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The Trend of World Events
And now in conclusion, may I be permitted to direct your attention to the lesson which the trend of world events brings home to us, the little band of His chosen workers who, according to the intelligent efforts we exert, can prove ourselves the determining factor in the immediate fortunes of the society we live in? As we witness on all sides the growing restlessness of a restless age, we are filled with mixed feelings of fear and hope—fear, at the prospect of yet another deadly encounter, the inevitability of which is alas! becoming increasingly manifest; hope, in the serene assurance that whatever cataclysm may yet visit humanity, it cannot but hasten the approaching era of universal and lasting peace so emphatically proclaimed by the Pen of Bahá’u’lláh. In the political domain, 146 where we have lately witnessed, in the council of the leading nations of the world, the surrender of humanity’s noblest conception to what may be regarded only as a transient phase in the life of peoples and nations; in the industrial world, where the representatives of the wage-earning classes, either through violence or persuasion, are capturing the seats of authority and wielding the scepter of power: in the field of religion, where we have lately witnessed widespread and organized attempts to broaden and simplify the basis of man’s faith, to achieve unity in Christendom and restore the regenerating vigor of Islám; in the heart of society itself, where the ominous signs of increasing extravagance and profligacy are but lending fresh impetus to the forces of revolt and reaction that are growing more distinct every day—in these as in many others we have much cause for alarm, but much to be hopeful and thankful for also. To take but one instance more fully: Observe the fierce and as yet unsilenced dispute which the proposal for the introduction of a binding and universal pact of non-aggression among the nations of Europe has aroused among the avowed supporters of the League of Nations—a League so auspiciously welcomed for the ideal that prompted its birth, yet now so utterly inadequate in the actual principles that underlie its present-day structure and working. And yet, in the great outcry raised by post-war nationalism in blindly defending and upholding the unfettered supremacy of its own sovereignty, and in repudiating unreservedly the conception of a world super-state, can we not discern the re-enactment only on a larger scale of the dramatic struggles that heralded the birth of the reconstructed and unified nations of the West? Has not authentic history clearly revealed in the case of these nations the painful yet inevitable merging of rival, particularistic and independent cities and principalities into one unified national entity, the evolving of a crude and narrow creed into a nobler and wider conception? Is not a parallel struggle being now manifested on the world stage of ever-advancing humanity? Can it lead to any other result than that which shall reaffirm the truth of humanity’s onward march towards an ever-widening conception, and the ever-brightening glory of its destiny? Reverses and setbacks, such as we have already witnessed, no doubt will retard the ripening of the choicest fruit on the tree of human development. Yet the fierceness of controversy, the weight of argument 147 advanced in its disfavor, cannot but contribute to the broadening of the basis and the consolidation of the foundations upon which the stately edifice of unified mankind must ultimately rest. Let us take heart therefore, and labor with renewed vigor and deepened understanding to contribute our share to those forces which, whether or not cognizant of the regenerating Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in this age, are operating, each in its respective sphere and under His all-encompassing guidance, for the uplift and the salvation of humanity.