August 14, 2016

The Seed Sowing of the Ages - by May Maxwell

Address at the Fifth Session of the Baha’i Congress
Hotel Mealpin, New York City
April 28th, 1919
(Stenographically reported)

Beloved friends: As we have gathered here day by day and night by night in this room in the heart of this great city, we must have all realized that we are in the presence of an extraordinary event, that as the torrents of living water have poured from these great creative Tablets over our souls, we have been submerged in a realm of light and beauty and love which leaves us in great amazement. It may be that the most difficult thing for the soul is to become conscious of the greatness of events with which we are contemporaneous. We look back over the history of the human race and we see how many thousand years ago God made covenant with mankind through Abraham, and in that covenant He promised that the day would come upon this dark world when the seed of Abraham should be as the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea.

When Moses gave the great Tablets to the Israelitish people and they gathered on either side of the mountain and took an oath of allegiance and devotion and love and loyalty to that great covenant of steadfastness and servitude to the people, another great epoch in the seed sowing was unfolded.  When we look back upon such periods in the world we realize their greatness. We understand their sublime significance, and yet we here gathered are living in a period so infinitely greater and more wonderful that we are dazzled by the brightness of the light so that we cannot see. Those Israelitish people fulfilled their covenant and were led away and found the Promised Land of God.

And then, after a period of time came the Beloved One, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and gathered around him a little group of souls and illumined them, educated them, taught them and prepared them for the great seed sowing of that Christian era. After their Beloved One had ascended to the supreme realm and they were left alone on earth without him they went to the mountain top and renounced all that they had in this world. They gave up their homes, their families, their possessions, all that was near and dear to them on this earthly plane of existence, and they dedicated themselves utterly to the servitude of Jesus Christ, to their Lord and their Master, to go forth and to be the torch bearers to the world of humanity. They were the seed of God in the world. Their seed and their children's seed spread and enveloped the world until today the great Christian dispensation that was sown by these early disciples has enveloped a great part of the world.

In what a day are we living, in what an age are we? We have the privilege today that those disciples had, but not after the departure of our Beloved, but while he is still in our midst. He is calling us to ascend to the mountain top, to sacrifice and renunciation, to give up all in life, because Baha’u’llah has said in this day let no one come to Me unless he has his head in his hand. ‘Abdu’l-Baha is calling us again; He has for twenty years been calling this nation. We have been partially asleep and partially deaf and partially blind, but now we are awakened and because in His infinite bounty He has created a new spiritual springtime. God through the great laws of evolution has permitted the world to be harrowed and furrowed by war and sorrow and calamity until it is prepared; the soil of human hearts is prepared for the eternal seed of life, the seed of the love of the adored Beloved One. And now ‘Abdu’l-Baha has sent this seed to us, the potentiality, the mystery of a seed which shall unfold throughout ages, and cycles and generations to millions and millions of human beings.

What is that seed to be? Are we not ourselves that seed? Must we not be of that pure essence that wherever we go and become implanted in that place even temporarily we impart the life of God, the life of the Covenant to the people of the world? This is the seed of life. See the whirlwind that the world has reaped in this day because they have sown their tares! Mankind has sown in selfishness, darkness, ignorance and greed, and now today it is reaping this terrible whirlwind of the flood of infinite calamities; but now ‘Abdu’l-Baha is calling us to sow the seed of truth, of love, of light, of justice, of righteousness, and eternal unfathomable peace, that shall envelop all mankind for hundreds of thousands of years.

We must all realize that never from the beginning of the world until now was such a moment offered to any people. We are truly standing in that "eleventh hour," promised from the foundation of the world. You remember in the Book of Daniel it says that at the time of the end, "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they who turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." And this is that hour of consummation in which we are gathered. Every one of us is blest beyond all the inhabitants of the earth because we have the privilege to be in the presence of the most sublime creative Word of God which is being poured upon our hearts and innate reality to create in us a new capacity and to send us forth to give life to the people of the world.

Jesus said, "Work while it is day, for soon the night cometh, when the way to the vineyard will not be so easy to find.'' And ‘Abdu’l-Baha said, "Now while the Sun of Truth is still shining and the Son of God's Covenant is manifest, go forth and work, for soon the night time cometh and the way to the vineyard will not be so easy to find." Many years ago in Acca our Beloved Master said to us, "The time will come when the people will come here to Acca as you are coming now and they will weep and lament because they have not seen one of these days." He said, "They will tear down these gates and build gates of the most beautiful marble in the world and then the ages will roll by and new generations will come and they will bring bricks of solid gold and silver and build the gates." And then in the garden of Ridvan which sheltered Baha’u’llah during His lifetime, He said, "You are privileged to enter this garden to drink of this Fountain of Light, to be in this presence during His appearance in the Temple of Man on this earth. There is no period that can be compared in this world, to living in the day contemporaneous with the appearance of that Beloved One on the earth. It is different from any other time. It is life, it is joy, it is ecstasy, it is springtime, because His feet are treading this earth!"

We can hear His voice. We know that He is still guarding, and protecting and sheltering us in the midst of this dark world and never shall we have such a privilege to serve as while He is in our midst. There must be a great significance in His saying, "Soon the night time shall come and the way to the vineyard will not be so easy to find.'' What is this great mystery? Why is He calling on us now to go forth and sow the seed at this time, now? Because the ground is prepared, the way is made plain, the hearts are hungering and thirsting in every corner of the world, and this great capacity is created; also because the seed only germinates in the heat rays of the Sun of Truth. There is no period of love like the period when the Beloved is in our midst. He is the Beloved and we are His lovers, and while He is on the earth the heat of His love, the fire of His beauty, that love burning in the hearts of His servants is what will cause the seed which is sown to grow and germinate and expand and bring forth a great harvest. That is why He said one word spoken during the lifetime of the Beloved is worth volumes hereafter. One word spoken during this day while He is on the earth is worth volumes hereafter, and He has said, "One deed done in this day is worth the greatest deeds in the future generations."

He told us that even the words of the thieves upon the cross are known and remembered throughout all ages and throughout all nations and people because they were spoken in the lifetime of Christ while He was on the earth. They were spoken in the full blazing light of the Sun. Now we have this privilege to go forth and in the light of the Sun of Truth and the Sun of Reality and sow these seeds, and they will produce a wonderful harvest because the rays of His love are pouring upon the world. How can we do less than this for Him? We have no other way of expressing our love for ‘Abdu’l-Baha. This is the proof of love. It is this love that has drawn us together. He is the great magnet that has drawn us together from all parts and brought us here until we are fused and united in a love that makes us seem an absolute body, a temple. We are one people, one gathering, one congregation of the Lord in this day and He is pouring His Spirit upon us for a great purpose.

We must not leave these gatherings even for a moment, and we must not leave them when the final Tablet is given to us and we have heard its wonderful message. Then we must stay together, all whose hearts are touched and moved by this great force, we must come together and work to carry out this plan. We must grasp this wonderful opportunity and realize that the like of this has never been given to any people in any time from the beginning of the world until today.

Today, heralding the Kingdom is the magnetic force of the world of humanity because there is great richness in the souls. The divine teachings are the spirit of this age; they are the sun of this age. Every soul must endeavor in order that the veils may be torn away from the eyes, then instantly they see the Sun, and the heart and the eyes become illumined thereby.

“Now, through the assistance and favor of God, this power of guidance and this merciful bestowal are found in thee! Therefore, with the utmost power go forward so that to the mouldering bones thou carries life, to the blind eyes thou givest sight, quickening souls that are depressed -- for every road will in the end become crooked except the road of the Kingdom, which day by day becomes straighter!”

Unquestionably the heavenly melody cannot be measured by the melody of the earth, and the artificial lamps cannot be measured by the heavenly Sun. Therefore, one must strive for whatsoever is eternal and everlasting in order day by day to become more illumined, day by day to grow stronger and day by day find new life. 
(Star of the West, vol. 10, no.11, September 1919)