The Promulgation of Universal Peace
23 June 1912
Talk at Montclair, New Jersey
Notes by Frank E. Osborne
`Abdu'l-Bahá: You are always smiling.
Mr. Osborne: Surely our faces should reflect happiness in this presence.
`Abdu'l-Bahá: Yes! This is the day of Bahá'u'lláh, the age of the
Blessed Perfection, the cycle of the Greatest Name. If you do not
smile now, for what time will you await and what greater happiness
could you expect? This is the springtime of manifestation.
The vernal shower has descended from the cloud of divine mercy;
the life-giving breeze of the Holy Spirit is wafting the perfume of
blossoms. From field and meadow rises a fragrant breath of thanksgiving
like pure incense ascending to the throne of God. The world
has become a new world; souls are quickened, spirits renewed, refreshed.
Truly it is a time for happiness.
(To people coming in)
Welcome! Welcome! You are very welcome!
(The church bells begin to ring)
I was not feeling very well this morning, or I would have gone to
church. Everywhere we hear the call of the spiritual world; in everything
we behold the works of God. The church bells are pealing
in memory of Jesus Christ although more than nineteen hundred
years have passed since He lived upon the earth. This is through the
power of the spirit. No material power could do this. Yet people in
their blindness deny Christ, seeking to perpetuate their names in
worldly deeds. Everyone wishes to be remembered. Through
earthly and material accomplishments one will hardly be remembered
nine years, while the memory and glory of Christ continue
after nineteen hundred have passed. For His name is eternal and
His glory everlasting. Therefore, man should hear with attentive
ear the call of the spiritual world, seeking first the Kingdom of God
and its perfections. This is eternal life; this is everlasting remembrance.
How great the difference between the glory of Christ and the
glory of an earthly conqueror! It is related by historians that Napoleon
Bonaparte I embarked secretly by night from Egypt. His destination
was France. During his campaign in Palestine revolution
had broken out and grave difficulties had arisen in the home government.
Christian worship had been forbidden by the revolutionists.
The priests of Christianity had fled in terror. France had
become atheistic; anarchy prevailed. The ship sailed out into a
night brilliant with the light of the moon. Napoleon was pacing up
and down the deck. His officers were sitting together, talking. One
of them spoke of the similarity between Bonaparte and Christ.
Napoleon stopped and said grimly, "Do you think I am going back
to France to establish religion?"
Jesus Christ established the religion of God through love. His
sovereignty is everlasting. Napoleon overthrew governments in
war and bloodshed. His dominion passed away; he himself was
dethroned. Bonaparte destroyed human life; Christ was a Savior.
Bonaparte controlled the physical bodies of men; Christ was a conqueror
of human hearts. None of the Prophets of God were famous
men, but They were unique in spiritual power. Love is the eternal
sovereignty. Love is the divine power. By it all the kings of earth
are overthrown and conquered. What evidence of this could be
greater than the accomplishment of Bahá'u'lláh? He appeared in
the East and was exiled. He was sent to the prison of Akká in
Palestine. Two powerful despotic kings arose against Him. During
His exile and imprisonment He wrote Tablets of authority to the
kings and rulers of the world, announcing His spiritual sovereignty,
establishing the religion of God, upraising the heavenly banners of
the Cause of God. One of these Tablets was sent to Napoleon III,
Emperor of France. He received it with contempt and cast it behind
his back. Bahá'u'lláh addressed a second Tablet to him, containing
these words, "Hadst thou been sincere in thy words, thou wouldst
have not cast behind thy back the Book of God, when it was sent
unto thee.... We have proved thee through it, and found thee
other than that which thou didst profess. Arise, and make amends
for that which escaped thee. Erelong the world and all that thou
possessest will perish, and the kingdom will remain unto God.
...For what thou hast done, thy kingdom shall be thrown into
confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment
for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt thou know
how thou hast plainly erred.... Thy pomp ... shall soon pass
away, unless thou holdest fast by this firm Cord. We see abasement
hastening after thee...." All this happened just as announced by
Bahá'u'lláh. Napoleon III was dethroned and exiled. His empire
passed away and became nonexistent while the dominion and sovereignty
of Bahá'u'lláh, the Prisoner, has become eternal through
the confirmation of God. This is as evident as the light of the sun at
midday except to those who are spiritually blind. If we are afflicted
with a cold, we cannot inhale the delicate fragrances emanating
from the rose garden of the divine Kingdom.
In brief, the nations of the world are becoming united under the
sovereignty of the divine Kingdom. The East and the West are embracing
here in love and affection today. This is not a commercial or
political unity, but unity through the love of God. We have crossed
the sea to spread that love in America, to announce the call of
the Kingdom, to establish the spiritual foundations of international
peace. Although men may arise against the Kingdom, the dominion
and sovereignty of God will be set up. It is an eternal Kingdom,
a divine sovereignty. In His day Christ was called Satan, Beelzebub,
but hear the bells now ringing for Him! He was the Word of
God and not Satan. They mocked Him, led Him through the city
upon a donkey, crowned Him with thorns, spat upon His blessed
face and crucified Him, but He is now with God and in God because
He was the Word and not Satan. Fifty years ago no one
would touch the Christian Bible in Persia. Bahá'u'lláh came and
asked, "Why?" They said, "It is not the Word of God." He said,
"You must read it with understanding of its meanings, not as those
who merely recite its words." Now Bahá'ís all over the East read
the Bible and understand its spiritual teaching. Bahá'u'lláh spread
the Cause of Christ and opened the book of the Christians and
Jews. He removed the barriers of names. He proved that all the divine
Prophets taught the same reality and that to deny One is to
deny the Others, for all are in perfect oneness with God.
In London some of the Christians said we were deniers of
Christ. We say Christ is the Word of God. We are gathered here
this morning for His mention. The bells have called us together in
love and unity. This house is the temple of God. All are welcome!
Question: How shall we determine the truth or error of certain
biblical interpretation, as, for instance, the higher criticism and
other present-day Christian teachings?
`Abdu'l-Bahá: Your question is an abstruse and important one.
Complete answer to it would require a long time. I will reply to it
briefly. The only true Explainer of the Book of God is the Holy
Spirit, for no two minds are alike, no two can comprehend alike,
no two can speak alike. That is to say, from the mere human
standpoint of interpretation there could be neither truth nor agreement.
Question: Do you approve of the new thought in which the control
of mind over matter is the central principle?
`Abdu'l-Bahá: Philosophy develops the mind. Christ and the
Word of God are revealed through the Spirit. Plato says, "The
mental conclusions are so and so." Christ says, "Be led of the
Question: Should children be allowed to read the higher criticism?
`Abdu'l-Bahá: They should first be taught the reality of religion as a foundation. For instance, in the Catholic Church the child is
taught that through some act of the priest the bread and wine of the
sacrament become the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. The mind
cannot accept this. The child must be taught that this transformation
is symbolical of the truth that Christ is the food from heaven,
the eating of which produces eternal life. The Jews had memorized
the Bible but failed to grasp its meanings. If they had understood
the spiritual significances of the scriptures, they would have been
the first believers in Christ. You are among the first believers in this
country. You are the children of the Kingdom. Bahá'u'lláh has
taught you the reality of religion. There are many of the Bahá'í
friends in Persia whom we do not know, but we know you here in
America. Turn your faces to the Sun of Reality. That Sun has always
risen in the East. Find the answer to your questions in your
heart. Be as little children. Until the soil is prepared, it cannot receive
the benefit of planting.