‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas in Pulpit
‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas in Dr. S. Parkers Cadman’s Pulpit
THE BROOKLING DAILY EAGLE. NEW YORK, MONDAY, JUNE 17, 1912
by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas.
LAST evening in the Central Congregational Church, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas from Persia, who is making a tour of the principal cities of this country for the purpose of explaining “The Bahá Spirit” religion, delivered an address to a large congregation. The Rev. Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, the pastor, introduced him, and after the address, thanked him warmly for his message.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas does not speak enough English to enable him to make an address in that language, and so speaks in his native tongue, and sentence by sentence his interpreter, Dr. Ameen U. Fareed, translates what he says into most excellent English. Besides the interpreter, several other Persians accompany him. The object of the mission to this country is to unite the Orient and the Occident in bringing about universal brotherhood and peace, and to set aside once for all those prejudices among religious bodies which stand in the way. The history of the Bahá Spirit, “the foundation of all the prophets,” to use the phrase of the interpreter, is this: On May 23, 1844, there appeared in the city of Chiraz, in Persia, a young man named Báb, who proclaimed certain new religious principles, or ideas, and Bahá’u’lláh, the father of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas, being impressed, founded the new religion, and his son is carrying it on. It has not been a smooth road for him, however, for the late Sultan of Turkey kept him in prison for forty years for promulgating his new thought and it was only after his downfall that he was released. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas is a man of nearly sixty, wears a long beard, now almost white, and a white cloth turban. His followers who are with him, wear black fezes.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas said: This is a good temple, and this is a good congregation, for, praise be to God, this is a temple wherein the conscience has free sway. Every religion and every religious aspiration may be freely expressed here. Just in the world of politics there is need for free thought, likewise in the world of religion there is need for freedom of religious thought. Consider what a vast difference exists between democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under despotic government the thoughts of men are not free, but because under a democratic government thought is free, the greatest progress is made. Even so it is in the world of religion. In a democratic country the platform is open to every religion for the conveyance of its ideals, and I am most grateful to the reverend doctor, whom I find to be a servant to the oneness of human kindness. The holy, divine manifestations are all united and agreed, and they are the heads of religion. For example, his holiness Abraham, his holiness Moses, his holiness Christ, his holiness Mahomet, Buddha, are all united and agreed. Every former prophet foretold the coming of the latter, and the latter sanctioned the former. For example, Abraham fortold the coming of Moses and Moses sanctioned it. Moses prophesied the Messianic time and Christ fulfilled the Mosaic law. It is evident that they are all united and agreed. All the holy manifestations are agreed. They are all founders of reality, and they are all promulgators of the religion of God. The religion of God is reality, and the reality is not multiple, reality is one. Therefore the foundations of the divine religions are one; because all are based on reality and the reality is not multiple. But religion has discord, strife, enmity, rancor. Wherefore? because they have forsaken the foundation of the divine religion, holding to religious imitation. And inasmuch as imitations differ, strife and enmity have crept in. The foundation laid by Christ was reality, but after His time many sects sprang up. What caused this? They were, no doubt, they were called up by imitation. The various sects are investigating the foundation of Christ, which is reality and will unite them all. If they will emulate the one reality, forsake imitation and seek to find the real meaning of the Sacred Book they will all unite. But as long as they follow these counterfeits, or imitations, undoubtedly this discord will continue. Let me illustrate: His holiness Moses prophesied regarding the Messiah, but when his holiness Christ appeared they rejected Him. Why? Because they had followed imitations and had not investigated the reality. They had not apprehended the significance of the Holy Bible. The prophets had given certain signs and conditions regarding His coming. He was to come from an unknown place, whereas they said, “We know He has come from Nazareth and we know His father and mother.” Secondly, He was to rule with a rod of iron; but this Christ had not even a rod of wood. Thirdly, He was to sit upon the throne of David; and this Christ had not even a mat. Fourthly, He was to conquer the East and the West; this person had not even conquered a village. How could He be the Messiah? Fifthly, He was to promulgate the laws of the Bible; but He not only did not, but He broke the Sabbath law. Sixthly, the Messiah was to gather together all the scattered Jews; but this person rather degraded the Jews and did not gather them together. Seventhly, under His sovereignty the Jews were to enjoy bliss; the lion and the bear were to pasture in the same meadow; justice was to reign; warfare was to cease, and He was even crucified! How could He be the Messiah? This Messiah was not the promised Christ. But the Jews had not comprehended the meaning of the prophecies. All these prophecies were fulfilled, but because the Jews were captives of imitation they were holding the imitation and did not comprehend the meaning of the Bible. The purpose of the prophet was not an outward literal meaning, but they spoke in symbology. For instance, they mentioned that the Messiah was to come from an unknown place. They did not refer to the body of Christ; it had reference to the reality of the Christ. That is to say, the Christ reality was to come from the invisible realm, for the Christ reality hag sanctified the birth place. He was to conquer through a sword; He conquered through the sword of the tongue. He did conquer the East and the West. He was to sit upon the throne of David; but the sovereignty of Christ was not that of a Napoleon or a Hannibal, but an eternal sovereignty, an everlasting sovereignty; there is no end to His sovereignty. As to promulgating the laws of the Bible, it meant the reality of the laws of Moses, which are the very foundation of the reality of Christianity. He did not subdue the East and the West through the breath of the Holy Spirit illuminating the East and the West. The lion and the lamb were to drink from the same fountain. This was realized in this sense: the fountain referred to was the gospel whereof the waters of life gushed forth. The wolf and the lahb are the nations and races thus symbolized. Those who were wolves and lambs were united through the words of the gospel. All the meaning of the prophecies was fulfilled, but because the Jews were captives of imitation they did not realize the meaning of the prophecies.
We must investigate the reality; we must lay aside selfish purposes; we must banish heresies. The Jews considered Christ the enemy of Moses, but had it not been for Jesus Christ you would never have had the Old Testament. His holiness, Jesus Christ, fulfilled the Mosaic law and in all cases did He praise Moses; but the Jews, because of blind imitation, considered Christ the enemy of Moses. Among the contemporaneous religions is Mohammedanism. About 300,000,000 believe in that religion, and from olden times there has been enmity and distrust between Mohammedans and Christians. This has been due to misunderstanding. Were imitation to be forgotten and forsaken, there could be no enmity between the Moslem and the Christian. Now, I wish to call your close attention to this: The Koran, the Mohammedan Bible, contains this text: That his holiness Christ was the very Word of God; that He was the Spirit of God; that Jesus Christ came into this world through the resuscitation of the Holy Spirit, and that His birth was through the Holy Spirit; that Mary was holy and sanctified. In the Koran a whole chapter is devoted to the story of Jesus Christ, and it is recorded that Manna descended from heaven day by day for the sustenance of the infant Christ. And in the Koran there is a remarkable eulogy regarding Christ, such as you do not finding the gospels. Marvelous to relate the first petition to his people by Mahomet was this: “Why don’t you believe on Jesus Christ? Why have ye not believed in the Bible and the prophets of Israel and in the disciples of Christ? Ye must know Moses as the prophet of God; ye must know Jesus Christ as the Word of God; ye must know Jesus Christ as a product of the Holy Spirit.” His people said: “Very well, we will become believers, but our fathers, our ancestors, were not believers, and we are proud of them. What is going to become of them?” And he said: “I say unto you that they occupy the lowest stratum of hell, because they did not believe in Moses; because they did not believe in Christ; because they did not accept the Bible, and they are my own ancestors, yet they are in hell.” This is an explicit text in the Koran. If both parties should investigate the reality of conditions they would know, and this strife would pass away. How much blood has been spilled; how many, cities have been destroyed; how many children made fatherless! All these things were due to imitations and misunderstandings. If the Holy Bible were to be understood in reality none of these things would have existed.
The divine manifestations of God are all founded upon fellowship. The religion, of God is the cause of love, but if it be the cause of enmity and strife, surely its non-existence is better than its existence, because then it is a catastrophy in the human world. In the Orient various nations were in a state of discord. Darkness had encompassed all nations. When He appeared He removed all imitations, and laid the foundation of the one religion of God. When the imitations were dispelled, the Mussulman, the Christian, the Jew and the Buddist were united, and they have become revivified through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God, this love has come forth from the East, and eventually there shall be no discord and enmity in the East. Through the power or Bahá, all will be united. When he was the subject of banishment he wrote to all the kings, summoning them to international peace. He made it incumbent on them to call a board of arbitration for all international disputes. I was in prison forty years until the Young Turk and the Committee of Union and Progress proclaimed liberty. Were it not for these, I should have been In prison to the end of my life.
A BAHAI TOAST TO “THE KING.”
On the occasion of the Twelfth Annual Banquet of the British Californian Association, held in San Jose, California, January 12th, Dr. Frederick W. D’Evelyn, of San Francisco, responded to the toast for Britain’s King. It is doubtful if the members of any British society ever before listened to a toast of this nature regarding their sovereign. At the same time, the readers of this paper will recognize the growing predominance in the minds of the people of that idea which places the kingship of the heart above the kingship of the throne. Dr. D’Evelyn is one of the most successful and capable of California’s physicians and surgeons, a thorough student and brilliant speaker and, too, is one of the leading Western exponents of the great Bahá’í Cause, which now numbers faithful adherents by many millions in both Occident and Orient. His address follows:
In the good old days it was customary to propose a “Toast to the King” by a brief ejaculation; “The King — God Bless Him.” We concede the honor while we admit the responsibility and would not for one moment seem to undervalue the sentiment therein expressed.
Today, however, it seems urged upon us to associate therewith a meaning that claims a deeper consideration. The King — a king — today occupies a position which is somewhat paradoxical; a position of detachment, at the same time one of cosmopolitanism. Great in his Empire, but in the world at best, a group-factor, a position compelled by the subtle, potent, unmistakable and unpreventable exigencies of internationalism.
Nations of the present, and their monarchs are unmistakably integral parts in that great commonwealth which is irresistibly being evolved, as the travail of twenty centuries heralds the coming termination of the long night which precedes the advent of that new day, when mankind will come into its birthright and attain its predestined supreme station.
The nations are slowly, reluctantly and, perchance, aversely reading the messages of today that tell the story that each nation if it must reach its pedestined exalted goal and lofty destination, must become a keeper in the interdependents of that nationalization which renders possible, apart from topographical claims, geographical barriers, or racial isolations, the fulfillment of man’s preordained promises and consummate exaltation.
In such a Keeperhood he that is crowned King has undoubtedly a relationship, a responsibility and a power.
Honesty, perchance, demands us to admit that the main advance of such an internationalism will not after all be by the avenue of the throne, by the way of the Kings; but by the broad highways of humanity, by the leadings of the people; and we maintain that even in such a home-coming a King may at least become a pathfinder.
Dr. Page, the present American Ambassador to London, in his first notable utterance in England, made this statement: “With the exception of Mr. Roosevelt, there was not a man in the Presidency, from George Washington to Woodrow Wilson, whose main strain of blood did not come from the ‘tight little island,’ that cradle of a dominant race and a dominant people.”
The monarch of the parent stock of such a people has a reason to be proud of his birthright, but a reason to be sorry if his vision is so foreshortened that it cannot see from that Mount of Pisgah upon which destiny has stationed him, a wonder land awaiting s new occupation and a new conquest, — a, conquest not of armed forces, not of rattling musketry, not of deep-voiced guns, not the trampling down of the grass by a dominant race, — none of these things.
This conquest will need soldiers. Here we mark your challenge and concede your argument that patriotism and love of country has always made good soldiers. With you, we salute their memory.
For the new soldiers however, we advance a new patriotism, a patriotism which asks a man not merely to glory in that he loves his country, but rather glory in that he loves his kind. Are you not hopeful of the prowess of the soldiers such a patriotism would produce?
The world needs them. Why, should not the Son of the Peacemaker become one of the leaders of the new Command?
The needs of the nations today is not a new creed, but a new attitude, not a new constitution, but a new disposition.
Mankind today has inwrought upon its shield a bar sinister, which justice compels us to admit is at best, a brand, super-imposed, cancelling the heraldry of his birthmark. And yet, time records two thousand years of civilization! Experience forces us to confess that Christendom’s injustice to man has become infamous; its Peace Congresses, a morning mist; its treaties a violation and its political surgings a confusion; its processes are a failure, they have but burned deeper the bar sinister because they have lost their way. The way of victory is the pathway of the heart. The earth of men’s hearts must be changed ere their triumph becomes a surety. Not merely by kings amongs kings, but by men with kings, shall we be able to build up the hearts of nations by making one the hearts of men.
Let George V, the son of the Peacemaker admit his factorship in a world’s restoration, and to the toast “The King” we propose not merely, “God Bless Him,” but God Direct Him until his banners unfurled in his Empire of unsetting Sun, bear the Imperial inscription: — “We desire but the good of the World, the happiness of the Nation, and that all men irrespective of color, race or creed may win their birthright and become brethren.”