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September 27, 1912
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-- CONTENTS --
-- NEWS NOTES MISSING --
"The Brilliant Proof" By MIRZA ABUL FAZL
A new book by this renowned Bahai, written December 28, 1911, and published by Abdul-Baha during his sojourn in America. It is a scholarly answer to an opponent of the Bahai Cause, and its clear and convincing argument should be in the minds and hearts of everyone of the friends.
Abdul-Baha says of it: "In reality, this treatise is the Sharp Sword and Brilliant Proof which has emanated from the breath of the pen of servitude to the Blessed Perfection."
Published in both English and Persian under one cover—the Persian a fac-simile of Mirza Abul Fazl's handwriting; 72 pages, attractively bound in paper.
Price each, 1 5 cents
Order of MISS MARY LESCH
5205 Jefferson Avenue, Chicago
STAR OF THE WEST
"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations shall become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men shall be strengthened; that diversity of religion shall cease and differences of race be annulled. So it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."—BAHA'O'LLAH.
Chicago (September 27, 1912) Masheyat
WITH ABDUL-BAHA IN DUBLIN, NEW HAMPSHIRE. By JOSEPH H. HANNEN.
AT a mean altitude of something like 1,700 feet (and that, if one may be pardoned an apparent anarchronism, is no mean altitude) the historic village of Dublin lies, a gem amid the verdure-clad hills of New Hampshire, and recently shining with particular lustre because of the presence of Abdul-Baha, The Servant of God, and the consequent centering of the spiritual rays, which focus from all the world where he is.
The village of Dublin proper is three miles from the railroad, the station being Harrisville. Antedating the railroad, it is one of the points which even that willing servant of the people, which winds and twists tortuously in an effort to oblige all, has not reached. And this is fortunate for the preservation of the beauties of nature. The population of Dublin during the summer is about five times that of the winter, and as a resident says, it might as well be locked up in midwinter, as indeed it is isolated by the elements. But now the winters are usually busy seasons of building, as new summer homes are planned, the while nature is creating materials for the glorious panorama of recurring spring and summer. For many picturesque and splendid estates are to be found here, making of this favored spot a kind of Switzerland, with lines softened because of the wooded hills and the abundant verdure of the earth, which burgeons and blossoms in almost tropical luxuriance.
Here the traveler is reminded of Haifa, in Syria, and Abdul-Baha agreed to the resemblance, adding, "It is warmer there!" for even in midsummer the air in Dublin is delightfully cool and the nights almost cold.
Hither the writer with Mrs. Hannen and Miss Knobloch was bidden, to spend a night and a day. Reaching Harrisville late in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 30, 1912, our first and joyful surprise was to be met at Harrisville by Abdul-Baha. who had come over from Dublin with Mrs. Parsons for that purpose, the latter also welcoming an expected guest. Mirza Vali'o'llah Khan was on hand to interpret and to add to the home-coming aspect of the occasion. First bestowing his guests in a waiting automobile and seeing to their comfort and happiness, Abdul-Baha joined Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Ford in a carriage, and we were rapidly whisked to the Dublin Inn, a quaint and exquisitely-appointed hostelry just suited to the surroundings. Such is the magic of this place that in the vastness of the hill-country even the "honk, honk!" of the auto, seemed subdued, and the sense of being part of a scene of primal magnificence was not disturbed by the means of transportation, the electric lights and modern conveniences which abound. Dublin has long been known to the friends as the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, and now for a time it is the Spiritual Summer Capital of the Republic of Religions —God's Covenant with man of which Abdul-Baha is the Center!
At the inn we found Mrs. Hoagg and Mrs. Cline, of San Francisco, and we learned that Mr. George Latimer, of Portland, Oregon, was also a visitor. As we had come from Portland, Maine, and Washington, the meeting of extremes was evidenced by the fact that the little party of pilgrims were from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, San Francisco to Washington, thus spanning the continent from two points, a demonstration of the power of the Word of BAHA'O'LLAH. Then in the party with Abdul-Baha were representatives of Persia, Syria, Russia and Egypt. A cosmopolitan gathering truly, and one which is attracting much attention in that section; although the naturalness and simplicity manifested by all makes them seem quite at home. This was manifested by Abdul-Baha at the station; the master of the situation, issuing his orders quietly, passing around among trainmen and officials, the scene might well have been in Akka or Haifa!
As soon as we were comfortably ensconced at the Inn, Abdul-Baha visited us, and there ensued one of those delightful meetings which characterize such occasions. He asked if we were well; if we were happy, if our rooms were comfortable, and exhibited the tender solicitude of a host to his guests, or more properly, a father to his children. Then ensued the following:
Abdul-Baha: "In returning, I will certainly go to Europe."
Miss Knobloch: "To Stuttgart?"
Abdul-Baha: "Perhaps." (Laughing.)
Mrs. Hannen: "They are supplicating for it."
Abdul-Baha: "See how much we have moved from one place to another. How far New York is from here: Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, the many places we have visited. And now these ladies have come to invite me to come to California. They are supplicating that I should come to California. Now these two have come to insist that we shall go; and letters are coming about it. A letter came yesterday from the Spiritual Assembly, asking how it came that we went to other places and not there. Now Mrs. Hoagg is going to build an aeroplane and take me there. What do you advise? Shall I ride on it?"
Mrs. Hannen: "It would not be very safe."
Abdul-Baha: "When I ride on it, it is the Ark of Noah. This aeroplane will become the Ark of Noah." (This was accompanied by an exchange of smiles which showed Abdul-Baha's keen sense of humor.)
Abdul-Baha: "Tonight I have promised to be present at the house of Mrs. Parsons at 8 o'clock."
When told that we were happy to have had Abdul-Baha with us, the reply was, "I am very happy also."
AT ABDUL-BAHA'S HOUSE, DUBLIN, WEDNESDAY MORNING, JULY 31ST.
Abdul-Baha: "Anyone whom I send to a place is confirmed; anyone. One of them is Miss Alma Knobloch. God has confirmed her. In the beginning she was teaching in Stuttgart. Now she is in Leipzig."
One of our party was obliged to leave on the afternoon train because of a promise made to another; Abdul-Baha desired all to remain, but upon hearing of the facts said, "Let two remain and one go."
"The Bahais must be prompt in the fulfillment of their promises, and perform whatever promise they have given.
"In reality, the length or shortness of the meeting has no influence whatever. It depends upon capacity. A piece of dry wood, as soon as it comes in contact with fire, receives the ignition, but a piece of wet wood, even if it stays in the fire a long time, is not ignited; it will only produce smoke and fumes. No matter how long a piece of stone is in the fire it will not dissolve. Therefore the length of time has no sway whatever. There must be capacity. Although the length.of time of the meeting with Mr. Hannen is short, yet it is my hope that its results may become manifold. From here with a shining face, a merciful heart and a heavenly power may you return and become the cause of the guidance of the people; to be the cause of the firmness of the souls in the Covenant.
"I desire to answer some letters that Miss Knobloch has sent. They have been here for some time, but there has been no opportunity whatever to answer them."
After a time of dictation to Mirza Ahmad Sohrab: "I am writing while you are silent. Is this permitted? [To Miss Knobloch and Mrs. Hannen.] You enjoy it because the letter is to your sister. It is fortunate for her that I find time to answer today. Letters come by bundles, but there is no time to answer them."
Abdul-Baha finished dictation, and surveying the mountains with a convenient field-glass, commented on the beauty of the panorama. It was indeed matchless—superb. In the distance a chain of mountains stretched, lofty Monadnock the highest, the others reaching as far as the eye could see. In English he said: "Good mountains; good green; good meadow; good plain; good view. Speak to me. Speak to me!" Told of the study of the Ighan in the Wednesday night meetings in Washington, his comment was, "Very good ! Very good! It is very good to memorize the logical points and the proofs of the Holy Books. Those proofs and evidences which establish the fact that BAHA'O'LLAH is the fulfillment of the Promises of the Holy Books. These proofs ought to be collected and memorized. As soon as someone will ask you—What are your proofs?—you may cry out at the top of your voice and say: 'Here they are!'"
A question was asked based upon the familiar reply to those who say there is good in all things: "What shall we say when they ask, 'Of what use are the flies and mosquitoes?'"
"Answer the questioner: 'What is the use of your creation? What benefit have you given to the world?' The same benefit that you have given to the world, the mosquito has. You say that the mosquito harms, and sucks in the human blood; but you kill animals and eat them. You do not suck blood, but decapitate the animals. Therefore, you are more harmful than the mosquito. By this, I mean that man commits greater sins. But that which is the reality of the matter is this: The world of life, the world of existence is connected, each with the other. All the created beings are the members of this stupendous body. Each one is a member, and that member should not remain imperfect. If that member is, for instance, harming the human body, but it is useful from some other standpoint, because it is one member of the members of this creational book, is it allowable that a member of the members of this great world be imperfect? For instance, we do not know what is the use of this nail. It grows and it is cut again. We see that we have the nail; but we do not know that there are a thousand wisdoms within the creation of this nail. For instance, men ask: Why should we have the beard; why should we have the moustache ? They shave. But in reality there is a great wisdom in this. It is healthful. The skin receives the oxygen through the beard."
Asking for further questions, the problem of contributing for the care of Bahais who may be sick or infirm, was presented; in view of the fact that there are many demands at times and the friends are able to do but little, generally speaking.
Abdul-Baha: "The Friends must strive and show efforts and assist. Whosoever is a believer and assured, firm in the Cause, there is no doubt that he will contribute towards the assistance of the poor. This is an evidence of the faith. But if a person comes in contact with another who is in the utmost need, and he sees that he can help, and if he fails, this is an evidence of the weakness of his faith. If his faith is firm and strong, it is impossible for him not to assist. There is no greater trial than the test of riches. Whosoever you see that he is helping and assisting the poor ones according to his ability, know of a certainty that his faith is strong. Continue according to your ability, not beyond your power, and tell him to content himself with it. Not that he may receive your assistance and not look out for himself. He is not able to work, that is why he needs assistance; if he were able to work it is not allowable to assist him. Lazy people should not be assisted; otherwise everybody would leave his work and expect others to support them. There would be no end to it. But there may be someone who is either unable to work or is striving to find some work and is not able to find it; it is not really a shortcoming but he cannot succeed. Such souls are to be assisted. The aim is this, that the friends of God must assist each other, and in assistance be greater than all the other communities of the world. If one of the friends find out that another has no food for this evening, for instance, he should not rest, he should not sleep till he finds food for him. All the members of humanity are in need of each other."
AT 9:30 A.M., JULY 31ST, ABDUL-BAHA, ON THE VERANDA OF HIS HOUSE.
Walking to and fro and addressing Mr. Latimer: "The Bahai must first be informed of the Principles and Teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH, then go forth and spread the Message. It is like unto a soldier, who must arm himself with the buckler and armor, and then he enters the battlefield to fight against the foe. But if he goes to fight without arming himself, he will be defeated. The Bahais are the Army of God. Their defensive armors or weapons are: First, Faith; second, Assurance; third, Severance; fourth, Complete Attraction to the Kingdom of ABHA. If they are armed with these weapons, they will gain the victory in whatever field they may enter. As long as he is not equipped with these weapons, he will not be successful. He must cut himself entirely from all imitations. In Persia we were under the sword. From one moment to the other we had no assurance of life, and during our long imprisonment we were in constant danger. As we were not attached to this life, we were entirely forgetful of these outward conditions. Therefore we remained firm. We did not notice the gleaming, flashing swords around us. But in reality we were happy. [Here he laughed heartily.] At that time there were many severe tests, but there was abundant spirituality. We were walking on the earth, but in reality we were soaring toward the Supreme Concourse. [Laughing]: What were those days, and what are these days! Those days were the cause of the development of the souls. Those days people progressed and advanced spiritually. During the eventful days of Nassr Ed Din Shah, those people who were Bahais were fearless, filled with the glad-tidings of God, overflowing with supplication and communion. When a Bahai walked in the streets, in his heart he was praying to God, begging of God—'Make me a sacrifice in Thy Path! Let the enemies surround me, carry me to the arena of martyrdom, make me a ransom to Thy Cause!' It is very easy now to be martyred, but it was very difficult at that time. Those frightful looking soldiers, those horrible executioners, those dreadful farrashes, and especially the cannoneers with their fierce moustaches. They threw fear into the hearts of the staunchest and the firmest. Yet the friends were most firm and resolute before the faces of these beings of terror. At the time of trials, wonderful confirmations descend upon man, regenerating him and making him a new creation.
"Mirza Ghorban All, who was one of the Seven Martyrs, a man of great piety and learning, was a strong Babi, but he was very fearful and timid. He was so fearful of being known as a Babi that when he met the friends in the streets he would not look at them. He shunned their association. Yet the enemies found him out somehow, and brought him into the prison house. As he was well known among the military class for his wisdom and devotion, two of these influential officers went to Mirza Tagi Khan, the Prime Minister, and interceded for him. When the Prime Minister found out that such important men were interceding for him, he became very lenient and told them to bring him to him so that he might recant. This Prime Minister was such a domineering and blood-thirsty man that the army was in constant fear of him, so that when he was reviewing the army if he just turned his eyes upon one of the soldiers he would tremble and shake with fear. Finally these two officers took Mirza Ghorban Ali to the Prime Minister, and they were so happy in the thought that he would be released before long. When he came before the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister looked at him and said: 'These friends of yours have interceded for you. Are you ready to repudiate Ali Mohammed (The Bab) ?' Mirza Ghorban Ali, looking around, saw the executioner about fifteen feet from him, standing, and then he turned to the Minister and asked: 'Whom shall I repudiate, Ali or Mohammed?' (Mohammed being the Prophet and Ali the son-in-law, they are considered the Holy Ones in the Mohammedan world. The name of the Bab is composed of these two.) The Prime Minister became so angry that he ordered the executioners to take him away and kill him, and he left the presence of the Prime Minister with serene face and a heavenly smile on his countenance. At such a time, a firm believer is known!"
ADDRESSES DELIVERED BY ABDUL-BAHA IN NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY.
Compiled from stenographic notes and edited by Mr. Howard MacNutt.
Talk Given By Abdul-baha At 309 W. 78TH St., New York City, July 5, 1912.*
YOU are very welcome,—very welcome, all of you ! In the Divine Holy Books there are unmistakable prophecies giving the Glad-tidings of a certain Day in which the Promised One of all the Books would appear, a radiant Dispensation be established, the banner of the Most Great Peace and conciliation be hoisted, and the oneness of the world of humanity proclaimed. Among the various nations and peoples of the world no enmity or hatred should remain. All hearts were to be connected one with another. These things are recorded in the Taurat or Old Testament, in the Gospel, in the Koran, in the Zend Avesta, in the Books of Buddha and in the Book of Confucius. In brief, all the Holy Books contain these Glad-tidings. In all of them it is announced that after the world is surrounded by darkness, radiance shall appear. For just as the night, when it becomes excessively dark, precedes the dawn of a new day, so likewise when the darkness of religious apathy and heedlessness overtakes the world, when human souls become negligent of God,—when materialistic ideas overshadow idealism and spirituality,—when nations become submerged in the world of matter and forget God,—at such a time as this shall the Divine Sun shine forth and the Radiant Morn appear.
Consider to what a remarkable extent the spirituality of people has been overcome by materialism, so that spiritual susceptibility seems to have vanished, Divine civilization does not exist, and guidance and knowledge of God no longer remain. All are submerged in the sea of materialism. Although some attend churches and temples for worship and devotion, it is in accordance with the traditions and imitations of their fathers and not for the investigation of Reality. For it is evident they have not found the Reality and are not engaged in Its adoration. They are holding to certain imitations which have descended to them from their fathers and ancestors. They have become accustomed to passing a certain length of time in temple worship and conforming to imitations and ceremonies. The proof of this is that the son of every Jewish father becomes a Jew and not a Christian; the son of every Mohammedan becomes a follower of Islam; the son of every Christian proves to be a Christian ; the son of every Zoroastrian is a Zoroastrian, etc., etc. Therefore religious faith and belief is merely a remnant of blind imitations which have descended through fathers and ancestors. Because this man's father was a Jew, he considers himself a Jew; not that he has investigated the Reality and proved satisfactorily to himself that Judaism is right; nay, rather he is aware that his forefathers have followed this course, therefore he has held to it himself.
The purpose of this is to explain that the darkness of imitations encompasses the world. Every nation is holding to its traditional religious forms. The Light of Reality is obscured. Were these various nations to investigate the Reality, there is no doubt they would attain to It. As Reality is One, all nations would then become as one nation. But so long as they adhere to various imitations and are deprived of the Reality, strife and warfare still continue and rancor and sedition prevail. But if they investigate the Reality, neither enmity nor rancor will remain and they will attain to the utmost concord among themselves.
During the years when the darkness of heedlessness was most intense in the Orient and the people were so submerged in imitations that nations were thirsting for the blood of each other, considering each other as contaminated and refusing to associate; at such a time as this His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH appeared. He arose in the Orient, uprooting the very foundations of imitations and brought the Dawn of the Light of Reality. Various nations became united, because all desired the Reality. Inasmuch as they investigated the Reality in religion they found that all men are the servants of God, all are the posterity of Adam, all are children of one household, and that the foundations of all the Prophets are one. For inasmuch as the teachings of the Prophets are Reality, their foundations are one. The enmity and strife of nations therefore are due to religious imitations and not to the Reality which underlies the teachings of the Prophets. Through BAHA'O'LLAH the nations and peoples grew to understand and comprehend this. Therefore hearts became united and lives were cemented together. After centuries of hatred and bitterness the Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian, Mohammedan and Buddhist arose for amity; all of them in the utmost love and unity. They became welded and cemented because they had all arrived at Reality.
The Divine Prophets are conjoined in the utmost state of love. Each former one has given the glad-tidings of His successor's coming and each successor has sanctioned the one who preceded Him. They were in the utmost unity, but their nations are in strife. For instance, Moses gave the message of the glad-tidings of Christ and Christ confirmed the Prophethood of Moses. Therefore between Moses and Jesus there is no variation or conflict. They are in the utmost unity. But between the Jew and the Christian there is conflict. Now therefore if the Christian and Jewish peoples investigate the Reality underlying their Prophets' teachings they will become kind in their attitude toward each other and associate in the utmost love, for Reality is one and not dual or multiple. If this investigation of the Reality becomes universal, all the divergent nations will ratify all the Divine Prophets and all will confirm all the Holy Books. No strife or rancor will remain and all of us will become united. Then will we associate together in the utmost love. We will become as fathers and sons, as brothers and sisters living together in the utmost unity, love and happiness, for this century is the Century of Light. It is not like former centuries. Former centuries were epochs of oppression. Now human intellects have developed and human intelligence has increased. Each soul is investigating the Reality. This is not a time when we shall wage war and be hostile toward each other. We are living at a time when we should enjoy the utmost friendship.
- Translated by Dr. Ameen U. Fareed; notes by Miss Emma C. Melick and Mr. Howard MacNUtt.
(Continued on page nine)
STAR OF THE WEST
PUBLISHED NINETEEN TIMES A TEAR
By the BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, 515 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, III., U. S. A.
Entered as second-class matter April 9, 1911, at the post office at Chicago. Illinois, under the Act of March 3,1879.
Albert R. Windust — EDITORS — Gertrude Buikema
Persian Editor— Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, 509 McLachlen Bldg., Washington, D. C., U. S. A.
Associate Editor— Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi, Chicago
Terms: $1.00 per year; 10 cents per copy.
Note — Until further notice, distribution in the Orient is through Agents.
Make Money Orders payable to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, III., U. S. A.
To personal checks please add sufficient to cover the bank exchange.
Address all communications to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, III., U.S.A.
Vol. III Chicago (September 27, 1912) Masheyat No. 11
BARBECUE IN HONOR OF ABDUL-BAHA.
[Photographs copyrighted 1912, Underwood & Underwood, N.Y.]
The ConsuI-General of Persia, Topakyan, gave a barbecue in honor of Abdul-Baha and his Persian suite, at his delightful summer home and garden at Morristown, New Jersey. The journey was accomplished in an automobile from the home of Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, in West Englewood, through beautiful meadows of New Jersey, and the whole day was spent most pleasantly at the Persian consulate, which is a building in the garden built after the old style of Persian architecture. Among the guests were some prominent men from New York and some society folk to interview him on all sorts of questions. He spoke that forenoon to those persons on the advance of materialism and its evil attendants or concomitants. The dinner was entirely Oriental in character, a barbecue a la Perse. The afternoon was devoted to visiting some friends, taking of photographs, and at about 4 o'clock Abdul-Baha returned to New York city.
Dr. Ameen U. Fareed.
ADDRESSES DELIVERED BY ABDUL-BAHA IN NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY.
(Continued from page seven)
Fifty years ago, His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH sent epistles to all the kings and nations of the world, at a time when there was no mention of International Peace. One of these epistles was sent by Him to the President of the American Democracy. In these communications He summoned all to International Peace and the oneness of the human world. He summoned all to the fundamentals of the teachings of all the Prophets. Some of the European kings were haughty. Among them was Napoleon Bonaparte III. BAHA'O'LLAH wrote a second epistle to him, which was published thirty years ago. The context is this: "O Napoleon! thou hast become haughty indeed. Thou hast become proud. Thou hast forgotten God. Thou dost imagine that this majesty is permanent for thee,—this dominion is abiding for thee. A letter have we sent unto thee for acceptance with thy greatest love; but instead thou hast shown haughtiness. Therefore God shall uproot this edifice of thy sovereignty; thy country shall flee away from thee. Thou shalt find humiliation hastening after thee because thou didst not arise for that which was enjoined upon thee,—whereas that was a duty incumbent upon thee was the cause of life to the world. The punishment of God shall soon be dealt out to thee."
This epistle was revealed in the year 1869, and after one year the foundations of the Napoleonic Sovereignty were utterly uprooted.
Among these epistles was a very lengthy one to the Shah of Persia. It was printed and spread broadcast throughout all the countries of the world. This epistle was revealed in the year 1870. In it He admonished the Shah of Persia to be kind to all his subjects,—summoning him to justice, —counselling him to make no distinction among the religions,—with Jew, Christian, Mohammedan, Zoroastrian, was he to deal equally and the oppressions prevalent in his country were to be removed. The Jews were greatly oppressed in Persia.
BAHA'O'LLAH especially recommended justice for them, saying that all people are the servants of God, and in the eye of the Government they should be equally estimated,— the Government should be just to all. . . . "If justice is not dealt out, if these oppressions are not removed and if thou dost not obey God, the foundations of thy Government will be razed and thou shalt become evanescent.—
become as nothing. Thou shouldst gather all the learned men, and then summon Me. There I shall be present. I will then advance proofs and evidences as to My validity. I will manifest My proof and anything that you may ask. I am ready. But if no attention is paid to this Book, thou, like unto the kings who became non-existent, shall likewise become nonexistent." The Shah did not answer this epistle of the Blessed Perfection. Then God destroyed the foundations of his sovereignty.
Among those to whom He wrote was the Sultan of Turkey. In it He arraigned him, saying: "Verily, thou didst incarcerate and make Me a prisoner. Dost thou imagine that imprisonment is a loss to Me,—that imprisonment is a humiliation for Me? This imprisonment is a glory for Me because it is in the pathway of God. I have not committed a crime. It is for the sake of God that I have received this ordeal. Therefore I am very happy. I am exceedingly joyous. But thou must wait;—God will send thee a punishment ;—thou shalt receive retribution. Ere long thou shalt observe how ordeals shall descend upon thee like rain and thou shalt become non-existent." And even so it was.
Likewise He sent messages to the other kings and crowned heads of the earth, summoning all of them to love, equity, international peace and the oneness of mankind in order that all mankind might become unified and agreed; that strife, warfare and sedition should pass away; that bitterness and enmity might cease, and all become united and agreed and arise to serve the One God.
Now I have spoken. If you have anything to say, let it be heard. You have listened most attentively. [After a pause. Abdul Baha continued] : I will add a little more. In brief,—two kings arose against BAHA'O'LLAH —the Shah of Persia and the Sultan of Turkey. They imprisoned His Holiness in the fortress of Akka in order to extinguish His Light and exterminate His Cause. But BAHA'O'LLAH while in prison wrote severe letters of arraignment to them. He declared that imprisonment was no obstacle to Him. He said: "This imprisonment will prove to be the means of the promotion of My Cause This imprisonment shall be the incentive for the spreading of My Teachings. No harm shall come to Me because I have sacrificed My life, I have sacrificed My blood, I have sacrificed My possessions;—I have sacrificed all and for Me this imprisonment is no loss." And just as He declared, so it came to pass.
In prison He hoisted His banner, and His Cause was spread throughout the world. It has reached America. Now in all parts of the world the Cause of BAHA'O'LLAH is spread broadcast. You go to Asia and wherever you travel you will find Bahais. You go to Africa. Europe, there you will find the Cause of BAHA'O'LLAH. In America it is just beginning to grow and spread.
These two kings could not do anything to withstand BAHA'O'LLAH, but God, through Him, was capable of destroying both sovereigns. I, too, was in prison. God removed the chains from my neck and placed them around the neck of Abdul Hamid. It was done suddenly,—not a long time,—in a moment as it were. The same hour that the Young Turks declared liberty, the Committee of Union and Progress set me free. They lifted the chains from my neck and threw them around the neck of Abdul Hamid. That which he did to me was inflicted upon him. Now the position is precisely reversed. His days are spent in prison just as I passed the days in prison at Akka,—with this difference,—that I was happy in imprisonment. I was in the utmost elation, because I was not a criminal. They had imprisoned me in the Path of God. Every time I thought of this,—that I was a prisoner in the Pathway of God,—the utmost elation overcame me. Abdul Hamid is now suffering punishment for his deeds. Because of the sins he committed, he is now in prison. This is retribution for his acts. Every hour he is mortified anew and his ignominy revived. He is in the utmost sorrow and disappointment, while I am in the utmost happiness. I was happy that—praise be to God !—I was a prisoner in the Pathway of God; that my life was not wasted; that it was spent in the Divine Pathway. Nobody who saw me imagined that I was in prison. They saw me in the utmost joy, the utmost thankfulness and health,—paying no attention at all to the prison.
TALK GIVEN BY ABDUL-BAHA AT 309 W. 78TH ST., NEW YORK CITY, SATURDAY, JULY 6, 1912.*
MAN in the world of existence has traversed certain degrees until he has arrived at the world of manhood. In every degree he has attained the capacity for advancement to the next degree. While in the mineral kingdom he was attaining the capacity for promotion into the vegetable kingdom. In the vegetable kingdom he has received preparation and capacity for the animal kingdom. He has come from the vegetable kingdom to the animal and then on to the human kingdom.
In the beginning of his life man was in the matrix world. In the world of the matrix he obtained capacity and preparation for this world. The forces and powers necessary for this world he attained there. In this world he needed eyes; he received them potentially, in the other. He needed ears; therefore he obtained them in the world of the matrix. All the powers he needed in this world he attained potentially in the world of the matrix. In the world of the matrix therefore he was prepared for this world; so that when he came to this world he found that all the necessary forces were ready—all his needs for material sustenance were provided.
Therefore in this world also he must prepare himself and get ready for the life hereafter. That of which he is in need in the world of the kingdom he must obtain here. Just as he prepared himself by acquiring the forces necessary in this world in the world of the matrix, so likewise it is necessary that all needful in the Kingdom, all the forces of the Kingdom—must be acquired in this world.
What is he in need of in the Kingdom after he is transferred from this world to the other world? That world is a world of sanctity, therefore it is necessary that he acquire sanctity in this world. In that world there is need of radiance, therefore radiance must be acquired in this world. In that world there is need of spirituality. In this world he must acquire spirituality. In that world faith and assurance, the knowledge of God, the love of God, are needed. These he must acquire in this world so that after he ascends from this mortal to that immortal world he shall find all that is needful in that life eternal is ready for him.
It is self-evident that that world is a world of Lights; therefore there is need for illumination. That world is a world of Love; hence Love of God is needed. That world is a world of perfections; virtues or perfections must be acquired. That world is a world of the Breaths of the Holy Spirit and in this world must they be acquired. That world is a world of the Life Eternal. In this world must he acquire it. But how can he? By what means can he acquire these things? How is he to obtain these merciful powers?
First,—through the Knowledge of God. Second,—through the Love of God. Third,— through faith. Fourth.—through philanthropic deeds. Fifth,—through self-sacrifice. Sixth,— through severance from this world. Seventh, —through sanctity and holiness. Unless he obtain these forces, unless he attain to these requirements, surely he will be deprived of the Life Eternal. But if he attain the Knowledge of God, become ignited through the fire of the Love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs, becomes the cause of love among mankind and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, surely he shall attain to second birth, will be baptized through the Holy Spirit and witness the Life Eternal.
It is astonishing! It is a most amazing thing!—that God has created all humanity for the knowledge of Himself, for the love of Himself, for the virtues of the human world, for the Life Eternal;—for perfect spirituality, for heavenly illumination has He created man; —nevertheless, man is utterly negligent of all this! He is seeking the knowledge of everything except the Knowledge of God. He seeks, for example, to know the lowest stratum of the earth. His utmost desire is this. Day and night he strives to know what he can find ten metres below the surface; what he can discover within the stone; what he can learn archaeologically through the dust! He puts forth arduous labors to penetrate a mystery of terrestrial mysteries; but he is not at all thoughtful of knowing the mysteries of the Kingdom, traversing the fields of the Kingdom, becoming aware of the verities of the Kingdom, discovering the Secrets of God, arriving at the Knowledge of God, witnessing the Lights of Reality and becoming informed of the verities of the Kingdom. He is not at all thoughtful of these. How much he is attracted to the mysteries of matter, and how utterly unaware he is of the mysteries of Divinity! Nay, he is even utterly careless of the mysteries of Divinity. How stupid this is! how ignorant this is! how conducive to degradation this is! It is like this—that a son should have a very kind Father who has provided for him great Books, in order that he may become aware of the mysteries of creation, and supplied also many means of adornment, comfort and enjoyment. But the son, because of immaturity and lack of intelligence, loses sight of all these and lays them aside, attaching himself to pebbles, passing his time day and night with playthings, neglectful of all the gifts which his Father has provided for him. How ignorant such a child is! how heedless! The Father has wished for him Glory Eternal, and he is content with the greatest deprivation. The Father has built for him a royal palace, but he is playing with dust. The Father has prepared for him garments of silk, but he is content with his nakedness. The Father has prepared for him the most delicious foods and most luscious fruits, while he seeks the grasses of the fields. Such is the analogy.
Praise be to God! you have heard the call of the Kingdom! You have opened your eyes; you have turned to God. Your object is the good-pleasure of God. Your purpose is the understanding of the mysteries of the heart and your intention is to discover the realities. Day and night must you think, strive and investigate, that you may attain to the mysteries of the Kingdom; that you may learn the evidences of Divinity; that you may attain certainty in knowledge; that you may know this world has a Creator, has a Maker, has a Resuscitator, has a Provider, has an Architect—but know this through proofs and evidences, not through susceptibilities; nay rather through decisive proofs, evident arguments and real vision—that is to say, visualizing it just as you visualize the sun. May you with complete certainty behold the signs of God and attain to the knowledge of the Holy, Divine Manifestations.
You must come into the knowledge of the Divine Manifestations through proofs and evidences. You must know the teachings of the Holy Divine Manifestations. You must learn the mysteries of the Divine Kingdom. You must become capable of discovering the realities of things. Thus may you become the manifestations of the mercy of God and real believers,—firm and steadfast in the Cause of God.
Praise be to God! the door of the Knowledge of God has been opened by BAHA'O'LLAH. For He has laid the foundation whereby man may become acquainted with the verities of heaven and earth, and has bestowed the utmost confirmation. He is our teacher; He is our adviser; He is our seer. He is the one clement towards us. He has prepared all His gifts. He has vouchsafed His Providence. Every admonition has He given unto us. Every behest has he littered for Us. He has prepared for us the means of eternal majesty. He has breathed for us the breaths of the Holy Spirit. He has opened before our faces the doors of the Paradise of ABHA. The Lights of the Sun of Reality has He caused to shine upon us. The clouds of mercy have poured down upon us. The sea of favor is surging towards us. The spiritual springtime has come. The infinite bounties and favors have appeared. What therefore is greater than this? What bestowal is greater than this? We must appreciate this and act in accordance with the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH, so that all good may be stored up for us and in both worlds we shall become precious, attain to the blessing everlasting, taste the delicacy of the Love of God, find the sweetness of the Knowledge of God, see the bestowal of Heaven and witness the Power of the Holy Spirit.
This is my advice and this is my admonition.
- Translated by Dr. Ameen U. Fareed and taken stenographically by Miss Emma C. Melick.
ADDRESS OF ABDUL-BAHA AT ALL SOULS' UNITARIAN CHURCH, FOURTH AVE. AND TWENTIETH ST., NEW YORK CITY, REV. LEON A. HARVEY, PASTOR, SUNDAY, JULY 14, 1912.*
PRAYER AND INTRODUCTION BY THE PASTOR.
WE thank Thee O God, our Father, that there have been those who have seen the vision of Thy Glory more clearly,— whose eyes have seen with deeper penetration the possibilities of man and have spoken words to uplift man to higher levels. We thank Thee that this same vision of hope is in every human soul. We pray that we may realize the unlimited possibilities of our manhood and womanhood. Thou art Father of all; therefore we are brothers and sisters. We thank Thee for him whom we shall hear this morning and pray that whatever may come to us may not fall upon barren soil. Bless us and lead us in the ways everlasting. Amen!
Few churches could have gathered such a congregation as this in New York City upon a hot summer morning. The life of Abdul-Baha is familiar to most of you. Sixty years ago the Vision of Spirit came to the Bab in Persia. Ten years afterward this Vision came afresh to BAHA'O'LLAH, father of our speaker today. BAHA'O'LLAH was a prisoner and exile forty years.
Is it a wonder that his son who shared this imprisonment should have devoted his life to carrying on His work? Abdul-Baha will speak upon the "Oneness of Humanity," —showing its accomplishment among the divided sects of the religious systems of the world. It is a great gospel. Many have dreamed of it, but Abdul-Baha has lived it
ADDRESS BY ABDUL-BAHA.
Today I wish to speak to you upon the subject of the "Oneness of Humanity," for in this great century the most important of all subjects is the oneness of the world of humankind. Although in past centuries and bygone ages this great subject received some measure of mention and consideration, it was little compared to its attainment and importance in this day. In past ages and centuries history shows that the various peoples, tribes, nations and sects fought and warred against each other in enmity and hatred. But—Praise be to God!—in this century of illumination hearts are inclined toward amity and fellowship and minds are thoughtful upon the question of the unification of mankind. There is an emanation of the Universal Consciousness today which clearly indicates the dawn of a great unity.
In investigation of a subject the right method of approach is to carefully examine its premises. Therefore in the examination of this subject of Human Solidarity let us go back to the foundation upon which it rests, namely: that all mankind belong to one family,—that all are one progeny of Adam,—all are servants of the one God,—all have been created by one God,—God is the provider for all,—God nurtures all,—all are submerged in the Sea of the Mercy and Grace of God,— and God is kind to all.
All humankind share in common the intellectual and spiritual faculties of a created endowment. All are equally subject to the various exigencies of human life, and are similarly employed in acquiring the means of earthly livelihood. In every respect from the viewpoint of creation all stand upon the same footing,—all have the same requirements,— all are seeking the happiness and comfort of earthly conditions; that is to say, the things they share in common are numerous and manifest. This very sharing or partnership in matters intellectual and spiritual is a valid basis for the unification of mankind.
Consider how for six thousand years discord and dissension have prevailed in this great human family. Its members have ever been engaged in war and bloodshed. Heretofore the world of humanity has not attained nor enjoyed any measure of peace on account of these conditions of war and strife. Consult history,—you will find a continuous record of war brought about by religious, sectarian, patriotic, racial and political causes. The world of humanity has found no rest. Men have always been in conflict, engaged in destroying the foundations of each other, pillaging the properties and possessions of each other and shedding blood, especially in the earlier periods of savagery when they carried away as captives the wives and children of each other. Consider the tremendous losses of human life which have been the fruit of this strife. What powers and forces have been employed in the means of war and applied to inhuman purposes of conflict and bloodshed! Now it has become necessary to divert these energies and utilize them in other directions; to try the new path of fellowship and unity in this most radiant century. We have observed after long trial and experience the harmfulness of war and dissension. Now we must seek after the means of procuring the benefits of unity and peace. When such means are found, we must give them a trial.
Consider the harm which comes to a family through discord and dissension. Consider, too, what favors and blessings descend upon that family when unity exists among its various members. Likewise reflect what would descend upon the great human family,—upon humanity in general if unity were established. Although the benefits and good results of unity are clearly manifest and the harm and ill effects of discord apparent, yet in this century means are witnessed for assisting man in the attainment of fellowship and unity. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH has provided the means by which discord may be removed from the human world. He has left no possibility or means for dissension.
First, He has proclaimed the Oneness of Mankind and specialized religious teachings for humanity. The first form of dissension among mankind arises from religious differences. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH has given full teachings to the world which are conducive to fellowship and unity in religion. In past years each religious system has boasted of its own superiority and excellence, abasing and scorning the validity of all others. Each has accounted its own belief as light and all others as darkness. The various followers have considered the world of humanity to be as two trees,—one a merciful tree and the other satanic. They have considered some of mankind the branches, twigs and leaves of the merciful tree and others belonging to the tree which is satanic. This sedition and warfare among the people of the religions was continuous, causing ceaseless bloodshed and strife. The greatest cause of human alienation has been religion because each considered the belief of the other as anathema and deprived of the Mercy of God.
The Teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH which are specialized to Him are as follows: He has founded the premises by addressing all humanity, saying, "Ye are all the leaves of one tree,"—not of two trees, one merciful and the other satanic. He has said all humanity belongs to one tree—the Merciful. Each individual member of the human family is a leaf, twig or branch upon this tree. All belong to the Adamic tree,—all are sheltered beneath the protecting Mercy and Providence of God. All are the children of God; all are fruit upon the one tree of His Love. God is clement and kind to all the branches, leaves and fruit of this tree and there is no existence or interference of a satanic tree whatever,—Satan being a creation of human proclivities. God alone is the Creator and all are creatures of His Might. Therefore we must love all mankind as His creatures and realize that all are growing upon the Tree of His mercy—that all are servants of His Almighty Will and manifestations of His Good-pleasure.
Even supposing we find a branch or leaf of this tree defective or a blossom imperfect, it nevertheless belongs to this tree and not another. Therefore it is our duty to try and protect that tree,—guard and cultivate it until the fruit reaches perfection. If we test its fruit and find it imperfect we must strive to make it perfect. No doubt we will find in the human world souls who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some souls growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must put them in the way of attaining health and recovery. If they be as infants in development we must minister to them until they attain maturity. Never should we detest and shun them, or consider them as bad. We must honor, respect and be kind to them all, for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of God but of His Divine Favor. God the Creator has endowed them with eyes, ears, hearts, physical, mental and spiritual faculties; that is to say they are creatures of His Will, not of His wrath. Therefore souls are manifestations of the Favor of God —that is to say, all humanity must be shown the utmost love, kindness and respect because what we behold in them are no less than the signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God, therefore how shall we be justified in debasing them, uttering anathema and seeking to deprive them of drawing near unto His Mercy? This is sheer ignorance, complete injustice and God is not pleased with it because in the sight of God all are His servants.
Another cause of dissension and discord is the fact that religion has been pronounced at variance with science. Between religionists and scientists there has always been warfare for the reason that the former have proclaimed religion superior to science and considered science opposed to religion. For this reason strife and enmity have existed between them. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH declared this to be a mistake, for religion is in harmony with science and reason. If it be at variance, it proceeds from the mind of man only and not from God and is therefore unworthy of belief and not deserving of attention. The heart finds no rest in it and confidence is not established. How can man believe that which he knows to be at variance with reason? Is this possible? Is it possible for the heart to accept that which reason refuses? Reason is the first faculty of man and the religion of God is in harmony with it. BAHA'O'LLAH has removed this form of dissension and discord from among mankind and reconciled science with religion. This accomplishment is specialized to Him in this Day.
Still another cause of disagreement and dissension has been the formation of religious sects and denominations. BAHA'O'LLAH said that God has sent religion for fellowship among humankind and not for strife and discord, for all religion is founded upon the love of humanity. His Holiness Abraham promulgated the principle of love among mankind. His Holiness Moses summoned all to the love of mankind. His Holiness Christ established the love of mankind. His Holiness Mohammed directed all to the love of mankind. This is the Reality of Religion. If you investigate the Reality and Inner Significance of their teachings you will find it so. You must not listen to hearsay but investigate the Reality. The purport is that Religion is the cause of amity, love and fellowship, not of discord, enmity and estrangement. But man forsaking the foundation of Divine Religion, has adhered to certain blind imitations. Each nation has clung to its own imitations and because these imitations are at variance, they have caused warfare, bloodshed and the destniction of the foundations of humanity. But the Religion of God is based upon amity and agreement. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH has said that "If religion and faith are the causes of enmity and sedition it is far better to be non-religious; that lack of religion is better than, religion; for we desire religion to be the cause of amity and fellowship. If enmity and hatred exist, irreligion is preferable." Therefore the removal of this dissension has been specialized in BAHA'O'LLAH, for religion is a remedy for human antagonism. If a remedy is the cause of disease it would be better to do without the remedy.
Other causes of human dissension are political, patriotic and racial prejudices. These have been removed by BAHA'O'LLAH. He has said and has guarded His statement by rational proofs from the Holy Books that the world of humanity is one race, the surface of the earth one place of residence and these suppositions of racial and political boundaries are baseless and without foundation. It is not becoming of man to be the captive of these illusions and suppositions. Consider,— the surface of the earth is one, and one atmosphere encompasses all humanity. No difference or preference is made by God. But man following illusions and superstitions, has come to consider nationalities various and races separate in rights and importance, thereby laying the foundation of prejudice, hatred and discord.
Diversity of languages has been a fruitful cause of discord. The function of language is to convey the thought and purpose of one to another. Therefore it matters not what language man speaks or employs. Nevertheless, BAHA'O'LLAH sixty years ago advocated one language as the greatest means of unity and the basis of international conference. Sixty years ago He wrote to the kings of the earth recommending the unification of languages; that one language should be adopted and sanctioned by all governments and promulgated by all nations. By this means, every nation might have its own natal tongue and acquire the universal language. All nations would then be able to communicate and consult with perfect facility and the dissension due to diversity of language would not remain.
Another teaching of BAHA'O'LLAH is in relation to the Most Great Peace; that all mankind must be awakened to and become conscious of the harm of war; that they should become informed of the benefit of peace and know that peace is from God, while warfare is from Satan. War among the nations is a trait and manifestation of Satan. Man must emulate the Merciful and not Satan, in order that public opinion shall incline toward peace, love and unity and the discord of war vanish.
I will mention another cause of dissension : the lack of equality between man and woman. BAHA'O'LLAH has named this as a great cause of discord and division among humanity, for so long as humanity remains unequally divided as male and female in right and importance, no amity or unity can be established. In a perfect human body it could not be possible for one organ to be perfect and another defective. In the great body of humanity how could it be possible to bring about unity, love and fellowship if one factor is considered perfect and the other imperfect? When both are perfect in function, perfect fellowship and harmony will be witnessed. Therefore it is the greatest mistake to assume one member of the family of humanity is perfect and the other defective or not deserving. God has created man and woman equal as to faculties; He has made no distinction between them. Woman has not reached the level of man in human accomplishment because of lack of education. The education of man has been of one kind and of woman another. If education were equal and similar, these two factors would be equal in attainment. God has made no difference between them which should produce discord. He has endowed all with human faculties and all are manifestations of His Mercy. If we say mankind is different creationally in endowment, that is contrary to Divine justice. Both are human. If God has created one perfect and the other defective He is unjust. But God is just. None are created imperfect or defective; all are perfect in creative endowment. To assume imperfection in the creature is to presuppose imperfection in the Almighty Creator.
In brief; woman must receive equal education with man. The soul which is most excellent in the estimate of God is acceptable before God.
We have for our subject and consideration the reconciliation of the religious systems of the world. His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH has said that if from each of the varying religious systems one intelligent member be selected and these representatives come together seeking to investigate the Reality of Religion, they would establish an interreligious body before which all disputes and difference of religious belief could be presented for investigation and discussion. These questions could then be weighed and settled from the standpoint of Reality and all imitations discarded. In this way all religious sects and systems would become one.
Do not question the practicability of this and be not astonished. It has been effected and accomplished in Persia. In that country the various religionists have gathered together to investigate the Reality and have united in the utmost fellowship and love. No traces of discord or differences remain; the utmost love, kindness and unity are apparent. They are unified and live together like a single family in harmony and accord. Discord and strife have passed away. Love and fellowship now prevail instead. Furthermore, those souls who have obeyed BAHA'O'LLAH and attained this condition of accord, fellowship and affiliation are Mohammedans, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Nestorians, Shiites, Sunnites and others. No discord exists among them. This is a proof of the possibility of universal unification among the religionists of the world through practical means. Imitations which have held men apart have been discarded and the Reality of Religion envelops them in its perfect unity. When Reality envelops the soul of man, love is possible. The Divine Purpose in Religion is pure Love and Amity. The Prophets of God were in the utmost love for all. Each one announced the glad-tidings of His successor and each subsequent one confirmed the teachings and prophecies of the former. There was no discord or variance in the reality of their teachings and mission. The discord has arisen among their followers, who held fast to imitations. If imitations be done away with and the radiant shining Reality dawn in the souls of men, love and unity must prevail. Thus will humanity be rescued from the strife and wars of six thousand years, dissensions will pass away and the illumination of unity dawn. Consider how all the Prophets of God were persecuted and what hardships they experienced. His Holiness Jesus Christ endured affliction and accepted martyrdom upon the cross in order to call men to unity and love. What sacrifice could be greater? He brought the religion of love and fellowship to the world. Shall we make use of it to create discord, violence and hatred among men?
Moses was persecuted and driven out into the desert; Abraham was banished; Mohammed took refuge in caves; the Bab was killed and BAHA'O'LLAH was exiled and imprisoned fifty years. Yet all of them desired only fellowship and love among men. They endured hardships, suffered persecution and death for our sakes that we might be taught to love one another, be united and affiliated instead of discordant and at variance. Enough of these six thousand years which have brought such vicissitudes and hardships into the world! Now in this radiant century let us try to carry out the good pleasure of God, that we may be rescued from these things of darkness and come forth into the boundless illumination of Heaven,— shunning division and welcoming the Divine Oneness of Humanity. Perchance, God willing, this terrestrial world may become as a mirror celestial upon which we may behold the imprint of the traces of Divinity, and the fundamental qualities of a New Creation may be reflected from the Reality of Love shining in human hearts. Thus from the light and semblance of God in us may it be indeed proved and witnessed that God has created man after His own image and likeness.
O my God! O my God! Verily I invoke Thee and supplicate before Thy Threshold, asking Thee that all Thy mercies may descend upon these souls. Specialize them for Thy favor and Thy truth. O Lord! unite and bind together the hearts, join in accord all the souls and exhilarate the spirits through the signs of Thy Sanctity and Oneness. O Lord! suffer these faces to become radiant through the life of Thy Oneness. Strengthen the loins of Thy servants in the service of Thy Kingdom. O Lord! Thou Possessor of great mercy! O Lord of forgiveness and pardon! forgive our sins, suffer us to be pardoned for our shortcomings and cause us to turn to the Kingdom of Thy clemency, invoking the Kingdom of Might and Power, humble at Thy shrine and submissive at the appearance of Thy evidences. O Lord God! make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden, united, agreed, fresh and verdant through the Bounties of Thy Love. O Lord! dilate the breasts through the signs of Thy Oneness and make all humanity as waves of the same ocean, as stars shining from the same height of glory, as luscious fruits borne upon Thy Tree of Life. Verily Thou art the Almighty, the Self-Subsistent, the Giver, the Forgiving, the Pardoner, the Omniscient, the One Creator!
- Translated by Dr. Ameen U. Fareed; notes by Messers. John G. Grundy and Howard MacNutt.