The Promulgation of Universal Peace
16 August 1912
Talk at Green Acre
Notes by Edna McKinney
Every subject presented to a thoughtful audience must be supported
by rational proofs and logical arguments. Proofs are of four
kinds: first, through sense perception; second, through the reasoning
faculty; third, from traditional or scriptural authority; fourth,
through the medium of inspiration. That is to say, there are four
criteria or standards of judgment by which the human mind reaches
its conclusions. We will first consider the criterion of the senses.
This is a standard still held to by the materialistic philosophers of
the world. They believe that whatever is perceptible to the senses is
a verity, a certainty and without doubt existent. For example, they
say, "Here is a lamp which you see, and because it is perceptible to
the sense of sight, you cannot doubt its existence. There is a tree;
your sense of vision assures you of its reality, which is beyond
question. This is a man; you see that he is a man; therefore, he
exists." In a word, everything confirmed by the senses is assumed
to be as undoubted and unquestioned as the product of five multiplied
by five; it cannot be twenty-six nor less than twenty-five.
Consequently, the materialistic philosophers consider the criterion
of the senses to be first and foremost.
But in the estimation of the divine philosophers this proof and
assurance is not reliable; nay, rather, they deem the standard of the
senses to be false because it is imperfect. Sight, for instance, is one
of the most important of the senses, yet it is subject to many aberrations
and inaccuracies. The eye sees the mirage as a body of water;
it regards images in the mirror as realities when they are but reflections.
A man sailing upon the river imagines that objects upon the
shore are moving, whereas he is in motion, and they are stationary.
To the eye the earth appears fixed, while the sun and stars revolve
about it. As a matter of fact, the heavenly orbs are stationary, and
the earth is turning upon its axis. The colossal suns, planets and
constellations which shine in the heavens appear small, nay,
infinitesimal to human vision, whereas in reality they are vastly
greater than the earth in dimension and volume. A whirling spark
appears to the sight as a circle of fire. There are numberless instances
of this kind which show the error and inaccuracy of the
senses. Therefore, the divine philosophers have considered this
standard of judgment to be defective and unreliable.
The second criterion is that of the intellect. The ancient philosophers
in particular considered the intellect to be the most important
agency of judgment. Among the wise men of Greece, Rome, Persia
and Egypt the criterion of true proof was reason. They held that
every matter submitted to the reasoning faculty could be proved
true or false and must be accepted or rejected accordingly. But in
the estimation of the people of insight this criterion is likewise defective
and unreliable, for these same philosophers who held to reason
or intellect as the standard of human judgment have differed
widely among themselves upon every subject of investigation. The
statements of the Greek philosophers are contradictory to the conclusions
of the Persian sages. Even among the Greek philosophers
themselves there is continual variance and lack of agreement upon
any given subject. Great difference of thought also prevailed between
the wise men of Greece and Rome. Therefore, if the criterion
of reason or intellect constituted a correct and infallible standard
of judgment, those who tested and applied it should have arrived
at the same conclusions. As they differ and are contradictory
in conclusions, it is an evidence that the method and standard of
test must have been faulty and insufficient.
The third criterion or standard of proof is traditional or scriptural--
namely, that every statement or conclusion should be supported
by traditions recorded in certain religious books. When
we come to consider even the Holy Books--the Books of
God--we are led to ask, "Who understands these books? By what
authority of explanation may these Books be understood?" It must
be the authority of human reason, and if reason or intellect finds itself
incapable of explaining certain questions, or if the possessors
of intellect contradict each other in the interpretation of traditions,
how can such a criterion be relied upon for accurate conclusions?
The fourth standard is that of inspiration. In past centuries many
philosophers have claimed illumination or revelation, prefacing
their statements by the announcement that "this subject has been
revealed through me" or "thus do I speak by inspiration." Of this
class were the philosophers of the Illuminati. Inspirations are the
promptings or susceptibilities of the human heart. The promptings
of the heart are sometimes satanic. How are we to differentiate
them? How are we to tell whether a given statement is an inspiration
and prompting of the heart through the merciful assistance or
through the satanic agency?
Consequently, it has become evident that the four criteria or
standards of judgment by which the human mind reaches its conclusions
are faulty and inaccurate. All of them are liable to mistake
and error in conclusions. But a statement presented to the mind accompanied
by proofs which the senses can perceive to be correct,
which the faculty of reason can accept, which is in accord with traditional
authority and sanctioned by the promptings of the heart,
can be adjudged and relied upon as perfectly correct, for it has been
proved and tested by all the standards of judgment and found to be
complete. When we apply but one test, there are possibilities of
mistake. This is self-evident and manifest.
We will now consider the subject of love which has been
suggested, submitting it to the four standards of judgment and
thereby reaching our conclusions.
We declare that love is the cause of the existence of all
phenomena and that the absence of love is the cause of disintegration
or nonexistence. Love is the conscious bestowal of God, the
bond of affiliation in all phenomena. We will first consider the
proof of this through sense perception. As we look upon the universe,
we observe that all composite beings or existing phenomena
are made up primarily of single elements bound together by a
power of attraction. Through this power of attraction cohesion has
become manifest between atoms of these composing elements.
The resultant being is a phenomenon of the lower contingent type.
The power of cohesion expressed in the mineral kingdom is in
reality love or affinity manifested in a low degree according to the
exigencies of the mineral world. We take a step higher into the
vegetable kingdom where we find an increased power of attraction
has become manifest among the composing elements which form
phenomena. Through this degree of attraction a cellular admixture
is produced among these elements which make up the body of a
plant. Therefore, in the degree of the vegetable kingdom there is
love. We enter the animal kingdom and find the attractive power
binding together single elements as in the mineral, plus the cellular
admixture as in the vegetable, plus the phenomena of feelings or
susceptibilities. We observe that the animals are susceptible to
certain affiliation and fellowship and that they exercise natural
selection. This elemental attraction, this admixture and selective
affinity is love manifest in the degree of the animal kingdom.
Finally, we come to the kingdom of man. As this is the superior
kingdom, the light of love is more resplendent. In man we find the
power of attraction among the elements which compose his material
body, plus the attraction which produces cellular admixture or
augmentative power, plus the attraction which characterizes the
sensibilities of the animal kingdom, but still beyond and above all
these lower powers we discover in the being of man the attraction
of heart, the susceptibilities and affinities which bind men together,
enabling them to live and associate in friendship and solidarity.
It is, therefore, evident that in the world of humanity the
greatest king and sovereign is love. If love were extinguished, the
power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human hearts destroyed,
the phenomena of human life would disappear.
This is a proof perceptible to the senses, acceptable to reason, in
accord with traditions and teachings of the Holy Books and verified
by the promptings of human hearts themselves. It is a proof upon
which we can absolutely rely and declare to be complete. But these
are only degrees of love which exist in the natural or physical
world. Their manifestation is ever according to the requirement of
natural conditions and standards.
Real love is the love which exists between God and His servants,
the love which binds together holy souls. This is the love of
the spiritual world, not the love of physical bodies and organisms.
For example, consider and observe how the bestowals of God successively
descend upon mankind, how the divine effulgences ever
shine upon the human world. There can be no doubt that these
bestowals, these bounties, these effulgences emanate from love.
Unless love be the divine motive, it would be impossible for the
heart of man to attain or receive them. Unless love exists, the divine
blessing could not descend upon any object or thing. Unless
there be love, the recipient of divine effulgence could not radiate
and reflect that effulgence upon other objects. If we are of those
who perceive, we realize that the bounties of God manifest themselves
continuously, even as the rays of the sun unceasingly emanate
from the solar center. The phenomenal world through the resplendent
effulgence of the sun is radiant and bright. In the same
way the realm of hearts and spirits is illumined and resuscitated
through the shining rays of the Sun of Reality and the bounties of
the love of God. Thereby the world of existence, the kingdom of
hearts and spirits, is ever quickened into life. Were it not for the
love of God, hearts would be inanimate, spirits would wither, and
the reality of man would be bereft of the everlasting bestowals.
Consider to what extent the love of God makes itself manifest.
Among the signs of His love which appear in the world are the
dawning points of His Manifestations. What an infinite degree of
love is reflected by the divine Manifestations toward mankind! For
the sake of guiding the people They have willingly forfeited Their
lives to resuscitate human hearts. They have accepted the cross. To
enable human souls to attain the supreme degree of advancement,
They have suffered during Their limited years extreme ordeals and
difficulties. If Jesus Christ had not possessed love for the world of
humanity, surely He would not have welcomed the cross. He was
crucified for the love of mankind. Consider the infinite degree of
that love. Without love for humanity John the Baptist would not
have offered his life. It has been likewise with all the Prophets and
Holy Souls. If the Báb had not manifested love for mankind,
surely He would not have offered His breast for a thousand bullets.
If Bahá'u'lláh had not been aflame with love for humanity, He
would not have willingly accepted forty years' imprisonment.
Observe how rarely human souls sacrifice their pleasure or
comfort for others, how improbable that a man would offer his eye
or suffer himself to be dismembered for the benefit of another. Yet
all the divine Manifestations suffered, offered Their lives and
blood, sacrificed Their existence, comfort and all They possessed
for the sake of mankind. Therefore, consider how much They love.
Were it not for Their love for humanity, spiritual love would be
mere nomenclature. Were it not for Their illumination, human
souls would not be radiant. How effective is Their love! This is a
sign of the love of God, a ray of the Sun of Reality.
Therefore, we must give praise unto God, for it is the light of
His bounty which has shone upon us through His love which is
everlasting. His divine Manifestations have offered Their lives
through love for us. Consider, then, what the love of God means.
Were it not for the love of God, all the spirits would be inanimate.
The meaning of this is not physical death; nay, rather, it is that
condition concerning which Christ declared, "Let the dead bury
their dead," for "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Were it not for the love of
God, the hearts would not be illumined. Were it not for the love of
God, the pathway of the Kingdom would not be opened. Were it
not for the love of God, the Holy Books would not have been revealed.
Were it not for the love of God, the divine Prophets would
not have been sent to the world. The foundation of all these bestowals
is the love of God. Therefore, in the human world there is no
greater power than the love of God. It is the love of God which has
brought us together here tonight. It is the love of God which is
affiliating the East and the West. It is the love of God which has
resuscitated the world. Now we must offer thanks to God that such a
great bestowal and effulgence has been revealed to us.
We come to another aspect of our subject: Are the workings and
effects of love confined to this world, or do they extend on and on
to another existence? Will its influence affect our existence here
only, or will it extend to the everlasting life? When we look upon
the human kingdom, we readily observe that it is superior to all
others. In the differentiation of life in the world of existence, there
are four degrees or kingdoms: the mineral, vegetable, animal and
human. The mineral kingdom is possessed of a certain virtue
which we term cohesion. The vegetable kingdom possesses cohesive
properties plus the power of growth, or augmentative power.
The animal kingdom is possessed of the virtues of the mineral and
vegetable plus the powers of the senses. But the animal, although
gifted with sensibilities, is utterly bereft of consciousness, absolutely
out of touch with the world of consciousness and spirit. The
animal possesses no powers by which it can make discoveries
which lie beyond the realm of the senses. It has no power of intellectual
origination. For example, an animal located in Europe is
not capable of discovering the continent of America. It understands
only phenomena which come within the range of its senses
and instinct. It cannot abstractly reason out anything. The animal
cannot conceive of the earth being spherical or revolving upon its
axis. It cannot apprehend that the little stars in the heavens are tremendous
worlds vastly greater than the earth. The animal cannot
abstractly conceive of intellect. Of these powers it is bereft.
Therefore, these powers are peculiar to man, and it is made evident
that in the human kingdom there is a reality of which the animal is
lacking. What is that reality? It is the spirit of man. By it man is
distinguished above all the other phenomenal kingdoms. Although
he possesses all the virtues of the lower kingdoms, he is further
endowed with the spiritual faculty, the heavenly gift of consciousness.
All material phenomena are subject to nature. All material organisms
are captives of nature. None of them can deviate in the
slightest from the laws of nature. This earth, these great mountains,
the animals with their wonderful powers and instincts cannot
go beyond natural limitations. All things are captives of nature except
man. Man is the sovereign of nature; he breaks nature's laws.
Though an animal fitted by nature to live upon the surface of the
earth, he flies in the air like a bird, sails upon the ocean and dives
deep beneath its waves in submarines. Man is gifted with a power
whereby he penetrates and discovers the laws of nature, brings
them forth from the world of invisibility into the plane of visibility.
Electricity was once a latent force of nature. According to nature's
laws it should remain a hidden secret, but the spirit of man discovered
it, brought it forth from its secret depository and made its
phenomena visible. It is evident and manifest that man is capable
of breaking nature's laws. How does he accomplish it? Through a
spirit with which God has endowed him at creation. This is a proof
that the spirit of man differentiates and distinguishes him above all
the lower kingdoms. It is this spirit to which the verse in the Old
Testament refers when it states, "And God said, Let us make man
in our image, after our likeness." The spirit of man alone penetrates
the realities of God and partakes of the divine bounties.
This great power must evidently be differentiated from the
physical body or temple in which it is manifested. Observe and
understand how this human body changes; nevertheless, the spirit
of man remains ever in the same condition. For instance, the body
sometimes grows weak, it becomes strong or stout, sometimes it
grows smaller or may be dismembered, but there is no effect upon
the spirit. The eye may become blind, the foot may be amputated,
but no imperfection afflicts the spirit. This is proof that the spirit of
man is distinct from his body. Defects in the body or its members
do not imply defects in the spirit. This leads to the accurate conclusion
that if the whole body should be subjected to a radical change,
the spirit will survive that change; that even if the body of man is
destroyed and becomes nonexistent, the spirit of man remains unaffected.
For the spirit of man is everlasting. Sometimes the body
sleeps, the eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, the members cease
to act, every function is as inactive as death; nevertheless, the spirit
sees, hears and soars on high. For it is possessed of these faculties
which operate without the instrumentality of the body. In the world
of thought it sees without eyes, hears without ears and travels
without the motion of foot. Without physical force it exercises
every function. This makes it evident that during sleep the spirit is
alive though the body is as dead. In the world of dreams the body
becomes absolutely passive, but the spirit still functions actively,
possessed of all susceptibilities. This leads to the conclusion that
the life of the spirit is neither conditional nor dependent upon the life
of the body. At most it can be said that the body is a mere garment
utilized by the spirit. If that garment be destroyed, the wearer is not
affected but is, in fact, protected.
Furthermore, all phenomena are subject to changes from one
condition to another, and the revolution caused by this transformation
produces a form of nonexistence. For instance, when a man is
transformed from the human kingdom to the mineral, we say that
he is dead, for he has relinquished the physical form of man and assumed
the condition of the mineral substances. This transformation
or transmutation is called death. Therefore, it follows that no
phenomenal organism can be possessed of two forms at the same
time. If an object or phenomenon presents a triangular shape, it
cannot simultaneously possess the shape of a square. If it is spherical,
it cannot at the same time be pentagonal or hexagonal. In order
to assume any given figure or form it must relinquish its previous
shape or dimension. Thus the triangular must be abandoned to assume
the square; the square must change to become a pentagon.
These transformations or changes from one condition to another
are equivalent to death. But the reality of man, the human spirit, is
simultaneously possessed of all forms and figures without being
bereft of any of them. It does not require transformation from one
concept to another. Were it to be bereft of one or all figures, we
would then say it has been transferred to another, and this would be
equivalent to death. But as the human spirit possesses all the
figures simultaneously, it has no transformation or death.
Again, according to natural philosophy it is an assured fact that
single or simple elements are indestructible. As nature is indestructible,
every simple element of nature is lasting and permanent.
Death and annihilation affect only compounds and compositions.
That is to say, compositions are destructible. When decomposition
takes place, death occurs. For example, certain single
elements have combined to make this flower. When this combination
is disintegrated, this composition decomposed, the flower dies
as an organism of the vegetable kingdom. But the single elements
of which this flower is composed do not suffer death, for all single
elements are permanent, everlasting and not subject to destruction.
They are indestructible because they are single and not compound.
Thus they cannot disintegrate nor become separated in their component
atoms but are single, simple and, therefore, everlasting.
If an elementary substance is possessed of immortality, how can
the human spirit or reality, which is wholly above combination and
composition, be destroyed? Nay, rather, that spirit, which is all in
all, is a unit and not a compound. Its destruction, therefore, is not
possible. The spirit of man transcends the qualities and attributes
of any natural element. It is greater in attributes than gold, silver or
iron, which are single elements and indestructible. As they are free
from destruction and qualified with permanence, how much more
so is the human spirit free and immortal. How will that ever be destroyed?
This is a subject of great importance. There are innumerable
proofs in support of it. I hope we may continue it at another
Before we leave, I desire to offer a prayer in behalf of Miss
Farmer; for, verily, she has been the founder of this organization,
the source of this loving fellowship and assemblage.
O Thou kind God! Encircle these servants with the glances of
Thy providence. Set aglow the hearts of this assemblage with the
fire of Thy love. Illumine these faces with the light of heaven.
Enlighten these hearts with the light of the most great guidance.
O God! The clouds of superstitions have covered the horizons of
the hearts. O Lord! Dispel these clouds so that the lights of the Sun
of Reality may shine. O Lord! Illumine our eyes so that we may
behold Thy light. O Lord! Attune our ears so that we may hear the
call of the Supreme Concourse. O Lord! Render our tongues eloquent
so that we may become engaged in Thy commemoration.
O Lord! Sanctify and purify the hearts so that the effulgence of Thy
love may shine therein.
O Thou kind Lord! Bestow quick recovery through Thy power
and bounty upon the founder of this Association. O Lord! This
woman has served Thee, has turned her face toward Thy Kingdom
and has established these conferences in order that reality might be
investigated and the light of reality shine.
O Lord! Be Thou ever her support. O Lord! Be Thou ever her
comforter. O Lord! Bestow upon her quick healing. Verily, Thou
art the Clement. Verily, Thou art the Merciful. Verily, Thou art