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“When you give the Message of this Manifestation many say, 'This is nothing new—I prefer the home of my old religious belief which has been so serviceable and trustworthy.'”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá answered:

“Bahá‘u’lláh is the same Light in a new Lamp. To see, we must look at the Light and not at the Lamp. This is Spiritual Sight. The sun is one orb, but it has different rising-points on the horizon. One point was Jesus, one Moses, one Bahá‘u’lláh, and so on. Therefore, be a lover of the ’sun' and worship it, no matter at what point it may arise. If you worship the dawning-place, you will fail to see the Sun when it arises in another point of the horizon. Many stand at the old point and worship while they are losing the Light of the Sun in this Manifestation. True lovers of the Sun worship the Sun Itself and not the point of Its rising. They see and know the Light. Pray for those who stand worshiping the old rising-point of the Sun, spiritually blind to its New Appearance upon the Heavenly Horizon, spiritually deprived of Its Light and Bounty. The ministers and clergy do not accept the Message on account of their position in the Church. As stars in heaven they have become darkened. When the Báb arose and declared His Mission, many of the clergy who had occupied positions found it necessary to give them up and follow His Teaching.”

“Many people, likewise, who hear the Message are deprived of its Glory because they receive it from one whom they deem less competent to know than themselves. The Word of God is revealed according to the degree of Spiritual Sight, no matter who the messenger may be. Again, people do not receive the Manifestation of God because they are veiled by their imaginations. Imagination is one of our greatest powers and a most difficult one to rule. Imagination is the father of superstition. For example, two men are dear friends. They love each other so much they never wish to be parted. Yet when one of them dies, the other through fear dreads to be alone with the one he cared so much for in life. His imagination controls him and fills him with fear and horror. We are led astray by imagination, even in violation of will and reason. It is our test power. We are tested by our ability to control and subdue it. A man imagines he is wealthy. Some day real wealth comes to him, but it is never what he imagined it would be. Imagination is our greatest misleader. We hold to it until it becomes fixed in memory. Then we hold to it the stronger, believing it to be fact. It is a great power of the soul but without value unless rightly controlled and guided. Through imagination men receive a distorted view of a former Manifestation and are prevented from recognizing and accepting the Truth and Reality of the present one. They are veiled from the Light and Glory of God by imagination. These veils prevent the true Light from entering the soul. Therefore, men follow the false light of their imaginations and cling to error instead of truth. Thus the Egyptians were veiled from the Light of God in Moses. The Jews were veiled from the Glory of Jesus simply because they did not know Moses rightly and so were blinded to the one He promised would come after Him. Today Jews, Muhammadans, and Christians, not seeing the former Manifestation with true vision, are veiled from the Glory of God in Bahá‘u’lláh. One of the greatest veils is literal interpretation of the prophecies. Again, many refuse the Manifestation in His Day because they do not want to walk the hard road of devotion and servitude, but prefer the easy road of hereditary belief. Misconception of the Word of God and its meanings is another great veil which imagination throws over the soul and by which the Light is lost. Also, people inherit their belief from parents and ancestors and follow it blindly, too negligent to know and see for themselves. Negligence and apathy are heavy 'veils of Glory.' Read Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl’s book of Bahá’í Proofs, and you will find irresistible evidence of this Manifestation.[2] Will is the center or focus of human understanding. We must will to know God, just as we must will in order to possess the life He has given us. The human will must be subdued and trained into the Will of God. It is a great power to have a strong will, but a greater power to give that will to God. The will is what we do, the understanding is what we know. Will and understanding must be one in the Cause of God. Intention brings attainment.”

“Do the Manifestations differ in degree?”

“These Supreme Holy Souls are Godlike in their attributes. The garments in which they appear are different, but the attributes are the same. In their real intrinsic power they show forth the Perfection of God. The Reality of God in them never varies; only the garment in which the Primal Reality is clothed is different according to the time and place of their Appearance and Declaration to the world. One Day it is the garment of Abraham, then Moses, then Jesus, then Bahá‘u’lláh. Knowledge of this Oneness is true Enlightenment. Some see the garment only and worship the Personality; some see the Reality and worship in ’spirit and in Truth.' Some of the Hebrews admired the embroidered beauty of the garment of Abraham but were blind to the Real Light which shone upon the darkness of the world through Him. Moses was denied; Jesus was denied, crucified; all have been denied and persecuted for this reason. Men see the garment and are blind to the Reality, worship the Personality and do not know the Truth, the Light Itself. Some worship the Tree of Life but do not eat of the blessed Fruit of the Tree. Therefore, differences and disagreements arise in religious belief. If all would eat of the Fruit Itself, they could never disagree. For instance, four men were traveling along a road. They possessed a franc between them. One was a Turk, the others Persian, Arab, and Greek. They became hungry and wished to buy some grapes, but as they did not understand each other’s language, none of them could express his wish to the others. So they began to quarrel and abuse each other. Finally a man came along who knew all four languages. He asked what the trouble was. Then he said, 'Give me the money. I will buy each one what he wishes.' So he bought grapes, and they were all satisfied. They had disagreed upon a word or term only; all meant the same thing. Terms are of no importance. The Fruits of the Tree should be our desire. These are the Spiritual 'grapes.' Find the Light Itself, and there will be no difference of opinion or belief as to the Personality or Degree of the Manifestations of God.”

“The greatest proof of a Manifestation is the Manifestation Himself. We do not have to prove the existence of the sun. The sun is independent of proof. He who has sight can see the sun and prove it for himself. It is not necessary to seek for other proof. For instance, it is a fixed fact that nothing could grow upon the earth without the light of the sun. It is easily proved that without the sun’s heat and light no animal life could exist. The sun’s light is indispensable, its heat essential. This is the sun’s greatest proof. God with all His qualities is independent of all His creatures. Look at the Christ. He was a youth of Israel, not a great and honored man, but born from a poor family. He was so poor that He was born in a manger, yet He changed the conditions of the whole world. What proof could be greater than this that He was from God? It is so strong and evident that no one can deny it. Without this Light the world could not grow spiritually. The Blessed Perfection came from Persia, which is not a prominent nation. The great Prophets did not enter school to be taught of men, yet so many things did they manifest that at last we must admit that the world is not able to destroy the wisdom of the Prophets or grow without them. Everything of God is proof against the people and evidence for God. Peter was the greatest of all the disciples. He was the 'head' appointed by the Christ, yet he denied the Christ three times. See what happened afterward! See what a power of penetration the Word of God possessed! How the Truth in Christ grew and spread all over the world! There must be a Standard. The Kings of the earth cannot stand against the power of the Word. The Light of God will shine, must shine. The great flag of Nero was lowered, and Christ’s standard raised in its stead. All the kings of earth, all the learned men have become subject to the Word and are its worshipers. The Blessed Perfection during His own lifetime had one thousand followers who believed in Him. Only one proved ungrateful, yet he did not deny Bahá‘u’lláh. Many of these followers were martyred with His Name upon their lips. The renown of Jesus' Name did not reach outside His own country. We hear nothing of Him from the Phoenicians. But the Name of Bahá‘u’lláh reached the whole world while He lived. Jesus did not write to any of the rulers of the world. Bahá‘u’lláh sent Tablets to all the Kings and rulers of the earth. When Napoleon III was in the zenith of his power, the Blessed Perfection wrote to him. If we should gather together all that the Christ said, it would be very little in amount. But consider the number of Tablets and Books left by the Blessed Perfection! Although the Christ was not a great and honored man, although He was of such poor and humble condition that He was born in a manger, yet He changed the whole world by His Power and Divinity. What proof could be greater than this? How can anyone deny His proof! In the same way, the Blessed Perfection came from Persia, which is not an important nation of the world. He did not go to school, and yet so much Knowledge was manifest in Him that we must confess that is impossible to deny His Wisdom and His Divinity. So universal were the Bounties of the Blessed Perfection that the very stones and trees mourned His Departure. Everything sent from God is proof enough for the people of the world to accept and believe. The Manifestations of God are sent when most needed. There were Nineteen 'Letters of the Living' who accepted the Báb. The Blessed Perfection Himself spread the Báb’s Message. Great and learned men likewise embraced His Cause. They were Mullás or clergy of the Muhammadans. One of them is known as the King of the Martyrs on account of his death for this Cause. They were celebrated for their great knowledge and learning. The Manifestation of God is proof of Himself, just as the sun is its own greatest and sufficient proof. The sun says, 'I am proof.' In the ancient times the women of Egypt thought Joseph was an angel. No proof was necessary but his own beauty and excellence. The proof was himself. People of sight and perception see at a glance what the blind and incapable can never see.”

“Another great proof of a Manifestation is His power to develop souls. Miracles are but secondary proofs. Our first and important duty is to ascertain if the real Physician has come to heal the Spiritual sickness of the world, to learn if the Commander of the hosts of righteousness has appeared, to prove the appearance of a true Manifestation of God. If in crossing the ocean everyone on board the ship should assume the authority of captain, where would be the safety of the ship and its passengers? It would be impossible to reach the destination if everybody was Captain. Then after we have found the Captain of the ship of Truth, it is our duty to obey Him, submit to His Wisdom, and be guided by Him into Eternal Life.”

“Before each Manifestation a sign appears in both the material and spiritual heavens. It is the appearance of a literal star and the rise of a man as a Forerunner. The Forerunner announces the Manifestation of the Promised One. Before Moses appeared, a messenger came to the Hebrews, bidding them prepare for His Manifestation. John the Baptist came before the Christ. The Manifestations are greater or less in degree according to the Message they are able to reveal. Muhammad was preceded by a Forerunner or Announcer. Before the Manifestation of this Day, as it is the full Reality of Revelation, there were two Heralds, Ahmad and Kázim. It will be a long time before the rise of another Manifestation. The Manifestations are like seas. Some seas, such as the Caspian, are alone and separated from all the others; some, like the Mediterranean, are connected with the great body of the Ocean itself. The Manifestation in Muhammad was like the Caspian, alone and separate. The Báb and the Blessed Perfection are as the Mediterranean and the Ocean. The Manifestations are as suns in the Heaven of the Divine Will. Sometimes the sun and moon are far apart; for instance, in the middle of month they are 180 degrees from each other. But in the beginning and end of the lunar month they are only one degree apart. In the Qur'án Muhammad prophesied that in this Day the Sun and Moon will meet in Heaven; that is, the spiritual Sun and Moon of this Dispensation will rise together in the form of man. We should thank God continually that we live in this Day of a Manifestation of God. This Manifestation ended with the Blessed Perfection. The Cycle of the Sun and Moon is finished. I am nothing but the Servant of God. Some in America are looking for a 'third Christ' or personage. This is only imagination. Some call me Christ. This also is imagination. The Cycle of the Blessed Perfection will last for a long time. The next manifestation will not be so great as this One. When He appears, He will not be an independent One. Do they realize that I make no claim for Myself? I have sacrificed everything—My body, My comfort, My Station, all—to the Blessed Perfection. Bahá‘u’lláh is the consummation of all degrees. He is the Revelation of all Truth and Light. Whereas the Revelation of other Prophets had to be spread by the sword, Bahá‘u’lláh commanded that we 'must be killed rather than kill.' So He was the consummation of all degrees of Revelation which preceded Him.”

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