Chicago: Last day; four gatherings; unity of east and west . . . Glad tidings!
Mahmud writes: "Today was the last day of `Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in Chicago. He was invited to speak at four gatherings. In each meeting the power of His utterances and His explanations produced great interest and enthusiasm in the audience.
In the morning, in the hotel's main hall, the Master encouraged the friends and others to be united and to create within themselves the utmost love and harmony. He ended His talk with praise and gratitude for the assistance of the Abhá Kingdom and left for one of the churches.
The pastor of the church introduced the Master in glowing terms and was full of praise and admiration. He referred to Him as the Persian apostle and Prophet of the East and described His 40 years of imprisonment and hardship, His freedom, His travels to Europe and America, His addresses in churches and large gatherings in both continents and lastly his own conviction of the value of `Abdu'l-Bahá's explanations and talks.
`Abdu'l-Bahá stood and put forward decisive proofs and arguments, describing the appearance of the Manifestations of God, the veils and opposition of the people, the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh to the kings and the influence of the Cause of God among the people. His words were so penetrating that every soul was stirred and informed of the circumstances prevailing in this day of the Manifestation.
There was a meeting in the afternoon at the Congregational Church. Its pastor, Dr Milburn, expressed his great joy to the Master for blessing and honoring the church with a second visit. `Abdu'l-Bahá delivered a magnificent address on the greatness of this age, the necessity of achieving the oneness of humanity, universal peace, the oneness of creation, and concluding with explanations of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. His address was delivered with such majesty and power that all hearts were quickened with the love of humanity and became lovers of peace and harmony, abandoning prejudice and disunity. After the talk, people rushed to the stage and surrounded the Master as He left the pulpit for His automobile, supplicating His spiritual blessings and assistance.
From there He went to Dr Milburn's home where a number of people met Him. Among them was an editor who asked that a message from the Master be given through his journal to the whole of humanity. The Master's message was this:
Praise be to God that the centuries of darkness have passed and the age of enlightenment has arrived!
Praise be to God that all traces of superstition and imitation have vanished and the minds and thoughts of men have broadened, inventions have gained new life, the arts and sciences have been revived, new plans have been evolved, discoveries have increased, all things have been revitalized, the rulings that regulate the world have been renewed! Thus it was necessary that the laws of God also be changed and the reality of divine religions be renewed, for divine teachings had been forgotten and there was nothing left but dogmatic imitation. The foundation of the divine religions is one and that is the truth which generates love and affection and is the cause of the unity of mankind. But imitations vary and they are the cause of disagreements and are the destroyers of spiritual foundations.
Glad tidings, glad tidings, that the Sun of Truth has shed its radiance!
Glad tidings, glad tidings, that the heavenly light has encompassed all regions!
Glad tidings, glad tidings, that the gates of the Kingdom have been opened!
Glad tidings, glad tidings, that the melody of the Supreme Concourse has been raised.
Glad tidings, glad tidings, that the breaths of the Holy Spirit are giving life and the world of humanity is reborn!
Awake, O people of the world, awake! Give heed, O peoples and nations, give heed! Destroy the root of conflict and strife; abandon imitations and prejudices which lead to cruelty, so that you may acknowledge the Truth and the light of the oneness of humanity may shine brilliant and manifest as the sun; the standard of universal peace be hoisted; perfect love and harmony may reign among the races, religions and nations; and the world of man may find peace and acquire a divine image and likeness. This is my message.
That night He went from there to the home of Mrs Davies where, through the generosity of whose daughter a splendid banquet had been arranged for the Nineteen Day Feast. Several people visited the Master on the second floor of the house, among them some engineers who wanted His comments about the House of Worship. The Master answered:
The Mashriqu'l-Adhkár is circular in shape. It has nine paths, nine gardens, nine pools with fountains and nine gates. Each path will lead to a center such as an orphanage, a hospital, a school, a university and other buildings that are dependencies of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. In the building there will be an organ, balconies and a rostrum especially for prayers and devotional programs but addresses may be given there as well.
Later the Master spoke of the importance of the House of Justice and the significance of the laws of this Dispensation, stating that each is a complete and powerful proof for the unity of the peoples of the world.
He then went downstairs for a public meeting and gave a farewell address to the believers in which He described the harmfulness of imitations and superstitions.
`Imitations', He said, `destroy the edifice of human prosperity and conflict with the religion of God. Beware lest you occupy yourselves with such superstitions.'
It is not possible to describe the impact on the minds, the exhilaration of the spirits and delight of the souls. When His automobile left, everyone wept and expressed their sorrow at their separation from their beloved.
This was His last visit to Chicago--some count it the third, others the fourth (as He had left to go to Kenosha and come back, on His last visit there). The end is truly in sight--and the friends must have been greatly distressed. . . .
The church He went to in the morning was Englewood Pilgrim Congregational Church, which no longer exists; there's a hospital there now. Old photo:
The church He visited in afternoon was the Plymouth Congregational Church at 935 East Fiftieth Street, now the First Baptist Church of Chicago
He visited the home of Rev. Joseph Melbourne, 4336 S. Michigan Ave., which no longer exists.
House of Mrs. Beatrice Davis & family (Feast) was at 5847 S. LaSalle St., which no longer exists(see photo in “Written in Light”) Beatrice is in a number of photos of the Chicago friends.
Departed from Illinois Central Station, to Cincinnati, St. Louis train #16 is long gone, but there are some great postcard views of it. As Candace Hill says, can't you just see Abdu'l-Baha at this station! http://chicago.urban-history.org/sites/transpor/cent_sta.htm
Glad tidings--we need to FEEL this and impart this, every day!