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IN THIS DAY every one must be tested, as the time of the "chosen ones" to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The "first fruits" must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests are relegated to the "many who are called."
[The above excerpt is from notes brought by Dr. E. C. Getsinger from Haifa. As the notes were not signed by Abdul-Baha, the responsibility for their correctness must rest with Dr. Getsinger until the door of communication with Abdul-Baha is again opened and the statements therein confirmed. Inasmuch as they appear of vital importance to all, we publish them in this issue.—The Editors]
[See page 45]
ABDUL-BAHA AT HOME—HAIFA, MT. CARMEL, SYRIA
Gateway and walk leading to door of his house; Mt. Carmel in background, with glimpse of Haifa through gateway
Photograph taken October 7, 1914, by Mr, George Latimer
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.
Vol. VI Rahmat 1, 71 (June 24, 1915) No. 6
Latest news of Abdul-Baha
Cairo, Egypt, May 13, 1915.
Mr. Charles Mason Remey.
Dear Bahai Brother— . . . . You will be glad to hear the latest good news which we have had of Abdul-Baha. Two Persian Bahais—one a resident of Cairo and the other of Haifa—managed to get on a steamer at Haifa and were allowed to come to Egypt. They were searched, and could bring no letters nor papers, and that is why Mirza Sohrab could not send by them any mail for America. They tell me that Abdul-Baha is very well and happy; his health is very good, and he laughs much and is in excellent spirits. He is happier than at any time since the war began. They have enough to eat as supplies are brought in from the country villages—vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs, meat, etc. The holy family and Lua Getsinger have been staying in a village two hours inland from Acca, but now they are all returning to Haifa, as Abdul-Baha considers it safe for them all to remain in their own homes at Haifa. You will all rejoice with us over this favorable news of Abdul-Baha. . . . .
Faithfully yours in the name of El-Abha.
"The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause"
Utterances of Abdul-Baha in answer to questions asked by Dr. Edward C. Getsinger during a few brief meetings at Haifa, Syria, January 26 to February 5, 1915, and recorded by Dr. Getsinger at the time.
NO OBSTACLE should be placed before any soul which might prevent it from finding the truth. Baha'o'llah revealed his directions, teachings, and laws, so that souls might know God, and not that any utterance might become an obstacle in their way.
Holding to the letter of the law is many times an indication of a desire for leadership. One who assumes to be the enforcer of the law shows an intellectual understanding of the Cause, but that spiritual guidance in them is not yet established.
The alphabet of things is for children, that they may in time use their reasoning powers. "Following the spirit" is a guidance by and through the heart, the prompter of the spirit. The Pharisees were extremely orthodox, holding strictly to the law. They were the cause of the condemnation and ultimate crucifixion of Jesus.
Several times tablets have been written to some friends regarding a small detail in the work of the Cause, which they might attend to, such as reporting
about Ezelies, nakazeen, et al., and now we hear that such tablets are used as a proof of their authority over the friends in those regions. Although the books and writings of Abul Fazl are used in many countries as text books, never did he even give a sign that he was an authority on any subject, consequently the gifts of God ever increased upon him, since he bore all honors in humility, until he attained to the supreme nearness.
The ones in real authority are known by their humility and self-sacrifice and show no attitude of superiority over the friends.
Some time ago a tablet was written stating that none are appointed to any authority to do anything but to serve the Cause as true servants of the friends—and for this no tablet is necessary; such service when true and unselfish, requires no announcement, nor following, nor written document.
Let the servant be known by his deeds, by his life!
To be approved of God alone should be one's aim.
When God calls a soul to a high station, it is because that soul has capacity for that station as a gift of God, and because that soul has supplicated to be taken into His service. No envies, jealousies, calumnies, slanders, plots, nor schemes, will ever move God to remove a soul from its intended place, for by the grace of God, such actions on the part of the people are the test of the servant, testing his strength, forbearance, endurance and sincerity under adversity. At the same time those who show forth envies, jealousies, etc., toward a servant, are depriving themselves of their own stations, and not another of his, for they prove by their own acts that they are not only unworthy of being called to any station awaiting them, but also prove that they cannot withstand the very first test—that of rejoicing over the success of their neighbor, at which God rejoices. Only by such a sincere joy can the gift of God descend unto a pure heart.
Envy closes the door of Bounty, and jealousy prevents one from ever attaining to the Kingdom of Abha.
No! Before God! No one can deprive another of his rightful station, that can only be lost by one's unwillingness or failure to do the will of God, or by seeking to use the Cause of God for one's own gratification or ambition.
No one save a severed soul or a sincere heart finds response from God. By assisting in the success of another servant in the Cause does one in reality lay the foundation for one's own success and aspirations.
Ambitions are an abomination before the Lord.
How regrettable! Some even use the affairs of the Cause and its activities as a means of revenge on account of some personal spite, or fancied injury, interfering with the work of another, or seeking its failure. Such only destroy their own success, did they know the truth.
Abdul-Baha is the interpreter of the aims, intents, and purposes of the words of the Blessed Perfection (Baha'o'llah) and is the interpreter of his own written words, and none can say that this or that is the intention conveyed therein, save Abdul-Baha. The spirit of unity exists in the Divine Words, and one who interprets them in such wise as to create a division and discord is indeed one who errs.
Were not the Revelation of Baha'o'llah one adaptable to the entire world and its diverse nations, it could not be a unique and universal Revelation, but its elasticity adapts itself to all conditions, and its spirit is one that moulds itself into every vehicle and need for the accomplishment of the divine plan of unity.
But when some follow merely the hard and fixed letter of the law, they deprive it (the Revelation) of its elastic quality—the spirit—and endeavor to convert it into a hard instrument of inflexible qualities.
In this day every one must be tested, as the time of the "chosen ones" to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The "first fruits" must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests, are relegated to the "many who are called."
The more one is severed from the world, from desires, from human affairs, and conditions, the more impervious does one become to the tests of God. Tests are a means by which a soul is measured as to its fitness, and proven out by its own acts. God knows its fitness beforehand, and also its unpreparedness, but man, with an ego, would not believe himself unfit unless proof were given him. Consequently his susceptibility to evil is proven to him when he falls into the tests, and the tests are continued until the soul realizes its own unfitness, then remorse and regret tend to root out the weakness.
The same test comes again in greater degree, until it is shown that a former weakness has become a strength, and the power to overcome evil has been established.
Blessed are they who are the means of making unity among the friends, and pity on those who in the right or wrong are the cause of discord. For instance: When one is in the right in a case in dispute, and his minority prevents him from establishing this rightful matter, instead of agitating the subject, if he will humbly submit to sacrifice his position for the sake of unity and peace, God will accept that sacrifice and ere long the rightful matter will be established without any further dispute, by the Divine assistance; whereas without such sacrifice and submissiveness great harm might ensue.
The friends must be prepared to themselves at all times. Seeking the approval of men is many times the cause of imperiling the approval of God.
The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause and mention the Name of God. We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to be dealt with in this day, for the mercy of God is still great. But ere long this merciful door will be closed and such enemies will be attacked with a madness.
It has been a long time since letters have been received from the friends. Everything is first read by the censor, and all tablets likewise submitted to him, and as my mail alone would keep him very busy, we make no effort to trouble him. Tell Ahmad Yazdi not to send any more mail to me under any circumstances.
Indeed, I contemplate no journey, for who would look after the poor should I leave here to travel to America or elsewhere?
If you knew what great things would happen to the Cause after my departure, you would pray every day and night for my release and demise.
STAR OF THE WEST
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TABLET FROM ABDUL-BAHA.
HE IS GOD!
O thou Star of the West!
Be thou happy! Be thou happy! Shouldst thou continue to remain firm and eternal, ere long, thou shalt become the Star of the East and shalt spread in every country and clime. Thou art the first paper of the Bahais which is organized in the country of America. Although for the present thy subscribers are limited, thy form is small and thy voice weak, yet shouldst thou stand unshakable, become the object of the attention of the friends and the center of the generosity of the leaders of the faith who are firm in the Covenant, in the future thy subscribers will become hosts after hosts like unto the waves of the sea; thy volume will increase, thy arena will become vast and spacious and thy voice and fame will be raised and become world-wide—and at last thou shalt become the first paper of the world of humanity. Yet all these depend upon firmness, firmness, firmness!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
"The holy spirit in America is confirming the dear friends"
LETTER FROM MR. GEORGE LATIMER.
Portland, Oregon, July 9, 1915.
To the STAR OF THE WEST:*
A little over a year ago Abdul-Baha uttered the following words:
"O how I long to see the believers shouldering the responsibilities of the Cause! This is the time of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Abha! This is the hour of union and accord! This is the day of the spiritual harmony of the friends of God! All the resources of my physical strength are exhausted and the spirit of my life is the news of the unity of the people of Baha. I am
* Extract from letter written by Mr. Latimer: "Dear brother Windust: I have just received the enclosed message from Abdul-Baha through our Persian brother Aziz'o'llah and, in view of the condition existing in certain centers, am sending it on to you. These words ought to make the friends realize that now is the time to take on the mantle of unity and harmony which Abdul-Baha has given us and to cast off the old disintegrating robe of personal differences. . . .
"Yours in the Covenant,
straining my ears toward the east and toward the west, toward the north and toward the south, perchance I might hear the songs of love and good-fellowship raised from the meetings of the believers. My days are numbered, and save this there is no joy left for me. . . I am waiting, I am patiently waiting."
In this present time of extreme crisis, when Abdul-Baha is cut off from the rest of the world, he again voices this longing of his heart. In a letter just received from Beirut, dated May 9, 1915, Mirza Aziz'o'llah Bahadus of the American University, who spent four days of his Easter vacation with Abdul-Baha in Acca, writes that just before his departure Abdul-Baha said to him: "On your return, write to the beloved friends everywhere and give them my heartiest love. Tell them that my health is very good. The climate here suits it, but if (providing) they (the violators) do not interrupt me. Tell the friends that
whenever I receive news that they are in harmony so that their hearts are overflowing with love for one another, that they are a comfort to one another, and that they have devoted their time to serving mankind without any exception, then my health improves more and more. So my health depends upon their conduct. I am really much pleased with them. I pray that they may become more and more confirmed by the heavenly hosts."
In another letter, dated May 25th, of this year, he writes that Dr. Habib'o'llah☨ passed through Beirut, with Abdul-Baha's permission, to go to Persia and convey the glad-tidings of his health. He
☨ Dr. Habib'o'llah was in Germany last summer, as was Mirza Aziz'o'llah Bahadus.
states: "Abdul-Baha, is exceedingly pleased with the beloved souls in America. They are often the object of his commendation. Abdul-Baha says: 'Though I am here, the holy spirit in America is confirming the dear friends, the children of the kingdom. They are blessed in every respect. My soul is with them.'"
It is indeed apparent what is required of us and that now is the time to fulfill these expectations of Abdul-Baha. May these words of his bring to us a redoubled zeal and energy and enable us to establish the kingdom of love, unity and peace in the hearts of mankind today.
In the spirit of the Covenant, George Latimer.
"The example of America must be a special example"
Address by Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, before four thousand newly admitted citizens, at Philadelphia, May 10, 1915.
IT warms my heart that you should give me such a reception; but it is not of myself that I wish to think tonight, but of those who have just become citizens of the United States. This is the only country in the world which experiences this constant and repeated rebirth. This country is constantly drinking strength out new sources by the voluntary association with it of great bodies of strong men and forward looking women.
And so by the gift of the free will of independent people it is constantly being renewed from generation to generation by the same process by which it was originally created. It is as if humanity had determined to see to it that this great nation, founded for the benefit of humanity, should not lack for the allegiance of the people of the world.
You have just taken an oath of allegiance to the United States. Of allegiance to whom? Of allegiance to no one, unless it be to God. Certainly not of allegiance to those who temporarily represent this great government.
You have taken an oath of allegiance to a great ideal, to a great body of principles, to a great hope of the human race. You have said, "We are going to America not only to earn a living, not only to seek the things which it was more difficult to obtain where we were born but to help forward the great enterprises of the human spirit"—to let men know that everywhere in the world there are men who will cross strange oceans and go where a speech is spoken which is alien to them, knowing that whatever the speech, there is but one longing and utterance of the human
heart, and that is for liberty and justice.
And while you bring all countries with you, you come with a purpose of leaving all other countries behind you—bringing what is best of their spirit, but not looking over your shoulders and seeking to perpetuate what you intended to leave in them.
I certainly would not be one even to suggest that a man cease to love the home of his birth and the nation of his origin—these things are sacred and ought not to be put out of our hearts—but it is one thing to love the place where you were born and it is another thing to dedicate yourself to the place to which you go.
You cannot dedicate yourself to America unless you become in every respect and with every purpose of your will thorough Americans. You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American; and the man who goes among you to trade upon your nationality is no worthy son to live under the stars and stripes.
My urgent advice to you would be not only always to think first of America, but always also to think first of humanity. You do not love humanity if you seek to divide humanity into jealous camps. Humanity can be welded together only by love, by sympathy, by justice, not by jealousy and hatred.
I am sorry for the man who seeks to make personal capital out of the passions of his fellow men. He has lost the touch and ideal of America, for America was created to unite mankind by those passions which lift and not by the passions which separate and debase.
We came to America, either ourselves in persons of our ancestors, to better the ideals of men, to make them see finer things than they had seen before, to get rid of things that divide, and to make sure of the things that unite.
It was but an historical accident, no doubt, that this great country was called "The United States," and yet I am thankful that it has the word "United" in its title; and the man who seeks to divide, man from man, group from group, interest from interest in the United States, is striking at its heart.
It is an interesting circumstance to me in thinking of those of you who have just sworn allegiance to this great government that you were drawn across the ocean by some beckoning finger of hope, by some belief, by some vision of a new kind of justice, by some expectation of a better kind of life.
No doubt you have been disappointed in some of us. Some of us are disappointing. No doubt you have found that justice in the United States goes only with a pure heart and a right purpose as it does everywhere else in the world. No doubt what you found here did not seem touched for you, after all, with the complete beauty of the ideal which you had conceived beforehand.
But remember this, if you had grown at all poor in the ideal, you brought some of it with you. A man does not go out to seek the thing that is not in him. A man does not hope for the thing that he does not believe in and if some of us have forgotten what America believed in, you, at any rate, imported in your own hearts a renewal of the belief.
I was born in America. You dreamed dreams of what America was to be, and I hope you brought the dreams with you. No man that does not see visions will ever realize any high hope or undertake any high enterprise. Just because you brought dreams with you, America is more likely to realize the dreams such as you brought. You are enriching us if you came expecting us to be better than we are.
See, my friends, what that means; it means that Americans must have a consciousness different from the consciousness of every other nation in the world. I am not saying this with even the slightest thought of criticism of other nations.
You know how it is with a family. A family gets centered on itself if it is not careful and is less interested in the neighbors than it is in its own members. So a nation that is not constantly renewed out of new sources is apt to have the narrowness and prejudice of a family, whereas America, must have this consciousness, that on all sides it touches elbows and touches hearts with all the nations of mankind.
The example of America must be a special example. The example of America must be the example not merely of peace because it will not fight, but of peace because peace is the healing and elevating influence of the world and strife is not. There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.
So if you come into this great nation as you have come, voluntarily seeking something that we have to give, all that we have to give is this: We cannot exempt you from work. No man is exempt from work anywhere in the world. I sometimes think he is fortunate if he has to work only with his hands and not with his head.
It is easy to do what other people give you to do, but it is difficult to give other people things to do. We cannot exempt you from work; we cannot exempt you from the strife and the heartbreaking burden of the struggle of the day—that is common to mankind everywhere. We cannot exempt you from the loads that you must carry—we can only make them light by the spirit in which they are carried.
That is the spirit of hope, it is the spirit of liberty, it is the spirit of justice.
When I was asked, therefore, by the mayor and the committee that accompanied him to come up from Washington to meet this great company of newly admitted citizens I could not decline the invitation.
I ought not to be away from Washington, and yet I feel that it has renewed my spirit as an American. In Washington men tell you so many things every day that are not so, and I like to come and stand in the presence of a great body of my fellow citizens, whether they have been my fellow citizens a long time or a short time, and drink, as it were, out of the common fountain with them and go back feeling that you have so generously given me the sense of your support and of the living vitality in your hearts, of its great ideals which made America the hope of the world.
In No. 19 issue, Vol. V. STAR OF THE WEST, on page 298, regarding the departure of Prof. Cheney, it is erroneously stated that he died in London. His death took place in Oxford.
In the address delivered by Mary Hanford Ford, which appeared on pages 33 and 34 of this Volume of the STAR OF THE WEST, the architect of the Palace of Fine Arts is a Mr. Maybeck, not the name mentioned; and the Column of Progress is on the Esplanade, not the Marnia.