band and make it victorious and triumphant.

943. A fire from the Kingdom hath been kindled in the heart of the world, -- in the Blessed Tree, whose flame shall ere long set aglow the pillars of the world and its rays illumine the horizons of nations. All the signs have appeared, all the prophetic references become clear, all that was revealed in Books and Scriptures hath become fully manifest. There is no ground for any one to hesitate in regard thereto. Some people of former times and sects avoided certain others as strangers. But now the glorious Beloved One hath ridden upon His swift coursing steed, circling about in the arena of truth, and all that was hidden hath become manifest. Let there be no more silence or reticence, taciturnity or negligence. The Candle is lighted -- yet the moths continue motionless and melancholy behind the veils. ... The time is too short, and the Divine Courser moves swiftly on.

944. Unless the Holy Spirit become intermediary, one cannot attain directly to the bounties of God. Do not overlook the obvious truths. For it is a self-evident fact that a child cannot be instructed without a teacher, and knowledge is a bounty from the bounties of God. The soil is not covered with grass and green without the rain of the cloud, therefore the cloud is the intermediary between the divine bounties and the soil. A body does not develop and grow without the soul, therefore the soul is the medium of the spiritual life.

I hope that through the breath of the Holy Spirit the mysteries may become disclosed to thee, for without this channel it is impossible and unattainable.

945. It is becoming of a weak one to supplicate to the Strong One and it behooveth a seeker of bounty to beseech the Glorious Bountiful One. When one supplicates to his Lord, turns to Him and seeks bounty from His Ocean, this supplication is itself a light to his heart, an illumination to his sight, a life to his soul and an exaltation to his being. By these attractions one's ability and capacity increase. When the vessel is deepened the water increaseth, and when the thirst groweth the bounty of the clouds becometh agreeable to the taste of man.

This is the mystery of supplication and the wisdom of stating one's wants.

946. You had asked concerning the disclosure of spirits after the dissolution of bodies. Undoubtedly the other world is a world of disclosure and vision, for there the veil will be removed and the human spirit will witness the souls above it, beneath it, or of an equal rank with it. ... The spirits of the believers at the time of their appearance in the world of bodies are equal, and are all pure and unsullied. But in this world they will find distinction. Some attain to a lofty station, some seek an intermediate grade, some stagnate in the early stages. This equality is in the original state of their being, and this distinction is after their ascension from this earthly life.

947. The Supreme One hath said "He loveth them and they will love Him." If God had not filled His Servant with His love, love would never have been realized in this creation.

All is then from Him, and is His -- man in himself possesses absolutely nothing.

The rays of love having shone from the True One unto the creation, the great signs thereof are imprinted upon clear and luminous hearts, and as these mirror-hearts meet, reflecting this sublime light, love, it becomes manifest from creature to creature. "God hath put harmony in their hearts."

948. In this prohibition (from visiting Haifa) there is a providence which will become manifest before long. But know ye with the utmost certainty that this disappointment is regarded in the Threshold of the Manifest Light as greater than a visit to that magnificent station. For the substance of the grief is the essence of the visit, and the burning of the fire of zeal is the sweet water of the union. This distance is the nearness itself, this separation the reality of union.

949. In this day if any one lives in accordance with the heavenly teachings and instructions, he shall become a spiritual physician to the world of humanity and the trumpet of Israfel to quicken the dead. For the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abha are uninterrupted, and the victory of the Supreme Concourse is the associate of every one who is pure in heart.

950. It is known and clear that today the unseen divine assistance encompasses those who deliver the message. And if the work of delivering the message be neglected, the assistance shall be entirely cut off. Under all conditions the message must be delivered, but with wisdom. The friends should be engaged in educating the souls and should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity to acquire spiritual joy and fragrance. If every one of the friends were to establish relations of friendship and right dealing with one of the negligent souls, associate and live with him with perfect kindliness, and meanwhile, through good conduct and moral behavior, lead him to divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he would gradually arouse that negligent person and would change his ignorance into knowledge. Souls are liable to estrangement. Such methods should be adopted that the estrangement be first removed; then the Word will have effect.

If, by this method, every one of the friends of God were to try to lead one soul to the right path, the number of the believers would be doubled every year.

951. With regard to the formation of benevolent associations; surely this subject should receive due attention. The disciples of His Holiness Christ (may My life be a sacrifice unto Him!) were only eleven persons, and they had established a benevolent fund. So the establishment of the fund had that degree of importance.

952. O ye friends of the Beauty of Abha! O ye firm ones in the Testament of the Covenant of Baha!

O ye servants of the Holy Threshold of His Highness the Eternal One! Praise ye the Greatest Name and the Self-subsistent, Eternal and Pre-existent Beauty for that He hath, through His great kindness, made ye true friends, steadfast in the Covenant and firm in the Testament of God. He made you brilliant lamps and sufficient stars, signs of oneness and standards of singleness, trees of the paradise of the Covenant, and lights of the sanctity of God.

Therefore in thanksgiving for the great favor, ye should endeavor to promote peace, union, harmony. Ye are immersed in one sea and receive radiance from one sun. Ye are drawing from one horizon, radiating from one source, and receiving bounties from one point. Ye are soaring in one Atmosphere and looking to one center. This is the essence of oneness and the reality of singleness.

Whosoever proves firm, his breath is the Breath of God. Whosoever slightly doubts and wavers, his whisperings are contaminated, no matter who he may be.

953. What is the Truth? Truth is the Word of God which gives life to humanity. It restores sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf; it makes eloquent those who are dumb, and living beings out of dead beings; it illumines the world of the heart and soul; it reduces into nothingness the iniquities of the neglectful and erring ones. Beauty, perfection, brilliancy and spirituality in this existence comes from or through the Word of God. For all it is the supreme goal, the greatest desire, the cause of life, light, instruction. The road to attain to this Truth is the love of God. When the light of the love of God is burning in the mirror of the heart, that flame shows the way, and guides to the Kingdom of the Word of God.

As to that which causes the growth of the love of God -- know that it is to turn one's self towards God.

954. As to progress after death: know that after death it is the divine world. Progress is possible, but it depends upon the generosity of God, and not upon the efforts and struggles of man. In other words, progress becomes possible only through grace, because the progress from one rank to another depends entirely upon divine generosity, whereas on the contrary, progress toward perfection is obtainable through man's effort. For example, the progress of a mineral reality to the rank of a vegetable is to be obtained only through generosity; likewise the passage of a vegetable reality to the rank of animal reality to the rank of the human is also due to mercy and generosity; likewise the passage of a human reality to the world of the Kingdom depends entirely upon generosity. What I mean to say is this: that the passage from one rank to another depends wholly upon grace, whereas the acquiring of perfections is dependent upon man's efforts and struggles. Take mankind: God created man from the mineral enabled him to attain to his present station; now by his efforts and struggles, he can acquire human perfections and seek to increase in virtue and purity. It is therefore clear that the passage from one rank to a higher rank depends entirely on generosity, whereas the acquiring of virtues is possible through effort and will-power. In consequence, after the passage through this corporeal world into the divine world, the traversing of ranks is possible, but only through the grace and bounty of God.

955. As to the significance of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh: know that everything which belongs to the universal welfare is divine, and all that which is divine is certainly for universal good. If it is the truth, it is for all, otherwise it is for no one. Therefore, a divine cause for universal good cannot be limited to the Orient or to the Occident; because the flame of the Sun of Truth illumines the East and the West, and its heat is felt in the South as well as the North, -- there is no difference between the two poles. In the time of the Manifestation of Christ, the Romans and Greeks thought that the Cause was especially for the Israelites; they thought they themselves had no need of it, because they saw that according to appearances, they possessed a perfect civilization, wherefore they did not need the instructions of Christ. This false supposition was the cause of depriving many people of its grace. Also know that the principles of Christianity and the commandments of Bahá'u'lláh are identical, and that the roads are the same. But every day there is progress. There was a time when the divine institution was in an embryonic condition; then it became a newly-born infant, then a child, afterward an intelligent adult. Today it has reached maturity; its capacities, its body, is ever the same identity -- but today it is resplendent with the greatest beauty and brilliancy.

This explanation is clear and sufficient. Happy is he who penetrates the mysteries, and who takes his share from the world of Light. The sun could shine a hundred thousand years and shower its heat upon a stone or hard piece of earth; they will not become luminous gems, a ruby or a pearl.

956. Perchance, God willing, ye may be helped and confirmed to arise and serve in a befitting and worthy manner, and be assisted to do that which is required; and associate with the people with sanctity, purity, virtue and holiness, so that every one who is near may inhale the fragrance of the delectable Paradise, every intimate one may behold the traits of the most wonderful creation, and all people testify that the Bahá'ís are the shining lamps of the regions and the rays of the dawningplace and effulgence; recognizing a Bahá'í through the quality and not the name, knowing him through the amiable nature and not the physical body. Should we become as such, the manifest light will shine in our brow. Otherwise, woe unto us, for that which we have neglected as duties enjoined upon us by God!

957. Know that the blessings of the Kingdom of Abha are not dependent upon the capacity and the worthiness of any one; the blessings themselves are the worthiness. As the action itself, when it reaches the thing acted upon, makes that thing the action, -- so the blessings themselves then become identical with worthiness. In like manner, when the action itself descends upon the recipient, the recipient becomes the action. For example, when an object becomes broken, the action becomes realized in it. Under such circumstances, the recipient and that which is received -- or capacity and blessings -- are one. Therefore the blessings of the Kingdom of Abha are not enchained by any fetters. The Kingdom gives the drop the influence of the sea, and the mote that of the sun. As thou hast already beheld, God has arisen, and some souls who were less than drops become like the waves of the great sea and manifested a storm equal to that of the ocean: in such cases worthiness is of no importance.

958. Every one of the friends of God has two stations; on the station of mankind and the other the station of spirituality. The spiritual station is unseen, while the material station, the personal station, is seen. It is like the horizon and the sun; the Sun of Truth shines forth from the horizon; and now the Sun of Truth has shone with perfection from the horizon. We call these effulgences the descending grace. The horizon receives all divine protection through the outpouring of that bounty, and the bounties which the horizon receives from the unseen Light, He gives to mankind and to creation. The station by which the horizon gives those bounties to mankind, which He has taken from the Sun of Truth -- the station of giving those bounties to mankind is called the station of sacrifice. I will tell you an example to distinguish between the giver of the bounties of mankind: suppose the grain which you put in the earth -- when the grain desires to be changed into a tree, of course it sacrifices all of itself to the tree in order that the tree may be produced. Christ said: I have given my life in order that ye may live. When Christ came into the world He gave all His bounties to mankind in order that they might see their bounties therein; and this was the way He sacrificed His life to the world.

When we want to know and judge whether such a matter is complete in this world, we must distinguish between its outward grace and its inward grace. If we find these two graces equal to each other, we will know that this matter has been accomplished. What a man lives in his heart, he must be appearance live; and if he live a something in his heart and does not show it in his life, then we will judge that his life is not complete.

It is the same with the Cause of God. If we would know whether this Cause is complete and in full perfection, we must see whether all its conditions or grades are complete and consistent. All Divine Manifestations give up all personal conditions, considerations and grades in the Cause of God to such an extent that there is nothing judged of their personality; that is, they sacrifice their personality entirely in the world; their life is only the life of God, their thought is the thought of God and their grades are those chosen by God. They have nothing. They sacrifice everything in the way of God. They suffer every sort of affliction and calamity in the world -- that is, the afflictions and calamities in addition to those suffered spiritually -- in order to show that the spiritual equals the material in consecration and sacrifice. They sacrifice spiritually in the way of God, and so they sacrifice all apparent and outward conditions in order to show the perfection and completeness of the truth of their manifestation.

This is the station of simple radiance which shines forth and makes them separate from all worldly things, and this leads them to such a condition that while they are walking on the earth, they are moving in the supreme Horizon. They have cut themselves off entirely from worldly conditions, and while they are on the earth they never see it, but look to the Horizon. They close their eyes to their material ease and to all else, and hasten with all joy and fragrance to martyrdom in the Cause of God.

As long as one has not taken a portion of the mystery of sacrifice, it is impossible for him to attain to the Kingdom of God. So long as you do not have the cup free from every sort of liquor, is it possible that you can put good and pure water therein?

The most earnest hope and desire of those who have drawn nigh to God is this -- to receive a cup from this ocean. I hope that in the service of God I may gain such a station as to put those who are in the way of God in the way of attaining the grace of self-sacrifice, that they may wholly forget their own personality and their ego. So long as the surface of the mirror is not clean from rust and dust, the radiance and effulgence of the sun shall never be imprinted on it. The more the body is lightened, the sooner it ascends.

959. Those who looked at the material body of Christ and saw Him enduring all the hardships and trials, marveled that He was the Messiah because He was in this lowly condition. As they were considering His physical being, they failed to see the light shining within it. But those who looked to the spiritual and the real existence of the Spirit in Christ, they firmly believed in Him. We must not look at the lantern, but at the light -- the candle inside the lantern. We must not look at the worldly condition, but at the truth within it -- the divine truth -- because if we look only at the outward form of man, how can we distinguish man from animal, because we find them eating and doing the same things; but when we consider the spirit in man, we find it to be far different from the animal. When you look at water, salt and sweet, you cannot tell the difference, but when you taste the water, then you can distinguish.

This is one of the tests of God. That is why Jesus told all people to supplicate and beseech God not to let them fall into these tests. For God does not tempt us -- God tests us. Temptation is from the satanic, or negative, quality of man.

960. By the term "angels" spiritual powers is sometimes meant, and other times you will find that the term means pure and holy souls. Where it is said "I will give My angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways," it means pure souls and true believers. In one station "angel" means those spiritual and divine powers given by God to the body of man which change mankind toward good. These are the "angels" which confirm man.

Sometimes we understand by "angel" those beings and souls who are sanctified from all earthly stations -- that is, who have cut themselves from all worldly things and drawn nigh unto God with all resignation and devotion. If we find a man who has cut himself from all animal and worldly stations and approached nigh to the heavenly conditions, we will say "This being is an angel," because he has nothing to do with earthly things.

All beings of the contingent world have to undergo change: the only thing which is unchangeable is the identity of God. The angel is one of the created beings of God and must undergo changes. Were these beings not to change, they would possess the unity or nature of God. When we want to judge something which is contingent, we look at its changes and understand its nature.

Man is not a pre-existent being, but a newly produced and created being, consisting of two aspects or portions, the spiritual and material, which may be likened to hell and paradise; and he does not know whether he will be in hell or paradise. For instance, man is composed of evil as well as good, of darkness as well as light, of guidance as well as misleading; the most evil character is to be found in man, while the greatest and most excellent character is also found in him. We must see that the good qualities gain victory over the bad. If so, the man will become an "angel," but if the bad qualities conquer the good ones, then he will become a "devil." If the light conquers the darkness in man, of course he will be true light, and if the darkness conquers the light, he will be of the material.

961. He who knows nothing of the wind, when he sees trees shaken does not know it is the wind which causes them to shake. Since the beginning of the Cause, there have been at least ten thousand men who went with gladness to suffer martyrdom, and people who saw them suffering this martyrdom thought it was through their own power, and did not know that a breeze had shaken them. In the days of other Prophets there were people who suffered martyrdom in the Cause of God, but in this day there are more, and these have been more sincere. The histories of this time will record their witness to the things which have happened in this day -- to those who have suffered martyrdom. How many mothers have been happy to see their children suffer martyrdom! How many wives have rejoiced when their husbands suffered martyrdom; how many sisters have wept with joy when their brothers died in the Cause of God! Now, it is not possible for one to have joy under these circumstances unless he is shaken by a breeze from the garden of God.

962. The station of the Prophets is as a lighted lamp; all the Prophets offered themselves as lamps. Those men around them who heard their voice were such as were capable and desirous of hearing them.

If you speak with a magician about the Zodiac, he understands you because he is a learned man, but if you speak of it to a carpenter he will say it is nonsense -- "How is it, a live man in the skies, or a ship!"

With this man the interpretation of the Bible will be the same -- if you repeat all these spiritual things to him, he will think it nonsense. For instance, when you read the Revelation of St. John to the unlearned in spiritual matters, they do not understand it, and it is only because you tell them it is the Bible that they do not call it nonsense. There are many meanings in each word of the Apocalypse.

Iron attracts iron, and as you approach the Kingdom of God, you will be attracted by the things of the Kingdom. Worldly people are not of the kind to be affected by the magnet of the divine.

963. Everything in existence is good, and only the lack of goodness make a thing evil. The being is created good, but when the lack of good is to be seen in it, then it becomes bad. Evil is not created by God. For example, light is created by God, but when you put away the light from a room, the room becomes dark. Darkness is not created by God -- the lack of light is called darkness. God has created guidance; misleading is lack of guidance. When you turn yourself from guidance, you place yourself in misleading. There is no existence in evil. Nothing proceeds from the True One but good, and everything belonging to the beings of existence is animated by their God. I will give you an example: the Governor sent here from Constantinople possesses full authority and power from the authority and power of the Sultan. But this man is capable of doing both justice and injustice by this power given him by the Sultan. If he exercises injustice and oppression in the city and the Sultan punishes him, can he answer that he has done these evil things through the power given from the Sultan? The Sultan will tell him that he has given him power to use in a good way and not for oppression.

There is no difference in the bounties of God; a profusion of bounties are outpoured continually upon all sorts of land, but when the precious shower falls on a barren land, it causes weeds and thorns to grow. The same bounty and the same shower causes a good, fertile land to bear roses and grass and useful fruits.

964. The more you love, the nearer you will be to God. Love is one of the bounties of God. Therefore to love one another is good.

The bounties of God are: to love each other, to speak the truth, to sever our hearts from the world, to be reverent, to be humble, to be hospitable. By these things you know the faithful servant of God. How do we know the light? By its rays. So when you see these qualities, you will know that the servant of God has received the regeneration. You must be thus reborn. You must pray and supplicate, and the more you pray and supplicate, the nearer you will be to God.

When a dead body is thrown into the ocean, the waves will throw it back upon the shore. So it is with the Ocean of Truth -- it will not accept a dead body; and if a believer has not these bounties of God, the sea will roll until he is finally cast out.

The people of God have no dependence upon the conditions of this world; they neither become bittered with the bitterness of the cup, nor do they become intoxicated if the cup be sweet.

The people of God are like the birds, who satisfy themselves with a few crumbs, and sit the whole time on the branches of the tree singing the praises of God.

965. The greatest gift of man is universal love, for this love is the magnet which renders existence eternal, attracts reality, and diffuses life with infinite joy. If this love penetrates the heart of man, all the forces of the universe will be realized in him, for it is a divine power which transports him to a divine station; and man will make no real progress until illumined by this power of love. Strive to increase the love-force of reality, to make your hearts greater centers of attraction, to create new ideals and relationships.

Alas! Alas! The world has not discovered the reality of religion hidden beneath the symbolic forms!

966. Advance always in the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh; occupy thy heart always by the mentioning of Bahá'u'lláh; take heed that only in your eyes is Bahá'u'lláh, in your heart is Bahá'u'lláh -- in your inmost heart is Bahá'u'lláh! If you fall into trouble, say, "Ya Baha ul Abha!" If any one oppose you, say, "Ya Baha ul Abha!" Even while at your work, mention "Ya Baha ul Abha!" Thou wilt be blamed for My sake; people will attribute to thee infidelity for My sake; thou wilt bear trouble for My sake. Be encouraged, and do not fear. It happened like this also in the time of Jesus Christ.

Know the greatness of these days!

967. All the meetings must be for teaching the Cause and spreading the message, and suffering the souls to enter into the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh. Look at me. All my thoughts are centered around the proclamation of the Kingdom.

I have a lamp in my hand searching through the lands and seas to find souls who can become heralds of the Cause. Day and night I am engaged in this work. Any other deliberations in the meetings are futile and fruitless. Convey the message! Attract the hearts! Sow the seeds! Teach the Cause to those who do not know.

I enter all meetings, all churches, so that the Cause may be spread. When the most important work is before our sight, we must let go the important one.

If the meetings or Spiritual Assembly has any other occupation, the time is spent in futility. All the deliberations, all consultation, all the talks and addresses must revolve around one focal center and that is: Teach the Cause! Teach! Teach! Convey the message! Awaken the souls!

Now is the time of laying the foundation. Now we must gather brick, stone, wood, iron and other building materials! This is not the time of decoration. We must strive day and night and think and work. What can I say that may become effective? What can I do that may bring results? What can I write that may bring forth fruits?

Nothing else will be useful today. The interests of such a glorious Cause will not advance without undivided attention. While we are carrying this load we cannot carry any other load!

968. Will is the center or focus of human understanding. We must will to know God, just as we must will in order to possess the life He has given us. The human will must be subdued and trained into the will of God. It is a great power to have a strong will, but a greater power to give that will to God. The will is what we do, the understanding is what we know. Will and understanding must be one in the Cause of God.

969. Now the time has come when we must part, but the separation is only of our bodies; in spirit we are united. Ye are the lights which shall be diffused; ye are the waves of that sea which shall spread and overflow the world. Each wave is precious to me, and my nostrils shall be gladdened by your remembrance. Another commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another even as I love you. Great mercy and blessings are promised to the people of your land, but on one condition; that their hearts be filled with the fire of love, that they live in perfect harmony and kindness like one soul in different bodies, like one soul in different bodies. Never forget this; look at one another with the eye of perfection; look at me, follow me, be as I am; take no thought for yourselves or your lives, whether ye eat or whether ye sleep, whether ye are comfortable, whether ye are well or ill, whether ye are with friends or foes, whether ye receive praise or blame; for all these things ye must care not at all. Look at me and be as I am; ye must die to yourselves and to the world, so ye shall be born again and enter the kingdom of heaven. Behold the candle, how it gives light. It weeps its life away drop by drop in order to give forth its flame of light. The time has come when we must part, but the separation is only of our bodies; in spirit we are united forever.

970. I say unto you that any one who will rise up in the Cause of God at this time shall be filled with the spirit of God, and that He will send His hosts from heaven to help you, and that nothing shall be impossible to you if you have faith. And now I give you a commandment which shall be for a Covenant between you and me: that ye have faith; that you faith be steadfast as a rock that no storms can move, that nothing can disturb, and that it endure through all things even to the end; even should ye hear that your Lord has been crucified, be not shaken in your faith; for I am with you always, whether living or dead; I am with you to the end. As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the standard -- this is the standard -- this is the standard.

CHAPTER NINE
DIVINE CIVILIZATION

971. The past age was an age of wondrous achievements. All the inventions were perfected; new discoveries created; new fields of human activity developed; new undertakings gave deeper significance to the law of co-operation; new arts helped to make life more beautiful; and new international laws are now in process of formation to bind all nations of the earth together. The international tribunal of justice will soon be organized in accordance with the principles of Bahá'u'lláh, and then all the differences will be adjusted before the members of that impartial tribunal.

Therefore, as a result of these changes in the outer world, it has become part of the heavenly wisdom in the inner world to create a new spiritual plan for the propagation of the religion of God. Thus the divine believers may obtain a new joy and a new happiness and display an extraordinary effort in the promotion of the reality of the religions of God, to deliver the nations from old, superannuated prejudices and diffuse the fragrances of the flowers of the primal Truth; to unfurl the flag of love, amity, unity and oneness of the world of humanity and remove the international misunderstandings from amongst the nations of the world.

972. To the friends and maid-servants of God in the Northeastern states:

Upon them be greeting and praise!
O ye heavenly heralds!

These are the days of Naurooz. I am always thinking of those kind friends! I beg for each and all of you confirmations and assistance from the threshold of Oneness, so that those gatherings may become ignited like unto candles, in the Republics of America, enkindling the light of the love of God in the hearts; thus the rays of the heavenly teachings may begem and brighten the states of America like the infinitude of immensity with the stars of the most great guidance.

The Northeastern states on the shores of the Atlantic -- Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York -- in some of these believers are found, but in some of the cities of these states up to this date people are not yet illumined with the lights of the Kingdom and are not aware of the heavenly teachings; therefore, whenever it is possible for each one of you, hasten ye to those cities and shine forth like unto the stars with the light of the most great guidance. God says in the glorious Qur'an: "The soil was black and dried. Then we cause the rain to descend upon it and immediately it became green, verdant, and every kind of plant sprouted up luxuriantly." In other words, he says the earth and the soil is black, but when the spring showers descend upon it that black soil is quickened, and variegated flowers are pushed forth. This means the souls of humanity belonging to the world of nature are black like unto the soil. But when the heavenly outpourings descend and the radiant effulgences appear, the hearts are resuscitated, are liberated from the darkness of nature and the flowers of the divine mysteries grow and become luxuriant. Consequently man must become the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity and propagate the holy teachings revealed in the sacred books through divine inspiration. It is stated in the blessed Gospel: Travel ye toward the East and toward the West and enlighten the people with the light of the most great guidance, so that they may take a portion and share of the eternal life. Praise be to God, that the Northeastern states are in the utmost capacity. Because the ground is rich, the rain of the divine outpouring is descending. Now you must become heavenly farmers and scatter pure seeds in the prepared soil. The harvest of every other seed is limited, but the bounty and the blessing of the seed of the divine teachings is unlimited. Throughout the coming centuries and cycles many harvests will be gathered. Consider the work of former generations. During the lifetime of His Holiness Christ the believing, firm souls were few and numbered, but the heavenly benedictions descended so plentifully that in a number of years countless souls entered under the shade of the Gospel. God has said in the Qur'an: "One grain will bring forth seven sheaves, and every sheaf shall contain one hundred grains." In other words, one grain will become seven hundred; and if God so will he will double these also. It has often happened that one blessed soul has become the cause of the guidance of a nation. Now we must not look at our own ability and capacity; nay, rather, we must behold the favors and bounties of God in these days, who has made the drop to find the expression of the sea and the atom the importance of the sun.

Upon you be greeting and praise!
Haifa, Palestine, March 26, 1916.

973. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful of the Northeastern states of the United States of America. Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York:

He is God!
O ye real friends!

All the regions in the estimation of the True One are one region and all the cities and villages are ideally equal and similar to each other. Neither holds distinction over another. All of them are the fields of God and the habitation of the souls of men. But through faith and assurance and the precedence of one part over another the dweller imparts holiness and sanctification to the dwelling and some of the countries becoming exceptional, attain to the most great distinction.

For example, notwithstanding that some of the countries of Europe and America are distinguished for the purity of the air, the wholesomeness of the water, and the charm of the mountains, plains and prairies and are preferred above all the rest, yet Palestine became an honor to all other regions of the world: Because all the holy divine Manifestations from the time of His Holiness Abraham to the time of the appearance of the Seal of the Prophets, have been either living in this region or emigrated to or travelled through here.

Likewise Yathroh and Batha attained to the most great bounty and the light of the Prophets has shone from that horizon. For this reason Palestine and Hedjaz are distinguished above all other regions.

Likewise as the Continent of America in the estimation of the True One is the field of the effulgence of light, the Kingdom of the manifestation of mysteries, the home of the righteous ones and the gathering place of the free, therefore every section thereof is blessed; but because these nine states have been favored in faith and assurance, hence through this precedence they have obtained spiritual privilege. They must realize the value of this bounty; because they have obtained such a favor and in order to render thanksgiving for this most great bestowal, they must arise in the diffusion of divine fragrances; so that the blessed verse of the Qur'an:

"God is the light of heaven and earth: the similitude of his light is a niche in a wall, wherein a lamp is placed, and the lamp enclosed in a case of glass; the glass appears as if it were a shining star. It is lighted with the oil of a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West; it waneth little but that the oil thereof would give light, although no fire touched it. This is the light added unto light. God will direct unto his light whom he pleaseth." -- may be realized.

He says: "The world of nature is the world of darkness, because it is the origin of a thousand depravities, nay rather, it is darkness upon darkness." The illumination of the world of nature is dependent upon the splendor of the Sun of Reality. The grace of guidance is like unto the candle which is enkindled in the glass of knowledge and wisdom and that glass of knowledge and wisdom is the mirror of the heart of humanity. The oil of that luminous lamp is from the fruits of the Blessed Tree and that oil is so refined that it will burn without light. When the intensity of the light and the translucency of the glass and the purity of the mirror are brought together, it will become light upon light.

In brief, in these nine blessed States Abdu'l-Bahá journeyed and travelled from place to place, explained the wisdom of the heavenly books and diffused the fragrances. In most of these States he founded the Divine Edifice and opened the door of teaching. In those States he sowed pure seeds and planted blessed trees.

Now the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must irrigate these fields and with the utmost power engage themselves in the cultivation of these heavenly plantations so that the seeds may grow and develop, prosperity and blessing be realized and many rich and great harvests be gathered in.

The Kingdom of God is like unto a farmer who comes into possession of a piece of pure and virgin soil. Heavenly seeds are scattered therein, the clouds of divine providence pour down and the rays of the Sun of Reality shine forth.

Now all these bounties exist and appear in full in these nine States. The divine Gardener passed by that holy ground and scattered pure seeds from the lordly teachings in that field, the rain of the bounties of God poured down and the heat of the Sun of Reality, that is: -- The merciful confirmations -- shone with the utmost splendor. It is my hope that each one of those blessed souls may become a peerless and unique irrigator and the East and the West of America may become like unto a delectable paradise -- so that all of you may hear from the Supreme Concourse the cry of "Blessed are ye, and again blessed are ye!"

Upon you be greeting and praise!

The following supplication is to be read by the teachers and friends daily:

O Thou Kind Lord! Praise be unto Thee that Thou hast shown unto us the highway of guidance, opened the doors of the Kingdom and manifested Thyself through the Sun of Reality. To the blind Thou hast given sight; to the deaf Thou hast granted hearing; Thou hast resuscitated the dead; Thou hast shown the way to those who have gone astray; Thou hast led those with parched lips to the fountain of guidance; Thou hast suffered the thirsty fish to reach the ocean of reality and Thou hast invited the wandering birds to the rose garden of grace.

O Thou Almighty! We people are Thy servants and Thy poor ones! We are remote, we yearn for Thy presence; we are thirsty for the water of Thy fountain; we are ill, longing for Thy medicine. We are walking in Thy path and have no aim or hope save the diffusion of Thy fragrances -- so that the souls may raise the cry of: "O God! Guide us to the straight path!" May they open their eyes by beholding the lights and become freed from the darkness of ignorance! May they walk around the lamp of guidance! May the portionless receive a share! and may the deprived ones become the confidants of the mysteries!

O Almighty! Look upon us with the glance of mercifulness! Grant us heavenly confirmation! Bestow upon us the breaths of the Holy Spirit! So that we may become assisted in service and like unto brilliant stars we may shine in these regions with the light of guidance! Verily! Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and Thou art the Wise and the Seeing!

Haifa, Palestine, February 2, 1917.

974. To the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Southern States:

Upon them be greeting and praise!
O ye heralds of the Kingdom of God!

A few days ago an epistle was written to those divine believers, but because these days are the days of Nourouz, therefore you have come to my mind and I am sending you this greeting for this glorious feast. All the days are blessed, but this feast is the national fete of Persia. The Persians have been holding it for several thousand years past. In reality every day which man passes in the mention of God, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and calling the people to the Kingdom of God, that day is his feast. Praise be to God that you are occupied in the service of the Kingdom of God by day and by night. Therefore all you days are feast days. There is no doubt that the assistance and the bestowal of God shall descend upon you.

In the Southern States of the United States, the friends are few, that is, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Consequently you must either go yourselves or send a number of blessed souls to those States, so that they may guide the people to the Kingdom of Heaven. One of the Holy Manifestations, addressing a believing soul, says: "If a person become the cause of the illumination of one soul, it is better than a boundless treasury." Again He says: "O Ali! If God guide, through thee, one soul, it is better for thee than all the riches!" Again He says: "Direct us to the straight path!" that is, Show us the right road. It is also mentioned in the Gospel: "Travel ye to all parts of the world and give ye the glad tidings of the appearance of the Kingdom of God."

In brief, I hope you will display in this respect the greatest effort and magnanimity. It is assured that you will become assisted, and confirmed. A person declaring the glad tidings of the appearance of the realities and significances of the Kingdom is like unto a farmer who scatters pure seeds in the rich soil. The spring cloud will pour upon them the rain of bounty, and unquestionably the station of the farmer will be raised in the estimation of the lord of the village, and many harvests will be gathered.

Therefore, ye friends of God! Appreciate ye the value of this time and be ye engaged in the sowing of the seeds, so that ye may find the heavenly blessing and the lordly bestowal. Upon you be Baha El-Abha!

Haifa, Palestine, March 27, 1916.

975. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Southern States.

Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!
He is God!
O ye blessed, respected souls!

The philosophers of the ancients, the thinkers of the Middle Ages and the scientists of this and the former centuries have all agreed upon the fact that the best and most ideal region for the habitation of man is the temperate zone, for in this belt the intellects and thoughts rise to the highest stage of maturity and the capability and ability of civilization manifest themselves in full efflorescence. When you read history critically and with a penetrating eye, it becomes evident that the majority of the famous men have been born, reared and have done their work in the temperate zone, while very very few have appeared from the torrid and frigid zones.

Now these sixteen Southern States of the United States are situated in the temperate zone, and in these regions the perfections of the world of nature have been fully revealed. For the moderation of the weather, the beauty of the scenery and the geographical configuration of the country display a great effect in the world of minds and thoughts. This fact is well demonstrated through observation and experience.

Even the holy, divine Manifestations have had a nature in the utmost equilibrium, the health and wholesomeness of their bodies most perfect, their constitutions endowed with physical vigor, their powers functioning in perfect order, and the outward sensations linked with the inward perceptions, working together with extraordinary momentum and co-ordination.

Therefore in these sixteen States, because they are contiguous to other States and their climate being in the utmost of moderation, unquestionably the divine teachings must reveal themselves with a brighter effulgence, the breaths of the Holy Spirit must display a penetrating intensity, the ocean of the love of God must be stirred with higher waves, the breezes of the rose garden of the divine love be wafted with higher velocity, and the fragrances of Holiness be diffused with swiftness and rapidity.

Praise be to God that the divine outpourings are infinite, the melody of the lordly principles is in the utmost efficacy, the most great Orb shining with perfect splendor, the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse are attacking with invincible power, the tongues are sharper than the swords, the hearts are more brilliant than the light of electricity, the magnanimity of the friends precedes all the magnanimities of the former and subsequent generations, the souls are divinely attracted, and the fire of the love of God is enkindled.

At this time and at this period we must avail ourselves of this most great opportunity. We must not sit inactive for one moment; we must sever ourselves from composure, rest, tranquillity, goods, property, life and attachment to material things. We must sacrifice everything to His Highness the Possessor of existence; so that the powers of the Kingdom may show greater penetration and the brilliant effulgence in this New Cycle may illumine the worlds of minds and ideals.

It is about 23 years that the fragrances of God have been diffused in America, but no adequate and befitting motion has been realized, and no great acclamation and acceleration has been witnessed. Now it is my hope that through the heavenly power, the fragrances of the Merciful, the attraction of consciousness, the celestial outpourings, the heavenly cohorts and the gushing forth of the fountain of divine love, the believers of God may arise and in a short time the great good may unveil her countenance, the Sun of Reality may shine forth with such intensity that the darkness of the world of nature may become entirely dispelled and driven away; from every corner a most wonderful melody may be raised, the morning birds may break into such a song that the world of humanity may be quickened and moved, the solid bodies may become liquefied and the souls who are like unto adamantine rocks may open their wings and through the heat of the love of god fly heavenward.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Armenia was enveloped with impenetrable darkness. One blessed soul from among the disciples of Christ hastened to that part, and through his effort, ere long that province became illumined. Thus it has become evident how the power of the Kingdom works!

Therefore, rest ye assured in the confirmations of the Merciful and the assistances of the Most High, become ye sanctified above and purified from this world and the inhabitants thereof, suffer your intention to become for the good of all, cut your attachment to the earth and like unto the essence of the spirit become ye light and delicate. Then with a firm resolution, a pure heart, a rejoiced spirit, and an eloquent tongue, engage your time in the promulgation of the divine principles; so that the oneness of the world of humanity may pitch her canopy in the apex of America and all the nations of the world may follow the divine policy. This is certain, that the divine policy is justice and kindness toward all mankind. For all the nations of the world are the sheep of God, and God is the kind shepherd. He has created these sheep. He has protected them, sustained and trained them. What greater kindness than this? And every moment we must render a hundred thousand thanksgivings that, praise be to God, we are freed from all the ignorant prejudices, are kind to all the sheep of God, and our utmost hope is to serve each and all, and like unto a benevolent father educate every one. Upon you be greeting and praise!

Every soul who travels through these cities, villages and hamlets of these States and is engaged in the diffusion of the fragrances of God, must peruse this commune every morning:

O God! O God! Behold me! Notwithstanding my lowliness and my lack of capacity and ability, I am bent upon the accomplishment of the greatest works, aiming to promote Thy Word amongst the republics and resolved to spread Thy teachings amongst all mankind. Far be it from me to become confirmed in this work save Thou mayest assist me with the breaths of the Holy Spirit! Make me victorious through the armies of Thy Supreme Kingdom and encircle me with Thy confirmations, which shall make the moth the eagle, the drop the river and the seas, and the scintillas the suns and the moons!

O Lord! Confirm me with Thy insuperable power and Thy penetrating potency, so that my tongue may speak out Thy praises and glorifications amongst Thy creatures, and my heart become overflowed with the wine of Thy love and knowledge. Verily, Thou art the powerful to do that which Thou willest, and Thou art might over all things!

Haifa, Palestine, February 3, 1917.

976. To the friends of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Central States:

O ye heavenly souls, O ye spiritual assemblies, O ye lordly meetings!

For some time past correspondence has been delayed, and this has been on account of the difficulty of mailing and receiving letters. But because at present a number of facilities are obtainable, therefore, I am engaged in writing you this brief epistle so that my heart and soul may obtain joy and fragrance through the remembrance of the friends. Continually this wanderer supplicates and entreats at the threshold of His Holiness the One and begs assistance, bounty and heavenly confirmations in behalf of the believers. You are always in my thought. You are not nor shall you ever be forgotten. I hope by the favor of His Holiness the Almighty that day by day you may add to your faith, assurance, firmness and steadfastness, and become instruments for the promotion of the holy fragrances. In the great book, the divine Qur'an, God, addressing His Messenger, His Holiness Muhammad (upon him be greeting and praise!) says: "Verily thou dost guide the people to the straight path." In other words; Thou dost show mankind the direct road. Consider how guidance is a matter of infinite importance; for it points to the loftiness of the station of His Holiness the Messenger.

Although in the States of Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota -- praise be to God -- believers are found, who are associating with each other in the utmost firmness and steadfastness -- day and night they have no other intention save the diffusion of the fragrances of God, they have no other hope except the promotion of the heavenly teachings, like the candles they are burning with the light of the love of God, and like thankful birds are singing songs, spirit-imparting, joy-creating, in the rose garden of the knowledge of God, -- yet in the States of Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas few of the believers exist. So far the summons of the Kingdom of God and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity has not been made in these States systematically and enthusiastically. Blessed souls and detached teachers have not travelled through these parts repeatedly; therefore these States are still in a state of heedlessness. Through the efforts of the friends of God souls must be likewise enkindled, in these States, with the fire of the love of God and attracted to the Kingdom of God, so that section may also become illumined and the soul-imparting breeze of the rose garden of the Kingdom may perfume the nostrils of the inhabitants. Therefore, if it is possible, send to those parts teachers who are severed from all else save God, sanctified and pure. If these teachers be in the utmost state of attraction, in a short time great results will be forthcoming. The sons and daughters of the kingdom are like unto the real farmers. Through whichever state or country they pass they display self-sacrifice and sow divine seeds. From that seed harvests are produced. On this subject it is revealed in the glorious Gospel: When the pure seeds are scattered in the good ground heavenly blessing and benediction is obtained. I hope that you may become assisted and confirmed, and never lose courage in the promotion of the divine teachings. Day by day may you add to your effort, exertion and magnanimity.

Upon you be greeting and praise!
Haifa, Palestine, March 29, 1916.

977. To the believers and the maid-servants of God in the Central States: Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!

He is God!

God says in the great Qur'an: "He specializes for His Mercy whomsoever He willeth."

O ye old believers and intimate friends! These twelve central States of the United States are like unto the heart of America, and the heart is connected with all the organs and parts of man. If the heart is strengthened, all the organs of the body are reinforced, and if the heart is weak all the physical elements are subjected to feebleness.

Now praise be to God that Chicago and its environs from the beginning of the diffusion of the fragrances of God have been a strong heart. Therefore, through divine bounty and providence it has become confirmed in certain great matters.

First: The Call of the Kingdom was in the very beginning raised from Chicago. This is indeed a great privilege, for in future centuries and cycles, it will be as an axis around which the honor of Chicago will revolve.

Second: A number of souls with the utmost firmness and steadfastness arose in that blessed spot in the promotion of the Word of God and even to the present moment, having purified and sanctified the heart from every thought, they are occupied with the promulgation of the teachings of God. Hence the call of praise is raise uninterruptedly from the Supreme Concourse.

Thirdly: During the American journey Abdu'l-Bahá several times passed through Chicago and associated with the friends of God. For some time he sojourned in that city. Day and night he was occupied with the mention of the True One and summoned the people to the Kingdom of God.

Fourthly: Up to the present time, every movement initiated in Chicago, its effect was spread to all parts and to all directions; just as everything that appears in and manifests from the heart influences all the organs and limbs of the body.

Fifthly: The first Mashrekol-Azkar in America was instituted in Chicago, and this honor and distinction is infinite in value. Undoubtedly out of this Mashrekol-Azkar thousands of other Mashrekol-Azkars will be born.

Likewise the general Annual Conventions, the foundation of the Star of the West, the Publishing Society for the publication of books and Tablets and their circulation in all parts of America, and the preparations now under way for the celebration of the Golden Centenary Anniversary of the Kingdom of God. I hope that this Jubilee and this Exhibition may be celebrated in the utmost perfection; so that the call to the world of unity: "There is no God but One God, and all the Messengers, from the beginning to the Seal of the Prophets (Muhammad) were sent on the part of the True One!" may be raised; the flag of the oneness of the world of humanity be unfurled, the melody of Universal Peace may reach the ears of the East and the West; all the paths may be cleared and straightened, all the hearts may be attracted to the Kingdom of God, the tabernacle of unity be pitched on the apex of America, the song of the love of God may exhilarate and rejoice all the nations and peoples, the surface of the earth may become the eternal paradise, the dark clouds may be dispelled and the Sun of Truth may shine forth with the utmost intensity.

O ye friends of God! Exert ye with heart and soul, so that association, love, unity and agreement be obtained between the hearts, all the aims may be merged into one aim, all the songs become one song and the power of the Holy Spirit may become so overwhelmingly victorious as to overcome all the forces of the world of nature. Work! This is the great Work, should ye become assisted therein: Thus America may become the fulcrum of merciful susceptibilities, and the throne of the Kingdom of God be established upon earth with the greatest joy and majesty.

This phenomenal world will not remain in an unchanging condition even for a short while. Second after second it undergoes change and transformation. Every foundation will finally become collapsed; every glory and splendor will at last vanish and disappear, but the Kingdom of God is eternal and the heavenly sovereignty and majesty will stand firm everlasting. Hence in the estimation of a wise man the mat of the Kingdom of God is preferable to the throne of the government of the world.

Continually my ear and eye are turned toward the Central States; perchance a melody from some blessed souls may reach my ears, souls who are the dawningplaces of the love of God, the stars of the horizon of sanctification and holiness -- souls who will illumine this dark universe and quicken to life this dead world. The joy of Abdu'l-Bahá depends upon this! I hope that you may become confirmed therein.

Consequently, those souls who are in a condition of the utmost severance, purified from the defects of the world of nature, sanctified from attachment to this earth, vivified with the breaths of eternal life -- with luminous hearts, with heavenly spirit, with attraction of consciousness, with celestial magnanimity, with eloquent tongues and with clear explanations -- such souls must hasten and travel through all parts of the Central States. In every city and village they must occupy themselves with the diffusion of the divine exhortations and advices, guide the souls and promote the oneness of the world of humanity. They must play the melody of international conciliation with such power that every deaf one may attain hearing, every extinct person may be set aglow, every dead one may obtain new life and every indifferent soul may find ecstacy. It is certain that such will be the consummation.

The spreaders of the fragrances of God may peruse this commune every morning:

O Lord! O Lord! Praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for Thou hast guided me to the highway of the Kingdom, suffered me to walk in this straight and far-stretching path, illumined my eye by beholding the lights, made me listen to the melodies of the birds of holiness from the Kingdom of Mysteries and attracted my heart with Thy love among the righteous ones.

O Lord! Confirm me with the Holy Spirit, so that I may call in Thy Name amongst the nations and give the glad tidings to the manifestation of Thy Kingdom amongst mankind.

O Lord! I am weak, strengthen me with Thy power and potency. My tongue falters, suffer me to utter Thy commemoration and praise. I am lonely, console me through my entrance in Thy Kingdom. I am remote, cause me to approach to the threshold of Thy Mercifulness.

O Lord! Make me a brilliant lamp, a shining star and a blessed tree, adorned with fruits, its branches overshadowing all these regions! Verily Thou art the Mighty, the Powerful and Unconstrained!

Haifa, Palestine, February 8, 1917.

978. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Western States:

He is God!
O ye sons and daughters of the Kingdom!

Day and night I have no other occupation than the remembrance of the friends, praying from the depth of my heart in their behalf, begging for them confirmation from the Kingdom of God and supplicating the direct effect of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. I am hopeful from the favors of His Highness the Lord of Bestowals, that the friends of God during such a time may become the secret cause of the illumination of the hearts of humanity, breathing the breath of life upon the spirits -- whose praiseworthy results may become conducive to the glory and exaltation of humankind throughout all eternity. Although in some of the Western States, like California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, the fragrances of holiness are diffused, numerous souls have taken a share and a portion from the fountain of everlasting life, they have obtained heavenly benediction, have drunk an overflowing cup from the wine of the love of God and have hearkened to the melody of the Supreme Concourse -- yet in the States of New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada, the lamp of the love of God is not ignited in a befitting and behooving manner, and the call of the Kingdom of God has not been raised. Now, if it is possible, show ye an effort in this direction. Either travel yourselves, personally, throughout those States or choose others and send them, so that they may teach the souls. For the present those States are like unto dead bodies: they must breathe into them the breath of life and bestow upon them a heavenly spirit. Like unto the stars they must shine in that horizon and thus the rays of the Sun of Reality may also illumine those States.

God says in the great Qur'an "Verily God is the helper of those who have believed. He will lead them from darkness into light." This means: God loves the believers, consequently He will deliver them from darkness and bring them into the world of light.

It is also recorded in the blessed Gospel: Travel ye throughout the world and call ye the people to the Kingdom of God. Now this is the time that you may arise and perform this most great service and become the cause of the guidance of innumerable souls. Thus through this superhuman service the rays of peace and conciliation may illumine and enlighten all the regions and the world of humanity may find peace and composure.

During my stay in America I cried out in every meeting and summoned the people to the propagation of the ideals of universal peace. I said plainly that the continent of Europe had become like unto an arsenal and its conflagration was dependent upon one spark, and that in the coming years or within two years, all that which is recorded in the Revelation of John and the Book of Daniel would become fulfilled and come to pass. This matter, in all probability, was published in the San Francisco Bulletin, October 12, 1912. You may refer to it, so that the truth may become clear and manifest; thus ye may fully realize that this is the time for the diffusion of the fragrances.

The magnanimity of man must be heavenly -- or, in other words, it must be assisted by the divine confirmation, so that he may become the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity.

Upon you be greeting and praise.
Haifa, Palestine, April 1, 1916.

979. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Western States of the United States: New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah. Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!

He is God!

O ye friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful, the chosen ones of the Kingdom!

The blessed State of California bears the utmost similarity to the Holy Land -- that is, the country of Palestine. The air is of the utmost temperance, the plain very spacious, and the fruits of Palestine are seen in that State in the utmost freshness and delicacy. When Abdu'l-Bahá was travelling and journeying through those States, he found himself in Palestine, for from every standpoint there was a perfect likeness between this region and that State. Even the shores of the Pacific Ocean, in some instances, show perfect resemblance to the shores of the Holy Land -- and even the flora of the Holy Land have grown on those shores -- the study of which has led to much speculation and wonder.

Likewise in the State of California and other Western States, wonderful scenes of the world of nature, which bewilder the minds of men, are manifest. Lofty mountains, deep canyons, great and majestic waterfalls, and giant trees are witnessed on all sides, while its soil is in the utmost fertility and richness. That blessed state is similar to the Holy Land and that region and that country like unto a delectable paradise, in many ways identical with Palestine. Now just as there are natural resemblances, heavenly resemblances must also be acquired.

The lights of the divine traces are manifest in Palestine. The majority of the Israelitish Prophets raised the call of the Kingdom of God in this holy ground. Having spread the spiritual teachings, the nostrils of the spiritually-minded ones became fragrant, the eyes of the illumined souls became brightened, the ears were thrilled through this song, the hearts obtained eternal life from the soul-refreshing breeze of the Kingdom of God and gained supreme illumination from the splendor of the Sun of Reality. Then from this region the light was spread to Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Now California and the other Western States must earn an ideal similarity with the Holy Land, and from that state and that region the breaths of the Holy Spirit be diffused to all parts of America and Europe, that the call of the Kingdom of God may exhilarate and rejoice all the ears, the divine principles bestow a new life, the different parties may become one party, the divergent ideas may disappear and revolve around one unique center, the East and the West of America may embrace each other, the anthem of the oneness of the world of humanity may confer a new life upon all the children of men, and the tabernacle of Universal Peace be pitched on the apex of America; -- thus Europe and Africa may become vivified with the breaths of the Holy Spirit, this world may become another world, the body politic may attain to a new exhilaration, and just as in the state of California and other Western States the marvellous scenes of the world of nature are evident and manifest, the great signs of the Kingdom of God may also be unveiled; -- so that the body may correspond with the spirit, the outward world may become a symbol of the inward world, and the mirror of the earth may become the mirror of the Kingdom, reflecting the ideal virtues of heaven.

During my journey and travelling in those parts, I beheld wonderful scenes and beautiful panoramas of nature, orchards and rivers; national parks and general conclaves; deserts, plains, meadows and prairies, and the grains and fruits of that region greatly attracted my attention; even to the present moment they are in my mind.

Particularly was I greatly pleased with the meetings in San Francisco and Oakland, the gatherings in Los Angeles, and the believers who came from the cities of other states. Whenever their faces cross my memory, immediately infinite happiness is realized.

Therefore I hope that the divine teachings like unto the rays of the sun may be diffused in all the Western States, and the blessed Verse of the Qur'an: "It is a good City and the Lord is the Forgiver!" may become realized. Likewise, the significance of another Qur'anic Verse: "Do ye not travel through the land and behold the traces of the Mercy of God?" become revealed in the utmost effulgence.

Praise be to God that through the divine bounty and providence, in that region the field of service is vast, the minds are in the utmost degree of intelligence and progress, sciences and arts are being promoted, the hearts like unto mirrors are in the utmost state of purity and translucency, and the friends of God are in perfect attraction. Therefore it is hoped that meetings of teaching will be organized and instituted, and for the diffusion of the fragrances of God wise teachers may be sent to cities, even to villages.

The teachers of the Cause must be heavenly, lordly and radiant. They must be embodied spirit, personified intellect, and arise in service with the utmost firmness, steadfastness and self-sacrifice. In their journeys they must not be attached to food and clothing. They must concentrate their thoughts on the outpourings of the Kingdom of God and beg for the confirmations of the Holy Spirit. With a divine power, with an attraction of consciousness, with heavenly glad tidings and celestial holiness they must perfume the nostrils with the fragrances of the Paradise of Abha.

The following Commune is to be read by them every day:

O God! O God! This is a broken-winged bird and his flight is very slow -- assist him so that he may fly toward the apex of prosperity and salvation, wing his way with the utmost joy and happiness throughout the illimitable space, raise his melody in Thy Supreme Name in all the regions, exhilarate the ears with this call, and brighten the eyes by beholding the signs of guidance!

O Lord! I am single, alone and lowly. For me there is no support save Thee, no helper except Thee and no sustainer beside Thee. Confirm me in Thy service, assist me with the cohorts of Thy angels, make me victorious in the promotion of Thy Word and suffer me to speak out Thy wisdom amongst Thy creatures. Verily, Thou art the custodian of the poor and the defender of the little ones, and verily Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Unconstrained!

Haifa, Palestine, February 15, 1917.
He is God!

980. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Provinces of the Dominion of Canada:

O ye daughters and sons of the Kingdom!

Although in most of the states and cities in the United States -- praise be to God -- the fragrances of God are diffused and innumerable souls are turning their faces and advancing toward the Kingdom of God, yet in some of the states the flag of oneness is not upraised as it ought to be and must be, and the mysteries of the Holy Books, like the Bible, the Gospel and the Qur'an, are not promulgated. Through the unanimous effort of the friends, the banner of oneness must be unfurled in those states, and the divine teachings be promoted, so that they may also receive a portion and a share of the heavenly bestowals and the most great guidance. Likewise in the Provinces of Canada, such as Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Ungava, Keewatin, Mackenzie, Yukon and the Franklin Islands in the Arctic Circle -- the believers of God must become self-sacrificing and like unto the candles of guidance become ignited in the Provinces of Canada. Should they show forth such a magnanimity, it is assured that they will obtain universal divine confirmations, the heavenly cohorts will reinforce them uninterruptedly, and a most great victory will be obtained. Perchance, God willing, the call of the Kingdom may reach the ears of the Eskimos, the inhabitants of the Islands of Franklin in the north of Canada, as well as Greenland. Should in Greenland the fire of the love of God be ignited, all the ices of that continent will be melted and its frigid climate will be changed into a temperate climate -- that is, if the hearts will obtain the heat of the love of God, that country and continent will become a divine garden and a lordly orchard, and the souls, like unto the fruitful trees, will obtain the utmost freshness and delicacy. Magnanimity is necessary, heavenly exertion is called for. Should you display an effort, so that the fragrances of God be diffused amongst the Eskimos, its effect will be very great and far-reaching. God says in the great Qur'an: "A day will come wherein the lights of unity will enlighten all the world. The earth will be irradiated with the light of its Lord." In other words: "The earth will become illumined with the light of God. That light is the light of unity." "There is no God but God." The continent and the islands of Eskimos are also parts of this earth. They must similarly receive a portion of the bestowals of the most great guidance.

Upon you be greeting and praise.
Haifa, Palestine, April 5, 1916.

981. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, Franklin Islands and Greenland:

Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!
He is God!

O ye kind friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful!

In the great Qur'an, God says: "Thou shalt see no difference in the creatures of God." In other words, He says: From the ideal standpoint, there is no variation between the creatures of God, because they are all created by Him. From the above premise, a conclusion is drawn, that there is even no difference between the various countries; nevertheless the future of the Dominion of Canada is very great, and its historical events infinitely glorious. Thus it shall become the object of the glance of providence and the manifestation of the favors of the Supreme Lord.

Abdu'l-Bahá during his journey and sojourn through that Dominion obtained the utmost joy. Before my departure, many souls warned me not to travel to Montreal, saying, the majority of the inhabitants are Catholics, and are in the utmost fanaticism, that they are submerged in the sea of imitations, that they have not the capability to hearken to the call of the Kingdom of God, that the veil of bigotry has so covered the eyes that they have deprived themselves from beholding the signs of the most great guidance, and that the dogmas have taken possession of the hearts entirely, leaving no trace of reality. They asserted that should the Sun of Reality shine with perfect splendor throughout that Dominion, the dark, impenetrable clouds of superstitions have so enveloped the horizon that it would be utterly impossible for any one to behold its rays.

But these stories did not have any effect on the resolution of

Abdu'l-Bahá. He, trusting in God, turned his face toward Montreal. When he entered that city he observed all the doors open, he found the hearts in the utmost receptivity and the ideal power of the Kingdom of God removing every obstacle and obstruction. In the churches and meetings of that Dominion he called men to the Kingdom of God with the utmost joy, and scattered such seeds which will be irrigated with the hand of Divine Power. Undoubtedly those seeds will grow, becoming green and verdant, and many rich harvests will be gathered. In the promotion of the divine principles he found no antagonist and no adversary. The believers he met in that city were in the utmost spirituality, and attracted with the fragrances of God. He found that through the effort of the maid-servant of God, Mrs. Maxwell, a number of the sons and daughter of the Kingdom in that Dominion were gathered together and associated with each other, increasing this joyous exhilaration day by day. The time of sojourn was limited to a number of days, but the results in the future are inexhaustible. When a farmer comes into the possession of a virgin soil, in a short time he will bring under cultivation a large field. Therefore I hope that in the future Montreal may become so stirred, that the melody of the Kingdom may travel to all parts of the world from that Dominion and the breaths of the Holy Spirit may spread from that center to the East and the West of America.

O ye believers of God! Do ye not look upon the smallness of your number and the multitudes of the nations. Five grains of wheat will be endued with heavenly blessing, whereas a thousand tons of tares will yield no results or effect. One fruitful tree will be conducive to the life of society, whereas a thousand forests of wild trees offer no fruits. The plain is covered with pebbles, but precious stones are rare. One pearl is better than a thousand wildernesses of sand; especially this pearl of great price, which is endowed with divine blessing. Ere long thousands of other pearls will be born from It. When that pearl associates and becomes the intimate of the pebbles, they also all change into pearls.

Therefore, again I repeat, that the future of Canada, whether from the standpoint of civilization or from the viewpoint of the virtues of the Kingdom is very great. Day by day civilization and freedom shall increase. Likewise the cloud of the Kingdom will water the seeds of guidance sown in that Dominion. Consequently, rest ye not, seek ye no composure, attach not yourselves to the luxuries of this ephemeral world, free yourselves from every attachment, and strive with heart and soul to become fully established in the Kingdom of God. Gain ye the heavenly treasures. Day by day become ye more illumined. Draw ye nearer and nearer unto the threshold of oneness. Become ye the manifestors of spiritual favors and the dawningplaces of infinite lights! If it is possible, send ye teachers to other portions of Canada, likewise dispatch ye teachers to Greenland and the home of the Eskimos.

As regards the teachers, they must completely divest themselves from the old garments and be invested with a new garment. According to the statement of Christ, they must attain to the station of rebirth: -- that is, whereas in the first instance they were born from the womb of the mother, this time they must be born from the womb of the world of nature. Just as they are now totally unaware of the experiences of the foetal world, they must also forget entirely the defects of the world of nature. They must be baptized with the water of life, the fire of the love of God and the breaths of the Holy Spirit; be satisfied with little food, but take a large portion from the heavenly table. They must disengage themselves from temptation and covetousness, and be filled with the spirit. Through the effect of their pure breath, they must change the stone into the brilliant ruby and the shell into pearl. Like unto the cloud of vernal shower, they must transform the black soil into the rose garden and orchard. They must make the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the extinguished one enkindled and set aglow, and the dead quickened.

Upon you be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!

The spreaders of the fragrances of God should peruse every morning the following supplication:

Praise be to Thee, O God! Verily these are Thy servants, who are attracted by the fragrances of Thy Mercifulness, enkindled by the ignited fire in the tree of Thy Singleness and their eyes are brightened by beholding the effulgences of the light in the Sinai of Thy Oneness!

O Lord! Loosen their tongues in Thy commemoration amongst Thy people; suffer them to speak Thy Praise through Thy Favor and Grace, assist them with the cohorts of Thy Angels, strengthen their loins in Thy service and make them the signs of Thy Guidance amongst Thy creatures!

Verily Thou art the Powerful, the Exalted, the Pardoner and the Merciful!

O God! O God! Thou beholdest this weak one begging the strength of Thy Kingdom! This poor one supplicating the treasures of Thy heaven! This thirsty one longing for Thy Fountain of the water of eternal life! This sick one invoking Thy perfect recovery through Thy boundless Mercy, which Thou hast specialized for Thy chosen servants in Thy Supreme Kingdom!

O Lord! I have no other helper save Thee; no other comforter beside Thee, and no other sustainer except Thee! Assist me with Thy Angels in the diffusion of Thy holy fragrances and the dissemination of Thy teachings amongst Thy elected people!

O Lord! Suffer me to sever myself from aught else save Thee, holding fast to the hem of Thy Garment; make me sincere in Thy religion, firm in Thy love and living in accordance with that which Thou hast commanded me in Thy Book.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Omnipotent!

Haifa, Palestine, February 21, 1917.

982. To the Assemblies and Meetings of the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the United States and Canada!

Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!
He is God!
O ye blessed souls!

I desire for you eternal success and prosperity and beg perfect confirmation for each one in the divine world. My hope for you is that each one may shine forth like unto the morning star from the horizon of the world and in this Garden of God become a blessed tree, producing everlasting fruits and results.

Therefore I direct you to that which is conducive to your heavenly confirmation and illumination in the Kingdom of God!

It is this: Alaska is a vast country; although one of the maid-servants of the Merciful has hastened to those parts, serving as a librarian in the Public Library, and according to her ability is not failing in teaching the Cause; yet the call of the Kingdom of God is not yet raised through that spacious territory.

His Holiness Christ says: Travel ye to the East and to the West of the world and summon the people to the Kingdom of God. Hence the mercy of God must encompass all humanity. Therefore do ye not think it permissible to leave that region deprived of the breezes of the Morn of Guidance. Consequently, strive as far as ye are able to send to those parts fluent speakers, who are detached from aught else save God, attracted with the fragrances of God, and sanctified and purified from all desires and temptations. Their sustenance and food must consist of the teachings of God. First they must themselves live in accordance with those principles, then guide the people. Perchance, God willing, the lights of the most great guidance may illumine that country and the breezes of the rose garden of the love of God may perfume the nostrils of the inhabitants of Alaska. Should ye become confirmed in thus rendering such a service, rest ye assured that ye shall crown your heads with the diadem of everlasting sovereignty, and at the threshold of oneness you will become the favored and accepted servants.

Likewise the Republic of Mexico is very important. The majority of the inhabitants of that country are devoted Catholics. They are totally unaware of the reality of the Bible, the Gospel and the new divine teachings. They do not know that the basis of the religions of God is one and that the Holy Manifestations are like unto the Sun of Truth, rising from the different dawningplaces. Those souls are submerged in the sea of dogmas. If one breath of life be blown over them, great results will issue therefrom. But it is better for those who intend to go to Mexico to teach, to be familiar with the Spanish language.

Similarly, the six Central American Republics, situated south of Mexico -- Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the seventh country Belize or British Honduras. The teachers going to those parts must also be familiar with the Spanish language.

You must give great importance to teaching the Indians, i e., the aborigines of America. For these souls are like the ancient inhabitants of Peninsular Arabia, who previous to the Manifestation of His Holiness Muhammad were treated as savages. But when the Muhammadic light shone forth in their midst, they became so illumined that they brightened the world. Likewise, should these Indians and aborigines be educated and obtain guidance, there is no doubt that through the divine teachings, they will become so enlightened as in turn to shed light to all regions.

All the above countries have importance, but especially the Republic of Panama, wherein the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans come together through the Panama Canal. It is the center for travel and passage from America to other continents of the world, and in the future it will gain most great importance.

Likewise the Islands of the West Indies, such as Cuba, Haiti, Porto Rico, Jamaica, the Islands of the Lesser Antilles, Bahama Islands, even the small Watling Island, have great importance; especially the two black Republics, Haiti and Santo Domingo, situated in the cluster of the Greater Antilles. Likewise the cluster of the Islands of Bermuda and the Atlantic Ocean have importance.

In a similar way, the Republics on the Continent of South America, -- Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, French Guiana, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela; also the Islands in the North, East and West of South America, such as Falkland Island, Galapago, Juan Fernandez, Tobago and Trinidad. Likewise the city of Bahia, situated on the eastern shore of Brazil. Because it is some time that it has become known by this name, its efficacy will be most potent.

In short, O ye believers of God! Exalt your effort and magnify your aims. His Holiness Christ says: Blessed are the poor, for theirs shall be the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words: Blessed are the nameless and traceless poor, for they are the leaders of mankind. Likewise it is said in the Qur'an: "We desire to bestow our gifts upon those who have become weak on the face of the earth, and make them a nation and the heirs (of spiritual truth)." Or, we wish to grant a favor to the impotent souls and suffer them to become the inheritors of the Messengers and Prophets.

Therefore, now is the time that you may divest yourselves from the garment of attachment to this phenomenal realm, be wholly severed from the physical world, become angels of heaven and travel and teach through all these regions.

I declare by Him, beside whom there is no one, that each one of you shall become the Israfel of Life, blowing the breath of life in the souls of others.

Upon you be greeting and praise!
Supplication

O Thou Incomparable God! O Thou Lord of the Kingdom! These souls are Thy heavenly army. Assist them and with the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse, make them victorious; so that each one of them may become like unto a regiment and conquer these countries through the love of God and the illumination of divine teachings.

O God! Be Thou their supporter and their helper, and in the wilderness, the mountain, the valley, the forests, the prairies and the seas, be Thou their confidant -- so that they may cry out through the power of the Kingdom and the breath of the Holy Spirit!

Verily Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Omnipotent, and Thou art the Wise, the Hearing and the Seeing.

Haifa, Palestine, April 8, 1916.

983. To the Assemblies and meetings of the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful in the United States and Canada:

Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!
He is God!

O ye heavenly souls, sons and daughters of the Kingdom!

God says in the Qur'an: "Take ye hold of the Cord of God, all of you, and become ye not disunited."

In the contingent world there are many collective centers which are conducive to association and unity between the children of men. For example, patriotism is a collective center; nationalism is a collective center; the union of ideals is a collective center, and the prosperity of the world of humanity is dependent upon the organization and promotion of the collective centers. Nevertheless, all the above institutions are in reality, the matter and not the substance, accidental and not eternal -- temporary and not everlasting. With the appearance of great revolutions and upheavals, all these collective centers are swept away. But the Collective Center of the Kingdom, embodying the Institutes and Divine Teachings, is the eternal Collective Center. It establishes relationship between the East and the West, organizes the oneness of the world of humanity, and destroys the foundation of differences. It overcomes and includes all the other collective centers. Like unto the ray of the sun, it dispels entirely the darkness, encompassing all the regions, bestows ideal life, and causes the effulgence of divine illumination. Through the breaths of the Holy Spirit it performs miracles; the Orient and the Occident embrace each other, the North and South become intimates and associates; conflicting and contending opinions disappear; antagonistic aims are brushed aside, the law of the struggle for existence is abrogated, and the canopy of the oneness of the world of humanity is raised on the apex of the globe, casting its shade over all the races of men. Consequently, the real Collective Center is the body of the divine teachings, which include all the degrees and embrace all the universal relations and necessary laws of humanity.

Consider! The people of the East and the West were in the utmost strangeness. Now to what a high degree they are acquainted with each other and united together! How far are the inhabitants of Persia from the remotest countries of America! And now observe how great has been the influence of the heavenly power, for the distance of thousands of miles has becomes identical with one step! How various nations that have had no relations or similarity with each other are now united and agreed through this divine potency! Indeed to God belongs power in the past and in the future! And verily God is powerful over all things!

Consider! When the rain, the heat, the sun and the gentle zephyrs co-operate with each other, what beautiful gardens are produced! How the various kinds of hyacinths, flowers, trees and plants associate with each other and are conducive to the adornment and charm of one another! Hence the oneness of the bounty of the sun, the oneness of rain and the oneness of the breeze have so overcome all other considerations that the variety of hues, fragrances and tastes have increased the adornment, the attraction and sweetness of the whole. In a similar manner, when the divine collective center and the outpouring of the Sun of Reality and the breaths of the Holy Spirit are brought together, the variety of races and the differences existing between countries will become the cause of the embellishment, decoration and elegance of the world of humanity.

Therefore, the believers of God throughout all the Republics of America, through the divine power, must become the cause of the promotion of heavenly teachings and the establishment of the oneness of humanity. Every one of the important souls must arise, blowing over all parts of America the breath of life, conferring upon the people a new spirit, baptizing them with the fire of the love of God, the water of life, and the breaths of the Holy Spirit -- so that the second birth may become realized. For it is written in the Gospel: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit."

Therefore, O ye believers of God in the United States and Canada! Select ye important personages, or that they by themselves becoming severed from rest and composure of the world, may arise and travel throughout Alaska, the Republic of Mexico, and south of Mexico, in the Central American Republics, such as Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize; and through the great South American Republics, such as Argentine, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, French Guiana, Dutch Guiana, British Guiana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile; also in the group of the West Indies Islands, such as Cuba, Haiti, Porto Rico, Jamaica and Santo Domingo, and the group of Islands of the Lesser Antilles, the Islands of Bahama and the Islands of Bermuda; likewise to the Islands of the East, West and South of South America, such as Trinidad, Falkland Islands, Galapago Islands, Juan Fernandez and Tobago. Visit ye especially the city of Bahia, on the eastern shore of Brazil. Because in the past years this city was christened with the name, BAHIA, there is no doubt that it has been through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Consequently, the believers of God must display the utmost effort, upraise the divine melody throughout those regions, promulgate the heavenly teachings and waft over all, the spirit of eternal life; so that those Republics may become so illumined with the splendors and the effulgences of the Sun of Reality that they may become the objects of the praise and commendation of all other countries. Likewise, ye must give great attention to the Republic of Panama, for in that point the Occident and the Orient find each other united through the Panama Canal, and it is also situated between the two great oceans. That place will becomes very important in the future. The Teachings once established there, they will unite the East and the West, the North and the South.

Hence the intention must be purified, the effort ennobled and exalted, so that ye may establish affinity between the hearts of the world of humanity. This glorious aim will not become realized save through the promotion of divine teachings which are the foundations of the holy religions.

Consider how the religions of God served the world of humanity! How the religion of Torah became conducive to the glory and honor and progress of the Israelitish nation! How the breaths of the Holy Spirit of His Holiness Christ created affinity and unity between divergent communities and quarreling families! How the sacred power of His Holiness Muhammad became the means of unity and harmonizing the contentious tribes and the different clans of Peninsular Arabia -- to such an extent that one thousand tribes were welded into one tribe, strife and discord was done away with, all of them unitedly and with one accord strove in advancing the cause of culture and civilization, and thus were freed from the lowest degree of degradation, soaring toward the height of everlasting glory! Is it possible to find a great Collective Center in the phenomenal world than this? In comparison to this Divine Collective Center, the national collective center, the patriotic collective center, the political collective center and the cultural and intellectual collective center are like child's play!

Now strive ye that the Collective Center of the sacred religions, for the inculcation of which all the Prophets were manifested and which is no other than the spirit of the Divine Teachings, -- be spread in all part of America; -- so that each one of you may shine forth from the horizon of Reality like unto the morning star, divine illumination may overcome the darkness of nature, and the world of humanity may become enlightened. This is the most great work! Should ye become confirmed therein, this world will become another world, the surface of the earth will become the delectable Paradise, and eternal Institutions be founded.

Let whosoever travels to different parts to teach, peruse over mountain, desert, land and sea this supplication!

O God! O God! Thou seest my weakness, lowliness and humility amongst Thy creatures; nevertheless I have trusted on Thee and have arisen in the promotion of Thy Teachings amongst Thy strong servants, relying on Thy power and might!

O Lord! I am a broken-winged bird and desire to soar in this Thy space to which there is no limit. How is it possible for me to do this save through Thy providence and grace, Thy confirmation and assistance!

O Lord! Have pity on my weakness and strengthen me with Thy power!

O Lord! Have pity on my impotency and assist me with Thy might and majesty!

O Lord! Should the breaths of the Holy Spirit confirm the weakest of creatures, he shall attain to the highest station of greatness and shall possess anything he desireth. Indeed Thou hast assisted Thy servants in the past, and they were the weakest of Thy creatures, the lowliest of Thy servants and the most insignificant of those who lived upon the earth; but through Thy sanction and potency they took precedence over the most glorious of Thy people and the most noble of Thy mankind. Whereas formerly they were as moths, they became royal falcons and whereas before they were as bubbles they became seas. Through Thy bestowal, Thy mercy and Thy most great favor they became stars shining in the horizon of guidance, birds singing in the rose-gardens of immortality, lions roaring in the forest of knowledge and wisdom and whales swimming in the oceans of life.

Verily, Thou art the Clement, the Powerful, the Mighty, and the Most Merciful of the Merciful!

Haifa, Palestine, March 8, 1917.

984. To the believers and the maid-servants of the Merciful of the Bahá'í Assemblies and meetings in the United States and Canada!

He is God!
O ye real Bahá'ís of America!

Praise be to His Highness the Desired One that ye have become confirmed in the promotion of divine teachings in that vast Continent, raised the call of the Kingdom of God in that region and announced the Glad tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts and His Highness the Promised One. Thanks be unto the Lord that ye have become assisted and confirmed in this aim. This is purely through the confirmations of the Lord of Hosts and the breaths of the Holy Spirit. At present your confirmation is not known and understood. Ere long ye shall observe that each one of you like unto a brilliant and shining star will diffuse the light of guidance from the horizon and that ye have become the cause of eternal life to the inhabitants of America.

Consider! The station and the confirmation of the apostles in the time of Christ was not known, and no one looked on them with the feeling of importance -- nay, rather, they persecuted and ridiculed them. Later on it became evident what crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance were placed on the heads of the apostles, Mary Magdalene and May the mother of John.

Likewise your confirmation is not known at the present time. I hope that ere long it may throw a mighty reverberation through the pillars of the earth. Therefore it is the hope of Abdu'l-Bahá that just as ye are confirmed and assisted on the continent of America, ye may also be confirmed and assisted in other continents of the globe: -- that is, ye may carry the fame of the Cause of God to the East and to the West and spread the Glad tidings of the appearance of the Kingdom of the Lord of Hosts throughout the five continents of the world.

When this divine call travels from the continent of America to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Islands of the Pacific, the American believers shall be established on the throne of everlasting Glory, the fame of their illumination and guidance shall reach to all regions and the renown of their greatness become world-wide. Therefore, a party, speaking the languages, severed, holy, sanctified and filled with the love of God, must turn their faces to and travel through the three great island groups of the Pacific Ocean, -- Polynesia, Micronesia and Mylanesia, and the islands attached to these groups, such as New Guinea, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Philippine Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Bismarck Archipelago, Ceram, Celebes, Friendly Islands, Samoa Islands, Society Islands, Caroline Islands, Low Archipelago, Marquesas, Hawaiian Islands, Gilbert Islands, Moluccas, Marshall Islands, Timor and the other Islands. With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the Glad tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people. Know ye of a certainty that in whatever meeting ye may enter, in the apex of that meeting the Holy Spirit shall be waving and the heavenly confirmations of the Blessed Perfection shall encompass all.

Consider ye, that Miss Agnes Alexander, the daughter of the Kingdom, the beloved maid-servant of the Blessed Perfection, travelled alone to Hawaii and the Island of Honolulu, and now she is gaining spiritual victories in Japan! She became the cause of the guidance of a gathering of people.

Likewise Miss Knobloch travelled alone to Germany. To what a great extent she became confirmed! Therefore, know ye of a certainty that whosoever arises in this day to diffuse the divine fragrances, the cohorts of the Kingdom of God shall confirm him and the bestowals and the favors of the Blessed Perfection shall encircle him.

O how I long that it could be made possible for me to travel through these parts, even if necessary on foot and with the utmost poverty, and while passing through the cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, cry at the top of my voice: "Ya Baha El Abha!" and promote the divine teachings. But now this is not feasible for me, therefore I live in great regret; perchance, God willing, ye may become assisted therein.

At this time, in the Islands of Hawaii, through the efforts of Miss Alexander, a number of souls have reached the shore of the sea of faith! Consider ye, what happiness, what joy is this! I declare by the Lord of Hosts that had this respected daughter founded an empire, that empire would not have been so great! For this sovereignty is eternal sovereignty and this glory is everlasting glory.

Likewise, if some teachers go to other islands and other parts, such as the continent of Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, also to Japan, Asiatic Russia, Korea, French Indo-China, Siam, Straits Settlements, India, Ceylon and Afghanistan, most great results will be forthcoming. How good would it be were there any possibility of a commission composed of men and women, to travel together through China and Japan, -- so that this bond of love may become strengthened, and through this going and coming they may establish the oneness of the world of humanity, summon the people to the Kingdom of God and spread the teachings.

Similarly, if possible, they should travel to the continent of Africa, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Madeira Islands, Reunion Islands, St. Helena, Zanzibar, Mauritius, etc., and in those countries summon the people to the Kingdom of God and raise the cry of: "Ya Baha El Abha!" They must also upraise the flag of the oneness of the world of humanity in the island of Madagascar.

Books and pamphlets must be either translated or composed in the languages of these countries and Islands, to be circulated in every part and in all directions.

It is said that in South Africa, a diamond mine is discovered. Although this mine is most valuable, yet after all it is stone. Perchance, God willing, the mine of humanity may be discovered and the brilliant pearls of the Kingdom be found.

In brief, this world-consuming war has set such a conflagration to the hearts that no word can describe it. In all the countries of the world the longing for Universal Peace is taking possession of the consciousness of men. There is not a soul who does not yearn for concord and peace. A most wonderful state of receptivity is being realized. This is through the consummate wisdom of God, so that capacity may be created, the standard of the oneness of the world of humanity be upraised, and the fundamentals of Universal Peace and the divine principles be promoted in the East and the West.

Therefore, O ye believers of God! Show ye an effort and after this war spread ye the synopsis of the divine teachings in the British Isles, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, Andora, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, San Marino, Balearic Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Malta, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Hebrides and Orkney Islands.

In all these countries, like unto the morning stars shine ye forth from the horizon of guidance. Up to this time you have displayed great magnanimity, but after this, ye must add a thousand times to your effort and throughout the above countries, capitals, islands, meetings and churches, invite mankind to the Kingdom of Abha! The circle of your exertion must become widened. The more it is broadened and extended, the greater will be your confirmation.

Ye have observed that while Abdu'l-Bahá was in the utmost bodily weakness and feebleness, while he was indisposed, and had not the power to move -- notwithstanding this physical state he travelled through many countries, in Europe and America, and in churches, meetings and conventions was occupied with the promotion of the divine principles and summoned the people to the manifestation of the Kingdom of Abha. Ye have also observed how the confirmations of the Blessed Perfection encompassed all. What result is forthcoming from material rest, tranquillity, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world! It is evident that the man who pursues these things will in the end become afflicted with regret and loss.

Consequently, one must close his eyes wholly to these thoughts, long for eternal life, the sublimity of the world of humanity, the celestial developments, the Holy Spirit, the promotion of the Word of God, the guidance of the inhabitants of the globe, the promulgation of the Universal Peace and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity! This is the work! Otherwise like unto other animals and birds one must occupy himself with the requirements of this physical life, the satisfaction of which is the highest aspiration of the animal kingdom, and one must stalk across the earth like unto the quadrupeds.

Consider ye! No matter how much man gains wealth, riches and opulence in this world, he will not become as independent as a cow. For these fattened cows roam freely over the vast tableland. All the prairies and meadows are theirs for grazing, and all the springs and rivers are theirs for drinking! No matter how much they graze, the fields will not be exhausted! It is evident that they have earned these material bounties with the utmost facility.

Still more ideal than this life is the life of the bird. A bird, on the summit of a mountain, on the high, waving branches, has built for itself a nest more beautiful than the palaces of the kings! The air is in the utmost purity, the water cool and clear as crystal, the panorama charming and enchanting. In such glorious surroundings, he expends his numbered days. All the harvests of the plain are his possessions, having earned all this wealth without the least labor. Hence, no matter how much man may advance in this world, he shall not attain to the station of this bird! Thus it becomes evident that in the matters of this world, however much man may strive and work to the point of death, he will be unable to earn the abundance, the freedom and the independent life of a small bird. This proves and establishes the fact that man is not created for the life of this ephemeral world: -- nay, rather, is he created for the acquirement of infinite perfections, for the attainment to the sublimity of the world of humanity, to be drawn nigh unto the divine threshold, and to sit on the throne of everlasting sovereignty!

Upon you be Baha El-Abha!
Supplication.

Any soul starting on a trip of teaching to various parts, and while sojourning in strange countries, may peruse the following supplication: -- day and night.

O God! O God! Thou seest me enamored and attracted toward Thy Kingdom, the El Abha, enkindled with the fire of Thy love amongst mankind, a herald of Thy Kingdom in these vast and spacious countries, severed from aught else save Thee, relying on Thee, abandoning rest and comfort, remote from my native home, a wanderer in these regions, a stranger fallen on the ground, humble before Thy exalted threshold, submissive toward Thy most high realm, supplicating Thee in the middle of nights and in the heart of evenings, entreating and invoking Thee in the morn and eve; -- so that Thou mayest assist me in the service of Thy Cause, the promotion of Thy Teachings and the exaltation of Thy Word in the Easts of the earth and the Wests thereof.

O Lord! Strengthen my back and confirm me in Thy servitude with all my powers, and do not leave me alone and by myself in these countries.

O Lord! Associate with me in my loneliness and accompany me in my journeys through these foreign lands.

Verily, Thou art the confirmer of whomsoever Thou willest in that which Thou desirest, and verily Thou art the Powerful, the Omnipotent:

Haifa, Palestine, April 11, 1916.

985. To the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful of the Bahá'í Assemblies in the United States of America and Canada!

Upon them be Bahá'u'lláh El-Abha!
He is God!

O ye apostles of Bahá'u'lláh -- May my life be a ransom to you!

The blessed Person of the Promised One is interpreted in the Holy Book as the Lord of Hosts, i. e., the heavenly armies: By heavenly armies those souls are intended who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents. Each one is holding in his hand a trumpet, blowing the breath of life over all the regions. They are delivered from human qualities and the defects of the world of nature, are characterized with the characteristics of God, and are attracted with the fragrances of the Merciful. Like unto the apostles of Christ, who were filled with Him, these souls also have become filled with His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh, i. e., the love of Bahá'u'lláh has so mastered every organ, part and limb of their bodies, as to leave no effect by the promptings of the human world.

These souls are the armies of God and the conquerors of the East and the West. Should one of them turn his face toward some direction and summon the people to the Kingdom of God, all the ideal forces and lordly confirmations will rush to his support and reinforcement. He will behold all the doors open and all the strong fortifications and impregnable castles razed to the ground. Singly and alone he will attack the armies of the world, defeat the right and left wings of the hosts of all the countries, break through the lines of the legions of all the nations and carry his attack to the very center of the power of the earth. This is the meaning of the Hosts of God.

Any soul from among the believers of Bahá'u'lláh who attains to this station, will become known as the Apostle of Bahá'u'lláh. Therefore strive ye with heart and soul -- so that ye may reach this lofty and exalted position, be established on the throne of everlasting glory, and crown your heads with the shining diadem of the Kingdom, whose brilliant jewels may irradiate upon centuries and cycles.

O ye kind friends! Uplift your magnanimity and soar high toward the apex of heaven -- so that your blessed hearts may become illumined more and more, day by day, through the Rays of the Sun of Reality, i. e., His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh; at every moment the spirits may obtain a new life, and the darkness of the world of nature may be entirely dispelled -- thus ye may become incarnate light and personified spirit, become entirely unaware of the sordid matters of this world and in touch with the affairs of the divine world.

Consider ye what doors His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh has opened before you, and what a high and exalted station He has destine for you, and what bounties He has prepared for you! Should we become intoxicated with this cup, the sovereignty of this globe of earth will become lower in our estimation than the children's plays. Should they place in the arena the crown of the government of the world, and invite each one of us to accept it, undoubtedly we shall not condescend, and shall refuse to accept it.

To attain to this supreme station is, however, dependent on the realization of certain conditions:

The first condition is firmness in the Covenant of God. For the power of the Covenant will protect the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh from the doubts of the people of error. It is the fortified fortress of the Cause of God and the firm pillar of the religion of God. Today no power can conserve the oneness of the Bahá'í world save the Covenant of God; otherwise differences like unto a most great tempest will encompass the Bahá'í world. It is evident that the axis of the oneness of the world of humanity is the power of the Covenant and nothing else. Had the Covenant not come to pass, had it not been revealed from the Supreme Pen and had not the Book of the Covenant, like unto the ray of the Sun of Reality, illuminated the world the forces of the Cause of God would have been utterly scattered and certain souls who were the prisoners of their own passions and lusts would have taken into their hands an axe, cutting the root of this Blessed Tree. Every person would have pushed forward his own desire and every individual aired his own opinion! Notwithstanding this great Covenant, a few negligent souls galloped with their chargers into the battlefield, thinking perchance they might be able to weaken the foundation of the Cause of God: but praise be to God all of them were afflicted with regret and loss, and ere long they shall see themselves in poignant despair. Therefore, in the beginning one must make his steps firm in the Covenant -- so that the confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh may encircle from all sides, the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse may become the supporters and the helpers, and the exhortations and advices of Abdu'l-Bahá, like unto the pictures engraved on stone, may remain permanent and ineffaceable in the tablets of the hearts.

The second condition: Fellowship and love amongst the believers. The divine friends must be attracted to and enamored of each other and ever be ready and willing to sacrifice their own lives for each other. Should one soul from amongst the believers meet another, it must be as though a thirst one with parched lips has reached to the fountain of the water of life, or a lover has met his true beloved. For one of the greatest divine wisdoms regarding the appearance of the Holy Manifestations is this: The souls may come to know each other and become intimate with each other; the power of the love of God may make all of them the waves of one sea, the flowers of one rose garden, and the stars of one heaven. This is the wisdom for the appearance of the Holy Manifestations! When the most great bestowal reveals itself in the hearts of the believers, the world of nature will be transformed, the darkness of the contingent being will vanish, and heavenly illumination will be obtained. Then the whole world will become the Paradise of Abha, every one of the believers of God will become a blessed tree, producing wonderful fruits.

O ye friends! Fellowship, fellowship! Love, love! Unity, unity! -- So that the power of the Bahá'í Cause may appear and become manifest in the world of existence. Just at this moment I am engaged in your commemoration and this heart is in the utmost glow and excitement! Were ye to realize how this conscience is attracted with the love of the friends, unquestionably ye would obtain such a degree of joy and fragrance that ye would all become enamored with each other!

The third condition: Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world, but they must travel like Abdu'l-Bahá, who journeyed throughout the cities of America. He was sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance. Just as His Holiness Christ says: "Shake off the very dust from your feet."

Ye have observed that while in America many souls in the utmost of supplication and entreaty desired to offer some gifts, but this servant, in accord with the exhortations and behests of the Blessed Perfection, never accepted a thing, although on certain occasions we were in most straitened circumstances. But on the other hand, if a soul for the sake of God, voluntarily and out of his pure desire, wishes to offer a contribution (toward the expenses of a teacher) in order to make the contributor happy, the teacher may accept a small sum, but must live with the utmost contentment.

The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the defects of others. Unless he is detached from aught save God, how can he teach severance to others!

In short, O ye believers of God! Endeavor ye; so that ye may take hold of every means in the promulgation of the religion of God and the diffusion of the fragrances of God.

Amongst other things is the holding of the meetings for teaching -- so that blessed souls and the old ones from amongst the believers may gather together the youths of the love of God in schools of instruction and teach them all the divine proofs and irrefragible arguments, explain and elucidate the history of the Cause, and interpret also the prophecies and proofs which are recorded and are extant in the divine Books and Epistles regarding the Manifestation of the Promised One, so that the young ones may go in perfect knowledge in all these degrees.

Likewise, whenever it is possible a committee must be organized for the translation of the Tablets. Wise souls who have mastered and studied perfectly the Persian, Arabic and foreign languages, or know one of the foreign languages -- must commence translating Tablets and books containing the proofs of this Revelation, and publishing those books, circulate them throughout the five continents of the globe.

Similarly, the Magazine, the Star of the West, must be edited in the utmost regularity, but its contents must be the promulgator of the Cause of God -- so that both in the East and the West, they may become informed of the most important events.

In short, in all the meetings, whether public or private, nothing should be discussed save that which is under consideration, and all the articles be centered around the Cause of God. Promiscuous talks must not be dragged in and contention is absolutely forbidden.

The teachers travelling in different directions must know the language of the country in which they appear. For example, a person being proficient in the Japanese language may travel to Japan, or a person knowing the Chinese language may hasten to China, and so forth.

In short, after this universal war, the people have obtained extraordinary capacity to hearken to the divine teachings, for the wisdom of this war is this: That it may become proven to all that the fire of war is world-consuming, whereas the rays of peace are world-enlightening. One is death, the other is life; this is extinction, that is immortality; one is the most great calamity, the other is the most great bounty; this is darkness, that is light; this is eternal humiliation and that is everlasting glory; one is the destroyer of the foundation of man, the other is the founder of the prosperity of the human race.

Consequently, a number of souls may arise and act in accordance with the aforesaid conditions, and hasten to all parts of the world, especially from America to Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and travel through Japan and China; in brief, they may travel though all the continents and islands of the globe. Thus is a short space of time, most wonderful results will be produced, the banner of Universal Peace will be waving on the apex of the world and the lights of the oneness of the world of humanity may illumine the universe.

In brief, O ye believers of God! The text of the Divine Book is this: If two souls quarrel and contend about a question of the Divine questions, differing and disputing, both are wrong. The wisdom of this incontrovertible law of God is this: That between two souls from amongst the believers of God, no contention and dispute might arise; that they should speak with each other with infinite amity and love. Should there appear the least trace of controversy, they must remain silent, and both parties must continue their discussions no longer, but ask the reality of the question from the Interpreter. This is the irrefutable command!

Upon you be Baha El-Abha!
Supplication.

O God! O God! Thou seest that black darkness hath encompassed all the regions, all the countries are burning with the conflagration of dissension and the fire of war and carnage is ignited in the Easts of the earth and the Wests thereof. The blood is being shed, the corpses are out-stretched and the heads are decapitated and thrown on the ground in the battlefield.

Lord! Lord! Have pity on these ignorant ones, look upon them with the eye of forgiveness and pardon. Extinguish this fire -- so that these gloomy clouds covering the horizon may be scattered; the Sun of Reality may shine forth with the rays of conciliation; this darkness be rent asunder and all the countries be illumined with the lights of peace.

Lord! Awaken them from the depths of the sea of animosity, deliver them from these impenetrable darknesses, establish affinity between their hearts and enlighten their eyes with the light of peace and reconciliation.

Lord! Rescue them from the fathomless depths of war and bloodshed! Arouse them out of the gloom of error, render asunder the veil from their eyes, brighten their hearts with the light of guidance, deal with them through Thy favor and mercy and do not treat them according to Thy justice and wrath through which the backs of the mighty ones are shaken!

Lord! Verily the wars have prolonged, the calamities have increased, and every building hath turned into ruin.

Lord! Verily the beasts are agitated and the souls are convulsed. Have mercy on these poor ones and do not leave them to do with themselves that which they desire!

Lord! Send forth throughout Thy countries humble and submissive souls, their faces illumined with the rays of guidance, severed from the world, speaking Thy remembrance and praise and diffusing Thy holy fragrances amongst mankind!

Lord! Strengthen their backs, reinforce their loins and dilate their breasts with the signs of Thy most great love.

Lord! Verily they are weak and Thou art the Powerful and the Mighty, and they are impotent and Thou art the Helper and the Merciful!

Lord! Verily the sea of transgression is waving high and these hurricanes will not be calmed down save through Thy boundless grace which hath embraced all the regions!

Lord! Verily the souls are in the deep valleys of lust and nothing will awaken them save Thy most wonderful bounties.

Lord! Dispel these darknesses of temptations and illumine the hearts with the lamp of Thy love, through which all the countries will be enlightened. Confirm those believers who, leaving their countries, their families and their children, travel throughout the regions for the sake of the love of Thy beauty, the diffusion of Thy fragrances and the promulgation of Thy teachings. Be thou their companion in their loneliness, their helper in a strange land, the remover of their sorrow, the comforter in their calamity, their deliverer in their hardship, the satisfier of their thirst, the healer of their malady and the allayer of the fire of their longing.

Verily, Thou art the Clement, the Possessor of Mercy, and Verily Thou art the Compassionate and the Merciful.

Haifa, Palestine, April 19, 20 and 22, 1917.

986. Just as the earth attracts everything to the center of gravity, and every object thrown upward into space will come down, so also material ideas and worldly thoughts attract man to the center of self. Anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice, greed, envy, covetousness, jealousy and suspicion prevent man from ascending to the realms of holiness, imprisoning him in the claws of self and the cage of egotism. The physical man, unassisted by the divine power, trying to escape from one of these invisible enemies, will unconsciously fall into the hands of another. No sooner does he attempt to soar upward than the density of the love of self, like the power of gravity, draws him to the earth. The only power that is capable of delivering man from this captivity is the power of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. The attraction of the power of the Holy Spirit is so effective that it keeps man ever on the path of upward ascension. The malevolent forces of no enemy will touch those sanctified souls who have made this universal power their guide. With tranquil heart and assured spirit they are flying upward day and night, journeying through the illimitable space of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.

987. The Bahá'ís are ordered to establish the oneness of mankind; if they cannot unite around one point how will they be able to bring about the unity of mankind? The purpose of the Blessed Beauty in entering into this Covenant and Testament was to gather all the existing beings around one point so that the thoughtless souls, who in every cycle and generation have been the cause of dissension, may not undermine the Cause. He has, therefore, commanded that whatever emanates from the Center of the Covenant is right, and under His protection and favor, while everything else is error.

988. All previous Books are subordinate to this Book of the Covenant, for it has been revealed subsequent to all the previous ones. He has named it the "Book of the Covenant," therefore consider that if the friends remain firm in the Covenant will there be any misunderstandings among them? No, by God! Except those souls who have an evil intention and are thinking of leadership and of forming a party; those souls, although they have written epistles with their own pen and have execrated the violaters, denouncing them as having destroyed the foundation of the monument erected by His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh, and have written that He has written this Covenant with His own pen and that whoever deviated the least from the Center of the Covenant is of the people of treachery and well deserves the wrath of God -- these souls are themselves at present among the pioneers of violation. This is because of their personal motives, for they had thought of securing leadership and wealth, but when they considered that in remaining firm in the Covenant their purpose would not be realized, they deviated from it. ... Their lie is now manifest. Notwithstanding this, some souls who are not aware of this fact waver when those people cast the seeds of suspicion. ... The Covenant of God is like unto a vast and fathomless ocean. A billow shall rise and surge therefrom, and all accumulated foam it shall cast ashore.

989. When the foundation of the Mashrekol-Azkar is laid in America, and that divine edifice is completed, a most wonderful and thrilling motion will appear in the world of existence. The Mashrekol-Azkar will become the center around which all these universal Bahá'í activities will be clustered. From that point of light, the spirit of teaching, spreading the Cause of God and promoting the teachings of God, will permeate to all parts of the world.

990. The darkness of this gloomy night shall pass away. Again the Sun of Reality will dawn from the horizon of the hearts. Have patience, wait but do not sit idle; work while you are waiting; smile when you are wearied with monotony; be firm while everything around you is being shaken; be joyous while the ugly face of despair grins at you; speak aloud while the malevolent forces of the nether world try to crush your mind; be valiant and courageous while men all around you are cringing with fear and cowardice. Do not yield to the overwhelming power of tyranny and despotism. Serve the cause of democracy and freedom. Continue your journey to the end. The bright day is coming. The nucleus of the new race is forming. The harbinger of the new ideals of international justice is appearing. The trees of hope will become verdant; the copper of scorn and derision will be transmuted into the gold of honor and praise; the arid desert of ignorance will be transformed into the luxuriant garden of knowledge; the threatening clouds shall be dispelled and the stars of faith and charity will again twinkle in the clear heaven of consciousness.

991. All the believers, both men and women, in the West and in the East, must consider themselves the spreaders of the contents of these Epistles; so that the rays of the Sun of Truth may ere long illumine all the continents and islands of the globe, and the dark clouds of prejudice and ignorance be dispelled.

992. I desire that every one of the believers may become an ignited candle in the assemblage of the world of humanity, and conducive to others' eternal life. Today the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abha are with those who renounce themselves, forget their own opinions, cast aside personalities and are thinking of the welfare of others. Whosoever has lost himself, has found the universe and the inhabitants thereof! Whosoever is occupied with himself is wandering in the desert of heedlessness and regret! The master-key of self-mastery is self-forgetfulness. The road to the palace of life is through the path of renunciation.

993. To the beloved of the Lord, the friends in truth, and the signs of the All-Merciful throughout the East, throughout the West.

May the Glory of the Lord All-glorious rest upon them all!

HE IS GOD!
O ye faithful friends!
O ye sincere servants of Bahá'u'lláh!

Now, in the midwatches of the night -- when eyes are closed in slumber and men have laid their heads upon the couch of rest and soundly sleep -- is Abdu'l-Bahá, within the precincts of the hallowed shrine, wakeful; and in the ardor of his invocation utters this, his prayer:

O Thou Kind and Loving Providence! Astir is the East, and the West surgeth even as the eternal billows of the sea. The gentle gales of Holiness are diffused and, from the Unseen Kingdom, shine forth resplendent the rays of the Orb of Truth. The anthems of Divine Unity are chanted, and the ensigns of Celestial Might are waving. The angelic Voice is raised and, even as the roaring of leviathan, is the call to selflessness and evanescence. The triumphal cry: O Thou the Glory of Glories! resounds on every side, and the call: O Thou Most High! rings throughout all regions. No stir save the Glory of the One Heart-Ravisher is raised in the world, and no tumult is there save the surging of the love of Him, the Incomparable, the Well-Beloved!

The beloved of the Lord, with their musk-scented breath, burn brightly as a candle in every clime; and the friends of Him, the All-Merciful, are in all regions even as the unfolding flowers. Not for a moment do they rest; they breathe not, but in remembrance of Thee; and crave not, but to serve Thy Cause. In the meadows of Truth they are as the nightingales of sweet melodies, and in the flower garden of Guidance they are even as the brightly colored bloom. With mystic flowers they adorn the garden walks of Reality; as the swaying cypress they bedeck the riverbanks of Divine Will. Above the Horizon of Being they shine as radiant stars. In the firmament of the world they gleam as resplendent orbs. The manifestations are they of Celestial Grace, and daysprings of the Light of Divine Assistance.

Grant, O thou Loving Lord, that all may stand firm and steadfast and shine with everlasting splendor, that thereby the gentle gales at every breath may blow from the bowers of Thy Loving-kindness, and from the ocean of Thy Grace an emanation may arise, that the kindly showers of Thy Love may bestow freshness, and the zephyr waft to us its perfume from the rose garden of Divine Unity.

Vouchsafe, O Best-Beloved of the world! a ray from Thy Splendor. O Well-Beloved of mankind, shed upon us the Light of Thy Countenance!

O God Omnipotent, do Thou shield us and be our refuge, and, O Lord of Being, show forth Thy Might and Thy Dominion!

O Thou Loving Lord! The movers of sedition are, in some regions, astir and active, and by night and day are inflicting a grievous wrong.

Even as wolves, despots are lying in wait, and the wronged, innocent fold has neither held nor succor. Bloodhounds are on the trail of the gazelles of the fields of Divine Unity, and the Pheasant in the mounts of Heavenly Guidance by the ravens of envy is pursued.

O Thou Divine Providence! Preserve Thou and protect us! O Thou who art our Shield, save us and defend us! Keep us beneath Thy Shelter, and by Thy Help save us from all ill. Thou art indeed the True Protector, the Unseen Guardian, the Celestial Watcher, and the Heavenly Loving Lord!

O ye beloved of the Lord!

On one side is the Standard of the One True God unfurled and the Voice of the Kingdom raised, the Cause of God is spreading, and manifest in splendor are the wonders from on high; illumined is the East and perfumed is the West, fragrant with ambergris is the North and musk-scented is the South.

On the other side, they that are faithless wax in their hate and rancor, and even stir up grievous sedition and mischief. No day passeth but some man raiseth the standard of revolt and spurs his charger into the arena of discord. At every hour the vile adder beareth its fangs and scattereth its deadly venom.

The beloved of the Lord are wrapped in utter sincerity and devotion, unmindful of this rancor and malice. Smooth and insidious are these snakes, these whisperers of evil, artful in their craft and guile. Be ye on your guard, and ever wakeful! Quick-witted and keen of intellect are the faithful, and firm and steadfast are the assured! Act ye with all circumspection!

"Fear ye the sagacity of the faithful, for he seeth with the Light Divine!" (Qur'an)

Beware lest any soul should privily cause disruption or stir up strife. In the Cause of the Impregnable Stronghold be ye brave warriors; and, for the Goodly Mansion, a valiant host. Exercise the utmost care, and day and night be on your guard, that thereby the tyrant may not inflict harm.

Study the Tablet of "The Holy Mariner"[1] that ye may know the Truth, and consider that the Blessed Beauty hath fully foretold future events. Let them who perceive, take warning!

[1 Chapter V.]

Like dust at the Sacred Threshold, in utter humility and lowliness, Abdu'l-Bahá is engaged in the promulgation of his Signs through the daytime and the night season; whensoever he findeth time he prayeth ardently, and inspireth, saying:

O Thou Divine Providence! Pitiful are we, grant us Thy Succor; homeless and wanderers, give us Thy Shelter; scattered, do Thou unite us; astray, join us to the Fold; bereft, do Thou bestow upon us a portion and a share; athirst, lead us to the wellspring of Life; frail, strengthen us that we may arise to exalt Thy Cause and present ourselves a living sacrifice in the pathway of Guidance.

The faithless, however, by day and night, openly and privily exert their utmost to shake the foundations of the Cause, to root out the Blessed Tree, to deprive this servant from service, to kindle secretly sedition and strife, and to annihilate Abdu'l-Bahá! Outwardly they appear as sheep, yet inwardly are naught but ravening wolves. Sweet in words, yet at heart a deadly poison.

O ye beloved ones! Guard the Cause of God! Let no sweetness of tongue beguile you -- nay, rather consider the motive of every soul, and ponder the thought he cherisheth. Be ye straightway mindful and on your guard.

Avoid, yet be not aggressive!
Turn away from censure and from slander!
Leave him in the Hand of God!
Upon you rest the Glory of Glories!

994. Consider! The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it a branch from another tree. He both separates and unites. This is that which His Holiness Christ says: that from all the world they come and enter the Kingdom, and the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out.

FROM THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ABDUL BAHA

O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and contention are in nowise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of God's grace. It is incumbent upon ever one to show the utmost love, rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all the peoples and kindreds of the world, whether they be friends or strangers. So intense must be the spirit of love and loving-kindness that the stranger may find himself regarded as a friend, and the enemy as a true brother, no difference whatsoever existing between them. For universality is of God and all limitations are earthly.

Thus man must strive that his reality may manifest virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon all. The light of the sun shineth upon the whole world and the merciful showers of the Divine Providence fall upon all peoples. The vivifying breeze inspireth every living creature, and all beings endowed with life obtain their share and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner, the affections and loving-kindness of the servants of the One True God must be bountifully and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and limitations are is no wise permitted.

Wherefore, O my loving friend! Consort with all the peoples, kindred and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, goodwill and friendliness; that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstacy of the grace of Baha; that ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world, and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of earth may give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful to you, show fidelity unto them; should they be unjust towards you, show justice towards them; should they hold aloof from you, attract them to yourselves; should they disclose enmity, be friendly to them; should they poison your lives, sweeten their souls; should they inflict a wound upon you, be a salve to their hurts. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful!

O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive with all your heart to shield the Cause of God from the onslaught of the insincere, for such souls as these cause the straight to become crooked and all benevolent efforts to produce contrary results.

O God! my God! Thou seest this wronged servant of thine held fast in the claws of ferocious lions, of ravening wolves, bloodthirsty beasts. Graciously assist me, through my love for Thee that I may drink deep of the chalice that brimmeth over with faithfulness to Thee and is filled with Thy bountiful Grace; so that, fallen upon the dust, I may sink prostrate and senseless whilst my vesture is dyed crimson with my blood. This is my wish, my heart's desire, my hope, my pride, my glory. Grant, O Lord, my God and my Refuge, that in my last hour, my end may even as musk shed its fragrance of glory! I call Thee to witness that no day passeth but that I quaff my fill from this cup, so grievous are the misdeeds wrought by them that have broken the Covenant, kindled discord, showed their malice, stirred sedition in the land and dishonored Thee amidst Thy servants. Lord, shield Thou from these Covenant-breakers the mighty stronghold of Thy Faith, and protect Thy secret Sanctuary from the onslaught of the ungodly.

Thou art in truth the Mighty, the Powerful, the Gracious, the Supreme!

O ye that stand fast in the Covenant! When the hour cometh that this wronged and broken-winged bird shall have taken its flight unto the Celestial Concourse; when it shall have hastened to the realm of the Unseen, and its mortal frame shall have been either lost or hidden beneath the dust; it is incumbent upon the Branches that are steadfast in the Covenant of God and have branched from the Tree of Holiness; the Hands of the Cause of God (the Glory of the Lord rest upon them); and all the friends and loved ones, one and all, to bestir themselves and arise with heart and soul and in one accord to diffuse the sweet savors of God, to teach His Cause and to promote His Faith. It behooveth them not to rest for a moment, nor to seek repose. They must disperse themselves in every land, pass by every clime, and travel throughout all regions. Bestirred, without rest, and steadfast to the end, they must raise in every land the triumphal cry "Ya Baha'ul-Abha!" (O Thou the Glory of Glories!) must achieve renown in the world wherever they go, must burn brightly even as a torch in every meeting, and must kindle the flame of Divine Love in every assembly; that the Light of Truth may rise resplendent in the midmost heart of the world, that throughout the East and throughout the West a vast concourse may gather under the shadow of the Word of God; that the sweet savors of holiness may be diffused; that faces may radiantly shine; that hearts may be filled with the Divine Spirit, and souls may attain the life of heaven.

The disciples of Christ forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion, and with absolute detachment scattered far and wide, calling the peoples of the world to the Divine Guidance, until at last they made the world another world, illumined the surface of the earth, and even to their last hour, proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of the Beloved One of God. Finally in various lands they suffered glorious martyrdom. Let them that are men of action follow in their footsteps.

This is the foundation of the faith of the people of Baha, may my life be offered up for them! His Holiness the Exalted, the Báb, is the Manifestation of the Unity and Oneness of God and the Forerunner of the Ancient Beauty: the Abha Beauty (may my life be a sacrifice for His steadfast friends!) is the Supreme Manifestation of God and the Dayspring of His Most Divine Essence. All others are servants unto Him and do His bidding. Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority, doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whoso deviates therefrom is verily of those that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant.

O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon you to be submissive to all monarchs that are just, and show your fidelity to every righteous king. Serve ye the sovereigns of the world with utmost truthfulness and loyalty. Show obedience unto them and be their well wishers. Without their leave and permission do not meddle with political affairs; for disloyalty to the just sovereign is disloyalty to God Himself. This is my counsel and the commandment of God unto you. Well is it with them that act accordingly.

O God, my God! I call Thee, Thy Prophets and Thy Messengers, Thy Saints and Thy Holy Ones, to witness that I have declared conclusively Thy proofs unto Thy loved ones, and set forth clearly all things unto them, that they may watch over Thy Faith, guard Thy straight path and protect Thy resplendent Law. Thou art, verily, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise!


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