A new version of the Bahá’í Reference Library is now available. This ‘old version’ of the Bahá’í Reference Library will be replaced at a later date.

The new version of the Bahá’i Reference Library can be accessed here »

Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
Go to printed page GO
Pages 77-78


Devotion to God involves implicit obedience to His revealed Commands even when the reason for these Commands is not understood. The sailor implicitly obeys his captain’s orders, even when he does not know the reason for them, but his acceptance 78 of authority is not blind. He knows full well that the captain has served a thorough probation, and given ample proofs of competence as a navigator. Were it not so, he would be foolish indeed to serve under him. So the Bahá’í must implicitly obey the Captain of his Salvation, but he will be foolish indeed if he has not first ascertained that this Captain has given ample proofs of trustworthiness. Having received such proofs, however, to refuse obedience would be even greater folly, for only by intelligent and open-eyed obedience to the wise master can we reap the benefits of his wisdom, and acquire this wisdom for ourselves. Be the captain never so wise, if none of the crew obey him how shall the ship reach its port or the sailors learn the art of navigation? Christ clearly pointed out that obedience is the path of knowledge. He said:—“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”—St. John vii, 16–17. So Bahá’u’lláh says: “Faith in God, and the knowledge of Him, cannot be fully attained except … by practicing all that He hath commanded and all that is revealed in the Book from the Pen of Glory.”—Tablet of Tajallíyát.
Implicit obedience is not a popular virtue in these democratic days, and indeed entire submission to the will of any mere man would be disastrous. But the Unity of Humanity can be attained only by complete harmony of each and all with the Divine will. Unless that Will be clearly revealed, and men abandon all other leaders and obey the Divine Messenger, then conflict and strife will go on, and men will continue to oppose each other, to devote a large part of their energy to frustrating the efforts of their brother men, instead of working harmoniously together for the Glory of God and the common good.