Acres of Diamonds 1
“IN THE ESTIMATION OF God all men are equal.” 2
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words at the Baptist Temple in Philadelphia on June 9, 1912, echoed the Declaration of Independence, conceived in that same city nearly a century-and-a-half before. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained that his father, Bahá’u’lláh, “taught that an equal standard of human rights must be recognized and adopted.”
It was something that the pastor at the Baptist Temple — Dr. Russell H. Conwell — had been practicing for over forty years. By the time ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Conwell’s church, it was surrounded by a university, and not one but three hospitals, all designed to uplift the community of Philadelphia.
Conwell first heard about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during a visit to the Middle East. He later sent a cable to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Egypt, inviting him to address his congregation. It wasn’t Conwell’s first trip to the Middle East. Forty years earlier he had gone as a journalist, a trip that set his life in motion …
Talk at Unitarian Church, Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3
At a time when warfare and strife prevailed among nations, when enmity and hatred separated sects and denominations and human differences were very great, Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the horizon of the East, proclaiming the oneness of God and the unity of the world of humanity. He promulgated the teaching that all mankind are the servants of one God; that all have come into being through the bestowal of the one Creator; that God is kind to all, nurtures, rears and protects all, provides for all and extends His love and mercy to all races and people. Inasmuch as God is loving, why should we be unjust and unkind? As God manifests loyalty and mercy, why should we show forth enmity and hatred? Surely the divine policy is more perfect than human plan and theory; for no matter how wise and sagacious man may become, he can never attain a policy that is superior to the policy of God. Therefore, we must emulate the attitude of God, love all people, be just and kind to every human creature. We must consider all as the leaves, branches and fruit of one tree, children of one household; for all are the progeny of Adam. We are waves of one sea, grass of the same meadow, stars in the same heaven; and we find shelter in the universal divine Protector. If one be sick, he must be treated; the ignorant must be educated; the sleeping must be awakened; the dead must be quickened with life. These were principles of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.
New York, Philadelphia, New York 4
On Sunday morning, June 9, He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] drove to 15th Street and Girard Avenue where the Unitarian Church was located and told the congregation of some of the major Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. In the afternoon He received visitors, including reporters, who came to His hotel rooms. That evening He spoke before the congregation of twenty-five hundred in the Baptist Temple, at Broad and Berks Streets. In His lengthy address He elaborated on nine of the principles of the Bahá’í Faith.
Sunday, June 9, 1912
As the Master intended to leave Philadelphia for New York in the morning, many friends were disappointed owing to their imminent separation from Him. They came to the railway station in great sadness to see Him off and all along the way supplicated assistance and guidance from Him.
In the evening in New York, the Master gave the friends a poignant account of His journey to Philadelphia, outlining the objective of His visit. He also spoke on spiritual stations and the inner progress of the soul, which are the ultimate fruits of human life.
Today the Master revealed many important Tablets. One of them was to Monsieur Dreyfus:
“O thou kind Friend,
“I visited Philadelphia, for a few days, at the invitation of two ministers and at the request of the friends of God. Two large congregations gathered in the two churches and I spoke within the measure of my incapacity. But the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, as evident as the sun, descended and enfolded us. Although we are powerless, He is Mighty. Although we are poor, He is All-Sufficient. The importance of this blessed verse became truly manifest: ‘We shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.’
“I hope that both you and the maidservant of Bahá will be able to render important services on this journey and will become the cause of proclaiming the Word of God. Convey my respectful greetings to the maidservant of Bahá. I pray God for confirmations and assistance for her.
“May the Glory of the All-Glorious rest upon thee.
During this time, both day and night, many people besides these servants were present at the table and enjoyed the presence of the Master.
This evening He spoke of the days in Baghdád, saying:
“The Blessed Beauty did not make any more public speeches after leaving Baghdád and Adrianople. The mode of His discourse and the style of His utterances were a cause of wonder and were without peer or likeness. However, out of respect, I do not wish to give my speeches in that manner.” 5
’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- Sockett, Robert. “Acres of Diamonds.” 239 Days in America, 9 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/09/acres-of-diamonds/. ↩
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 182. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/13#242057922. ↩
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 174. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/13#529704265. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 88. ↩
- ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section77 ↩