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‘Abdu’l-Bahá says Farewell to Americans

Abdul Baha says Farewell to Americans
Washington DC Star
November 24, 1912
Washington, DC

Abdu’l-Bahá Declares Our Liberty As Worth Thanksgiving.

Let me comment on the heartfelt welcome which has been extended to me in my recent travels.

Praise be to God, the standard of liberty is held aloft in this land. You enjoy political liberty, you enjoy liberty at large of thought, you enjoy religious liberty, and you enjoy racial and sectarian liberty, and you enjoy personal liberty. Surely, this is worth thanksgiving!

As to the warm welcome which has been extended, I wish to reciprocate the same fully and completely.

The love of God is unlimited. And whoever is the servant of the threshold of God must likewise be free from limitations.

Surely, men who are leaders of thought should follow the example of those who have welcomed me. Liberalism is what is needed. They must be kind to all nations. They must not be limited, because God is unlimited. The love of God is unlimited. And whoever is the servant of the threshold of God must likewise be free from limitations. The world of existence is an emanation of the merciful attribute of God. God has shone forth upon phenomena through is effulgence of mercy, and He is clement and kind to all of His creation.

Therefore the world of humanity must ever be the recipient of the bounties from His Majesty the Eternal Lord. Even as His Holiness Christ has declared, “Be ye as your Father who is in heaven.” For surely His sun shineth upon the just and upon the unjust.

Consequently, man must learn the lesson of kindness from God Himself. Just as God is kind to all humanity, man must also be kind to his fellow-creatures. If he be kind and loving toward all his fellow-men, toward all creation, then indeed he is worthy of being pronounced the image and likeness of God. But kindness is of various kinds, and fraternity or brotherhood is different in sorts.

At one time brotherhood is of the family type, and kindness is of the kind which prevails among the household. This is limited, and is subject to change or corruption. How often it has happened in a given family that amity has been changed into enmity.

The second kind of fraternity is that which obtains in patriotism. Man loves his fellow-men because they belong to the same nativity, and this is also limited and is subject to change or corruption. How often it has happened that the sons of the same fatherland have been subject to war and bloodshed and strife and sedition.

The third kind of fraternity is that which characterizes the racial unity, the oneness of the race, and because of that racial oneness kindness obtains among a given people. This even is limited and is liable to change. How often it has happened that among the same people, the same race, there have been warfare, battle and bloodshed! Thus it is made evident and manifest that the fraternity and kindness and love appertaining to the family, the fraternity, kindness and love appertaining to the same race and those appertaining to the same nativity, the same fatherland, do not suffice, because they are both limited and liable to change and corruption.

The fourth kind of brotherhood is that of specie or kind. The love of humankind among men, for all recognize the fundamental bond, human in character, which obtains among men. Although this is unlimited; but it is still subject to change or corruption. Hence even from this the looked-for result does not obtain.

the cause of real brotherhood… the cause of real kindness is the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Without that it is impossible

And what is the looked-for result? Loving kindness among mankind and a firm, unshakable brotherhood. A brotherhood of that type which includes all the significances.

Now it has become evident and manifest that through the family, or instrumentality of the oneness of the kind, or oneness of the race, or the oneness of the nativity-they do not yield this looked-for or longed-for object at all, because all of these are subject to change or transformation.

In the family there is discord, there is alienation; among the sons of a fatherland there is often strife or civil separation. Among the people of a given race there may be sedition or contention. They are limited, and also subject to corruption. We can go as far as stating that it is possible to alienate a son from his father, or there may be sedition and discord among brothers. Between the mother and the daughter there has often happened this sort of thing. Thus we can conclude that unlimited brotherhood of any of these categories does not suffice.

Therefore, the Lord of mankind has caused His holy divine manifestations to come hither; He has caused His books to be revealed, in order to found spiritual brotherhood and through the power of the Holy Spirit to suffer perfect fraternity to be realized among mankind, and when through the power of the Holy Spirit fraternity and amity are realized among men, that being spiritual in character, spiritual love, this being heavenly kindness, divine bonds, hence indissoluble, hence inseparable, hence unchangeable and never subject to transformation.

It is ever the same, and will remain the same. For example, consider the foundation of brotherhood laid by His Holiness Christ. Regard how that fraternity was causative of unity and accord, how it brought various souls to a level where they were willing to sacrifice their lives for each other. They were willing to forfeit possessions, and most joyously willing to forfeit life, and they lived together in the utmost of love and good-fellowship, to the degree that even the famous Greek philosopher, well known as Galen, though not a Christian, in his work called “The Progress of the Nations,” records that religious beliefs are very much indeed conducive for the foundation of moral civilization, real civilization, and as a proof thereof he cites the example of a group of people of whom he says: “A certain number of people cotemporaneous with us are known as Christians. These enjoy the superlative degree of moral civilization. Each one of these is as a great philosopher, because they live in the utmost of love and good-fellowship. They sacrifice life for one another. They offer possessions for each other. You can say of the Christian people that the whole people is as one person. There is a bond amongst them indissoluble in character.”

Hence it becomes evident that the cause of real brotherhood and the cause of cordial co-operation and reciprocity and the cause of real kindness is no other than the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Without that it is impossible. You can realize fraternity to an extent, but a limited brotherhood and subject to change. But when the brotherhood is founded upon the Holy Spirit, that is eternal, changeless and unlimited.