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COLLECTIONNewspaper articles
TITLEThe Babs of Persia
AUTHOR 1Thomas Chaplin
DATE_THIS1871-10-05
TITLE_PARENTThe Times of London
PAGE_RANGE8
PUB_1STThe Times of London
ABSTRACTEight versions/excerpts of an article originally published in The Times of London Oct. 5, 1871, and then reprinted elsewhere.
NOTES Sources below compiled by Kurt Asplund (2022). See further information and citations/links at bahaipedia.org.
TAGSMentions; Newspaper articles; Thomas Chaplin; Times (newspaper); United Kingdom
 
CONTENT
Contents
  1. The Times of London, Oct. 5, 1871
  2. Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, Oct. 26, 1871
  3. The Missing Link Magazine, Nov. 1, 1871
  4. Church of England Magazine Nov. 11, 1871
  5. The Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1871
  6. Journal officiel de la République Française, Dec. 4, 1871
  7. The Evangelical Repository and United Presbyterian Review, Feb. 1872
  8. The Sunday Magazine, 1872

The Times of London, Oct. 5, 1871

The Times of London Oct. 5, 1871 p. 8.

“The Babs of Persia”, by Thomas Chaplin, M.D.

To the editors of the Times

Beheyah Allah

THE BABS OF PERSIA. TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES. Sir, Notices of the rise of a new quazi Christian sect in Persia have, I believe, appeared from time to time in English newspapers. Little, however, appears to be known upon the subject in this country, and the following Information may therefore be acceptable to many of your readers. Of ail the follower or Mahomet the Metawely of Persia are among the most bigoted and fanatical. Not only will they not eat or drink with Christians, but they dash to piece any vessel belonging to them out of which a Christian has drunk, gather their garments round them a they pass a Christian in the street lest they should be contaminated by contact with him, and should any Christian book be in their way they remove it with tongs rather than defile themselves by touching it. About 30 year ago some intelligent and thoughtful member of the sect, of good position and education, were led by this very excess of bigotry to inquire into the reason of it, and, having procured from some Christians copies of the New Testament in the Arabia language, devoted themselves to it careful study. The result of their investigation was that they became convinced of its truth, accepted it as the Word of God. and embraced its doctrine. They did not, however. abandon their faith in Mahomet as a prophet of God, and the Koran as a divinely inspired book, but believed themselves able to reconcile the hitherto antagonistic creed of Islam and Christianity. Their doctrine, which received the name of Bab el Huk (door of truth), spread rapidly, and in the course of a few year was professed by 200,000 persons. A persecution now arose, during which 20,000 adherent of the new doctrine were slain, and it founder, known as Beheyah Allah, took refuge with a small band of friends at Bagdad. Here he continued to hold communication with his followers in Persia, and exercised so much influence that the Government of that country requested the Sultan of Turkey to remove him from such dangerous proximity to some place where he could less easily be communicated with. - He was accordingly sent to Edernay, and subsequently to another fortress where he now is. In the spring of the present year I had an opportunity of visiting the Bab in their place of confinement. Beheyah Allah himself does not readily concede an interview to stranger, and only such as are desirous of obtaining from him instruction in religious truth. We were received by his son, who is apparently about 30 year of age, and has a fine intellectual countenance, with black hair and beard, and that sallow, melancholia look which distinguishes nearly all Persians of the intelligent and religions class. He was dressed in a robe of white flannel, with cap of the same material, and a small white turban. Over his shoulders was thrown a brown cloth abbai. (sic)

He appeared pleased to see us, but objected to answer questions respecting the origin and history of the sect. “Let’s speak of things spiritual," he said, " what you are now asking is of no importance.” But on our telling him that people in England would naturally be curious to know in what way so remarkable a. religious, movement had arisen, and who were the originators of it, he gave us the information here detailed. He had a remarkably earnest, almost solemn manner, spoke excellent Arabic fluently, and showed a minute and accurate knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, as well as an acquaintance with the history of religious thought in Europe.

"Our interview lasted two hours, during the whole of which time an animated conversation was maintained. Like a true Oriental, he seldom gave a direct answer to a question upon any point of doctrine, but replied by another question, or by an illustration, his object throughout apparently being to convince his questioners of what he considered to be truth. He seemed to speak as one conscious of possesing superior light —as a great teacher might speak to his disciples. 'Why,' he inquired, 'did not the Jews, who at the time of our Lord's advent were in expectation of their Messiah, believe on Him?' And, assenting to our reply that it was because they misunderstood the Scriptures, he asked whether it might not be the case that Christians in like manner now misunderstood the Scriptures—the inference (not expressed) being that his father was sent by God to teach the true doctrine.

""We did not obtain from him a clear statement of the views of the sect with reference to his father's character and office, but a very intelligent convert subsequently informed us that he was (at least by some) believed to be the angel spoken of in the first verse of the 18th chapter of Revelation. The fundamental doctrines of the sect we ascertained to be—1. That Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. 2. That He died and rose again. 3. That justification is by faith in Him. 4. That the new birth is necessary to salvation and good works as an evidence of it. 5. That the Holy Spirit operating upon the heart produces this new birth. They have no priests and no baptism. Circumcision is practised (sic) among them, but is not essential. They have several works written by Beheyah and other members of the sect, but it does not appear that these are regarded as authoritative. They believe that Christ will return, but spiritually.

"Beheyah Allah is said to have arrived at the truth solely by study of the Word of God. It is believed that he has at present 70,000 or 80,000 followers in Persia, but not openly professed. When persecuted they do not fight or resist, but are ready to die for their opinions. Between seventy and eighty share the exile and imprisonment of their leader. They are allowed considerable liberty within the walls of the city, Beheyah alone being confined to his house. They are allowed about fivepence a day per man by the Turkish Government. It is fifteen years since they left their native country, and between two and three since they were brought to their present place of confinement.

"This remarkable movement and its history are suggestive of many reflections. In its religious, social, and political aspects it is full of interest, and it seems surprising that public attention has not been earlier drawn to it. Some may be disposed to ask whether England, Bible-loving and freedom-loving as it is her boast to be, has no voice to raise in behalf of men whom she, by her Bibles, has, probably, been the unconscious means of enlightening, and whose enlightenment appears to be their only crime. From all that I could learn, these people lead pure and harmless lives, and hold no political opinions which could render them dangerous.

"But the subject has a wider interest than that involved in the fate of these individuals. A question as great as any that have ever agitated the world is beginning to press for settlement—namely, whether the progress of enlightenment, and, in particular, of Christian enlightenment among Mahomedan races is to be stopped by the rude hand of persecution and massacre. It is not in Persia alone that this question is presenting itself.

"Your obedient servant,

"THOMAS CHAPLIN, M.D. "16, Lincoln's-inn-fields"

2. Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, Oct. 26, 1871

Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

October 26, 1871

newspapers.com/newspage/86343912

“Interesting accounts reach us in the English papers of the rise of a new religious sect, the Babs in Persia. The most bigoted and fanatical of the followers of Mahomet are the Metawely of Persia. About thirty years ago some of the most intelligent of those people, although forbidden by their rules to touch a Christian book except with the tongs, procured some copies of the Bible printed in Arabic, were convinced of its truth, and embraced many of its doctrines. They still, however, believe in Mahomet as the prophet of God, and think that they can reconcile Christianity and Islam ism. Terrible persecutions have arisen against them from time to time in Persia, and their leader, Beheyah Allah, is at present confined a prison. It is believed that there are 70,000 or 80,000 of his followers in Persia at the present time. Many of them believe him to be the angel spoken of in the first verse of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation. They are an intelligent, inoffensive people, never resisting when persecuted, but willing to die for their faith. They have but shared the treatment which all dissenters from Mohamedanism must experience even in this enlightened age. The governments professing the Mohamedan faith seem determined to keep up the customs of the ninth century in the nineteenth.

3. The Missing Link Magazine, Nov. 1, 1871

The Missing Link Magazine, Or, Bible Work at Home and Abroad dedicated to the British and Foreign Bible Society and to Friends of Bible Missions throughout the world
(Monthly journal from 1865 to 1883)

Nov. 1, 1871, pp. 342 - 346

“The Babs of Persia”, by Thomas Chaplin, M.D.

THE BABS OF PERSIA.

"Sir,

"Notices of the rise of this new Christian sect in Persia have appeared from time to time in English newspapers. Little, however, appears to be known upon the subject in this country; and the following information may therefore be acceptable to many readers.

"Of all the followers of Mahomet the Metawely of Persia are among the most bigoted and fanatical. Not only will they not eat or drink with Christians, but they dash to pieces any vessel belonging to them out of which a Christian has drunk, gather their garments round them as they pass a Christian in the street lest they should be contaminated by contact with him, and should any Christian book be in their way they remove it with tongs rather than defile themselves by touching it.

"About 30 years ago some intelligent and thoughtful members of the sect, of good position and education, were led by this very excess of bigotry to inquire into the reason of it, and, having procured from some Christians copies of the New Testament in the Arabic language, devoted themselves to its careful study. The result of their investigation was that they became convinced of its truth, accepted it as the Word of God, and embraced its doctrines. They did not, however, abandon their faith in Mahomet as a prophet of God, and the Koran as a divinely inspired book; but believed themselves able to reconcile the hitherto antagonistic creeds of Islam and Christianity. Their doctrine, which received the name of Bab el Huk (door of truth), spread rapidly, and in the course of a few years was professed by 200,000 persons.

"A persecution now arose, during which 20,000 adherents of the new doctrine were slain, and its founder, known as Beheyah Allah, took refuge with a small band of friends at Bagdad. Here he continued to hold communication with his followers in Persia, and exercised so much influence that the Government of that country requested the Sultan of Turkey to remove him from such dangerous proximity to some place where he could less easily be communicated with. He was accordingly sent to Edernay, and subsequently to another fortress where he now is.

"In the spring of the present year I had an opportunity of visiting the Babs in their place of confinement. Beheyah Allah himself does not readily concede an interview to strangers, and receives only such as are desirous of obtaining from him instruction in religious truth. "We were received by his son, who is apparently about 30 years of age, and has a fine intellectual countenance, with black hair and beard, and that sallow, melancholic look which distinguishes nearly all Persians of the intelligent and religious class. He was dressed in a robe of white flannel, with cap of the same material, and a small white turban. Over his shoulders was thrown a brown cloth abbai. (sic)

"He appeared pleased to see us, but objected to answer questions respecting the origin and history of the sect. 'Let us speak of things spiritual,' he said, 'what you are now asking me is of no importance.' But on our telling him that people in England would naturally be curious to know in what way so remarkable a. religious, movement had arisen, and who were the originators of it, he gave us the information here detailed. He had a remarkably earnest, almost solemn manner, spoke excellent Arabic fluently, and showed a minute and accurate knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, as well as an acquaintance with the history of religious thought in Europe.

"Our interview lasted two hours, during the whole of which time an animated conversation was maintained. Like a true Oriental, he seldom gave a direct answer to a question upon any point of doctrine, but replied by another question, or by an illustration, his object throughout apparently being to convince his questioners of what he considered to be truth. He seemed to speak as one conscious of possessing superior light —as a great teacher might speak to his disciples. 'Why,' he inquired, 'did not the Jews, who at the time of our Lord's advent were in expectation of their Messiah, believe on Him?' And, assenting to our reply that it was because they misunderstood the Scriptures, he asked whether it might not be the case that Christians in like manner now misunderstood the Scriptures—the inference (not expressed) being that his father was sent by God to teach the true doctrine.

""We did not obtain from him a clear statement of the views of the sect with reference to his father's character and office, but a very intelligent convert subsequently informed us that he was (at least by some) believed to be the angel spoken of in the first verse of the 18th chapter of Revelation. The fundamental doctrines of the sect we ascertained to be—1. That Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. 2. That He died and rose again. 3. That justification is by faith in Him. 4. That the new birth is necessary to salvation and good works as an evidence of it. 5. That the Holy Spirit operating upon the heart produces this new birth. They have no priests and no baptism. Circumcision is practised (sic) among them, but is not essential. They have several works written by Beheyah and other members of the sect, but it does not appear that these are regarded as authoritative. They believe that Christ will return, but spiritually.

"Beheyah Allah is said to have arrived at the truth solely by study of the Word of God. It is believed that he has at present 70,000 or 80,000 followers in Persia, but not openly professed. When persecuted they do not fight or resist, but are ready to die for their opinions. Between seventy and eighty share the exile and imprisonment of their leader. They are allowed considerable liberty within the walls of the city, Beheyah alone being confined to his house. They are allowed about fivepence a day per man by the Turkish Government. It is fifteen years since they left their native country, and between two and three since they were brought to their present place of confinement.

"This remarkable movement and its history are suggestive of many reflections. In its religious, social, and political aspects it is full of interest, and it seems surprising that public attention has not been earlier drawn to it. Some may be disposed to ask whether England, Bible-loving and freedom-loving as it is her boast to be, has no voice to raise in behalf of men whom she, by her Bibles, has, probably, been the unconscious means of enlightening, and whose enlightenment appears to be their only crime. From all that I could learn, these people lead pure and harmless lives, and hold no political opinions which could render them dangerous.

"But the subject has a wider interest than that involved in the fate of these individuals. A question as great as any that have ever agitated the world is beginning to press for settlement—namely, whether the progress of enlightenment, and, in particular, of Christian enlightenment among Mahomedan races is to be stopped by the rude hand of persecution and massacre. It is not in Persia alone that this question is presenting itself.

"Your obedient servant,

"THOMAS CHAPLIN, M.D. "16, Lincoln's-inn-fields"

4. Church of England Magazine Nov. 11, 1871

Church of England Magazine, November 11, 1871 pp. 316-318 (published weekly)

“Persia.— The Babs.—,” by Thomas Chaplin, M.D.

[Previous issues: Oct. 31, 1871, then Oct. 28, 1871, Oct. 21, 1871]

“. . . Their doctrine, which received the name of Bab el Huk (door of truth), spread rapidly, and in the course of a few years was professed by 200,000 persons. A persecution now arose, during which 20,000 adherents of the new doctrine were slain, and its founder, known as Beheyah Allah, took refuge with a small band of friends at Bagdad.”

Persia.—The Babs.—" Of all the followers of Mohammed, the Metawely of Persia are among the most bigoted and fanatical. Not only will they not eat or drink with Christians, but they dash to pieces any vessel belonging to them out of which a Christian has drunk, and gather their garments round them as they pass a Christian in the street, lest they should be contaminated by contact with him: and should any Christian book be in their way, they remove it with tongs rather than defile themselves by touching it.

About thirty years ago some intelligent and thoughtful members of the sect, of good position and education, were led by this very excess of bigotry to inquire into the reason of it, and, having procured from some Christians copies of the New Testament in the Arabic language, devoted themselves to its careful study. The result of their investigation was that they became convinced of its truth, accepted it as the word of God, and embraced its doctrines. They did not, however, abandon their faith in Mohammed as a prophet of God, and the koran as a divinely-inspired book, but believed themselves able to reconcile the hitherto antagonistic creeds of Islam and Christianity. Their doctrine, which received the name of Bab el Huk (door of truth), spread rapidly, and in the course of a few years was professed by 200,000 persons. A persecution now arose, during which 20,000 adherents of the new doctrine were slain, and its founder, known as Beheyah Allah, took refuge with a small band of friends at Bagdad. Here he continued to hold communication with his followers in Persia, and exercised so much influence, that the government of that country requested the sultan of Turkey to remove him from such dangerous proximity, to some place where he could less easily be communicated with. He was accordingly sent to Edernay, and subsequently to another fortress, where he now is. In the spring of the present year I had an opportunity of visiting the Babs in their place of confinement. Beheyah Allah himself does not readily concede an interview to strangers, and receives only such as are desirous of obtaining from him instruction in religious truth. We were received by his son, who is apparently about thirty years of age, and has a fine intellectual countenance, with black hair and beard, and that sallow melancholic look which distinguishes nearly all Persians of the intelligent and religions class. He was dressed in a robe of white flannel, with cap of the same material, and a small white turban. Over his shoulders was thrown a brown cloth abbdi. He appeared pleased to see us, but objected to answer questions respecting the origin "and history of the sect. 'Let us speak of things spiritual,' he said, * what you are now asking me is of no importance.' But on our telling him that people in England would naturally be curious to know in what way so remarkable a religious movement had arisen, and who were the originators of it, he gave us the information here detailed. He had a remarkably earnest, almost solemn, manner, spoke excellent Arabic fluently, and showed a minute and accurate knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, as well as an acquaintance with the history of religious thought in Europe. Our interview lasted two hours, during the whole of which time an animated conversation was maintained. Like a true Oriental, he seldom gave a direct answer to a question upon any point of doctrine, but replied by another question, or by an illustration; his object throughout apparently being to convince his questioners of what he considered to be truth. He seemed to speak as one conscious of possessing superior light—as a great teacher might speak to his disciples. 'Why,' he inquired, 'did not the Jews, who at the time of our Lord's advent were in expectation of their Messiah, believe in Him?" And, assenting to our reply that it was because they misunderstood the scriptures, he asked whether it might not be the case that Christians in like manner now misunderstood the scriptures; the inference (not expressed) beive that his father was sent by God to teach the true doctrine. We did not obtain from him a clear statement of the views of the sect with reference to his father's character and office, but a very intelligent convert subsequently informed us that he was (at least by some) believed to be the angel spoken of in the first verse of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation. The fundamental doctrines of the sect we ascertained to be—1. That Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. 2. That He died and rose again. 3. That justification is by faith in Him. 4. That the new birth is necessary to salvation, and good works as an evidence of it. 5. That the Holy Spirit operating upon the heart produces this new birth. They have no priests and no baptism. Circumcision is practised amongst them, but is not essential. They have several works written by Beheyah and other members of the sect, but it does not appear that these are regarded as authoritative. They believe that Christ will return, but spiritually. Beheyah Allah is said to have arrived at the truth solely by study of the word of God. It is believed that he has at present 70,000 or 80,000 followers in Persia, but not openly professed. When persecuted they do not fight or resist, but are ready to die for their opinions. Between seventy and eighty share the exile and imprisonment of their leader. They are allowed considerable liberty within the walls of the city, Beheyah alone being confined to his house. They are allowed about fivepence a day per man by the Turkish government. It is fifteen years since they left their native country and between two and three since they were brought to their present place of confinement. This remarkable movement and its history are suggestive of many reflections. In its religious, social, and political aspects it is full of interest, and it seems surprising that public attention has not been earlier drawn to it. Some may be disposed to ask whether England, Bible-loving and freedom-loving as it is her boast to be, has no voice to raise in behalf of men whom she, by her Bibles, has, probably, been the unconscious means of enlightening, and whose enlightenment appears to be their only crime. From all that I could learn, these people lead pure and harmless lives, and hold no political opinions which could render them dangerous. But the subject has a wider interest than that involved in the fate of these individuals. A question as great as any that has ever agitated the world is beginning to press for settlement, namely, whether the progress of enlightenment, and, in particular, of Christian enlightenment among Mohammedan races, is to be stopped by the rude hand of persecution and massacre. It is not in Persia alone that this question is presenting itself" (From a letter from Thomas Chaplin, M.D., 16, Lincoln's-innfields.

5. The Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1871

The Primitive Methodist Magazine - Page 702

1871

A persecution now arose, during which 20,000 adherents of the new doctrine were slain, and its founder, known as Beheyah Allah, took refuge with a small band of friends at Bagdad. Here he continued to hold communication with his ...

6. Journal officiel de la République Française, Dec. 4, 1871

Journal officiel de la République Française: 1871 - Page 4769-4770

December 4, 1871

Les Babs de la Perse:

“Beheyah Allah n'accorde pas aisément lui-même une entrevue aux étrangers et ne reçoit que les personnes qui désirent ctre instruites de la vérité religieuse qu'il dit professer. Nous' fûmes reçut par son fils, qui est âgé de trente ans otpaiait. . .” [found with search of “Beheyah Allah”]

7. The Evangelical Repository and United Presbyterian Review, Feb. 1872

The Evangelical Repository and United Presbyterian Review, February, 1872 - Page 578-579

That the Holy Spirit, operating upon the heart, produces this new birth. They have no priests, and no baptism. Circumcision is practised among them, but it is not essential. They have several works written by Beheyah and other members of the ...

[PERSIA. - The Babs.- “ …About thirty years ago some intelligent and thoughtful members of the sect, of good position and education, were led by this very excess of bigotry to inquire into the reason of it, and, having procured from some Christian copies of the New Testament in the Arabic language, devoted themselves to its careful study. The result of their investigation was, that they became convinced of its truth, accepted it as the Word of God, and embraced its doctrines. They did not, however, abandon their faith in Mahomet as a prophet of God, and the Koran as a divinely-inspired book, but believed themselves able to reconcile the hitherto antagonistic creeds of Islam and Christianity. Their doctrine, which received the name of Bab el Huk (door of truth,) spread rapidly, and in the course of a few years was professed by 200,000 persons. A persecution now arose, during which 20,000 adherents of the new doctrine were slain, and its founder, known as Beheyah Allah, took refuge with a small band of friends at Bagdad. Here be continued to hold communication with his followers in Persia, and exercised so much influence that the Government of that country requested the Sultan of Turkey to remove him from such dangerous proximity to some place where he could less easily be communicated with. He was accordingly sent to Edernay, and subsequently to another fortress, where he now is.

In the spring of this year Dr. Chaplin had an opportunity of visiting the Babs in their place of confinement.

Beheyah Allah himself does not readily concede an interview to strangers, and receives only such as are desirous of obtaining from him instruction in religious truth. We were received by his son, who is apparently about 30 years of age, and has a tine intellectual countenance, with black hair and beard, and that sallow, melancholic look which distinguishes nearly all Persians of the intelligent and religious class. He was dressed in a robe of white flannel, with cap of the same material, and a small white turban. Over his shoulders was thrown a brown cloth abbai. He appeared pleased to see us, but objected to answer questions respecting the origin and hislory of the sect. "Let us speak of things spiritual," he said: "what you are now asking me is of no importance." But on our telling him that people in England would naturally be curious to know in what way so remarkable a religious movement had arisen, and who were the originators of it, he give us the information here detailed. He had a remarkably earnest, almost solemn manner, spoke excellent Arabic fluently, and showed a minute and accurate knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, as well as an acquaintance with the history of religious thought in Europe. Our interview lasted two hours, during the whole of which time an animated conversation was maintained. Like a true Oriental, he seldom gave a direct answer to a question upon any point of doctrine, but replied by another question, or by an illustration, his object throughout apparently being to convince his questioners of what he considered to be truth. He seemed to speak as one conscious of possessing superior light; as a great teacher might speak to his disciples. "Why," he inquired, "did not the Jews, who at the time of our Lord's advent were in expectation of their Messiah, believe on him V And, assenting to our reply that it was because they misunderstood the Scriptures, he asked whether it might not be the case that Christians in like manner now misunderstood the Scriptures, the inference (not expressed) being, that his father was sent by God to teach the true doctrine. We did not obtain from him a clear statement of the views of the sect with reference to his father's character and office, but a very intelligent convert subsequently informed us that he was (at least by some) believed to be the angel spoken of in Rev. xviii. 1. The fundamental doctrines of the sect we ascertained to be,—1. That Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. 2. That he died and rose again. 3. That justification is by faith in him. 4. That the new birth is necessary to salvation, and good works as an evidence of it. 5. That the Holy Spirit, operating upon the heart, produces this new birth. They have no priests, and no baptism. Circumcision is practised among them, but it is not essential. They have several works written by Beheyah and other members of the sect, but it does not appear that these are regarded as authoritative. They believe that Christ will return, but spiritually.

Beheyah Allah is said to have arrived at the truth solely by study of the Word of God.—It is believed that he has at present 70,000 or 80,000 followers in Persia, but not openly professed. When persecuted, they do not fight or resist, but are ready to die for their opinions. Between 70 and 80 share the exile and imprisonment of their leader. They are allowed considerable liberty within the walls of the city, Beheyah alone being confined to his house. They are allowed about 5d. a day per man by the Turkish Government. It is 15 years since they left their native country, and between two and three since they were brought to their present place of confinement.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. C. says,

A question as great as any that has ever agitated the world is beginning to press for settlement,—namely, whether the progress of enlightenment, and, in particular, of Christian enlightenment among Mohammedan races is to be stopped by the rude hand of persecution and massacre. It is not in Persia alone that this question is presenting itself.]

8. The Sunday Magazine, 1872

The Sunday Magazine 1871-2, Edited by Thomas Guthrie, D.D.
London: Strahan & Co., 1872
pp 157-158

THE BABS OF PERSIA.

Dr. Chaplin, of Lincoln's Inn Fields, in a letter to the Times, has given details of great interest in reference to a sect of Mahometans called "the Babs of Persia," who appear, through the reading of the Bible, to have made no inconsiderable progress in Christian truth. He tells us that of all Mahometans the Metawely of Persia are the most bigoted, and that some thirty years ago, some of themselves, in trying to account for this fact, read and studied the New Testament, became convinced of its truth, and accepted it as the Word of God. They did not give up their faith in Mahomet, or in the Koran as a revelation of God; but imagined that they could reconcile the claims of Christianity and Islam. Their number having risen to 200,000, a fierce persecution arose against them. Twenty thousand were slain, and the founder of the sect, whose name is Beheyah Allah, was cast into prison. In the beginning of the present year, Dr. Chaplin had an opportunity of visiting this person and his son, and learning some particulars respecting his followers and their creed. The fundamental doctrines of the sect were ascertained to be:— 1. That Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. 2. That He died and rose again. 3. That justification is by faith in Him. 4. That the new birth is necessary to salvation, and good works as an evidence of it. 5. That the Holy Spirit operating upon the heart produces the new birth. They have no priests and no baptism. They believe that Christ will return, but spiritually. Beheyah Allah is said to have arrived at the truth solely by the study of the Word of God. His followers do not make an open profession, and when persecuted do not fight or resist, but are ready to die for their opinions. Between seventy and eighty share the exile and imprisonment of their leader. If only toleration, real as well as nominal, could be secured in the Persian empire, and among Mahometans generally, one sees from this narrative what vast enlargement of the Christian church would rapidly ensue.

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