Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Baha

O thou who art steadfast in the Covenant! Thy letter of 9 September 1909hathbeen received. Be thou neither grieved nordespondent over what hath come to pass. This trouble overtook thee as thoudidst walk the path of God, wherefore it shouldbring thee joy. We addressed the friends in writing ere this, and made averbal statement as well, to the effect that the friends inthe West will unquestionably have their share of the calamities befallingthefriends in the East. It is inevitable that, walking thepathway of Bahá'u'lláh, they too will become targets for persecution by theoppressors.

Consider how at the beginning of the Christian era the Apostles wereafflicted, and what torments they endured in the pathwayof Christ. Every day of their lives they were targets for the Pharisees'darts of mockery, vilification and abuse. They bore greathardship; they saw prison; and most of them carried to their lips the sweetcup of martyrdom.

Now ye, as well, must certainly become my partners to some slight degree,andaccept your share of tests and sorrows. Butthese episodes shall pass away, while that abiding glory and eternal lifeshall remain unchanged forever. Moreover, theseafflictions shall be the cause of great advancement.

I ask of God that thou, His husbandman, shalt plough the hard and stonyground, and water it, and scatter seeds therein--for thiswill show how skillful is the farmer, while any man can sow and till wherethe ground is soft, and clear of brambles and thorns.

Additional Writings

Regarding the statement in "The Hidden Words", that man must renounce hisownself, the meaning is that he must renounce hisinordinate desires, his selfish purposes and the promptings of his humanself, and seek out the holy breathings of the spirit, andfollow the yearnings of his higher self, and immerse himself in the sea ofsacrifice, with his heart fixed upon the beauty of theAll-Glorious.

As for the reference in "The Hidden Words" regarding the Covenant enteredinto on Mount Párán, this signifieth that in the sightof God the past, the present and the future are all one and thesame--whereas, relative to man, the past is gone and forgotten,the present is fleeting, and the future is within the realm of hope. And itis a basic principle of the Law of God that in everyProphetic Mission, He entereth into a Covenant with all believers--aCovenantthat endureth until the end of that Mission, untilthe promised day when the Personage stipulated at the outset of the Missionis made manifest. Consider Moses, He Whoconversed with God. Verily, upon Mount Sinai, Moses entered into a Covenantregarding the Messiah, with all those souls whowould live in the day of the Messiah. And those souls, although theyappearedmany centuries after Moses, werenevertheless--so far as the Covenant, which is outside time, wasconcerned--present there with Moses. The Jews, however,were heedless of this and remembered it not, and thus they suffered a greatand clear loss.

As to the reference in the Arabic "Hidden Words" that the human being mustbecome detached from self, here too the meaningis that he should not seek out anything whatever for his own self in thisswiftly-passing life, but that he should cut the self away,that is, he should yield up the self and all its concerns on the field ofmartyrdom, at the time of the coming of the Lord.