December 31, 2012

How to engage in a profession and be detached from worldly affairs

In the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh it is obligatory for the individual to engage in a trade or profession. For instance, I know mat weaving and you know another trade. The service we perform is equivalent to worship if we perform it with truth and trustworthiness; it is a cause of human advancement. If the heart is not bound and attached to the world, if it is unaffected by the vicissitudes of life, unhampered by worldly wealth from serving humanity and not dejected because of poverty, then this is a human perfection. Otherwise, to profess generosity if one is poor, or justice when one is powerless to extend it, is easy enough, but this will not establish one's spiritual education and awareness. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, New York, June 11, 1912; Mahmud’s Diary)

December 26, 2012

Comparison of an enkindled soul to a piece of iron in the midst of fire

We can all serve in the Cause of God no matter what our occupation is. No occupation can prevent the soul coming to God. Peter was a fisherman, yet he accomplished most wonderful things; but the heart must be turned always toward God, no matter what the work is; this is the important thing; and then the power of God will work in us. We are like a piece of iron in the midst of the fire which becomes heated to such a degree that it partakes of the nature of the fire and gives out the same effect to all it touches – so is the soul that is always turned toward God, and filled with the spirit. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted by May Maxwell in ‘An Early Pilgrimage’)

December 15, 2012

“The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God.”

26 May 1912
Mount Morris Baptist Church
New York

As I entered the church this evening, I heard the hymn “Nearer my God, to Thee.” The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to God. Every lasting glory, honor, grace and beauty which comes to man comes through nearness to God. All the Prophets and apostles longed and prayed for nearness to the Creator. How many nights they passed in sleepless yearning for this station; how many days they devoted to supplication for this attainment, seeking ever to draw nigh unto Him!

But nearness to God is not an easy accomplishment. During the time Jesus Christ was upon the earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it save a very few—His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with divine nearness through the love of God. Divine nearness is dependent upon attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God. It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these three degrees, nearness to God is not possible.

November 17, 2012

The Master’s parting words to the believers aboard the ship

December 5, 1912
New York, aboard Celtic

He is God! This is our last day and my last meeting with you. In a few minutes our steamer will leave these shores and this is my last exhortation to you. I have repeatedly spoken to you and invited you to realize the oneness of humanity. I have impressed upon you that all human beings are the servants of the same God and God is kind to all; He provides for all and gives life to all. In the presence of God all are His servants and His bounties are equally distributed among all. We must also be kind to the people of the world and forget all religious, racial, patriotic and political prejudices. The whole earth is one globe. All nations are one family. All are the servants of one God. Therefore he who causes grief to another's heart has sinned against the Lord. God desired the joy of all hearts. He wishes that every individual may pass his life in utmost happiness and felicity and should abandon religious, racial, patriotic and political prejudices. Praise be to God! Your eyes are illumined, your ears are opened and your hearts are informed. You must not entertain these prejudices and differences. You must look to the bounty of God. He is the real Shepherd who is kind to the whole flock. When God is kind to all, is it befitting that we, who are His servants, should engage in war and conflict with one another? No, by God! We must be grateful to God and the way to express gratitude for His bounty is to love each other, show amity and affection and evince friendship and kindness toward all.

November 1, 2012

How to attain the “peace of the heart and soul and the joy of spirit and conscience”

November 29, 1912
New York

One of the bounties of religion and faith is the attainment of peace of the heart and soul and the joy of spirit and conscience. This station can only be gained through faith and understanding. Peace of mind is the soul's delight, as it is the means of acquiring that extraordinary state in which man finds happiness in times of affliction and tranquillity in trouble. In spite of poverty he acquires a sense of affluence and in a state of riches and power he offers help and protection to the weak because the well-assured soul is like a tree which has strong roots and is not shaken by any event. This cannot be attained except through complete faith and understanding. How many are the people who have all means of comfort, luxury, security and wealth and every means of enjoyment and good living, yet they have no peace of mind and are ever anxious and uneasy! If outwardly they are happy one day, they become depressed and anxious the next. If they find physical rest at one moment, they face suffering and misfortune the next, until the time comes to leave this world, then they will do so with utmost regret and distress.

But those who have faith in God act according to the divine teachings; even though they need a little food to survive, they will pass their lives in the utmost happiness and joy. This is one of the bounties of religion; this is eternal happiness, life everlasting and real affluence. Without this all riches lead to woe and all power and strength are the cause of hardship and affliction. Therefore, offer praise unto God that you are endowed with this imperishable wealth and have attained this supreme blessing. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, November 29, 1912, New York, ‘Mahmud’s Diary’)

October 10, 2012

Question from a passenger on the ship: does the Baha’i Faith accept the Bible?

March 27, 1912: aboard the Cedric
[Aboard the ship traveling to the West: An American asked whether the Bahá'í Faith accepted the Bible. `Abdu'l-Bahá replied:]

This Cause acknowledges the truth of all the Books and all the Manifestations of God. The heavenly teachings are composed of two kinds of commandments. One kind is concerned with spiritual verities, with the perfections and virtues of the world of humanity. These commandments never change or alter. Each of the Books and the Prophets was the promulgator of these principles upon which all the religions are based, hence the foundation of all the divine religions is one. The second category of commandments is concerned with material principles and social issues. These are altered according to the exigencies of the age. For example, at the time of Christ the social laws of the Torah were changed. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, March 27, 1912, Mahmud’s Diary)

September 13, 2012

We need a Mediator to communicate with God

A mediator is necessary between man and the Creator -- one who receives the full light of the Divine Splendor and radiates it over the human world, as the earth's atmosphere receives and diffuses the warmth of the sun's rays.

If we wish to pray, we must have some object on which to concentrate. If we turn to God, we must direct our hearts to a certain center. If man worships God otherwise than through His Manifestation, he must first form a conception of God, and that conception is created by his own mind. As the finite cannot comprehend the Infinite, so God is not to be comprehended in this fashion. That which man conceives with his own mind he comprehends. That which he can comprehend is not God. That conception of God which a man forms for himself is but a phantasm, an image, an imagination, an illusion. There is no connection between such a conception and the Supreme Being.

If a man wishes to know God, he must find Him in the perfect mirror, Christ or Bahá'u'lláh. In either of these mirrors he will see reflected the Sun of Divinity.

As we know the physical sun by its splendor, by its light and heat, so we know God, the Spiritual Sun, when He shines forth from the temple of Manifestation, by His attributes of perfection, by the beauty of His qualities and by the splendor of His light. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a talk to Mr. Percy Woodcock, 'Akká, 1909; quoted by Dr. John Esslemont in ‘Baha’u’llah and the New Era’)

August 15, 2012

“Man becomes human only through spiritual life …”

October 2, 1912
A short address at a public meeting
San Francisco, California

We aspire to find true human beings in this world. Man becomes human only through spiritual life, and the foundation of such a life is made up of heavenly perfections, divine attributes, service to humanity, eagerness to receive eternal bounties, praiseworthy morals, unity, love of God, wisdom and knowledge of God. If the aim were this physical life only, then this creation would be in vain and men would not have more honor or be nobler than other creatures. The greatest of sensual pleasures, beauty of appearance and freedom are found among the animals.

Birds excel all in sensual pleasures, for they build nests on the loftiest branches and breathe the purest air. All seeds and fruit are their property. Limpid streams, charming plains, beautiful fields, verdant hills, green valleys, exquisite gardens and lovely flowers are all for their pleasure and happiness. They have no grief, regrets, aspirations, ambitions, quarrels, contentions, wars or massacres. If the purpose of existence is sensual life and pleasures, then animal and man are equal. Happiness and pleasure are rather the possession of the bird and not those of distressed and sorrowful men. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Mahmud’s Diary)

August 10, 2012

Teach the Cause! Teach! Teach! Covey the Message! Awaken the souls!

January 16, 1913
Cadogan Gardens
London, England

The Cause has become very great. Many souls are entering it souls with different mentalities and degrees of understanding. Complex difficulties constantly rise before us. The administration of the Cause has become most difficult. Conflicting thought and theories attack the Cause from every side. Now consider to what extent the believers in God must become firm and soul sacrificing. Every one of the friends must become the essence of essences; each one must become a brilliant lamp. People all around the world are entering the Cause; people of various tribes and nations and religions and sects. It is most difficult to administer to such heterogeneous elements. Wisdom and Divine insight are necessary. Firmness and steadfastness are needed at such a crucial period of the Cause. All the meetings must be for teaching the Cause and spreading the Message, and suffering the souls to enter in the Kingdom of Baha’u’llah. Look at me. All my thoughts are centered around the proclamation of the Kingdom. I have a Lamp in my hand searching through the lands and seas to find souls who can become heralds of the Cause. Day and night I am engaged in this work. Any other deliberations in the meetings are futile and fruitless. Convey the Message! Attract the hearts! Sow the seeds! Teach the Cause to those who do not know.

It is now six months that Siyyid Assadu’llah has implored that I write a few lines to my sister and my daughters. I have not done this because I find I must teach. I enter all meetings, all churches, so that the Cause maybe spread. When the Most Important work is before our sight, we must let go the Important one.

If the meetings or Spiritual Assembly has any other occupation, the time is spent in futility. All the deliberations, all consultation, all the talks and addresses must revolve around one focal center and that is: Teach the Cause! Teach! Teach! Covey the Message! Awaken the souls! Now is the time of laying the foundation. Now must we gather brick, stone, wood, iron, and other building materials! Now is not the time of decoration. We must strive day and night and think and work. What can I say that may become effective? What can I do that may bring results? What can I write that may bring forth fruits? Nothing else will be useful, today. The interests of such a Glorious Cause will not advance without undivided attention. While we are carrying this load we cannot carry any other load! (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, vol. 4, no. 1, March 21, 1913; The Chosen Highway) (To see a portion of this talk in the original Persian please viist: Tablets & Talks of 'Abdu'l-Baha -- original language)

August 6, 2012

Prophecies of holy books were fulfilled through Baha’u’llah’s banishment to Holy Land

Up to now, whatever has occurred has had the effect of spreading the Cause of God. When the Blessed Beauty left Tihrán and when He departed from Baghdád for the Holy Land, it was so devastating that the friends shed tears of blood. Now it has become evident what mysteries were concealed in that event and what victories lay in store; even the prophecies of the holy books regarding the Holy Land and the promised Manifestation were fulfilled through that banishment. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Omaha, Nebraska, September 21, 1912; Mahmud’s Diary)

July 20, 2012

“The principles of socialism are outstripped in the religions of God.”

September 17, 1912

The principles of socialism are outstripped in the religions of God. For instance, God commands, `But [they] prefer them [the poor] before themselves, although there be indigence among them' [Qur'án 59:9]. That is, the believers spend of their substance and share their possessions and prefer others to themselves willingly and with utmost spirituality. Socialists, however, desire to enforce equality and association by compulsion. Although the preference for others which is the exhortation of God is more difficult because the rich are enjoined to prefer others to themselves, this will become common and will be the cause of tranquillity and an aid to the order of the world, because it depends upon the inclination and willingness of the giver. But socialism and egalitarianism, although easier, as those who have are made equal with others, yet such a system will not become widespread and is the cause of disturbance and tumult because it rests on compulsion and coercion.

In the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh it is mentioned that if a rich man neglects the duty of educating his children, the House of Justice is authorized to compel him to assist financially and to educate them. But this is a matter for the family of that wealthy man and comes under the jurisdiction of the House of Justice. The point is that there are matters greater than equality and socialism in divine religions. In the Cause of God there were persons like the King of Martyrs [Mírzá Muhammad-Hasan] who, in the days of tribulation, expended all their wealth and property to relieve the sufferings of the poor and the weak. In Persia the Bahá'ís were willing to sacrifice themselves for one another to such a degree that once when one of the Bahá'ís was a guest in the home of another believer, and the authorities demanded the arrest of the guest, the host gave the guest's name as his own and surrendered himself to them, was martyred in his place, thus sacrificing his life for his guest and brother. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Chicago, September 17, 1912, Mahmud’s Diary)

July 9, 2012

Proofs concerning the human soul and its immortality

Agnes and Jeffry Parsons Residence
Dublin, NH
August 7, 1912

He is God! We must first prove that there is no annihilation in creation. Annihilation is only the decomposition of elements. For example, all these things we see in existence are made up of elements; that is, single atoms have combined and have formed infinite patterns. Every combination produces an entity. For example, through the combination of certain elements this flower has come into existence. Its annihilation means only the decomposition of this combination, it does not mean the destruction of the individual atoms or principal elements because these remain and will not be destroyed. When we say that this flower is destroyed we mean that its combination is decomposed but the principal elements remain; only their combination is destroyed.

In the same way, man has come into existence as the result of the combination of certain elements. Although his death is the disintegration of these elements, the elements are not annihilated. Therefore, life consists of the combination of elements and death of their dissolution or transference from one state to another. The transference of the vegetable to the animal world is the death of the former. Draw your own conclusions from this. Similarly, the transference of man from this world of matter and the dissolution of his elements constitute human death. Thus, it should be known that for existence there is no death. At most there is a transfer from one state to another. As the soul of man is not the result of composition and does not come into being through the affinity of molecular elements, it is not subject to disintegration. If it were, then we would say the soul has died. But because it is not composed, therefore it cannot be decomposed. And it is clear that even the basic elements are not subject to decomposition as they are not a compound composition. No doubt remains regarding this matter.

June 5, 2012

The “seven rays of the Sun of Reality”; Some of the teachings of Baha’u’llah; Questions and Answers: Reincarnation; What becomes of the spirit of a murderer; Role of the subconscious mind; Physical purification by Yogis of India

October 11, 1912
Theosophical Society, San Francisco Lodge
Yosemite Hall, Native Son’s Building
San Francisco
8 P.M.

Many investigators of truth hold the opinion that of the seven rays of the Sun of Reality six have emanated and have passed away, but that the seventh ray has not yet appeared. The Bahais, however, claim that the seventh ray, which includes the light of all the others, has appeared in the manifestation of Baha'u'llah. We should therefore investigate the merits of this claim, because it is through the seventh ray that humanity will become enabled to attain perfection.

God created the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. These days symbolize seven stations, seven great manifestations of God. The number seven is oft repeated in the world of creation. The days of the week are seven, and according to ancient astronomy there were seven planets, seven polar circles, and so on.

All the divine manifestations are one reality, but they have appeared from various dawning points. As the phenomenal sun appears at various times from different dawning points, so the Sun of Reality, that reality of radiance which sheds light upon the world of existence, has dawned from various horizons.

The Sun of Reality has appeared heretofore from six dawning points, and religionists are anticipating the coming of the seventh dawning point, or dayspring. Some are looking for the Messiah, others for the Christ, or the Imam Mahdi, or the Buddha, but the Bahais believe that the Sun of Reality has dawned from the dayspring of Baha'u'llah.

May 20, 2012

Question: "Which is the best way to give the Baha'i Message?"

Answer by ‘Abdu’l-Baha (New York, 1912):

The first thing to do is to acquire a thirst for Spirituality, then Live the Life! Live the Life! Live the Life! The way to acquire this thirst is to meditate upon the future life. Study the Holy Words, read your Bible, read the Holy Books, especially study the Holy Utterances of Baha'u'llah; Prayer and Meditation, take much time for these two. Then will you know this Great Thirst, and then only can you begin to Live the Life!

To live the Life you must be the very kindest woman, you must be the most pure, you must be absolutely truthful, and live a perfectly moral life.

Visit your neighbors when they are sick or in trouble, offer your services to them, try to show them that you are longing to serve them.

Feed the poor, divide what you have. Be contented to remain where God has placed you; be faithful in your care of those to whom He has trusted you, never waver in this -- show by your life you have something different, so that all will see and will say, 'What has this person that I have not?'

Show the world that in spite of the utmost suffering, poverty, sickness, you have something which gives you comfort, strength and peace -- that you are happy -- serene -- satisfied with all that is in your life.

Then they, too, will want what you possess and will need no further teaching after you tell them what it is. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Anise Rideout, Star of the West, vol. 19, no. 3, June 1928; A portion of this passage is also included in the Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, p. 204)

May 10, 2012

“If even a breath of egotism is found in us, we shall perish at once.”

The Blessed Beauty entered into this Covenant for obedience and not for opposition. I say this merely for the protection of the Cause of God and for the purpose of safeguarding unity among the friends. Were it not for the removal of vain imaginings and the eradication of differences, I should not have asserted that I am `the Center of the Covenant'. We must obey the Blessed Beauty. We must never forget His favors and exhortations. If even a breath of egotism is found in us, we shall perish at once. The friends must be alert. Everyone who expresses a word not from the texts sows discord among the believers. The Blessed Beauty entered into this Covenant for obedience; that is, that no one should utter a word from his own self or cause any conflict. If it were not so, everyone would open a way for himself and expound the Words of God in his own manner. One would say, for instance, `As I have the power of the Holy Spirit, I have a greater capacity for understanding.' Others, even these old ladies, would at once retort, `We, too, have the power of the Holy Spirit.

The power of the Holy Spirit is limited to the Blessed Beauty and the interpretation thereof to none but me. If it is so, then there will be no differences. We must occupy ourselves with thoughts of spreading the Cause. Know that whoever has any thought other than this will become the cause of discord among the friends. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to Lua Getsinger, Mahmud’s Diary, New York, July 7, 1912)

April 25, 2012

At Lake Mohonk Conference -- The Oneness of the Reality of Humankind

May 15, 1912
Lake Mohonk Conference
Lake Mohonk, New York

When we consider history, we find that civilization is progressing, but in this century its progress cannot be compared with that of past centuries. This is the century of light and of bounty. In the past, the unity of patriotism, the unity of nations and religions was established; but in this century, the oneness of the world of humanity is established; hence this century is greater than the past.

Sixty years ago Asia was in great turmoil of wars; England, Russia, Turkey and France went to war. There were wars in Persia, wars among the religions and wars between nations, especially in Persia on account of the existence of the different nationalities, such as Turks, Persians, Arabs and Kurds, and the various religions, namely, Mohammedan, Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian. Among these different religions the greatest enmity and rancor were extant.

At such a time as this, His Holiness, Baha'u'llah appeared. He proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity and the greatest peace. He wrote to all the kings and addressed epistles to all the religionists of Persia, and all the souls who accepted his platform and emulated and followed his teachings -- whether Christians, Mohammedans, Jews or Zoroastrians -- were united and attained the greatest amity and unity. Through those teachings, the Kurd, the Arab, the Persian and the Turk freed themselves from the prejudice of race and were people agreed to an extent which is indescribable, indeed, in such a manner, that were you to enter their meeting you could not distinguish between the Persian, the Christian, the Arab or the Turk, and you would not observe any differences of religious opinion. Among those people the utmost of love and oneness of peace now obtain, for the great teachings of Baha'o'llah make for the oneness of the world and for humanity, universal peace and arbitration. The following are a few of the principles of Baha'u'llah.

April 20, 2012

First Talk in California -- “The teachings of Baha’u’llah are …concerned with good conduct, and good conduct is the greatest effulgence of the All Glorious.”

October 3, 1912
Oakland, California
Address delivered at the home of Mrs. Helen S. Goodall
(Dr. Amin Farid, interpreter; Stenographic notes by Miss. Bijou Straun)

I am going to say, "Welcome," to you, instead of your welcoming me. I am most happy to be here with you. I am exceedingly joyous, and I offered thanks to His Holiness Baha’u’llah that the potency of His Word was instrumental in bringing about such a meeting.

In the world many people go from one country to another. Perchance they may go from here to the Orient; perchance some may come from the Orient here; but such journeys are for travel, or commercial purposes, or for some political reason, or the motive may be some scientific achievement or they go on journeys in order to meet friends. All such meetings are accidental; they are concerned with the exigencies of the world of nature.

But I have come from the Orient to the Occident -- this vast distance have I crossed with no commercial purpose in view, nor travel as an object, nor politics as a reason. It has been simply to meet you. Whereas the meeting of others is generally accidental, our meeting is real, essential -- for the hearts are connected and the souls are attracted and the spirits are exhilarated, and such a meeting is real in character, and great are the results therefrom. The results are everlasting.

Consider the bygone times. There occurred a meeting like this one -- that is to say, that meeting emanated from the attractions of the conscience. It was due to the spiritual bond. It was due to the fraternity of heaven. Regard the results which have later become concomitant! What lights have shone therefrom! What a new spirit has been breathed thereby!

Therefore, I beg of God that this meeting of ours may likewise be a spiritual meeting, may be a heavenly meeting, may be a cordial bond, may be of divine susceptibilities, may be a result of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Thus, may its traces be everlasting, may its results be eternal, may it be an indissoluble bond and an association inseparable. May it be a love which shall be never ending. This is my hope, and you who have turned to the Kingdom of God, and you who are set aglow with the fire of the Love of God, must so earnestly endeavor that this meeting shall give forth eternal results.

And What will bring this about?

March 14, 2012

This “enlightened age … is the age of science and the progress of the world of humanity”; “The differences which we find [among people] are the results of imitations.”

April 25, 1912
Residence of Turkish Ambassador in the United States
Washington, DC

This night is a very blessed night, worthy of the utmost praise and joy for many reasons. First, praise be to God, we are in a country which is famous for its prosperity and freedom. Second, we are in a house which is connected to the great Ottoman Power. Third, we are the guests of His Excellency the Ambassador who shines like the sun in the world of morality. Fourth, this meeting provides a tangible demonstration of the love and unity that is possible between the East and the West.

His Excellency the Ambassador is from the East, while his wife is an American. Similarly, His Excellency the Ambassador of Persia is from the nobility of the Orient, while his wife is also an American. This is a proof that the Orient and Occident can meet, love and unite. The greatest wish of people of thought and broad vision and sound understanding is the oneness and unity of humanity. This reality was not so apparent in former times but in this enlightened age which is the age of science and the progress of the world of humanity, this important fact has become manifest through the help and assistance of God: that all peoples are related, that all are from one family, citizens of one country and one world. This is the century of the oneness of the world of humanity and of the decline and abrogation of the superstitions of past ages. Every learned person is persuaded that this is the century for oneness and unity and the time for fanciful prejudices to fade away. We pray that misunderstandings among nations may disappear completely so that it may be evident that the foundation of all divine principles is the oneness of mankind and that the real purpose of all divine Manifestations has been to educate humanity. Divine religions are not the cause of dissension, nor do they beget enmity and hatred, for the foundation of all of them is truth and truth is one, it has no plurality.

The differences which we find are the results of imitations. As the imitations vary one from another, they become the cause of animosity and difference. The gloom of these imitations has wholly obscured the Sun of Reality. But, praise be to God, day by day these clouds are being dispersed and dissipated; ere long, they shall be wholly removed and the Sun of Reality shall be seen to shine most brilliantly. The standard of the oneness of humanity will be unfurled, the tabernacle of the universal peace will be raised, and this world will become another world.

I thank His Excellency the Ambassador who brought about this meeting of people of different nationalities in his home. Such meetings, in truth, deserve much praise and commendation. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, gathering at the residence of the Turkish Ambassador in the United States, April 25, 1912, Washington DC; Mahmud’s Diary)

February 3, 2012

About Ibrahim Kheiralla

[When Mírzá Munír stated that one of the Arab travelers had spoken to him about Mírzá Kheiralla's arrogance and heedlessness, `Abdu'l-Bahá replied:]

The poor man has become nameless and debased both in this world and in the Kingdom. What a high honor he had! But as he did not appreciate the fact, it all came to naught. He wished to be made the leader of America and wrote plainly to me to this effect. One of the answers I gave him was, `Cast aside all mention of the ruler and the ruled, the governor and the governed. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, aboard Cedric, on the way to America, March 26, 1912; Mahmud’s Diary, p. 16)

January 29, 2012

“Science is the first emanation from God toward man” -- it is “the supreme gift of God to man”

23 April 1912
Talk to Bethel Literary Society
Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
M Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

As I stand here tonight and look upon this assembly, I am reminded curiously of a beautiful bouquet of violets gathered together in varying colors, dark and light. This is an evidence and indication that the United States of America is a just and free government, for I see black and white seated together in perfect harmony and agreement. Hearts are united. This just government makes such a meeting possible. You should thank God continually that you enjoy the security and protection of a government which furthers your development and rules with impartial equity and equality toward all, even as a father; for in the human world there is no greater blessing. This evening I will speak to you upon scientific subjects.

The virtues of humanity are many, but science is the most noble of them all. The distinction which man enjoys above and beyond the station of the animal is due to this paramount virtue. It is a bestowal of God; it is not material; it is divine. Science is an effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the power of investigating and discovering the verities of the universe, the means by which man finds a pathway to God. All the powers and attributes of man are human and hereditary in origin -- outcomes of nature's processes -- except the intellect, which is supernatural. Through intellectual and intelligent inquiry science is the discoverer of all things. It unites present and past, reveals the history of bygone nations and events, and confers upon man today the essence of all human knowledge and attainment throughout the ages. By intellectual processes and logical deductions of reason this superpower in man can penetrate the mysteries of the future and anticipate its happenings.