April 10, 2023

The grandeur of the House of Justice – by Hand of the Cause William Sears, 1981

[A letter from the Hand of the Cause of God William Sears to members of the Continental Board of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa.]

"The National Spiritual Assemblies, like unto pillars will be gradually and firmly established in every country on the strong and fortified foundations of the Local Assemblies. On these pillars, the mighty Edifice, the Universal House of Justice, will be erected, raising high its noble frame above the world of existence. The unity of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh will thus be realized and fulfilled from one end of the earth to the other… and the living waters of everlasting life will stream forth from that fountain-head of God’s World Order upon all the warring nations and peoples of the world, to wash away the evils and iniquities of the realm of dust, and heal man‘s age-old ills and ailments.

"Then will all our cherished hopes and aspirations be realized, the tree of our endeavours bear fruit, ... and the hidden powers of the Cause of our Lord and God be fully manifested. Then will be unveiled to our eyes the in- auguration of an era the like of which has never been witnessed in past ages." — Shoghi Effendi

August 4, 1981

Beloved Friends, Colleagues, and fellow Bahá’is:

On my second visit to the Holy Land this year on a special project, I was once again made keenly aware of the majesty and grandeur of our Supreme Universal House of Justice. Each time I am with them the joy and wonder of those days in the presence of our beloved Guardian come rushing back upon me, and I say to myself: "I have made another pilgrimage!"

How often every Bahá’í has said. What a blessing it would have been if only we had seen the Precious Báb, or been in the presence of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, or could have visited the Holy Land when the Beloved Master was there. Many of us have looked upon the face of the beloved Guardian. Still more, however, have been deprived of all these past bounties and blessings.

Suddenly I realized that each one of these great blessings was ours all over again! Little by little it became clear to me that there were no such days as these very days we are living in now! These are the very days which the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and our beloved Guardian had sacrificed their lives to bring to reality. These days!

I said to myself, do we really understand and appreciate who it is that sends that Book, that Compilation, that Letter to us from the side of the Mountain of God? I vowed to myself that the next time I received a Letter or a Message from the Universal House of Justice, I would look upon it with new eyes, and listen to their words of guidance and instruction with new ears.

‘Thrilled to my fingertips’

January 11, 2023

The Case of the Bahá’í Minority in Iran: – a 1993 review of the history of the persecution of Baha’is in Iran and the success the community has had in using the U. N. system in their defense - by Douglas Martin

The experience of the Baha'is of Iran is a classic case of the violation of human rights, produced by religious intolerance. Prior to the Islamic revolution a deep-seated prejudice against the Baha’is and their religion characterized not only Iran’s Islamic clergy and the illiterate masses, but also many among the country's educated elite and middle class. The prejudice was widespread and communicated itself to many Western observers. Michael Fischer, a generally sympathetic commentator on the revolution notes, for example, that even the exercise of routine civil functions by Baha’is was seen as proof of a “Baha’i conspiracy.”[1] Richard W. Cottam, author of Nationalism in Iran, pointed out the problem of even discussing the subject of the Baha’i Faith in a country in which the word “Bábí” has long been freely used as an epithet, along with such words as “infidel,” to describe anyone to whom the speaker is strongly opposed.[2] This prejudice is probably the most important point to grasp for an observer wishing to understand the situation of the Baha'is in modern Iran. The second point is that, in the land of the Baha’i Faith’s origin, the prejudice is, paradoxically, combined with an almost universal ignorance of the religion’s nature, teachings, and history. For over a century a curtain of silence has surrounded the subject. The Baha'i community has consistently been denied the use of any means of communication with the general public: radio, television, newspapers, films, the distribution of literature, or public lectures. The academic community in Iran has studiously ignored the existence of the worldwide Faith founded there; the subject has never been treated in any university courses or textbooks. Indeed, census figures which provided statistics on all of the other religious and ethnic minorities in Iran have consistently been omitted for the Baha'i community, the largest religious minority of all.[3] Coupled with this calculated general neglect, the public mind has been subjected, for decades, to abusive propaganda from the Shi’ah Muslim clergy, in which the role of the Baha’i community in Iran, its size, its beliefs, and its objectives have been grossly misrepresented.

Both the ignorance and the prejudice are connected with the tragic events that surrounded the beginning of the Bábí and Baha'i Faiths in nineteenth-century Persia. It may help in clarifying the events of the past decade if this background is briefly reviewed.

Historical Background

The Baha'i Faith came into existence through the teachings of two successive Founders. The first, a young Persian merchant known to history as the Báb, announced in Shiraz, in May 1844, that He was the bearer of a Revelation from God, whom the Shi'ah branch of Islam had long expected under the title “the Twelfth Imam."[4] The world stood, He said, on the threshold of an era that would witness the restructuring of all aspects of life. The challenge to humanity was to embrace these changes by undertaking a transformation of its moral and spiritual character. Central to the Báb's teaching was the announcement of the imminent appearance of yet a second Divine Messenger, one who would address all the peoples of the world.[5] During the course of widespread attacks on His followers, incited by the Muslim clergy, the Báb was executed in the city of Tabriz, in 1850. There followed throughout Persia a horrific series of massacres of followers of the new religion. These pogroms aroused the revulsion of Western diplomats and scholars, and deeply scarred the Persian psyche, inspiring an effort to justify the killing of thousands of innocent people by excoriating the victims' beliefs and intentions.

October 9, 2022

Letter from May Maxwell to Mason Remey – describing how Thomas Breakwell became a Baha’i

Montreal, Canada, Dec. 3, 1913

Dear Bahai brother:

. . . Regarding Thomas Breakwell, you will remember the year and the month that he came to me in Paris. when I was staying with Mrs. Jackson. I do not remember the date but I remember all the facts. Early in the spring my mother had written to ‘Abdu’l-Baha asking permission for me to leave when she and my brother would be leaving to spend the summer in Brittany. A Tablet had come in reply in which this permission was refused and ‘Abdu’l-Baha said as far as it was possible, not to absent myself from Paris at all. Then Mirza-Abul-Fazl wrote explaining the circumstances to him and asking for permission for me to leave. But the time came for my mother and brother to leave the city and the permission had not yet come. They closed the apartment and I went to stay with Mrs. Jackson.

During that month I spent in Paris we had wonderful meetings, Mons. Dreyfus and others received the teachings at that time. I had known, the previous winter, a Mrs. Milner who was a friend of Lillian James. She had gone to America and returned and on the steamer coming back she had met Thomas Breakwell. She had told him nothing of the teachings, but had spoken of me as a special friend in Paris, whom she wished to have him meet, and the day after they arrived in Paris, she brought him to my little apartment at Mrs. Jackson's.

I shall never forget opening the door and seeing him standing there. It was like looking at a veiled light. I saw at once his pure heart, his burning spirit, his thirsty soul, and over all was cast the veil which is over every soul until it is rent asunder by the power of God in this day. As I opened the door, Mrs. Milner said "he was a stranger and she took him in," then when we were seated she told me that he was a young Englishman who had been living in the southern states of America and that he was a Theosophist.

He stayed a short time. As he was leaving, he said that Mrs. Milner had told him that I had received some teachings which had had a great effect on my life and although he was only going to be in Paris a few days, he would like to call to see me and hear what I could tell him. We made an appointment for the following morning and then he left.

July 20, 2022

Táhirih's Message to the Modern World - by Martha Root

[Transcript of a radio address, Sunday April 21, 1940]

I am happy to speak to you this evening about one of the greatest young women in the world, one of the most spiritual, one of the greatest poets of Iran, and the first woman of her time in Central Asia to lay aside the veil and work for the equal education of the girl and the boy. She was the first suffrage martyr in Central Asia. The woman suffrage movement did not begin with Mrs. Pankhurst in the West, but with Táhirih, also often called Qurratu’l-‘Ayn of Iran. She was born in Qazvín, Persia, in 1817.

Picture to your mind one of the most beautiful young women of Iran, a genius, a poet, the most learned scholar of the Qur’an and the traditions, for she was born in a Muhammadan country; think of her as the daughter of a jurist family of letters, daughter of the greatest high priest of her province and very rich, enjoying high rank, living in an artistic palace, and distinguished among her young friends for her boundless, immeasurable courage. Picture what it must mean for a young woman like this, still in her twenties, to arise for the equality of men and women, in a country where, at that time, the girl was not allowed to learn to read and write!

The Journal Asiatic of 1866 presents a most graphic view of Táhirih, the English translation of which is this: “How a woman, a creature so weak in Iran, and above all in a city like Qazvín where the clergy possess such a powerful influence, where the ‘Ulamás, the priests, because of their number and importance and power hold the attention of the government officials and of the people, how can it be that in such a country and district and under such unfavourable conditions a woman could have organized such a powerful party of heretics? It is unparalleled in past history.”

As I said, in her day girls were not permitted to learn to read and write, but Táhirih had such a brilliant mind, and as a child was so eager for knowledge that her father, one of the most learned mullás of Irán, taught her himself and later had a teacher for her. This was most unusual, for in her day girls had no educational opportunities. She outdistanced her brothers in her progress and passed high in all examinations. Because she was a woman they would not give her a degree. Her father often said what a pity she had not been born a son, for then she could have followed in his career as a great mullá of the Empire.

April 20, 2022

The Guardian and the East – by Hand of the Cause Ali-Akbar Furutan

This servant twice had the bounty of going to the Holy Land, achieving his heart's desire by attaining the presence of the beloved Guardian of the Cause of God. This privilege has been and will ever be a source of great pride and joy for me in both this world and in the world to come.

After the passing of the beloved Master, the Mystery of God, the mantle of authority fell on Shoghi Effendi, who was the "most distinguished branch," "the Priceless Pearl," "the interpreter of the Word of God" and His "Sign on earth." It was he who was charged, through the provision of the Will and Testament of the Center of the Covenant of the Ancient Beauty with the leadership of the people of Baha in both the East and the West. It was he who, during thirty-six years of Guardianship took the Cause of God to such heights of ascendancy as to astonish all people.

In this essay, this servant wishes to describe briefly the conditions of the beloved friends in Iran and its neighboring countries, and to review the achievements of the Cause after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, during the Guardianship of Shoghi Effendi. Thus, it will become clearer to the reader what bounty, what felicity and honor there is in being under the protecting shade of the Center of the Covenant of the Almighty.

When Shoghi Effendi assumed the office of Guardianship in 1922, only one spiritual assembly, known as the "Spiritual Assembly of Tehran," existed in Iran, the cradle of the Cause of God, and that assembly had been founded at the instruction of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Fifteen notable believers of the capital and four Hands of the Cause God comprised its membership. In Russian Turkistan, in the cities of Ishqabad and Marv, and in the Caucasia in Badklibih there also existed a spiritual assembly that attended to the affairs of the friends there.

February 14, 2022

The Challenge and Promise of Bahá'í Scholarship - by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, 1981

[This memorandum was referenced in a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice dated 3 January 1979 to the Participants in the Baha'i Studies Seminar held in Cambridge on 30 September and 1 October 1978; 'Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986'. It was published in the Bahá'í World, vol. 17, pages 195-196.]

Bahá'í scholarship is of great importance in the development and consolidation of the Bahá’í community. Historical research, orientalism and Islamic studies are obvious fields in which Bahá’ís can render great service to the Faith; there are many others. Indeed, it is not difficult to visualize the House of Justice, as Baha’u’llah's World Order unfolds, requiring the services of distinguished Bahá’í scientists in all fields.

Inevitably a number of problems will confront Bahá’í scholars, who will themselves have to discover the solutions, both empirically and otherwise. Nonetheless it may be useful to offer at this early stage of the development of Bahá’í scholarship a few thoughts on these matters.

It has become customary in the West to think of science and religion as occupying two distinct — and even opposed — areas of human thought and activity. This dichotomy can be characterized in the pairs of antitheses: faith and reason; value and fact. It is a dichotomy which is foreign to Bahá’í thought and should be regarded with suspicion by Bahá’í’ scholars in every field. The principle of the harmony of science and religion means not only that religious teachings should be studied in the light of reason and evidence as well as of faith and inspiration, but also that everything in creation, all aspects of human life and knowledge, should be studied in the light of revelation as well as in that of purely rational investigation. In other words, a Bahá’í scholar, when studying a subject, should not lock out of his mind any aspect of truth that is known to him.

January 10, 2022

The Greatest Name – by Thornton Chase

"Abha” is the Greatest Name of God revealed to us in this age. God, the Infinite, who is above ascent or descent, beyond perception, knowledge or comprehension, is nameless as far as man is concerned. A name of anything expresses the qualities or manifestations of that thing. The essence of nothing whatever is known. The essence of everything is nameless. Therefore, the Greatest Name of God is the Name of His highest manifested attributes. The highest appearance of Himself which can be perceived by any creature anywhere in existence—that Name is "Abha." Its meaning is Splendor or The Most Shining Glory. It is The Most Holy Outpouring, The Radiant Energy from the Unseen, Unknown Infinite Entity.

Anything to appear must have some one to see it. No creature of existence can ever see the Infinite and, therefore, it is impossible for the Infinite to have a name; but the Highest Quality or Manifestation of that Infinite, which can be perceived by any creature in existence, can have a name and that name is "Abha." It is Light.

"Baha" is the same name on a different plane. "Baha" is the name of the Manifestation in humanity to human kind. "Abha" is the name of that Manifestation in His Heavens or Spiritual Spheres.

"Abha" is the highest, superlative Manifestation that can be perceived only by the highest possible existences.

God, the Infinite, is the Pre-Existent, which does not mean as to time, but as the Cause of causes. He is not a part of existence. He, Himself, is outside of all existences, but manifests Himself through all existence as the light from a flame manifests itself throughout a crystalline room. He, unknown in Himself, manifests His Glory through His chosen and prepared Representative in existence. That Representative among mankind is Baha’u’llah, the Glory of God, the Word Incarnate, the visible humanized Word. Above it is the Glory of God, the Word Invisible. Light Itself.

"Allah-u-Abha” is the Greeting of the Greatest Name. It is the Greeting of the Supreme Kingdom. "Ya Baha’u’l-Abha" is an exclamation. It means: O Thou, the Glory of the Most Glorious!

(Star of the West, vol. 4, no. 11, September 27, 1913)

December 20, 2021

Some Memories of the Sojourn of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Paris, October-December 1911 – by Sitarih Khanum, Lady Blomfield

Much has been written of the journeys of 'Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abbas Effendi. Having been released from the prison fortress of 'Akka, after forty years of captivity, He set Himself to obey the sacred charge laid upon Him by His Father, Baha'u'llah. Accordingly He undertook a three years' mission into the Western World. He left the Holy Land and came to Europe in 1911. During that and the two following years, He visited Switzerland, England, Scotland, France, America, Germany and Hungary.

When the days of 'Abdu'l-Baha's first visit to London (in the autumn of 1911) were drawing to a close, His friends, Monsieur and Madame Dreyfus-Barney, prepared an apartment for His residence whilst in the French capital. It was charmingly furnished, sunny, spacious, situated in the Avenue de Camiiens (No.4) whence a flight of steps led into the Trocadero Gardens. Here the Master often took solitary, restful walks. Sheltered in this modern, comfortable Paris flat, He whom we revered, with secretary servitors and a few close friends, sojourned for an unforgettable nine weeks.

I shall try to describe some of the events which took place, but these events owe their significance to the atmosphere of otherworldliness which encompassed the Master and His friends. We, at least some of us, had the impression that these happenings became, as it were, symbols of Sacred Truths.

Who is this, with branch of roses in His hand, coming down the steps? A picturesque group of friends (some Iranians wearing the kola [hat], and a few Europeans following Him, little children coming up to Him. They hold on to His cloak, confiding and fearless. He gives the roses to them, caressingly lifting one after another into His arms, smiling the while that glorious smile which wins all hearts.

Again, we saw a cabman stop his fiacre, take off his cap and hold it in his hands, gazing amazed, with an air of reverence, whilst the majestic figure, courteously acknowledging his salutation, passed by with that walk which a friend had described as "that of a king or of a shepherd."

November 16, 2021

The Path to God – by Dorothy Baker

Revelation, the Path to God, has been progressive. Early man could understand a little truth; later he could assimilate great truth. Fundamentally the truth was one. With each appearance of truth, a rebirth of powers has attended it; man has been imbued with divine ideals, and an ever-advancing civilization has taken new steps forward. The miracle of new social power is accompanied by the appearance of a Master Teacher. The lettered Jews sprang from the spiritual genius of Moses; the glory of ancient Persia reflected the fire of Zoroaster; unfolding Europe lifts her spires to the glorious Nazarene; the architecture, astronomy, and poetic genius of the Muslim world in the middle centuries bespeak the gift of Muhammad. "He hath ordained," writes Baha'u'llah, "that in every age and dispensation, a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven."

To the individual, this is always an invitation to sit at the feet of the Master Teacher and renew his own powers. Laying aside the fears imposed today by tradition, the seeker of the Path fearlessly looks for the stainless mirror of his age. The Jew who knows the majesty of Moses, the Christian who longs to touch the garment hem of Jesus; these are the souls schooled in adoration. The illumined Writings of Baha'u'llah will bring to these, and to the untutored millions, the light of renewed faith and the means of traveling with sovereign power the immeasurable distances of the Path to God.

The Words of Baha'u'llah, coming as a part of the unending outpouring of the Word of God through the ages, act as the water of life upon the thirsty soul, refreshing, cheering, and bringing forth the powers of the seeker. Every life needs the emphasis of the love of God, but some cast about for a lifetime, failing to find this Holy Grail of spiritual health and joy. Just as bodies are sometimes lacking in the food elements that produce health, the soul sometimes stands in need of a divine physician who can prescribe the missing elements for spiritual success. The few thoughts given here are chosen from the unlimited mine of wisdom and explanation offered in the Baha'i Writings. Space permits mention of only a few.

Power through prayer

Faculties long allowed to rust must be called into activity. Man becomes like a stone unless he continually supplicates to God. Prayer is the great quickener. There is no human being who is not in need of prayer. ‘Abdu'l-Baha said, "O thou spiritual friend! Thou hast asked the wisdom of prayer. Know thou that prayer is indispensable and obligatory, and man under no pretext whatsoever is excused from performing the prayer unless he be mentally unsound, or an insurmountable obstacle prevent him." The sincere seeker, however, often asks, "Why pray, since God knows our needs?" In response, Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha mention many of the benefits of prayer:

October 12, 2021

The sufferings of Bahá’u’lláh and their significance – by George Townshend, M.A.

The Prayers and Meditations of Bahá’u’lláh which the beloved Guardian has given us is in large measure an intimate remembrance of the Redeemer's sufferings. And Bahá’u’lláh wished us to meditate on these sufferings. In the Tablet of Ahmad He says: "Remember My days during thy days, and My distress and banishment in this remote prison."

In a great poem known as the Fire Tablet He records at length the tale of His calamities and writes at the close:

"Thank the Lord for this Tablet whence thou canst breathe the fragrance of My meekness and know what hath beset Us in the path of God." He adds: "Should all the servants read and ponder this, there shall be kindled in their veins a fire that shall set aflame the world."

True religion in all ages has called on the faithful to suffer. On the one hand it brings to mankind a happiness in the absolute and the everlasting which is found nowhere but in religion. No unbeliever knows any joy which in its preciousness can be compared to the joys of religion. "The true monk," it has been said, "brings nothing with him but his lyre."

On the other hand Heaven is walled about with fire. This bliss must be bought at a great price. So it has ever been in all religions of mankind.

An ancient hymn of India proclaims a truth as real now as it was in distant times:

The way of the Lord is for heroes. It is not meant for cowards.

Offer first your life and your all. Then take the name of the Lord.

He only tastes of the Divine Cup who gives his son, his wife, his wealth and his own life.

He verily who seeks for pearls must dive to the bottom of the sea, endangering his very existence.

Death he regards as naught; he forgets all the miseries of mind and body.

He who stands on the shore, fearing to take the plunge, attains naught.

The path of love is the ordeal of fire. The shrinkers learn from it.

Those who take the plunge into the fire attain eternal bliss.

Those who stand afar off, looking on, are scorched by the flames.

Love is a priceless thing only to be won at the cost of death.

Those who live to die, those attain; for they have shed all thoughts of self.

Those heroic souls who are rapt in the love of the Lord, they are the true lovers.

All the founders of religions have had to endure rejection and wrong, and as mankind grew more and more mature and the victory of God nearer, these wrongs, these sufferings have grown more and more severe continually.

August 5, 2021

1932: Visiting the resting place of Mulla Husayn at Fort Tabarsi – by Keith Ransom-Kehler

In my last letter we had been heartily welcomed by the Friends of Kafsha Kula, when I had to stop writing.

It was the end of a strenuous day, for before leaving Sari we had packed; gone to be photographed in the beautiful garden given by Abdul Molaki for the new Haziratu'l- Quds, been driven three times into the ditch by an inexperienced driver taking me over the new road built for my coming; met and addressed the Ahbab [Baha’i friends] of Mafruzac; commemorated the martyrdom of Mulla Ali Jan; said poignant goodbyes, which is always a stirring emotional experience; greeted, in passing, the Friends of Shahid, and then participated in the welcoming ceremonies of Kafsha Kula.

The challenge to science today is to unlock the energies resident in the atom and release them for human utility. If some inspired person could find a method of utilizing the flea power of Persia, the land would become, over-night, the greatest producer in the world. But even the fleas, which made riot with our unaccustomed flavor, were unable to detract from the joy of this memorable meeting.

To our intense relief the rains were holding off although it was November; but when we arose to find a grey morning we were urged to make an early start for Shaykh Tabarsi, lest bad weather detain us.

It is three miles across a wide river ford and through barren rice-paddies (the crop had been long harvested) from Kafsha Kula to the site of the Fort so heroically defended against an entire imperial army by three hundred and thirteen men -- not seasoned soldiers, not the grizzled veterans of many campaigns, like their opponents, but youthful students unaccustomed to arms and accoutrements, and long trained in the cloistered life of metaphysical argument and disquisition.

In the record of humanity we find no parallel to their accomplishment. Alexander's army of thirty thousand defeated the Persian forces of six hundred thousand fighting one to twenty; but they were a military organization, reared to "stratagems and sports." Quddus, Mulla Husayn and their followers, without previous training, without adequate supplies, with nothing but a flaming faith and an unquenchable devotion to their Lord, the Báb, repulsed not once, but again and again, one to a thousand, the forces arrayed against them.

May 12, 2021

The Martyr-Prophet of a World Faith – by William Sears

The blistering July sun glared from the barrels of seven hundred and fifty rifles, awaiting the command to fire and to take His life.

He seemed so young to die, barely thirty, and He was handsome, gentle, confident. Could He possibly be guilty of the shocking crime of which He was accused?

Thousands of eager spectators lined the Public Square. They crowded along the roof-tops overlooking the scene of death. They wanted one last sight of Him for He was either good or evil, and they were not sure which.

It was high noon, July 9, 1850, in a parched corner of Persia, the barracks square of the sundrenched city of Tabriz.

The chain of events leading to this scene began in 1844. It was in an age of religious fervor. Everywhere men were preaching the return of Christ. They urged the world to prepare for it. Wolff in Asia, Sir Edward Irving in England, Leonard H. Kelber in Germany, Mason in Scotland, Davis in South Carolina, and William Miller in Pennsylvania all agreed that their studies of the Scriptures clearly showed that the hour for Christ's return was at hand.

James Russell Lowell's poem "The Crisis" was written in that very hour of Advent enthusiasm:

"Once to every man and nation

comes the moment to decide.

Some great cause, God's new Messiah ... "

The years between 1843 and 1847 were generally accepted as the time for the return of Christ. Careful study of the prophecies had simultaneously led Bible scholars and students in different parts of the world to these fateful years.

Did the years between 1843-1847 pass with no sign of the return of Christ? Or were these years comparable to those which followed the birth and enunciation of Christ's original message? Years which passed with no visible sign to the people of Palestine that the Promised One had come. The crucifixion of a trouble-maker from Nazareth they had dismissed from their minds. Was the story to wait, as it had waited in the time of Jesus, for over one hundred years before it began to reach the consciousness of the people? Was the story of Calvary to be retold at an execution post in the public square of Tabriz?

And during 1844, in Persia, this story had its beginning.

It was the eve of May 23rd in Shiraz, the "city of nightingales and blue tile fountains." Shiraz, in what was once the ancient province of Elam given by Daniel, the Prophet, as the place of vision in the latter days and mentioned in the book of Jeremiah: "And I will set my throne in Elam."

A young man declared that He was the one foretold in all the holy books of the past. He said He had come to usher in a new era, a new springtime in the hearts of men. He was called "The Báb" which means the door or the gate. His teaching was to be the gateway to a new age of unity: The world is one country and mankind its citizens; there is only one religion and all the prophets have taught it.

February 10, 2021

The Old Churches and the New World-Faith – by George Townshend, M. A. (Oxon) (Sometime Canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, and Archdeacon of Clonfert)

Having identified myself with the Faith of Baha'u'llah and sacrificed my position as a canon and a dignitary of the Church of Ireland that I might do so, I now make this statement on the relation of this Faith to Christianity and to the Churches of Christ.

It is submitted to all Christian people in general but more especially to the bishops and clergy and members of my own communion, with the humble but earnest and urgent request that they will give it their attention as a matter of vital concern to the Church. Only through an impartial investigation of the Cause of Baha'u'llah will they find, I fully believe, a means of reviving the fortunes of the Church, of restoring the purity and the power of the Gospel and of helping to build a better and more truly Christian world.

Baha'u'llah (Whose approaching advent had been announced in Persia nineteen years before by His prophetic Herald, the Báb, Himself a world-famous figure) made His public declaration as a Messenger of God in Baghdad in the year 1863. He affirmed that His appearance fulfilled the promised Return of Christ in the glory of the Father. He brought a Teaching which though ampler and fitted to a more advanced Age was in spirit and purpose the same as that of Christ. He revealed those "other things" which Jesus told His disciples He had to give them but which they could "not bear" at that time. His mission was to bring the work of Christ to its completion and realization, to reconstruct the social order of the world and build the long-promised Kingdom of God in very fact.

He addressed individual letters or specific messages to the monarchs of the West and to the members of the various ecclesiastical orders of the Christian Churches, and directed numerous and repeated exhortations and warnings to the entire Christian world. These without exception were ignored by Christendom when they were made, and they have now been set aside and disregarded for some eighty years. During that period the long established influence of Christ in Christendom has suffered a decline so unprecedented, so precipitous that the Bishops gathering for the Lambeth Conference were greeted in the London press with the challenge that "Christianity is fighting for its life"; while the Baha'i Faith proclaimed at that time by one lone Prophet shut in a Turkish prison has spread through the whole globe, has led the constructive thought of our time, has created a spiritual world-community joining the East and the West, and is fast making good its right to a place in the age-long succession of world-faiths.

December 10, 2020

A Sampler from Mahmud’s Diary – by Marzieh Gail

We tend to forget what a star 'Abdu'l-Baha was in the worldly sense, what a dazzling personality. We would be much mistaken if we thought of Him as an ivory-tower philosopher, a desert saint or One who spent His days only among the poor-although He loved them so much. The truth is that He Who was the perfect model for all Baha'is was splendid, sophisticated, in the good sense a man of the world; that He was equally at home in a palace or a hovel, with a beggar, scholar, or prince. He excluded no class from what Queen Marie of Rumania has referred to as the "wide embrace" - the Baha'i Faith - and none excluded Him. He would enter a city unknown, and His reception room would soon be overflowing. Weak and strong, known and unknown, they sought Him out, even Persian grandees who had persecuted His followers at home. Poets addressed odes to Him, artists painted Him, photographers took His picture. A number of word pictures exist, Browne's for example of 1890:

"Seldom have I seen one whose appearance impressed me more. A tall, strongly-built man holding himself straight as an arrow, with white turban and raiment, long black locks reaching almost to the shoulder, broad powerful forehead, indicating a strong intellect combined with an unswerving will, eyes keen as a hawk's, and strongly marked but pleasing features - such was my first impression of 'Abbas Effendi... Subsequent conversation with him served only to heighten the respect with which his appearance had from the first inspired me. One more eloquent of speech, more ready of argument, more apt of illustration, more intimately acquainted with the sacred books of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muhammadans, could, I should think, scarcely be found even amongst the eloquent, ready, and subtle race to which he belongs. These qualities, combined with a bearing at once majestic and genial, made me cease to wonder at the influence and esteem which he enjoyed even beyond the circle of his father's followers. About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt."

And Lady Blomfield says of Him as He was in 1912: "He wore a low-crowned taj, round which was folded a small, fine-linen turban of purest white; His hair and short beard were of that snowy whiteness which had once been black; His eyes were large, blue-gray with long, black lashes and well-marked eyebrows; His face was a beautiful oval with warm, ivory-coloured skin, a straight, finely-modelled nose, and firm, kind mouth ... His figure was of such perfect symmetry, and so full of dignity and grace, that the first impression was that of considerable height... inner glory shone in every glance, and word, and movement as He came with hands outstretched."

November 18, 2020

The Writings of the Guardian: – “precise and luminous” - by Rúhíyyih Khanum

In an age when people play football with words, kicking them right and left indiscriminately with no respect for either their meaning or correct usage, the style of Shoghi Effendi stands out in dazzling beauty. His joy in words was one of his strongest personal characteristics, whether he wrote in English—the language he had given his heart to—or in the mixture of Persian and Arabic he used in his general letters to the East. Although he was so simple in his personal tastes he had an innate love of richness which is manifest in the way he arranged and decorated various Bahá’í Holy Places, in the style of the Shrine of the Báb, in his preferences in architecture, and in his choice and combination of words. Of him it could be said, in the words of another great writer, Macaulay, that “he wrote in language ... precise and luminous.” Unlike so many people Shoghi Effendi wrote what he meant and meant exactly what he wrote. It is impossible to eliminate any word from one of his sentences without sacrificing part of the meaning, so concise, so pithy is his style....

The language in which Shoghi Effendi wrote, whether for the Bahá’ís of the West or of the East, has set a standard which should effectively prevent them from descending to the level of illiterate literates which often so sadly characterizes the present generation as far as the use and appreciation of words are concerned. He never compromised with the ignorance of his readers but expected them, in their thirst for knowledge, to overcome their ignorance. Shoghi Effendi chose, to the best of his great ability, the right vehicle for his thought and it made no difference to him whether the average person was going to know the word he used or not. After all, what one does not know one can find out. Although he had such a brilliant command of language he frequently reinforced his knowledge by certainty through looking up the word he planned to use in Webster’s big dictionary. Often one of my functions was to hand it to him and it was a weighty tome indeed! Not infrequently his choice would be the third or fourth usage of the word, sometimes bordering on the archaic, but it was the exact word that conveyed his meaning and so he used it. I remember my mother once saying that to become a Bahá’í was like entering a university, only one never finished learning, never graduated. In his translations of the Bahá’í writings, and above all in his own compositions, Shoghi Effendi set a standard that educates and raises the cultural level of the reader at the same time that it feeds his mind and soul with thoughts and truth....

The supreme importance of Shoghi Effendi’s English translations and communications can never be sufficiently stressed because of his function as sole and authoritative interpreter of the Sacred Writings, appointed as such by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will. There are many instances when, owing to the looseness of construction in Persian sentences, there could be an ambiguity in the mind of the reader regarding the meaning. Careful and correct English, not lending itself to ambiguity in the first place, became, when coupled with Shoghi Effendi’s brilliant mind and his power as interpreter of the Holy Word, what we might well call the crystallizing vehicle of the teachings. Often by referring to Shoghi Effendi’s translation into English the original meaning of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, or ‘Abdu’l-Bahá becomes clear and is thus safeguarded against misinterpretation in the future. He was meticulous in translating and made absolutely sure that the words he was using in English conveyed and did not depart from the original thought or the original words. One would have to have a mastery of Persian and Arabic to correctly understand what he did....

The Guardian was exceedingly cautious in everything that concerned the original Word and would never explain or comment on a text submitted to him in English (when it was not his own translation) until he had verified it with the original.

(‘The Priceless Pearl’)

October 18, 2020

The Missionary as Historian: William Miller and the Baha’i Faith – by Douglas Martin

A review of William McElwee Miller’s THE BAHA’I FAITH: ITS HISTORY AND TEACHINGS (S. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1974), 358 pages, appendices, index. 

“We are dealing ... not with what we would like to believe, but with historical facts established beyond a doubt which we cannot but accept.” — William Miller 

William McElwee Miller is a man with an obsession. Although by profession a Presbyterian clergyman, and for forty years employed in that Church’s missions in Persia, Rev. Miller has focused a great part of his energies as a writer and as a public lecturer on the subject of the Bahá’í Faith. The two books he has written are both on that topic (1), as are a third work on which he collaborated with the Reverend E. E. Elder, (2) and a number of articles published in the religious press. His most recent book, ‘The Baha’i Faith: Its History and Teachings’ may be fairly regarded as the final flowering of this lifetime preoccupation. 

To say this should not suggest that Rev. Miller regards his subject with any affection. He briefly acknowledges that the Baha’i Faith has become a worldwide religious force to be taken seriously. In speaking of The Bahá’í World, the fourteen-volume summary of the Faith’s activities since 1925, he says: “Whoever peruses [these volumes] ... will be impressed by the fact that the Bahá’í Faith is indeed a world Faith.” He groups it in this respect with Christianity and Islam, whose “field is the world.” (3) Such a judgment is in itself no small admission. In his initial assessment, written in 1931, Rev. Miller dismissed the Bahá’í Faith as “a dying movement,” a minor “sect” which was on the point of disappearing entirely from the world scene: “It is only a matter of time until this strange movement ... shall be known only to students of history.” (4) His latest book would, therefore, have benefited greatly from even a brief explanation of so startling a change of mind. 

What has not changed is Rev. Miller’s very negative view of the youngest addition to the world’s religions. Essentially, the Bahá’í Faith which he pictures for his readers is a product of a century-long conspiracy conceived by persons of the basest character and motive. Its present-day followers (whose own spiritual life Rev. Miller assesses as in no way distinguished) are entirely deceived as to their Faith’s real nature. Its laws and teachings are either superficial, harmful, or irrelevant to mankind’s needs. Its administrative order is “a dictatorship.” 

September 13, 2020

Baha’u’llah as Protector – by Mabel Hyde Paine

In whatever way we view Baha'u'llah, awe and wonder and an inability to comprehend must loom large in our attitude. An early pilgrim wrote of 'Abdu'l-Baha, "As we gazed on Him I realized that we could in no way comprehend Him; we could only love Him, follow Him, obey Him and thereby draw nearer to His beauty. I understand that we could not fathom the mystery of His being, we could only hope to be engulfed therein." [1] How much more, even, is this true of Baha'u'llah.

Yet, as Baha'is, we are not shut out as by a veil from Him. We recognize in Him the living Word of God, that same Word of which St. John wrote: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life and the life was the light of men.  ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father."[ 2] As Baha'is we have the enlarged conception of "the Only Begotten of the Father", that it applies to all the great Messengers or Manifestations of God. As Baha'is, adoring Baha'u'llah, we adore Jesus the Christ, Muhammad, all those great Ones who come to this earth, but Who at the same time always abide in the heaven of the creative power of God.

God has willed that these great Ones, Who were with Him from eternity and to eternity will abide with Him, should come to earth and take up the human life and live it perfectly. They are the channels through which the power of God may come to us. They are our help in troubles and in peril, our sanctuary of protection. As Isaiah put it, "A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." [3]

Among the ways by which we may come to an abiding sense of the reality of this protective power of the Manifestations is study of Their Words, which are deeply creative. Another way is a deep acquaintance with the lives They led while on earth.

August 10, 2020

Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf – Notes by Marzieh Gail

This is the last major outstanding Tablet of Baha’u’llah. The last He wrote before He left us; before that happened of which the Báb has written, "all sorrow is the shadow of that sorrow."  This is the last of the hundred books He revealed for us.

It was written to a priest in Isfahan, a priest called the "Son of the Wolf". His father had spoken the words that sent the "twin shining lights," the King of Martyrs and the Beloved of Martyrs to their death. They were laid in two sandy graves near Isfahan. (Years afterward, an American woman named Keith Ransom Kehler knelt there and wept and brought them flowers; then in a few days she was stricken and died, and the friends carried her back to these same graves and buried her beside them).

This priest, Aqa Najafi, had committed the unforgivable sin: he had violated the Covenant and blasphemed against the Holy Spirit; that is, he had hated, not the lamp, not the Prophet of God as an individual -- from ignorance, or because he did not recognize Him -- but the light itself, the perfections of God which the Prophet reflects; he had hated the light in the lamp -- and "this detestation of the light has no remedy...”

This priest was, then, the most hopeless of sinners. His evil found expression in many ways, and among them was this, that with his pupils, he kicked at and trampled the martyred body of Mirza Ashraf, in Isfahan (not the Ashraf of whom we read in Gleanings; Siyyid Ashraf, whose head was cut off in Zanjan).

And yet, Baha'u'llah begins this Tablet with a prayer of repentance for Aqa Najafi to recite. He offers this breaker of the Covenant forgiveness; just as, in His Most Holy Book, He offers forgiveness to Mirza Yahya, the treacherous half-brother who tried to destroy him. This offering is a demonstration of "Badá" -- of the principle of the free operation of the Will of God, Who doeth whatsoever He willeth and shall not he asked of His doings.

July 12, 2020

The Divine Servant – The Life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – Part 1: 1844-1908 – by Jinab-i-Fadil

The life of 'Abdu'l-Baha is very significant among the lives of the past heavenly educators. If we study the history of the former manifestations of God, we realize that the first portion of their lives has been free from anxiety and persecution, while the life of 'Abdu'l-Baha from the day of His birth has been one of vicissitude, trial and painful ordeals.  

Moreover, the enemies and foes of ‘Abdu'l-Baha, never ceased to plan and scheme to persecute and bring about his exile and banishment, and to annihilate His Revelation. And these people had more general power than the enemies of the former prophets.  

One of the Divine Allegorical incidents was that 'Abdu'l-Baha was born in Teheran the same night upon which the Báb proclaimed His Mission in Shiraz - that is, May 23rd, 1844. Baha'u'llah gave the name of His father to ‘Abdu'l-Baha. This name was Abbas but He always called Him Master – “Aqa” - even when He was a little child.  

The first few years of the life of 'Abdu'l-Baha were spent amid the most tragic and dramatic events of the life of Baha'u'llah. He was the center of the movement, every tragic event revolved around Him and His home was the rendezvous of all the Baha'is. All the news and all that transpired in the Cause was brought to Him. His home was well known as the headquarters of the Movement and often groups of rowdies would throw stones and try to hurt the inmates. When ‘Abdu'l-Baha was a little child groups of urchins would surround Him and try to stone Him. Even at the early age of eight or nine years 'Abdu'l-Baha had already witnessed the plotting of the enemies and had seen the friends martyred and guillotined. Up to this age He had seen many headstones of heroes and heroines who had gone to their death with radiant acquiescence.  

Most of the time Baha’u’llah was absent from home traveling in the interest of the Cause, and visiting the friends in prison. His property was confiscated and both day and night His household was in danger, so there was no opportunity for 'Abdu'l-Baha to go to school and learn the things which other children have to learn.

May 19, 2020

Psychology from the Spiritual Standpoint – by Ella Goodall Cooper

Ella Goodall Cooper
We, as Baha'is, approach the study of psychology as we do every other science which is helpful to humanity, since one of our cardinal principles is that in this day science and religion must work hand in hand in order to bring to pass that spiritual civilization which is the goal of all true education. "Study the sciences," says' ‘Abdu’l-Baha, "acquire more and more knowledge. Assuredly one may learn to the end of one's life. Use your knowledge always for the benefit of others."

"Know thyself," enjoined Socrates, without, however, revealing any method of going about it. Nevertheless, the precept still holds good, and extends to knowing one's neighbor, since "the proper study of mankind is man." To the Baha'is this popular interest, far from being improper, is encouraging, for it is a token of people's interest in one another, which interest we believe will grow and grow till all come to recognize the truth of Baha'u'llah's saying, "This handful of dust, the earth, is one home."

In sharp contrast to the popular superficial and often selfish applications of psychology, are the earnest endeavors, profound and beneficent, of the conscientious psychiatrists and physicians, patiently working to unravel the intricate threads of maladjusted lives, using the valuable technique contributed by the psycho-analysts, to bring education to the normal, and relief to the abnormal, members of society.

To these men, Janet, Freud Jung, Adler and others, society owes a debt, which is ever growing, as the efforts, particularly those of Dr. Adler and his colleagues in Vienna, are being extended to cooperate not only with medical men but also with the educator and social welfare worker, and we ardently hope the circle may soon widen to include the enlightened and scientifically-minded religionist, as well. The efforts of this group are directed toward prevention of abnormal conditions through education, rather than merely the relief of the tragic situation after it has been allowed to arise. Is not this the object of spiritual education also?

March 17, 2020

Happiness – Material and Spiritual – by Shahnaz (Louise Spencer) Waite

Thomas Edison, when celebrating his eighty-second birthday, was asked to give his formula for a happy life. He replied -"I am not acquainted with anyone who is happy." He could not give a recipe for happiness, he who had given to mankind so much that had brought comfort and enlightenment the world over, because, as he stated he knew no one who was happy. His statement was unqualified, he made no exceptions.

On the other hand, there are countless cults whose leaders make a specialty of "formulas for happiness." They promise perfect "health, wealth, love, and happiness" to all who will pay the price for the formula with instructions as to how to apply it; but it does not seem to work out well or more of their followers would demonstrate the promised results.

The extreme scarcity of happiness goes to show that there is something else to be sought for upon which happiness depends, or else that one is searching in the wrong direction.

There are as many human opinions as to how happiness may be obtained as there are various conceptions as to what constitutes that blissful state. That which ranks first among these may be classified under sense-gratification. By the pleasure seeker it is confused with the sought-for prize. Yet we know that sense-gratification is not happiness neither is asceticism practiced to win this sacred gift.

It has been said that "happiness ever flees the ardent seeker," that it "comes unbidden when it comes at all." Conditions must be right, for it enters the human heart. It cannot dwell with discord or inharmony. It is never found where evil impulses, greed and selfishness dwell.

Neither does marked culture, education, talents or fame encage it. Palatial environments, wealth and social position seem more often to frighten it away; and sordid conditions offer no inducement for its abiding place. Material grandeur, pomp and glory hold nothing that attracts its divine nature.

January 14, 2020

1979: The tragic death of the Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga and his family – by NSA of Canada

The Universal House of justice has shared with us a copy of a letter dated January 11, 1980, from the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land to the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the world. We hope this will allay any concerns the friends may have had over the circumstances surrounding the death of our beloved Hand of the Cause, Enoch Olinga.

"In all of these sad events it is some consolation to know that apparently the murder of Mr. Olinga was in no way directly connected with either religion or politics; in other words no one associated Enoch with any political factions and this attack on him was not in the nature of an attack on the Faith itself. Enoch may have been killed just because he was an affluent businessman and well known because of this and as a 'leader' of the Baha’is.

“For some years past in Uganda the elimination of prominent people has been a fixed policy of certain factions and nearly all those who fell into this category fled the country. Mr. Vuyiya, who arrived in Kampala from Nairobi three days after the event, writes ' ... staying in the middle of the town, I had the full effect of the state of near anarchy in Kampala at night. There were shots every night.' He points out that in the nightly curfew no one could tell who was roaming about the streets and that every night brought with it ‘... the news of the murder of yet another family.'

“As nothing worth mentioning, including a large sum of money which was available in Mr. Olinga's desk, seems to have been stolen from the home, some people consider that it was one of the acts being regularly committed by some obscure faction, to create the impression that lawlessness was rampant and thus discredit the efforts of the new Government to maintain law and order. In similar killings these 'thugs' have stated they are not thieves but have come 'only for lives.'

October 23, 2019

July 1950: Pilgrimage to the Scenes of the Báb’s Captivity and Martyrdom – by Hand of the Cause Dhikru’llah Khadem, translated by Marzieh Gail

A hundred years have now gone by since the meek and holy Báb, the Gate of God, was put to death at noon on July 9, 1850, and even to the present day the world and its peoples ("except for those into whose eyes God hath shed the radiance of His Face") are fast in a deathlike sleep, unconscious of a mighty Faith, a transcendent Dispensation, which made prophets and seers of past ages cry out and weep with longing for it. At this time the Baha'is of the world, from the northernmost point of the globe to the southernmost, and from Far East to Far West, following the example of Shoghi Effendi turned their hearts toward the Country of Sorrows, to commemorate at the Guardian's bidding the first Centenary of the Bab's martyrdom. In recognition of this event the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Persia went on a nine days' pilgrimage into Adbirbayjan. This is an account of their journey and what it meant to one of them.

Journey to Tabríz
It is Thursday, the 6th of July, 1950. It is the day of Istijlál, the day of Qudrat, the month of Rahmat, of the year Javáb, of the sixth Váhid of the first Kull-i-Sbay'. The group of travelers has set out as pilgrims, in a spirit of humility and penitence and great love, going to the place of the Báb's last agony. They are traveling to that spot whose very name, some thousand years ago, set fire to the heart of Muhammad's descendent the Imám Muhammad-Báqir, so that he spoke these words of it: "Inevitable for us is Adhirbáyján. Nothing can equal it ... "

They are traveling to see the place with their physical eyes, but also to weep over the anguish of that Lord of men in the Country of Sorrows itself, where earth and air, mountains and lakes, streams, trees, and stones bear witness to the wrong that was done Him. They will pour out for Him as a libation something of the sorrow of their hearts.

The bus goes fast. Again it slows. It fulfills the promise as to the Day of the Lord and the coming of the Kingdom when, Scripture says, the earth will be rolled up. All along our talk is of the passion of the Báb.

July 17, 2019

‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Center of the Covenant – by Juliet Thompson

Juliet Thompson in her studio
'Abdu’l-Baha: Vibrant Personality and Unique Function of the Figure Who Heralds the Golden Age

In these days when a civilization is dying before our very eyes, and when the great Prophet, Baha’u’llah, has appeared, standing on the threshold of a new age with a scroll of new commandments in His hand, two other Figures stand with Him, of heart-captivating beauty: - the youthful Báb, His Forerunner, equal in rank with Him as an independent Revelator, and the Son of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha. “’Abdu'l-Baha", translated, means "Servant of the Glory", and this is His self-assumed title. Baha'u'llah entitled Him ‘The Master’".

In the language of Shoghi Effendi, the present Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, 'Abdu'l-Baha "holds not only in the Dispensation of Baha'u'lIah, but in the entire field of religious history, a unique function. Though moving in a sphere of His own and holding a rank radically different from that of the Author and the Forerunner of the Baha'i Revelation, He, by virtue of the station ordained for Him through the Covenant of Baha'u'llah forms, together with Them, what may be termed the Three Central Figures of a Faith unapproached in the world's spiritual history. He towers, in conjunction with Them, above the destinies of this infant Faith of God from a level to which no individual or body ministering to its needs after Him, and for no less a period than a thousand years, can ever hope to rise."

Among the many titles conferred by His Father on 'Abdu'l-Baha is that of "The Mystery of God". The Guardian, referring to these titles, writes that they "invest Him with a power and surround Him with a halo which the present generation can never adequately appreciate."

February 10, 2019

Question: If all souls' thoughts were entirely given to holy thoughts of God, what would become of the world from a commercial standpoint? – Answer by Mirza ‘Abu’l-Fadl

circa 1902: Mirza Abu'l-Fadl (center)
with some early Western believers

Love, faith and being filled with the will of God are not contradictory to the temporal affairs that man has to attend to -- that is, we can be filled with the love of God and at the same time look after our worldly life and pursuits which are necessary to guarantee our social welfare and prosperity, etc. -- though in the beginning it is difficult for us to realize this state in ourselves, yet this can become feasible and practical, if we obey the laws and ordinances of God.

For instance, consider David: While he was attentive and watchful over his temporal affairs and worldly dominion to such an extent that he looked after each one of his soldiers, computed their number, arranged their sustenance and means of living, and while he was so alert in arranging administrative affairs that he was not at all heedless of the neighboring kings and their thoughts -- even through outward means -- even in such wise that through warfare and battles he strengthened that weak kingdom of the Israelites and glorified his people before the eyes of the great kings of Egypt and Assyria -- nevertheless, could it be thought that he was meanwhile separated from the love of God? Or could it be said he was so carried away by temporal occupations and cares as to make him heedless of the commemoration of God? And could we and you, as some people, bring ourselves to believe that David did sin?