Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Thoughts for Chicago Residents

Yesterday I posted the first half of a talk that Abdu'l-Baha gave on Nov. 1, 1912. Here is the second half of that talk:

There are none who waver in the East, none who oppose the Covenant of God. There is not a single soul among the Bahá’ís in Persia who is opposed to the Covenant. They are all steadfast. If any soul wishes to speak in this Cause, they will ask, “Is this a word of your own, or is it by the authority of the Center of the Covenant? If you have the authority of the Center of the Covenant, produce it. Where is the letter from Him? Where is His signature?” If he produces the letter, they will accept it. If he fails to do so, they say, “We cannot accept your words because they emanate from you only and return to you. We have no command from the Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, to obey you. He has revealed a Book in which He has covenanted with us to obey an appointed Center of the Covenant. He has not covenanted with us to obey you. Therefore, the statement you make is rejected. You must furnish proof of your authority and sanction. We are commanded to turn to one Center. We do not obey various centers. The Blessed Perfection has made a Covenant with us, and we are holding to this Covenant and Testament. We do not listen to anything else, for people may arise who speak words of their own, and we are commanded not to pay attention to them.”
It was not so in former dispensations. Christ, for instance, did not appoint a center of authority and explanation. He did not say to His followers, “Obey the one whom I have chosen.” Upon one occasion He asked His disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ, wishing to make firm the faith of Peter, said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,” meaning that the faith of Peter was the true faith. It was a sanction of Peter’s faith. He did not say that all should turn to Peter. He did not say, “He is the branch extended from my ancient root.” He did not say, “O God! Bless all who serve Peter. O God! Degrade those who are not obedient to him. Shun him who is a violator of the Covenant. O God! Thou knowest that I love all who are steadfast in the Covenant.” This has been revealed, however, in all the Books, Writings and Epistles of Bahá’u’lláh regarding the appointed Center of the Covenant in this dispensation. Therefore, the Bahá’í dispensation is distinguished from all others in this fact, the purpose of Bahá’u’lláh being that no one could arise to cause differences and disunion. After the departure of Christ various sects and denominations arose, each one claiming to be the true channel of Christianity, but none of them possessed a written authority from Christ; none could produce proof from Him; yet all claimed His sanction and approval. Bahá’u’lláh has written a Covenant and Testament with His own pen, declaring that the One Whom He has appointed the Center of the Covenant shall be turned to and obeyed by all. Therefore, thank God that Bahá’u’lláh has made the pathway straight. He has clearly explained all things and opened every door for advancing souls. There is no reason for hesitation by anyone. The purpose of the Covenant was simply to ward off disunion and differences so that no one might say, “My opinion is the true and valid one.”
Any opinion expressed by the Center of the Covenant is correct, and there is no reason for disobedience by anyone. Be watchful, for perchance there may be violators (náqidín) of the Covenant among you. Do not listen to them. Read the Book of the Covenant. All have been commanded to obey the Covenant, and the first admonition is addressed to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh, the Branches: “You must turn to the appointed Center; He is the expounder of the Book.”
Should any soul so clearly violate and disobey this command, can he even say he is a Bahá’í? If anyone disobeys the explicit command of Christ, can he truthfully say he is a Christian?
In conclusion, I would say that I am greatly pleased with this meeting. I shall pray for you, seeking confirmation from the Blessed Perfection. Praise be to God! You must be grateful that He 387 has chosen you from among the people of the world, that such glorious bestowal and such endless graces and favors have been specialized for you. You must not look at present accomplishments, for this is but the beginning as it was at the time of Christ. Before long you will see that you will be distinguished among all people. In every way the divine confirmation will uphold you, and the radiance of the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh will illumine your countenances. Be truly grateful for all these blessings. I hope I may always hear good news of you, showing that the friends in Chicago are occupied with service in the divine Cause, filled with the joy of promoting the Word of God, engaged in spreading the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and manifesting love and kindness to all humanity. This is my hope and anticipation. I am sure that you will endeavor to accomplish this so that the friends in Persia and I may experience the happiness of the good tidings. May you be a source of joy and happiness to us, a source of tranquillity and composure.

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