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Introduction
Introduction to the
   Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'u'lláh
Messenger of
   God for this Age
Bahá'í Writings
The Sacred Bahá'í
   Writings

Bahá'í Prayers
The Love of
   God

Hidden Words
The Hidden Words
   of Bahá'u'lláh
World Peace
The Promise of
   World Peace
Race Unity
The Vision of
   Race Unity
Equality
Two Wings of
   a Bird
Bahá'í Principles
The oneness of
   God, mankind
   and
religion.

The independent
  investigation of
  truth.
The equality of
  women and men.
Harmony of science
  and religion.
Elimination of
  extremes of wealth
  and poverty.
Universal peace.
A world  common-
  wealth of nations.
A universal auxiliary
  language.
Spiritual solutions
  to economic
  problems.

Universal education.

Bahá'u'lláh forbids:

Lying.
Killing.
Stealing.
Gambling.
Drug abuse.
Consumption of
   alcohol.

Gossip and
  backbiting
Adultery and
  promiscuity.

Bahá'u'lláh stressed
     the importance of:

Unity.
Honesty.
Chastity.
Generosity.
Trustworthiness.
Purity of motive.
Service to others.
Deeds over words.
Work as a form of
  worship.

"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." --Bahá'u'lláh

 

  

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Progressive Revelation

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THE RELIGIOUS CYCLE

   Manifestations of God are always at first rejected by those They come to save. They are imprisoned, exiled, crucified, in a thousand ways persecuted, by men who profess to believe in God, but are far from the Court of His Holiness. In the Day of the Manifestation only a few pure souls recognise His glory; these also suffer at the hands of the proud and worldly. Gradually the power of the Holy Spirit asserts itself; other souls are attracted to the sweet melodies of the Divine Nightingale; the hard clay of men’s hearts is softened and their blind eyes opened to His shining splendour. Through this channel of Divine grace, the spiritually dead receive life and the leprosy of unbelief is healed. A miracle occurs which embraces the whole creation-- a miracle far greater than vitalising a dead body or healing a physical ill. Spiritual life is given to erring humanity to raise it from the mud in which it is always sunk when a Messenger of God is due.

   As time passes, more and more people recognise the Bearer of the Holy Spirit. The forces of denial wax tierce in their efforts to resist the Cause of God; but God cannot be resisted. Opposition crumbles until eventually the Manifestation of God emerges supreme, recognised and revered by all save those God chooses to except. For a time His Faith experiences a Golden Age during which its youthful vigour has not yet been irretrievably perverted by its own followers. Then degeneration sets in. Men still profess to honour the teaching of the Founder of their religion, but they cease to obey it. They invent creeds and rituals not sanctioned by their Leader, to which they pay more attention than to the revealed word itself. They quarrel over the meaning of their acknowledged scripture, form themselves into sects and parties, preach things in the name of religion from which religion recoils. Materialism and greed gain possession of the world; the priesthood becomes a vested interest; selfishness and pride capture the hearts of men; despair sweeps the surface of the earth, wrapping men’s souls in clouds of darkening gloom. Then, when men least expect a saviour, the clouds are parted by the rising Sun of Glory. The light of the Holy Spirit shines again upon the earth, bringing promise of new life.

   In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words:

   “God leaves not His children comfortless, but, when the darkness of winter overshadows them, then again He sends His Messengers, the Prophets, with a renewal of the blessed spring. The Sun of Truth appears again on the horizon of the world shining into the eyes of those who sleep, awaking them to behold the glory of a new dawn. ” (18)

   Again the Messenger of God is persecuted and again He is recognised by a few. Again He triumphs over adversity and again His word is established in the hearts of men. The whole cycle is repeated again and again, causing mankind each time to advance another stage on its journey to God. Thus does God perform His work of creation and thus has it been since the beginning, and thus will it be for evermore.

   Once in every age this miracle is performed. We are still close to the time when Bahá’u’lláh, God’s Messenger for this age, shed His radiance on the earth. We are witnessing the birth of a new day; as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has said:

   “Now is the dawn; ere long the effulgent Sun shall rise and station itself in the meridian of its majesty. Then you shall observe the effects of the Sun. Then you shall behold what heavenly illumination has become manifest. Then you shall comprehend that these are the infinite bestowals of God! Then you shall see that this world has become another world.” (19)

   Mankind has been called to recognise a new Mirror reflecting the same Eternal Countenance; but it has failed to respond. Men have rejected the Messenger of God and in doing so they have denied the Founder of every great religion. Therefore mankind is experiencing great turmoil, for the Will of God cannot be denied. If humanity will not turn to Bahá’u’lláh without first suffering, then it must suffer greatly. He has warned:--

   Say: O concourse of the heedless! I swear by God! The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: ‘Taste ye what your hands have wrought!’ ” (20)

   But ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, echoing His Father’s promise, has said:

   “Rest ye assured that this darkness shall be dispelled and these impenetrable clouds which have darkened the horizon shall be scattered, and the Sun of Reality shall appear in its full splendour. Its rays shall melt the icebergs of hatred and differences which have transformed the moving sea of humanity into hard frozen immensity. The vices of the world of nature shall be changed into praise-worthy attributes, and the lights of the excellences of the Divine realm shall appear. ” (21)

   A little while, and the trials will pass, leaving mankind chastened and turning towards the Source of its life. Then will the truth become apparent to which Bahá’u’lláh calls humanity:

   “Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiassed mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory. ” (22)

   Then at last will men befittingly answer this invitation sent by God:

   “The seal of the choice Wine of His Revelation hath, in this Day and in His Name, the Self-Sufficing, been broken. Its grace is being poured out upon men. Fill thy cup, and drink it in His Name, the Most Holy, the All-Praised. " (23)


REFERENCES

ADJ The Advent of Divine Justice

GWB Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

HB Holiy Bible

KÍ Kitáb-i-Íqán

PT Paris Talks, 11th British Edition 1969

PAA The Promise of All Ages, 1934 edition

SBS Selections from Bahá’í Scripture

1 PT p130

2 PAA pp64/5

3 GWB XXXIV

4 HB Lev. xix: 18

5 HB John xvi:12,13

6 HB Matt. v:17

7 HB Matt. v:38

8 PT p142

9 GWB XXI

10 GWB XXI

11 PT p58

12 GWB XXI

13 KÍ p73

14 HB Matt. xix:17

15 GWB XXII

16 GWB XXIV

17 GWB XXII

18 PT p32

19 SBS p179

20 ADJ p68

21 SBS p179

22 GWB VII

23 GWB IX  


Progressive Revelation
by
John Ferraby

© Bahá‘í PUBLISHING TRUST
FIRST EDITION 1954
REPRINTED 1961
REVISED EDITION 1966
REPRINTED 1970
REPRINTED 1975  

Printed in England by DESA. 287-289 Ilkeston Road. Nottingham. 
Telephone 76732

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