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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 9-10

Difficulties of Investigation

There are, of course, difficulties in the way of the student who seeks to get at the truth about this Cause. Like all great moral and spiritual reformations, the Bahá’í Faith has been grossly misrepresented. About the terrible persecutions and sufferings of Bahá’u’lláh and His followers, both friends and enemies are in entire agreement. About the value of the Movement, however, and the character of its Founders, the statements of the believers and the accounts of the deniers are utterly at variance. It is just as in the time of Christ. Concerning the crucifixion of Jesus and the persecution and martyrdom of His followers both Christian and Jewish historians are in agreement, but whereas the believers say that Christ fulfilled and developed the teachings of Moses and the prophets, the deniers declare that He broke the laws and ordinances and was worthy of death.
In religion, as in science, truth reveals her mysteries only to the humble and reverent seeker, who is ready to lay aside every prejudice and superstition—to sell all that he has, in order that he may buy the “one pearl of great price.” To understand the Bahá’í Faith in its full significance, we must undertake its study in the spirit of sincere and selfless devotion to truth, persevering in the path of search and relying on divine guidance. In the Writings of its Founders we shall find the master key to the mysteries of this great spiritual awakening, and the ultimate criterion of its value. Unfortunately, here again there are difficulties in the way of the student who is unacquainted with the Persian and Arabic languages in which the teachings are written. Only a small proportion of the Writings has been translated into English, and many of the translations which have appeared leave much to be desired, both in accuracy and 10 style. But despite the imperfection and inadequacy of historical narratives and translations, the greatest essential truths which form the massive and firm foundations of this Cause stand out like mountains from the mists of uncertainty. 1
1. There are now the incomparable translations by Shoghi Effendi from the Persian and Arabic, of the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. These, together with his own considerable writings covering the history of the Faith, the statements and implications of its fundamental verities and the unfoldment of its Administrative Order, make the modern inquirer’s task infinitely easier than in Dr. Esslemont’s time.   [ Back To Reference]