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‘Abdu’l-Bahá Preaches

Abdul Baha Preaches
New York Tribune
April 15, 1912
New York, NY

Head of Bahá’í Movement Says All Shall Be Brothers Some Day.

Spiritual Culture Lags

Persian Philosopher Declares Humanity Is Merged in Sea of Materiality

Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas head of the Bahá’í movement for the unification of religions and for the establishment of universal peace, made his first public address in America at the Church of the Ascension. Fifth avenue and 10th street, yesterday morning. The Rev. Dr. Persy Stickner Grant, rector of the church introduced the philosopher and religion leader, who spoke in Persian on “The Bahá’í Revelation,” which was interpreted by Dr. Ameen Ullah Fareed. In introducing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas to the congregation Dr. Grant said, in part.

This grate representative of the East comes to tell us that knowledge and more knowledge will bring about a realization of peace and unity. He is a man with a spirit of understanding. But some will ask, “What has he done to prove his sincerity?” An exile from his native land from the age of nine, a prisoner for forty years are the badges of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas is [unreadable text] We are going to listen in the fashion of the East and listen to a great student.

Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas than came forward, wearing the costume of the East. He said a few worlds, which Dr. Fareed interpreted as “The day shall come when we shall see each other face to face as brothers.” Then his sermon, sentence by sentence, was interpreted to the congregation, summing up, for the most part as follows:

The realities of life have been seen through glasses, but now let us hope that we shall see the light through the purest possible medium. I have come hither to find that material civilization has progressed greatly I find commerce and the craft perfected, agriculture improved, [unreadable text] well established. But spiritual education has been left behind. The material civilization may well be but the spiritual civilization must also be.

The material civilization should go hand in hand with the spiritual civilization. Then we will have the light and the glass together. Material civilization may be likened unto a beautiful body, while the spiritual civilization is the spirit that enters the body and gives to it life. With the propelling spirit of spiritual civilization the result will be great.

His Holiness Jesus Christ came to this world that the people might have through Him a spirit of oneness with God. There must be a oneness of the world with humanity. When this takes place then will we have the “most great peace.”

Today the body politic is indeed for the oneness of the world — for universal peace. But they require a certain propelling power to spread to feeling and to firmly plant it in the minds of men.

It is self-evident that spiritual civilization cannot be accomplished through material minds, for the interests of the various nations differ. It is evident that is cannot be accomplished through patriotism, for countries differ in their ideas of patriotism. It is impossible also through spiritual power. Compiled with this all other minds are too weak to bring about universal peace.

Man has two wings — his material development and power and his spiritual understanding and achievements. With one wing alone he cannot fly; two wings are necessary. Therefore, no matter how the material civilization advances, without the other great things cannot be accomplished. We must try with all the material power to help the spiritual power. Humanity, generally speaking, is merged in a sea of materiality.

Bahá’u’lláh, in Persia, founded the spiritual civilization and made a [unreadable text] among various peoples of different races. [unreadable text] the doctrine of universal peace. Sixty years ago he sent epistles to the kings, the rulers of the world, to join him in peace. Now I find a strong movement for universal peace emanating from America. It is my hope that here in the occident the foundation of this new solidarity may be strengthened and that the Orient and the Occident will be cemented together, that there may be a real unity, so that this world may at last find peace. May the hearts of men become as brothers.

At the end of the regular service ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas offered a prayer in Persian, standing at the altar and facing the east.