Biblioteca

o MP ARA TIVEL Y few of the fai thful
in London or in Paris had been blessed
by the abilit~ to journey to 'Akka to s~e
, 'Abdu'l-Baha face to face; to hear hIS
voice; to be fed bodily and spiritually by him in
his own proper person. Many long ed to behold
him, to converse with him, but were prevented by
varying difficulties. The steadfast believer who
had diligently kept the lamp aflame in England
was found able to hint that as the Teacher's
fetters had at last been unlocked and his prison
gates thrown open, he might gain health and
sola ce by travel; might, indeed, visit his people in
the West. To them such joy seemed almost
beyond belief and when delay occurred they
asked one another doubtfulIy "Where is the
promise of his coming?" The fulfillment of joy
carne to them with his advent. He arrived in
London with the quiet of the Most Great Peace,
practicalIy unheralded. The primary and ulti-
mate purpose ofhis coming was the establishment
of the quiescence of that Most Great Peace.
Installed under the roof of one whom he has
called his "respected daughter," he was immedi-
ately and happily "at home," all the day long and
every day, to visitors who thronged to pay him
homage and receive his benediction. The
atmosphere surrounding him harmonized with
the perfect tone of 'Abdu'l-Bahà's own untiring
I I

courtesy and benevolence. Professors of differing
creeds carne and were conquered by the charm of
his manner and the conviction of his soul, Bis
message ofUnity sank deep into the hearts ofhis
listeners, whatever the faith those listeners
adhered to.
Many questions were put to him by many
persons. Bis answers, though perhaps handicap-
ped by necessary interpretation, surprised and
delighted his hearers. Bis grip of their thought;
his quick and ardent replies, were wondered at
and cordially received. Very occasionally he was
persuaded to drive through some of the City's
teeming streets or into one or other of the parks,
aglow with the sunshine of a splendid summer.
Occasionally, also, much to the delight and
uplifting of the Bahà'Is, he was conveyed to the
group-centres. There he delivered discourses,
usually brief, but always to the point, bearing
directly upon his mission and his message. Bis
voi ce was always vibrant with the utterances of
unity and peace. Only once or twice did he permit
himself the pleasure of visiting friends in the
country. A typical village within an easy motor
drive; a big town in the west-Bristol; at these he
found not only hospitable entertainment but very
reverent and heedful gatherings. On certain other
memorable days 'Abdu'l-Baha addressed great
audiences in places of worship and of social
service. The pastor of the City Temple, the
Reverend R. J. Campbell, M.A. introduced him,
in most kindly words, to an overflowing
congregation who heard 'Abdu'l-Baha with
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intense interest; the address being rendered in
English immediately afterwards.
At St. John's Church, Westminster, the
venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, performed a
similar office, the congregation, at his desire,
kneeling to receive 'Abdu'l-Baha's blessing. At the
Passmore Edwards' Settlement in Tavistock
Piace crowded audiences assembled to see and
,
hear.
A profound impression remained in the minds
and memories ofall sorts and conditions of men
and women. The width of 'Abdul-Bahà's
sympathy proved, in every instance, as helpful as
his discrimination and perspicacity in dealing
with difficulties whether subtle or obvious. Each
person approaching him found himself under-
stood and was astonished and relieved by
'Abdu'l-Bahà's comprehension of religious differ-
ences; above all, of religious agreements. By way,
sometimes, of brief but masterly monologue; or,
at other times, by way of question and reply,
themes of individua] or universal interest were
handled and explained.,
Very greatly was 'Abdu'l-Bahà's sojourn in
London appreciated; very greatly his departure
regretted. He left behind him many, many
friends. Bis love had kindled love. Bis heart had
opened to the West and the Western heart had
closed around this patriarchal presence from the
East. Bis words had in them something that
appealed not only to their immediate hearers, but
to men and women generally. Bis outlook was so
hopeful; his soul so set on the promulgation of the

principles of unity and peace, that his discourses
and his answers could not be permitted to remain
unrecorded. This attempt to reproduce them for
the benefit of all who will read is made in the sure
and certain hope that, by virtue of them, the aim
and work of the speaker may be grasped and his
endeavour be endorsed by the professors of all
creeds, the inhabitants of all climes.
ERIC HAMMOND.
Eric Hammond
'Abdu'l-Bahà in London
Autori Bahà'ì
Inglese
Tascabile, Notizie, conversazioni
290 Altre Religioni e Religione Comparata
127
Studio a tema
Great Britain
11/2
1982 (Rist)
Si
900125500
Bahà'ì Publishing Trust
copertina rigida nera con costola nera e scritta oro