THE WORLD ORDER OF BAHA'U'LLAH 
     (U.S., First pocket-sized edition, 1991) 
     FILENAME:  WOB.FN 
     FILEDATE:  08-06-94 
 
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                  THE WORLD ORDER OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
 
To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís 
     of the United States and Canada.  
 
Dearly-beloved co-workers:  
  
     I have been acquainted by the perusal of your latest communications 
with the nature of the doubts that have been publicly expressed, 
by one who is wholly misinformed as to the true precepts of the 
Cause, regarding the validity of institutions that stand inextricably 
interwoven with the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.  Not that I for a moment 
view such faint misgivings in the light of an open challenge to the 
structure that embodies the Faith, nor is it because I question in the 
least the unyielding tenacity of the faith of the American believers, 
if I venture to dwell upon what seems to me appropriate observations 
at the present stage of the evolution of our beloved Cause.  I 
am indeed inclined to welcome these expressed apprehensions inasmuch 
as they afford me an opportunity to familiarize the elected 
representatives of the believers with the origin and the character of 
the institutions which stand at the very basis of the World Order 
ushered in by Bahá'u'lláh.  We should feel truly thankful for such 
futile attempts to undermine our beloved Faith--attempts that protrude 
their ugly face from time to time, seem for a while able to 
create a breach in the ranks of the faithful, recede finally into the 
obscurity of oblivion, and are thought of no more.  Such incidents 
we should regard as the interpositions of Providence, designed to 
fortify our faith, to clarify our vision, and to deepen our understanding 
of the essentials of His Divine Revelation.  
 
Sources of the Bahá'í World Order 
 
     It would, however, be helpful and instructive to bear in mind 
certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament 
of `Abdu'l-Bahá, which, together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, constitutes 
the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements 
of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary 
 
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mission of the Bahá'í Faith.  A study of the provisions of these 
sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between 
them, as well as the identity of purpose and method which 
they inculcate.  Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible 
and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer 
will readily admit that they are not only complementary, but that 
they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one 
complete unit.  A comparison of their contents with the rest of Bahá'í 
sacred Writings will similarly establish the conformity of whatever 
they contain with the spirit as well as the letter of the authenticated 
writings and sayings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.  In fact, he 
who reads the Aqdas with care and diligence will not find it hard to 
discover that the Most Holy Book itself anticipates in a number of 
passages the institutions which `Abdu'l-Bahá ordains in His Will.  
By leaving certain matters unspecified and unregulated in His Book 
of Laws, Bahá'u'lláh seems to have deliberately left a gap in the general 
scheme of Bahá'í Dispensation, which the unequivocal provisions 
of the Master's Will have filled.  To attempt to divorce the one 
from the other, to insinuate that the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh have 
not been upheld, in their entirety and with absolute integrity, by 
what `Abdu'l-Bahá has revealed in His Will, is an unpardonable 
affront to the unswerving fidelity that has characterized the life and 
labors of our beloved Master.  
     I will not attempt in the least to assert or demonstrate the authenticity 
of the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, for that in itself 
would betray an apprehension on my part as to the unanimous confidence 
of the believers in the genuineness of the last written wishes 
of our departed Master.  I will only confine my observations to those 
issues which may assist them to appreciate the essential unity that 
underlies the spiritual, the humanitarian, and the administrative 
principles enunciated by the Author and the Interpreter of the 
Bahá'í Faith.  
     I am at a loss to explain that strange mentality that inclines to 
uphold as the sole criterion of the truth of the Bahá'í Teachings 
what is admittedly only an obscure and unauthenticated translation 
of an oral statement made by `Abdu'l-Bahá, in defiance and total 
disregard of the available text of all of His universally recognized 
writings.  I truly deplore the unfortunate distortions that have resulted 
 
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in days past from the incapacity of the interpreter to grasp 
the meaning of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and from his incompetence to render 
adequately such truths as have been revealed to him by the Master's 
statements.  Much of the confusion that has obscured the understanding 
of the believers should be attributed to this double error involved 
in the inexact rendering of an only partially understood statement.  
Not infrequently has the interpreter even failed to convey the exact 
purport of the inquirer's specific questions, and, by his deficiency of 
understanding and expression in conveying the answer of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
has been responsible for reports wholly at variance with the 
true spirit and purpose of the Cause.  It was chiefly in view of the 
misleading nature of the reports of the informal conversations of 
`Abdu'l-Bahá with visiting pilgrims, that I have insistently urged 
the believers of the West to regard such statements as merely personal 
impressions of the sayings of their Master, and to quote and 
consider as authentic only such translations as are based upon the 
authenticated text of His recorded utterances in the original tongue.  
     It should be remembered by every follower of the Cause that 
the system of Bahá'í administration is not an innovation imposed 
arbitrarily upon the Bahá'ís of the world since the Master's passing, 
but derives its authority from the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
is specifically prescribed in unnumbered Tablets, and rests 
in some of its essential features upon the explicit provisions of the 
Kitáb-i-Aqdas.  It thus unifies and correlates the principles separately 
laid down by Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, and is indissolubly 
bound with the essential verities of the Faith.  To dissociate 
the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual 
and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of 
the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration 
of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith 
itself.  
 
Local and National Houses of Justice 
 
     It should be carefully borne in mind that the local as well as the 
international Houses of Justice have been expressly enjoined by 
the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; that the institution of the National Spiritual 
Assembly, as an intermediary body, and referred to in the Master's 
Will as the "Secondary House of Justice," has the express sanction 
 
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of `Abdu'l-Bahá; and that the method to be pursued for the election 
of the International and National Houses of Justice has been set 
forth by Him in His Will, as well as in a number of His Tablets.  
Moreover, the institutions of the local and national Funds, that 
are now the necessary adjuncts to all local and national spiritual 
assemblies, have not only been established by `Abdu'l-Bahá in the 
Tablets He revealed to the Bahá'ís of the Orient, but their importance 
and necessity have been repeatedly emphasized by Him in His 
utterances and writings.  The concentration of authority in the hands 
of the elected representatives of the believers; the necessity of the 
submission of every adherent of the Faith to the considered judgment 
of Bahá'í Assemblies; His preference for unanimity in decision; 
the decisive character of the majority vote; and even the 
desirability for the exercise of close supervision over all Bahá'í 
publications, have been sedulously instilled by `Abdu'l-Bahá, as evidenced 
by His authenticated and widely-scattered Tablets.  To accept 
His broad and humanitarian Teachings on one hand, and to reject 
and dismiss with neglectful indifference His more challenging and 
distinguishing precepts, would be an act of manifest disloyalty to 
that which He has cherished most in His life.  
     That the Spiritual Assemblies of today will be replaced in time 
by the Houses of Justice, and are to all intents and purposes identical 
and not separate bodies, is abundantly confirmed by `Abdu'l-Bahá 
Himself.  He has in fact in a Tablet addressed to the members of the 
first Chicago Spiritual Assembly, the first elected Bahá'í body instituted 
in the United States, referred to them as the members of the 
"House of Justice" for that city, and has thus with His own pen 
established beyond any doubt the identity of the present Bahá'í 
Spiritual Assemblies with the Houses of Justice referred to by 
Bahá'u'lláh.  For reasons which are not difficult to discover, it has 
been found advisable to bestow upon the elected representatives of 
Bahá'í communities throughout the world the temporary appellation 
of Spiritual Assemblies, a term which, as the position and aims of 
the Bahá'í Faith are better understood and more fully recognized, 
will gradually be superseded by the permanent and more appropriate 
designation of House of Justice.  Not only will the present-day Spiritual 
Assemblies be styled differently in future, but they will be enabled 
 
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also to add to their present functions those powers, duties, 
and prerogatives necessitated by the recognition of the Faith of 
Bahá'u'lláh, not merely as one of the recognized religious systems 
of the world, but as the State Religion of an independent and Sovereign 
Power.  And as the Bahá'í Faith permeates the masses of 
the peoples of East and West, and its truth is embraced by the 
majority of the peoples of a number of the Sovereign States of the 
world, will the Universal House of Justice attain the plenitude of 
its power, and exercise, as the supreme organ of the Bahá'í Commonwealth, 
all the rights, the duties, and responsibilities incumbent 
upon the world's future super-state.  
     It must be pointed out, however, in this connection that, contrary 
to what has been confidently asserted, the establishment of 
the Supreme House of Justice is in no way dependent upon the 
adoption of the Bahá'í Faith by the mass of the peoples of the world, 
nor does it presuppose its acceptance by the majority of the inhabitants 
of any one country.  In fact, `Abdu'l-Bahá, Himself, in one of 
His earliest Tablets, contemplated the possibility of the formation 
of the Universal House of Justice in His own lifetime, and but for 
the unfavorable circumstances prevailing under the Turkish régime, 
would have, in all probability, taken the preliminary steps for its 
establishment.  It will be evident, therefore, that given favorable 
circumstances, under which the Bahá'ís of Persia and of the adjoining 
countries under Soviet rule, may be enabled to elect their 
national representatives, in accordance with the guiding principles 
laid down in `Abdu'l-Bahá's writings, the only remaining obstacle 
in the way of the definite formation of the International House of 
Justice will have been removed.  For upon the National Houses of 
Justice of the East and the West devolves the task, in conformity 
with the explicit provisions of the Will, of electing directly the 
members of the International House of Justice.  Not until they are 
themselves fully representative of the rank and file of the believers 
in their respective countries, not until they have acquired the weight 
and the experience that will enable them to function vigorously in 
the organic life of the Cause, can they approach their sacred task, 
and provide the spiritual basis for the constitution of so august a 
body in the Bahá'í world.  
 
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The Institution of Guardianship 
 
     It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the 
institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, 
or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted 
to the Universal House of Justice by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 
and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by `Abdu'l-Bahá in 
His Will.  It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to 
the Will and Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, nor does it nullify any of 
His revealed instructions.  It enhances the prestige of that exalted 
assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, assures 
the continuity of its labors, without presuming in the slightest 
to infringe upon the inviolability of its clearly-defined sphere of 
jurisdiction.  We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document 
to claim for ourselves a complete understanding of all its 
implications, or to presume to have grasped the manifold mysteries 
it undoubtedly contains.  Only future generations can comprehend 
the value and the significance attached to this Divine Masterpiece, 
which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for 
the unification and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.  
Only those who come after us will be in a position to realize 
the value of the surprisingly strong emphasis that has been placed 
on the institution of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship.  
They only will appreciate the significance of the vigorous language 
employed by `Abdu'l-Bahá with reference to the band of Covenant-breakers 
that has opposed Him in His days.  To them alone will 
be revealed the suitability of the institutions initiated by `Abdu'l-Bahá 
to the character of the future society which is to emerge out 
of the chaos and confusion of the present age.  In this connection, 
I cannot but feel amused at the preposterous and fantastic idea that 
Muhammad-`Alí, the prime mover and the focal center of unyielding 
hostility to the person of `Abdu'l-Bahá, should have freely associated 
himself with the members of the family of `Abdu'l-Bahá 
in the forging of a will which in the words of the writer herself, 
is but a "recital of the plottings" in which for thirty years Muhammad-`Alí 
has been busily engaged.  To such a hopeless victim of 
confused ideas, I feel I can best reply by a genuine expression of 
compassion and pity, mingled with my hopes for her deliverance 
 
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from so profound a delusion.  It was in view of the aforesaid observations, 
that I have, after the unfortunate and unavoidable delay 
occasioned by my ill health and absence from the Holy Land during 
the Master's passing, hesitated to resort to the indiscriminate circulation 
of the Will, realizing full well that it was primarily directed 
to the recognized believers, and only indirectly concerned the larger 
body of the friends and sympathizers of the Cause.  
 
The Animating Purpose of Bahá'í Institutions 
 
     And now, it behooves us to reflect on the animating purpose and 
the primary functions of these divinely-established institutions, the 
sacred character and the universal efficacy of which can be demonstrated 
only by the spirit they diffuse and the work they actually 
achieve.  I need not dwell upon what I have already reiterated and 
emphasized that the administration of the Cause is to be conceived 
as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, 
that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised 
blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as 
would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation.  
I need not enlarge at the present moment upon what I have 
stated in the past, that contributions to the local and national Funds 
are of a purely voluntary character; that no coercion or solicitation 
of funds is to be tolerated in the Cause; that general appeals addressed 
to the communities as a body should be the only form in 
which the financial requirements of the Faith are to be met; that 
the financial support accorded to a very few workers in the teaching 
and administrative fields is of a temporary nature; that the 
present restrictions imposed on the publication of Bahá'í literature 
will be definitely abolished; that the World Unity activity is being 
carried out as an experiment to test the efficacy of the indirect method 
of teaching; that the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees 
and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in 
itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further 
the interests, to cöordinate the activities, to apply the principles, 
to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Bahá'í Faith.  
Who, I may ask, when viewing the international character of the 
Cause, its far-flung ramifications, the increasing complexity of its 
affairs, the diversity of its adherents, and the state of confusion 
 
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that assails on every side the infant Faith of God, can for a moment 
question the necessity of some sort of administrative machinery 
that will insure, amid the storm and stress of a struggling civilization, 
the unity of the Faith, the preservation of its identity, and the 
protection of its interests?  To repudiate the validity of the assemblies 
of the elected ministers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh would be 
to reject those countless Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá 
wherein They have extolled the station of the "trustees of the 
Merciful," enumerated their privileges and duties, emphasized 
the glory of their mission, revealed the immensity of their task, 
and warned them of the attacks they must needs expect from the 
unwisdom of their friends as well as from the malice of their 
enemies.  It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a 
heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool 
should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the 
minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure 
the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and 
worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain 
the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.  
 
Situation in Egypt 
 
     I have already referred in my previous communications of January 
10, 1926, and February 12, 1927, to the perplexing yet highly 
significant situation that has arisen in Egypt as a result of the final 
judgment of the Muslim ecclesiastical court in that country pronounced 
against our Egyptian brethren, denouncing them as heretics, 
expelling them from their midst, and refusing them the application 
and benefits of the Muslim Law.  I have also acquainted you 
with the difficulties with which they are faced, and the plans which 
they have conceived, in order to obtain from the Egyptian civil 
authorities a recognition of the independent status of their Faith.  
It must be explained, however, that in the Muslim countries of 
the Near and Middle East, with the exception of Turkey which 
has lately abolished all ecclesiastical courts under its rule, every 
recognized religious community has, in matters of personal status 
such as marriage, divorce and inheritance, its own ecclesiastical 
court, totally independent of the civil and criminal tribunals, there 
being in such instances no civil code promulgated by the government 
 
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and embracing all the different religious communities.  Hitherto 
regarded as a sect of Islám, the Bahá'ís of Egypt, who for the most 
part are of Muslim origin, and unable therefore to refer for purposes 
of marriage and divorce to the recognized religious tribunals 
of any other denomination, find themselves in consequence in a 
delicate and anomalous position.  They have naturally resolved to 
refer their case to the Egyptian Government, and have prepared for 
this purpose a petition to be addressed to the head of the Egyptian 
Cabinet.  In this document they have set forth the motives compelling 
them to seek recognition from their rulers, have asserted 
their readiness and their qualifications to exercise the functions 
of an independent Bahá'í court, have assured them of their implicit 
obedience and loyalty to the State, and of their abstinence from interference 
in the politics of their country.  They have also decided 
to accompany the text of their petition with a copy of the judgment 
of the Court, with selections from Bahá'í writings, and with the 
document that sets forth the principles of their national constitution 
which, with few exceptions, is identical with the Declaration 
and By-laws promulgated by your Assembly.  
     I have insisted that the provisions of their constitution should, 
in all its details, conform to the text of the Declaration of Trust 
and By-laws which you have established, endeavoring thereby to 
preserve the uniformity which I feel is essential in all Bahá'í National 
Constitutions.  I would like, therefore, in this connection to 
request of you what I have already intimated to them, that whatever 
amendments you may decide to introduce in the text of the Declaration 
and By-laws should be duly communicated to me, that I may 
take the necessary steps for the introduction of similar changes in 
the text of all other National Bahá'í Constitutions.  
     It will be readily admitted that in view of the peculiar privileges 
granted to recognized religious Communities in the Islamic countries 
of the Near and Middle East, the request which is to be submitted 
by the Bahá'í Egyptian National Assembly to the Government 
of Egypt is more substantial and far-reaching than what has 
already been granted by the Federal Authorities to your Assembly.  
For their petition is chiefly concerned with a formal request for 
recognition by the highest civil authorities in Egypt of the Egyptian 
National Spiritual Assembly as a recognized and independent Bahá'í 
 
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court, free and able to execute and apply in all matters of personal 
status such laws and ordinances as have been promulgated by 
Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.  
     I have asked them to approach informally the authorities concerned, 
and to make the fullest possible inquiry as a preliminary 
measure to the formal presentation of their historic petition.  Any 
assistance which your Assembly, after careful deliberation, may 
find it advisable to offer to the valiant promoters of the Faith in 
that land will be deeply appreciated, and will serve to confirm the 
solidarity that characterizes the Bahá'í Communities of East and 
West.  Whatever the outcome of this mighty issue--and none can 
fail to appreciate the incalculable possibilities of the present situation--
we can rest assured that the guiding Hand that has released 
these forces will, in His inscrutable wisdom and by His omnipotent 
power, continue to shape and direct their course for the glory, the 
ultimate emancipation, and the unqualified recognition of His Faith.  
 
                          . . . . . . . 
 
                               Your true brother, 
                                                      Shoghi. 
 
Haifa, Palestine.  
February 27, 1929.  
 
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                       THE WORLD ORDER OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
                            FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS 
                         
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                       THE WORLD ORDER OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
                            FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS 
 
To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful 
     throughout the West.  
 
Dearly-beloved co-workers:  
 
     Amid the reports that have of late reached the Holy Land, most 
of which witness to the triumphant march of the Cause, a few seem 
to betray a certain apprehension regarding the validity of the institutions 
which stand inseparably associated with the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.  
These expressed misgivings appear to be actuated by certain 
whisperings which have emanated from quarters which are either 
wholly misinformed regarding the fundamentals of the Bahá'í Revelation, 
or which deliberately contrive to sow the seeds of dissension in 
the hearts of the faithful.  
 
A Blessing in Disguise 
 
     Viewed in the light of past experience, the inevitable result of 
such futile attempts, however persistent and malicious they may be, 
is to contribute to a wider and deeper recognition by believers and 
unbelievers alike of the distinguishing features of the Faith proclaimed 
by Bahá'u'lláh.  These challenging criticisms, whether or not 
dictated by malice, cannot but serve to galvanize the souls of its 
ardent supporters, and to consolidate the ranks of its faithful promoters.  
They will purge the Faith from those pernicious elements 
whose continued association with the believers tends to discredit the 
fair name of the Cause, and to tarnish the purity of its spirit.  We 
should welcome, therefore, not only the open attacks which its 
avowed enemies persistently launch against it, but should also view 
as a blessing in disguise every storm of mischief with which they 
who apostatize their faith or claim to be its faithful exponents 
assail it from time to time.  Instead of undermining the Faith, such 
assaults, both from within and from without, reinforce its foundations, 
and excite the intensity of its flame.  Designed to becloud its 
radiance, they proclaim to all the world the exalted character of its 
 
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precepts, the completeness of its unity, the uniqueness of its position, 
and the pervasiveness of its influence.  
     I do not feel for one moment that such clamor, mostly attributable 
to impotent rage against the resistless march of the Cause of 
God, can ever distress the valiant warriors of the Faith.  For these 
heroic souls, whether they be contending in America's impregnable 
stronghold, or struggling in the heart of Europe, and across the seas 
as far as the continent of Australasia, have already abundantly demonstrated 
the tenacity of their Faith and the abiding value of their 
conviction.  
 
Distinguishing Features of Bahá'í World Order 
 
     I feel it, however, incumbent upon me by virtue of the responsibility 
attached to the Guardianship of the Faith, to dwell more fully 
upon the essential character and the distinguishing features of that 
world order as conceived and proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh.  I feel impelled, 
at the present stage of the evolution of the Bahá'í Revelation, 
to state candidly and without any reservation, whatever I regard may 
tend to insure the preservation of the integrity of the nascent institutions 
of the Faith.  I strongly feel the urge to elucidate certain 
facts, which would at once reveal to every fair-minded observer the 
unique character of that Divine Civilization the foundations of 
which the unerring hand of Bahá'u'lláh has laid, and the essential elements 
of which the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá has disclosed.  
I consider it my duty to warn every beginner in the Faith that 
the promised glories of the Sovereignty which the Bahá'í teachings 
foreshadow, can be revealed only in the fullness of time, that the 
implications of the Aqdas and the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá, as the twin 
repositories of the constituent elements of that Sovereignty, are too 
far-reaching for this generation to grasp and fully appreciate.  I 
cannot refrain from appealing to them who stand identified with the 
Faith to disregard the prevailing notions and the fleeting fashions 
of the day, and to realize as never before that the exploded theories 
and the tottering institutions of present-day civilization must needs 
appear in sharp contrast with those God-given institutions which are 
destined to arise upon their ruin.  I pray that they may realize with 
all their heart and soul the ineffable glory of their calling, the overwhelming 
 
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responsibility of their mission, and the astounding immensity 
of their task.  
     For let every earnest upholder of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh 
realize that the storms which this struggling Faith of God must 
needs encounter, as the process of the disintegration of society advances, 
shall be fiercer than any which it has already experienced.  
Let him be aware that so soon as the full measure of the stupendous 
claim of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh comes to be recognized by those 
time-honored and powerful strongholds of orthodoxy, whose deliberate 
aim is to maintain their stranglehold over the thoughts and 
consciences of men, this infant Faith will have to contend with enemies 
more powerful and more insidious than the cruellest torture-mongers 
and the most fanatical clerics who have afflicted it in the 
past.  What foes may not in the course of the convulsions that shall 
seize a dying civilization be brought into existence, who will reinforce 
the indignities which have already been heaped upon it!  
 
The Onslaught of All Peoples and Kindreds 
 
     We have only to refer to the warnings uttered by `Abdu'l-Bahá 
in order to realize the extent and character of the forces that are 
destined to contest with God's holy Faith.  In the darkest moments 
of His life, under `Abdu'l-Hamíd's régime, when He stood ready to 
be deported to the most inhospitable regions of Northern Africa, and 
at a time when the auspicious light of the Bahá'í Revelation had only 
begun to break upon the West, He, in His parting message to the 
cousin of the Báb, uttered these prophetic and ominous words:  
"How great, how very great is the Cause!  How very fierce the onslaught 
of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.  Ere long shall 
the clamor of the multitude throughout Africa, throughout America, 
the cry of the European and of the Turk, the groaning of India and 
China, be heard from far and near.  One and all, they shall arise with 
all their power to resist His Cause.  Then shall the knights of the 
Lord, assisted by His grace from on high, strengthened by faith, 
aided by the power of understanding, and reinforced by the legions 
of the Covenant, arise and make manifest the truth of the verse:  
`Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the defeated!'"  
     Stupendous as is the struggle which His words foreshadow, they 
also testify to the complete victory which the upholders of the Greatest 
 
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Name are destined eventually to achieve.  Peoples, nations, adherents 
of divers faiths, will jointly and successively arise to shatter its 
unity, to sap its force, and to degrade its holy name.  They will assail 
not only the spirit which it inculcates, but the administration which 
is the channel, the instrument, the embodiment of that spirit.  For as 
the authority with which Bahá'u'lláh has invested the future Bahá'í 
Commonwealth becomes more and more apparent, the fiercer shall 
be the challenge which from every quarter will be thrown at the 
verities it enshrines.  
 
Difference Between Bahá'í Faith and Ecclesiastical 
     Organizations 
 
     It behooves us, dear friends, to endeavor not only to familiarize 
ourselves with the essential features of this supreme Handiwork of 
Bahá'u'lláh, but also to grasp the fundamental difference existing 
between this world-embracing, divinely-appointed Order and the 
chief ecclesiastical organizations of the world, whether they pertain 
to the Church of Christ, or to the ordinances of the Muhammadan 
Dispensation.  
     For those whose priceless privilege is to guard over, administer 
the affairs, and advance the interests of these Bahá'í institutions will 
have, sooner or later, to face this searching question:  "Where and 
how does this Order established by Bahá'u'lláh, which to outward 
seeming is but a replica of the institutions established in Christianity 
and Islám, differ from them?  Are not the twin institutions of the 
House of Justice and of the Guardianship, the institution of the 
Hands of the Cause of God, the institution of the national and local 
Assemblies, the institution of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, but different 
names for the institutions of the Papacy and the Caliphate, with all 
their attending ecclesiastical orders which the Christians and Moslems 
uphold and advocate?  What can possibly be the agency that can 
safeguard these Bahá'í institutions, so strikingly resemblant, in some 
of their features, to those which have been reared by the Fathers of 
the Church and the Apostles of Muhammad, from witnessing the 
deterioration in character, the breach of unity, and the extinction of 
influence, which have befallen all organized religious hierarchies?  
Why should they not eventually suffer the self-same fate that has 
 
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overtaken the institutions which the successors of Christ and 
Muhammad have reared?"  
     Upon the answer given to these challenging questions will, in a 
great measure, depend the success of the efforts which believers in 
every land are now exerting for the establishment of God's kingdom 
upon the earth.  Few will fail to recognize that the Spirit breathed by 
Bahá'u'lláh upon the world, and which is manifesting itself with 
varying degrees of intensity through the efforts consciously displayed 
by His avowed supporters and indirectly through certain 
humanitarian organizations, can never permeate and exercise an abiding 
influence upon mankind unless and until it incarnates itself in a 
visible Order, which would bear His name, wholly identify itself 
with His principles, and function in conformity with His laws.  That 
Bahá'u'lláh in His Book of Aqdas, and later `Abdu'l-Bahá in His 
Will--a document which confirms, supplements, and correlates the 
provisions of the Aqdas--have set forth in their entirety those essential 
elements for the constitution of the world Bahá'í Commonwealth, 
no one who has read them will deny.  According to these 
divinely-ordained administrative principles, the Dispensation of 
Bahá'u'lláh--the Ark of human salvation--must needs be modeled.  
From them, all future blessings must flow, and upon them its inviolable 
authority must ultimately rest.  
     For Bahá'u'lláh, we should readily recognize, has not only imbued 
mankind with a new and regenerating Spirit.  He has not merely 
enunciated certain universal principles, or propounded a particular 
philosophy, however potent, sound and universal these may be.  In 
addition to these He, as well as `Abdu'l-Bahá after Him, has, unlike 
the Dispensations of the past, clearly and specifically laid down a set 
of Laws, established definite institutions, and provided for the essentials 
of a Divine Economy.  These are destined to be a pattern for 
future society, a supreme instrument for the establishment of the 
Most Great Peace, and the one agency for the unification of the 
world, and the proclamation of the reign of righteousness and justice 
upon the earth.  Not only have they revealed all the directions required 
for the practical realization of those ideals which the Prophets 
of God have visualized, and which from time immemorial have inflamed 
the imagination of seers and poets in every age.  They have 
also, in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin 
 
+P20 
institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their 
chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the 
laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith 
to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible 
inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed 
to the world.  
     Should we look back upon the past, were we to search out the 
Gospel and the Qur'án, we will readily recognize that neither the 
Christian nor the Islamic Dispensations can offer a parallel either to 
the system of Divine Economy so thoroughly established by Bahá'u'lláh, 
or to the safeguards which He has provided for its preservation 
and advancement.  Therein, I am profoundly convinced, lies the 
answer to those questions to which I have already referred.  
     None, I feel, will question the fact that the fundamental reason 
why the unity of the Church of Christ was irretrievably shattered, 
and its influence was in the course of time undermined, was that 
the Edifice which the Fathers of the Church reared after the passing 
of His First Apostle was an Edifice that rested in nowise upon the 
explicit directions of Christ Himself.  The authority and features of 
their administration were wholly inferred, and indirectly derived, 
with more or less justification, from certain vague and fragmentary 
references which they found scattered amongst His utterances as 
recorded in the Gospel.  Not one of the sacraments of the Church; 
not one of the rites and ceremonies which the Christian Fathers 
have elaborately devised and ostentatiously observed; not one of 
the elements of the severe discipline they rigorously imposed upon 
the primitive Christians; none of these reposed on the direct authority 
of Christ, or emanated from His specific utterances.  Not one of 
these did Christ conceive, none did He specifically invest with sufficient 
authority to either interpret His Word, or to add to what He 
had not specifically enjoined.  
     For this reason, in later generations, voices were raised in protest 
against the self-appointed Authority which arrogated to itself 
privileges and powers which did not emanate from the clear text of 
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and which constituted a grave departure 
from the spirit which that Gospel did inculcate.  They argued with 
force and justification that the canons promulgated by the Councils 
of the Church were not divinely-appointed laws, but were merely human 
 
+P21 
devices which did not even rest upon the actual utterances of 
Jesus.  Their contention centered around the fact that the vague and 
inconclusive words, addressed by Christ to Peter, "Thou art Peter, 
and upon this rock I will build my Church," could never justify the 
extreme measures, the elaborate ceremonials, the fettering creeds and 
dogmas, with which His successors have gradually burdened and 
obscured His Faith.  Had it been possible for the Church Fathers, 
whose unwarranted authority was thus fiercely assailed from every 
side, to refute the denunciations heaped upon them by quoting specific 
utterances of Christ regarding the future administration of His 
Church, or the nature of the authority of His Successors, they would 
surely have been capable of quenching the flame of controversy, and 
preserving the unity of Christendom.  The Gospel, however, the only 
repository of the utterances of Christ, afforded no such shelter to 
these harassed leaders of the Church, who found themselves helpless 
in the face of the pitiless onslaught of their enemy, and who eventually 
had to submit to the forces of schism which invaded their ranks.  
     In the Muhammadan Revelation, however, although His Faith 
as compared with that of Christ was, so far as the administration of 
His Dispensation is concerned, more complete and more specific in 
its provisions, yet in the matter of succession, it gave no written, 
no binding and conclusive instructions to those whose mission was 
to propagate His Cause.  For the text of the Qur'án, the ordinances 
of which regarding prayer, fasting, marriage, divorce, inheritance, 
pilgrimage, and the like, have after the revolution of thirteen hundred 
years remained intact and operative, gives no definite guidance 
regarding the Law of Succession, the source of all the dissensions, 
the controversies, and schisms which have dismembered and discredited 
Islám.  
     Not so with the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.  Unlike the Dispensation 
of Christ, unlike the Dispensation of Muhammad, unlike all the 
Dispensations of the past, the apostles of Bahá'u'lláh in every land, 
wherever they labor and toil, have before them in clear, in unequivocal 
and emphatic language, all the laws, the regulations, the principles, 
the institutions, the guidance, they require for the prosecution 
and consummation of their task.  Both in the administrative provisions 
of the Bahá'í Dispensation, and in the matter of succession, as 
embodied in the twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the 
 
+P22 
Guardianship, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh can summon to their aid 
such irrefutable evidences of Divine Guidance that none can resist, 
that none can belittle or ignore.  Therein lies the distinguishing feature 
of the Bahá'í Revelation.  Therein lies the strength of the unity 
of the Faith, of the validity of a Revelation that claims not to destroy 
or belittle previous Revelations, but to connect, unify, and 
fulfill them.  This is the reason why Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá 
have both revealed and even insisted upon certain details in connection 
with the Divine Economy which they have bequeathed to us, 
their followers.  This is why such an emphasis has been placed in 
their Will and Testament upon the powers and prerogatives of the 
ministers of their Faith.  
     For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and 
the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed 
the provisions of their Will, could possibly safeguard the Faith for 
which they have both so gloriously labored all their lives.  Nothing 
short of this could protect it from the heresies and calumnies with 
which denominations, peoples, and governments have endeavored, 
and will, with increasing vigor, endeavor to assail it in future.  
     We should also bear in mind that the distinguishing character of 
the Bahá'í Revelation does not solely consist in the completeness and 
unquestionable validity of the Dispensation which the teachings of 
Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have established.  Its excellence lies 
also in the fact that those elements which in past Dispensations have, 
without the least authority from their Founders, been a source of 
corruption and of incalculable harm to the Faith of God, have been 
strictly excluded by the clear text of Bahá'u'lláh's writings.  Those 
unwarranted practices, in connection with the sacrament of baptism, 
of communion, of confession of sins, of asceticism, of priestly domination, 
of elaborate ceremonials, of holy war and of polygamy, have 
one and all been rigidly suppressed by the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh; whilst 
the rigidity and rigor of certain observances, such as fasting, 
which are necessary to the devotional life of the individual, have 
been considerably abated.  
 
A Living Organism 
 
     It should also be borne in mind that the machinery of the Cause 
has been so fashioned, that whatever is deemed necessary to incorporate 
 
+P23 
into it in order to keep it in the forefront of all progressive 
movements, can, according to the provisions made by Bahá'u'lláh, 
be safely embodied therein.  To this testify the words of Bahá'u'lláh, 
as recorded in the Eighth Leaf of the exalted Paradise:  "It is incumbent 
upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel 
together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed 
in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them.  
God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He, 
verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient."  Not only has the House of 
Justice been invested by Bahá'u'lláh with the authority to legislate 
whatsoever has not been explicitly and outwardly recorded in His 
holy Writ, upon it has also been conferred by the Will and Testament 
of `Abdu'l-Bahá the right and power to abrogate, according to 
the changes and requirements of the time, whatever has been already 
enacted and enforced by a preceding House of Justice.  In this connection, 
He revealed the following in His Will:  "And inasmuch as 
the House of Justice hath power to enact laws that are not expressly 
recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so 
also it hath power to repeal the same.  Thus for example, the House 
of Justice enacteth today a certain law and enforceth it, and a hundred 
years hence, circumstances having profoundly changed and the 
conditions having altered, another House of Justice will then have 
power, according to the exigencies of the time, to alter that law.  
This it can do because that law formeth no part of the divine explicit 
text.  The House of Justice is both the initiator and the abrogator of 
its own laws."  Such is the immutability of His revealed Word.  Such 
is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed 
ministers.  The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards 
the integrity of His law.  The second enables it, even as a living 
organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements 
of an ever-changing society.  
     Dear friends!  Feeble though our Faith may now appear in the 
eyes of men, who either denounce it as an offshoot of Islám, or contemptuously 
ignore it as one more of those obscure sects that abound 
in the West, this priceless gem of Divine Revelation, now still in its 
embryonic state, shall evolve within the shell of His law, and shall 
forge ahead, undivided and unimpaired, till it embraces the whole of 
mankind.  Only those who have already recognized the supreme station 
 
+P24 
of Bahá'u'lláh, only those whose hearts have been touched by 
His love, and have become familiar with the potency of His spirit, 
can adequately appreciate the value of this Divine Economy--His 
inestimable gift to mankind.  
     Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of 
human institutions, who at present are witnessing with perplexity 
and dismay the bankruptcy of their ideas, and the disintegration of 
their handiwork, would do well to turn their gaze to the Revelation 
of Bahá'u'lláh, and to meditate upon the World Order which, lying 
enshrined in His teachings, is slowly and imperceptibly rising amid 
the welter and chaos of present-day civilization.  They need have no 
doubt or anxiety regarding the nature, the origin or validity of the 
institutions which the adherents of the Faith are building up 
throughout the world.  For these lie embedded in the teachings themselves, 
unadulterated and unobscured by unwarrantable inferences, 
or unauthorized interpretations of His Word.  
     How pressing and sacred the responsibility that now weighs upon 
those who are already acquainted with these teachings!  How glorious 
the task of those who are called upon to vindicate their truth, and 
demonstrate their practicability to an unbelieving world!  Nothing 
short of an immovable conviction in their divine origin, and their 
uniqueness in the annals of religion; nothing short of an unwavering 
purpose to execute and apply them to the administrative machinery 
of the Cause, can be sufficient to establish their reality, and insure 
their success.  How vast is the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh!  How great 
the magnitude of His blessings showered upon humanity in this 
day!  And yet, how poor, how inadequate our conception of their 
significance and glory!  This generation stands too close to so 
colossal a Revelation to appreciate, in their full measure, the infinite 
possibilities of His Faith, the unprecedented character of His Cause, 
and the mysterious dispensations of His Providence.  
     In the Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh, wishing to emphasize the transcendent 
character of this new Day of God, reinforces the strength of His 
argument by His reference to the text of a correct and authorized 
tradition, which reveals the following:  "Knowledge is twenty and 
seven letters.  All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters 
thereof.  No man thus far hath known more than these two letters.  
 
+P25 
But when the Qá'im shall arise, He will cause the remaining twenty 
and five letters to be made manifest."  And then immediately follow 
these confirming and illuminating words of Bahá'u'lláh:  "Consider:  
He hath declared knowledge to consist of twenty and seven letters, 
and regarded all the prophets, from Adam even unto Muhammad, 
the `seal,' as expounders of only two letters thereof.  He also saith 
that the Qá'im will reveal all the remaining twenty and five letters.  
Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station!  His 
rank excelleth that of all the prophets, and His revelation transcendeth 
the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen 
ones.  A revelation, of which the prophets of God, His saints and 
chosen ones have either not been informed or which, in pursuance 
of God's inscrutable decree, they have not disclosed--such a revelation, 
these vile and villainous people have sought to measure with 
their own deficient minds, their own deficient learning and understanding."  
     In another passage of the same Book, Bahá'u'lláh, referring to the 
transformation effected by every Revelation in the ways, thoughts 
and manners of the people, reveals these words:  "Is not the object 
of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character 
of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself, both outwardly 
and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external 
conditions?  For if the character of mankind be not changed, the 
futility of God's universal Manifestations would be apparent."  
     Did not Christ Himself, addressing His disciples, utter these 
words:  "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear 
them now.  Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will 
guide you into all truth"?  
     From the text of this recognized tradition, as well as from the 
words of Christ, as attested by the Gospel, every unprejudiced observer 
will readily apprehend the magnitude of the Faith which 
Bahá'u'lláh has revealed, and recognize the staggering weight of the 
claim He has advanced.  No wonder if `Abdu'l-Bahá has portrayed in 
such lurid colors the fierceness of the agitation that shall center in 
the days to come round the nascent institutions of the Faith.  We can 
now but faintly discern the beginnings of that turmoil which the rise 
and ascendancy of the Cause of God is destined to cast in the world.  
 
+P26 
The Greatest Drama of the World's Spiritual History 
 
     Whether in the ferocious and insidious campaign of repression 
and cruelty which the rulers of Russia have launched against the 
upholders of the Faith under their rule; whether in the unyielding 
animosity with which the Shiites of Islám are trampling upon the 
sacred rights of the adherents of the Cause in connection with 
Bahá'u'lláh's house in Baghdád; whether in the impotent rage which 
has impelled the ecclesiastical leaders of the Sunnite sect of Islám 
to expel our Egyptian brethren from their midst--in all of these we 
can perceive the manifestations of the relentless hate which peoples, 
religions, and governments entertain for so pure, so innocent, so 
glorious a Faith.  
     Ours is the duty to ponder these things in our heart, to strive to 
widen our vision, and to deepen our comprehension of this Cause, 
and to arise, resolutely and unreservedly, to play our part, however 
small, in this greatest drama of the world's spiritual history.  
 
                              Your brother and co-worker, 
 
                                                        Shoghi. 
 
Haifa, Palestine, 
March 21, 1930.  
 
+P27 
                         THE GOAL OF A NEW WORLD ORDER 
 
+P28 
 
+P29 
                         THE GOAL OF A NEW WORLD ORDER 
 
Fellow-believers in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh:  
 
     The inexorable march of recent events has carried humanity so 
near to the goal foreshadowed by Bahá'u'lláh that no responsible 
follower of His Faith, viewing on all sides the distressing evidences 
of the world's travail, can remain unmoved at the thought of its 
approaching deliverance.  
     It would not seem inappropriate, at a time when we are commemorating 
the world over the termination of the first decade since 
`Abdu'l-Bahá's sudden removal from our midst, to ponder, in the 
light of the teachings bequeathed by Him to the world, such events 
as have tended to hasten the gradual emergence of the World Order 
anticipated by Bahá'u'lláh.  
     Ten years ago, this very day, there flashed upon the world the 
news of the passing of Him Who alone, through the ennobling influence 
of His love, strength and wisdom, could have proved its stay 
and solace in the many afflictions it was destined to suffer.  
     How well we, the little band of His avowed supporters who lay 
claim to have recognized the Light that shone within Him, can still 
remember His repeated allusions, in the evening of His earthly life, 
to the tribulation and turmoil with which an unregenerate humanity 
was to be increasingly afflicted.  How poignantly some of us can 
recall His pregnant remarks, in the presence of the pilgrims and 
visitors who thronged His doors on the morrow of the jubilant 
celebrations that greeted the termination of the World War--a war, 
which by the horrors it evoked, the losses it entailed and the complications 
it engendered, was destined to exert so far-reaching an 
influence on the fortunes of mankind.  How serenely, yet how powerfully, 
He stressed the cruel deception which a Pact, hailed by peoples 
and nations as the embodiment of triumphant justice and the unfailing 
instrument of an abiding peace, held in store for an unrepented 
humanity.  Peace, Peace, how often we heard Him remark, the 
 
+P30 
lips of potentates and peoples unceasingly proclaim, whereas the 
fire of unquenched hatreds still smoulders in their hearts.  How often 
we heard Him raise His voice, whilst the tumult of triumphant enthusiasm 
was still at its height and long before the faintest misgivings 
could have been felt or expressed, confidently declaring that the 
Document, extolled as the Charter of a liberated humanity, contained 
within itself seeds of such bitter deception as would further 
enslave the world.  How abundant are now the evidences that attest 
the perspicacity of His unerring judgment!  
     Ten years of unceasing turmoil, so laden with anguish, so 
fraught with incalculable consequences to the future of civilization, 
have brought the world to the verge of a calamity too awful to 
contemplate.  Sad indeed is the contrast between the manifestations 
of confident enthusiasm in which the Plenipotentiaries at Versailles 
so freely indulged and the cry of unconcealed distress which victors 
and vanquished alike are now raising in the hour of bitter delusion.  
 
A War-Weary World 
 
     Neither the force which the framers and guarantors of the 
Peace Treaties have mustered, nor the lofty ideals which originally 
animated the author of the Covenant of the League of Nations, 
have proved a sufficient bulwark against the forces of internal disruption 
with which a structure so laboriously contrived had been 
consistently assailed.  Neither the provisions of the so-called Settlement 
which the victorious Powers have sought to impose, nor the 
machinery of an institution which America's illustrious and far-seeing 
President had conceived, have proved, either in conception or 
practice, adequate instruments to ensure the integrity of the Order 
they had striven to establish.  "The ills from which the world now 
suffers," wrote `Abdu'l-Bahá in January, 1920, "will multiply; the 
gloom which envelops it will deepen.  The Balkans will remain discontented.  
Its restlessness will increase.  The vanquished Powers will 
continue to agitate.  They will resort to every measure that may 
rekindle the flame of war.  Movements, newly-born and world-wide 
in their range, will exert their utmost effort for the advancement of 
their designs.  The Movement of the Left will acquire great importance.  
Its influence will spread."  
     Economic distress, since those words were written, together with 
 
+P31 
political confusion, financial upheavals, religious restlessness and 
racial animosities, seem to have conspired to add immeasurably to 
the burdens under which an impoverished, a war-weary world is 
groaning.  Such has been the cumulative effect of these successive 
crises, following one another with such bewildering rapidity, that the 
very foundations of society are trembling.  The world, to whichever 
continent we turn our gaze, to however remote a region our survey 
may extend, is everywhere assailed by forces it can neither explain 
nor control.  
     Europe, hitherto regarded as the cradle of a highly-vaunted civilization, 
as the torch-bearer of liberty and the mainspring of the 
forces of world industry and commerce, stands bewildered and 
paralyzed at the sight of so tremendous an upheaval.  Long-cherished 
ideals in the political no less than in the economic sphere of human 
activity are being severely tested under the pressure of reactionary 
forces on one hand and of an insidious and persistent radicalism on 
the other.  From the heart of Asia distant rumblings, ominous and 
insistent, portend the steady onslaught of a creed which, by its 
negation of God, His Laws and Principles, threatens to disrupt 
the foundations of human society.  The clamor of a nascent nationalism, 
coupled with a recrudescence of skepticism and unbelief, come 
as added misfortunes to a continent hitherto regarded as the symbol 
of age-long stability and undisturbed resignation.  From darkest 
Africa the first stirrings of a conscious and determined revolt against 
the aims and methods of political and economic imperialism can 
be increasingly discerned, adding their share to the growing vicissitudes 
of a troubled age.  Not even America, which until very 
recently prided itself on its traditional policy of aloofness and the 
self-contained character of its economy, the invulnerability of its 
institutions and the evidences of its growing prosperity and prestige, 
has been able to resist the impelling forces that have swept her into 
the vortex of an economic hurricane that now threatens to impair 
the basis of her own industrial and economic life.  Even far-away 
Australia, which, owing to its remoteness from the storm-centers 
of Europe, would have been expected to be immune from the trials 
and torments of an ailing continent, has been caught in this whirlpool 
of passion and strife, impotent to extricate herself from their 
ensnaring influence.  
 
+P32 
The Signs of Impending Chaos 
 
     Never indeed have there been such widespread and basic upheavals, 
whether in the social, economic or political spheres of human 
activity as those now going on in different parts of the world.  Never 
have there been so many and varied sources of danger as those that 
now threaten the structure of society.  The following words of 
Bahá'u'lláh are indeed significant as we pause to reflect upon the 
present state of a strangely disordered world:  "How long will 
humanity persist in its waywardness?  How long will injustice continue?  
How long is chaos and confusion to reign amongst men?  
How long will discord agitate the face of society?  The winds of 
despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that 
divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing.  The signs of 
impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as 
the prevailing order appears to be lamentably defective."  
     The disquieting influence of over thirty million souls living under 
minority conditions throughout the continent of Europe; the vast 
and ever-swelling army of the unemployed with its crushing burden 
and demoralizing influence on governments and peoples; the wicked, 
unbridled race of armaments swallowing an ever-increasing share of 
the substance of already impoverished nations; the utter demoralization 
from which the international financial markets are now 
increasingly suffering; the onslaught of secularism invading what 
has hitherto been regarded as the impregnable strongholds of Christian 
and Muslim orthodoxy--these stand out as the gravest symptoms 
that bode ill for the future stability of the structure of modern 
civilization.  Little wonder if one of Europe's preëminent thinkers, 
honored for his wisdom and restraint, should have been forced to 
make so bold an assertion:  "The world is passing through the 
gravest crisis in the history of civilization."  "We stand," writes 
another, "before either a world catastrophe, or perhaps before the 
dawn of a greater era of truth and wisdom."  "It is in such times," 
he adds, "that religions have perished and are born."  
     Might we not already discern, as we scan the political horizon, 
the alignment of those forces that are dividing afresh the continent 
of Europe into camps of potential combatants, determined upon a 
contest that may mark, unlike the last war, the end of an epoch, a 
 
+P33 
vast epoch, in the history of human evolution?  Are we, the privileged 
custodians of a priceless Faith, called upon to witness a cataclysmical 
change, politically as fundamental and spiritually as beneficent 
as that which precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire in the 
West?  Might it not happen--every vigilant adherent of the Faith 
of Bahá'u'lláh might well pause to reflect--that out of this world 
eruption there may stream forces of such spiritual energy as shall 
recall, nay eclipse, the splendor of those signs and wonders that 
accompanied the establishment of the Faith of Jesus Christ?  Might 
there not emerge out of the agony of a shaken world a religious 
revival of such scope and power as to even transcend the potency of 
those world-directing forces with which the Religions of the Past 
have, at fixed intervals and according to an inscrutable Wisdom, 
revived the fortunes of declining ages and peoples?  Might not the 
bankruptcy of this present, this highly-vaunted materialistic civilization, 
in itself clear away the choking weeds that now hinder the 
unfoldment and future efflorescence of God's struggling Faith?  
     Let Bahá'u'lláh Himself shed the illumination of His words upon 
our path as we steer our course amid the pitfalls and miseries of 
this troubled age.  More than fifty years ago, in a world far removed 
from the ills and trials that now torment it, there flowed from 
His Pen these prophetic words:  "The world is in travail and its 
agitation waxeth day by day.  Its face is turned towards waywardness 
and unbelief.  Such shall be its plight that to disclose it now 
would not be meet and seemly.  Its perversity will long continue.  And 
when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that 
which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake.  Then and only 
then will the Divine Standard be unfurled and the Nightingale of 
Paradise warble its melody."  
 
The Impotence of Statesmanship 
 
     Dearly-beloved friends!  Humanity, whether viewed in the light 
of man's individual conduct or in the existing relationships between 
organized communities and nations, has, alas, strayed too far and 
suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided 
efforts of the best among its recognized rulers and statesmen--
however disinterested their motives, however concerted their action, 
 
+P34 
however unsparing in their zeal and devotion to its cause.  No scheme 
which the calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise; 
no doctrine which the most distinguished exponents of economic 
theory may hope to advance; no principle which the most ardent of 
moralists may strive to inculcate, can provide, in the last resort, 
adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world 
can be built.  No appeal for mutual tolerance which the worldly-wise 
might raise, however compelling and insistent, can calm its passions 
or help restore its vigor.  Nor would any general scheme of mere 
organized international cöoperation, in whatever sphere of human 
activity, however ingenious in conception, or extensive in scope, 
succeed in removing the root cause of the evil that has so rudely upset 
the equilibrium of present-day society.  Not even, I venture to assert, 
would the very act of devising the machinery required for the 
political and economic unification of the world--a principle that has 
been increasingly advocated in recent times--provide in itself the 
antidote against the poison that is steadily undermining the vigor of 
organized peoples and nations.  What else, might we not confidently 
affirm, but the unreserved acceptance of the Divine Program enunciated, 
with such simplicity and force as far back as sixty years ago, 
by Bahá'u'lláh, embodying in its essentials God's divinely appointed 
scheme for the unification of mankind in this age, coupled with an 
indomitable conviction in the unfailing efficacy of each and all of its 
provisions, is eventually capable of withstanding the forces of internal 
disintegration which, if unchecked, must needs continue to eat into 
the vitals of a despairing society.  It is towards this goal--the goal 
of a new World Order, Divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, 
equitable in principle, challenging in its features--that a harassed 
humanity must strive.  
     To claim to have grasped all the implications of Bahá'u'lláh's prodigious 
scheme for world-wide human solidarity, or to have fathomed 
its import, would be presumptuous on the part of even the declared 
supporters of His Faith.  To attempt to visualize it in all its possibilities, 
to estimate its future benefits, to picture its glory, would be 
premature at even so advanced a stage in the evolution of mankind.  
 
+P35 
The Guiding Principles of World Order 
 
     All we can reasonably venture to attempt is to strive to obtain a 
glimpse of the first streaks of the promised Dawn that must, in the 
fullness of time, chase away the gloom that has encircled humanity.  
All we can do is to point out, in their broadest outlines, what appear 
to us to be the guiding principles underlying the World Order 
of Bahá'u'lláh, as amplified and enunciated by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the 
Center of His Covenant with all mankind and the appointed Interpreter 
and Expounder of His Word.  
     That the unrest and suffering afflicting the mass of mankind are 
in no small measure the direct consequences of the World War and 
are attributable to the unwisdom and shortsightedness of the 
framers of the Peace Treaties only a biased mind can refuse to 
admit.  That the financial obligations contracted in the course of the 
war, as well as the imposition of a staggering burden of reparations 
upon the vanquished, have, to a very great extent, been responsible 
for the maldistribution and consequent shortage of the world's 
monetary gold supply, which in turn has, to a very great measure, 
accentuated the phenomenal fall in prices and thereby relentlessly 
increased the burdens of impoverished countries, no impartial mind 
would question.  That inter-governmental debts have imposed a severe 
strain on the masses of the people in Europe, have upset the equilibrium 
of national budgets, have crippled national industries, and led 
to an increase in the number of the unemployed, is no less apparent 
to an unprejudiced observer.  That the spirit of vindictiveness, of 
suspicion, of fear and rivalry, engendered by the war, and which 
the provisions of the Peace Treaties have served to perpetuate and 
foster, has led to an enormous increase of national competitive 
armaments, involving during the last year the aggregate expenditure 
of no less than a thousand million pounds, which in turn has accentuated 
the effects of the world-wide depression, is a truth that even 
the most superficial observer will readily admit.  That a narrow and 
brutal nationalism, which the post-war theory of self-determination 
has served to reinforce, has been chiefly responsible for the policy of 
high and prohibitive tariffs, so injurious to the healthy flow of 
international trade and to the mechanism of international finance, 
is a fact which few would venture to dispute.  
 
+P36 
     It would be idle, however, to contend that the war, with all the 
losses it involved, the passions it aroused and the grievances it left 
behind, has solely been responsible for the unprecedented confusion 
into which almost every section of the civilized world is plunged at 
present.  Is it not a fact--and this is the central idea I desire to 
emphasize--that the fundamental cause of this world unrest is 
attributable, not so much to the consequences of what must sooner 
or later come to be regarded as a transitory dislocation in the affairs 
of a continually changing world, but rather to the failure of those 
into whose hands the immediate destinies of peoples and nations 
have been committed, to adjust their system of economic and political 
institutions to the imperative needs of a rapidly evolving age?  
Are not these intermittent crises that convulse present-day society 
due primarily to the lamentable inability of the world's recognized 
leaders to read aright the signs of the times, to rid themselves once 
for all of their preconceived ideas and fettering creeds, and to 
reshape the machinery of their respective governments according to 
those standards that are implicit in Bahá'u'lláh's supreme declaration 
of the Oneness of Mankind--the chief and distinguishing 
feature of the Faith He proclaimed?  For the principle of the Oneness 
of Mankind, the cornerstone of Bahá'u'lláh's world-embracing 
dominion, implies nothing more nor less than the enforcement of His 
scheme for the unification of the world--the scheme to which we 
have already referred.  "In every Dispensation," writes `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
"the light of Divine Guidance has been focussed upon one central 
theme....  In this wondrous Revelation, this glorious century, the 
foundation of the Faith of God and the distinguishing feature of 
His Law is the consciousness of the Oneness of Mankind."  
     How pathetic indeed are the efforts of those leaders of human 
institutions who, in utter disregard of the spirit of the age, are 
striving to adjust national processes, suited to the ancient days of 
self-contained nations, to an age which must either achieve the unity 
of the world, as adumbrated by Bahá'u'lláh, or perish.  At so critical 
an hour in the history of civilization it behooves the leaders of all 
the nations of the world, great and small, whether in the East or 
in the West, whether victors or vanquished, to give heed to the 
clarion call of Bahá'u'lláh and, thoroughly imbued with a sense of 
 
+P37 
world solidarity, the sine quà non of loyalty to His Cause, arise 
manfully to carry out in its entirety the one remedial scheme He, the 
Divine Physician, has prescribed for an ailing humanity.  Let them 
discard, once for all, every preconceived idea, every national prejudice, 
and give heed to the sublime counsel of `Abdu'l-Bahá, the 
authorized Expounder of His teachings.  You can best serve your 
country, was `Abdu'l-Bahá's rejoinder to a high official in the service 
of the federal government of the United States of America, who 
had questioned Him as to the best manner in which he could promote 
the interests of his government and people, if you strive, in your 
capacity as a citizen of the world, to assist in the eventual application 
of the principle of federalism underlying the government of your 
own country to the relationships now existing between the peoples 
and nations of the world.  
     In The Secret of Divine Civilization (The Mysterious Forces 
of Civilization), `Abdu'l-Bahá's outstanding contribution to the 
future reorganization of the world, we read the following:  
     "True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost heart of 
the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and 
high-minded sovereigns--the shining exemplars of devotion and 
determination--shall, for the good and happiness of all mankind, 
arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of 
Universal Peace.  They must make the Cause of Peace the object of 
general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to 
establish a Union of the nations of the world.  They must conclude 
a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which 
shall be sound, inviolable and definite.  They must proclaim it to all 
the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race.  This 
supreme and noble undertaking--the real source of the peace and 
well-being of all the world--should be regarded as sacred by all that 
dwell on earth.  All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to 
ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant.  
In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and 
every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the 
relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, 
and all international agreements and obligations ascertained.  In like 
manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be 
 
+P38 
strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military 
forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse 
the suspicion of others.  The fundamental principle underlying this 
solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate 
any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise 
to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole 
should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that 
government.  Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the 
sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will 
remain eternally safe and secure."  
     "A few," He further adds, "unaware of the power latent in 
human endeavor, consider this matter as highly impracticable, nay 
even beyond the scope of man's utmost efforts.  Such is not the 
case, however.  On the contrary, thanks to the unfailing grace of 
God, the loving-kindness of His favored ones, the unrivaled endeavors 
of wise and capable souls, and the thoughts and ideas of 
the peerless leaders of this age, nothing whatsoever can be regarded 
as unattainable.  Endeavor, ceaseless endeavor, is required.  Nothing 
short of an indomitable determination can possibly achieve it.  Many 
a cause which past ages have regarded as purely visionary, yet in 
this day has become most easy and practicable.  Why should this 
most great and lofty Cause--the day-star of the firmament of true 
civilization and the cause of the glory, the advancement, the well-being 
and the success of all humanity--be regarded as impossible 
of achievement?  Surely the day will come when its beauteous light 
shall shed illumination upon the assemblage of man."  
 
Seven Lights of Unity 
 
     In one of His Tablets `Abdu'l-Bahá, elucidating further His 
noble theme, reveals the following:  
     "In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet, owing 
to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have 
been achieved.  Continents remained widely divided, nay even among 
the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange 
of thought were well nigh impossible.  Consequently intercourse, 
understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds 
of the earth were unattainable.  In this day, however, means of communication 
have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have 
 
+P39 
virtually merged into one....  In like manner all the members of 
the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, 
have become increasingly interdependent.  For none is self-sufficiency 
any longer possible, inasmuch as political ties unite all peoples and 
nations, and the bonds of trade and industry, of agriculture and 
education, are being strengthened every day.  Hence the unity of all 
mankind can in this day be achieved.  Verily this is none other but 
one of the wonders of this wondrous age, this glorious century.  Of 
this past ages have been deprived, for this century--the century of 
light--has been endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, 
power and illumination.  Hence the miraculous unfolding of a fresh 
marvel every day.  Eventually it will be seen how bright its candles 
will burn in the assemblage of man.  
     "Behold how its light is now dawning upon the world's darkened 
horizon.  The first candle is unity in the political realm, the early 
glimmerings of which can now be discerned.  The second candle is 
unity of thought in world undertakings, the consummation of which 
will ere long be witnessed.  The third candle is unity in freedom 
which will surely come to pass.  The fourth candle is unity in religion 
which is the corner-stone of the foundation itself, and which, by the 
power of God, will be revealed in all its splendor.  The fifth candle 
is the unity of nations--a unity which in this century will be securely 
established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves 
as citizens of one common fatherland.  The sixth candle is unity of 
races, making of all that dwell on earth peoples and kindreds of one 
race.  The seventh candle is unity of language, i.e., the choice of a 
universal tongue in which all peoples will be instructed and converse.  
Each and every one of these will inevitably come to pass, 
inasmuch as the power of the Kingdom of God will aid and assist in 
their realization."  
 
A World Super-State 
 
     Over sixty years ago, in His Tablet to Queen Victoria, Bahá'u'lláh, 
addressing "the concourse of the rulers of the earth," revealed 
the following:  
     "Take ye counsel together, and let your concern be only for that 
which profiteth mankind and bettereth the condition thereof....  
Regard the world as the human body which, though created whole 
 
+P40 
and perfect, has been afflicted, through divers causes, with grave ills 
and maladies.  Not for one day did it rest, nay its sicknesses waxed 
more severe, as it fell under the treatment of unskilled physicians 
who have spurred on the steed of their worldly desires and have 
erred grievously.  And if at one time, through the care of an able 
physician, a member of that body was healed, the rest remained 
afflicted as before.  Thus informeth you the All-Knowing, the All-Wise....  
That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign 
remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is 
the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common 
Faith.  This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of 
a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician.  This verily is the 
truth, and all else naught but error."  
     In a further passage Bahá'u'lláh adds these words:  
     "We see you adding every year unto your expenditures and laying 
the burden thereof on the people whom ye rule; this verily is 
naught but grievous injustice.  Fear the sighs and tears of this 
Wronged One, and burden not your peoples beyond that which they 
can endure....  Be reconciled among yourselves, that ye may need 
armaments no more save in a measure to safeguard your territories 
and dominions.  Be united, O concourse of the sovereigns of the 
world, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst 
you and your peoples find rest.  Should any one among you take up 
arms against another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught but 
manifest justice."  
     What else could these weighty words signify if they did not 
point to the inevitable curtailment of unfettered national sovereignty 
as an indispensable preliminary to the formation of the future 
Commonwealth of all the nations of the world?  Some form of a 
world super-state must needs be evolved, in whose favor all the 
nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make 
war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain 
armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within 
their respective dominions.  Such a state will have to include within 
its orbit an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and 
unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; 
a world parliament whose members shall be elected by 
the people in their respective countries and whose election shall be 
 
+P41 
confirmed by their respective governments; and a supreme tribunal 
whose judgment will have a binding effect even in such cases where 
the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case 
to its consideration.  A world community in which all economic 
barriers will have been permanently demolished and the interdependence 
of Capital and Labor definitely recognized; in which the 
clamor of religious fanaticism and strife will have been forever 
stilled; in which the flame of racial animosity will have been finally 
extinguished; in which a single code of international law--the 
product of the considered judgment of the world's federated representatives--
shall have as its sanction the instant and coercive intervention 
of the combined forces of the federated units; and finally a 
world community in which the fury of a capricious and militant 
nationalism will have been transmuted into an abiding consciousness 
of world citizenship--such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, 
the Order anticipated by Bahá'u'lláh, an Order that shall come to be 
regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age.  
     "The Tabernacle of Unity," Bahá'u'lláh proclaims in His message 
to all mankind, "has been raised; regard ye not one another as 
strangers....  Of one tree are all ye the fruit and of one bough 
the leaves....  The world is but one country and mankind its 
citizens....  Let not a man glory in that he loves his country; let 
him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind."  
 
Unity in Diversity 
 
     Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the 
world-wide Law of Bahá'u'lláh.  Far from aiming at the subversion 
of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, 
to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of 
an ever-changing world.  It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, 
nor can it undermine essential loyalties.  Its purpose is neither to 
stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, 
nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the 
evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided.  It does not ignore, 
nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of 
climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, 
that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world.  It calls for a 
wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated 
 
+P42 
the human race.  It insists upon the subordination of national impulses 
and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world.  It 
repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all 
attempts at uniformity on the other.  Its watchword is unity in 
diversity such as `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself has explained:  
     "Consider the flowers of a garden.  Though differing in kind, 
color, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the 
waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated 
by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm and 
addeth unto their beauty.  How unpleasing to the eye if all the flowers 
and plants, the leaves and blossoms, the fruit, the branches and the 
trees of that garden were all of the same shape and color!  Diversity 
of hues, form and shape enricheth and adorneth the garden, and 
heighteneth the effect thereof.  In like manner, when divers shades of 
thought, temperament and character, are brought together under the 
power and influence of one central agency, the beauty and glory of 
human perfection will be revealed and made manifest.  Naught but 
the celestial potency of the Word of God, which ruleth and transcendeth 
the realities of all things, is capable of harmonizing the 
divergent thoughts, sentiments, ideas and convictions of the children 
of men."  
     The call of Bahá'u'lláh is primarily directed against all forms of 
provincialism, all insularities and prejudices.  If long-cherished ideals 
and time-honored institutions, if certain social assumptions and religious 
formulae have ceased to promote the welfare of the generality 
of mankind, if they no longer minister to the needs of a continually 
evolving humanity, let them be swept away and relegated to the 
limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines.  Why should these, in 
a world subject to the immutable law of change and decay, be exempt 
from the deterioration that must needs overtake every human institution?  
For legal standards, political and economic theories are 
solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole, 
and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity 
of any particular law or doctrine.  
 
The Principle of Oneness 
 
     Let there be no mistake.  The principle of the Oneness of Mankind--
the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh revolve 
 
+P43 
--is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of 
vague and pious hope.  Its appeal is not to be merely identified with 
a reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and good-will among 
men, nor does it aim solely at the fostering of harmonious cöoperation 
among individual peoples and nations.  Its implications are 
deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of old were 
allowed to advance.  Its message is applicable not only to the individual, 
but concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential 
relationships that must bind all the states and nations as members 
of one human family.  It does not constitute merely the enunciation 
of an ideal, but stands inseparably associated with an institution 
adequate to embody its truth, demonstrate its validity, and perpetuate 
its influence.  It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day 
society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced.  It 
constitutes a challenge, at once bold and universal, to outworn 
shibboleths of national creeds--creeds that have had their day and 
which must, in the ordinary course of events as shaped and controlled 
by Providence, give way to a new gospel, fundamentally different 
from, and infinitely superior to, what the world has already conceived.  
It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization 
of the whole civilized world--a world organically unified 
in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its 
spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, 
and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its 
federated units.  
     It represents the consummation of human evolution--an evolution 
that has had its earliest beginnings in the birth of family life, its 
subsequent development in the achievement of tribal solidarity, leading 
in turn to the constitution of the city-state, and expanding later 
into the institution of independent and sovereign nations.  
     The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by 
Bahá'u'lláh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn 
assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution 
is not only necessary but inevitable, that its realization is fast 
approaching, and that nothing short of a power that is born of God 
can succeed in establishing it.  
     So marvellous a conception finds its earliest manifestations in the 
efforts consciously exerted and the modest beginnings already 
 
+P44 
achieved by the declared adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh who, 
conscious of the sublimity of their calling and initiated into the 
ennobling principles of His Administration, are forging ahead to 
establish His Kingdom on this earth.  It has its indirect manifestations 
in the gradual diffusion of the spirit of world solidarity which 
is spontaneously arising out of the welter of a disorganized society.  
     It would be stimulating to follow the history of the growth 
and development of this lofty conception which must increasingly 
engage the attention of the responsible custodians of the destinies of 
peoples and nations.  To the states and principalities just emerging 
from the welter of the great Napoleonic upheaval, whose chief preoccupation 
was either to recover their rights to an independent 
existence or to achieve their national unity, the conception of world 
solidarity seemed not only remote but inconceivable.  It was not until 
the forces of nationalism had succeeded in overthrowing the foundations 
of the Holy Alliance that had sought to curb their rising power, 
that the possibility of a world order, transcending in its range the 
political institutions these nations had established, came to be seriously 
entertained.  It was not until after the World War that these 
exponents of arrogant nationalism came to regard such an order as 
the object of a pernicious doctrine tending to sap that essential 
loyalty upon which the continued existence of their national life 
depended.  With a vigor that recalled the energy with which the members 
of the Holy Alliance sought to stifle the spirit of a rising 
nationalism among the peoples liberated from the Napoleonic yoke, 
these champions of an unfettered national sovereignty, in their turn, 
have labored and are still laboring to discredit principles upon which 
their own salvation must ultimately depend.  
     The fierce opposition which greeted the abortive scheme of the 
Geneva Protocol; the ridicule poured upon the proposal for a United 
States of Europe which was subsequently advanced, and the failure 
of the general scheme for the economic union of Europe, may appear 
as setbacks to the efforts which a handful of foresighted people are 
earnestly exerting to advance this noble ideal.  And yet, are we not 
justified in deriving fresh encouragement when we observe that the 
very consideration of such proposals is in itself an evidence of their 
steady growth in the minds and hearts of men?  In the organized 
attempts that are being made to discredit so exalted a conception are 
 
+P45 
we not witnessing the repetition, on a larger scale, of those stirring 
struggles and fierce controversies that preceded the birth, and assisted 
in the reconstruction, of the unified nations of the West?  
 
The Federation of Mankind 
 
     To take but one instance.  How confident were the assertions 
made in the days preceding the unification of the states of the North 
American continent regarding the insuperable barriers that stood 
in the way of their ultimate federation!  Was it not widely and 
emphatically declared that the conflicting interests, the mutual distrust, 
the differences of government and habit that divided the states 
were such as no force, whether spiritual or temporal, could ever hope 
to harmonize or control?  And yet how different were the conditions 
prevailing a hundred and fifty years ago from those that characterize 
present-day society!  It would indeed be no exaggeration to say 
that the absence of those facilities which modern scientific progress 
has placed at the service of humanity in our time made of the problem 
of welding the American states into a single federation, similar 
though they were in certain traditions, a task infinitely more complex 
than that which confronts a divided humanity in its efforts to 
achieve the unification of all mankind.  
     Who knows that for so exalted a conception to take shape a 
suffering more intense than any it has yet experienced will have to 
be inflicted upon humanity?  Could anything less than the fire of a 
civil war with all its violence and vicissitudes--a war that nearly 
rent the great American Republic--have welded the states, not only 
into a Union of independent units, but into a Nation, in spite of all 
the ethnic differences that characterized its component parts?  That 
so fundamental a revolution, involving such far-reaching changes in 
the structure of society, can be achieved through the ordinary processes 
of diplomacy and education seems highly improbable.  We 
have but to turn our gaze to humanity's blood-stained history to 
realize that nothing short of intense mental as well as physical agony 
has been able to precipitate those epoch-making changes that constitute 
the greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization.  
 
+P46 
The Fire of Ordeal 
 
     Great and far-reaching as have been those changes in the past, 
they cannot appear, when viewed in their proper perspective, except 
as subsidiary adjustments preluding that transformation of unparalleled 
majesty and scope which humanity is in this age bound to 
undergo.  That the forces of a world catastrophe can alone precipitate 
such a new phase of human thought is, alas, becoming increasingly 
apparent.  That nothing short of the fire of a severe ordeal, unparalleled 
in its intensity, can fuse and weld the discordant entities that 
constitute the elements of present-day civilization, into the integral 
components of the world commonwealth of the future, is a truth 
which future events will increasingly demonstrate.  
     The prophetic voice of Bahá'u'lláh warning, in the concluding 
passages of the Hidden Words, "the peoples of the world" that "an 
unforeseen calamity is following them and that grievous retribution 
awaiteth them" throws indeed a lurid light upon the immediate 
fortunes of sorrowing humanity.  Nothing but a fiery ordeal, out of 
which humanity will emerge, chastened and prepared, can succeed in 
implanting that sense of responsibility which the leaders of a new-born 
age must arise to shoulder.  
     I would again direct your attention to those ominous words of 
Bahá'u'lláh which I have already quoted:  "And when the appointed 
hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the 
limbs of mankind to quake."  
     Has not `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself asserted in unequivocal language 
that "another war, fiercer than the last, will assuredly break out"?  
     Upon the consummation of this colossal, this unspeakably glorious 
enterprise--an enterprise that baffled the resources of Roman 
statesmanship and which Napoleon's desperate efforts failed to 
achieve--will depend the ultimate realization of that millennium of 
which poets of all ages have sung and seers have long dreamed.  
Upon it will depend the fulfillment of the prophecies uttered by the 
Prophets of old when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and 
the lion and the lamb lie down together.  It alone can usher in the 
Kingdom of the Heavenly Father as anticipated by the Faith of 
Jesus Christ.  It alone can lay the foundation for the New World 
Order visualized by Bahá'u'lláh--a World Order that shall reflect, 
 
+P47 
however dimly, upon this earthly plane, the ineffable splendors of the 
Abhá Kingdom.  
     One word more in conclusion.  The proclamation of the Oneness 
of Mankind--the head corner-stone of Bahá'u'lláh's all-embracing 
dominion--can under no circumstances be compared with such expressions 
of pious hope as have been uttered in the past.  His is not 
merely a call which He raised, alone and unaided, in the face of the 
relentless and combined opposition of two of the most powerful 
Oriental potentates of His day--while Himself an exile and prisoner 
in their hands.  It implies at once a warning and a promise--a warning 
that in it lies the sole means for the salvation of a greatly 
suffering world, a promise that its realization is at hand.  
     Uttered at a time when its possibility had not yet been seriously 
envisaged in any part of the world, it has, by virtue of that celestial 
potency which the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh has breathed into it, 
come at last to be regarded, by an increasing number of thoughtful 
men, not only as an approaching possibility, but as the necessary outcome 
of the forces now operating in the world.  
 
The Mouthpiece of God 
 
     Surely the world, contracted and transformed into a single highly 
complex organism by the marvellous progress achieved in the realm 
of physical science, by the world-wide expansion of commerce and 
industry, and struggling, under the pressure of world economic 
forces, amidst the pitfalls of a materialistic civilization, stands in 
dire need of a restatement of the Truth underlying all the Revelations 
of the past in a language suited to its essential requirements.  
And what voice other than that of Bahá'u'lláh--the Mouthpiece of 
God for this age--is capable of effecting a transformation of society 
as radical as that which He has already accomplished in the 
hearts of those men and women, so diversified and seemingly irreconcilable, 
who constitute the body of His declared followers 
throughout the world?  
     That such a mighty conception is fast budding out in the minds 
of men, that voices are being raised in its support, that its salient 
features must fast crystallize in the consciousness of those who are 
in authority, few indeed can doubt.  That its modest beginnings have 
already taken shape in the world-wide Administration with which 
 
+P48 
the adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh stand associated only those 
whose hearts are tainted by prejudice can fail to perceive.  
     Ours, dearly-beloved co-workers, is the paramount duty to continue, 
with undimmed vision and unabated zeal, to assist in the final 
erection of that Edifice the foundations of which Bahá'u'lláh has 
laid in our hearts, to derive added hope and strength from the 
general trend of recent events, however dark their immediate effects, 
and to pray with unremitting fervor that He may hasten the 
approach of the realization of that Wondrous Vision which constitutes 
the brightest emanation of His Mind and the fairest fruit of 
the fairest civilization the world has yet seen.  
     Might not the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of 
the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh mark the inauguration of so vast an era in 
human history?  
 
                                Your true brother, 
                                     SHOGHI 
 
Haifa, Palestine, 
November 28, 1931 
 
+P49 
                             THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE 
                             CAUSE OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
 
+P50 
 
+P51 
                             THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE 
                             CAUSE OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
 
To the beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout 
     the United States and Canada.  
 
Friends and fellow-defenders of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh:  
 
     Significant as have been the changes that have lately overtaken 
a swiftly awakening humanity at this transitional phase of its 
checkered history, the steady consolidation of the institutions which 
the administrators of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh are, in every land, 
toiling to establish should appear no less remarkable to even those 
who are as yet imperfectly acquainted with the obstacles they have 
had to surmount or the meagre resources on which they could rely.  
     That a Faith which, ten years ago, was severely shaken by the 
sudden removal of an incomparable Master should have, in the face 
of tremendous obstacles, maintained its unity, resisted the malignant 
onslaught of its ill-wishers, silenced its calumniators, broadened 
the basis of its far-flung administration, and raised upon it 
institutions symbolizing its ideals of worship and service, should 
be deemed sufficient evidence of the invincible power with which 
the Almighty has chosen to invest it from the moment of its 
inception.  
     That the Cause associated with the name of Bahá'u'lláh feeds 
itself upon those hidden springs of celestial strength which no force 
of human personality, whatever its glamour, can replace; that its 
reliance is solely upon that mystic Source with which no worldly 
advantage, be it wealth, fame, or learning can compare; that it 
propagates itself by ways mysterious and utterly at variance with 
 
+P52 
the standards accepted by the generality of mankind, will, if not 
already apparent, become increasingly manifest as it forges ahead 
towards fresh conquests in its struggle for the spiritual regeneration 
of mankind.  
     Indeed, how could it, unsupported as it has ever been by the 
counsels and the resources of the wise, the rich, and the learned in 
the land of its birth, have succeeded in breaking asunder the shackles 
that weighed upon it at the hour of its birth, in emerging unscathed 
from the storms that agitated its infancy, had not its animating 
breath been quickened by that spirit which is born of God, 
and on which all success, wherever and however it be sought, must 
ultimately depend?  
     It is not necessary for me to recall, even in their briefest outline, 
the heart-rending details of that appalling tragedy which 
marked the birth-pangs of our beloved Faith, enacted in a land 
notorious for its unrestrained fanaticisms, its crass ignorance, its 
unbridled cruelty.  Nor do I need to expatiate on the valor, the 
sublime fortitude, that defied the cruel torture-mongers of that race, 
or stress the number, or emphasize the purity of the lives, of those 
who died willingly that their Cause might live and prosper.  Nor is 
it necessary to dwell upon the indignation which those atrocities 
evoked, and the feelings of unqualified admiration that surged, in 
the breasts of countless men and women, in regions remote from 
the scene of those indescribable cruelties.  Suffice it to say that upon 
these heroes of Bahá'u'lláh's native land was bestowed the inestimable 
privilege of sealing with their life-blood the early triumphs 
of their cherished Faith, and of paving the way for its approaching 
victory.  In the blood of the unnumbered martyrs of Persia lay the 
seed of the Divinely-appointed Administration which, though transplanted 
from its native soil, is now budding out, under your loving 
care, into a new order, destined to overshadow all mankind.  
 
America's Contribution to the Cause 
 
     For great as have been the attainments and unforgettable the 
services of the pioneers of the heroic age of the Cause in Persia, 
the contribution which their spiritual descendants, the American 
believers, the champion-builders of the organic structure of the 
Cause, are now making towards the fulfillment of the Plan which 
 
+P53 
must usher in the golden age of the Cause is no less meritorious 
in this strenuous period of its history.  Few, if any, I venture to 
assert, among these privileged framers and custodians of the constitution 
of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh are even dimly aware of the 
preponderating rôle which the North American continent is destined 
to play in the future orientation of their world-embracing Cause.  
Nor does any appreciable number among them seem sufficiently 
conscious of the decisive influence which they already exercise in 
the direction and management of its affairs.  
     "The continent of America," wrote `Abdu'l-Bahá in February, 
1917, "is, in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the 
splendors of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His 
Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide, and the free 
assemble."  
     That the supporters of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, throughout the 
United States and Canada, are increasingly demonstrating the truth 
of this solemn affirmation is evident to even a casual observer of 
the record of their manifold services, whether in their individual 
capacities or through their concerted endeavors.  The manifestations 
of spontaneous loyalty which marked their response to the expressed 
wishes of a departed Master; the generosity with which 
they have, on more than one occasion, arisen to lend a helping hand 
to the needy and harassed among their brethren in Persia; the 
vigor with which they have resisted the shameless attacks which 
unrelenting enemies, both from within and without, have, with 
increasing frequency, launched against them; the example which 
the body of their national representatives have set to their sister 
Assemblies in fashioning the instruments essential to the effective 
discharge of their collective duties; their successful intervention on 
behalf of their persecuted fellow-workers in Russia; the moral support 
they have extended to their Egyptian fellow-disciples at a most 
critical stage in their struggle for emancipation from the fetters 
of Islamic orthodoxy; the historic services rendered by those intrepid 
pioneers who, faithful to the call of `Abdu'l-Bahá, forsook 
their homes to plant, in the uttermost corners of the globe, the 
standard of His Faith; and, last but not least, the magnificence of 
their self-sacrifice, culminating in the completion of the super-structure 
of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár--these stand out each as an eloquent 
 
+P54 
testimony to the indomitable character of the faith Bahá'u'lláh has 
kindled in their hearts.  
     Who, contemplating so splendid a record of service, can doubt 
that these faithful stewards of the redeeming grace of God have 
preserved, undivided and unimpaired, the priceless heritage entrusted 
to their charge?  Have they not, one might well reflect, in 
ways which only future historians will indicate, approached the high 
standard that characterized those deeds of imperishable renown 
accomplished by those that have gone before them?  
     Not by the material resources which the members of this infant 
community can now summon to their aid; not by the numerical 
strength of its present-day supporters; nor by any direct tangible 
benefits its votaries can as yet confer upon the multitude of the 
needy and the disconsolate among their countrymen, should its 
potentialities be tested or its worth determined.  Nowhere but in the 
purity of its precepts, the sublimity of its standards, the integrity 
of its laws, the reasonableness of its claims, the comprehensiveness 
of its scope, the universality of its program, the flexibility of its 
institutions, the lives of its founders, the heroism of its martyrs, 
and the transforming power of its influence, should the unprejudiced 
observer seek to obtain the true criterion that can enable him to 
fathom its mysteries or to estimate its virtue.  
 
Decline of Mortal Dominion 
 
     How unfair, how irrelevant, to venture any comparison between 
the slow and gradual consolidation of the Faith proclaimed by 
Bahá'u'lláh and those man-created movements which, having their 
origin in human desires and with their hopes centered on mortal 
dominion, must inevitably decline and perish!  Springing from a 
finite mind, begotten of human fancy, and oftentimes the product 
of ill-conceived designs, such movements succeed, by reason of their 
novelty, their appeal to man's baser instincts and their dependence 
upon the resources of a sordid world, in dazzling for a time the 
eyes of men, only to plunge finally from the heights of their meteoric 
career into the darkness of oblivion, dissolved by the very 
forces that had assisted in their creation.  
     Not so with the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.  Born in an environment 
of appalling degradation, springing from a soil steeped in age-long 
 
+P55 
corruptions, hatreds and prejudice, inculcating principles 
irreconcilable with the accepted standards of the times, and faced 
from the beginning with the relentless enmity of government, church 
and people, this nascent Faith of God has, by virtue of the celestial 
potency with which it has been endowed, succeeded, in less than 
four score years and ten, in emancipating itself from the galling 
chains of Islamic domination, in proclaiming the self-sufficiency of 
its ideals and the independent integrity of its laws, in planting its 
banner in no less than forty of the most advanced countries of the 
world, in establishing its outposts in lands beyond the farthest seas, 
in consecrating its religious edifices in the midmost heart of the 
Asiatic and American continents, in inducing two of the most 
powerful governments of the West to ratify the instruments essential 
to its administrative activities, in obtaining from royalty befitting 
tributes to the excellence of its teachings, and, finally, in 
forcing its grievances upon the attention of the representatives of 
the highest Tribunal in the civilized world, and in securing from its 
members written affirmations that are tantamount to a tacit recognition 
of its religious status and to an express declaration of the 
justice of its cause.  
     Circumscribed though its power as a social force may as yet 
appear, and however obvious may seem the present ineffectiveness 
of its world-embracing program, we, who stand identified with its 
blessed name, cannot but marvel at the measure of its achievements 
if we but compare them with the modest accomplishments that have 
marked the rise of the Dispensations of the past.  Where else, if not 
in the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, can the unbiased student of comparative 
religion cite instances of a claim as stupendous as that 
which the Author of that Faith advanced, foes as relentless as those 
which He faced, a devotion more sublime than that which He 
kindled, a life as eventful and as enthralling as that which He led?  
Has Christianity or Islám, has any Dispensation that preceded 
them, offered instances of such combinations of courage and restraint, 
of magnanimity and power, of broad-mindedness and loyalty, 
as those which characterized the conduct of the heroes of the 
Faith of Bahá'u'lláh?  Where else do we find evidences of a transformation 
as swift, as complete, and as sudden, as those effected 
in the lives of the apostles of the Báb?  Few, indeed, are the instances 
 
+P56 
recorded in any of the authenticated annals of the religions of the 
past of a self-abnegation as complete, a constancy as firm, a magnanimity 
as sublime, a loyalty as uncompromising, as those which 
bore witness to the character of that immortal band which stands 
identified with this Divine Revelation--this latest and most compelling 
manifestation of the love and the omnipotence of the 
Almighty!  
 
Contrast with Religions of the Past 
 
     We may vainly search in the records of the earliest beginnings 
of any of the recognized religions of the past for episodes as thrilling 
in their details, or as far-reaching in their consequences, as 
those that illumine the pages of the history of this Faith.  The 
almost incredible circumstances attending the martyrdom of that 
youthful Prince of Glory; the forces of barbaric repression which 
this tragedy subsequently released; the manifestations of unsurpassed 
heroism to which it gave rise; the exhortations and warnings 
which have streamed from the pen of the Divine Prisoner in His 
Epistles to the potentates of the Church and the monarchs and rulers 
of the world; the undaunted loyalty with which our brethren are 
battling in Muslim countries with the forces of religious orthodoxy
--these may be reckoned as the most outstanding features of what 
the world will come to recognize as the greatest drama in the world's 
spiritual history.  
     I need not recall, in this connection, the unfortunate episodes 
that have, admittedly, and to a very great extent, marred the early 
history of both Judaism and Islám.  Nor is it necessary to stress the 
damaging effect of the excesses, the rivalries and divisions, the 
fanatical outbursts and acts of ingratitude that are associated with 
the early development of the people of Israel and with the militant 
career of the ruthless pioneers of the Faith of Muhammad.  
     It would be sufficient for my purpose to call attention to the 
great number of those who, in the first two centuries of the Christian 
era, "purchased an ignominious life by betraying the holy 
Scriptures into the hands of the infidels," the scandalous conduct 
of those bishops who were thereby branded as traitors, the discord 
of the African Church, the gradual infiltration into Christian doctrine 
 
+P57 
of the principles of the Mithraic cult, of the Alexandrian 
school of thought, of the precepts of Zoroastrianism and of Grecian 
philosophy, and the adoption by the churches of Greece and of Asia 
of the institutions of provincial synods of a model which they 
borrowed from the representative councils of their respective 
countries.  
     How great was the obstinacy with which the Jewish converts 
among the early Christians adhered to the ceremonies of their ancestors, 
and how fervent their eagerness to impose them on the 
Gentiles!  Were not the first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem all circumcised 
Jews, and had not the congregation over which they presided 
united the laws of Moses with the doctrine of Christ?  Is it not a 
fact that no more than a twentieth part of the subjects of the Roman 
Empire had enlisted themselves under the standard of Christ before 
the conversion of Constantine?  Was not the ruin of the Temple, 
in the city of Jerusalem, and of the public religion of the Jews, 
severely felt by the so-called Nazarenes, who persevered, above a 
century, in the practice of the Mosaic Law?  
     How striking the contrast when we remember, in the light of 
the afore-mentioned facts, the number of those followers of 
Bahá'u'lláh who, in Persia and the adjoining countries, had enlisted 
at the time of His Ascension as the convinced supporters of His 
Faith!  How encouraging to observe the undeviating loyalty with 
which His valiant followers are guarding the purity and integrity 
of His clear and unequivocal teachings!  How edifying the spectacle 
of those who are battling with the forces of a firmly intrenched 
orthodoxy in their struggle to emancipate themselves from the 
fetters of an outworn creed!  How inspiring the conduct of those 
Muslim followers of Bahá'u'lláh who view, not with regret or 
apathy, but with feelings of unconcealed satisfaction, the deserved 
chastisement which the Almighty has inflicted upon those twin 
institutions of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, those engines of 
despotism and sworn enemies of the Cause of God!  
 
Fundamental Principle of Religious Truth 
 
     Let no one, however, mistake my purpose.  The Revelation, of 
which Bahá'u'lláh is the source and center, abrogates none of the 
religions that have preceded it, nor does it attempt, in the slightest 
 
+P58 
degree, to distort their features or to belittle their value.  It disclaims 
any intention of dwarfing any of the Prophets of the past, 
or of whittling down the eternal verity of their teachings.  It can, 
in no wise, conflict with the spirit that animates their claims, nor 
does it seek to undermine the basis of any man's allegiance to their 
cause.  Its declared, its primary purpose is to enable every adherent 
of these Faiths to obtain a fuller understanding of the religion with 
which he stands identified, and to acquire a clearer apprehension 
of its purpose.  It is neither eclectic in the presentation of its truths, 
nor arrogant in the affirmation of its claims.  Its teachings revolve 
around the fundamental principle that religious truth is not absolute 
but relative, that Divine Revelation is progressive, not final.  Unequivocally 
and without the least reservation it proclaims all established 
religions to be divine in origin, identical in their aims, 
complementary in their functions, continuous in their purpose, indispensable 
in their value to mankind.  
     "All the Prophets of God," asserts Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, 
"abide in the same tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are 
seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and proclaim 
the same Faith."  From the "beginning that hath no beginning," these 
Exponents of the Unity of God and Channels of His incessant 
utterance have shed the light of the invisible Beauty upon mankind, 
and will continue, to the "end that hath no end," to vouchsafe fresh 
revelations of His might and additional experiences of His inconceivable 
glory.  To contend that any particular religion is final, that 
"all Revelation is ended, that the portals of Divine mercy are closed, 
that from the daysprings of eternal holiness no sun shall rise again, 
that the ocean of everlasting bounty is forever stilled, and that out 
of the Tabernacle of ancient glory the Messengers of God have 
ceased to be made manifest" would indeed be nothing less than 
sheer blasphemy.  
     "They differ," explains Bahá'u'lláh in that same epistle, "only 
in the intensity of their revelation and the comparative potency of 
their light."  And this, not by reason of any inherent incapacity of 
any one of them to reveal in a fuller measure the glory of the Message 
with which He has been entrusted, but rather because of the 
immaturity and unpreparedness of the age He lived in to apprehend 
and absorb the full potentialities latent in that Faith.  
 
+P59 
     "Know of a certainty," explains Bahá'u'lláh, "that in every Dispensation 
the light of Divine Revelation has been vouchsafed to men 
in direct proportion to their spiritual capacity.  Consider the sun.  
How feeble its rays the moment it appears above the horizon.  How 
gradually its warmth and potency increase as it approaches its zenith, 
enabling meanwhile all created things to adapt themselves to the 
growing intensity of its light.  How steadily it declines until it 
reaches its setting point.  Were it, all of a sudden, to manifest the 
energies latent within it, it would, no doubt, cause injury to all 
created things....  In like manner, if the Sun of Truth were suddenly 
to reveal, at the earliest stages of its manifestation, the full 
measure of the potencies which the providence of the Almighty has 
bestowed upon it, the earth of human understanding would waste 
away and be consumed; for men's hearts would neither sustain the 
intensity of its revelation, nor be able to mirror forth the radiance 
of its light.  Dismayed and overpowered, they would cease to exist."  
     It is for this reason, and this reason only, that those who have 
recognized the Light of God in this age, claim no finality for the 
Revelation with which they stand identified, nor arrogate to the 
Faith they have embraced powers and attributes intrinsically superior 
to, or essentially different from, those which have characterized 
any of the religious systems that preceded it.  
     Does not Bahá'u'lláh Himself allude to the progressiveness of 
Divine Revelation and to the limitations which an inscrutable Wisdom 
has chosen to impose upon Him?  What else can this passage 
of the Hidden Words imply, if not that He Who revealed it disclaimed 
finality for the Revelation entrusted to Him by the Almighty?  
"O Son of Justice!  In the night-season the beauty of the 
immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity 
unto the Sadratu'l-Muntahá, and wept with such a weeping that 
the concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed 
at His lamenting.  Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing 
and weeping?  He made reply:  As bidden I waited expectant upon 
the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from them that dwell on 
earth the fragrance of fidelity.  Then summoned to return I beheld, 
and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried within the claws 
of the dogs of earth.  Thereupon the Maid of Heaven hastened forth, 
unveiled, and resplendent, from Her mystic mansion, and asked of 
 
+P60 
their names, and all were told but one.  And when urged, the first 
Letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial 
chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory.  And whilst 
the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon 
the dust.  At that moment a Voice was heard from the inmost shrine:  
`Thus far and no farther.'  Verily we bear witness to that which they 
have done and now are doing."  
     "The Revelation of which I am the bearer," Bahá'u'lláh explicitly 
declares, "is adapted to humanity's spiritual receptiveness 
and capacity; otherwise, the Light that shines within me can neither 
wax nor wane.  Whatever I manifest is nothing more or less than 
the measure of the Divine glory which God has bidden me reveal."  
     If the Light that is now streaming forth upon an increasingly 
responsive humanity with a radiance that bids fair to eclipse the 
splendor of such triumphs as the forces of religion have achieved 
in days past; if the signs and tokens which proclaimed its advent 
have been, in many respects, unique in the annals of past Revelations; 
if its votaries have evinced traits and qualities unexampled 
in the spiritual history of mankind; these should be attributed not 
to a superior merit which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, as a Revelation 
isolated and alien from any previous Dispensation, might possess, 
but rather should be viewed and explained as the inevitable outcome 
of the forces that have made of this present age an age infinitely 
more advanced, more receptive, and more insistent to receive an 
ampler measure of Divine Guidance than has hitherto been vouchsafed 
to mankind.  
 
Necessity for a Fresh Revelation 
 
     Dearly beloved friends:  Who, contemplating the helplessness, 
the fears and miseries of humanity in this day, can any longer question 
the necessity for a fresh revelation of the quickening power of 
God's redemptive love and guidance?  Who, witnessing on one hand 
the stupendous advance achieved in the realm of human knowledge, 
of power, of skill and inventiveness, and viewing on the other the 
unprecedented character of the sufferings that afflict, and the dangers 
that beset, present-day society, can be so blind as to doubt that 
the hour has at last struck for the advent of a new Revelation, for 
a re-statement of the Divine Purpose, and for the consequent revival 
 
+P61 
of those spiritual forces that have, at fixed intervals, rehabilitated 
the fortunes of human society?  Does not the very operation of the 
world-unifying forces that are at work in this age necessitate that 
He Who is the Bearer of the Message of God in this day should 
not only reaffirm that self-same exalted standard of individual conduct 
inculcated by the Prophets gone before Him, but embody in 
His appeal, to all governments and peoples, the essentials of that 
social code, that Divine Economy, which must guide humanity's 
concerted efforts in establishing that all-embracing federation which 
is to signalize the advent of the Kingdom of God on this earth?  
     May we not, therefore, recognizing as we do the necessity for 
such a revelation of God's redeeming power, meditate upon the 
supreme grandeur of the System unfolded by the hand of Bahá'u'lláh 
in this day?  May we not pause, pressed though we be by the 
daily preoccupations which the ever-widening range of the administrative 
activities of His Faith must involve, to reflect upon the 
sanctity of the responsibilities it is our privilege to shoulder?  
 
The Station of the Báb 
 
     Not only in the character of the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, however 
stupendous be His claim, does the greatness of this Dispensation 
reside.  For among the distinguishing features of His Faith 
ranks, as a further evidence of its uniqueness, the fundamental 
truth that in the person of its Forerunner, the Báb, every follower 
of Bahá'u'lláh recognizes not merely an inspired annunciator but 
a direct Manifestation of God.  It is their firm belief that, no matter 
how short the duration of His Dispensation, and however brief 
the period of the operation of His laws, the Báb had been endowed 
with a potency such as no founder of any of the past religions was, 
in the providence of the Almighty, allowed to possess.  That He was 
not merely the precursor of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, that He 
was more than a divinely-inspired personage, that His was the 
station of an independent, self-sufficient Manifestation of God, is 
abundantly demonstrated by Himself, is affirmed in unmistakable 
terms by Bahá'u'lláh, and is finally attested by the Will and Testament 
of `Abdu'l-Bahá.  
     Nowhere but in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh's masterly exposition 
of the one unifying truth underlying all the Revelations of the 
 
+P62 
past, can we obtain a clearer apprehension of the potency of those 
forces inherent in that Preliminary Manifestation with which His 
own Faith stands indissolubly associated.  Expatiating upon the unfathomed 
import of the signs and tokens that have accompanied the 
Revelation proclaimed by the Báb, the promised Qá'im, He recalls 
these prophetic words:  "Knowledge is twenty and seven letters.  All 
that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof.  No man 
thus far hath known more than these two letters.  But when the 
Qá'im shall arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters 
to be made manifest."  "Behold," adds Bahá'u'lláh, "how great and 
lofty is His station!"  "Of His Revelation," He further adds, "the 
Prophets of God, His saints and chosen ones, have either not been 
informed, or in pursuance of God's inscrutable Decree, they have 
not disclosed."  
     And yet, immeasurably exalted as is the station of the Báb, 
and marvellous as have been the happenings that have signalized 
the advent of His Cause, so wondrous a Revelation cannot but 
pale before the effulgence of that Orb of unsurpassed splendor 
Whose rise He foretold and whose superiority He readily acknowledged.  
We have but to turn to the writings of the Báb Himself in 
order to estimate the significance of that Quintessence of Light of 
which He, with all the majesty of His power, was but its humble 
and chosen Precursor.  
     Again and again the Báb admits, in glowing and unequivocal 
language, the preëminent character of a Faith destined to be made 
manifest after Him and to supersede His Cause.  "The germ," He 
asserts in the Persian Bayán, the chief and best-preserved repository 
of His laws, "that holds within itself the potentialities of the 
Revelation that is to come is endowed with a potency superior to the 
combined forces of all those who follow me."  "Of all the tributes," 
the Báb repeatedly proclaims in His writings, "I have paid to Him 
Who is to come after Me, the greatest is this, My written confession, 
that no words of Mine can adequately describe Him, nor can any reference 
to Him in my Book, the Bayán, do justice to His Cause."  Addressing 
Siyyid Yahyáy-i-Darábí, surnamed Vahíd, the most learned 
and influential among his followers, He says:  "By the righteousness 
of Him Whose power causeth the seed to germinate and Who breatheth 
the spirit of life into all things, were I to be assured that in the 
 
+P63 
day of His Manifestation thou wilt deny Him, I would unhesitatingly 
disown thee and repudiate thy faith....  If, on the other 
hand, I be told that a Christian, who beareth no allegiance to My 
Faith, will believe in Him, the same will I regard as the apple of 
Mine eye."  
 
The Outpouring of Divine Grace 
 
     "If all the peoples of the world," Bahá'u'lláh Himself affirms, 
"be invested with the powers and attributes destined for the Letters 
of the Living, the chosen disciples of the Báb, whose station is ten 
thousand times more glorious than any which the apostles of old 
have attained, and if they, one and all, should, swift as the twinkling 
of an eye, hesitate to recognize the Light of my Revelation, their 
faith shall be of no avail, and they shall be accounted among the 
infidels."  "So tremendous," He writes, "is the outpouring of Divine 
grace in this Dispensation that if mortal hands could be swift enough 
to record them, within the space of a single day and night, there 
would stream verses of such number as to be equivalent to the whole 
of the Persian Bayán."  
     Such, dearly-beloved friends, is the effusion of celestial grace 
vouchsafed by the Almighty to this age, this most illumined century!  
We stand too close to so colossal a Revelation to expect in 
this, the first century of its era, to arrive at a just estimate of its 
towering grandeur, its infinite possibilities, its transcendent beauty.  
Small though our present numbers may be, however limited our 
capacities, or circumscribed our influence, we, into whose hands so 
pure, so tender, so precious a heritage has been entrusted, should 
at all times strive, with unrelaxing vigilance, to abstain from any 
thoughts, words, or deeds, that might tend to dim its brilliance, or 
injure its growth.  How tremendous our responsibility; how delicate 
and laborious our task!  
     Dear friends:  Clear and emphatic as are the instructions which 
our departed Master has reiterated in countless Tablets bequeathed 
by Him to His followers throughout the world, a few, owing to the 
restricted influence of the Cause in the West, have been purposely 
withheld from the body of His occidental disciples, who, despite 
their numerical inferiority, are now exercising such a preponderating 
influence in the direction and administration of its affairs.  
I feel it, therefore, incumbent upon me to stress, now that the time 
 
+P64 
is ripe, the importance of an instruction which, at the present stage 
of the evolution of our Faith, should be increasingly emphasized, 
irrespective of its application to the East or to the West.  And this 
principle is no other than that which involves the non-participation 
by the adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, whether in their individual 
capacities or collectively as local or national Assemblies, in 
any form of activity that might be interpreted, either directly or 
indirectly, as an interference in the political affairs of any particular 
government.  Whether it be in the publications which they initiate 
and supervise; or in their official and public deliberations; or in the 
posts they occupy and the services they render; or in the communications 
they address to their fellow-disciples; or in their dealings 
with men of eminence and authority; or in their affiliations with 
kindred societies and organizations, it is, I am firmly convinced, 
their first and sacred obligation to abstain from any word or deed 
that might be construed as a violation of this vital principle.  Theirs 
is the duty to demonstrate, on one hand, the nonpolitical character 
of their Faith, and to assert, on the other, their unqualified 
loyalty and obedience to whatever is the considered judgment of 
their respective governments.  
 
The Divine Polity 
 
     Let them refrain from associating themselves, whether by word 
or by deed, with the political pursuits of their respective nations, 
with the policies of their governments and the schemes and programs 
of parties and factions.  In such controversies they should 
assign no blame, take no side, further no design, and identify themselves 
with no system prejudicial to the best interests of that world-wide 
Fellowship which it is their aim to guard and foster.  Let them 
beware lest they allow themselves to become the tools of unscrupulous 
politicians, or to be entrapped by the treacherous devices of 
the plotters and the perfidious among their countrymen.  Let them 
so shape their lives and regulate their conduct that no charge of 
secrecy, of fraud, of bribery or of intimidation may, however ill-founded, 
be brought against them.  Let them rise above all particularism 
and partisanship, above the vain disputes, the petty calculations, 
the transient passions that agitate the face, and engage the 
attention, of a changing world.  It is their duty to strive to distinguish, 
 
+P65 
as clearly as they possibly can, and if needed with the aid of 
their elected representatives, such posts and functions as are either 
diplomatic or political from those that are purely administrative 
in character, and which under no circumstances are affected by the 
changes and chances that political activities and party government, 
in every land, must necessarily involve.  Let them affirm their unyielding 
determination to stand, firmly and unreservedly, for the 
way of Bahá'u'lláh, to avoid the entanglements and bickerings 
inseparable from the pursuits of the politician, and to become worthy 
agencies of that Divine Polity which incarnates God's immutable 
Purpose for all men.  
     It should be made unmistakably clear that such an attitude 
implies neither the slightest indifference to the cause and interests 
of their own country, nor involves any insubordination on their 
part to the authority of recognized and established governments.  
Nor does it constitute a repudiation of their sacred obligation to 
promote, in the most effective manner, the best interests of their 
government and people.  It indicates the desire cherished by every 
true and loyal follower of Bahá'u'lláh to serve, in an unselfish, 
unostentatious and patriotic fashion, the highest interests of the 
country to which he belongs, and in a way that would entail no 
departure from the high standards of integrity and truthfulness 
associated with the teachings of his Faith.  
     As the number of the Bahá'í communities in various parts of 
the world multiplies and their power, as a social force, becomes 
increasingly apparent, they will no doubt find themselves increasingly 
subjected to the pressure which men of authority and influence, 
in the political domain, will exercise in the hope of obtaining the 
support they require for the advancement of their aims.  These communities 
will, moreover, feel a growing need of the good-will and 
the assistance of their respective governments in their efforts to 
widen the scope, and to consolidate the foundations, of the institutions 
committed to their charge.  Let them beware lest, in their 
eagerness to further the aims of their beloved Cause, they should 
be led unwittingly to bargain with their Faith, to compromise with 
their essential principles, or to sacrifice, in return for any material 
advantage which their institutions may derive, the integrity of 
their spiritual ideals.  Let them proclaim that in whatever country 
they reside, and however advanced their institutions, or profound 
 
+P66 
their desire to enforce the laws, and apply the principles, enunciated 
by Bahá'u'lláh, they will, unhesitatingly, subordinate the operation 
of such laws and the application of such principles to the requirements 
and legal enactments of their respective governments.  Theirs 
is not the purpose, while endeavoring to conduct and perfect the 
administrative affairs of their Faith, to violate, under any circumstances, 
the provisions of their country's constitution, much less to 
allow the machinery of their administration to supersede the government 
of their respective countries.  
     It should also be borne in mind that the very extension of the 
activities in which we are engaged, and the variety of the communities 
which labor under divers forms of government, so essentially 
different in their standards, policies, and methods, make it absolutely 
essential for all those who are the declared members of any 
one of these communities to avoid any action that might, by arousing 
the suspicion or exciting the antagonism of any one government, 
involve their brethren in fresh persecutions or complicate the nature 
of their task.  How else, might I ask, could such a far-flung Faith, 
which transcends political and social boundaries, which includes 
within its pale so great a variety of races and nations, which will 
have to rely increasingly, as it forges ahead, on the good-will and 
support of the diversified and contending governments of the 
earth--how else could such a Faith succeed in preserving its unity, 
in safeguarding its interests, and in ensuring the steady and peaceful 
development of its institutions?  
     Such an attitude, however, is not dictated by considerations of 
selfish expediency, but is actuated, first and foremost, by the broad 
principle that the followers of Bahá'u'lláh will, under no circumstances, 
suffer themselves to be involved, whether as individuals or 
in their collective capacities, in matters that would entail the slightest 
departure from the fundamental verities and ideals of their Faith.  
Neither the charges which the uninformed and the malicious may be 
led to bring against them, nor the allurements of honors and 
rewards, will ever induce them to surrender their trust or to deviate 
from their path.  Let their words proclaim, and their conduct testify, 
that they who follow Bahá'u'lláh, in whatever land they reside, are 
actuated by no selfish ambition, that they neither thirst for power, 
 
+P67 
nor mind any wave of unpopularity, of distrust or criticism, which 
a strict adherence to their standards might provoke.  
     Difficult and delicate though be our task, the sustaining power 
of Bahá'u'lláh and of His Divine guidance will assuredly assist us 
if we follow steadfastly in His way, and strive to uphold the integrity 
of His laws.  The light of His redeeming grace, which no 
earthly power can obscure, will if we persevere, illuminate our path, 
as we steer our course amid the snares and pitfalls of a troubled 
age, and will enable us to discharge our duties in a manner that 
would redound to the glory and the honor of His blessed Name.  
 
Our Beloved Temple 
 
     And finally, dearly-beloved brethren, let me once more direct 
your attention to the pressing claims of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, our 
beloved Temple.  Need I remind you of the imperative necessity of 
carrying out to a successful conclusion, while there is yet time, the 
great enterprise to which, before the eyes of a watching world, we 
stand committed?  Need I stress the great damage which further 
delay in the prosecution of this divinely-appointed task must, even 
in these critical and unforeseen circumstances, inflict upon the prestige 
of our beloved Cause?  I am, I can assure you, acutely conscious 
of the stringency of the circumstances with which you are faced, the 
embarrassments under which you labor, the cares with which you 
are burdened, the pressing urgency of the demands that are being 
incessantly made upon your depleted resources.  I am, however, still 
more profoundly aware of the unprecedented character of the opportunity 
which it is your privilege to seize and utilize.  I am aware 
of the incalculable blessings that must await the termination of a 
collective enterprise which, by the range and quality of the sacrifices 
it entailed, deserves to be ranked among the most outstanding 
examples of Bahá'í solidarity ever since those deeds of brilliant 
heroism immortalized the memory of the heroes of Nayríz, of 
Zanján, and of Tabarsí.  I appeal to you, therefore, friends and 
fellow-disciples of Bahá'u'lláh, for a more abundant measure of 
self-sacrifice, for a higher standard of concerted effort, for a still 
more compelling evidence of the reality of the faith that glows 
within you.  
     And in this fervent plea, my voice is once more reinforced by 
 
+P68 
the passionate, and perhaps, the last, entreaty, of the Greatest Holy 
Leaf, whose spirit, now hovering on the edge of the Great Beyond, 
longs to carry on its flight to the Abhá Kingdom, and into the presence 
of a Divine, an almighty Father, an assurance of the joyous 
consummation of an enterprise, the progress of which has so greatly 
brightened the closing days of her earthly life.  That the American 
believers, those stout-hearted pioneers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, 
will unanimously respond, with that same spontaneous generosity, 
that same measure of self-sacrifice, as have characterized their 
response to her appeals in the past, no one who is familiar with the 
vitality of their faith can possibly question.  
     Would to God that by the end of the spring of the year 1933 
the multitudes who, from the remote corners of the globe, will 
throng the grounds of the Great Fair to be held in the neighborhood 
of that hallowed shrine may, as a result of your sustained 
spirit of self-sacrifice, be privileged to gaze on the arrayed splendor 
of its dome--a dome that shall stand as a flaming beacon and 
a symbol of hope amidst the gloom of a despairing world.  
 
                                  Your true brother, 
                                                SHOGHI 
 
Haifa, Palestine, 
March 21, 1932 
 
+P69 
                      AMERICA AND THE MOST GREAT PEACE 
 
+P70 
 
+P71 
                                 AMERICA AND 
                             THE MOST GREAT PEACE 
 
To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful 
     throughout the United States and Canada.  
 
Friends and fellow-promoters of the Faith of God:  
 
     Forty years will have elapsed ere the close of this coming summer 
since the name of Bahá'u'lláh was first mentioned on the 
American continent.  Strange indeed must appear to every observer, 
pondering in his heart the significance of so great a landmark in the 
spiritual history of the great American Republic, the circumstances 
which have attended this first public reference to the Author of 
our beloved Faith.  Stranger still must seem the associations which 
the brief words uttered on that historic occasion must have evoked 
in the minds of those who heard them.  
     Of pomp and circumstance, of any manifestations of public 
rejoicing or of popular applause, there were none to greet this first 
intimation+F1 to America's citizens of the existence and purpose of 
the Revelation proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh.  Nor did he who was its 
chosen instrument profess himself a believer in the indwelling 
potency of the tidings he conveyed, or suspect the magnitude of the 
forces which so cursory a mention was destined to release.  
     Announced through the mouth of an avowed supporter of 
that narrow ecclesiasticism which the Faith itself has challenged 
and seeks to extirpate, characterized at the moment of its birth 
as an obscure offshoot of a contemptible creed, the Message of the 
Most Great Name, fed by streams of unceasing trial and warmed 
by the sunshine of `Abdu'l-Bahá's tender care, has succeeded in 
driving its roots deep into America's genial soil, has in less than 
 
+F1 In an address by Dr. Henry H. Jessup at the Parliament of Religions, 
+F1 Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893.--Editor.  
 
+P72 
half a century sent out its shoots and tendrils as far as the remotest 
corners of the globe, and now stands, clothed in the majesty 
of the consecrated Edifice it has reared in the heart of that continent, 
determined to proclaim its right and vindicate its capacity 
to redeem a stricken people.  Unsupported by any of the advantages 
which talent, rank and riches can confer, the community of the 
American believers, despite its tender age, its numerical strength, 
its limited experience, has by virtue of the inspired wisdom, the 
united will, the incorruptible loyalty of its administrators and teachers 
achieved the distinction of an undisputed leadership among its 
sister communities of East and West in hastening the advent of 
the Golden Age anticipated by Bahá'u'lláh.  
     And yet how grave the crises which this infant, this blessed, 
community has weathered in the course of its checkered history!  
How slow and painful the process that gradually brought it forth 
from the obscurity of unmitigated neglect to the broad daylight 
of public recognition!  How severe the shocks which the ranks of 
its devoted adherents have sustained through the defection of the 
faint in heart, the malice of the mischief-maker, the treachery of 
the proud and the ambitious!  What storms of ridicule, of abuse 
and of calumny its representatives have had to face in their staunch 
support of the integrity, and their valiant defense of the fair 
name, of the Faith they had espoused!  How persistent the vicissitudes 
and disconcerting the reverses with which its privileged members, 
young and old alike, individually and collectively, have had 
to contend in their heroic endeavors to scale the heights which a 
loving Master had summoned them to attain!  
     Many and powerful have been its enemies who, as soon as they 
discovered the evidences of the growing ascendancy of its declared 
supporters, have vied with one another in hurling at its face the 
vilest imputations and in pouring out upon the Object of its devotion 
the vials of their fiercest wrath.  How often have these sneered 
at the scantiness of its resources and the seeming stagnation of its 
life!  How bitterly they ridiculed its origins and, misconceiving its 
purpose, dismissed it as a useless appendage of an expiring creed!  
Have they not in their written attacks stigmatized the heroic person 
of the Forerunner of so holy a Revelation as a coward recanter, 
a perverted apostate, and denounced the entire range of 
 
+P73 
His voluminous writings as the idle chatter of a thoughtless man?  
Have they not chosen to ascribe to its divine Founder the basest 
motives which an unscrupulous plotter and usurper can conceive, 
and regarded the Center of His Covenant as the embodiment of 
ruthless tyranny, a stirrer of mischief, and a notorious exponent 
of expediency and fraud?  Its world-unifying principles these impotent 
enemies of a steadily-rising Faith have time and again 
denounced as fundamentally defective, have pronounced its all-embracing 
program as utterly fantastic, and regarded its vision of the 
future as chimerical and positively deceitful.  The fundamental verities 
that constitute its doctrine its foolish ill-wishers have represented 
as a cloak of idle dogma, its administrative machinery they 
have refused to differentiate from the soul of the Faith itself, and 
the mysteries it reveres and upholds they have identified with sheer 
superstition.  The principle of unification which it advocates and 
with which it stands identified they have misconceived as a shallow 
attempt at uniformity, its repeated assertions of the reality of supernatural 
agencies they have condemned as a vain belief in magic, 
and the glory of its idealism they have rejected as mere utopia.  
Every process of purification whereby an inscrutable Wisdom chose 
from time to time to purge the body of His chosen followers of 
the defilement of the undesirable and the unworthy, these victims 
of an unrelenting jealousy have hailed as a symptom of the invading 
forces of schism which were soon to sap its strength, vitiate its 
vitality, and complete its ruin.  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  It is not for me, nor does it seem within 
the competence of any one of the present generation, to trace the 
exact and full history of the rise and gradual consolidation of this 
invincible arm, this mighty organ, of a continually advancing Cause.  
It would be premature at this early stage of its evolution, to attempt 
an exhaustive analysis, or to arrive at a just estimate, of the impelling 
forces that have urged it forward to occupy so exalted a 
place among the various instruments which the Hand of Omnipotence 
has fashioned, and is now perfecting, for the execution of 
His divine Purpose.  Future historians of this mighty Revelation, 
endowed with pens abler than any which its present-day supporters 
can claim to possess, will no doubt transmit to posterity a masterly 
exposition of the origins of those forces which, through a remarkable 
 
+P74 
swing of the pendulum, have caused the administrative center 
of the Faith to gravitate, away from its cradle, to the shores of the 
American continent and towards its very heart--the present mainspring 
and chief bulwark of its fast evolving institutions.  On them 
will devolve the task of recording the history, and of estimating 
the significance, of so radical a revolution in the fortunes of a 
slowly maturing Faith.  Theirs will be the opportunity to extol 
the virtues and to immortalize the memory of those men and women 
who have participated in its accomplishment.  Theirs will be the 
privilege of evaluating the share which each of these champion-builders 
of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh has had in ushering 
in that golden Millennium, the promise of which lies enshrined in 
His teachings.  
     Does not the history of primitive Christianity and of the rise 
of Islám, each in its own way, offer a striking parallel to this strange 
phenomenon the beginnings of which we are now witnessing in this, 
the first century of the Bahá'í Era?  Has not the Divine Impulse 
which gave birth to each of these great religious systems been 
driven, through the operation of those forces which the irresistible 
growth of the Faith itself had released, to seek away from the 
land of its birth and in more propitious climes a ready field and 
a more adequate medium for the incarnation of its spirit and the 
propagation of its cause?  Have not the Asiatic churches of Jerusalem, 
of Antioch and of Alexandria, consisting chiefly of those 
Jewish converts, whose character and temperament inclined them 
to sympathize with the traditional ceremonies of the Mosaic Dispensation, 
been forced as they steadily declined to recognize the 
growing ascendancy of their Greek and Roman brethren?  Have 
they not been compelled to acknowledge the superior valor and 
the trained efficiency which have enabled these standard-bearers of 
the Cause of Jesus Christ to erect the symbols of His world-wide 
dominion on the ruins of a collapsing Empire?  Has not the animating 
spirit of Islám been constrained, under the pressure of 
similar circumstances, to abandon the inhospitable wastes of its 
Arabian Home, the theatre of its greatest sufferings and exploits, 
to yield in a distant land the fairest fruit of its slowly maturing 
civilization?  
     "From the beginning of time until the present day," `Abdu'l-Bahá 
 
+P75 
Himself affirms, "the light of Divine Revelation hath risen 
in the East and shed its radiance upon the West.  The illumination 
thus shed hath, however, acquired in the West an extraordinary 
brilliancy.  Consider the Faith proclaimed by Jesus.  Though it first 
appeared in the East, yet not until its light had been shed upon the 
West did the full measure of its potentialities become manifest."  "The 
day is approaching," He, in another passage, assures us, "when 
ye shall witness how, through the splendor of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, 
the West will have replaced the East, radiating the light of 
Divine Guidance."  "In the books of the Prophets," He again asserts, 
"certain glad-tidings are recorded which are absolutely true and 
free from doubt.  The East hath ever been the dawning-place of the 
Sun of Truth.  In the East all the Prophets of God have appeared 
...The West hath acquired illumination from the East but in 
some respects the reflection of the light hath been greater in the 
Occident.  This is specially true of Christianity.  Jesus Christ appeared 
in Palestine and His teachings were founded in that country.  
Although the doors of the Kingdom were first opened in that land 
and the bestowals of God were spread broadcast from its center, 
the people of the West have embraced and promulgated Christianity 
more fully than the people of the East."  
     Little wonder that from the same unerring pen there should 
have flowed, after `Abdu'l-Bahá's memorable visit to the West, 
these often-quoted words, the significance of which it would be 
impossible for me to overrate:  "The continent of America," He 
announced in a Tablet unveiling His Divine Plan to the believers 
residing in the North-Eastern States of the American Republic, 
"is in the eyes of the one true God the land wherein the splendors 
of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith 
shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide and the free assemble."  
"May this American democracy," He Himself, while in 
America, was heard to remark, "be the first nation to establish the 
foundation of international agreement.  May it be the first nation 
to proclaim the unity of mankind.  May it be the first to unfurl the 
standard of the `Most Great Peace'...  The American people are 
indeed worthy of being the first to build the tabernacle of the great 
peace and proclaim the oneness of mankind...  May America 
become the distributing center of spiritual enlightenment and all 
 
+P76 
the world receive this heavenly blessing.  For America has developed 
powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations...  
May the inhabitants of this country become like angels 
of heaven with faces turned continually toward God.  May all of 
them become servants of the omnipotent One.  May they rise from 
their present material attainments to such a height that heavenly 
illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the 
world...  This American nation is equipped and empowered to 
accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become 
the envy of the world and be blest in both the East and the West 
for the triumph of its people...  The American continent gives 
signs and evidences of very great advancement.  Its future is even 
more promising, for its influence and illumination are far-reaching.  
It will lead all nations spiritually."  
     Would it seem extravagant, in the light of so sublime an utterance, 
to expect that in the midst of so enviable a region of the 
earth and out of the agony and wreckage of an unprecedented 
crisis there should burst forth a spiritual renaissance which, as it 
propagates itself through the instrumentality of the American believers, 
will rehabilitate the fortunes of a decadent age?  It was 
`Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, His most intimate associates testify, Who, 
on more than one occasion, intimated that the establishment of His 
Father's Faith in the North American continent ranked as the most 
outstanding among the threefold aims which, as He conceived it, 
constituted the principal objective of His ministry.  It was He Who, 
in the heyday of His life and almost immediately after His Father's 
ascension, conceived the idea of inaugurating His mission by enlisting 
the inhabitants of so promising a country under the banner 
of Bahá'u'lláh.  He it was Who in His unerring wisdom and out of 
the abundance of His heart chose to bestow on His favored disciples, 
to the very last day of His life, the tokens of His unfailing 
solicitude and to overwhelm them with the marks of His special 
favor.  It was He Who, in His declining years, as soon as delivered 
from the shackles of a long and cruel incarceration, decided to 
visit the land which had remained for so many years the object of 
His infinite care and love.  It was He Who, through the power of 
His presence and the charm of His utterance, infused into the entire 
body of His followers those sentiments and principles which could 
 
+P77 
alone sustain them amidst the trials which the very prosecution of 
their task would inevitably engender.  Was He not, through the 
several functions which He exercised whilst He dwelt amongst 
them, whether in the laying of the corner-stone of their House of 
Worship, or in the Feast which He offered them and at which He 
chose to serve them in person, or in the emphasis which He on 
a more solemn occasion placed on the implications of His spiritual 
station--was He not, thereby, deliberately bequeathing to them all 
the essentials of that spiritual heritage which He knew they would 
ably safeguard and by their deeds continually enrich?  And finally 
who can doubt that in the Divine Plan which, in the evening of His 
life, He unveiled to their eyes He was investing them with that 
spiritual primacy on which they could rely in the fulfillment of their 
high destiny?  
     "O ye apostles of Bahá'u'lláh!" He thus addresses them in one 
of His Tablets, "May my life be sacrificed for you!...  Behold 
the portals which Bahá'u'lláh hath opened before you!  Consider how 
exalted and lofty is the station you are destined to attain; how 
unique the favors with which you have been endowed."  "My 
thoughts," He tells them in another passage, "are turned towards 
you, and my heart leaps within me at your mention.  Could ye know 
how my soul glows with your love, so great a happiness would flood 
your hearts as to cause you to become enamored with each other."  
"The full measure of your success," He declares in another Tablet, 
"is as yet unrevealed, its significance still unapprehended.  Ere long 
ye will, with your own eyes, witness how brilliantly every one of 
you, even as a shining star, will radiate in the firmament of your 
country the light of Divine Guidance and will bestow upon its people 
the glory of an everlasting life."  "The range of your future achievements," 
He once more affirms, "still remains undisclosed.  I fervently 
hope that in the near future the whole earth may be stirred and 
shaken by the results of your achievements."  "The Almighty," He 
assures them, "will no doubt grant you the help of His grace, will 
invest you with the tokens of His might, and will endue your souls 
with the sustaining power of His holy Spirit."  "Be not concerned," 
He admonishes them, "with the smallness of your numbers, neither 
be oppressed by the multitude of an unbelieving world...  Exert 
yourselves; your mission is unspeakably glorious.  Should success 
 
+P78 
crown your enterprise, America will assuredly evolve into a center 
from which waves of spiritual power will emanate, and the throne 
of the Kingdom of God will, in the plentitude of its majesty and 
glory, be firmly established."  
     "The hope which `Abdu'l-Bahá cherishes for you," He thus 
urges them, "is that the same success which has attended your efforts 
in America may crown your endeavors in other parts of the 
world, that through you the fame of the Cause of God may be diffused 
throughout the East and the West and the advent of the Kingdom 
of the Lord of Hosts be proclaimed in all the five continents 
of the globe...  Thus far ye have been untiring in your labors.  
Let your exertions, henceforth, increase a thousandfold.  Summon 
the people in these countries, capitals, islands, assemblies and 
churches to enter the Abhá Kingdom.  The scope of your exertions 
must needs be extended.  The wider its range, the more striking 
will be the evidences of Divine assistance...  Oh! that I could 
travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these 
regions and, raising the call of Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá in cities, villages, 
mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings!  This, 
alas, I cannot do!  How intensely I deplore it!  Please God, ye may 
achieve it."  And finally, as if to crown all His previous utterances, 
is this solemn affirmation embodying His Vision of America's spiritual 
destiny:  "The moment this Divine Message is carried forward 
by the American believers from the shores of America and is propagated 
through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of 
Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community 
will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting 
dominion.  Then will all the peoples of the world witness that this 
community is spiritually illumined and divinely guided.  Then will 
the whole earth resound with the praises of its majesty and greatness."  
     It is in the light of these above-quoted words of `Abdu'l-Bahá 
that every thoughtful and conscientious believer should ponder the 
significance of this momentous utterance of Bahá'u'lláh:  "In the 
East the light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West have 
appeared the signs of His dominion.  Ponder this in your hearts, O 
people, and be not of those who have turned a deaf ear to the admonitions 
of Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Praised...  
 
+P79 
Should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent, it will 
assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising 
its voice, proclaim:  `I am the life-giver of the world!'"  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  Can our eyes be so dim as to fail to 
recognize in the anguish and turmoil which, greater than in any 
other country and in a manner unprecedented in its history, are 
now afflicting the American nation, evidences of the beginnings of 
that spiritual renaissance which these pregnant words of `Abdu'l-Bahá 
so clearly foreshadow?  The throes and twinges of agony 
which the soul of a nation in travail is now beginning to experience 
abundantly proclaim it.  Contrast the sad plight of the nations 
of the earth, and in particular this great Republic of the West, with 
the rising fortunes of that handful of its citizens, whose mission, 
if they be faithful to their trust, is to heal its wounds, restore its 
confidence and revive its shattered hopes.  Contrast the dreadful 
convulsions, the internecine conflicts, the petty disputes, the outworn 
controversies, the interminable revolutions that agitate the 
masses, with the calm new light of Peace and of Truth which envelops, 
guides and sustains those valiant inheritors of the law and 
love of Bahá'u'lláh.  Compare the disintegrating institutions, the 
discredited statesmanship, the exploded theories, the appalling degradation, 
the follies and furies, the shifts, shams and compromises 
that characterize the present age, with the steady consolidation, the 
holy discipline, the unity and cohesiveness, the assured conviction, 
the uncompromising loyalty, the heroic self-sacrifice that constitute 
the hallmark of these faithful stewards and harbingers of the 
golden age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.  
     Small wonder that these prophetic words should have been revealed 
by `Abdu'l-Bahá:  "The East," He assures us, "hath verily 
been illumined with the light of the Kingdom.  Ere long will this 
same light shed a still greater illumination upon the West.  Then 
will the hearts of its people be vivified through the potency of the 
teachings of God and their souls be set aglow by the undying fire 
of His love."  "The prestige of the Faith of God," He asserts, "has 
immensely increased.  Its greatness is now manifest.  The day is approaching 
when it will have cast a tremendous tumult in men's 
hearts.  Rejoice, therefore, O denizens of America, rejoice with 
exceeding gladness!"  
 
+P80 
     Most prized and best-beloved brethren!  As we look back upon 
the forty years which have passed since the auspicious rays of the 
Bahá'í Revelation first warmed and illuminated the American continent 
we find that they may well fall into four distinct periods, 
each culminating in an event of such significance as to constitute 
a milestone along the road leading the American believers towards 
their promised victory.  The first of these four decades (1893-1903), 
characterized by a process of slow and steady fermentation, may be 
said to have culminated in the historic pilgrimages undertaken by 
`Abdu'l-Bahá's American disciples to the shrine of Bahá'u'lláh.  
The ten years which followed (1903-1913), so full of the tests and 
trials which agitated, cleansed and energized the body of the earliest 
pioneers of the Faith in that land, had as their happy climax `Abdu'l-Bahá's 
memorable visit to America.  The third period (1913-1923), 
a period of quiet and uninterrupted consolidation, had as its inevitable 
result the birth of that divinely-appointed Administration, the 
foundations of which the Will of a departed Master had unmistakably 
established.  The remaining ten years (1923-1933), distinguished 
throughout by further internal development, as well as 
by a notable expansion of the international activities of a growing 
community, witnessed the completion of the superstructure of the 
Mashriqu'l-Adhkár--the Administration's mighty bulwark, the 
symbol of its strength and the sign of its future glory.  
     Each of these successive periods would seem to have contributed 
its distinct share in enriching the spiritual life of that community, 
and in preparing its members for the discharge of the tremendous 
responsibilities of their unique mission.  The pilgrimages which its 
foremost representatives were moved to undertake in that earliest 
period of its history fired the souls of its members with a love and 
zeal which no amount of adversity could quench.  The tests and 
tribulations it subsequently suffered enabled those who survived 
them to obtain a grasp of the implications of their faith that no 
opposition, however determined and well-organized, could ever hope 
to weaken.  The institutions which its tried and tested adherents 
later on established furnished their promoters with that poise and 
stability which the increase of their numbers and the ceaseless extension 
of their activities urgently demanded.  And finally the Temple 
which the exponents of an already firmly established Administration 
 
+P81 
were inspired to erect gave them the vision which neither 
the storms of internal disorder nor the whirlwinds of international 
commotion could possibly obscure.  
     It would take me too long to attempt even a brief description 
of the first stirrings which the introduction of the Bahá'í Revelation 
into the New World, as conceived, initiated and directed by our 
beloved Master, immediately created.  Nor does space permit me 
to narrate the circumstances attending the epoch-making visit of 
the first American pilgrims to Bahá'u'lláh's hallowed shrine, to 
relate the deeds which signalized the return of these bearers of a 
new-born Gospel to their native country, or to assess the immediate 
consequences of their achievements.  No word of mine would suffice 
to express how instantly the revelation of `Abdu'l-Bahá's hopes, 
expectations and purpose for an awakened continent, electrified the 
minds and hearts of those who were privileged to hear Him, who 
were made the recipients of His inestimable blessings and the chosen 
repositories of His confidence and trust.  I can never hope to interpret 
adequately the feelings that surged within those heroic hearts 
as they sat at their Master's feet, beneath the shelter of His prison-house, 
eager to absorb and intent to preserve the effusions of His 
divine Wisdom.  I can never pay sufficient tribute to that spirit of 
unyielding determination which the impact of a magnetic personality 
and the spell of a mighty utterance kindled in the entire 
company of these returning pilgrims, these consecrated heralds of 
the Covenant of God, at so decisive an epoch of their history.  The 
memory of such names as Lua, Chase, MacNutt, Dealy, Goodall, 
Dodge, Farmer and Brittingham--to mention only a few of that 
immortal galaxy now gathered to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh--will 
for ever remain associated with the rise and establishment of His 
Faith in the American continent, and will continue to shed on its 
annals a lustre that time can never dim.  
     It was through these pilgrimages, as they succeeded one another 
in the years immediately following the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, 
that the splendor of the Covenant, beclouded for a time by the 
apparent ascendancy of its Arch-Breaker, emerged triumphant 
amidst the vicissitudes which had afflicted it.  It was through the 
arrival of these pilgrims, and these alone, that the gloom which 
had enveloped the disconsolate members of `Abdu'l-Bahá's family 
 
+P82 
was finally dispelled.  Through the agency of these successive visitors 
the Greatest Holy Leaf, who alone with her Brother among 
the members of her Father's household had to confront the rebellion 
of almost the entire company of her relatives and associates, 
found that consolation which so powerfully sustained her 
till the very close of her life.  By the forces which this little band 
of returning pilgrims was able to release in the heart of that continent 
the death-knell of every scheme initiated by the would-be 
wrecker of the Cause of God was sounded.  
     The Tablets which were subsequently revealed by the untiring 
pen of `Abdu'l-Bahá, embodying in passionate and unequivocal 
language His instructions and counsels, His appeals and comments, 
His hopes and wishes, His fears and warnings, soon began to be 
translated, published and circulated throughout the length and 
breadth of the North American continent, providing the ever-widening 
circle of the first believers with that spiritual sustenance which 
could alone enable them to survive the severe trials they were soon 
to experience.  
     The hour of an unprecedented crisis was, however, inexorably 
approaching.  Evidences of dissension, actuated by pride and ambition, 
were beginning to obscure the radiance and retard the growth 
of the newly-born community which the apostolic teachers of that 
continent had labored to establish.  He who had been instrumental 
in inaugurating so splendid an era in the history of the Faith, on 
whom the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant had conferred the 
titles of "Bahá's Peter," of the "Shepherd of God's Flocks," of 
the "Conqueror of America," upon whom had been bestowed the 
unique privilege of helping `Abdu'l-Bahá lay the foundation-stone 
of the Báb's Mausoleum on Mt. Carmel--such a man, blinded by 
his extraordinary success and aspiring after an uncontrolled domination 
over the beliefs and activities of his fellow-disciples, insolently 
raised the standard of revolt.  Seceding from `Abdu'l-Bahá 
and allying himself with the Arch-Enemy of the Faith of God, this 
deluded apostate sought, by perverting the teachings and directing 
a campaign of unrelenting vilification against the person of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
to undermine the faith of those believers whom he had during 
no less than eight years, so strenuously toiled to convert.  By the 
tracts he published, through the active collaboration of the emissaries 
 
+P83 
of his chief Ally, and reinforced by the efforts which the 
Christian ecclesiastical enemies of the Bahá'í Revelation were beginning 
to exert, he succeeded in dealing the nascent Faith of God 
a blow from which it could only slowly and painfully recover.  
     I need not dwell on the immediate effects of this serious yet 
transitory cleavage in the ranks of the American adherents of the 
Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.  Nor do I need to expatiate on the character 
of the defamatory writings that poured upon them.  Nor does it 
seem necessary to recount the measures to which an ever-vigilant 
Master resorted in order to assuage and eventually to dissipate 
their apprehensions.  It is for the future historian to appraise the 
value of the mission of each of the four chosen messengers of 
`Abdu'l-Bahá who, in rapid succession, were dispatched by Him 
to pacify and reinvigorate that troubled community.  His will be the 
task of tracing, in the work which these deputies of `Abdu'l-Bahá 
were commissioned to undertake, the beginnings of that vast Administration, 
the corner-stone of which these messengers were instructed 
to lay--an Administration whose symbolic Edifice He, at 
a later time, was to found in person and whose basis and scope the 
provisions of His Will were destined to widen.  
     Suffice it to say that at this stage of its evolution the activities 
of an invincible Faith had assumed such dimensions as to force 
on the one hand its enemies to devise fresh weapons for their 
projected assaults, and on the other to encourage its supreme Promoter 
to instruct its followers, through qualified representatives and 
teachers, in the rudiments of an Administration which, as it evolved, 
would at once incarnate, safeguard and foster its spirit.  The works 
of such stubborn assailants as those of Vatralsky, Wilson, Jessup 
and Richardson vie with one another in their futile attempts to 
stain its purity, to arrest its march and compel its surrender.  To 
the charges of Nihilism, of heresy, of Muhammadan Gnosticism, 
of immorality, of Occultism and Communism so freely leveled 
against them, the undismayed victims of such outrageous denunciations, 
acting under the instructions of `Abdu'l-Bahá, retorted 
by initiating a series of activities which by their very nature were 
to be the precursors of permanent, officially recognized administrative 
institutions.  The inauguration of Chicago's first House of 
Spirituality designated by `Abdu'l-Bahá as that city's "House of 
 
+P84 
Justice"; the establishment of the Bahá'í Publishing Society; the 
founding of the Green Acre Fellowship; the publication of the Star 
of the West; the holding of the first Bahá'í National Convention, 
synchronizing with the transference of the sacred remains of the 
Báb to its final resting-place on Mt. Carmel; the incorporation of 
the Bahá'í Temple Unity and the formation of the Executive Committee 
of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár--these stand out as the most 
conspicuous accomplishments of the American believers which have 
immortalized the memory of the most turbulent period of their 
history.  Launched through these very acts into the troublesome seas 
of ceaseless tribulation, piloted by the mighty arm of `Abdu'l-Bahá 
and manned by the bold initiative and abundant vitality of a band 
of sorely-tried disciples, the Ark of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant has, 
ever since those days, been steadily pursuing its course contemptuous 
of the storms of bitter misfortune that have raged, and which 
must continue to assail it, as it forges ahead towards the promised 
haven of undisturbed security and peace.  
     Unsatisfied with the achievements which crowned the concerted 
efforts of their elected representatives within the American continent, 
and emboldened by the initial success of their pioneer teachers, 
beyond its confines, in Great Britain, France and Germany, the 
community of the American believers resolved to win in distant 
climes fresh recruits to the advancing army of Bahá'u'lláh.  Setting 
out from the western shores of their native land and impelled 
by the indomitable energy of a new-born faith, these itinerant 
teachers of the Gospel of Bahá'u'lláh pushed on towards the islands 
of the Pacific, and as far as China and Japan, determined to establish 
beyond the farthest seas the outposts of their beloved Faith.  
Both at home and abroad this community had by that time demonstrated 
its capacity to widen the range and consolidate the foundations 
of its vast endeavors.  The angry voices that had been raised 
in protest against its rise were being drowned amid the acclamations 
with which the East greeted its recent victories.  Those ugly 
features that had loomed so threateningly were gradually receding 
into the distance, furnishing a still wider field to these noble warriors 
for the exercise of their latent energies.  
     The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the continent of America had indeed 
been resuscitated.  Phoenix-like it had risen in all its freshness, 
 
+P85 
vigor and beauty and was now, through the voice of its triumphant 
exponents, insistingly calling to `Abdu'l-Bahá, imploring Him to 
undertake a journey to its shores.  The first fruits of the mission 
entrusted to its worthy upholders had lent such poignancy to their 
call that `Abdu'l-Bahá, Who had just been delivered from the 
fetters of a galling tyranny, found Himself unable to resist.  His 
great, His incomparable, love for His own favored children impelled 
Him to respond.  Their passionate entreaty had, moreover, 
been reinforced by the numerous invitations which representatives 
of various interested organizations, whether religious, educational 
or humanitarian, had extended to Him, expressing their eagerness 
to receive from His own mouth an exposition of His Father's 
teachings.  
     Though bent with age, though suffering from ailments resulting 
from the accumulated cares of fifty years of exile and captivity, 
`Abdu'l-Bahá set out on His memorable journey across the seas 
to the land where He might bless by His presence, and sanctify 
through His deeds, the mighty acts His spirit had led His disciples 
to perform.  The circumstances that have attended His triumphal 
progress through the chief cities of the United States and Canada 
my pen is utterly incapable of describing.  The joys which the announcement 
of His arrival evoked, the publicity which His activities 
created, the forces which His utterances released, the opposition 
which the implications of His teachings excited, the significant 
episodes to which His words and deeds continually gave rise--
these future generations will, no doubt, minutely and befittingly 
register.  They will carefully delineate their features, will cherish 
and preserve their memory, and will transmit unimpaired the record 
of their minutest details to their descendants.  It would indeed be 
presumptuous on our part to attempt, at the present time, to sketch 
even the bare outline of so vast, so enthralling a theme.  Contemplating 
after the lapse of above twenty years this notable landmark 
in America's spiritual history we still find ourselves compelled to 
confess our inability to grasp its import or to fathom its mystery.  
I have alluded in the preceding pages to a few of the more salient 
features of that never-to-be-forgotten visit.  These incidents, as we 
look back upon them, eloquently proclaim `Abdu'l-Bahá's specific 
purpose to confer through these symbolic functions upon the first-born 
 
+P86 
of the communities of the West that spiritual primacy which 
was to be the birthright of the American believers.  
     The seeds which `Abdu'l-Bahá's ceaseless activities so lavishly 
scattered had endowed the United States and Canada, nay the 
entire continent, with potentialities such as it had never known in 
its history.  On the small band of His trained and beloved disciples, 
and through them on their descendants, He, through that visit, had 
bequeathed a priceless heritage--a heritage which carried with it 
the sacred and primary obligation to arise and carry on in that 
fertile field the work He had so gloriously initiated.  We can dimly 
picture to ourselves the wishes that must have welled from His 
eager heart as He bade His last farewell to that promising country.  
An inscrutable Wisdom, we can well imagine Him remark to His 
disciples on the eve of His departure, has, in His infinite bounty 
singled out your native land for the execution of a mighty purpose.  
Through the agency of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant I, as the ploughman, 
have been called upon since the beginning of my ministry to turn 
up and break its ground.  The mighty confirmations that have, in 
the opening days of your career, rained upon you have prepared 
and invigorated its soil.  The tribulations you subsequently were 
made to suffer have driven deep furrows into the field which my 
hands had prepared.  The seeds with which I have been entrusted I 
have now scattered far and wide before you.  Under your loving 
care, by your ceaseless exertions, every one of these seeds must 
germinate, every one must yield its destined fruit.  A winter of 
unprecedented severity will soon be upon you.  Its storm-clouds are 
fast gathering on the horizon.  Tempestuous winds will assail you 
from every side.  The Light of the Covenant will be obscured 
through my departure.  These mighty blasts, this wintry desolation, 
shall however pass away.  The dormant seed will burst into fresh 
activity.  It shall put forth its buds, shall reveal, in mighty institutions, 
its leaves and blossoms.  The vernal showers which the tender 
mercies of my heavenly Father will cause to descend upon you 
will enable this tender plant to spread out its branches to regions 
far beyond the confines of your native land.  And finally the steadily 
mounting sun of His Revelation, shining in its meridian splendor, 
will enable this mighty Tree of His Faith to yield, in the fullness 
of time and on your soil, its golden fruit.  
 
+P87 
     The implications of such a parting message could not long remain 
unrevealed to `Abdu'l-Bahá's initiated disciples.  No sooner 
had He concluded His long and arduous journey across the American 
and European continents than the tremendous happenings to 
which He had alluded began to be made manifest.  A conflict, such 
as He had predicted, severed for a time all means of communication 
with those on whom He had come to place such implicit trust 
and from whom He was expecting so much in return.  The wintry 
desolation, with all its havoc and carnage, pursued during four 
years its relentless course, while He, repairing to the quiet solitude 
of His residence in the close neighborhood of Bahá'u'lláh's hallowed 
shrine, continued to communicate His thoughts and wishes 
to those whom He had left behind and on whom He had conferred 
the unique tokens of His favor.  In the immortal Tablets 
which, in the long hours of His communion with His dearly-beloved 
friends He was moved to reveal, He unfolded to their eyes 
His conception of their spiritual destiny, His Plan for the mission 
He wished them to undertake.  The seeds His hands had sown He 
was now watering with that same care, that same love and patience, 
which had characterized His previous endeavors whilst He was 
laboring in their midst.  
     The clarion call which `Abdu'l-Bahá had raised was the signal 
for an outburst of renewed activity which, alike in the motives 
it inspired and the forces it set in motion, America had scarcely 
experienced.  Lending an unprecedented impetus to the work which 
the enterprising ambassadors of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh had 
initiated in distant lands, this mighty movement has continued to 
spread until the present day, has gathered momentum as it extended 
its ramifications over the surface of the globe, and will continue 
to accelerate its march until the last wishes of its original Promoter 
are completely fulfilled.  
     Forsaking home, kindred, friends and position a handful of 
men and women, fired with a zeal and confidence which no human 
agency can kindle, arose to carry out the mandate which `Abdu'l-Bahá 
had issued.  Sailing northward as far as Alaska, pushing on 
to the West Indies, penetrating the South American continent to the 
banks of the Amazon and across the Andes to the southernmost 
ends of the Argentine Republic, pressing on westward into the 
 
+P88 
island of Tahiti and beyond it to the Australian continent and still 
beyond it as far as New Zealand and Tasmania, these intrepid 
heralds of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have succeeded by their very 
acts in setting to the present generation of their fellow-believers 
throughout the East an example which they may well emulate.  
Headed by their illustrious representative, who ever since the call 
of `Abdu'l-Bahá was raised has been twice round the world and 
is still, with marvellous courage and fortitude, enriching the matchless 
record of her services, these men and women have been instrumental 
in extending, to a degree as yet unsurpassed in Bahá'í history, 
the sway of Bahá'u'lláh's universal dominion.  In the face of 
almost insurmountable obstacles they have succeeded in most of 
the countries through which they have passed or in which they 
have resided, in proclaiming the teachings of their Faith, in circulating 
its literature, in defending its cause, in laying the basis of 
its institutions and in reinforcing the number of its declared supporters.  
It would be impossible for me to unfold in this short 
compass the tale of such heroic actions.  Nor can any tribute of 
mine do justice to the spirit which has enabled these standard-bearers 
of the Religion of God to win such laurels and to confer 
such distinction on the generation to which they belong.  
     The Cause of Bahá'u'lláh had by that time encircled the globe.  
Its light, born in darkest Persia, had been carried successively to 
the European, the African and the American continents, and was 
now penetrating the heart of Australia, encompassing thereby the 
whole earth with a girdle of shining glory.  The share which such 
worthy, such stout-hearted, disciples have had in brightening the 
last days of `Abdu'l-Bahá's earthly life He alone has truly recognized 
and can sufficiently estimate.  The unique and eternal significance 
of such accomplishments the labors of the rising generation 
will assuredly reveal, their memory its works will befittingly preserve 
and extol.  How deep a satisfaction `Abdu'l-Bahá must have 
felt, while conscious of the approaching hour of His departure, as 
He witnessed the first fruits of the international services of these 
heroes of His Father's Faith!  To their keeping He had committed 
a great and goodly heritage.  In the twilight of His earthly life He 
could rest content in the serene assurance that such able hands 
could be relied upon to preserve its integrity and exalt its virtue.  
 
+P89 
     The passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, so sudden in the circumstances 
which caused it, so dramatic in its consequences, could neither impede 
the operation of such a dynamic force nor obscure its purpose.  
Those fervid appeals, embodied in the Will and Testament of a 
departed Master, could not but confirm its aim, define its character 
and reinforce the promise of its ultimate success.  
     Out of the pangs of anguish which His bereaved followers have 
suffered, amid the heat and dust which the attacks launched by 
a sleepless enemy had precipitated, the Administration of Bahá'u'lláh's 
invincible Faith was born.  The potent energies released 
through the ascension of the Center of His Covenant crystallized 
into this supreme, this infallible Organ for the accomplishment of 
a Divine Purpose.  The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá unveiled 
its character, reaffirmed its basis, supplemented its principles, 
asserted its indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions.  
With that self-same spontaneity which had characterized her response 
to the Message proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh America had 
now arisen to espouse the cause of the Administration which the 
Will and Testament of His Son had unmistakably established.  It 
was given to her, and to her alone, in the turbulent years following 
the revelation of so momentous a Document, to become the fearless 
champion of that Administration, the pivot of its new-born institutions 
and the leading promoter of its influence.  To their Persian 
brethren, who in the heroic age of the Faith had won the crown 
of martyrdom, the American believers, forerunners of its golden 
age, were now worthily succeeding, bearing in their turn the palm 
of a hard-won victory.  The unbroken record of their illustrious 
deeds had established beyond the shadow of a doubt their preponderating 
share in shaping the destinies of their Faith.  In a world 
writhing with pain and declining into chaos this community--
the vanguard of the liberating forces of Bahá'u'lláh--succeeded in 
the years following `Abdu'l-Bahá's passing in raising high above 
the institutions established by its sister communities in East and 
West what may well constitute the chief pillar of that future House
--a House which posterity will regard as the last refuge of a tottering 
civilization.  
     In the prosecution of their task neither the whisperings of the 
treacherous nor the virulent attacks of their avowed enemies were 
 
+P90 
allowed to deflect them from their high purpose or to undermine 
their faith in the sublimity of their calling.  The agitation provoked 
by him who in his incessant and sordid pursuit of earthly 
riches would have, but for `Abdu'l-Bahá's warning, sullied the 
fair name of their Faith, had left them in the main undisturbed.  
Schooled by tribulation and secure within the stronghold of their 
fast evolving institutions they scorned his insinuations and by their 
unswerving loyalty were able to shatter his hopes.  They refused to 
allow any consideration of the admitted prestige and past services 
of his father and of his associates to weaken their determination 
to ignore entirely the person whom `Abdu'l-Bahá had so emphatically 
condemned.  The veiled attacks with which a handful of deluded 
enthusiasts subsequently sought in the pages of their periodical 
to check the growth and blight the prospects of an infant 
Administration had likewise failed to achieve their purpose.  The 
attitude which a besotted woman later on assumed, her ludicrous 
assertions, her boldness in flouting the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá and 
in challenging its authenticity and her attempts to subvert its principles 
were again powerless to produce the slightest breach in the 
ranks of its valiant upholders.  The treacherous schemes which the 
ambition of a perfidious and still more recent enemy has devised 
and through which he is still striving to deface `Abdu'l-Bahá's noble 
handiwork and corrupt its administrative principles are being once 
more completely frustrated.  These intermittent and abortive attempts 
on the part of its assailants to force the surrender of the 
newly built stronghold of the Faith its defenders have from the 
very beginning utterly disdained.  No matter how fierce the assaults 
of the enemy or skillful his stratagem they have refused to yield 
one jot or one tittle of their cherished convictions.  His insinuations 
and clamor they have consistently ignored.  The motives which animated 
his actions, the methods he steadily pursued, the precarious 
privileges he seemed momentarily to enjoy they could not but 
despise.  Thriving for a time through the devices which their scheming 
minds had conceived and supported by the ephemeral advantages 
which fame, ability or fortune can confer these notorious exponents 
of corruption and heresy have succeeded in protruding for a time 
their ugly features only to sink, as rapidly as they had risen, into 
the mire of an ignominious end.  
 
+P91 
     From the midst of these afflictive trials, reminiscent in some of 
their aspects of the violent storm that had accompanied the birth 
of the Faith in their native land, the American believers had again 
triumphantly emerged, their course undeflected, their fame unsullied, 
their heritage unimpaired.  A series of magnificent accomplishments, 
each more significant than the previous, were to shed increasing 
lustre on an already illustrious record.  In the dark years immediately 
following `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension their deeds shone with 
a radiance that made them the object of the envy and the admiration 
of the less privileged among their brethren.  The entire community, 
untrammeled and supremely confident, was rising to a great and 
glorious opportunity.  The forces that had motivated its birth, that 
had assisted in its rise, were now accelerating its growth, in a 
manner and with such rapidity that neither the pangs of a world-wide 
sorrow nor the unceasing convulsions of a distracted age could 
paralyze its efforts or retard its march.  
     Internally the community had embarked in a number of enterprises 
that were to enable it on the one hand to extend still further 
the scope of its spiritual jurisdiction and on the other to fashion 
the essential instruments for the creation and consolidation of the 
institutions which such an extension imperatively demanded.  Externally 
its undertakings were inspired by the twofold objective of 
prosecuting, even more intensely than before, the admirable work 
which in each of the five continents its international teachers had 
initiated, and of assuming an increasing share in the handling and 
solution of the delicate and complex problems with which a newly-emancipated 
Faith was being confronted.  The birth of the Administration 
in that continent had signalized these praiseworthy exertions.  
Its gradual consolidation was destined to insure their 
continuance and to accentuate their effectiveness.  
     To enumerate only the most outstanding accomplishments which, 
in their own country and beyond its confines, have so greatly enhanced 
the prestige of the American believers and have redounded 
to the glory and honor of the Most Great Name is all I can presently 
undertake, leaving to future generations the task of explaining 
their import and of affixing a fitting estimate to their value.  To the 
body of their elected representatives must be attributed the honor 
of having been the first among their sister Assemblies of East and 
 
+P92 
West to devise, promulgate and legalize the essential instruments 
for the effective discharge of their collective duties--instruments 
which every properly constituted Bahá'í community must regard as 
a pattern worthy to be adopted and copied.  To their efforts must 
likewise be ascribed the historic achievement of establishing their 
national endowments upon a permanent and unassailable basis and 
of creating the necessary agency for the formation of those subsidiary 
organs whose function is to administer on behalf of their 
trustees such possessions as these may acquire beyond the limits 
of their immediate jurisdiction.  By the weight of their moral support 
so freely extended to their Egyptian brethren they were able 
to remove some of the most formidable obstacles which the Faith 
had to surmount in its struggle to enfranchise itself from the fetters 
of Muslim orthodoxy.  Through the effective and timely intervention 
of these same elected representatives they were able to avert the 
woes and dangers which had menaced their persecuted fellow-workers 
in the Soviet Republics, and to ward off the rage which had 
threatened with immediate ruin one of the most precious and noblest 
of Bahá'í institutions.  Nothing short of the whole-hearted assistance, 
whether moral or financial which the American believers, 
individually and collectively, were moved to extend on several occasions 
to the needy and harassed among their brethren in Persia 
could have saved these hapless victims of the consequences of the 
calamities that had visited them in the years following `Abdu'l-Bahá's 
ascension.  It was the publicity which the efforts of their 
American brethren had created, the protests they were led to make, 
the appeals and petitions they had submitted, which mitigated these 
sufferings and curbed the violence of the worst and most tyrannical 
opponents of the Faith in that land.  Who else, if not one of their 
most distinguished representatives, has risen to force upon the 
attention of the highest Tribunal the world has yet seen the grievances 
which a Faith, robbed of one of its holiest sanctuaries, had 
suffered at the hand of the usurper?  Who else has succeeded in 
securing, through patient and persistent effort, those written affirmations 
which proclaim the justice of a persecuted cause and tacitly 
recognize its right to an independent religious status?  "The Commission," 
is the resolution passed by the Permanent Mandates Commission 
of the League of Nations, "recommends that the Council 
 
+P93 
should ask the British Government to make representations to the 
Iráqí Government with a view to the immediate redress of the 
denial of justice from which the petitioners (the Bahá'í Spiritual 
Assembly of Baghdád) have suffered."  Has any one else except 
an American believer been led to obtain from royalty such remarkable 
and repeated testimonies to the regenerating power of 
the Faith of God, such striking references to the universality of 
its teachings and the sublimity of its mission.  "The Bahá'í teaching," 
such is the Queen's written testimony, "brings peace and understanding.  
It is like a wide embrace gathering together all those 
who have long searched for words of hope.  It accepts all great 
Prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all 
doors open.  Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of 
many confessions and wearied of their intolerance towards each 
other, I discovered in the Bahá'í teaching the real spirit of Christ 
so often denied and misunderstood:  Unity instead of strife, Hope 
instead of condemnation, Love instead of hate, and a great reassurance 
for all men."  Have not the American adherents of the 
Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, through the courage displayed by one of the 
most brilliant members of their community, been instrumental in 
paving the way for the removal of those barriers which have, for 
well-nigh a century, hampered the growth and crippled the energy 
of their fellow-believers in Persia?  Is it not America who, ever 
mindful of `Abdu'l-Bahá's passionate entreaty, has sent out to the 
ends of the earth a steadily increasing number of its most consecrated 
citizens--men and women the one wish of whose lives is to 
consolidate the foundations of Bahá'u'lláh's world-embracing dominion?  
In the northernmost capitals of Europe, in most of its 
central states, throughout the Balkan Peninsula, along the shores 
of the African, the Asiatic and South American continents are to 
be found this day a small band of women pioneers who, single-handed 
and with scanty resources, are toiling for the advent of the 
Day `Abdu'l-Bahá has foretold.  Did not the attitude of the Greatest 
Holy Leaf, as she approached the close of her life, bear eloquent 
testimony to the incomparable share which her steadfast and self-sacrificing 
lovers in that continent have had in lightening the burden 
which had weighed so long and so heavily on her heart?  And 
finally who can be so bold as to deny that the completion of the 
 
+P94 
superstructure of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár--the crowning glory of 
America's past and present achievements--has forged that mystic 
chain which is to link, more firmly than ever, the hearts of its 
champion-builders with Him Who is the Source and Center of their 
Faith and the Object of their truest adoration?  
     Fellow-believers in the American continent!  Great indeed have 
been your past and present achievements!  Immeasurably greater 
are the wonders which the future has in store for you!  The Edifice 
your sacrifices have raised still remains to be clothed.  The House 
which must needs be supported by the highest administrative institution 
your hands have reared, is as yet unbuilt.  The provisions 
of the chief Repository of those laws that must govern its operation 
are thus far mostly undisclosed.  The Standard which, if 
`Abdu'l-Bahá's wishes are to be fulfilled, must be raised in your 
own country has yet to be unfurled.  The Unity of which that standard 
is to be the symbol is far from being yet established.  The machinery 
which must needs incarnate and preserve that unity is not 
even created.  Will it be America, will it be one of the countries of 
Europe, who will arise to assume the leadership essential to the 
shaping of the destinies of this troubled age?  Will America allow 
any of her sister communities in East or West to achieve such 
ascendancy as shall deprive her of that spiritual primacy with 
which she has been invested and which she has thus far so nobly 
retained?  Will she not rather contribute, by a still further revelation 
of those inherent powers that motivate her life, to enhance 
the priceless heritage which the love and wisdom of a departed 
Master have conferred upon her?  
     Her past has been a testimony to the inexhaustible vitality of 
her faith.  May not her future confirm it?  
 
                                       Your true brother, 
                                         SHOGHI. 
 
Haifa, Palestine, 
April 21, 1933.  
 
+P95 
                       THE DISPENSATION OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
 
+P96 
 
+P97 
                               THE DISPENSATION 
                               OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH 
 
To the beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout 
     the West.  
 
Fellow-laborers in the Divine Vineyard:  
 
     On the 23rd of May of this auspicious year the Bahá'í world 
will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Faith of 
Bahá'u'lláh.  We, who at this hour find ourselves standing on the 
threshold of the last decade of the first century of the Bahá'í era, 
might well pause to reflect upon the mysterious dispensations of so 
august, so momentous a Revelation.  How vast, how entrancing the 
panorama which the revolution of four score years and ten unrolls 
before our eyes!  Its towering grandeur well-nigh overwhelms us.  
To merely contemplate this unique spectacle, to visualize, however 
dimly, the circumstances attending the birth and gradual unfoldment 
of this supreme Theophany, to recall even in their barest outline 
the woeful struggles that proclaimed its rise and accelerated its 
march, will suffice to convince every unbiased observer of those 
eternal truths that motivate its life and which must continue to 
impel it forward until it achieves its destined ascendancy.  
     Dominating the entire range of this fascinating spectacle towers 
the incomparable figure of Bahá'u'lláh, transcendental in His 
majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious.  Allied, 
though subordinate in rank, and invested with the authority of 
presiding with Him over the destinies of this supreme Dispensation, 
there shines upon this mental picture the youthful glory of the Báb, 
infinite in His tenderness, irresistible in His charm, unsurpassed in 
His heroism, matchless in the dramatic circumstances of His short 
yet eventful life.  And finally there emerges, though on a plane of 
its own and in a category entirely apart from the one occupied by 
the twin Figures that preceded Him, the vibrant, the magnetic personality 
of `Abdu'l-Bahá, reflecting to a degree that no man, however 
 
+P98 
exalted his station, can hope to rival, the glory and power with 
which They who are the Manifestations of God are alone endowed.  
     With `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, and more particularly with the 
passing of His well-beloved and illustrious sister the Most Exalted 
Leaf--the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age--there draws 
to a close the first and most moving chapter of Bahá'í history, marking 
the conclusion of the Primitive, the Apostolic Age of the Faith 
of Bahá'u'lláh.  It was `Abdu'l-Bahá Who, through the provisions 
of His weighty Will and Testament, has forged the vital link which 
must for ever connect the age that has just expired with the one 
we now live in--the Transitional and Formative period of the 
Faith--a stage that must in the fullness of time reach its blossom 
and yield its fruit in the exploits and triumphs that are to herald 
the Golden Age of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  The onrushing forces so miraculously 
released through the agency of two independent and swiftly successive 
Manifestations are now under our very eyes and through 
the care of the chosen stewards of a far-flung Faith being gradually 
mustered and disciplined.  They are slowly crystallizing into institutions 
that will come to be regarded as the hall-mark and glory of 
the age we are called upon to establish and by our deeds immortalize.  
For upon our present-day efforts, and above all upon the extent to 
which we strive to remodel our lives after the pattern of sublime 
heroism associated with those gone before us, must depend the 
efficacy of the instruments we now fashion--instruments that must 
erect the structure of that blissful Commonwealth which must 
signalize the Golden Age of our Faith.  
     It is not my purpose, as I look back upon these crowded years 
of heroic deeds, to attempt even a cursory review of the mighty 
events that have transpired since 1844 until the present day.  Nor 
have I any intention to undertake an analysis of the forces that 
have precipitated them, or to evaluate their influence upon peoples 
and institutions in almost every continent of the globe.  The authentic 
record of the lives of the first believers of the primitive 
period of our Faith, together with the assiduous research which 
competent Bahá'í historians will in the future undertake, will combine 
to transmit to posterity such masterly exposition of the history 
of that age as my own efforts can never hope to accomplish.  My 
chief concern at this challenging period of Bahá'í history is rather 
to call the attention of those who are destined to be the champion-builders 
of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh to certain fundamental 
 
+P99 
verities the elucidation of which must tremendously assist 
them in the effective prosecution of their mighty enterprise.  
     The international status which the Religion of God has thus 
far achieved, moreover, imperatively demands that its root principles 
be now definitely clarified.  The unprecedented impetus which the 
illustrious deeds of the American believers have lent to the onward 
march of the Faith; the intense interest which the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár 
of the West is fast awakening among divers races and 
nations; the rise and steady consolidation of Bahá'í institutions in 
no less than forty of the most advanced countries of the world; 
the dissemination of Bahá'í literature in no fewer than twenty-five 
of the most widely-spoken languages; the success that has recently 
attended the nation-wide efforts of the Persian believers in the preliminary 
steps they have taken for the establishment, in the outskirts 
of the capital-city of their native land, of the third Mashriqu'l-Adhkár 
of the Bahá'í world; the measures that are being taken for 
the immediate formation of their first National Spiritual Assembly 
representing the interests of the overwhelming majority of Bahá'í 
adherents; the projected erection of yet another pillar of the Universal 
House of Justice, the first of its kind, in the Southern 
Hemisphere; the testimonies, both verbal and written, that a 
struggling Faith has obtained from Royalty, from governmental 
institutions, international tribunals, and ecclesiastical dignitaries; 
the publicity it has received from the charges which unrelenting 
enemies, both new and old, have hurled against it; the formal enfranchisement 
of a section of its followers from the fetters of 
Muslim orthodoxy in a country that may be regarded as the most 
enlightened among Islamic nations--these afford ample proof of the 
growing momentum with which the invincible community of the 
Most Great Name is marching forward to ultimate victory.  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  I feel it incumbent upon me, by virtue 
of the obligations and responsibilities which as Guardian of the 
Faith of Bahá'u'lláh I am called upon to discharge, to lay special 
stress, at a time when the light of publicity is being increasingly 
focussed upon us, upon certain truths which lie at the basis of our 
Faith and the integrity of which it is our first duty to safeguard.  
These verities, if valiantly upheld and properly assimilated, will, 
I am convinced, powerfully reinforce the vigor of our spiritual life 
 
+P100 
and greatly assist in counteracting the machinations of an implacable 
and vigilant enemy.  
     To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance 
of Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous Revelation must, it is my 
unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object 
of the constant endeavor of each one of its loyal adherents.  An 
exact and thorough comprehension of so vast a system, so sublime 
a revelation, so sacred a trust, is for obvious reasons beyond the 
reach and ken of our finite minds.  We can, however, and it is our 
bounden duty to seek to derive fresh inspiration and added sustenance 
as we labor for the propagation of His Faith through a 
clearer apprehension of the truths it enshrines and the principles 
on which it is based.  
     In a communication addressed to the American believers I have 
in the course of my explanation of the station of the Báb made a 
passing reference to the incomparable greatness of the Revelation 
of which He considered Himself to be the humble Precursor.  He 
Whom Bahá'u'lláh has acclaimed in the Kitáb-i-Íqán as that promised 
Qá'im Who has manifested no less than twenty-five out of the 
twenty-seven letters which all the Prophets were destined to reveal--
so great a Revealer has Himself testified to the préeminence of 
that superior Revelation that was soon to supersede His own.  "The 
germ," the Báb asserts in the Persian Bayán, "that holds within 
itself the potentialities of the Revelation that is to come is endowed 
with a potency superior to the combined forces of all those who 
follow me."  "Of all the tributes," He again affirms, "I have paid to 
Him Who is to come after Me, the greatest is this, My written confession, 
that no words of Mine can adequately describe Him, nor 
can any reference to Him in My Book, the Bayán, do justice to His 
Cause."  "The Bayán," He in that same Book categorically declares, 
"and whosoever is therein revolve round the saying of `Him 
Whom God shall make manifest,' even as the Alif (the Gospel) and 
whosoever was therein revolved round the saying of Muhammad, 
the Apostle of God."  "A thousand perusals of the Bayán," He 
further remarks, "cannot equal the perusal of a single verse to be 
revealed by `Him Whom God shall make manifest.'...  Today the 
Bayán is in the stage of seed; at the beginning of the manifestation 
of `Him Whom God shall make manifest' its ultimate perfection 
will become apparent....  The Bayán and such as are believers 
therein yearn more ardently after Him than the yearning of any 
lover after his beloved....  The Bayán deriveth all its glory from 
 
+P101 
`Him Whom God shall make manifest.'  All blessing be upon him 
who believeth in Him and woe betide him that rejecteth His truth."  
     Addressing Siyyid Yahyáy-i-Darábí surnamed Vahíd, the most 
learned, the most eloquent and influential among His followers, the 
Báb utters this warning:  "By the righteousness of Him Whose 
power causeth the seed to germinate and Who breatheth the spirit 
of life into all things, were I to be assured that in the day of His 
manifestation thou wilt deny Him, I would unhesitatingly disown 
thee and repudiate thy faith....  If, on the other hand, I be told 
that a Christian, who beareth no allegiance to My Faith, will believe 
in Him, the same will I regard as the apple of Mine Eye."  
     In one of His prayers He thus communes with Bahá'u'lláh:  
"Exalted art Thou, O my Lord the Omnipotent!  How puny and 
contemptible my word and all that pertaineth unto me appear unless 
they be related to Thy great glory.  Grant that through the assistance 
of Thy grace whatsoever pertaineth unto me may be acceptable in 
Thy sight."  
     In the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá'--the Báb's commentary on the Súrih 
of Joseph--characterized by the Author of the Íqán as "the first, the 
greatest and mightiest" of the books revealed by the Báb, we read 
the following references to Bahá'u'lláh:  "Out of utter nothingness, 
O great and omnipotent Master, Thou hast, through the celestial 
potency of Thy might, brought me forth and raised me up to proclaim 
this Revelation.  I have made none other but Thee my trust; 
I have clung to no will but Thy will...  O Thou Remnant of God!  
I have sacrificed myself wholly for Thee:  I have accepted curses for 
Thy sake, and have yearned for naught but martyrdom in the path 
of Thy love.  Sufficient witness unto me is God, the Exalted, the 
Protector, the Ancient of Days."  "And when the appointed hour 
hath struck," He again addresses Bahá'u'lláh in that same commentary, 
"do Thou, by the leave of God, the All-Wise, reveal from the 
heights of the Most Lofty and Mystic Mount a faint, an infinitesimal 
glimmer of Thy impenetrable Mystery, that they who have recognized 
the radiance of the Sinaic Splendor may faint away and die as 
they catch a lightening glimpse of the fierce and crimson Light that 
envelops Thy Revelation."  
     As a further testimony to the greatness of the Revelation identified 
with Bahá'u'lláh may be cited the following extracts from 
a Tablet addressed by `Abdu'l-Bahá to an eminent Zoroastrian follower 
of the Faith:  "Thou hadst written that in the sacred books of 
the followers of Zoroaster it is written that in the latter days, in 
 
+P102 
three separate Dispensations, the sun must needs be brought to a 
standstill.  In the first Dispensation, it is predicted, the sun will remain 
motionless for ten days; in the second for twice that time; in 
the third for no less than one whole month.  The interpretation of 
this prophecy is this:  the first Dispensation to which it refers is the 
Muhammadan Dispensation during which the Sun of Truth stood 
still for ten days.  Each day is reckoned as one century.  The Muhammadan 
Dispensation must have, therefore, lasted no less than one 
thousand years, which is precisely the period that has elapsed from 
the setting of the Star of the Imamate to the advent of the Dispensation 
proclaimed by the Báb.  The second Dispensation referred to 
in this prophecy is the one inaugurated by the Báb Himself, which 
began in the year 1260 A.H. and was brought to a close in the year 
1280 A.H.  As to the third Dispensation--the Revelation proclaimed 
by Bahá'u'lláh--inasmuch as the Sun of Truth when attaining that 
station shineth in the plenitude of its meridian splendor its duration 
hath been fixed for a period of one whole month, which is the maximum 
time taken by the sun to pass through a sign of the Zodiac.  
From this thou canst imagine the magnitude of the Bahá'í cycle--
a cycle that must extend over a period of at least five hundred 
thousand years."  
     From the text of this explicit and authoritative interpretation of 
so ancient a prophecy it is evident how necessary it is for every 
faithful follower of the Faith to accept the divine origin and uphold 
the independent status of the Muhammadan Dispensation.  The 
validity of the Imamate is, moreover, implicitly recognized in these 
same passages--that divinely-appointed institution of whose most 
distinguished member the Báb Himself was a lineal descendant, and 
which continued for a period of no less than two hundred and sixty 
years to be the chosen recipient of the guidance of the Almighty and 
the repository of one of the two most precious legacies of Islám.  
     This same prophecy, we must furthermore recognize, attests the 
independent character of the Bábí Dispensation and corroborates 
indirectly the truth that in accordance with the principle of progressive 
revelation every Manifestation of God must needs vouchsafe to 
the peoples of His day a measure of divine guidance ampler than 
any which a preceding and less receptive age could have received or 
appreciated.  For this reason, and not for any superior merit which 
the Bahá'í Faith may be said to inherently possess, does this prophecy 
bear witness to the unrivaled power and glory with which the Dispensation 
of Bahá'u'lláh has been invested--a Dispensation the 
 
+P103 
potentialities of which we are but beginning to perceive and the 
full range of which we can never determine.  
     The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh should indeed be regarded, if we wish 
to be faithful to the tremendous implications of its message, as the 
culmination of a cycle, the final stage in a series of successive, of 
preliminary and progressive revelations.  These, beginning with 
Adam and ending with the Báb, have paved the way and anticipated 
with an ever-increasing emphasis the advent of that Day of Days 
in which He Who is the Promise of All Ages should be made 
manifest.  
     To this truth the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh abundantly testify.  
A mere reference to the claims which, in vehement language and 
with compelling power, He Himself has repeatedly advanced cannot 
but fully demonstrate the character of the Revelation of which He 
was the chosen bearer.  To the words that have streamed from His 
pen--the fountainhead of so impetuous a Revelation--we should, 
therefore, direct our attention if we wish to obtain a clearer understanding 
of its importance and meaning.  Whether in His assertion 
of the unprecedented claim He has advanced, or in His allusions to 
the mysterious forces He has released, whether in such passages as 
extol the glories of His long-awaited Day, or magnify the station 
which they who have recognized its hidden virtues will attain, 
Bahá'u'lláh and, to an almost equal extent, the Báb and `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
have bequeathed to posterity mines of such inestimable wealth as 
none of us who belong to this generation can befittingly estimate.  
Such testimonies bearing on this theme are impregnated with such 
power and reveal such beauty as only those who are versed in the 
languages in which they were originally revealed can claim to have 
sufficiently appreciated.  So numerous are these testimonies that a 
whole volume would be required to be written in order to compile 
the most outstanding among them.  All I can venture to attempt at 
present is to share with you only such passages as I have been able 
to glean from His voluminous writings.  
     "I testify before God," proclaims Bahá'u'lláh, "to the greatness, 
the inconceivable greatness of this Revelation.  Again and again have 
We in most of Our Tablets borne witness to this truth, that mankind 
may be roused from its heedlessness."  "In this most mighty 
Revelation," He unequivocally announces, "all the Dispensations of 
the past have attained their highest, their final consummation."  
"That which hath been made manifest in this preëminent, this most 
exalted Revelation, stands unparalleled in the annals of the past, nor 
 
+P104 
will future ages witness its like."  "He it is," referring to Himself 
He further proclaims, "Who in the Old Testament hath been named 
Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of 
Truth, and in the Qur'án acclaimed as the Great Announcement."  
"But for Him no Divine Messenger would have been invested with 
the robe of prophethood, nor would any of the sacred scriptures 
have been revealed.  To this bear witness all created things."  "The 
word which the one true God uttereth in this day, though that word 
be the most familiar and commonplace of terms, is invested with 
supreme, with unique distinction."  "The generality of mankind is 
still immature.  Had it acquired sufficient capacity We would have 
bestowed upon it so great a measure of Our knowledge that all who 
dwell on earth and in heaven would have found themselves, by 
virtue of the grace streaming from Our pen, completely independent 
of all knowledge save the knowledge of God, and would have been 
securely established upon the throne of abiding tranquillity."  "The 
Pen of Holiness, I solemnly affirm before God, hath writ upon My 
snow-white brow and in characters of effulgent glory these glowing, 
these musk-scented and holy words:  `Behold ye that dwell on earth, 
and ye denizens of heaven, bear witness, He in truth is your Well-Beloved.  
He it is Whose like the world of creation hath not seen, He 
Whose ravishing beauty hath delighted the eye of God, the Ordainer, 
the All-Powerful, the Incomparable!'"  
     "Followers of the Gospel," Bahá'u'lláh addressing the whole of 
Christendom exclaims, "behold the gates of heaven are flung open.  
He that had ascended unto it is now come.  Give ear to His voice 
calling aloud over land and sea, announcing to all mankind the 
advent of this Revelation--a Revelation through the agency of 
which the Tongue of Grandeur is now proclaiming:  `Lo, the sacred 
Pledge hath been fulfilled, for He, the Promised One, is come!'"  
"The voice of the Son of Man is calling aloud from the sacred vale:  
`Here am I, here am I, O God my God!' ... whilst from the Burning 
Bush breaketh forth the cry:  `Lo, the Desire of the world is made 
manifest in His transcendent glory!'  The Father hath come.  That 
which ye were promised in the Kingdom of God is fulfilled.  This is 
the Word which the Son veiled when He said to those around Him 
that at that time they could not bear it...  Verily the Spirit of 
Truth is come to guide you unto all truth...  He is the One Who 
glorified the Son and exalted His Cause..."  "The Comforter 
Whose advent all the scriptures have promised is now come that He 
 
+P105 
may reveal unto you all knowledge and wisdom.  Seek Him over the 
entire surface of the earth, haply ye may find Him."  
     "Call out to Zion, O Carmel," writes Bahá'u'lláh, "and announce 
the joyful tidings:  `He that was hidden from mortal eyes is come!  
His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest; His all-encompassing 
splendor is revealed...  Hasten forth and circumambulate the City 
of God that hath descended from heaven--the celestial Kaaba round 
which have circled in adoration the favored of God, the pure in heart 
and the company of the most exalted angels.'"  "I am the One," He 
in another connection affirms, "Whom the tongue of Isaiah hath 
extolled, the One with Whose name both the Torah and the Evangel 
were adorned."  "The glory of Sinai hath hastened to circle round 
the Day-Spring of this Revelation, while from the heights of the 
Kingdom the voice of the Son of God is heard proclaiming:  `Bestir 
yourselves, ye proud ones of the earth, and hasten ye towards Him.'  
Carmel hath in this day hastened in longing adoration to attain His 
court, whilst from the heart of Zion there cometh the cry:  `The 
promise of all ages is now fulfilled.  That which had been announced 
in the holy writ of God, the Beloved, the Most High, is made manifest.'"  
"Hijáz is astir by the breeze announcing the tidings of 
joyous reunion.  `Praise be to Thee,' We hear her exclaim, `O my 
Lord, the Most High.  I was dead through my separation from Thee; 
the breeze laden with the fragrance of Thy presence hath brought 
me back to life.  Happy is he that turneth unto Thee, and woe betide 
the erring.'"  "By the one true God, Elijah hath hastened unto My 
court and hath circumambulated in the day-time and in the night-season 
My throne of glory."  "Solomon in all his majesty circles in 
adoration around Me in this day, uttering this most exalted word:  
`I have turned my face towards Thy face, O Thou omnipotent Ruler 
of the world!  I am wholly detached from all things pertaining unto 
me, and yearn for that which Thou dost possess.'"  "Had Muhammad, 
the Apostle of God, attained this Day," Bahá'u'lláh writes in a 
Tablet revealed on the eve of His banishment to the penal colony of 
`Akká, "He would have exclaimed:  `I have truly recognized Thee, O 
Thou the Desire of the Divine Messengers!'  Had Abraham attained 
it, He too, falling prostrate upon the ground, and in the utmost lowliness 
before the Lord thy God, would have cried:  `Mine heart is filled 
with peace, O Thou Lord of all that is in heaven and on earth!  I 
testify that Thou hast unveiled before mine eyes all the glory of 
Thy power and the full majesty of Thy law!'...  Had Moses 
Himself attained it, He, likewise, would have raised His voice 
 
+P106 
saying:  `All praise be to Thee for having lifted upon me the light 
of Thy countenance and enrolled me among them that have been 
privileged to behold Thy face!'"  "North and South both vibrate 
to the call announcing the advent of our Revelation.  We can hear 
the voice of Mecca acclaiming:  `All praise be to Thee, O Lord my 
God, the All-Glorious, for having wafted over me the breath redolent 
with the fragrance of Thy presence!'  Jerusalem, likewise, is calling 
aloud:  `Lauded and magnified art Thou, O Beloved of earth and 
heaven, for having turned the agony of my separation from Thee 
into the joy of a life-giving reunion!'"  
     "By the righteousness of God," Bahá'u'lláh wishing to reveal 
the full potency of His invincible power asserts, "should a man, 
all alone, arise in the name of Bahá and put on the armor of His 
love, him will the Almighty cause to be victorious, though the forces 
of earth and heaven be arrayed against him."  "By God besides 
Whom is none other God!  Should any one arise for the triumph of 
our Cause, him will God render victorious though tens of thousands 
of enemies be leagued against him.  And if his love for Me wax 
stronger, God will establish his ascendancy over all the powers of 
earth and heaven.  Thus have We breathed the spirit of power into 
all regions."  
     "This is the King of Days," He thus extols the age that has 
witnessed the advent of His Revelation, "the Day that hath seen 
the coming of the Best-beloved, Him Who through all eternity hath 
been acclaimed the Desire of the World."  "The world of being 
shineth in this Day with the resplendency of this Divine Revelation.  
All created things extol its saving grace and sing its praises.  The 
universe is wrapt in an ecstasy of joy and gladness.  The Scriptures 
of past Dispensations celebrate the great jubilee that must needs 
greet this most great Day of God.  Well is it with him that hath lived 
to see this Day and hath recognized its station."  "Were mankind 
to give heed in a befitting manner to no more than one word of 
such a praise it would be so filled with delight as to be overpowered 
and lost in wonder.  Entranced, it would then shine forth resplendent 
above the horizon of true understanding."  
     "Be fair, ye peoples of the world;" He thus appeals to mankind, 
"is it meet and seemly for you to question the authority of one 
Whose presence `He Who conversed with God' (Moses) hath longed 
to attain, the beauty of Whose countenance `God's Well-beloved' 
(Muhammad) had yearned to behold, through the potency of Whose 
love the `Spirit of God' (Jesus) ascended to heaven, for Whose sake 
 
+P107 
the `Primal Point' (the Báb) offered up His life?"  "Seize your 
chance," He admonishes His followers, "inasmuch as a fleeting 
moment in this Day excelleth centuries of a bygone age...  
Neither sun nor moon hath witnessed a day such as this...  It 
is evident that every age in which a Manifestation of God hath 
lived is divinely ordained and may, in a sense, be characterized as 
God's appointed Day.  This Day, however, is unique and is to be 
distinguished from those that have preceded it.  The designation 
`Seal of the Prophets' fully reveals and demonstrates its high 
station."  
     Expatiating on the forces latent in His Revelation Bahá'u'lláh 
reveals the following:  "Through the movement of Our Pen of glory 
We have, at the bidding of the omnipotent Ordainer, breathed a new 
life into every human frame and instilled into every word a fresh 
potency.  All created things proclaim the evidences of this world-wide 
regeneration."  "This is," He adds, "the most great, the most 
joyful tidings imparted by the pen of this wronged One to mankind."  
"How great," He in another passage exclaims, "is the Cause!  
How staggering the weight of its message!  This is the Day of which 
it hath been said:  `O my son! verily God will bring everything to 
light though it were but the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and 
hidden in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth; for God is 
subtile, informed of all.'"  "By the righteousness of the one true 
God!  If one speck of a jewel be lost and buried beneath a mountain 
of stones, and lie hidden beyond the seven seas, the Hand of Omnipotence 
will assuredly reveal it in this day, pure and cleansed from 
dross."  "He that partaketh of the waters of My Revelation will 
taste all the incorruptible delights ordained by God from the beginning 
that hath no beginning to the end that hath no end."  "Every 
single letter proceeding from Our mouth is endowed with such 
regenerative power as to enable it to bring into existence a new 
creation--a creation the magnitude of which is inscrutable to all 
save God.  He verily hath knowledge of all things."  "It is in Our 
power, should We wish it, to enable a speck of floating dust to 
generate, in less than the twinkling of an eye, suns of infinite, of 
unimaginable splendor, to cause a dewdrop to develop into vast and 
numberless oceans, to infuse into every letter such a force as to 
empower it to unfold all the knowledge of past and future ages."  
"We are possessed of such power which, if brought to light, will 
transmute the most deadly of poisons into a panacea of unfailing 
efficacy."  
 
+P108 
     Estimating the station of the true believer He remarks:  "By 
the sorrows which afflict the beauty of the All-Glorious!  Such is the 
station ordained for the true believer that if to an extent smaller 
than a needle's eye the glory of that station were to be unveiled to 
mankind, every beholder would be consumed away in his longing 
to attain it.  For this reason it hath been decreed that in this earthly 
life the full measure of the glory of his own station should remain 
concealed from the eyes of such a believer."  "If the veil be lifted," 
He similarly affirms, "and the full glory of the station of those who 
have turned wholly towards God, and in their love for Him renounced 
the world, be made manifest, the entire creation would be 
dumbfounded."  
     Stressing the superlative character of His Revelation as compared 
with the Dispensation preceding it, Bahá'u'lláh makes the following 
affirmation:  "If all the peoples of the world be invested with 
the powers and attributes destined for the Letters of the Living, 
the Báb's chosen disciples, whose station is ten thousand times more 
glorious than any which the apostles of old have attained, and if 
they, one and all, should, swift as the twinkling of an eye, hesitate 
to recognize the light of My Revelation, their faith shall be of no 
avail and they shall be accounted among the infidels."  "So tremendous 
is the outpouring of Divine grace in this Dispensation that if 
mortal hands could be swift enough to record them, within the 
space of a single day and night there would stream verses of such 
number as to be equivalent to the whole of the Persian Bayán."  
     "Give heed to my warning, ye people of Persia," He thus addresses 
His countrymen, "If I be slain at your hands, God will 
assuredly raise up one who will fill the seat made vacant through 
my death; for such is God's method carried into effect of old, and 
no change can ye find in God's mode of dealing."  "Should they 
attempt to conceal His light on the continent, He will assuredly rear 
His head in the midmost heart of the ocean and, raising His voice, 
proclaim:  `I am the lifegiver of the world!'...  And if they cast 
Him into a darksome pit, they will find Him seated on earth's 
loftiest heights calling aloud to all mankind:  `Lo, the Desire of the 
world is come in His majesty, His sovereignty, His transcendent 
dominion!'  And if He be buried beneath the depths of the earth, 
His Spirit soaring to the apex of heaven shall peal the summons:  
`Behold ye the coming of the Glory; witness ye the Kingdom of 
God, the most Holy, the Gracious, the All-Powerful!'"  "Within the 
throat of this Youth," is yet another astounding statement, "there lie 
 
+P109 
prisoned accents which, if revealed to mankind to an extent smaller 
than a needle's eye, would suffice to cause every mountain to crumble, 
the leaves of the trees to be discolored and their fruits to fall; would 
compel every head to bow down in worship and every face to turn 
in adoration towards this omnipotent Ruler Who, at sundry times 
and in diverse manners, appeareth as a devouring flame, as a billowing 
ocean, as a radiant light, as the tree which, rooted in the soil 
of holiness, lifteth its branches and spreadeth out its limbs as far 
as and beyond the throne of deathless glory."  
     Anticipating the System which the irresistible power of His 
Law was destined to unfold in a later age, He writes:  "The world's 
equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this 
most great, this new World Order.  Mankind's ordered life hath 
been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous 
System--the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed."  
"The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon 
an unassailable, an enduring foundation.  Storms of human strife are 
powerless to undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories 
succeed in damaging its structure."  
     In the Súratu'l-Haykal, one of the most challenging works of 
Bahá'u'lláh, the following verses, each of which testifies to the resistless 
power infused into the Revelation proclaimed by its Author, 
have been recorded:  "Naught is seen in My temple but the Temple 
of God, and in My beauty but His Beauty, and in My being but 
His Being, and in My self but His Self, and in My movement but 
His Movement, and in My acquiescence but His Acquiescence, and 
in My pen but His Pen, the Mighty, the All-Praised.  There hath 
not been in My soul but the Truth, and in Myself naught could be 
seen but God."  "The Holy Spirit Itself hath been generated through 
the agency of a single letter revealed by this Most Great Spirit, if 
ye be of them that comprehend."...  "Within the treasury of Our 
Wisdom there lies unrevealed a knowledge, one word of which, if 
we chose to divulge it to mankind, would cause every human being 
to recognize the Manifestation of God and to acknowledge His 
omniscience, would enable every one to discover the secrets of all the 
sciences, and to attain so high a station as to find himself wholly 
independent of all past and future learning.  Other knowledges We 
do as well possess, not a single letter of which We can disclose, nor 
do We find humanity able to hear even the barest reference to 
their meaning.  Thus have We informed you of the knowledge of 
God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."  "The day is approaching 
 
+P110 
when God will have, by an act of His Will, raised up a race of men 
the nature of which is inscrutable to all save God, the All-Powerful, 
the Self-Subsisting."  "He will, ere long, out of the Bosom of Power 
draw forth the Hands of Ascendancy and Might--Hands who will 
arise to win victory for this Youth and who will purge mankind 
from the defilement of the outcast and the ungodly.  These Hands 
will gird up their loins to champion the Faith of God, and will, in 
My name the self-subsistent, the mighty, subdue the peoples and 
kindreds of the earth.  They will enter the cities and will inspire with 
fear the hearts of all their inhabitants.  Such are the evidences of 
the might of God; how fearful, how vehement is His might!"  
     Such is, dearly-beloved friends, Bahá'u'lláh's own written testimony 
to the nature of His Revelation.  To the affirmations of the 
Báb, each of which reinforces the strength, and confirms the truth, 
of these remarkable statements, I have already referred.  What 
remains for me to consider in this connection are such passages in 
the writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá, the appointed Interpreter of these same 
utterances, as throw further light upon and amplify various features 
of this enthralling theme.  The tone of His language is indeed as 
emphatic and His tribute no less glowing than that of either 
Bahá'u'lláh or the Báb.  
     "Centuries, nay ages, must pass away," He affirms in one of His 
earliest Tablets, "ere the Day-Star of Truth shineth again in its 
mid-summer splendor, or appeareth once more in the radiance of its 
vernal glory...  How thankful must we be for having been made 
in this Day the recipients of so overwhelming a favor!  Would that 
we had ten thousand lives that we might lay them down in thanksgiving 
for so rare a privilege, so high an attainment, so priceless 
a bounty!"  "The mere contemplation," He adds, "of the Dispensation 
inaugurated by the Blessed Beauty would have sufficed to overwhelm 
the saints of bygone ages--saints who longed to partake for 
one moment of its great glory."  "The holy ones of past ages and centuries 
have, each and all, yearned with tearful eyes to live, though 
for one moment, in the Day of God.  Their longings unsatisfied, 
they repaired to the Great Beyond.  How great, therefore, is the 
bounty of the Abhá Beauty Who, notwithstanding our utter 
unworthiness, hath through His grace and mercy breathed into us 
in this divinely-illumined century the spirit of life, hath gathered 
us beneath the standard of the Beloved of the world, and chosen to 
confer upon us a bounty for which the mighty ones of bygone ages 
had craved in vain."  "The souls of the well-favored among the concourse 
 
+P111 
on high," He likewise affirms, "the sacred dwellers of the 
most exalted Paradise, are in this day filled with burning desire to 
return unto this world, that they may render such service as lieth 
in their power to the threshold of the Abhá Beauty."  
     "The effulgence of God's splendrous mercy," He, in a passage 
alluding to the growth and future development of the Faith, declares, 
"hath enveloped the peoples and kindreds of the earth, and 
the whole world is bathed in its shining glory...  The day will 
soon come when the light of Divine unity will have so permeated 
the East and the West that no man dare any longer ignore it."  "Now 
in the world of being the Hand of divine power hath firmly laid 
the foundations of this all-highest bounty and this wondrous gift.  
Whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this holy cycle shall gradually 
appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning of 
its growth and the dayspring of the revelation of its signs.  Ere the 
close of this century and of this age, it shall be made clear and 
evident how wondrous was that springtide and how heavenly was 
that gift!"  
     In confirmation of the exalted rank of the true believer, referred 
to by Bahá'u'lláh, He reveals the following:  "The station which he 
who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the same 
as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are 
not regarded as Manifestations `endowed with constancy.'"  
     In connection with the Manifestations destined to follow the 
Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá makes this definite and 
weighty declaration:  "Concerning the Manifestations that will come 
down in the future `in the shadows of the clouds,' know verily that 
in so far as their relation to the source of their inspiration is concerned 
they are under the shadow of the Ancient Beauty.  In their 
relation, however, to the age in which they appear, each and every 
one of them `doeth whatsoever He willeth.'"  
     "O my friend!" He thus addresses in one of His Tablets a man 
of recognized authority and standing, "The undying Fire which the 
Lord of the Kingdom hath kindled in the midst of the holy Tree 
is burning fiercely in the midmost heart of the world.  The conflagration 
it will provoke will envelop the whole earth.  Its blazing flames 
will illuminate its peoples and kindreds.  All the signs have been 
revealed; every prophetic allusion hath been manifested.  Whatever 
hath been enshrined in all the Scriptures of the past hath been made 
evident.  To doubt or hesitate is no more possible...  Time is 
pressing.  The Divine Charger is impatient, and can tarry no longer.  
 
+P112 
Ours is the duty to rush forward and, ere it is too late, win the 
victory."  And finally, is this most stirring passage which He, in one 
of His moments of exultation, was moved to address to one of His 
most trusted and eminent followers in the earliest days of His 
ministry:  "What more shall I say?  What else can my pen recount?  
So loud is the call that reverberates from the Abhá Kingdom that 
mortal ears are well-nigh deafened with its vibrations.  The whole 
creation, methinks, is being disrupted and is bursting asunder 
through the shattering influence of the Divine summons issued from 
the throne of glory.  More than this I cannot write."  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  Enough has been said, and the quoted 
excerpts from the writings of the Báb, of Bahá'u'lláh and of 
`Abdu'l-Bahá are sufficiently numerous and varied, to convince the 
conscientious reader of the sublimity of this unique cycle in the 
world's religious history.  It would be utterly impossible to over-exaggerate 
its significance or to overrate the influence it has exerted 
and which it must increasingly exert as its great system unfolds 
itself amidst the welter of a collapsing civilization.  
     To whoever may read these pages a word of warning seems, 
however, advisable before I proceed further with the development 
of my argument.  Let no one meditating, in the light of the afore-quoted 
passages, on the nature of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, 
mistake its character or misconstrue the intent of its Author.  The 
divinity attributed to so great a Being and the complete incarnation 
of the names and attributes of God in so exalted a Person should, 
under no circumstances, be misconceived or misinterpreted.  The 
human temple that has been made the vehicle of so overpowering 
a Revelation must, if we be faithful to the tenets of our Faith, ever 
remain entirely distinguished from that "innermost Spirit of 
Spirits" and "eternal Essence of Essences"--that invisible yet rational 
God Who, however much we extol the divinity of His Manifestations 
on earth, can in no wise incarnate His infinite, His 
unknowable, His incorruptible and all-embracing Reality in the 
concrete and limited frame of a mortal being.  Indeed, the God Who 
could so incarnate His own reality would, in the light of the teachings 
of Bahá'u'lláh, cease immediately to be God.  So crude and 
fantastic a theory of Divine incarnation is as removed from, and 
incompatible with, the essentials of Bahá'í belief as are the no less 
inadmissible pantheistic and anthropomorphic conceptions of God--
 
+P113 
both of which the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh emphatically repudiate 
and the fallacy of which they expose.  
     He Who in unnumbered passages claimed His utterance to be 
the "Voice of Divinity, the Call of God Himself" thus solemnly 
affirms in the Kitáb-i-Íqán:  "To every discerning and illumined 
heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the Divine 
Being, is immeasurably exalted beyond every human attribute such 
as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress...  
He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient eternity of His 
Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from 
the sight of men...  He standeth exalted beyond and above all 
separation and union, all proximity and remoteness...  `God was 
alone; there was none else beside Him' is a sure testimony of this 
truth."  
     "From time immemorial," Bahá'u'lláh, speaking of God, explains, 
"He, the Divine Being, hath been veiled in the ineffable 
sanctity of His exalted Self, and will everlasting continue to be 
wrapt in the impenetrable mystery of His unknowable Essence...  
Ten thousand Prophets, each a Moses, are thunderstruck upon the 
Sinai of their search at God's forbidding voice, `Thou shalt never 
behold Me!'; whilst a myriad Messengers, each as great as Jesus, 
stand dismayed upon their heavenly thrones by the interdiction 
`Mine Essence thou shalt never apprehend!'"  "How bewildering to 
me, insignificant as I am," Bahá'u'lláh in His communion with 
God affirms, "is the attempt to fathom the sacred depths of Thy 
knowledge!  How futile my efforts to visualize the magnitude of 
the power inherent in Thine handiwork--the revelation of Thy 
creative power!"  "When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship 
that bindeth me to Thee," He, in yet another prayer revealed in His 
own handwriting, testifies, "I am moved to proclaim to all created 
things `verily I am God!'; and when I consider my own self, lo, 
I find it coarser than clay!"  
     "The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days," Bahá'u'lláh 
further states in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, "being thus closed in the 
face of all beings, He, the Source of infinite grace ... hath caused 
those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the 
spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest 
unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries 
of the unchangeable Being and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable 
Essence...  All the Prophets of God, His well-favored, His 
holy and chosen Messengers are, without exception, the bearers of 
 
+P114 
His names and the embodiments of His attributes...  These 
Tabernacles of Holiness, these primal Mirrors which reflect the 
Light of unfading glory, are but expressions of Him Who is the 
Invisible of the Invisibles."  
     That Bahá'u'lláh should, notwithstanding the overwhelming 
intensity of His Revelation, be regarded as essentially one of these 
Manifestations of God, never to be identified with that invisible 
Reality, the Essence of Divinity itself, is one of the major beliefs 
of our Faith--a belief which should never be obscured and the 
integrity of which no one of its followers should allow to be 
compromised.  
     Nor does the Bahá'í Revelation, claiming as it does to be the 
culmination of a prophetic cycle and the fulfillment of the promise 
of all ages, attempt, under any circumstances, to invalidate those 
first and everlasting principles that animate and underlie the religions 
that have preceded it.  The God-given authority, vested in 
each one of them, it admits and establishes as its firmest and ultimate 
basis.  It regards them in no other light except as different stages in 
the eternal history and constant evolution of one religion, Divine 
and indivisible, of which it itself forms but an integral part.  It 
neither seeks to obscure their Divine origin, nor to dwarf the 
admitted magnitude of their colossal achievements.  It can countenance 
no attempt that seeks to distort their features or to stultify 
the truths which they instill.  Its teachings do not deviate a hairbreadth 
from the verities they enshrine, nor does the weight of its 
message detract one jot or one tittle from the influence they exert 
or the loyalty they inspire.  Far from aiming at the overthrow of 
the spiritual foundation of the world's religious systems, its avowed, 
its unalterable purpose is to widen their basis, to restate their 
fundamentals, to reconcile their aims, to reinvigorate their life, to 
demonstrate their oneness, to restore the pristine purity of their 
teachings, to coördinate their functions and to assist in the realization 
of their highest aspirations.  These divinely-revealed religions, 
as a close observer has graphically expressed it, "are doomed not to 
die, but to be reborn...  `Does not the child succumb in the youth 
and the youth in the man; yet neither child nor youth perishes?'"  
     "They Who are the Luminaries of Truth and the Mirrors reflecting 
the light of Divine Unity," Bahá'u'lláh explains in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, 
"in whatever age and cycle they are sent down from their 
invisible habitations of ancient glory unto this world to educate the 
souls of men and endue with grace all created things, are invariably 
 
+P115 
endowed with an all-compelling power and invested with invincible 
sovereignty...  These sanctified Mirrors, these Day-Springs of 
ancient glory are one and all the exponents on earth of Him Who 
is the central Orb of the universe, its essence and ultimate purpose.  
From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is 
derived their sovereignty.  The beauty of their countenance is but a 
reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless 
glory...  Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, 
and by them is revealed the light that can never fade...  Human 
tongue can never befittingly sing their praise, and human speech 
can never unfold their mystery."  "Inasmuch as these Birds of the 
celestial Throne," He adds, "are all sent down from the heaven of 
the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible 
Faith, they therefore are regarded as one soul and the same person...  
They all abide in the same tabernacle, soar in the same 
heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and 
proclaim the same Faith...  They only differ in the intensity of 
their revelation and the comparative potency of their light...  
That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested 
by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they 
Who are the Day-Springs of God's attributes and the Treasuries 
of His holy names did not actually possess it."  
     It should also be borne in mind that, great as is the power 
manifested by this Revelation and however vast the range of the 
Dispensation its Author has inaugurated, it emphatically repudiates 
the claim to be regarded as the final revelation of God's will and 
purpose for mankind.  To hold such a conception of its character and 
functions would be tantamount to a betrayal of its cause and a 
denial of its truth.  It must necessarily conflict with the fundamental 
principle which constitutes the bedrock of Bahá'í belief, the principle 
that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation 
is orderly, continuous and progressive and not spasmodic or 
final.  Indeed, the categorical rejection by the followers of the Faith 
of Bahá'u'lláh of the claim to finality which any religious system 
inaugurated by the Prophets of the past may advance is as clear 
and emphatic as their own refusal to claim that same finality for 
the Revelation with which they stand identified.  "To believe that 
all revelation is ended, that the portals of Divine mercy are closed, 
that from the daysprings of eternal holiness no sun shall rise 
again, that the ocean of everlasting bounty is forever stilled, and 
that out of the tabernacle of ancient glory the Messengers of God 
 
+P116 
have ceased to be made manifest" must constitute in the eyes of 
every follower of the Faith a grave, an inexcusable departure from 
one of its most cherished and fundamental principles.  
     A reference to some of the already quoted utterances of 
Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá will surely suffice to establish, beyond 
the shadow of a doubt, the truth of this cardinal principle.  Might not 
the following passage of the Hidden Words be, likewise, construed 
as an allegorical allusion to the progressiveness of Divine Revelation 
and an admission by its Author that the Message with which 
He has been entrusted is not the final and ultimate expression of 
the will and guidance of the Almighty?  "O Son of Justice!  In the 
night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from 
the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu'l-Muntahá, and wept 
with such a weeping that the concourse on high and the dwellers of 
the realms above wailed at His lamenting.  Whereupon there was 
asked, Why the wailing and weeping?  He made reply:  As bidden I 
waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from 
them that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity.  Then summoned 
to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried 
within the claws of the dogs of earth.  Thereupon the Maid of heaven 
hastened forth unveiled and resplendent from Her mystic mansion, 
and asked of their names, and all were told but one.  And when 
urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers 
of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of 
glory.  And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, 
one and all, upon the dust.  At that moment a voice was heard from 
the inmost shrine:  `Thus far and no farther.'  Verily We bear witness 
to that which they have done and now are doing."  
     In a more explicit language Bahá'u'lláh testifies to this truth 
in one of His Tablets revealed in Adrianople:  "Know verily that 
the veil hiding Our countenance hath not been completely lifted.  
We have revealed Our Self to a degree corresponding to the capacity 
of the people of Our age.  Should the Ancient Beauty be unveiled 
in the fullness of His glory mortal eyes would be blinded by the 
dazzling intensity of His revelation."  
     In the Súriy-i-Sabr, revealed as far back as the year 1863, 
on the very first day of His arrival in the garden of Ridván, He thus 
affirms:  "God hath sent down His Messengers to succeed to Moses 
and Jesus, and He will continue to do so till `the end that hath no 
end'; so that His grace may, from the heaven of Divine bounty, be 
continually vouchsafed to mankind."  
 
+P117 
     "I am not apprehensive for My own self," Bahá'u'lláh still more 
explicitly declares, "My fears are for Him Who will be sent down 
unto you after Me--Him Who will be invested with great sovereignty 
and mighty dominion."  And again He writes in the Súratu'l-Haykal:  
"By those words which I have revealed, Myself is not 
intended, but rather He Who will come after Me.  To it is witness 
God, the All-Knowing."  "Deal not with Him," He adds, "as ye have 
dealt with Me."  
     In a more circumstantial passage the Báb upholds the same truth 
in His writings.  "It is clear and evident," He writes in the Persian 
Bayán, "that the object of all preceding Dispensations hath been 
to pave the way for the advent of Muhammad, the Apostle of God.  
These, including the Muhammadan Dispensation, have had, in their 
turn, as their objective the Revelation proclaimed by the Qá'im.  
The purpose underlying this Revelation, as well as those that preceded 
it, has, in like manner, been to announce the advent of the 
Faith of Him Whom God will make manifest.  And this Faith--
the Faith of Him Whom God will make manifest--in its turn, together 
with all the Revelations gone before it, have as their object 
the Manifestation destined to succeed it.  And the latter, no less than 
all the Revelations preceding it, prepare the way for the Revelation 
which is yet to follow.  The process of the rise and setting of the Sun 
of Truth will thus indefinitely continue--a process that hath had no 
beginning and will have no end."  
     "Know of a certainty," Bahá'u'lláh explains in this connection, 
"that in every Dispensation the light of Divine Revelation hath been 
vouchsafed to men in direct proportion to their spiritual capacity.  
Consider the sun.  How feeble its rays the moment it appeareth above 
the horizon.  How gradually its warmth and potency increase as it 
approacheth its zenith, enabling meanwhile all created things to adapt 
themselves to the growing intensity of its light.  How steadily it 
declineth until it reacheth its setting point.  Were it all of a sudden 
to manifest the energies latent within it, it would no doubt cause 
injury to all created things...  In like manner, if the Sun of 
Truth were suddenly to reveal, at the earliest stages of its manifestation, 
the full measure of the potencies which the providence of 
the Almighty hath bestowed upon it, the earth of human understanding 
would waste away and be consumed; for men's hearts 
would neither sustain the intensity of its revelation, nor be able to 
mirror forth the radiance of its light.  Dismayed and overpowered, 
they would cease to exist."  
 
+P118 
     In the light of these clear and conclusive statements it is our 
clear duty to make it indubitably evident to every seeker after truth 
that from "the beginning that hath no beginning" the Prophets of 
the one, the unknowable God, including Bahá'u'lláh Himself, have 
all, as the channels of God's grace, as the exponents of His unity, 
as the mirrors of His light and the revealers of His purpose, been 
commissioned to unfold to mankind an ever-increasing measure of 
His truth, of His inscrutable will and Divine guidance, and will 
continue to "the end that hath no end" to vouchsafe still fuller and 
mightier revelations of His limitless power and glory.  
     We might well ponder in our hearts the following passages from 
a prayer revealed by Bahá'u'lláh which strikingly affirm, and are a 
further evidence of, the reality of the great and essential truth lying 
at the very core of His Message to mankind:  "Praise be to Thee, 
O Lord my God, for the wondrous revelations of Thine inscrutable 
decree and the manifold woes and trials Thou hast destined for 
myself.  At one time Thou didst deliver me into the hands of 
Nimrod; at another Thou hast allowed Pharaoh's rod to persecute 
me.  Thou alone canst estimate, through Thine all-encompassing 
knowledge and the operation of Thy Will, the incalculable afflictions 
I have suffered at their hands.  Again Thou didst cast me into the 
prison-cell of the ungodly for no reason except that I was moved to 
whisper into the ears of the well-favored denizens of Thy kingdom 
an intimation of the vision with which Thou hadst, through Thy 
knowledge, inspired me and revealed to me its meaning through the 
potency of Thy might.  And again Thou didst decree that I be 
beheaded by the sword of the infidel.  Again I was crucified for 
having unveiled to men's eyes the hidden gems of Thy glorious 
unity, for having revealed to them the wondrous signs of Thy 
sovereign and everlasting power.  How bitter the humiliations heaped 
upon me, in a subsequent age, on the plain of Karbilá!  How lonely 
did I feel amidst Thy people; to what state of helplessness I was 
reduced in that land!  Unsatisfied with such indignities, my persecutors 
decapitated me and carrying aloft my head from land to land 
paraded it before the gaze of the unbelieving multitude and deposited 
it on the seats of the perverse and faithless.  In a later age I was 
suspended and my breast was made a target to the darts of the 
malicious cruelty of my foes.  My limbs were riddled with bullets 
and my body was torn asunder.  Finally, behold how in this day my 
treacherous enemies have leagued themselves against me, and are 
continually plotting to instill the venom of hate and malice into the 
 
+P119 
souls of Thy servants.  With all their might they are scheming to 
accomplish their purpose...  Grievous as is my plight, O God, my 
Well-beloved, I render thanks unto Thee, and my spirit is grateful 
for whatsoever hath befallen me in the path of Thy good-pleasure.  
I am well pleased with that which Thou didst ordain for me, and 
welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made 
to suffer."  
 
+P120 
 
+P121 
                                   THE BÁB 
 
+P122 
 
+P123 
     Dearly-beloved friends!  That the Báb, the inaugurator of the 
Bábí Dispensation, is fully entitled to rank as one of the self-sufficient 
Manifestations of God, that He has been invested with 
sovereign power and authority, and exercises all the rights and 
prerogatives of independent Prophethood, is yet another fundamental 
verity which the Message of Bahá'u'lláh insistently proclaims 
and which its followers must uncompromisingly uphold.  
That He is not to be regarded merely as an inspired Precursor of 
the Bahá'í Revelation, that in His person, as He Himself bears 
witness in the Persian Bayán, the object of all the Prophets gone 
before Him has been fulfilled, is a truth which I feel it my duty 
to demonstrate and emphasize.  We would assuredly be failing in 
our duty to the Faith we profess and would be violating one of its 
basic and sacred principles if in our words or by our conduct we 
hesitate to recognize the implications of this root principle of Bahá'í 
belief, or refuse to uphold unreservedly its integrity and demonstrate 
its truth.  Indeed the chief motive actuating me to undertake 
the task of editing and translating Nabíl's immortal Narrative has 
been to enable every follower of the Faith in the West to better 
understand and more readily grasp the tremendous implications of 
His exalted station and to more ardently admire and love Him.  
     There can be no doubt that the claim to the twofold station ordained 
for the Báb by the Almighty, a claim which He Himself has 
so boldly advanced, which Bahá'u'lláh has repeatedly affirmed, and to 
which the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá has finally given 
the sanction of its testimony, constitutes the most distinctive feature 
of the Bahá'í Dispensation.  It is a further evidence of its uniqueness, 
a tremendous accession to the strength, to the mysterious power 
and authority with which this holy cycle has been invested.  Indeed 
the greatness of the Báb consists primarily, not in His being the 
divinely-appointed Forerunner of so transcendent a Revelation, but 
rather in His having been invested with the powers inherent in the 
inaugurator of a separate religious Dispensation, and in His wielding, 
to a degree unrivaled by the Messengers gone before Him, the 
scepter of independent Prophethood.  
     The short duration of His Dispensation, the restricted range 
within which His laws and ordinances have been made to operate, 
 
+P124 
supply no criterion whatever wherewith to judge its Divine origin 
and to evaluate the potency of its message.  "That so brief a span," 
Bahá'u'lláh Himself explains, "should have separated this most 
mighty and wondrous Revelation from Mine own previous Manifestation, 
is a secret that no man can unravel and a mystery such as 
no mind can fathom.  Its duration had been foreordained, and no 
man shall ever discover its reason unless and until he be informed of 
the contents of My Hidden Book."  "Behold," Bahá'u'lláh further 
explains in the Kitáb-i-Badí', one of His works refuting the arguments 
of the people of the Bayán, "behold, how immediately upon 
the completion of the ninth year of this wondrous, this most holy and 
merciful Dispensation, the requisite number of pure, of wholly consecrated 
and sanctified souls had been most secretly consummated."  
     The marvelous happenings that have heralded the advent of the 
Founder of the Bábí Dispensation, the dramatic circumstances of 
His own eventful life, the miraculous tragedy of His martyrdom, 
the magic of His influence exerted on the most eminent and powerful 
among His countrymen, to all of which every chapter of Nabíl's 
stirring narrative testifies, should in themselves be regarded as 
sufficient evidence of the validity of His claim to so exalted a station 
among the Prophets.  
     However graphic the record which the eminent chronicler of 
His life has transmitted to posterity, so luminous a narrative must 
pale before the glowing tribute paid to the Báb by the pen of 
Bahá'u'lláh.  This tribute the Báb Himself has, by the clear assertion 
of His claim, abundantly supported, while the written testimonies 
of `Abdu'l-Bahá have powerfully reinforced its character 
and elucidated its meaning.  
     Where else if not in the Kitáb-i-Íqán can the student of the 
Bábí Dispensation seek to find those affirmations that unmistakably 
attest the power and spirit which no man, except he be a Manifestation 
of God, can manifest?  "Could such a thing," exclaims 
Bahá'u'lláh, "be made manifest except through the power of a 
Divine Revelation and the potency of God's invincible Will?  By the 
righteousness of God!  Were any one to entertain so great a Revelation 
in his heart the thought of such a declaration would alone 
confound him!  Were the hearts of all men to be crowded into his 
heart, he would still hesitate to venture upon so awful an enterprise."  
"No eye," He in another passage affirms, "hath beheld so great an 
outpouring of bounty, nor hath any ear heard of such a Revelation 
of loving-kindness...  The Prophets `endowed with constancy,' 
 
+P125 
whose loftiness and glory shine as the sun, were each honored with 
a Book which all have seen, and the verses of which have been duly 
ascertained.  Whereas the verses which have rained from this Cloud 
of divine mercy have been so abundant that none hath yet been able 
to estimate their number...  How can they belittle this Revelation?  
Hath any age witnessed such momentous happenings?"  
     Commenting on the character and influence of those heroes and 
martyrs whom the spirit of the Báb had so magically transformed 
Bahá'u'lláh reveals the following:  "If these companions be not the 
true strivers after God, who else could be called by this name?...  
If these companions, with all their marvelous testimonies and wondrous 
works, be false, who then is worthy to claim for himself the 
truth?...  Has the world since the days of Adam witnessed such 
tumult, such violent commotion?...  Methinks, patience was revealed 
only by virtue of their fortitude, and faithfulness itself was 
begotten only by their deeds."  
     Wishing to stress the sublimity of the Báb's exalted station as 
compared with that of the Prophets of the past, Bahá'u'lláh in that 
same epistle asserts:  "No understanding can grasp the nature of His 
Revelation, nor can any knowledge comprehend the full measure of 
His Faith."  He then quotes, in confirmation of His argument, these 
prophetic words:  "Knowledge is twenty and seven letters.  All that 
the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof.  No man thus far 
hath known more than these two letters.  But when the Qá'im shall 
arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters to be made 
manifest."  "Behold," He adds, "how great and lofty is His station!  
His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets and His Revelation 
transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their 
chosen ones."  "Of His Revelation," He further adds, "the Prophets 
of God, His saints and chosen ones, have either not been informed, 
or, in pursuance of God's inscrutable decree, they have not disclosed."  
     Of all the tributes which Bahá'u'lláh's unerring pen has chosen 
to pay to the memory of the Báb, His "Best-Beloved," the most 
memorable and touching is this brief, yet eloquent passage which 
so greatly enhances the value of the concluding passages of that 
same epistle.  "Amidst them all," He writes, referring to the afflictive 
trials and dangers besetting Him in the city of Baghdád, "We 
stand life in hand wholly resigned to His Will, that perchance 
through God's loving kindness and grace, this revealed and manifest 
Letter (Bahá'u'lláh) may lay down His life as a sacrifice in the 
path of the Primal Point, the most exalted Word (the Báb).  By 
 
+P126 
Him, at Whose bidding the Spirit hath spoken, but for this yearning 
of Our soul, We would not, for one moment, have tarried any longer 
in this city."  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  So resounding a praise, so bold an assertion 
issued by the pen of Bahá'u'lláh in so weighty a work, are 
fully re-echoed in the language in which the Source of the Bábí 
Revelation has chosen to clothe the claims He Himself has advanced.  
"I am the Mystic Fane," the Báb thus proclaims His station in the 
Qayyúmu'l-Asmá', "which the Hand of Omnipotence hath reared.  
I am the Lamp which the Finger of God hath lit within its niche 
and caused to shine with deathless splendor.  I am the Flame of that 
supernal Light that glowed upon Sinai in the gladsome Spot, and lay 
concealed in the midst of the Burning Bush."  "O Qurratu'l-`Ayn!" 
He, addressing Himself in that same commentary, exclaims, "I 
recognize in Thee none other except the `Great Announcement'--the 
Announcement voiced by the Concourse on high.  By this name, I 
bear witness, they that circle the Throne of Glory have ever known 
Thee."  "With each and every Prophet, Whom We have sent down 
in the past," He further adds, "We have established a separate 
Covenant concerning the `Remembrance of God' and His Day.  
Manifest, in the realm of glory and through the power of truth, 
are the `Remembrance of God' and His Day before the eyes of the 
angels that circle His mercy-seat."  "Should it be Our wish," He 
again affirms, "it is in Our power to compel, through the agency of 
but one letter of Our Revelation, the world and all that is therein 
to recognize, in less than the twinkling of an eye, the truth of 
Our Cause."  
     "I am the Primal Point," the Báb thus addresses Muhammad 
Sháh from the prison-fortress of Máh-Kú, "from which have been 
generated all created things...  I am the Countenance of God 
Whose splendor can never be obscured, the light of God whose 
radiance can never fade...  All the keys of heaven God hath 
chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My 
left...  I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of 
God.  Whosoever hath recognized Me, hath known all that is true 
and right, and hath attained all that is good and seemly...  The 
substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of 
which others have been formed.  He hath conferred upon Me that 
which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful 
discover."  "Should a tiny ant," the Báb, wishing to stress the limitless 
potentialities latent in His Dispensation, characteristically 
 
+P127 
affirms, "desire in this day to be possessed of such power as to be 
able to unravel the abstrusest and most bewildering passages of the 
Qur'án, its wish will no doubt be fulfilled, inasmuch as the mystery 
of eternal might vibrates within the innermost being of all created 
things."  "If so helpless a creature," is `Abdu'l-Bahá's comment on 
so startling an affirmation, "can be endowed with so subtle a capacity, 
how much more efficacious must be the power released through 
the liberal effusions of the grace of Bahá'u'lláh!"  
     To these authoritative assertions and solemn declarations made 
by Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb must be added `Abdu'l-Bahá's own incontrovertible 
testimony.  He, the appointed interpreter of the utterances 
of both Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, corroborates, not by implication 
but in clear and categorical language, both in His Tablets and in 
His Testament, the truth of the statements to which I have already 
referred.  
     In a Tablet addressed to a Bahá'í in Mazindarán, in which He 
unfolds the meaning of a misinterpreted statement attributed to 
Him regarding the rise of the Sun of Truth in this century, He 
sets forth, briefly but conclusively, what should remain for all time 
our true conception of the relationship between the two Manifestations 
associated with the Bahá'í Dispensation.  "In making such a 
statement," He explains, "I had in mind no one else except the Báb 
and Bahá'u'lláh, the character of whose Revelations it had been my 
purpose to elucidate.  The Revelation of the Báb may be likened to 
the sun, its station corresponding to the first sign of the Zodiac--
the sign Aries--which the sun enters at the Vernal Equinox.  The 
station of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, on the other hand, is represented 
by the sign Leo, the sun's mid-summer and highest station.  By this 
is meant that this holy Dispensation is illumined with the light of 
the Sun of Truth shining from its most exalted station, and in the 
plenitude of its resplendency, its heat and glory."  
     "The Báb, the Exalted One," `Abdu'l-Bahá more specifically 
affirms in another Tablet, "is the Morn of Truth, the splendor of 
Whose light shineth throughout all regions.  He is also the Harbinger 
of the Most Great Light, the Abhá Luminary.  The Blessed Beauty 
is the One promised by the sacred books of the past, the revelation 
of the Source of light that shone upon Mount Sinai, Whose fire 
glowed in the midst of the Burning Bush.  We are, one and all, 
servants of their threshold, and stand each as a lowly keeper at their 
door."  "Every proof and prophecy," is His still more emphatic 
warning, "every manner of evidence, whether based on reason or 
 
+P128 
on the text of the scriptures and traditions, are to be regarded as 
centered in the persons of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb.  In them is to be 
found their complete fulfillment."  
     And finally, in His Will and Testament, the repository of His 
last wishes and parting instructions, He in the following passage, 
specifically designed to set forth the guiding principles of Bahá'í 
belief, sets the seal of His testimony on the Báb's dual and exalted 
station:  "The foundation of the belief of the people of Bahá (may 
my life be offered up for them) is this:  His holiness the exalted 
One (the Báb) is the Manifestation of the unity and oneness of God 
and the Forerunner of the Ancient Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh).  His holiness, 
the Abhá Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) (may my life be offered up as 
a sacrifice for His steadfast friends) is the supreme Manifestation 
of God and the Day-Spring of His most divine Essence."  "All 
others," He significantly adds, "are servants unto Him and do His 
bidding."  
 
+P129 
                                `ABDU'L-BAHÁ 
 
+P130 
 
+P131 
     Dearly-beloved friends!  I have in the foregoing pages ventured 
to attempt an exposition of such truths as I firmly believe are 
implicit in the claim of Him Who is the Fountain-Head of the 
Bahá'í Revelation.  I have moreover endeavored to dissipate such 
misapprehensions as may naturally arise in the mind of any one 
contemplating so superhuman a manifestation of the glory of God.  
I have striven to explain the meaning of the divinity with which 
He Who is the vehicle of so mysterious an energy must needs be 
invested.  That the Message which so great a Being has, in this age, 
been commissioned by God to deliver to mankind recognizes the 
divine origin and upholds the first principles of every Dispensation 
inaugurated by the prophets of the past, and stands inextricably 
interwoven with each one of them, I have also to the best of my 
ability undertaken to demonstrate.  That the Author of such a Faith, 
Who repudiates the claim to finality which leaders of various denominations 
uphold has, despite the vastness of His Revelation, 
disclaimed it for Himself I have, likewise, felt it necessary to prove 
and emphasize.  That the Báb, notwithstanding the duration of His 
Dispensation, should be regarded primarily, not as the chosen 
Precursor of the Bahá'í Faith, but as One invested with the undivided 
authority assumed by each of the independent Prophets of 
the past, seemed to me yet another basic principle the elucidation 
of which would be extremely desirable at the present stage of the 
evolution of our Cause.  
     An attempt I strongly feel should now be made to clarify our 
minds regarding the station occupied by `Abdu'l-Bahá and the significance 
of His position in this holy Dispensation.  It would be indeed 
difficult for us, who stand so close to such a tremendous figure and 
are drawn by the mysterious power of so magnetic a personality, 
to obtain a clear and exact understanding of the rôle and character 
of One Who, not only in the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh but in 
the entire field of religious history, fulfills a unique function.  Though 
moving in a sphere of His own and holding a rank radically different 
from that of the Author and the Forerunner of the Bahá'í Revelation, 
He, by virtue of the station ordained for Him through the 
Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, forms together with them what may be 
termed the Three Central Figures of a Faith that stands unapproached 
 
+P132 
in the world's spiritual history.  He towers, in conjunction 
with them, above the destinies of this infant Faith of God from 
a level to which no individual or body ministering to its needs after 
Him, and for no less a period than a full thousand years, can ever 
hope to rise.  To degrade His lofty rank by identifying His station 
with or by regarding it as roughly equivalent to, the position of 
those on whom the mantle of His authority has fallen would be an 
act of impiety as grave as the no less heretical belief that inclines 
to exalt Him to a state of absolute equality with either the central 
Figure or Forerunner of our Faith.  For wide as is the gulf that 
separates `Abdu'l-Bahá from Him Who is the Source of an independent 
Revelation, it can never be regarded as commensurate with 
the greater distance that stands between Him Who is the Center 
of the Covenant and His ministers who are to carry on His work, 
whatever be their name, their rank, their functions or their future 
achievements.  Let those who have known `Abdu'l-Bahá, who 
through their contact with His magnetic personality have come to 
cherish for Him so fervent an admiration, reflect, in the light of 
this statement, on the greatness of One Who is so far above Him 
in station.  
     That `Abdu'l-Bahá is not a Manifestation of God, that, though 
the successor of His Father, He does not occupy a cognate station, 
that no one else except the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh can ever lay claim 
to such a station before the expiration of a full thousand years--
are verities which lie embedded in the specific utterances of both 
the Founder of our Faith and the Interpreter of His teachings.  
     "Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God," is the 
express warning uttered in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, "ere the expiration of 
a full thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying imposter.  We 
pray God that He may graciously assist him to retract and repudiate 
such claim.  Should he repent, God will no doubt forgive him.  If, 
however, he persists in his error, God will assuredly send down one 
who will deal mercilessly with him.  Terrible indeed is God in punishing!"  
"Whosoever," He adds as a further emphasis, "interpreteth 
this verse otherwise than its obvious meaning is deprived of the 
Spirit of God and of His mercy which encompasseth all created 
things."  "Should a man appear," is yet another conclusive statement, 
"ere the lapse of a full thousand years--each year consisting of 
twelve months according to the Qur'án, and of nineteen months of 
nineteen days each, according to the Bayán--and if such a man 
reveal to your eyes all the signs of God, unhesitatingly reject him!"  
 
+P133 
     `Abdu'l-Bahá's own statements, in confirmation of this warning, 
are no less emphatic and binding:  "This is," He declares, "my firm, 
my unshakable conviction, the essence of my unconcealed and explicit 
belief--a conviction and belief which the denizens of the Abhá 
Kingdom fully share:  The Blessed Beauty is the Sun of Truth, and 
His light the light of truth.  The Báb is likewise the Sun of Truth, 
and His light the light of truth...  My station is the station of 
servitude--a servitude which is complete, pure and real, firmly 
established, enduring, obvious, explicitly revealed and subject to no 
interpretation whatever...  I am the Interpreter of the Word of 
God; such is my interpretation."  
     Does not `Abdu'l-Bahá in His own Will--in a tone and language 
that might well confound the most inveterate among the breakers 
of His Father's Covenant--rob of their chief weapon those who so 
long and so persistently had striven to impute to Him the charge 
of having tacitly claimed a station equal, if not superior, to that of 
Bahá'u'lláh?  "The foundation of the belief of the people of Bahá 
is this," thus proclaims one of the weightiest passages of that last 
document left to voice in perpetuity the directions and wishes of a 
departed Master, "His Holiness the Exalted One (the Báb) is the 
Manifestation of the unity and oneness of God and the Forerunner 
of the Ancient Beauty.  His Holiness the Abhá Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) 
(may my life be a sacrifice for His steadfast friends) is the supreme 
Manifestation of God and the Day-Spring of His most divine Essence.  
All others are servants unto Him and do His bidding."  
     From such clear and formally laid down statements, incompatible 
as they are with any assertion of a claim to Prophethood, we should 
not by any means infer that `Abdu'l-Bahá is merely one of the 
servants of the Blessed Beauty, or at best one whose function is to 
be confined to that of an authorized interpreter of His Father's 
teachings.  Far be it from me to entertain such a notion or to wish to 
instill such sentiments.  To regard Him in such a light is a manifest 
betrayal of the priceless heritage bequeathed by Bahá'u'lláh to mankind.  
Immeasurably exalted is the station conferred upon Him by 
the Supreme Pen above and beyond the implications of these, His 
own written statements.  Whether in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the most 
weighty and sacred of all the works of Bahá'u'lláh, or in the 
Kitáb-i-`Ahd, the Book of His Covenant, or in the Súriy-i-Ghusn 
(Tablet of the Branch), such references as have been recorded by 
the pen of Bahá'u'lláh--references which the Tablets of His Father 
addressed to Him mightily reinforce--invest `Abdu'l-Bahá with a 
 
+P134 
power, and surround Him with a halo, which the present generation 
can never adequately appreciate.  
     He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, 
as the Center and Pivot of Bahá'u'lláh's peerless and all-enfolding 
Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His 
light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter 
of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal, the 
incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung 
from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being 
"round Whom all names revolve," the Mainspring of the Oneness 
of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of 
the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation--styles and titles 
that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest 
expression in the magic name `Abdu'l-Bahá.  He is, above and beyond 
these appellations, the "Mystery of God"--an expression by which 
Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while 
it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station 
of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of `Abdu'l-Bahá the 
incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman 
knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely 
harmonized.  
     "When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of 
My Revelation is ended," proclaims the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, "turn your 
faces towards Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched 
from this Ancient Root."  And again, "When the Mystic Dove will 
have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its 
far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand 
not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty 
Stock."  
     In the Kitáb-i-`Ahd, moreover, Bahá'u'lláh solemnly and explicitly 
declares:  "It is incumbent upon the Aghsán, the Afnán and 
My kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most 
Mighty Branch.  Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most 
Holy Book:  `When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the 
Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him 
Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient 
Root.'  The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most 
Mighty Branch (`Abdu'l-Bahá).  Thus have We graciously revealed 
unto you our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful."  
     In the Súriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch) the following 
 
+P135 
verses have been recorded:  "There hath branched from the Sadratu'l-Muntahá 
this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; 
well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath 
His shadow.  Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth 
from this Root which God hath firmly implanted in the Ground of 
His Will, and Whose Branch hath been so uplifted as to encompass 
the whole of creation.  Magnified be He, therefore, for this sublime, 
this blessed, this mighty, this exalted Handiwork!...  A Word 
hath, as a token of Our grace, gone forth from the Most Great 
Tablet--a Word which God hath adorned with the ornament of 
His own Self, and made it sovereign over the earth and all that is 
therein, and a sign of His greatness and power among its people 
...Render thanks unto God, O people, for His appearance; for 
verily He is the most great Favor unto you, the most perfect bounty 
upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened.  
Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso 
turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, hath 
repudiated My Proof, and transgressed against Me.  He is the Trust 
of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto 
you and His appearance among His favored servants...  We have 
sent Him down in the form of a human temple.  Blest and sanctified 
be God Who createth whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, 
His infallible decree.  They who deprive themselves of the shadow 
of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed 
by the heat of worldly desires, and are of those who will assuredly 
perish."  
     "O Thou Who art the apple of Mine eye!" Bahá'u'lláh, in His 
own handwriting, thus addresses `Abdu'l-Bahá, "My glory, the 
ocean of My loving-kindness, the sun of My bounty, the heaven of 
My mercy rest upon Thee.  We pray God to illumine the world 
through Thy knowledge and wisdom, to ordain for Thee that which 
will gladden Thine heart and impart consolation to Thine eyes."  
"The glory of God rest upon Thee," He writes in another Tablet, 
"and upon whosoever serveth Thee and circleth around Thee.  Woe, 
great woe, betide him that opposeth and injureth Thee.  Well is it 
with him that sweareth fealty to Thee; the fire of hell torment him 
who is Thine enemy."  "We have made Thee a shelter for all mankind," 
He, in yet another Tablet, affirms, "a shield unto all who 
are in heaven and on earth, a stronghold for whosoever hath believed 
in God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing.  God grant that through 
Thee He may protect them, may enrich and sustain them, that He 
 
+P136 
may inspire Thee with that which shall be a wellspring of wealth 
unto all created things, an ocean of bounty unto all men, and the 
dayspring of mercy unto all peoples."  
     "Thou knowest, O my God," Bahá'u'lláh, in a prayer revealed 
in `Abdu'l-Bahá's honor, supplicates, "that I desire for Him naught 
except that which Thou didst desire, and have chosen Him for no 
purpose save that which Thou hadst intended for Him.  Render Him 
victorious, therefore, through Thy hosts of earth and heaven...  
Ordain, I beseech Thee, by the ardor of My love for Thee and My 
yearning to manifest Thy Cause, for Him, as well as for them that 
love Him, that which Thou hast destined for Thy Messengers and 
the Trustees of Thy Revelation.  Verily, Thou art the Almighty, the 
All-Powerful."  
     In a letter dictated by Bahá'u'lláh and addressed by Mírzá Áqá 
Ján, His amanuensis, to `Abdu'l-Bahá while the latter was on a visit 
to Beirut, we read the following:  "Praise be to Him Who hath honored 
the Land of Bá (Beirut) through the presence of Him round 
Whom all names revolve.  All the atoms of the earth have announced 
unto all created things that from behind the gate of the Prison-city 
there hath appeared and above its horizon there hath shone forth 
the Orb of the beauty of the great, the Most Mighty Branch of God
--His ancient and immutable Mystery--proceeding on its way to 
another land.  Sorrow, thereby, hath enveloped this Prison-city, 
whilst another land rejoiceth...  Blessed, doubly blessed, is the 
ground which His footsteps have trodden, the eye that hath been 
cheered by the beauty of His countenance, the ear that hath been 
honored by hearkening to His call, the heart that hath tasted the 
sweetness of His love, the breast that hath dilated through His 
remembrance, the pen that hath voiced His praise, the scroll that 
hath borne the testimony of His writings."  
     `Abdu'l-Bahá, writing in confirmation of the authority conferred 
upon Him by Bahá'u'lláh, makes the following statement:  "In 
accordance with the explicit text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh 
hath made the Center of the Covenant the Interpreter of His Word--
a Covenant so firm and mighty that from the beginning of time until 
the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like."  
     Exalted as is the rank of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and however profuse 
the praises with which in these sacred Books and Tablets Bahá'u'lláh 
has glorified His son, so unique a distinction must never be construed 
as conferring upon its recipient a station identical with, or 
equivalent to, that of His Father, the Manifestation Himself.  To 
 
+P137 
give such an interpretation to any of these quoted passages would 
at once, and for obvious reasons, bring it into conflict with the no 
less clear and authentic assertions and warnings to which I have 
already referred.  Indeed, as I have already stated, those who overestimate 
`Abdu'l-Bahá's station are just as reprehensible and have 
done just as much harm as those who underestimate it.  And this 
for no other reason except that by insisting upon an altogether 
unwarranted inference from Bahá'u'lláh's writings they are inadvertently 
justifying and continuously furnishing the enemy with proofs 
for his false accusations and misleading statements.  
     I feel it necessary, therefore, to state without any equivocation 
or hesitation that neither in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas nor in the Book of 
Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, nor even in the Tablet of the Branch, nor 
in any other Tablet, whether revealed by Bahá'u'lláh or `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
is there any authority whatever for the opinion that inclines 
to uphold the so-called "mystic unity" of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
or to establish the identity of the latter with His Father or 
with any preceding Manifestation.  This erroneous conception may, 
in part, be ascribed to an altogether extravagant interpretation of 
certain terms and passages in the Tablet of the Branch, to the 
introduction into its English translation of certain words that are 
either non-existent, misleading, or ambiguous in their connotation.  
It is, no doubt, chiefly based upon an altogether unjustified inference 
from the opening passages of a Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh, extracts of 
which, as reproduced in the Bahá'í Scriptures, immediately precede, 
but form no part of, the said Tablet of the Branch.  It should 
be made clear to every one reading those extracts that by the phrase 
"the Tongue of the Ancient" no one else is meant but God, and that 
the term "the Greatest Name" is an obvious reference to Bahá'u'lláh, 
and that "the Covenant" referred to is not the specific Covenant of 
which Bahá'u'lláh is the immediate Author and `Abdu'l-Bahá the 
Center but that general Covenant which, as inculcated by the Bahá'í 
teaching, God Himself invariably establishes with mankind when 
He inaugurates a new Dispensation.  "The Tongue" that "gives," 
as stated in those extracts, the "glad-tidings" is none other than the 
Voice of God referring to Bahá'u'lláh, and not Bahá'u'lláh referring 
to `Abdu'l-Bahá.  
     Moreover, to maintain that the assertion "He is Myself," instead 
of denoting the mystic unity of God and His Manifestations, as 
explained in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, establishes the identity of Bahá'u'lláh 
with `Abdu'l-Bahá, would constitute a direct violation of the oft-repeated 
 
+P138 
principle of the oneness of God's Manifestations--a principle 
which the Author of these same extracts is seeking by implication 
to emphasize.  
     It would also amount to a reversion to those irrational and superstitious 
beliefs which have insensibly crept, in the first century of 
the Christian era, into the teachings of Jesus Christ, and by crystallizing 
into accepted dogmas have impaired the effectiveness and 
obscured the purpose of the Christian Faith.  
     "I affirm," is `Abdu'l-Bahá's own written comment on the 
Tablet of the Branch, "that the true meaning, the real significance, 
the innermost secret of these verses, of these very words, is my own 
servitude to the sacred Threshold of the Abhá Beauty, my complete 
self-effacement, my utter nothingness before Him.  This is my 
resplendent crown, my most precious adorning.  On this I pride 
myself in the kingdom of earth and heaven.  Therein I glory among 
the company of the well-favored!"  "No one is permitted," He warns 
us in the passage which immediately follows, "to give these verses 
any other interpretation."  "I am," He, in this same connection, 
affirms, "according to the explicit texts of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and 
the Kitáb-i-`Ahd the manifest Interpreter of the Word of God...  
Whoso deviates from my interpretation is a victim of his own 
fancy."  
     Furthermore, the inescapable inference from the belief in the 
identity of the Author of our Faith with Him Who is the Center 
of His Covenant would be to place `Abdu'l-Bahá in a position superior 
to that of the Báb, the reverse of which is the fundamental, 
though not as yet universally recognized, principle of this Revelation.  
It would also justify the charge with which, all throughout 
`Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, the Covenant-Breakers have striven to 
poison the minds and pervert the understanding of Bahá'u'lláh's 
loyal followers.  
     It would be more correct, and in consonance with the established 
principles of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, if instead of maintaining this 
fictitious identity with reference to `Abdu'l-Bahá, we regard the 
Forerunner and the Founder of our Faith as identical in reality--
a truth which the text of the Súratu'l-Haykal unmistakably affirms.  
"Had the Primal Point (the Báb) been someone else beside Me as 
ye claim," is Bahá'u'lláh's explicit statement, "and had attained My 
presence, verily He would have never allowed Himself to be separated 
from Me, but rather We would have had mutual delights with 
each other in My Days."  "He Who now voiceth the Word of God," 
 
+P139 
Bahá'u'lláh again affirms, "is none other except the Primal Point 
Who hath once again been made manifest."  "He is," He thus refers 
to Himself in a Tablet addressed to one of the Letters of the Living, 
"the same as the One Who appeared in the year sixty (1260 A.H.).  
This verily is one of His mighty signs."  "Who," He pleads in the 
Súriy-i-Damm, "will arise to secure the triumph of the Primal 
Beauty (the Báb) revealed in the countenance of His succeeding 
Manifestation?"  Referring to the Revelation proclaimed by the Báb 
He conversely characterizes it as "My own previous Manifestation."  
     That `Abdu'l-Bahá is not a Manifestation of God, that He gets 
His light, His inspiration and sustenance direct from the Fountain-head 
of the Bahá'í Revelation; that He reflects even as a clear and 
perfect Mirror the rays of Bahá'u'lláh's glory, and does not inherently 
possess that indefinable yet all-pervading reality the exclusive 
possession of which is the hallmark of Prophethood; that His words 
are not equal in rank, though they possess an equal validity with the 
utterances of Bahá'u'lláh; that He is not to be acclaimed as the 
return of Jesus Christ, the Son Who will come "in the glory of the 
Father"--these truths find added justification, and are further reinforced, 
by the following statement of `Abdu'l-Bahá, addressed to 
some believers in America, with which I may well conclude this 
section:  "You have written that there is a difference among the 
believers concerning the `Second Coming of Christ.'  Gracious God!  
Time and again this question hath arisen, and its answer hath 
emanated in a clear and irrefutable statement from the pen of 
`Abdu'l-Bahá, that what is meant in the prophecies by the `Lord 
of Hosts' and the `Promised Christ' is the Blessed Perfection 
(Bahá'u'lláh) and His holiness the Exalted One (the Báb).  My 
name is `Abdu'l-Bahá.  My qualification is `Abdu'l-Bahá.  My reality 
is `Abdu'l-Bahá.  My praise is `Abdu'l-Bahá.  Thraldom to the Blessed 
Perfection is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to all 
the human race my perpetual religion...  No name, no title, no 
mention, no commendation have I, nor will ever have, except 
`Abdu'l-Bahá.  This is my longing.  This is my greatest yearning.  
This is my eternal life.  This is my everlasting glory."  
 
+P140 
 
+P141 
                           THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 
 
+P142 
 
+P143 
     Dearly-beloved brethren in `Abdu'l-Bahá!  With the ascension 
of Bahá'u'lláh the Day-Star of Divine guidance which, as foretold 
by Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kázim, had risen in Shíráz, and, 
while pursuing its westward course, had mounted its zenith in 
Adrianople, had finally sunk below the horizon of `Akká, never to 
rise again ere the complete revolution of one thousand years.  The 
setting of so effulgent an Orb brought to a definite termination the 
period of Divine Revelation--the initial and most vitalizing stage 
in the Bahá'í era.  Inaugurated by the Báb, culminating in 
Bahá'u'lláh, anticipated and extolled by the entire company of the 
Prophets of this great prophetic cycle, this period has, except for 
the short interval between the Báb's martyrdom and Bahá'u'lláh's 
shaking experiences in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán, been characterized 
by almost fifty years of continuous and progressive Revelation--a 
period which by its duration and fecundity must be regarded as 
unparalleled in the entire field of the world's spiritual history.  
     The passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, on the other hand, marks the 
closing of the Heroic and Apostolic Age of this same Dispensation
--that primitive period of our Faith the splendors of which can 
never be rivaled, much less be eclipsed, by the magnificence that 
must needs distinguish the future victories of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation.  
For neither the achievements of the champion-builders of the 
present-day institutions of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, nor the tumultuous 
triumphs which the heroes of its Golden Age will in the 
coming days succeed in winning, can measure with, or be included 
within the same category as, the wondrous works associated with 
the names of those who have generated its very life and laid its 
pristine foundations.  That first and creative age of the Bahá'í era 
must, by its very nature, stand above and apart from the formative 
period into which we have entered and the golden age destined to 
succeed it.  
     `Abdu'l-Bahá, Who incarnates an institution for which we can 
find no parallel whatsoever in any of the world's recognized religious 
systems, may be said to have closed the Age to which He Himself 
belonged and opened the one in which we are now laboring.  His 
Will and Testament should thus be regarded as the perpetual, the 
indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of 
 
+P144 
God has conceived in order to insure the continuity of the three 
ages that constitute the component parts of the Bahá'í Dispensation.  
The period in which the seed of the Faith had been slowly germinating 
is thus intertwined both with the one which must witness its 
efflorescence and the subsequent age in which that seed will have 
finally yielded its golden fruit.  
     The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá'u'lláh, permeating 
and evolving within the mind of `Abdu'l-Bahá, have, by 
their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument 
which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order 
which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation.  
The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring 
resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated 
the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the 
One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient.  Being the Child of 
the Covenant--the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter 
of the Law of God--the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá can 
no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and 
motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived 
it.  Bahá'u'lláh's inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, 
has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the 
mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any 
system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established 
would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred 
and basic truths of the Faith.  
     The Administrative Order, which ever since `Abdu'l-Bahá's 
ascension has evolved and is taking shape under our very eyes in no 
fewer than forty countries of the world, may be considered as the 
framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold wherein this 
new-born child is being nurtured and developed.  This Administrative 
Order, as it expands and consolidates itself, will no doubt manifest 
the potentialities and reveal the full implications of this momentous 
Document--this most remarkable expression of the Will of 
One of the most remarkable Figures of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.  
It will, as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin 
to function with efficiency and vigor, assert its claim and demonstrate 
its capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the very 
pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness 
of time the whole of mankind.  
 
+P145 
     It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative 
Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet 
has previously established, inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself 
revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the 
person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority 
on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.  
Therein lies the secret of its strength, its fundamental distinction, 
and the guarantee against disintegration and schism.  
Nowhere in the sacred scriptures of any of the world's religious 
systems, nor even in the writings of the Inaugurator of the Bábí 
Dispensation, do we find any provisions establishing a covenant 
or providing for an administrative order that can compare in scope 
and authority with those that lie at the very basis of the Bahá'í 
Dispensation.  Has either Christianity or Islám, to take as an instance 
two of the most widely diffused and outstanding among the world's 
recognized religions, anything to offer that can measure with, or be 
regarded as equivalent to, either the Book of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant 
or to the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá?  Does the text of 
either the Gospel or the Qur'án confer sufficient authority upon 
those leaders and councils that have claimed the right and assumed 
the function of interpreting the provisions of their sacred scriptures 
and of administering the affairs of their respective communities?  
Could Peter, the admitted chief of the Apostles, or the Imám `Alí, 
the cousin and legitimate successor of the Prophet, produce in 
support of the primacy with which both had been invested written 
and explicit affirmations from Christ and Muhammad that could 
have silenced those who either among their contemporaries or in a 
later age have repudiated their authority and, by their action, precipitated 
the schisms that persist until the present day?  Where, we 
may confidently ask, in the recorded sayings of Jesus Christ, whether 
in the matter of succession or in the provision of a set of specific 
laws and clearly defined administrative ordinances, as distinguished 
from purely spiritual principles, can we find anything approaching 
the detailed injunctions, laws and warnings that abound in the 
authenticated utterances of both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá?  Can 
any passage of the Qur'án, which in respect to its legal code, its 
administrative and devotional ordinances marks already a notable 
advance over previous and more corrupted Revelations, be construed 
as placing upon an unassailable basis the undoubted authority 
with which Muhammad had, verbally and on several occasions, 
invested His successor?  Can the Author of the Bábí Dispensation 
 
+P146 
however much He may have succeeded through the provisions of 
the Persian Bayán in averting a schism as permanent and catastrophic 
as those that afflicted Christianity and Islám--can He be said 
to have produced instruments for the safeguarding of His Faith as 
definite and efficacious as those which must for all time preserve 
the unity of the organized followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh?  
     Alone of all the Revelations gone before it this Faith has, 
through the explicit directions, the repeated warnings, the authenticated 
safeguards incorporated and elaborated in its teachings, succeeded 
in raising a structure which the bewildered followers of 
bankrupt and broken creeds might well approach and critically 
examine, and seek, ere it is too late, the invulnerable security of its 
world-embracing shelter.  
     No wonder that He Who through the operation of His Will has 
inaugurated so vast and unique an Order and Who is the Center of 
so mighty a Covenant should have written these words:  "So firm 
and mighty is this Covenant that from the beginning of time until 
the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like."  
"Whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this holy cycle," He wrote 
during the darkest and most dangerous days of His ministry, "shall 
gradually appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning 
of its growth and the dayspring of the revelation of its signs."  
"Fear not," are His reassuring words foreshadowing the rise of 
the Administrative Order established by His Will, "fear not if this 
Branch be severed from this material world and cast aside its leaves; 
nay, the leaves thereof shall flourish, for this Branch will grow after 
it is cut off from this world below, it shall reach the loftiest pinnacles 
of glory, and it shall bear such fruits as will perfume the world with 
their fragrance."  
     To what else if not to the power and majesty which this Administrative 
Order--the rudiments of the future all-enfolding Bahá'í 
Commonwealth--is destined to manifest, can these utterances of 
Bahá'u'lláh allude:  "The world's equilibrium hath been upset 
through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World 
Order.  Mankind's ordered life hath been revolutionized through the 
agency of this unique, this wondrous System--the like of which 
mortal eyes have never witnessed."  
     The Báb Himself, in the course of His references to "Him 
Whom God will make manifest" anticipates the System and glorifies 
the World Order which the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is destined 
to unfold.  "Well is it with him," is His remarkable statement in the 
 
+P147 
third chapter of the Persian Bayán, "who fixeth his gaze upon the 
Order of Bahá'u'lláh and rendereth thanks unto his Lord!  For He 
will assuredly be made manifest.  God hath indeed irrevocably 
ordained it in the Bayán."  
     In the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh where the institutions of the 
International and Local Houses of Justice are specifically designated 
and formally established; in the institution of the Hands of the 
Cause of God which first Bahá'u'lláh and then `Abdu'l-Bahá brought 
into being; in the institution of both local and national Assemblies 
which in their embryonic stage were already functioning in the 
days preceding `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension; in the authority with 
which the Author of our Faith and the Center of His Covenant 
have in their Tablets chosen to confer upon them; in the institution 
of the Local Fund which operated according to `Abdu'l-Bahá's 
specific injunctions addressed to certain Assemblies in Persia; in the 
verses of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas the implications of which clearly anticipate 
the institution of the Guardianship; in the explanation which 
`Abdu'l-Bahá, in one of His Tablets, has given to, and the emphasis 
He has placed upon, the hereditary principle and the law of primogeniture 
as having been upheld by the Prophets of the past--in these 
we can discern the faint glimmerings and discover the earliest intimation 
of the nature and working of the Administrative Order 
which the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá was at a later time destined to 
proclaim and formally establish.  
     An attempt, I feel, should at the present juncture be made to 
explain the character and functions of the twin pillars that support 
this mighty Administrative Structure--the institutions of the Guardianship 
and of the Universal House of Justice.  To describe in their 
entirety the diverse elements that function in conjunction with these 
institutions is beyond the scope and purpose of this general exposition 
of the fundamental verities of the Faith.  To define with 
accuracy and minuteness the features, and to analyze exhaustively 
the nature of the relationships which, on the one hand, bind together 
these two fundamental organs of the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá and 
connect, on the other, each of them to the Author of the Faith and 
the Center of His Covenant is a task which future generations will 
no doubt adequately fulfill.  My present intention is to elaborate 
certain salient features of this scheme which, however close we may 
stand to its colossal structure, are already so clearly defined that we 
find it inexcusable to either misconceive or ignore.  
 
+P148 
     It should be stated, at the very outset, in clear and unambiguous 
language, that these twin institutions of the Administrative Order 
of Bahá'u'lláh should be regarded as divine in origin, essential in 
their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose.  Their 
common, their fundamental object is to insure the continuity of 
that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source of 
our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain 
the integrity and flexibility of its teachings.  Acting in conjunction 
with each other these two inseparable institutions administer its 
affairs, coördinate its activities, promote its interests, execute its 
laws and defend its subsidiary institutions.  Severally, each operates 
within a clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction; each is equipped 
with its own attendant institutions--instruments designed for the 
effective discharge of its particular responsibilities and duties.  Each 
exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, 
its rights and prerogatives.  These are neither contradictory, 
nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of 
these institutions occupies.  Far from being incompatible or mutually 
destructive, they supplement each other's authority and functions, 
and are permanently and fundamentally united in their aims.  
     Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World 
Order of Bahá'u'lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived 
of that hereditary principle which, as `Abdu'l-Bahá has written, has 
been invariably upheld by the Law of God.  "In all the Divine Dispensations," 
He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the 
Faith in Persia, "the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions.  
Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright."  
Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be 
imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely 
endangered.  Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable 
it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations 
would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define 
the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives 
would be totally withdrawn.  
     Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal 
House of Justice this same System of the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá 
would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to fill in 
those gaps which the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has deliberately 
left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances.  
     "He is the Interpreter of the Word of God," `Abdu'l-Bahá, referring 
to the functions of the Guardian of the Faith, asserts, using 
 
+P149 
in His Will the very term which He Himself had chosen when 
refuting the argument of the Covenant-breakers who had challenged 
His right to interpret the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh.  "After 
him," He adds, "will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants."  
"The mighty stronghold," He further explains, "shall remain impregnable 
and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian 
of the Cause of God."  "It is incumbent upon the members of the 
House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of 
the Cause of God, to show their obedience, submissiveness and 
subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God."  
     "It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice," 
Bahá'u'lláh, on the other hand, declares in the Eighth Leaf of the 
Exalted Paradise, "to take counsel together regarding those things 
which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce 
that which is agreeable to them.  God will verily inspire them with 
whatsoever He willeth, and He verily is the Provider, the Omniscient."  
"Unto the Most Holy Book" (the Kitáb-i-Aqdas), `Abdu'l-Bahá 
states in His Will, "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 doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that 
love discord, hath shown forth malice, and turned away from the 
Lord of the Covenant."  
     Not only does `Abdu'l-Bahá confirm in His Will Bahá'u'lláh's 
above-quoted statement, but invests this body with the additional 
right and power to abrogate, according to the exigencies of time, its 
own enactments, as well as those of a preceding House of Justice.  
"Inasmuch as the House of Justice," is His explicit statement in His 
Will, "hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in 
the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to 
repeal the same...  This it can do because these laws form no part 
of the divine explicit text."  
     Referring to both the Guardian and the Universal House of 
Justice we read these emphatic words:  "The sacred and youthful 
Branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal 
House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both 
under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter 
and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (the Báb) (may my life 
be offered up for them both).  Whatsoever they decide is of God."  
     From these statements it is made indubitably clear and evident 
 
+P150 
that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the 
Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested 
with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed 
in the teachings.  The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning 
within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments 
of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right 
and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment 
on such laws and ordinances as Bahá'u'lláh has not expressly revealed.  
Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and 
prescribed domain of the other.  Neither will seek to curtail the 
specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely 
invested.  
     Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent 
head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the 
right of exclusive legislation.  He cannot override the decision of the 
majority of his fellow-members, but is bound to insist upon a 
reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes 
to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of 
Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances.  He interprets what has been specifically 
revealed, and cannot legislate except in his capacity as 
member of the Universal House of Justice.  He is debarred from 
laying down independently the constitution that must govern the 
organized activities of his fellow-members, and from exercising 
his influence in a manner that would encroach upon the liberty of 
those whose sacred right is to elect the body of his collaborators.  
     It should be borne in mind that the institution of the Guardianship 
has been anticipated by `Abdu'l-Bahá in an allusion He made in 
a Tablet addressed, long before His own ascension, to three of 
His friends in Persia.  To their question as to whether there would 
be any person to whom all the Bahá'ís would be called upon to turn 
after His ascension He made the following reply:  "As to the question 
ye have asked me, know verily that this is a well-guarded secret.  
It is even as a gem concealed within its shell.  That it will be revealed 
is predestined.  The time will come when its light will appear, when 
its evidences will be made manifest, and its secrets unraveled."  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  Exalted as is the position and vital 
as is the function of the institution of the Guardianship in the 
Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh, and staggering as must be 
the weight of responsibility which it carries, its importance must, 
whatever be the language of the Will, be in no wise over-emphasized.  
The Guardian of the Faith must not under any circumstances, and 
 
+P151 
whatever his merits or his achievements, be exalted to the rank 
that will make him a co-sharer with `Abdu'l-Bahá in the unique 
position which the Center of the Covenant occupies--much less 
to the station exclusively ordained for the Manifestation of God.  
So grave a departure from the established tenets of our Faith is 
nothing short of open blasphemy.  As I have already stated, in the 
course of my references to `Abdu'l-Bahá's station, however great 
the gulf that separates Him from the Author of a Divine Revelation 
it can never measure with the distance that stands between 
Him Who is the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and the Guardians 
who are its chosen ministers.  There is a far, far greater distance 
separating the Guardian from the Center of the Covenant 
than there is between the Center of the Covenant and its Author.  
     No Guardian of the Faith, I feel it my solemn duty to place on 
record, can ever claim to be the perfect exemplar of the teachings of 
Bahá'u'lláh or the stainless mirror that reflects His light.  Though 
overshadowed by the unfailing, the unerring protection of 
Bahá'u'lláh and of the Báb, and however much he may share with 
`Abdu'l-Bahá the right and obligation to interpret the Bahá'í teachings, 
he remains essentially human and cannot, if he wishes to remain 
faithful to his trust, arrogate to himself, under any pretense whatsoever, 
the rights, the privileges and prerogatives which Bahá'u'lláh 
has chosen to confer upon His Son.  In the light of this truth to pray 
to the Guardian of the Faith, to address him as lord and master, 
to designate him as his holiness, to seek his benediction, to celebrate 
his birthday, or to commemorate any event associated with his life 
would be tantamount to a departure from those established truths 
that are enshrined within our beloved Faith.  The fact that the 
Guardian has been specifically endowed with such power as he may 
need to reveal the purport and disclose the implications of the 
utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and of `Abdu'l-Bahá does not necessarily 
confer upon him a station co-equal with those Whose words he is 
called upon to interpret.  He can exercise that right and discharge 
this obligation and yet remain infinitely inferior to both of them 
in rank and different in nature.  
     To the integrity of this cardinal principle of our Faith the 
words, the deeds of its present and future Guardians must abundantly 
testify.  By their conduct and example they must needs establish 
its truth upon an unassailable foundation and transmit to 
future generations unimpeachable evidences of its reality.  
     For my own part to hesitate in recognizing so vital a truth 
 
+P152 
or to vacillate in proclaiming so firm a conviction must constitute 
a shameless betrayal of the confidence reposed in me by `Abdu'l-Bahá 
and an unpardonable usurpation of the authority with which He 
Himself has been invested.  
     A word should now be said regarding the theory on which this 
Administrative Order is based and the principle that must govern 
the operation of its chief institutions.  It would be utterly misleading 
to attempt a comparison between this unique, this divinely-conceived 
Order and any of the diverse systems which the minds of men, at 
various periods of their history, have contrived for the government 
of human institutions.  Such an attempt would in itself betray a 
lack of complete appreciation of the excellence of the handiwork 
of its great Author.  How could it be otherwise when we remember 
that this Order constitutes the very pattern of that divine civilization 
which the almighty Law of Bahá'u'lláh is designed to establish 
upon earth?  The divers and ever-shifting systems of human polity, 
whether past or present, whether originating in the East or in the 
West, offer no adequate criterion wherewith to estimate the potency 
of its hidden virtues or to appraise the solidity of its foundations.  
     The Bahá'í Commonwealth of the future, of which this vast 
Administrative Order is the sole framework, is, both in theory and 
practice, not only unique in the entire history of political institutions, 
but can find no parallel in the annals of any of the world's 
recognized religious systems.  No form of democratic government; 
no system of autocracy or of dictatorship, whether monarchical or 
republican; no intermediary scheme of a purely aristocratic order; 
nor even any of the recognized types of theocracy, whether it be 
the Hebrew Commonwealth, or the various Christian ecclesiastical 
organizations, or the Imamate or the Caliphate in Islám--none of 
these can be identified or be said to conform with the Administrative 
Order which the master-hand of its perfect Architect has fashioned.  
     This new-born Administrative Order incorporates within its 
structure certain elements which are to be found in each of the 
three recognized forms of secular government, without being in 
any sense a mere replica of any one of them, and without introducing 
within its machinery any of the objectionable features 
which they inherently possess.  It blends and harmonizes, as no 
government fashioned by mortal hands has as yet accomplished, 
the salutary truths which each of these systems undoubtedly contains 
 
+P153 
without vitiating the integrity of those God-given verities on which 
it is ultimately founded.  
     The Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh must in 
no wise be regarded as purely democratic in character inasmuch as 
the basic assumption which requires all democracies to depend fundamentally 
upon getting their mandate from the people is altogether 
lacking in this Dispensation.  In the conduct of the administrative 
affairs of the Faith, in the enactment of the legislation necessary 
to supplement the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the members of the 
Universal House of Justice, it should be borne in mind, are not, 
as Bahá'u'lláh's utterances clearly imply, responsible to those whom 
they represent, nor are they allowed to be governed by the feelings, 
the general opinion, and even the convictions of the mass of the 
faithful, or of those who directly elect them.  They are to follow, 
in a prayerful attitude, the dictates and promptings of their conscience.  
They may, indeed they must, acquaint themselves with the 
conditions prevailing among the community, must weigh dispassionately 
in their minds the merits of any case presented for their 
consideration, but must reserve for themselves the right of an 
unfettered decision.  "God will verily inspire them with whatsoever 
He willeth," is Bahá'u'lláh's incontrovertible assurance.  They, and 
not the body of those who either directly or indirectly elect them, 
have thus been made the recipients of the divine guidance which is 
at once the life-blood and ultimate safeguard of this Revelation.  
Moreover, he who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation 
has been made the interpreter of the words of its Author, 
and ceases consequently, by virtue of the actual authority vested 
in him, to be the figurehead invariably associated with the prevailing 
systems of constitutional monarchies.  
     Nor can the Bahá'í Administrative Order be dismissed as a 
hard and rigid system of unmitigated autocracy or as an idle imitation 
of any form of absolutistic ecclesiastical government, whether 
it be the Papacy, the Imamate or any other similar institution, for 
the obvious reason that upon the international elected representatives 
of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh has been conferred the exclusive 
right of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the 
Bahá'í writings.  Neither the Guardian of the Faith nor any institution 
apart from the International House of Justice can ever usurp 
this vital and essential power or encroach upon that sacred right.  
The abolition of professional priesthood with its accompanying 
sacraments of baptism, of communion and of confession of sins, 
 
+P154 
the laws requiring the election by universal suffrage of all local, 
national, and international Houses of Justice, the total absence of 
episcopal authority with its attendant privileges, corruptions and 
bureaucratic tendencies, are further evidences of the non-autocratic 
character of the Bahá'í Administrative Order and of its inclination 
to democratic methods in the administration of its affairs.  
     Nor is this Order identified with the name of Bahá'u'lláh to 
be confused with any system of purely aristocratic government in 
view of the fact that it upholds, on the one hand, the hereditary 
principle and entrusts the Guardian of the Faith with the obligation 
of interpreting its teachings, and provides, on the other, for 
the free and direct election from among the mass of the faithful 
of the body that constitutes its highest legislative organ.  
     Whereas this Administrative Order cannot be said to have been 
modeled after any of these recognized systems of government, it 
nevertheless embodies, reconciles and assimilates within its framework 
such wholesome elements as are to be found in each one of 
them.  The hereditary authority which the Guardian is called upon 
to exercise, the vital and essential functions which the Universal 
House of Justice discharges, the specific provisions requiring its 
democratic election by the representatives of the faithful--these 
combine to demonstrate the truth that this divinely revealed Order, 
which can never be identified with any of the standard types of 
government referred to by Aristotle in his works, embodies and 
blends with the spiritual verities on which it is based the beneficent 
elements which are to be found in each one of them.  The admitted 
evils inherent in each of these systems being rigidly and permanently 
excluded, this unique Order, however long it may endure 
and however extensive its ramifications, cannot ever degenerate into 
any form of despotism, of oligarchy, or of demagogy which must 
sooner or later corrupt the machinery of all man-made and essentially 
defective political institutions.  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  Significant as are the origins of this 
mighty administrative structure, and however unique its features, 
the happenings that may be said to have heralded its birth and 
signalized the initial stage of its evolution seem no less remarkable.  
How striking, how edifying the contrast between the process of 
slow and steady consolidation that characterizes the growth of its 
infant strength and the devastating onrush of the forces of disintegration 
 
+P155 
that are assailing the outworn institutions, both religious 
and secular, of present-day society!  
     The vitality which the organic institutions of this great, this 
ever-expanding Order so strongly exhibit; the obstacles which the 
high courage, the undaunted resolution of its administrators have 
already surmounted; the fire of an unquenchable enthusiasm that 
glows with undiminished fervor in the hearts of its itinerant 
teachers; the heights of self-sacrifice which its champion-builders 
are now attaining; the breadth of vision, the confident hope, the 
creative joy, the inward peace, the uncompromising integrity, the 
exemplary discipline, the unyielding unity and solidarity which its 
stalwart defenders manifest; the degree to which its moving Spirit 
has shown itself capable of assimilating the diversified elements 
within its pale, of cleansing them of all forms of prejudice and 
of fusing them with its own structure--these are evidences of a 
power which a disillusioned and sadly shaken society can ill afford 
to ignore.  
     Compare these splendid manifestations of the spirit animating 
this vibrant body of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh with the cries and 
agony, the follies and vanities, the bitterness and prejudices, the 
wickedness and divisions of an ailing and chaotic world.  Witness 
the fear that torments its leaders and paralyzes the action of its 
blind and bewildered statesmen.  How fierce the hatreds, how false 
the ambitions, how petty the pursuits, how deep-rooted the suspicions 
of its peoples!  How disquieting the lawlessness, the corruption, 
the unbelief that are eating into the vitals of a tottering civilization!  
     Might not this process of steady deterioration which is insidiously 
invading so many departments of human activity and thought be 
regarded as a necessary accompaniment to the rise of this almighty 
Arm of Bahá'u'lláh?  Might we not look upon the momentous happenings 
which, in the course of the past twenty years, have so deeply 
agitated every continent of the earth, as ominous signs simultaneously 
proclaiming the agonies of a disintegrating civilization and 
the birthpangs of that World Order--that Ark of human salvation
--that must needs arise upon its ruins?  
     The catastrophic fall of mighty monarchies and empires in the 
European continent, allusions to some of which may be found in 
the prophecies of Bahá'u'lláh; the decline that has set in, and is still 
continuing, in the fortunes of the Shí'ih hierarchy in His own 
native land; the fall of the Qájár dynasty, the traditional enemy 
of His Faith; the overthrow of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, 
 
+P156 
the sustaining pillars of Sunní Islám, to which the destruction of 
Jerusalem in the latter part of the first century of the Christian era 
offers a striking parallel; the wave of secularization which is 
invading the Muhammadan ecclesiastical institutions in Egypt and 
sapping the loyalty of its staunchest supporters; the humiliating 
blows that have afflicted some of the most powerful Churches of 
Christendom in Russia, in Western Europe and Central America; the 
dissemination of those subversive doctrines that are undermining the 
foundations and overthrowing the structure of seemingly impregnable 
strongholds in the political and social spheres of human 
activity; the signs of an impending catastrophe, strangely reminiscent 
of the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, which threatens 
to engulf the whole structure of present-day civilization--all witness 
to the tumult which the birth of this mighty Organ of the Religion 
of Bahá'u'lláh has cast into the world--a tumult which will grow 
in scope and in intensity as the implications of this constantly 
evolving Scheme are more fully understood and its ramifications 
more widely extended over the surface of the globe.  
     A word more in conclusion.  The rise and establishment of this 
Administrative Order--the shell that shields and enshrines so precious 
a gem--constitutes the hall-mark of this second and formative 
age of the Bahá'í era.  It will come to be regarded, as it recedes 
farther and farther from our eyes, as the chief agency empowered 
to usher in the concluding phase, the consummation of this glorious 
Dispensation.  
     Let no one, while this System is still in its infancy, misconceive 
its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent its purpose.  
The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's 
immutable Purpose for mankind in this day.  The Source from 
which it derives its inspiration is no one less than Bahá'u'lláh 
Himself.  Its shield and defender are the embattled hosts of the 
Abhá Kingdom.  Its seed is the blood of no less than twenty thousand 
martyrs who have offered up their lives that it may be born 
and flourish.  The axis round which its institutions revolve are the 
authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá.  
Its guiding principles are the truths which He Who is the unerring 
Interpreter of the teachings of our Faith has so clearly enunciated 
in His public addresses throughout the West.  The laws that govern 
its operation and limit its functions are those which have been 
expressly ordained in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.  The seat round which its 
spiritual, its humanitarian and administrative activities will cluster 
 
+P157 
are the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár and its Dependencies.  The pillars that 
sustain its authority and buttress its structure are the twin institutions 
of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice.  
The central, the underlying aim which animates it is the establishment 
of the New World Order as adumbrated by Bahá'u'lláh.  The 
methods it employs, the standard it inculcates, incline it to neither 
East nor West, neither Jew nor Gentile, neither rich nor poor, 
neither white nor colored.  Its watchword is the unification of the 
human race; its standard the "Most Great Peace"; its consummation 
the advent of that golden millennium--the Day when the kingdoms 
of this world shall have become the Kingdom of God Himself, 
the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh.  
 
                                                   SHOGHI. 
 
Haifa, Palestine, 
February 8, 1934.  
 
+P158 
 
+P159 
              THE UNFOLDMENT OF WORLD CIVILIZATION 
 
+P160 
 
+P161 
                     THE UNFOLDMENT OF WORLD 
                          CIVILIZATION 
 
To the beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout 
     the West.  
 
Friends and fellow-heirs of the grace of Bahá'u'lláh:  
 
     As your co-sharer in the building up of the New World Order 
which the mind of Bahá'u'lláh has visioned, and whose features the 
pen of `Abdu'l-Bahá, its perfect Architect, has delineated, I pause to 
contemplate with you the scene which the revolution of well-nigh 
fifteen years after His passing unfolds before us.  
     The contrast between the accumulating evidences of steady consolidation 
that accompany the rise of the Administrative Order of 
the Faith of God, and the forces of disintegration which batter at 
the fabric of a travailing society, is as clear as it is arresting.  Both 
within and outside the Bahá'í world the signs and tokens which, in 
a mysterious manner, are heralding the birth of that World Order, 
the establishment of which must signalize the Golden Age of the 
Cause of God, are growing and multiplying day by day.  No fair-minded 
observer can any longer fail to discern them.  He cannot be 
misled by the painful slowness characterizing the unfoldment of the 
civilization which the followers of Bahá'u'lláh are laboring to establish.  
Nor can he be deluded by the ephemeral manifestations of returning 
prosperity which at times appear to be capable of checking 
the disruptive influence of the chronic ills afflicting the institutions 
of a decaying age.  The signs of the times are too numerous and 
compelling to allow him to mistake their character or to belittle their 
significance.  He can, if he be fair in his judgment, recognize in the 
chain of events which proclaim on the one hand the irresistible 
march of the institutions directly associated with the Revelation of 
Bahá'u'lláh and foreshadow on the other the downfall of those 
powers and principalities that have either ignored or opposed it--he 
can recognize in them all evidences of the operation of God's all-pervasive 
Will, the shaping of His perfectly ordered and world-embracing 
Plan.  
     "Soon," Bahá'u'lláh's own words proclaim it, "will the present 
day Order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.  
Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth and is the Knower of things unseen."  
"By Myself," He solemnly asserts, "the day is approaching 
 
+P162 
when We will have rolled up the world and all that is therein, and 
spread out a new Order in its stead.  He, verily, is powerful over all 
things."  "The world's equilibrium," He explains, "hath been upset 
through the vibrating influence of this Most Great, this new World 
Order.  Mankind's ordered life hath been revolutionized through the 
agency of this unique, this wondrous System, the like of which 
mortal eyes have never witnessed."  "The signs of impending convulsions 
and chaos," He warns the peoples of the world, "can now 
be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing Order appeareth to be lamentably 
defective."  
     Dearly-beloved friends!  This New World Order, whose promise 
is enshrined in the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, whose fundamental 
principles have been enunciated in the writings of the Center of His 
Covenant, involves no less than the complete unification of the entire 
human race.  This unification should conform to such principles 
as would directly harmonize with the spirit that animates, and the 
laws that govern the operation of, the institutions that already constitute 
the structural basis of the Administrative Order of His 
Faith.  
     No machinery falling short of the standard inculcated by the 
Bahá'í Revelation, and at variance with the sublime pattern ordained 
in His teachings, which the collective efforts of mankind may yet 
devise can ever hope to achieve anything above or beyond that 
"Lesser Peace" to which the Author of our Faith has Himself 
alluded in His writings.  "Now that ye have refused the Most Great 
Peace," He, admonishing the kings and rulers of the earth, has 
written, "hold ye fast unto this the Lesser Peace, that haply ye may 
in some degree better your own condition and that of your dependents."  
Expatiating on this Lesser Peace, He thus addresses in that 
same Tablet the rulers of the earth:  "Be reconciled among yourselves, 
that ye may need no more armaments save in a measure to 
safeguard your territories and dominions...  Be united, O kings 
of the earth, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled 
amongst you, and your peoples find rest, if ye be of them that comprehend.  
Should any one among you take up arms against another, 
rise ye all against him, for this is naught but manifest justice."  
     The Most Great Peace, on the other hand, as conceived by 
Bahá'u'lláh--a peace that must inevitably follow as the practical 
consequence of the spiritualization of the world and the fusion of 
all its races, creeds, classes and nations--can rest on no other basis, 
and can be preserved through no other agency, except the divinely 
 
+P163 
appointed ordinances that are implicit in the World Order that 
stands associated with His Holy Name.  In His Tablet, revealed 
almost seventy years ago to Queen Victoria, Bahá'u'lláh, alluding 
to this Most Great Peace, has declared:  "That which the Lord hath 
ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the 
healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal 
Cause, one common Faith.  This can in no wise be achieved except 
through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired 
Physician.  This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error...  
Consider these days in which the Ancient Beauty, He Who is the 
Most Great Name, hath been sent down to regenerate and unify 
mankind.  Behold how with drawn swords they rose against Him, 
and committed that which caused the Faithful Spirit to tremble.  
And whenever We said unto them:  `Lo, the World Reformer is 
come,' they made reply:  `He, in truth, is one of the stirrers of mischief.'"  
"It beseemeth all men in this Day," He, in another Tablet, 
asserts, "to take firm hold on the Most Great Name, and to establish 
the unity of all mankind.  There is no place to flee to, no refuge that 
any one can seek, except Him."  
 
Humanity's Coming of Age 
 
     The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, whose supreme mission is none 
other but the achievement of this organic and spiritual unity of the 
whole body of nations, should, if we be faithful to its implications, 
be regarded as signalizing through its advent the coming of age of 
the entire human race.  It should be viewed not merely as yet another 
spiritual revival in the ever-changing fortunes of mankind, not only 
as a further stage in a chain of progressive Revelations, nor even as 
the culmination of one of a series of recurrent prophetic cycles, but 
rather as marking the last and highest stage in the stupendous evolution 
of man's collective life on this planet.  The emergence of a 
world community, the consciousness of world citizenship, the founding 
of a world civilization and culture--all of which must synchronize 
with the initial stages in the unfoldment of the Golden Age of 
the Bahá'í Era--should, by their very nature, be regarded, as far as 
this planetary life is concerned, as the furthermost limits in the 
organization of human society, though man, as an individual, will, 
nay must indeed as a result of such a consummation, continue indefinitely 
to progress and develop.  
     That mystic, all-pervasive, yet indefinable change, which we 
 
+P164 
associate with the stage of maturity inevitable in the life of the individual 
and the development of the fruit must, if we would correctly 
apprehend the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh, have its counterpart in the 
evolution of the organization of human society.  A similar stage 
must sooner or later be attained in the collective life of mankind, 
producing an even more striking phenomenon in world relations, 
and endowing the whole human race with such potentialities of well-being 
as shall provide, throughout the succeeding ages, the chief 
incentive required for the eventual fulfillment of its high destiny.  
Such a stage of maturity in the process of human government must, 
for all time, if we would faithfully recognize the tremendous claim 
advanced by Bahá'u'lláh, remain identified with the Revelation of 
which He was the Bearer.  
     In one of the most characteristic passages He Himself has revealed, 
He testifies in a language that none can mistake to the truth 
of this distinguishing principle of Bahá'í belief:  "It hath been decreed 
by Us that the Word of God and all the potentialities thereof 
shall be manifested unto men in strict conformity with such conditions 
as have been foreordained by Him Who is the All-Knowing, 
the All-Wise...  Should the Word be allowed to release suddenly 
all the energies latent within it, no man could sustain the weight of 
so mighty a revelation...  Consider that which hath been sent down 
unto Muhammad, the Apostle of God.  The measure of the Revelation 
of which He was the Bearer had been clearly foreordained by Him 
Who is the Almighty, the All-Powerful.  They that heard Him, however, 
could apprehend His purpose only to the extent of their station 
and spiritual capacity.  He, in like manner, uncovered the Face 
of Wisdom in proportion to their ability to sustain the burden of 
His Message.  No sooner had mankind attained the stage of maturity, 
than the Word revealed to men's eyes the latent energies with 
which it had been endowed--energies which manifested themselves 
in the plenitude of their glory when the Ancient Beauty appeared, 
in the year sixty, in the person of `Alí-Muhammad, the Báb."  
     `Abdu'l-Bahá, elucidating this fundamental verity, has written:  
"All created things have their degree or stage of maturity.  The 
period of maturity in the life of a tree is the time of its fruit-bearing...  
The animal attains a stage of full growth and completeness, 
and in the human kingdom man reaches his maturity when 
the light of his intelligence attains its greatest power and development...  
Similarly there are periods and stages in the collective life 
of humanity.  At one time it was passing through its stage of childhood, 
 
+P165 
at another its period of youth, but now it has entered its long-predicted 
phase of maturity, the evidences of which are everywhere 
apparent...  That which was applicable to human needs during the 
early history of the race can neither meet nor satisfy the demands 
of this day, this period of newness and consummation.  Humanity 
has emerged from its former state of limitation and preliminary 
training.  Man must now become imbued with new virtues and powers, 
new moral standards, new capacities.  New bounties, perfect 
bestowals, are awaiting and already descending upon him.  The gifts 
and blessings of the period of youth, although timely and sufficient 
during the adolescence of mankind, are now incapable of meeting 
the requirements of its maturity."  
 
The Process of Integration 
 
     Such a unique and momentous crisis in the life of organized 
mankind may, moreover, be likened to the culminating stage in the 
political evolution of the great American Republic--the stage which 
marked the emergence of a unified community of federated states.  
The stirring of a new national consciousness, and the birth of a new 
type of civilization, infinitely richer and nobler than any which its 
component parts could have severally hoped to achieve, may be said 
to have proclaimed the coming of age of the American people.  
Within the territorial limits of this nation, this consummation may 
be viewed as the culmination of the process of human government.  
The diversified and loosely related elements of a divided community 
were brought together, unified and incorporated into one coherent 
system.  Though this entity may continue gaining in cohesive power, 
though the unity already achieved may be further consolidated, 
though the civilization to which that unity could alone have given 
birth may expand and flourish, yet the machinery essential to such 
an unfoldment may be said to have been, in its essential structure, 
erected, and the impulse required to guide and sustain it may be 
regarded as having been fundamentally imparted.  No stage above 
and beyond this consummation of national unity can, within the 
geographical limits of that nation, be imagined, though the highest 
destiny of its people, as a constituent element in a still larger entity 
that will embrace the whole of mankind, may still remain unfulfilled.  
Considered as an isolated unit, however, this process of integration 
may be said to have reached its highest and final consummation.  
     Such is the stage to which an evolving humanity is collectively 
 
+P166 
approaching.  The Revelation entrusted by the Almighty Ordainer 
to Bahá'u'lláh, His followers firmly believe, has been endowed with 
such potentialities as are commensurate with the maturity of the 
human race--the crowning and most momentous stage in its evolution 
from infancy to manhood.  
     The successive Founders of all past Religions Who, from time 
immemorial, have shed, with ever-increasing intensity, the splendor 
of one common Revelation at the various stages which have marked 
the advance of mankind towards maturity may thus, in a sense, be 
regarded as preliminary Manifestations, anticipating and paving 
the way for the advent of that Day of Days when the whole earth 
will have fructified and the tree of humanity will have yielded its 
destined fruit.  
     Incontrovertible as is this truth, its challenging character should 
never be allowed to obscure the purpose, or distort the principle, 
underlying the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh--utterances that have established 
for all time the absolute oneness of all the Prophets, Himself 
included, whether belonging to the past or to the future.  Though 
the mission of the Prophets preceding Bahá'u'lláh may be viewed 
in that light, though the measure of Divine Revelation with which 
each has been entrusted must, as a result of this process of evolution, 
necessarily differ, their common origin, their essential unity, 
their identity of purpose, should at no time and under no circumstances 
be misapprehended or denied.  That all the Messengers of 
God should be regarded as "abiding in the same Tabernacle, soaring 
in the same Heaven, seated upon the same Throne, uttering the 
same Speech, and proclaiming the same Faith" must, however much 
we may extol the measure of Divine Revelation vouchsafed to mankind 
at this crowning stage of its evolution, remain the unalterable 
foundation and central tenet of Bahá'í belief.  Any variations in the 
splendor which each of these Manifestations of the Light of God 
has shed upon the world should be ascribed not to any inherent superiority 
involved in the essential character of any one of them, but 
rather to the progressive capacity, the ever-increasing spiritual 
receptiveness, which mankind, in its progress towards maturity, has 
invariably manifested.  
 
The Final Consummation 
 
     Only those who are willing to associate the Revelation proclaimed 
by Bahá'u'lláh with the consummation of so stupendous 
 
+P167 
an evolution in the collective life of the whole human race can grasp 
the significance of the words which He, while alluding to the glories 
of this promised Day and to the duration of the Bahá'í Era, has 
deemed fit to utter.  "This is the King of Days," He exclaims, "the 
Day that hath seen the coming of the Best-Beloved, Him Who, 
through all eternity, hath been acclaimed the Desire of the World."  
"The Scriptures of past Dispensations," He further asserts, "celebrate 
the great jubilee that must needs greet this most great Day of 
God.  Well is it with him that hath lived to see this Day and hath 
recognized its station."  "It is evident," He, in another passage explains, 
"that every age in which a Manifestation of God hath lived 
is divinely-ordained, and may, in a sense, be characterized as God's 
appointed Day.  This Day, however, is unique, and is to be distinguished 
from those that have preceded it.  The designation `Seal of 
the Prophets' fully revealeth its high station.  The Prophetic Cycle 
hath verily ended.  The Eternal Truth is now come.  He hath lifted 
up the ensign of power, and is now shedding upon the world the 
unclouded splendor of His Revelation."  "In this most mighty Revelation," 
He, in categorical language, declares, "all the Dispensations 
of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation.  
That which hath been made manifest in this preëminent, this most 
exalted Revelation, standeth unparalleled in the annals of the past, 
nor will future ages witness its like."  
     `Abdu'l-Bahá's authentic pronouncements should, likewise, be 
recalled as confirming, in no less emphatic manner, the unexampled 
vastness of the Bahá'í Dispensation.  "Centuries," He affirms in one 
of His Tablets, "nay, countless ages, must pass away ere the Day-Star 
of Truth shineth again in its mid-summer splendor, or 
appeareth once more in the radiance of its vernal glory...  The 
mere contemplation of the Dispensation inaugurated by the Blessed 
Beauty would have sufficed to overwhelm the saints of bygone ages
--saints who longed to partake, for one moment, of its great glory."  
"Concerning the Manifestations that will come down in the future 
`in the shadows of the clouds,'" He, in a still more definite language, 
affirms, "know, verily, that in so far as their relation to the 
Source of their inspiration is concerned, they are under the shadow 
of the Ancient Beauty.  In their relation, however, to the age in 
which they appear, each and every one of them `doeth whatsoever 
He willeth.'"  "This holy Dispensation," He, alluding to the Revelation 
of Bahá'u'lláh, explains, "is illumined with the light of the 
 
+P168 
Sun of Truth shining from its most exalted station, and in the plenitude 
of its resplendency, its heat and glory."  
 
Pangs of Death and Birth 
 
     Dearly-beloved friends:  Though the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh 
has been delivered, the World Order which such a Revelation must 
needs beget is as yet unborn.  Though the Heroic Age of His Faith 
is passed, the creative energies which that Age has released have 
not as yet crystallized into that world society which, in the fullness 
of time, is to mirror forth the brightness of His glory.  Though the 
framework of His Administrative Order has been erected, and the 
Formative Period of the Bahá'í Era has begun, yet the promised 
Kingdom into which the seed of His institutions must ripen remains 
as yet uninaugurated.  Though His Voice has been raised, and the 
ensigns of His Faith have been lifted up in no less than forty countries 
of both the East and the West, yet the wholeness of the human 
race is as yet unrecognized, its unity unproclaimed, and the standard 
of its Most Great Peace unhoisted.  
     "The heights," Bahá'u'lláh Himself testifies, "which, through 
the most gracious favor of God, mortal man can attain in this Day 
are as yet unrevealed to his sight.  The world of being hath never 
had, nor doth it yet possess, the capacity for such a revelation.  The 
day, however, is approaching when the potentialities of so great a 
favor will, by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men."  
     For the revelation of so great a favor a period of intense turmoil 
and wide-spread suffering would seem to be indispensable.  Resplendent 
as has been the Age that has witnessed the inception of the 
Mission with which Bahá'u'lláh has been entrusted, the interval 
which must elapse ere that Age yields its choicest fruit must, it is 
becoming increasingly apparent, be overshadowed by such moral 
and social gloom as can alone prepare an unrepentant humanity for 
the prize she is destined to inherit.  
     Into such a period we are now steadily and irresistibly moving.  
Amidst the shadows which are increasingly gathering about us we 
can faintly discern the glimmerings of Bahá'u'lláh's unearthly sovereignty 
appearing fitfully on the horizon of history.  To us, the 
"generation of the half-light," living at a time which may be designated 
as the period of the incubation of the World Commonwealth 
envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh, has been assigned a task whose high privilege 
we can never sufficiently appreciate, and the arduousness of 
 
+P169 
which we can as yet but dimly recognize.  We may well believe, we 
who are called upon to experience the operation of the dark forces 
destined to unloose a flood of agonizing afflictions, that the darkest 
hour that must precede the dawn of the Golden Age of our Faith 
has not yet struck.  Deep as is the gloom that already encircles the 
world, the afflictive ordeals which that world is to suffer are still in 
preparation, nor can their blackness be as yet imagined.  We stand 
on the threshold of an age whose convulsions proclaim alike the 
death-pangs of the old order and the birth-pangs of the new.  
Through the generating influence of the Faith announced by Bahá'u'lláh 
this New World Order may be said to have been conceived.  
We can, at the present moment, experience its stirrings in the womb 
of a travailing age--an age waiting for the appointed hour at which 
it can cast its burden and yield its fairest fruit.  
     "The whole earth," writes Bahá'u'lláh, "is now in a state of 
pregnancy.  The day is approaching when it will have yielded its 
noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, 
the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings.  Immeasurably 
exalted is the breeze that wafteth from the garment of thy 
Lord, the Glorified!  For lo, it hath breathed its fragrance and made 
all things new!  Well is it with them that comprehend."  "The onrushing 
winds of the grace of God," He, in the Súratu'l-Haykal, 
proclaims, "have passed over all things.  Every creature hath been endowed 
with all the potentialities it can carry.  And yet the peoples of 
the world have denied this grace!  Every tree hath been endowed 
with the choicest fruits, every ocean enriched with the most luminous 
gems.  Man, himself, hath been invested with the gifts of understanding 
and knowledge.  The whole creation hath been made the 
recipient of the revelation of the All-Merciful, and the earth the repository 
of things inscrutable to all except God, the Truth, the 
Knower of things unseen.  The time is approaching when every created 
thing will have cast its burden.  Glorified be God Who hath 
vouchsafed this grace that encompasseth all things, whether seen or 
unseen!"  
     "The Call of God," `Abdu'l-Bahá has written, "when raised, 
breathed a new life into the body of mankind, and infused a new 
spirit into the whole creation.  It is for this reason that the world 
hath been moved to its depths, and the hearts and consciences of men 
been quickened.  Erelong the evidences of this regeneration will be 
revealed, and the fast asleep will be awakened."  
 
+P170 
Universal Fermentation 
 
     As we view the world around us, we are compelled to observe 
the manifold evidences of that universal fermentation which, in 
every continent of the globe and in every department of human life, 
be it religious, social, economic or political, is purging and reshaping 
humanity in anticipation of the Day when the wholeness of the human 
race will have been recognized and its unity established.  A twofold 
process, however, can be distinguished, each tending, in its own 
way and with an accelerated momentum, to bring to a climax the 
forces that are transforming the face of our planet.  The first is essentially 
an integrating process, while the second is fundamentally 
disruptive.  The former, as it steadily evolves, unfolds a System 
which may well serve as a pattern for that world polity towards 
which a strangely-disordered world is continually advancing; while 
the latter, as its disintegrating influence deepens, tends to tear down, 
with increasing violence, the antiquated barriers that seek to block 
humanity's progress towards its destined goal.  The constructive 
process stands associated with the nascent Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and 
is the harbinger of the New World Order that Faith must erelong 
establish.  The destructive forces that characterize the other should 
be identified with a civilization that has refused to answer to the 
expectation of a new age, and is consequently falling into chaos and 
decline.  
     A titanic, a spiritual struggle, unparalleled in its magnitude yet 
unspeakably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is being waged 
as a result of these opposing tendencies, in this age of transition 
through which the organized community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh 
and mankind as a whole are passing.  
     The Spirit that has incarnated itself in the institutions of a rising 
Faith has, in the course of its onward march for the redemption 
of the world, encountered and is now battling with such forces as 
are, in most instances, the very negation of that Spirit, and whose 
continued existence must inevitably hinder it from achieving its 
purpose.  The hollow and outworn institutions, the obsolescent doctrines 
and beliefs, the effete and discredited traditions which these 
forces represent, it should be observed, have, in certain instances, 
been undermined by virtue of their senility, the loss of their cohesive 
power, and their own inherent corruption.  A few have been swept 
away by the onrushing forces which the Bahá'í Faith has, at the 
hour of its birth, so mysteriously released.  Others, as a direct 
 
+P171 
result of a vain and feeble resistance to its rise in the initial stages 
of its development, have died out and been utterly discredited.  Still 
others, fearful of the pervasive influence of the institutions in which 
that same Spirit had, at a later stage, been embodied, had mobilized 
their forces and launched their attack, destined to sustain, in their 
turn, after a brief and illusory success, an ignominious defeat.  
 
This Age of Transition 
 
     It is not my purpose to call to mind, much less to attempt a detailed 
analysis of, the spiritual struggles that have ensued, or to 
note the victories that have redounded to the glory of the Faith of 
Bahá'u'lláh since the day of its foundation.  My chief concern is not 
with the happenings that have distinguished the First, the Apostolic 
Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, but rather with the outstanding 
events that are transpiring in, and the tendencies which characterize, 
the formative period of its development, this Age of Transition, 
whose tribulations are the precursors of that Era of blissful felicity 
which is to incarnate God's ultimate purpose for all mankind.  
     To the catastrophic fall of mighty kingdoms and empires, on the 
eve of `Abdu'l-Bahá's departure, Whose passing may be said to have 
ushered in the opening phase of the Age of Transition in which 
we now live, I have, in a previous communication, briefly alluded.  
The dissolution of the German Empire, the humiliating defeat inflicted 
upon its ruler, the successor and lineal descendant of the 
Prussian King and Emperor to whom Bahá'u'lláh had addressed 
His solemn and historic warning, together with the extinction of 
the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the remnant of the once-great 
Holy Roman Empire, were both precipitated by a war whose outbreak 
signalized the opening of the Age of Frustration destined to 
precede the establishment of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.  Both 
of these momentous events may be viewed as the earliest occurrences 
of that turbulent Age, into the outer fringes of whose darkest phase 
we are now beginning to enter.  
     To the Conqueror of Napoleon III, the Author of our Faith 
had, on the morrow of the King's victory, addressed, in His Most 
Holy Book, this clear and ominous warning:  "O King of Berlin!  
...Take heed lest pride debar thee from recognizing the Day-Spring 
of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires shut thee out, as by 
a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of the earth below.  
Thus counseleth thee the Pen of the Most High.  He, verily, is the 
 
+P172 
Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful.  Do thou remember the one whose 
power transcended thy power (Napoleon III), and whose station 
excelled thy station.  Where is he?  Whither are gone the things he 
possessed?  Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep.  
He it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him, when We made 
known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer.  
Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he went down 
to dust in great loss.  Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and 
concerning them who, like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled 
over men.  The All-Merciful brought them down from their palaces 
to their graves.  Be warned, be of them who reflect."  
     "O banks of the Rhine!" Bahá'u'lláh, in another passage of that 
same Book, prophesies, "We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch 
as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and so 
you shall have another turn.  And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, 
though she be today in conspicuous glory."  
 
Collapse of Islám 
 
     The collapse of the power of the Shí'ih hierarchy, in a land 
which had for centuries been one of the impregnable strongholds 
of Muslim fanaticism, was the inevitable consequence of that wave 
of secularization which, at a later time, was to invade some of the 
most powerful and conservative ecclesiastical institutions in both the 
European and American continents.  Though not the direct outcome 
of the last war, this sudden trembling which had seized this hitherto 
immovable pillar of Islamic orthodoxy accentuated the problems and 
deepened the restlessness with which a war-weary world was being 
afflicted.  Shí'ih Islám had lost once for all, in Bahá'u'lláh's native 
land and as the direct consequence of its implacable hostility to His 
Faith, its combative power, had forfeited its rights and privileges, 
had been degraded and demoralized, and was being condemned to 
hopeless obscurity and ultimate extinction.  No less than twenty 
thousand martyrs, however, had to sacrifice their lives ere the Cause 
for which they had stood and died could register this initial victory 
over those who were the first to repudiate its claims and mow down 
its gallant warriors.  "Vileness and poverty were stamped upon 
them, and they returned with wrath from God."  
     "Behold," writes Bahá'u'lláh, commenting on the decline of a 
fallen people, "how the sayings and doings of Shí'ih Islám have 
dulled the joy and fervor of its early days, and tarnished the pristine 
 
+P173 
brilliancy of its light.  In its primitive days, whilst they still adhered 
to the precepts associated with the name of their Prophet, the Lord 
of mankind, their career was marked by an unbroken chain of victories 
and triumphs.  As they gradually strayed from the path of 
their Ideal Leader and Master, as they turned away from the light 
of God and corrupted the principle of His Divine unity, and as 
they increasingly centered their attention upon them who were only 
the revealers of the potency of His Word, their power was turned 
into weakness, their glory into shame, their courage into fear.  Thou 
dost witness to what a pass they have come."  
     The downfall of the Qájár Dynasty, the avowed defender and 
the willing instrument of a decaying clergy, almost synchronized 
with the humiliation which the Shí'ih ecclesiastical leaders had suffered.  
From Muhammad Sháh down to the last and feeble monarch 
of that dynasty, the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh was denied the impartial 
consideration, the disinterested and fair treatment which its cause 
had rightly demanded.  It had, on the contrary, been atrociously harassed, 
consistently betrayed and prosecuted.  The martyrdom of the 
Báb; the banishment of Bahá'u'lláh; the confiscation of His earthly 
possessions; His incarceration in Mazindarán; the reign of terror 
that confined Him in the most pestilential of dungeons; the intrigues, 
the protests, and calumnies which thrice renewed His exile and led 
to His ultimate imprisonment in the most desolate of cities; the 
shameful sentences passed, with the connivance of the judicial and 
ecclesiastical authorities, against the person, the property, and the 
honor of His innocent followers--these stand out as among the 
blackest acts for which posterity will hold this blood-stained dynasty 
responsible.  One more barrier that had sought to obstruct the forward 
march of the Faith was now removed.  
     Though Bahá'u'lláh had been banished from His native land, 
the tide of calamity which had swept with such fury over Him and 
over the followers of the Báb, was by no means receding.  Under the 
jurisdiction of the Sultán of Turkey, the arch-enemy of His Cause, 
a new chapter in the history of His ever-recurring trials had opened.  
The overthrow of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, the twin pillars 
of Sunní Islám, can be regarded in no other light except as the inevitable 
consequence of the fierce, the sustained and deliberate persecution 
which the monarchs of the tottering House of Uthmán, the 
recognized successors of the Prophet Muhammad, had launched 
against it.  From the city of Constantinople, the traditional seat of 
both the Sultanate and the Caliphate, the rulers of Turkey had, for 
 
+P174 
a period covering almost three quarters of a century, striven, with 
unabated zeal, to stem the tide of a Faith they feared and abhorred.  
From the time Bahá'u'lláh set foot on Turkish soil and was made 
a virtual prisoner of the most powerful potentate of Islám to the 
year of the Holy Land's liberation from Turkish yoke, successive 
Caliphs, and in particular the Sultáns `Abdu'l-`Azíz and `Abdu'l-Hamíd, 
had, in the full exercise of the spiritual and temporal authority 
which their exalted office had conferred upon them, afflicted 
both the Founder of our Faith and the Center of His Covenant with 
such pain and tribulation as no mind can fathom nor pen or tongue 
describe.  They alone could have measured or borne them.  
     To these afflictive trials Bahá'u'lláh has repeatedly testified:  "By 
the righteousness of the Almighty!  Were I to recount to thee the 
tale of the things that have befallen Me, the souls and minds of men 
would be incapable of sustaining its weight.  God Himself beareth 
Me witness."  "Twenty years have passed," He, addressing the kings 
of Christendom, has written, "during which We have, each day, 
tasted the agony of a fresh tribulation.  No one of them that were 
before Us hath endured the things We have endured.  Would that 
ye could perceive it!  They that rose up against us have put us to 
death, have shed our blood, have plundered our property, and violated 
our honor."  "Recall to mind My sorrows," He, in another connection, 
has revealed, "My cares and anxieties, My woes and trials, 
the state of My captivity, the tears that I have shed, the bitterness of 
Mine anguish, and now Mine imprisonment in this far-off land...  
Couldst thou be told what hath befallen the Ancient Beauty, thou 
wouldst flee into the wilderness, and weep with a great weeping...  
Every morning I arose from my bed, I discovered the hosts of 
countless afflictions massed behind My door; and every night when 
I lay down, lo, My heart was torn with agony at what it had suffered 
from the fiendish cruelty of its foes."  
     The orders which these foes issued, the banishments they decreed, 
the indignities they inflicted, the plans they devised, the investigations 
they conducted, the threats they pronounced, the atrocities 
they were prepared to commit, the intrigues and baseness to 
which they, their ministers, their governors, and military chieftains 
had stooped, constitute a record which can hardly find a parallel in 
the history of any revealed religion.  The mere recital of the most 
salient features of that sinister theme would suffice to fill a volume.  
They knew full well that the spiritual and administrative Center of 
the Cause they had striven to eradicate had now shifted to their 
 
+P175 
dominion, that its leaders were Turkish citizens, and that whatever 
resources these could command were at their mercy.  That for a 
period of almost three score years and ten, while still in the plenitude 
of its unquestioned authority, while reinforced by the endless machinations 
of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of a neighboring 
nation, and assured of the support of those of Bahá'u'lláh's kindred 
who had rebelled against, and seceded from, His Cause, this despotism 
should have failed in the end to extirpate a mere handful of its 
condemned subjects must, to every unbelieving observer, remain one 
of the most intriguing and mysterious episodes of contemporary 
history.  
     The Cause of which Bahá'u'lláh was still the visible leader had, 
despite the calculations of a short-sighted enemy, undeniably triumphed.  
No unbiased mind, penetrating the surface of conditions 
surrounding the Prisoner of `Akká, could any longer mistake or 
deny it.  Though the tension which had been relaxed was, for a time, 
heightened after Bahá'u'lláh's ascension and the perils of a still unsettled 
situation were revived, it was becoming increasingly evident 
that the insidious forces of decay, which for many a long year 
were eating into the vitals of a diseased nation, were now moving 
towards a climax.  A series of internal convulsions, each more devastating 
than the previous one, had already been unchained, destined 
to bring in their wake one of the most catastrophic occurrences of 
modern times.  The murder of that arrogant despot in the year 1876; 
the Russo-Turkish conflict that soon followed in its wake; the wars 
of liberation which succeeded it; the rise of the Young Turk movement; 
the Turkish Revolution of 1909 that precipitated the downfall 
of `Abdu'l-Hamíd; the Balkan wars with their calamitous consequences; 
the liberation of Palestine enshrining within its bosom 
the cities of `Akká and Haifa, the world center of an emancipated 
Faith; the further dismemberment decreed by the Treaty of Versailles; 
the abolition of the Sultanate and the downfall of the House 
of Uthmán; the extinction of the Caliphate; the disestablishment 
of the State Religion; the annulment of the Sharí'ah Law and the 
promulgation of a universal Civil Code; the suppression of various 
orders, beliefs, traditions and ceremonials believed to be inextricably 
interwoven with the fabric of the Muslim Faith--these followed 
with an ease and swiftness that no man had dared envisage.  In these 
devastating blows, administered by friend and foe alike, by Christian 
nations and professing Muslims, every follower of the persecuted 
Faith of Bahá'u'lláh recognized evidences of the directing 
 
+P176 
Hand of the departed Founder of his religion, Who, from the invisible 
Realm, was unloosing a flood of well-deserved calamities 
upon a rebellious religion and nation.  
     Compare the evidences of Divine visitation which befell the persecutors 
of Jesus Christ with these historic retributions which, in 
the latter part of the first century of the Bahá'í Era, have hurled 
to dust the chief adversary of the religion of Bahá'u'lláh.  Had not 
the Roman Emperor, in the second half of the first century of the 
Christian Era, after a distressful siege of Jerusalem, laid waste the 
Holy City, destroyed the Temple, desecrated and robbed the Holy 
of Holies of its treasures, and transported them to Rome, reared a 
pagan colony on the mount of Zion, massacred the Jews, and exiled 
and dispersed the survivors?  
     Compare, moreover, these words which the persecuted Christ, 
as witnessed by the Gospel, addressed to Jerusalem, with Bahá'u'lláh's 
apostrophe to Constantinople, revealed while He lay in His 
far-off Prison, and recorded in His Most Holy Book:  "O Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets and stonest them 
which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy 
children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings!"  And again, as He wept over the city:  "If thou hadst known, 
even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy 
peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall 
come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, 
and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall 
lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and 
they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou 
knewest not the time of thy visitation."  
     "O Spot that art situate on the shores of the two seas!" Bahá'u'lláh 
thus apostrophizes the City of Constantinople, "The throne of 
tyranny hath, verily, been established upon thee, and the flame of 
hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom, in such wise that the 
Concourse on high and they who circle around the Exalted Throne 
have wailed and lamented.  We behold in thee the foolish ruling over 
the wise, and darkness vaunting itself against the light.  Thou art 
indeed filled with manifest pride.  Hath thine outward splendor made 
thee vainglorious?  By Him Who is the Lord of mankind!  It shall 
soon perish, and thy daughters and thy widows and all the kindreds 
that dwell within thee shall lament.  Thus informeth thee the All-Knowing, 
the All-Wise."  
     To Sultán `Abdu'l-`Azíz, the monarch who decreed each of Bahá'u'lláh's 
 
+P177 
three banishments, the Founder of our Faith, while a 
prisoner in the Sultán's capital, addressed these words:  "Hearken, 
O king, to the speech of Him that speaketh the truth, Him that doth 
not ask thee to recompense Him with the things God hath chosen to 
bestow upon thee, Him Who unerringly treadeth the Straight Path 
...Set before thine eyes God's unerring Balance and, as one 
standing in His presence, weigh in that Balance thine actions every 
day, every moment of thy life.  Bring thyself to account ere thou art 
summoned to a reckoning, on the day when no man shall have 
strength to stand for fear of God, the day when the hearts of the 
heedless ones shall be made to tremble."  
     To the Ministers of the Turkish State, He, in that same Tablet, 
revealed:  "It behooveth you, O Ministers of State, to keep the precepts 
of God, and to forsake your own laws and regulations, and to 
be of them who are guided aright...  Ye shall, erelong, discover 
the consequences of that which ye shall have done in this vain life, 
and shall be repaid for them...  How great the number of those 
who, in bygone ages, have committed the things ye have committed, 
and who, though superior to you in rank, have, in the end, returned 
unto dust, and been consigned to their inevitable doom!...  Ye 
shall follow in their wake, and shall be made to enter a habitation 
wherein none shall be found to befriend or help you...  The days 
of your life shall roll away, and all the things with which ye are 
occupied, and of which ye boast yourselves, shall perish, and ye 
shall, most certainly, be summoned by a company of His angels to 
appear at the spot where the limbs of the entire creation shall be 
made to tremble, and the flesh of every oppressor to creep...  
This is the day that shall inevitably come upon you, the hour that 
none can put back."  
     To the inhabitants of Constantinople, while He lived the life of 
an exile in their midst, Bahá'u'lláh, in that same Tablet, addressed 
these words:  "Fear God, ye inhabitants of the City, and sow not the 
seeds of dissension amongst men...  Your days shall pass away 
as have the days of them who were before you.  To dust shall ye 
return, even as your fathers of old did return."  "We found," He, 
moreover, remarks, "upon Our arrival in the City its governors and 
elders as children gathered about and disporting themselves with 
clay...  Our inner eye wept sore over them, and over their transgressions 
and their total disregard of the thing for which they were 
created...  The day is approaching when God will have raised 
up a people who will call to remembrance Our days, who will tell 
 
+P178 
the tale of Our trials, who will demand the restitution of Our rights 
from them that, without a tittle of evidence, have treated Us with 
manifest injustice.  God assuredly dominateth the lives of them that 
wronged Us, and is well aware of their doings.  He will, most certainly, 
lay hold on them for their sins.  He, verily, is the fiercest of 
avengers."  "Wherefore," He graciously exhorteth them, "hearken 
ye unto My speech, and return ye to God and repent, that He, 
through His grace, may have mercy upon you, may wash away your 
sins, and forgive your trespasses.  The greatness of His mercy surpasseth 
the fury of His wrath, and His grace encompasseth all who 
have been called into being and been clothed with the robe of life, 
be they of the past or of the future."  
     And, finally, in the Lawh-i-Ra'ís we find these prophetic words 
recorded:  "Hearken, O Chief ... to the Voice of God, the Sovereign, 
the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting...  Thou hast, O 
Chief, committed that which hath made Muhammad, the Apostle of 
God, groan in the Most Exalted Paradise.  The world hath made 
thee proud, so much so that thou hast turned away from the Face 
through Whose brightness the Concourse on high hath been illumined.  
Soon thou shalt find thyself in evident loss...  The day 
is approaching when the Land of Mystery (Adrianople) and what 
is beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the 
King, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation 
shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on 
all sides, and confusion shall spread by reason of that which hath 
befallen these captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression.  The 
course of things shall be altered, and conditions shall wax so grievous, 
that the very sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees 
on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow out of all things.  
Then wilt thou behold the people in sore distress."  
     Thirteen hundred years had to elapse from the death of the 
Prophet Muhammad ere the illegitimacy of the institution of the 
Caliphate, the founders of which had usurped the authority of the 
lawful successors of the Apostle of God, would be fully and publicly 
demonstrated.  An institution which in its inception had trampled 
upon so sacred a right and unchained the forces of so distressful a 
schism, an institution which, in the latter days, had dealt so grievous 
a blow to a Faith Whose Forerunner was Himself a descendant 
of the very Imáms whose authority that institution had repudiated, 
deserved full well the chastisement that had sealed its fate.  
     The text of certain Muhammadan traditions, the authenticity of 
 
+P179 
which Muslims themselves recognize, and which have been extensively 
quoted by eminent Oriental Bahá'í scholars and authors, will 
serve to corroborate the argument and illuminate the theme I have 
attempted to expound:  "In the latter days a grievous calamity shall 
befall My people at the hands of their ruler, a calamity such as no 
man ever heard to surpass it.  So fierce will it be that none can find 
a shelter.  God will then send down One of My descendants, One 
sprung from My family, Who will fill the earth with equity and 
justice, even as it hath been filled with injustice and tyranny."  And, 
again:  "A day shall be witnessed by My people whereon there will 
have remained of Islám naught but a name, and of the Qur'án 
naught but a mere appearance.  The doctors of that age shall be the 
most evil the world hath ever seen.  Mischief hath proceeded from 
them, and on them will it recoil."  And, again:  "At that hour His 
malediction shall descend upon you, and your curse shall afflict you, 
and your religion shall remain an empty word on your tongues.  And 
when these signs appear amongst you, anticipate the day when the 
red-hot wind will have swept over you, or the day when ye will have 
been disfigured, or when stones will have rained upon you."  
     "O people of the Qur'án," Bahá'u'lláh, addressing the combined 
forces of Sunní and Shí'ih Islám, significantly affirms, "Verily, the 
Prophet of God, Muhammad, sheddeth tears at the sight of your 
cruelty.  Ye have assuredly followed your evil and corrupt desires, 
and turned away your face from the light of guidance.  Erelong will 
ye witness the result of your deeds; for the Lord, My God, lieth in 
wait and is watchful of your behavior...  O concourse of Muslim 
divines!  By your deeds the exalted station of the people hath been 
abased, the standard of Islám hath been reversed, and its mighty 
throne hath fallen."  
 
Deterioration of Christian Institutions 
 
     So much for Islám and the crippling blows its leaders and institutions 
have received--and may yet receive--in this, the first century 
of the Bahá'í Era.  If I have dwelt too long on this theme, if I 
have, to a disproportionate degree, quoted from the sacred writings 
in support of my argument, it is solely because of my firm conviction 
that these retributive calamities that have rained down upon 
the foremost oppressor of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh should rank not 
only among the stirring occurrences of this Age of Transition, but 
 
+P180 
as some of the most startling and significant events of contemporary 
history.  
     Both Sunní and Shí'ih Islám had, through the convulsions that 
had seized them, contributed to the acceleration of the disruptive 
process to which I have previously referred--a process which, by its 
very nature, is to pave the way for that complete reorganization and 
unification which the world, in every aspect of its life, must achieve.  
What of Christianity and of the denominations with which it stands 
identified?  Can it be said that this process of deterioration that has 
attacked the fabric of the Religion of Muhammad has failed to 
exert its baneful influence on the institutions associated with the 
Faith of Jesus Christ?  Have these institutions already experienced 
the impact of these menacing forces?  Are their foundations so 
secure and their vitality so great as to enable them to resist this onslaught?  
Will they, as the confusion of a chaotic world spreads and 
deepens, fall in turn a prey to their violence?  Have the more orthodox 
among them already arisen, and, if not, will they arise, to repel 
the onset of a Cause which, having pulled down the barriers of 
Muslim orthodoxy, is now advancing into the heart of Christendom, 
in both the European and American continents?  Would such 
a resistance sow the seeds of further dissension and confusion, and 
consequently serve indirectly to hasten the advent of the promised 
Day?  
     To these queries we can but partly answer.  Time alone can 
reveal the nature of the rôle which the institutions directly associated 
with the Christian Faith are destined to assume in this, the 
Formative Period of the Bahá'í Era, this dark age of transition 
through which humanity as a whole is passing.  Such events as have 
already transpired, however, are of such a nature as can indicate 
the direction in which these institutions are moving.  We can, in 
some degree, appraise the probable effect which the forces operating 
both within the Bahá'í Faith and outside it will exert upon them.  
     That the forces of irreligion, of a purely materialistic philosophy, 
of unconcealed paganism have been unloosed, are now spreading, 
and, by consolidating themselves, are beginning to invade some 
of the most powerful Christian institutions of the western world, 
no unbiased observer can fail to admit.  That these institutions are 
becoming increasingly restive, that a few among them are already 
dimly aware of the pervasive influence of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, 
that they will, as their inherent strength deteriorates and their discipline 
relaxes, regard with deepening dismay the rise of His New 
 
+P181 
World Order, and will gradually determine to assail it, that such an 
opposition will in turn accelerate their decline, few, if any, among 
those who are attentively watching the progress of His Faith would 
be inclined to question.  
     "The vitality of men's belief in God," Bahá'u'lláh has testified, 
"is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine 
can ever restore it.  The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into 
the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent 
Revelation can cleanse and revive it?"  "The world is in travail," 
He has further written, "and its agitation waxeth day by day.  Its 
face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief.  Such shall be its 
plight that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly."  
     This menace of secularism that has attacked Islám and is undermining 
its remaining institutions, that has invaded Persia, has penetrated 
into India, and raised its triumphant head in Turkey, has 
already manifested itself in both Europe and America, and is, in 
varying degrees, and under various forms and designations, challenging 
the basis of every established religion, and in particular the 
institutions and communities identified with the Faith of Jesus 
Christ.  It would be no exaggeration to say that we are moving into 
a period which the future historian will regard as one of the most 
critical in the history of Christianity.  
     Already a few among the protagonists of the Christian Religion 
admit the gravity of the situation that confronts them.  "A wave of 
materialism is sweeping round the world"; is the testimony of its 
missionaries, as witnessed by the text of their official reports, "the 
drive and pressure of modern industrialism, which are penetrating 
even the forests of Central Africa and the plains of Central Asia, 
make men everywhere dependent on, and preoccupied with, material 
things.  At home the Church has talked, perhaps too glibly, in pulpit 
or on platform of the menace of secularism; though even in England 
we can catch more than a glimpse of its meaning.  But to the 
Church overseas these things are grim realities, enemies with which 
it is at grips...  The Church has a new danger to face in land 
after land--determined and hostile attack.  From Soviet Russia a 
definitely anti-religious Communism is pushing west into Europe 
and America, East into Persia, India, China and Japan.  It is an economic 
theory, definitely harnessed to disbelief in God.  It is a religious 
irreligion...  It has a passionate sense of mission, and is 
carrying on its anti-God campaign at the Church's base at home, as 
well as launching its offensive against its front-line in non-Christian 
 
+P182 
lands.  Such a conscious, avowed, organized attack against religion 
in general and Christianity in particular is something new in history.  
Equally deliberate in some lands in its determined hostility to 
Christianity is another form of social and political faith--nationalism.  
But the nationalist attack on Christianity, unlike Communism, 
is often bound up with some form of national religion--with Islám 
in Persia and Egypt, with Buddhism in Ceylon, while the struggle 
for communal rights in India is allied with a revival both of Hinduism 
and Islám."  
     I need not attempt in this connection an exposition of the origin 
and character of those economic theories and political philosophies 
of the post-war period, that have directly and indirectly exerted, and 
are still exerting, their pernicious influence on the institutions and 
beliefs connected with one of the most widely-spread and best organized 
religious systems of the world.  It is with their influence 
rather than with their origin that I am chiefly concerned.  The 
excessive growth of industrialism and its attendant evils--as the 
aforementioned quotation bears witness--the aggressive policies 
initiated and the persistent efforts exerted by the inspirers and organizers 
of the Communist movement; the intensification of a militant 
nationalism, associated in certain countries with a systematized 
work of defamation against all forms of ecclesiastical influence, 
have no doubt contributed to the de-Christianization of the masses, 
and been responsible for a notable decline in the authority, the 
prestige and power of the Church.  "The whole conception of God," 
the persecutors of the Christian Religion have insistently proclaimed, 
"is a conception derived from the ancient oriental despotisms.  It is 
a conception quite unworthy of free men."  "Religion," one of their 
leaders has asserted, "is an opiate of the people."  "Religion," declares 
the text of their official publications, "is a brutalization of the 
people.  Education must be so directed as to efface from the people's 
minds this humiliation and this idiocy."  
     The Hegelian philosophy which, in other countries, has, in the 
form of an intolerant and militant nationalism, insisted on deifying 
the state, has inculcated the war-spirit, and incited to racial animosity, 
has, likewise, led to a marked weakening of the Church 
and to a grave diminution of its spiritual influence.  Unlike the bold 
offensive which an avowedly atheistic movement had chosen to 
launch against it, both within the Soviet union and beyond its confines, 
this nationalistic philosophy, which Christian rulers and governments 
have upheld, is an attack directed against the Church by 
 
+P183 
those who were previously its professed adherents, a betrayal of its 
cause by its own kith and kin.  It was being stabbed by an alien and 
militant atheism from without, and by the preachers of a heretical 
doctrine from within.  Both of these forces, each operating in its 
own sphere and using its own weapons and methods, have moreover 
been greatly assisted and encouraged by the prevailing spirit of 
modernism, with its emphasis on a purely materialistic philosophy, 
which, as it diffuses itself, tends increasingly to divorce religion 
from man's daily life.  
     The combined effect of these strange and corrupt doctrines, 
these dangerous and treacherous philosophies, has, as was natural, 
been severely felt by those whose tenets inculcated an opposite and 
wholly irreconcilable spirit and principle.  The consequences of the 
clash that inevitably ensued between these contending interests, 
were, in some cases, disastrous, and the damage that has been 
wrought irreparable.  The disestablishment and dismemberment of 
the Greek Orthodox Church in Russia, following upon the blow 
which the Church of Rome had sustained as a result of the collapse 
of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; the commotion that subsequently 
seized the Catholic Church and culminated in its separation 
from the State in Spain; the persecution of the same Church in 
Mexico; the perquisitions, arrests, intimidation and terrorization to 
which Catholics and Lutherans alike are being subjected in the heart 
of Europe; the turmoil into which another branch of the Church 
has been thrown as a result of the military campaign in Africa; 
the decline that has set in the fortunes of Christian Missions, both 
Anglican and Presbyterian, in Persia, Turkey, and the Far East; 
the ominous signs that foreshadow serious complications in the 
equivocal and precarious relationships now existing between the 
Holy See and certain nations in the continent of Europe--these 
stand out as the most striking features of the reverses which, in 
almost every part of the world, the members and leaders of Christian 
ecclesiastical institutions have suffered.  
     That the solidarity of some of these institutions has been irretrievably 
shattered is too apparent for any intelligent observer to 
mistake or deny.  The cleavage between the fundamentalists and the 
liberals among their adherents is continually widening.  Their creeds 
and dogmas have been watered down, and in certain instances ignored 
and discarded.  Their hold upon human conduct is loosening, 
and the personnel of their ministries is dwindling in number and in 
influence.  The timidity and insincerity of their preachers are, in 
 
+P184 
several instances, being exposed.  Their endowments have, in some 
countries, disappeared, and the force of their religious training has 
declined.  Their temples have been partly deserted and destroyed, 
and an oblivion of God, of His teachings and of His Purpose, has 
enfeebled and heaped humiliation upon them.  
     Might not this disintegrating tendency, from which Sunní and 
Shí'ih Islám have so conspicuously suffered, unloose, as it reaches 
its climax, still further calamities upon the various denominations 
of the Christian Church?  In what manner and how rapidly this 
process, which has already set in, will develop the future alone can 
reveal.  Nor can it, at the present time, be estimated to what extent 
will the attacks which a still powerful clergy may yet launch against 
the strongholds of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the West accentuate 
this decline and widen the range of inescapable disasters.  
     If Christianity wishes and expects to serve the world in the 
present crisis, writes a minister of the Presbyterian Church in 
America, it must "cut back through Christianity to Christ, back 
through the centuries-old religion about Jesus to the original religion 
of Jesus."  Otherwise, he significantly adds, "the spirit of Christ 
will live in institutions other than our own."  
     So marked a decline in the strength and cohesion of the elements 
constituting Christian society has led, in its turn, as we might well 
anticipate, to the emergence of an increasing number of obscure 
cults, of strange and new worships, of ineffective philosophies, 
whose sophisticated doctrines have intensified the confusion of a 
troubled age.  In their tenets and pursuits they may be said to reflect 
and bear witness to the revolt, the discontent, and the confused 
aspirations of the disillusioned masses that have deserted the cause 
of the Christian churches and seceded from their membership.  
     A parallel might almost be drawn between these confused and 
confusing systems of thought that are the direct outcome of the 
helplessness and confusion afflicting the Christian Faith and the 
great variety of popular cults, of fashionable and evasive philosophies 
which flourished in the opening centuries of the Christian Era, 
and which attempted to absorb and pervert the state religion of that 
Roman people.  The pagan worshipers who constituted, at that 
time, the bulk of the population of the Western Roman Empire, 
found themselves surrounded, and in certain instances menaced, by 
the prevailing sect of the Neo-Platonists, by the followers of nature 
religions, by Gnostic philosophers, by Philonism, Mithraism, the 
adherents of the Alexandrian cult, and a multitude of kindred sects 
 
+P185 
and beliefs, in much the same way as the defenders of the Christian 
Faith, the preponderating religion of the western world, are realizing, 
in the first century of the Bahá'í Era, how their influence is 
being undermined by a flood of conflicting beliefs, practices and 
tendencies which their own bankruptcy had helped to create.  It was, 
however, this same Christian Religion, which has now fallen into 
such a state of impotence, that eventually proved itself capable of 
sweeping away the institutions of paganism and of swamping and 
suppressing the cults that had flourished in that age.  
     Such institutions as have strayed far from the spirit and teachings 
of Jesus Christ must of necessity, as the embryonic World 
Order of Bahá'u'lláh takes shape and unfolds, recede into the background, 
and make way for the progress of the divinely-ordained 
institutions that stand inextricably interwoven with His teachings.  
The indwelling Spirit of God which, in the Apostolic Age of the 
Church, animated its members, the pristine purity of its teachings, 
the primitive brilliancy of its light, will, no doubt, be reborn and 
revived as the inevitable consequence of this redefinition of its fundamental 
verities, and the clarification of its original purpose.  
     For the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh--if we would faithfully appraise 
it--can never, and in no aspect of its teachings, be at variance, 
much less conflict, with the purpose animating, or the authority 
invested in, the Faith of Jesus Christ.  This glowing tribute which 
Bahá'u'lláh Himself has been moved to pay to the Author of the 
Christian Religion stands as sufficient testimony to the truth of this 
central principle of Bahá'í belief:--"Know thou that when the Son 
of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with 
a great weeping.  By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity 
was infused into all created things.  Its evidences, as witnessed in all 
the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee.  The deepest 
wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning 
which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have 
produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but 
manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, 
His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit.  We testify that when 
He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon 
all created things.  Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy 
of perversity and ignorance.  Through Him the unchaste and 
wayward were healed.  Through His power, born of Almighty God, 
the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified...  
 
+P186 
He it is Who purified the world.  Blessed is the man who, 
with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him."  
 
Signs of Moral Downfall 
 
     No more, I believe, need be said of the decline of religious institutions, 
the disintegration of which constitutes so important an 
aspect of the Formative Period of the Bahá'í Era.  Islám had 
both as a result of the rising tide of secularism and in direct consequence 
of its declared and persistent hostility to the Faith of 
Bahá'u'lláh sunk to a depth of abasement rarely attained in its history.  
Christianity had, likewise, owing to causes not wholly dissimilar 
to those operating in the case of its sister Faith, steadily 
weakened, and was contributing, in an increasing measure, its share 
to the process of general disintegration--a process that must necessarily 
precede the fundamental reconstruction of human society.  
     The signs of moral downfall, as distinct from the evidences of 
decay in religious institutions, would appear to be no less noticeable 
and significant.  The decline that has set in in the fortunes of Islamic 
and Christian institutions may be said to have had its counterpart in 
the life and conduct of the individuals that compose them.  In whichever 
direction we turn our gaze, no matter how cursory our observation 
of the doings and sayings of the present generation, we can 
not fail to be struck by the evidences of moral decadence which, in 
their individual lives no less than in their collective capacity, men 
and women around us exhibit.  
     There can be no doubt that the decline of religion as a social 
force, of which the deterioration of religious institutions is but an 
external phenomenon, is chiefly responsible for so grave, so conspicuous 
an evil.  "Religion," writes Bahá'u'lláh, "is the greatest of 
all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the 
peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein.  The weakening of the 
pillars of religion hath strengthened the hands of the ignorant and 
made them bold and arrogant.  Verily I say, whatsoever hath lowered 
the lofty station of religion hath increased the waywardness of 
the wicked, and the result cannot be but anarchy."  "Religion," He, 
in another Tablet, has stated, "is a radiant light and an impregnable 
stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the 
world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which 
is good, and shun all evil.  Should the lamp of religion be obscured, 
chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, 
 
+P187 
of tranquillity and peace cease to shine."  "Know thou," He, in yet 
another connection, has written, "that they who are truly wise have 
likened the world unto the human temple.  As the body of man 
needeth a garment to clothe it, so the body of mankind must needs 
be adorned with the mantle of justice and wisdom.  Its robe is the 
Revelation vouchsafed unto it by God."  
     No wonder, therefore, that when, as a result of human perversity, 
the light of religion is quenched in men's hearts, and the 
divinely appointed Robe, designed to adorn the human temple, is 
deliberately discarded, a deplorable decline in the fortunes of humanity 
immediately sets in, bringing in its wake all the evils which 
a wayward soul is capable of revealing.  The perversion of human 
nature, the degradation of human conduct, the corruption and dissolution 
of human institutions, reveal themselves, under such circumstances, 
in their worst and most revolting aspects.  Human character 
is debased, confidence is shaken, the nerves of discipline are 
relaxed, the voice of human conscience is stilled, the sense of decency 
and shame is obscured, conceptions of duty, of solidarity, of 
reciprocity and loyalty are distorted, and the very feeling of peacefulness, 
of joy and of hope is gradually extinguished.  
     Such, we might well admit, is the state which individuals and 
institutions alike are approaching.  "No two men," Bahá'u'lláh, lamenting 
the plight of an erring humanity, has written, "can be 
found who may be said to be outwardly and inwardly united.  The 
evidences of discord and malice are apparent everywhere, though 
all were made for harmony and union."  "How long," He, in the 
same Tablet, exclaims, "will humanity persist in its waywardness?  
How long will injustice continue?  How long is chaos and confusion 
to reign amongst men?  How long will discord agitate the face of 
society?  The winds of despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, 
and the strife that divideth and afflicteth the human race is 
daily increasing."  
     The recrudescence of religious intolerance, of racial animosity, 
and of patriotic arrogance; the increasing evidences of selfishness, 
of suspicion, of fear and of fraud; the spread of terrorism, of lawlessness, 
of drunkenness and of crime; the unquenchable thirst for, 
and the feverish pursuit after, earthly vanities, riches and pleasures; 
the weakening of family solidarity; the laxity in parental control; 
the lapse into luxurious indulgence; the irresponsible attitude 
towards marriage and the consequent rising tide of divorce; the 
degeneracy of art and music, the infection of literature, and the 
 
+P188 
corruption of the press; the extension of the influence and activities 
of those "prophets of decadence" who advocate companionate marriage, 
who preach the philosophy of nudism, who call modesty an 
intellectual fiction, who refuse to regard the procreation of children 
as the sacred and primary purpose of marriage, who denounce religion 
as an opiate of the people, who would, if given free rein, lead 
back the human race to barbarism, chaos, and ultimate extinction--
these appear as the outstanding characteristics of a decadent society, 
a society that must either be reborn or perish.  
 
Breakdown of Political and Economic Structure 
 
     Politically a similar decline, a no less noticeable evidence of 
disintegration and confusion, can be discovered in the age we live in--
the age which a future historian might well recognize to have been 
the preamble to the Great Age, whose golden days we can as yet but 
dimly visualize.  
     The passionate and violent happenings that have, in recent years, 
strained to almost the point of complete breakdown the political and 
economic structure of society are too numerous and complex to 
attempt, within the limitations of this general survey, to arrive at 
an adequate estimate of their character.  Nor have these tribulations, 
grievous as they have been, seemed to have reached their climax, and 
exerted the full force of their destructive power.  The whole world, 
wherever and however we survey it, offers us the sad and pitiful 
spectacle of a vast, an enfeebled, and moribund organism, which is 
being torn politically and strangulated economically by forces it has 
ceased to either control or comprehend.  The Great Depression, the 
aftermath of the severest ordeals humanity had ever experienced, the 
disintegration of the Versailles system, the recrudescence of militarism 
in its most menacing aspects, the failure of vast experiments 
and new-born institutions to safeguard the peace and tranquillity of 
peoples, classes and nations, have bitterly disillusioned humanity and 
prostrated its spirits.  Its hopes are, for the most part, shattered, its 
vitality is ebbing, its life strangely disordered, its unity severely 
compromised.  
     On the continent of Europe inveterate hatreds and increasing 
rivalries are once more aligning its ill-fated peoples and nations 
into combinations destined to precipitate the most awful and implacable 
tribulations that mankind throughout its long record of martyrdom 
has suffered.  On the North American continent economic distress, 
 
+P189 
industrial disorganization, widespread discontent at the abortive 
experiments designed to readjust an ill-balanced economy, and 
restlessness and fear inspired by the possibility of political entanglements 
in both Europe and Asia, portend the approach of what may 
well prove to be one of the most critical phases of the history of the 
American Republic.  Asia, still to a great extent in the grip of one of 
the severest trials she has, in her recent history, experienced, finds 
herself menaced on her eastern confines by the onset of forces that 
threaten to intensify the struggles which the growing nationalism 
and industrialization of her emancipated races must ultimately engender.  
In the heart of Africa, there blazes the fire of an atrocious 
and bloody war--a war which, whatever its outcome, is destined 
to exert, through its world-wide repercussions, a most disturbing 
influence on the races and colored nations of mankind.  
     With no less than ten million people under arms, drilled and instructed 
in the use of the most abominable engines of destruction 
that science has devised; with thrice that number chafing and fretting 
at the rule of alien races and governments; with an equally 
vast army of embittered citizens impotent to procure for themselves 
the material goods and necessities which others are deliberately destroying; 
with a still greater mass of human beings groaning under 
the burden of ever-mounting armaments, and impoverished by the 
virtual collapse of international trade--with evils such as these, 
humanity would seem to be definitely entering the outer fringes of 
the most agonizing phase of its existence.  
     Is it to be wondered at, that in the course of a recent statement 
made by one of the outstanding Ministers in Europe this warning 
should have been deliberately uttered:  "If war should break out 
again on a major scale in Europe, it must bring the collapse of 
civilization as we know it in its wake.  In the words of the late Lord 
Bryce, `If you don't end war, war will end you.'"  "Poor Europe is 
in a state of neurasthenia...", is the testimony of one of the 
most outstanding figures among its present-day dictators.  "It has 
lost its recuperative power, the vital force of cohesion, of synthesis.  
Another war would destroy us."  "It is likely," writes one of the 
most eminent and learned dignitaries of the Christian Church, 
"there will have to be one more great conflict in Europe to definitely 
establish once and for all an international authority.  This conflict 
will be the most horrible of horribles, and possibly this generation 
will be called on to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives."  
     The disastrous failure of both the Disarmament and Economic 
 
+P190 
Conferences; the obstacles confronting the negotiations for the limitation 
of Naval armaments; the withdrawal of two of the most 
powerful and heavily armed nations of the world from the activities 
and membership of the League of Nations; the ineptitude of the 
parliamentary system of government as witnessed by recent developments 
in Europe and America; the inability of the leaders and 
exponents of the Communist movement to vindicate the much-vaunted 
principle of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat; the perils 
and privations to which the rulers of the Totalitarian states have, in 
recent years, exposed their subjects--all these demonstrate, beyond 
the shadow of a doubt, the impotence of present-day institutions to 
avert the calamities with which human society is being increasingly 
threatened.  What else remains, a bewildered generation may well 
ask, that can repair the cleavage that is constantly widening, and 
which may, at any time, engulf it?  
     Beset on every side by the cumulative evidences of disintegration, 
of turmoil and of bankruptcy, serious-minded men and women, 
in almost every walk of life, are beginning to doubt whether society, 
as it is now organized, can, through its unaided efforts, extricate 
itself from the slough into which it is steadily sinking.  Every system, 
short of the unification of the human race, has been tried, 
repeatedly tried, and been found wanting.  Wars again and again 
have been fought, and conferences without number have met and 
deliberated.  Treaties, pacts and covenants have been painstakingly 
negotiated, concluded and revised.  Systems of government have 
been patiently tested, have been continually recast and superseded.  
Economic plans of reconstruction have been carefully devised, and 
meticulously executed.  And yet crisis has succeeded crisis, and the 
rapidity with which a perilously unstable world is declining has been 
correspondingly accelerated.  A yawning gulf threatens to involve in 
one common disaster both the satisfied and dissatisfied nations, democracies 
and dictatorships, capitalists and wage-earners, Europeans 
and Asiatics, Jew and Gentile, white and colored.  An angry Providence, 
the cynic might well observe, has abandoned a hapless planet 
to its fate, and fixed irrevocably its doom.  Sore-tried and disillusioned, 
humanity has no doubt lost its orientation, and would seem 
to have lost as well its faith and hope.  It is hovering, unshepherded 
and visionless, on the brink of disaster.  A sense of fatality seems 
to pervade it.  An ever-deepening gloom is settling on its fortunes as 
she recedes further and further from the outer fringes of the darkest 
zone of its agitated life and penetrates its very heart.  
 
+P191 
     And yet while the shadows are continually deepening, might we 
not claim that gleams of hope, flashing intermittently on the international 
horizon, appear at times to relieve the darkness that encircles 
humanity?  Would it be untrue to maintain that in a world of 
unsettled faith and disturbed thought, a world of steadily mounting 
armaments, of unquenchable hatreds and rivalries, the progress, 
however fitful, of the forces working in harmony with the spirit of 
the age can already be discerned?  Though the great outcry raised by 
post-war nationalism is growing louder and more insistent every 
day, the League of Nations is as yet in its embryonic state, and the 
storm clouds that are gathering may for a time totally eclipse its 
powers and obliterate its machinery, yet the direction in which the 
institution itself is operating is most significant.  The voices that 
have been raised ever since its inception, the efforts that have been 
exerted, the work that has already been accomplished, foreshadow 
the triumphs which this presently constituted institution, or any 
other body that may supersede it, is destined to achieve.  
 
Bahá'u'lláh's Principle of Collective Security 
 
     A general Pact on security has been the central purpose towards 
which these efforts have, ever since the League was born, tended to 
converge.  The Treaty of Guarantee which, in the initial stages of its 
development, its members had considered and discussed; the debate 
on the Geneva Protocol, the discussion of which, at a later period, 
aroused among the nations, both within the League and outside it, 
such fierce controversy; the subsequent proposal for a United States 
of Europe and for the economic unification of that continent; and 
last but not least the policy of sanctions initiated by its members, 
may be regarded as the most significant landmarks in its checkered 
history.  That no less than fifty nations of the world, all members 
of the League of Nations, should have, after mature deliberation, 
recognized and been led to pronounce their verdict against an act 
of aggression which in their judgment has been deliberately committed 
by one of their fellow-members, one of the foremost Powers 
of Europe; that they should have, for the most part, agreed to impose 
collectively sanctions on the condemned aggressor, and should 
have succeeded in carrying out, to a very great measure, their decision, 
is no doubt an event without parallel in human history.  For 
the first time in the history of humanity the system of collective 
security, foreshadowed by Bahá'u'lláh and explained by `Abdu'l-Bahá, 
 
+P192 
has been seriously envisaged, discussed and tested.  For the 
first time in history it has been officially recognized and publicly 
stated that for this system of collective security to be effectively 
established strength and elasticity are both essential--strength involving 
the use of an adequate force to ensure the efficacy of the 
proposed system, and elasticity to enable the machinery that has 
been devised to meet the legitimate needs and aspirations of its aggrieved 
upholders.  For the first time in human history tentative 
efforts have been exerted by the nations of the world to assume collective 
responsibility, and to supplement their verbal pledges by actual 
preparation for collective action.  And again, for the first time 
in history, a movement of public opinion has manifested itself in 
support of the verdict which the leaders and representatives of 
nations have pronounced, and for securing collective action in pursuance 
of such a decision.  
     How clear, how prophetic, must sound the words uttered by 
Bahá'u'lláh in the light of recent international developments:--"Be 
united, O concourse of the sovereigns of the world, for thereby will 
the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you, and your peoples find 
rest.  Should any one among you take up arms against another, rise 
ye all against him, for this is naught but manifest justice."  "The 
time must come," He, foreshadowing the tentative efforts that are 
now being made, has written, "when the imperative necessity for 
the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be 
universally realized.  The rulers and kings of the earth must needs 
attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such 
ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great 
Peace among men...  Should any king take up arms against another, 
all should unitedly arise and prevent him."  
     "The sovereigns of the world," writes `Abdu'l-Bahá in elaboration 
of this theme, "must conclude a binding treaty, and establish a 
covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and 
definite.  They must proclaim it to all the world, and obtain for it 
the sanction of all the human race...  All the forces of humanity 
must be mobilized to insure the stability and permanence of this 
Most Great Covenant...  The fundamental principle underlying 
this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later 
violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth 
should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as 
a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy 
that government."  
 
+P193 
     There can be no doubt whatever that what has already been accomplished, 
significant and unexampled though it is in the history 
of mankind, still immeasurably falls short of the essential requirements 
of the system which these words foreshadow.  The League of 
Nations, its opponents will observe, still lacks the universality which 
is the prerequisite of abiding success in the efficacious settlement of 
international disputes.  The United States of America, its begetter, 
has repudiated it, and is still holding aloof, while Germany and 
Japan, who ranked among its most powerful supporters, have abandoned 
its cause and withdrawn from its membership.  The decisions 
arrived at and the action thus far taken, others will maintain, 
should be regarded as no more than a magnificent gesture, rather 
than a conclusive evidence of international solidarity.  Still others 
may contend that though such a verdict has been pronounced, and 
such pledges been given, collective action must, in the end, fail in its 
ultimate purpose, and that the League itself will perish and be submerged 
by the flood of tribulations destined to overtake the whole 
race.  Be that as it may, the significance of the steps already taken 
cannot be ignored.  Whatever the present status of the League or 
the outcome of its historic verdict, whatever the trials and reverses 
which, in the immediate future, it may have to face and sustain, 
the fact must be recognized that so important a decision marks 
one of the most distinctive milestones on the long and arduous road 
that must lead it to its goal, the stage at which the oneness of the 
whole body of nations will be made the ruling principle of international 
life.  
     This historic step, however, is but a faint glimmer in the darkness 
that envelops an agitated humanity.  It may well prove to be 
no more than a mere flash, a fugitive gleam, in the midst of an 
ever-deepening confusion.  The process of disintegration must inexorably 
continue, and its corrosive influence must penetrate deeper 
and deeper into the very core of a crumbling age.  Much suffering 
will still be required ere the contending nations, creeds, classes and 
races of mankind are fused in the crucible of universal affliction, 
and are forged by the fires of a fierce ordeal into one organic commonwealth, 
one vast, unified, and harmoniously functioning system.  
Adversities unimaginably appalling, undreamed of crises and upheavals, 
war, famine, and pestilence, might well combine to engrave 
in the soul of an unheeding generation those truths and principles 
which it has disdained to recognize and follow.  A paralysis more 
painful than any it has yet experienced must creep over and further 
 
+P194 
afflict the fabric of a broken society ere it can be rebuilt and regenerated.  
     "The civilization," writes Bahá'u'lláh, "so often vaunted by the 
learned exponents of arts and sciences will, if allowed to overleap 
the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men...  If carried 
to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it 
had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation...  
The day is approaching when its flame will devour the 
cities, when the Tongue of Grandeur will proclaim:  `The Kingdom 
is God's, the Almighty, the All-Praised!'"  "From the moment the 
Súriy-i-Ra'ís (Tablet to Ra'ís) was revealed," He further explains, 
"until the present day, neither hath the world been tranquillized, nor 
have the hearts of its peoples been at rest...  Its sickness is approaching 
the stage of utter hopelessness, inasmuch as the true Physician 
is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst unskilled 
practitioners are regarded with favor, and are accorded full freedom 
to act.  The dust of sedition hath clouded the hearts of men, and 
blinded their eyes.  Erelong they will perceive the consequences of 
what their hands have wrought in the Day of God."  "This is the 
Day," He again has written, "whereon the earth shall tell out her 
tidings.  The workers of iniquity are her burdens...  The Crier 
hath cried out, and men have been torn away, so great hath been 
the fury of His wrath.  The people of the left hand sigh and bemoan.  
The people of the right abide in noble habitations:  they quaff 
the Wine that is life indeed from the hands of the All-Merciful, and 
are, verily, the blissful."  
 
Community of the Most Great Name 
 
     Who else can be the blissful if not the community of the Most 
Great Name, whose world-embracing, continually consolidating activities 
constitute the one integrating process in a world whose institutions, 
secular as well as religious, are for the most part dissolving?  
They indeed are "the people of the right," whose "noble 
habitation" is fixed on the foundations of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh
--the Ark of everlasting salvation in this most grievous 
Day.  Of all the kindreds of the earth they alone can recognize, 
amidst the welter of a tempestuous age, the Hand of the Divine 
Redeemer that traces its course and controls its destinies.  They alone 
are aware of the silent growth of that orderly world polity whose 
fabric they themselves are weaving.  
 
+P195 
     Conscious of their high calling, confident in the society-building 
power which their Faith possesses, they press forward, undeterred 
and undismayed, in their efforts to fashion and perfect the necessary 
instruments wherein the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh can 
mature and develop.  It is this building process, slow and unobtrusive, 
to which the life of the world-wide Bahá'í Community is 
wholly consecrated, that constitutes the one hope of a stricken society.  
For this process is actuated by the generating influence of 
God's changeless Purpose, and is evolving within the framework 
of the Administrative Order of His Faith.  
     In a world the structure of whose political and social institutions 
is impaired, whose vision is befogged, whose conscience is bewildered, 
whose religious systems have become anemic and lost their 
virtue, this healing Agency, this leavening Power, this cementing 
Force, intensely alive and all-pervasive, has been taking shape, is 
crystallizing into institutions, is mobilizing its forces, and is preparing 
for the spiritual conquest and the complete redemption of 
mankind.  Though the society which incarnates its ideals be small, 
and its direct and tangible benefits as yet inconsiderable, yet the 
potentialities with which it has been endowed, and through which it 
is destined to regenerate the individual and rebuild a broken world, 
are incalculable.  
     For well nigh a century it has, amid the noise and tumult of a 
distracted age, and despite the incessant persecutions to which its 
leaders, institutions, and followers have been subjected, succeeded 
in preserving its identity, in reinforcing its stability and strength, 
in maintaining its organic unity, in preserving the integrity of its 
laws and its principles, in erecting its defenses, and in extending and 
consolidating its institutions.  Numerous and powerful have been 
the forces that have schemed, both from within and from without, 
in lands both far and near, to quench its light and abolish its holy 
name.  Some have apostatized from its principles, and betrayed ignominiously 
its cause.  Others have hurled against it the fiercest anathemas 
which the embittered leaders of any ecclesiastical institution are 
able to pronounce.  Still others have heaped upon it the afflictions and 
humiliations which sovereign authority can alone, in the plenitude 
of its power, inflict.  
     The utmost its avowed and secret enemies could hope to achieve 
was to retard its growth and obscure momentarily its purpose.  
What they actually accomplished was to purge and purify its life, 
to stir it to still greater depths, to galvanize its soul, to prune its 
 
+P196 
institutions, and cement its unity.  A schism, a permanent cleavage 
in the vast body of its adherents, they could never create.  
     They who betrayed its cause, its lukewarm and faint-hearted 
supporters, withered away and dropped as dead leaves, powerless to 
cloud its radiance or to imperil its structure.  Its most implacable 
adversaries, they who assailed it from without, were hurled from 
power, and, in the most astonishing fashion, met their doom.  Persia 
had been the first to repress and oppose it.  Its monarchs had miserably 
fallen, their dynasty had collapsed, their name was execrated, 
the hierarchy that had been their ally and had propped their declining 
state, had been utterly discredited.  Turkey, which had thrice 
banished its Founder and inflicted on Him cruel and life-long imprisonment, 
had passed through one of the severest ordeals and far-reaching 
revolutions that its history has recorded, had shrunk from 
one of the most powerful empires to a tiny Asiatic republic, its 
Sultanate obliterated, its dynasty overthrown, its Caliphate, the 
mightiest institution of Islám, abolished.  
     Meanwhile the Faith that had been the object of such monstrous 
betrayals, and the target for such woeful assaults, was going from 
strength to strength, was forging ahead, undaunted and undivided 
by the injuries it had received.  In the midst of trials it had inspired 
its loyal followers with a resolution that no obstacle, however formidable, 
could undermine.  It had lighted in their hearts a faith that 
no misfortune, however black, could quench.  It had infused into 
their hearts a hope that no force, however determined, could shatter.  
 
A World Religion 
 
     Ceasing to designate to itself a movement, a fellowship and the 
like--designations that did grave injustice to its ever-unfolding system
--dissociating itself from such appellations as Bábí sect, Asiatic 
cult, and offshoot of Shí'ih Islám, with which the ignorant and the 
malicious were wont to describe it, refusing to be labeled as a mere 
philosophy of life, or as an eclectic code of ethical conduct, or even 
as a new religion, the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is now visibly succeeding 
in demonstrating its claim and title to be regarded as a World Religion, 
destined to attain, in the fullness of time, the status of a 
world-embracing Commonwealth, which would be at once the instrument 
and the guardian of the Most Great Peace announced by its 
Author.  Far from wishing to add to the number of the religious 
systems, whose conflicting loyalties have for so many generations 
 
+P197 
disturbed the peace of mankind, this Faith is instilling into each of 
its adherents a new love for, and a genuine appreciation of the unity 
underlying, the various religions represented within its pale.  
     "It is like a wide embrace," such is the testimony of Royalty 
to its claim and position, "gathering together all those who have 
long searched for words of hope.  It accepts all great Prophets gone 
before it, destroys no other creeds, and leaves all doors open."  "The 
Bahá'í teaching," she has further written, "brings peace to the soul 
and hope to the heart.  To those in search of assurance the words of 
the Father are as a fountain in the desert after long wandering."  
"Their writings," she, in another statement referring to Bahá'u'lláh 
and `Abdu'l-Bahá, has testified, "are a great cry toward peace, reaching 
beyond all limits of frontiers, above all dissension about rites 
and dogmas...  It is a wondrous message that Bahá'u'lláh and 
His son `Abdu'l-Bahá have given us.  They have not set it up aggressively 
knowing that the germ of eternal truth which lies at its 
core cannot but take root and spread."  "If ever the name of Bahá'u'lláh 
or `Abdu'l-Bahá," is her concluding plea, "comes to your attention, 
do not put their writings from you.  Search out their Books, 
and let their glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons 
sink into your hearts as they have into mine."  
     The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has assimilated, by virtue of its creative, 
its regulative and ennobling energies, the varied races, nationalities, 
creeds and classes that have sought its shadow, and have 
pledged unswerving fealty to its cause.  It has changed the hearts of 
its adherents, burned away their prejudices, stilled their passions, 
exalted their conceptions, ennobled their motives, coördinated their 
efforts, and transformed their outlook.  While preserving their patriotism 
and safeguarding their lesser loyalties, it has made them 
lovers of mankind, and the determined upholders of its best and 
truest interests.  While maintaining intact their belief in the Divine 
origin of their respective religions, it has enabled them to visualize 
the underlying purpose of these religions, to discover their merits, 
to recognize their sequence, their interdependence, their wholeness 
and unity, and to acknowledge the bond that vitally links them to 
itself.  This universal, this transcending love which the followers of 
the Bahá'í Faith feel for their fellow-men, of whatever race, creed, 
class or nation, is neither mysterious nor can it be said to have been 
artificially stimulated.  It is both spontaneous and genuine.  They 
whose hearts are warmed by the energizing influence of God's creative 
 
+P198 
love cherish His creatures for His sake, and recognize in every 
human face a sign of His reflected glory.  
     Of such men and women it may be truly said that to them "every 
foreign land is a fatherland, and every fatherland a foreign land."  
For their citizenship, it must be remembered, is in the Kingdom of 
Bahá'u'lláh.  Though willing to share to the utmost the temporal 
benefits and the fleeting joys which this earthly life can confer, 
though eager to participate in whatever activity that conduces to the 
richness, the happiness and peace of that life, they can, at no time, 
forget that it constitutes no more than a transient, a very brief stage 
of their existence, that they who live it are but pilgrims and wayfarers 
whose goal is the Celestial City, and whose home the Country 
of never-failing joy and brightness.  
     Though loyal to their respective governments, though profoundly 
interested in anything that affects their security and welfare, though 
anxious to share in whatever promotes their best interests, the Faith 
with which the followers of Bahá'u'lláh stand identified is one 
which they firmly believe God has raised high above the storms, the 
divisions, and controversies of the political arena.  Their Faith they 
conceive to be essentially non-political, supra-national in character, 
rigidly non-partisan, and entirely dissociated from nationalistic ambitions, 
pursuits, and purposes.  Such a Faith knows no division of 
class or of party.  It subordinates, without hesitation or equivocation, 
every particularistic interest, be it personal, regional, or national, to 
the paramount interests of humanity, firmly convinced that in a 
world of inter-dependent peoples and nations the advantage of the 
part is best to be reached by the advantage of the whole, and that 
no abiding benefit can be conferred upon the component parts if the 
general interests of the entity itself are ignored or neglected.  
     Small wonder if by the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh these pregnant words, 
written in anticipation of the present state of mankind, should have 
been revealed:  "It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his 
own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world.  The 
earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  And again, 
"That one indeed is a man who today dedicateth himself to the 
service of the entire human race."  "Through the power released by 
these exalted words," He explains, "He hath lent a fresh impulse, 
and set a new direction, to the birds of men's hearts, and hath obliterated 
every trace of restriction and limitation from God's Holy 
Book."  
     Their Faith, Bahá'ís firmly believe, is moreover undenominational, 
 
+P199 
non-sectarian, and wholly divorced from every ecclesiastical 
system, whatever its form, origin, or activities.  No ecclesiastical 
organization, with its creeds, its traditions, its limitations, and exclusive 
outlook, can be said (as is the case with all existing political factions, 
parties, systems and programs) to conform, in all its aspects, 
to the cardinal tenets of Bahá'í belief.  To some of the principles 
and ideals animating political and ecclesiastical institutions every 
conscientious follower of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh can, no doubt, 
readily subscribe.  With none of these institutions, however, can he 
identify himself, nor can he unreservedly endorse the creeds, the 
principles and programs on which they are based.  
     How can a Faith, it should moreover be borne in mind, whose 
divinely-ordained institutions have been established within the jurisdiction 
of no less than forty different countries, the policies and 
interests of whose governments are continually clashing and growing 
more complex and confused every day--how can such a Faith, 
by allowing its adherents, whether individually or through its organized 
councils, to meddle in political activities, succeed in preserving 
the integrity of its teachings and in safeguarding the unity of 
its followers?  How can it insure the vigorous, the uninterrupted 
and peaceful development of its expanding institutions?  How can 
a Faith, whose ramifications have brought it into contact with mutually 
incompatible religious systems, sects and confessions, be in a 
position, if it permits its adherents to subscribe to obsolescent observances 
and doctrines, to claim the unconditional allegiance of 
those whom it is striving to incorporate into its divinely-appointed 
system?  How can it avoid the constant friction, the misunderstandings 
and controversies which formal affiliation, as distinct from 
association, must inevitably engender?  
     These directing and regulating principles of Bahá'í belief the upholders 
of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh feel bound, as their Administrative 
Order expands and consolidates itself, to assert and vigilantly 
apply.  The exigencies of a slowly crystallizing Faith impose upon 
them a duty which they cannot shirk, a responsibility they cannot 
evade.  
     Nor are they unmindful of the imperative necessity of upholding 
and of executing the laws, as distinguished from the principles, 
ordained by Bahá'u'lláh, both of which constitute the warp and 
woof of the institutions upon which the structure of His World 
Order must ultimately rest.  To demonstrate their usefulness and 
efficacy, to carry out and apply them, to safeguard their integrity, 
 
+P200 
to grasp their implications, and to facilitate their propagation Bahá'í 
communities in the East, and recently in the West, are displaying 
the utmost effort and are willing, if necessary, to make whatever 
sacrifices may be demanded.  The day may not be far distant when 
in certain countries of the East, in which religious communities 
exercise jurisdiction in matters of personal status, Bahá'í Assemblies 
may be called upon to assume the duties and responsibilities 
devolving upon officially constituted Bahá'í courts.  They will be empowered, 
in such matters as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, to 
execute and apply, within their respective jurisdictions, and with the 
sanction of civil authorities, such laws and ordinances as have been 
expressly provided in their Most Holy Book.  
     The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has, in addition to these tendencies and 
activities which its evolution is now revealing, demonstrated, in 
other spheres, and wherever the illumination of its light has penetrated, 
the force of its cohesive strength, of its integrating power, 
of its invincible spirit.  In the erection and consecration of its House 
of Worship in the heart of the North American continent; in the 
construction and multiplication of its administrative headquarters 
in the land of its birth and in neighboring countries; in the fashioning 
of the legal instruments designed to safeguard and regulate the 
corporate life of its institutions; in the accumulation of adequate 
resources, material as well as cultural, in every continent of the 
globe; in the endowments which it has created for itself in the immediate 
surroundings of its Shrines at its world center; in the 
efforts that are being made for the collection, the verification, and 
the systematization of the writings of its Founders; in the measures 
that are being taken for the acquisition of such historical sites as 
are associated with the lives of its Forerunner and its Author, its 
heroes and martyrs; in the foundations that are being laid for the 
gradual formation and establishment of its educational, its cultural 
and humanitarian institutions; in the vigorous efforts that are being 
exerted to safeguard the character, stimulate the initiative and coordinate 
the world-wide activities of its youth; in the extraordinary 
vitality with which its valiant defenders, its elected representatives, 
its itinerant teachers and pioneer administrators are pleading its 
cause, extending its boundaries, enriching its literature, and 
strengthening the basis of its spiritual conquests and triumphs; in 
the recognition which civil authorities have, in certain instances, 
been induced to grant to the body of its local and national representatives, 
enabling them to incorporate their councils, establish 
 
+P201 
their subsidiary institutions, and safeguard their endowments; in 
the facilities which these same authorities have consented to accord 
to its shrines, its consecrated edifices, and educational institutions; 
in the enthusiasm and determination with which certain communities 
that had been severely tested and harassed are resuming their 
activities; in the spontaneous tributes paid by royalty, princes, 
statesmen and scholars to the sublimity of its cause and the station 
of its Founders--in these, as in many others, the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh 
is proving beyond doubt its virility and capacity to counteract 
the disintegrating influences to which religious systems, moral 
standards, and political and social institutions are being subjected.  
     From Iceland to Tasmania, from Vancouver to the China Sea 
spreads the radiance and extend the ramifications of this world-enfolding 
System, this many-hued and firmly-knit Fraternity, infusing 
into every man and woman it has won to its cause a faith, a 
hope, and a vigor that a wayward generation has long lost, and is 
powerless to recover.  They who preside over the immediate destinies 
of this troubled world, they who are responsible for its chaotic 
state, its fears, its doubts, its miseries will do well, in their bewilderment, 
to fix their gaze and ponder in their hearts upon the evidences 
of this saving grace of the Almighty that lies within their reach--
a grace that can ease their burden, resolve their perplexities, and 
illuminate their path.  
 
Divine Retribution 
 
     The whole of mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, 
and to terminate its age-long martyrdom.  And yet it stubbornly 
refuses to embrace the light and acknowledge the sovereign authority 
of the one Power that can extricate it from its entanglements, 
and avert the woeful calamity that threatens to engulf it.  
     Ominous indeed is the voice of Bahá'u'lláh that rings through 
these prophetic words:  "O ye peoples of the world!  Know, verily, 
that an unforeseen calamity followeth you, and grievous retribution 
awaiteth you.  Think not that which ye have committed hath been 
effaced in My sight."  And again:  "We have a fixed time for you, 
O peoples.  If ye fail, at the appointed hour, to turn towards God, 
He, verily, will lay violent hold on you, and will cause grievous 
afflictions to assail you from every direction.  How severe, indeed, 
is the chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!"  
     Must humanity, tormented as she now is, be afflicted with still 
 
+P202 
severer tribulations ere their purifying influence can prepare her to 
enter the heavenly Kingdom destined to be established upon earth?  
Must the inauguration of so vast, so unique, so illumined an era in 
human history be ushered in by so great a catastrophe in human 
affairs as to recall, nay surpass, the appalling collapse of Roman civilization 
in the first centuries of the Christian Era?  Must a series of 
profound convulsions stir and rock the human race ere Bahá'u'lláh 
can be enthroned in the hearts and consciences of the masses, ere His 
undisputed ascendancy is universally recognized, and the noble edifice 
of His World Order is reared and established?  
     The long ages of infancy and childhood, through which the 
human race had to pass, have receded into the background.  Humanity 
is now experiencing the commotions invariably associated 
with the most turbulent stage of its evolution, the stage of adolescence, 
when the impetuosity of youth and its vehemence reach their 
climax, and must gradually be superseded by the calmness, the wisdom, 
and the maturity that characterize the stage of manhood.  Then 
will the human race reach that stature of ripeness which will enable 
it to acquire all the powers and capacities upon which its ultimate 
development must depend.  
 
World Unity the Goal 
 
     Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the 
stage which human society is now approaching.  Unity of family, of 
tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and 
fully established.  World unity is the goal towards which a harassed 
humanity is striving.  Nation-building has come to an end.  The 
anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax.  
A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize 
the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish 
once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental 
principle of its life.  
     "A new life," Bahá'u'lláh proclaims, "is, in this age, stirring 
within all the peoples of the earth; and yet none hath discovered its 
cause, or perceived its motive."  "O ye children of men," He thus 
addresses His generation, "the fundamental purpose animating the 
Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote 
the unity of the human race...  This is the straight path, 
the fixed and immovable foundation.  Whatsoever is raised on this 
foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair 
 
+P203 
its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine 
its structure."  "The well-being of mankind," He declares, "its 
peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is 
firmly established."  "So powerful is the light of unity," is His further 
testimony, "that it can illuminate the whole earth.  The one true 
God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of 
these words...  This goal excelleth every other goal, and this aspiration 
is the monarch of all aspirations."  "He Who is your Lord, 
the All-Merciful," He, moreover, has written, "cherisheth in His 
heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and 
one body.  Haste ye to win your share of God's good grace and 
mercy in this Day that eclipseth all other created days."  
     The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh, implies 
the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, 
races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, 
and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal 
freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are 
definitely and completely safeguarded.  This commonwealth must, 
as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose 
members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately 
control the entire resources of all the component nations, and will 
enact such laws as shall be required to regulate the life, satisfy the 
needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples.  A world 
executive, backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions 
arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this world legislature, 
and will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth.  
A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver its compulsory 
and final verdict in all and any disputes that may arise between the 
various elements constituting this universal system.  A mechanism of 
world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole 
planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning 
with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity.  A world 
metropolis will act as the nerve center of a world civilization, the 
focus towards which the unifying forces of life will converge and 
from which its energizing influences will radiate.  A world language 
will either be invented or chosen from among the existing languages 
and will be taught in the schools of all the federated nations as an 
auxiliary to their mother tongue.  A world script, a world literature, 
a uniform and universal system of currency, of weights and measures, 
will simplify and facilitate intercourse and understanding 
among the nations and races of mankind.  In such a world society, 
 
+P204 
science and religion, the two most potent forces in human life, will 
be reconciled, will coöperate, and will harmoniously develop.  The 
press will, under such a system, while giving full scope to the expression 
of the diversified views and convictions of mankind, cease 
to be mischievously manipulated by vested interests, whether private 
or public, and will be liberated from the influence of contending 
governments and peoples.  The economic resources of the world will 
be organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and fully 
utilized, its markets will be coördinated and developed, and the distribution 
of its products will be equitably regulated.  
     National rivalries, hatreds, and intrigues will cease, and racial 
animosity and prejudice will be replaced by racial amity, understanding 
and coöperation.  The causes of religious strife will be permanently 
removed, economic barriers and restrictions will be completely 
abolished, and the inordinate distinction between classes 
will be obliterated.  Destitution on the one hand, and gross accumulation 
of ownership on the other, will disappear.  The enormous 
energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic or political, 
will be consecrated to such ends as will extend the range of 
human inventions and technical development, to the increase of the 
productivity of mankind, to the extermination of disease, to the 
extension of scientific research, to the raising of the standard of 
physical health, to the sharpening and refinement of the human 
brain, to the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources 
of the planet, to the prolongation of human life, and to the furtherance 
of any other agency that can stimulate the intellectual, 
the moral, and spiritual life of the entire human race.  
     A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising 
unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources, 
blending and embodying the ideals of both the East and the West, 
liberated from the curse of war and its miseries, and bent on the exploitation 
of all the available sources of energy on the surface of the 
planet, a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice, 
whose life is sustained by its universal recognition of one God and 
by its allegiance to one common Revelation--such is the goal 
towards which humanity, impelled by the unifying forces of life, 
is moving.  
     "One of the great events," affirms `Abdu'l-Bahá, "which is to 
occur in the Day of the manifestation of that incomparable Branch 
is the hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations.  By this 
is meant that all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under 
 
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the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the 
Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation.  Religious and 
sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences 
among nations, will be eliminated.  All men will adhere to one 
religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race 
and become a single people.  All will dwell in one common fatherland, 
which is the planet itself."  "Now, in the world of being," He 
has moreover explained, "the Hand of Divine power hath firmly 
laid the foundations of this all-highest bounty, and this wondrous 
gift.  Whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this holy Cycle shall 
gradually appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning 
of its growth, and the dayspring of the revelation of its signs.  
Ere the close of this century and of this age, it shall be made clear 
and evident how wondrous was that spring-tide, and how heavenly 
was that gift."  
     No less enthralling is the vision of Isaiah, the greatest of the 
Hebrew Prophets, predicting, as far back as twenty five hundred 
years ago, the destiny which mankind must, at its stage of maturity, 
achieve:  "And He (the Lord) shall judge among the nations, and 
shall rebuke many people:  and they shall beat their swords into 
plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks:  nation shall not 
lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more 
...And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and 
a Branch shall grow out of his roots...  And he shall smite the 
earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips 
shall he slay the wicked.  And righteousness shall be the girdle of 
his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.  The wolf also shall 
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; 
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together...  And 
the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned 
child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den.  They shall not hurt 
nor destroy in all my holy mountain:  for the earth shall be full of 
the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."  
     The writer of the Apocalypse, prefiguring the millenial glory 
which a redeemed, a jubilant humanity must witness, has similarly 
testified:  "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:  for the first 
heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more 
sea.  And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down 
from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, `Behold, the 
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and 
 
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they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be 
their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither 
shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed 
away.'"  
     Who can doubt that such a consummation--the coming of age of 
the human race--must signalize, in its turn, the inauguration of a 
world civilization such as no mortal eye hath ever beheld or human 
mind conceived?  Who is it that can imagine the lofty standard 
which such a civilization, as it unfolds itself, is destined to attain?  
Who can measure the heights to which human intelligence, liberated 
from its shackles, will soar?  Who can visualize the realms which 
the human spirit, vitalized by the outpouring light of Bahá'u'lláh, 
shining in the plenitude of its glory, will discover?  
     What more fitting conclusion to this theme than these words of 
Bahá'u'lláh, written in anticipation of the golden age of His Faith--
the age in which the face of the earth, from pole to pole, will mirror 
the ineffable splendors of the Abhá Paradise?  "This is the Day 
whereon naught can be seen except the splendors of the Light that 
shineth from the face of thy Lord, the Gracious, the Most Bountiful.  
Verily, We have caused every soul to expire by virtue of Our 
irresistible and all-subduing sovereignty.  We have then called into 
being a new creation, as a token of Our grace unto men.  I am, 
verily, the All-Bountiful, the Ancient of Days.  This is the Day 
whereon the unseen world crieth out:  `Great is thy blessedness, O 
earth, for thou hast been made the foot-stool of thy God, and been 
chosen as the seat of His mighty throne!'  The realm of glory exclaimeth:  
`Would that my life could be sacrificed for thee, for He 
Who is the Beloved of the All-Merciful hath established His sovereignty 
upon thee, through the power of His name that hath been 
promised unto all things, whether of the past or of the future.'"  
 
                                                        Shoghi. 
 
Haifa, Palestine, 
March 11, 1936.