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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 83-85


While we are commanded to overlook the faults of others, and see their virtues, we are commanded, on the other hand, to find out our own faults and take no account of our virtues. Bahá’u’lláh says in the Hidden Words:—
O Son of Being!

How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.
O Emigrants!

The tongue I have designed for the mention of Me, defile it not with detraction. If the fire of self overcome you, remember your own faults and not the faults of My 84 creatures, inasmuch as every one of you knoweth his own self better than he knoweth others.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says:—
Let your life be an emanation of the Kingdom of Christ. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. … In the religion of Bahá’u’lláh all are servants and maidservants, brothers and sisters. As soon as one feels a little better than, a little superior to, the rest, he is in a dangerous position, and unless he casts away the seed of such an evil thought, he is not a fit instrument for the service of the Kingdom.

Dissatisfaction with oneself is a sign of progress. The soul who is satisfied with himself is the manifestation of Satan, and the one who is not contented with himself is the manifestation of the Merciful. If a person has a thousand good qualities he must not look at them; nay, rather he must strive to find out his own defects and imperfections. …However much a man may progress, yet he is imperfect, because there is always a point ahead of him. No sooner does he look up towards that point than he become dissatisfied with his own condition, and aspires to attain to that. Praising one’s own self is the sign of selfishness.—Diary of Mírzá Aḥmad Sohrab, 1914.
Although we are commanded to recognize and sincerely repent of our sins, the practice of confession to priests and others is definitely forbidden. Bahá’u’lláh says in the Glad Tidings:—
The sinner, when his heart is free from all save God, must seek forgiveness from God alone. Confession before the servants (i.e. before men) is not permissible, for it is not the means or the cause of Divine Forgiveness. Such confession before the creatures leads to one’s humiliation and abasement, and God—exalted by His Glory—does not wish for the humiliation of His servants. Verily He is 85 Compassionate and Beneficent. The sinner must, between himself and God, beg for mercy from the Sea of Mercy and implore pardon from the Heaven of Forgiveness.