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Loves All Mankind

Loves All Mankind
St Paul Minnesota Dispatch
April 26, 1912
New York, NY

Loves All Mankind

That is the Basis of the Religion Followed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

(New York Sun.)

Since the world’s congress of religions many interesting Orientals have wandered from their mysterious shores to our own, but none has come about whom are the romance and authority suggested by the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This name is in reality a titular one and is translated the Servant of God, or the Servant of the Glory. In the official circle of his own Orient, he is sometimes spoken of as Abbas Effendi, which might be interpreted as “Mr. Abbas.”

He comes to us especially to attend the peace conference at Lake Mohonk, which has been called to discuss the possibility of establishing an international court of Justice which shall have authority to settle the quarrels of all nations, so that universal peace may at length be realized. It was a part of the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh that such a tribunal must be created and if it becomes a fact in his time ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says he shall feel that he has not lived in vain.

Abdu’l-Bahá is above all things an apostle of democracy. He loves a man for the spirit within him, not for the gifts of fortune he happens to possess, and frequently he honors most those whom the world esteems least. No one who saw him in England can forget his sorrow when a poor woman was accidentally refused entrance to his house, nor the great pity that possessed him at sight of the poverty of an English village.

He went to the postmaster, who was also the banker, and changed all his gold pieces to sixpences, so that he might comfort the hungry looking children who followed him everywhere and who treasured his gentle words and caresses even more eagerly than the sixpences.

Afterword, when he was the guest of the lord mayor of London, with all the titled smart folk who had been invited to meet him, this is what he said to them:

Therefore my advice to you is: Endeavor as much as ye can to show kindness to all men, deal with perfect love, affection and devotion with all the individuals of humanity. Remove, from among yourselves racial, patriotic, religious, sectional, political, commercial, industrial and agricultural prejudices, so that you may become freed from all human restrictions and become the founders of the structures of the oneness of the world of humanity. All the countries are one country, all the nations are the children of one father. The struggle for existence among the ferocious wolves has become the cause of all the differences and strifes; otherwise the expanse of the world is spacious, and the table or the Almighty is spread in all regions.

Abdu’l-Bahá is the third and last leader in the surprising movement for the unity of mankind, which began with the teaching of the Báb in 1844. He has not come into the Western world to form another sect. Like the Báb, he tells us that all men are the children of one father, and that in this day they must recognize their kinship. He insists that there is no such thing as a heathen or a heretic. As all men are the children of God, so all have received his divine lessons.

Again and again the inspired ones have arisen in India, in Persia, in Palestine most of all, giving a fundamentally similar teaching, so that the Vedas, the Zend Avesta, the Koran, as well as our own loved Bible, with its Old and New Testament, sing together a heavenly minstrelsy which today we must recognize as springtime from one source.

…East and the West must come together. Perhaps a great war may terrify us before this is possible, but it must be ac[c]omplished. From the East, as he so beautifully expresses it, comes the breeze of God, which is his breath speaking through all the prophets, and without this inspiration the world stagnates and men lose their spiritual life.

He begs us also to forget our sects and realize that as in all divisions of religion men are worshipping each in his own fashion so none should regard his formulas as the only ones.

Thus if you frequent the society of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as a Presbyterian you will be forced to remember that the primitive Christians baptized always by immersion, while if you seek him as a Baptist you will he reminded that St. Peter said:

You can be baptized with water in any fashion; it is the baptism of the spirit that counts.”

A wealthy woman who sought him long ago in Akka said as she was leaving:

I love your lessons, but I am afraid that when I return to the world I shall miss the beautiful service or the Catholic church to which I belong.”

But why should you leave it?” he responded. “Surely I have taught you that the prayer of the sincere worshipper reaches the divine ear from any temple or congregation.”

Abdu’l-Bahá is deeply interested in the modern movement for the advancement and enfranchisement of women. He teaches the absolute equality of men and women — “the soul has no sex” — and deplores the seclusion of Oriental women as one of the mistakes which progressive civilization must soon set right. He had a lively conversation in England with Mrs. Pethick Lawrence and asked her some pregnant questions as to her “views.”

She suggested that our civilization is imperfect because men have been trying to fly with only one wing and equal rights for women would give them the other. He surprised her by the smiling admission that perhaps the new wing would be the stronger! And then went off into an eloquent little homily upon the achievements of Zenobia, that hero woman of the past, at once a queen, a wife and the savior of her people.