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LESSON I
THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH HAS PRINCIPLES AND LAWS

Principle: a fundamental truth or statement providing a general guide to action; a goal; a guideline.
Law: a rule of conduct which is prescribed and recognized as binding and enforced by the controlling authority.

... revolutionizing principles, world-shaping laws and ordinances....

Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p.220

Bahá'u'lláh ... revealed the laws and principles that must govern the operation of that Order....

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, p.325

... He has brought the laws and principles needed to enable all men to live in harmony together in a great, united world.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 570

... mighty laws, unique principles

Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 6

...enforce the laws, and apply the principles....

Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 66

... 'Abdu'l-Bahá expounded ... those basic and distinguishing principles of His Father's Faith, which together with the laws and ordinances revealed in the Kitab-i-Aqdas constitute the bedrock of God's latest Revelation to mankind.

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, p.28

These directing and regulating principles of Bahá'í belief the upholders of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh feel bound, as their Administrative Order expands and consolidates itself, to assert and vigilantly apply. The exigencies of a slowly crystallizing Faith impose upon them a duty which they cannot shirk, a responsibility they cannot evade.
      Nor are they unmindful of the imperative necessity of upholding and of executing the laws, as distinguished from the principles, ordained by Bahá'u'lláh, both of which constitute the warp and woof of the institutions upon which the structure of His World Order must ultimately rest. To demonstrate their usefulness and efficacy, to carry out and apply them, to safeguard their integrity, to grasp their implications and to facilitate their propagation Bahá'í communities in the East, and recently in the West, are displaying the utmost effort and are willing, if necessary, to make whatever sacrifices may be demanded. The day may not be far distant when in certain countries of the East, in which religious communities exercise jurisdiction in matters of personal status, Bahá'í Assemblies may be called upon to assume the duties and responsibilities devolving upon officially constituted Bahá'í courts. They will be empowered, in such matters as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, to execute and apply, within their respective jurisdictions, and with the sanction of civil authorities, such laws and ordinances as have been expressly provided in their Most Holy Book.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, pp.199-200

...the intelligent application and the faithful execution of the principles and laws He revealed.

Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í Administration, p.186


HOW MANY PRINCIPLES?

All the divine principles announced by the tongue of the Prophets of the past are to be found in the words of Bahá'u'lláh; but in addition to these, He has revealed certain new teachings which are not found in any of the sacred Books of former times.

[Here He described twelve new principles.]

The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are boundless and illimitable. You have asked me what new principles have been revealed by Him. I have mentioned a few only. There are many others but time does not permit their mention tonight.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, 2nd ed., pp. 453-457


KINDS OF PRINCIPLES

...the spiritual and administrative principles of the Faith....

Shoghi Effendi, Message to America, pp. 44-45

... faithful to both the spiritual and the administrative principles inculcated by their Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, Light of Divine Guidance Vol.1, p. 186

To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be ... mutilation ... disintegration ... extinction of the Faith itself.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 5



SOME SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES

... [the] principle of separation and distinction....

Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 71

... one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers....

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Will and Testament, p. 20

... the fundamental principle which constitutes the bedrock of Bahá'í belief, the principle that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is orderly, continuous and progressive and not spasmodic and final.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 115

...in accordance with the principle of progressive revelation every Manifestation of God must needs vouchsafe to the peoples of His day a measure of divine guidance ampler than any which a preceding and less receptive age could have received or appreciated.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 102

That the Báb ... should be regarded ... as One invested with the undivided authority assumed by each of the independent Prophets of the past, seemed to me yet another basic principle [to elucidate]....

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 131

Nothing short of the spirit of a true Bahá'í can hope to reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of freedom and submission, of the sanctity of the right of the individual and of self-surrender, of vigilance, discretion and prudence on the one hand, and fellowship, candor and courage on the other.

Shoghi Effendi, BA, pp. 63-64

A chaste and holy life must be made the controlling principle in the behavior and conduct of all Bahá'ís.

Shoghi Effendi: The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 29

... the principle of loyalty to their Faith....

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 162

... the principle of unqualified and wholehearted loyalty to the revealed Word.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DND, p. 61

... the broad principle that the followers of Bahá'ís will, under no circumstances, suffer themselves to be involved ... in matters that would entail the slightest departure from the fundamental verities and ideals of their Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 66

... the principle of "moderation in all things"....

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, p. 218

... the principle of non-violence....

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, p. 132

... the principle of kingship is eulogised....

Shoghi Effendi, PDC, p.71

... the hereditary principle and the law of primogeniture ... upheld by the Prophets of the past....

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 147

... the principle governing the observance of Bahá'í holidays,....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Dawn of a New Day, p. 52

As regards the Bahá'í principle of obedience to just governments, what is meant here by just is recognized and well-established authority.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, NBR #7, p. 2

The cardinal principle which we must follow is obedience to the Government prevailing in any land in which we reside.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í News #241, p. 14

... and this principle ... involves the non-participation by the adherents of the Faith ... in any form of activity that might be interpreted ... as an interference in the political affairs of any particular government.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB p. 64

... the general principle ... that no Bahá'í can accept full membership in any non-Bahá'í ecclesiastical organization.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 425

The general principle in regard to the marriage of a Bahá'í to a non-Bahá'í is as follows: If a Bahá'í marries a non-Bahá'í who wishes to have the religious ceremony of his own sect carried out, it must be quite clear that, first, the Bahá'í partner is understood to be a Bahá'í by religion, and not to accept the religion of the other party to the marriage through having his or her religious ceremony; and second, the ceremony must be of a nature which does not commit the Bahá'í to any declaration of faith in a religion other than his own.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DG pp. 44-45

Shoghi Effendi has laid down a principle that the Bahá'ís should not attribute much importance to talks, reported to have been given by the Master, if these have not in one form or other obtained His sanction.
      Bahá'u'lláh has made it clear enough that only those things that have been revealed in the form of Tablets have a binding power over the friends
      This being a basic principle of the Faith....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, pp. 439-440

The general principle should be that any object used by Him ['Abdu'l-Bahá] in person should be preserved for posterity....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 487

Our debts ... should be considered as sacred and take precedence over any other thing (i.e. payment of debts comes before contributions to the Cause) for upon this principle does the foundation of our economic life rest.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá'í Administration, p. 20

... the principle of private ownership....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 550

...the spiritual principle of the unfettered freedom of the voter....

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 136

... the principle of the undoubted right of the individual to self-expression, his freedom to declare his conscience and set forth his views.

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 63


SOME ADMINISTRATIVE PRINCIPLES

... the basic principles ... which must guide the administration ...

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 78

... the principles underlying the worldwide administration of the Cause, ...

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 92

... deepen their understanding of the ... administrative principles underlying its new world order, ...

Shoghi Effendi, DND, p.122

... justice ... the ruling principle in human society....

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, p. 282

... twin ... principles of Divine justice and order....

Shoghi Effendi, ADJ, p. 16

Its world-unifying principles.... The principle of unification....

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 73

... the oneness of the whole body of nations will be made the ruling principle of international life.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 193

The principle of collective security....

Shoghi Effendi, GPB, p. 217

... the principle of federalism....

'Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in WOB, p. 37

(...each province will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the interests of the various independent states.)

'Abdu'l-Bahá, PUP, 2nd ed., p. 167

... the central principle ... has been to make the Bahá'í National Assemblies as independent as possible in the conduct of such affairs as fall within their province....

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 85

... the bedrock of the Bahá'í administrative order is the principle of unity in diversity ... Differences which are not fundamental and contrary to the basic teachings of the Cause should be maintained, while the underlying unity of the administrative order should be at any cost preserved and ensured.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DND, p. 48

... the two cardinal principles of Bahá'í Administration, namely, the supreme ... authority of the NSA ... and the untrammelled freedom of the Convention delegates....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Compilation: National Spiritual Assembly, p. 25

... the principle of complete and immediate obedience to the Assemblies, both local and national.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DND, p. 61

... the principle which places ultimate authority and responsibility in the hands of the National Spiritual Assembly.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 172

... the principle of authority invested in our elected bodies....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Compilation: Local Spiritual Assemblies, p. 26

... the principle that local activities should always be subordinated to the national interests, needs and requirements of the Faith....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #84, p. 13

... this important administrative principle of frank and open consultation....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LSA, p. 18

... the principle of majority rule.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 55

... the principle of plurality ... whereby those candidates that have obtained the highest number of votes, irrespective of the fact whether they command an absolute majority of the votes cast or not, are automatically and definitely elected.

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 136

The principle of proportional representation governing the election of Convention delegates....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #114, p. 1

('The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country.')

'Abdu'l-Bahá, LOG, p. 320

... the principle ... requiring the believers ... to elect a certain number of delegates who ... elect their national representatives ... to elect ... God's Universal House of Justice...the principle of a three stage election....

Shoghi Effendi, BA, pp. 84-85

... a new basis for election ... This new principle will enable all Bahá'ís ... to participate in the election of delegates . . .The unit will ... be regarded as the State or Province, rather than the locality in which the believers reside.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #164, p. 2

... one of the fundamental principles of our administrative order which is freedom of choice – freedom of electors to elect anyone they please to local or national bodies, and freedom of the members of these bodies to appoint any Bahá'í who seems best qualified for the work to function on committees.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 154

... a unique principle in the administration of the Cause, governing the relations that should be maintained between the central administrative body and its assisting organs of executive and legislative action.

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 141

... an axiom and guiding principle of Bahá'í administration that in the conduct of every specific Bahá'í activity ... only those who have already identified themselves with the Faith ... should be invited to join and collaborate

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 182

... the general principle that non-believers are not, whether directly or indirectly, expected to contribute to the support of institutions that are of a strictly Bahá'í character.

Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'í Funds, p. 15

...the general principle that only those who reside within the city limits of any given locality have the right to either vote or be elected as member of the Assembly,

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 51

The general principle ... is that a request for excuse from School sessions on Bahá'í Holy Days is desirable.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Compilation: Bahá'í Education, p. 308

The general principle of contribution by the friends is unchanged, namely, that everyone is free to contribute to whatever funds they wish, and to the degree their conscience and feeling of sacrifice moves them.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Compilation: Funds, p.543

... the cardinal principle that all contributions to the Fund are to be purely and strictly voluntary in character.

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 101

... the principle ... that Bahá'í funds should not be invested in building up a place that has dear associations for a number of the friends, but is not going to really serve a large group of believers.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Messages to Canada, p. 28

... the principle that every civil community should have its own independent Assembly.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DG, p. 51

... the principle ... that personalities should not be made centers around which the community may revolve but that they should be subordinated under all conditions and however great their merits to the properly constituted Assemblies.

Shoghi Effendi, PBA, p. 58

The principle he has laid down has invariably been that the friends must establish a Spiritual Assembly on a firm and enduring basis with a nucleus of about fifteen Bahá'ís in the Community, so that the Assembly would be maintained, and then the other believers are free above the number of fifteen to disperse and teach elsewhere.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DND, pp. 191-192

... every organised community ... should ... nurture, encourage, and safeguard every minority belonging to any faith, race, class or nation within it. So great and vital is this principle ...

Shoghi Effendi, ADJ, p. 35

Any dissolved Assembly cannot be reconstituted until the time of election in April. This is the general principle which must be followed....

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 7

The general principle is that the National Spiritual Assembly to which a country has been allotted is responsible for the progress of the Faith there, and the unfoldment of its administrative institutions, regardless of whether the territory in question is the possession of a nation other than that which the National Assembly in question represents.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #283, pp. 1-2

... the general principle is that the NSA of America should strive to prepare and train all groups in Central and South America to attain the status of an Assembly, and, once formed, to endeavour to consolidate their position. (1938)

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #119, p. 4

The basic principle ... that the NSA cannot be required to reveal to any outsider all the details concerning its work.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand, p. 9


SECONDARY PRINCIPLES

... the supreme body in the United States and Canada, whose privilege and function is to lay down, amend and abrogate the administrative principles of the Faith with the approval of the Guardian, is not the Convention, ... but the NSA.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, NSA, p. 23

As to the principle according to which the area of the jurisdiction of a Local Assembly is to be determined, he feels this to be the function of the National Spiritual Assembly; whatever principle they uphold should be fairly applied to all localities without any distinction whatever.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 5

The primary consideration is the spirit that has to permeate our economic life, and this will gradually crystallize itself into definite institutions and principles that will help to bring about the ideal condition foretold by Bahá'u'lláh.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DG, p.20


THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH OPPOSES WRONG PRINCIPLES
(Quotations from Shoghi Effendi)

... the principle of a four-stage election ... at variance with ... the Master's Tablet.

BA, p. 84

... the principle of ... absolute majority ... that requires that each elected member must secure a majority of the votes cast. ... serious disadvantage of restricting the freedom of the elector who ... [should] vote for none but those whom prayer and reflection have inspired him to uphold.

BA, p. 136

Regarding the non-appointment of Assembly members to membership on national committees, the Guardian firmly believes that no such principle should be recognized.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DG, p. 13


KINDS OF LAW

All matters of State should be referred to the House of Justice, but acts of worship must be observed according to that which God hath revealed in His Book.

Bahá'u'lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Other Sections), p. 91

The Universal Principles which are the foundation of the Religion of God are laid down; but the making of specific laws which are the subdivisions and ramifications is apportioned to the House of Justice.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol.VI, p. 68

... Bahá'ís have practical laws upon moral, ethical, civil and governmental questions.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, SW, Vol. III, No. 8, p. 5

Some of these prohibitions were absolute, and binding upon all, and whoso transgressed the given law was abhorred of God and anathematized by the believers. Such, for example, were things categorically forbidden, the perpetration of which was accounted a most grievous sin, among them actions so loathsome that it is shameful even to speak their name.

    But there are other forbidden things which do not cause immediate harm, and the injurious effects of which are only gradually produced: such acts are also repugnant to the Lord, and blameworthy in His sight, and repellent. The absolute unlawfulness of these, however, hath not been expressly set forth in the Text, but their avoidance is necessary to purity, cleanliness, the preservation of health, and freedom from addiction.
'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 147


WHY DO WE NEED LAW?

Say: True liberty* consisteth in man's submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down unto them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty.

Bahá'u'lláh, KA, pp. 63-63; GWB., p. 336.
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*Liberty: See also "Individual Rights" in Lesson 5.

Freedom ... is not a bad thing if considered in view of the interpretation that Bahá'u'lláh gives in the Aqdas. The freedom that He commends is a freedom which is a fruit and result of law and proper administration. The other kind of freedom which is in defiance of law He considers to be animal, and far from being of any good to man. He says, "True freedom is in obedience to My law."

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #46, p. 9

The Laws of God are not impositions of will, or of power, or pleasure, but the resolutions of truth, reason and justice.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 154

The primary purpose, the basic objective, in laying down powerful laws and setting up great principles and institutions dealing with every aspect of civilisation, is human happiness....

'Abdu'1-Bahá, Secret of Divine Civilisation, p. 60

The Law must reign, and not the individual, thus will the world become a place of beauty, and true brotherhood will be realized.

'Abdu'1-Bahá, PT, p. 132

It is impossible for a country to live easily without laws.... laws are the cause of life.

'Abdu'1-Bahá, S of W, Vol. VII, p. 84

There is no doubt that the purpose of a divine law is the education of the human race, the training of humanity.

'Abdu'1-Bahá, PUP, 2nd ed., p. 411

Every imperfect soul is self-centred and thinketh only of his own good.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, SWAB, p. 69

As to the meaning of the quotation, "My fears are for Him Who will be sent down unto you after Me," this refers to the Manifestation who is to come after a thousand or more years, who like all previous Messengers of God will be subjected to persecutions, but will eventually triumph over them. For men of ill-will have been and will always continue to be in this world, unless mankind reaches a state of complete and absolute perfection--a condition which is not only improbable but actually impossible to attain.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 475

... each of the 'ulamá has been handing down decrees as he saw fit, based on his arbitrary interpretation and personal opinion. For example, two men will go to law, and one of the 'ulamá will find for the plaintiff and another for the defendant. It may even happen that in one and the same case two conflicting decisions will be handed down by the same mujtahid, on the grounds that he was inspired first in one direction and then in the other. There can be no doubt that this state of affairs has confused every important issue and must jeopardize the very foundations of society....

Since the primary means for securing the peace and tranquillity of the people, and the most effective agency for the advancement of high and low alike, is this all-important matter, it is incumbent on those learned members of the great consultative assembly who are thoroughly versed in the Divine law to evolve a single, direct and definite procedure for the settlement of litigations. This instrument should then be published throughout the country ... and its provisions should be strictly adhered to. This all-important question requires the most urgent attention.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, SDC, pp. 37-38

The Bahá'í Cause covers all economic and social questions under the heading and ruling of its laws. The essence of the Bahá'í spirit is that, in order to establish a better social order and economic condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government. ... Without legislative administration, rights and demands fail, and the welfare of the commonwealth cannot be realized. Today the method of demand is the strike and resort to force, which is manifestly wrong and destructive of human foundations. Rightful privilege and demand must be set forth in laws and regulations.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, PUP, 2nded., p. 238

For legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole, and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 42

It is forgotten that the nobility and dignity of law are due to the place of law in securing the order involved in the realization on human happiness. Then the law instead of being a servant of the good is put arbitrarily above it, as if man was made for law, not law for man....

Peace and tranquility are not merely absence of open friction and disorder, They mean specific, easily-known, and generally recognized principles which determine the province and limits of the legitimate activity of every person.

John Dewey, Ethics, 1st ed., pp. 415, 455 Henry Holt &Co.

The word "jungle" is a common synonym for lawlessness. The opposite of the lawless jungle is the highly developed community in which men live and work and conduct their complex affairs in an orderly, smooth and harmonious way, with the maximum of individual liberty, according to LAW.

Jack Last, Every Day Law Made Simple, p. 169*.
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*This material is reprinted by permission of the copyright owner, Doubleday &Company, Inc..)


AMERICA'S MISSION REGARDING LAW

Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.

Bahá'u'lláh, KA, p. 52

May this American Democracy be the first nation ... to unfurl the standard of the Most Great Peace.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in ADJ, p. 72

The continent of America is, in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the splendours of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide, and the free assemble.

'Abdu'l-Bahá, ADJ, p. 5

Already, the community of the believers of the North American continent ... recognized as the torchbearer of that light, the repository of those mysteries, the exponent of that righteousness and the sanctuary of that freedom. To what other light can these above quoted words possibly allude, if not to the light of the glory of the Golden Age of the Faith of splendours? What mysteries could 'Abdu'l-Bahá have contemplated except the mysteries of that embryonic World Order now evolving within the matrix of His Administration? What righteousness if not the righteousness whose reign that Age and that Order can alone establish? What freedom but the freedom which the proclamation of His sovereignty in the fullness of time must bestow?

Shoghi Effendi, ADJ, pp. 5-6

The community ... in the American continent--the spiritual descendants of the dawn-breakers of an heroic Age, who by their death proclaimed the birth of that Faith-- must, in turn, usher in, not by their death but through living sacrifice, that promised World Order, the shell ordained to enshrine that priceless jewel, the world civilisation, of which the Faith itself is the sole begetter.

Shoghi Effendi, ADJ, p. 7

... cradle of the World Order of civilisation ... torchbearers of an as yet unborn world civilisation.

Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 111

... this new world order ... not only to adopt it unreservedly, but to unveil its merit to the world.

Shoghi Effendi, BA, p. 62

... that divine civilisation which the almighty Law of Bahá'u'lláh is designed to establish upon earth.

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 152

... the Most Great Peace whose sun ... must needs arise as the direct consequence of the enforcement of the laws of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.

Shoghi Effendi, CF, p. 36


WHY AMERICA?

How often have the Prophets of God ... chosen to appear, and deliver their Message in countries and amidst peoples and races, at a time when they were either fast declining, or had already touched the lowest depths of moral and spiritual degradationÉ.

To a lesser degree this principle must of necessity apply to the country which has vindicated its right to be regarded as the cradle of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. ... It is precisely by reason of the patent evils which ... materialism has engendered within it that the Author of their Faith and the Center of His Covenant have singled it out to become the standard-bearer of the New World Order envisaged in their writings. It is by such means as this that Enter can best demonstrate to a heedless generation His almighty power to raise up from the very midst of a people ... notorious for its political corruption, lawlessness and laxity ... men and women who ... will ... exemplify ... virtues ... that will fit them for the preponderating share they will have in calling into being that World Order and that World Civilisation.... Theirs will be the duty and privilege ... as the champion-builders of that New World Order ... to inculcate, demonstrate, and apply those twin and sorely-needed principles of Divine Justice and order ... principles to which the political corruption and the moral license ... [of] the society to which they belong, offer so sad and striking a contrast.

Shoghi Effendi, ADJ, pp. 17, 19-20

... the increasing evidences of selfishness, of suspicion, of fear and of fraud; the spread of terrorism, of lawlessness, of drunkenness and of crime....

Shoghi Effendi, WOB, p. 187

... the scribes and Pharisees ... said ... how is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Gospel according to Mark 2:17


FOLLOWING BAHÁ'Í LAW

In all these journeys the traveler must stray not the breadth of a hair from the 'Law,' for this is indeed the secret of the 'Path' and the fruit of the Tree of "Truth"; and in all these stages he must cling to the robe of obedience to the commandments, and hold fast to the cord of shunning all forbidden things, that he may be nourished from the cup of the Law and informed of the mysteries of Truth.

Bahá'u'lláh, Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, pp. 39-40

All over the world the Guardian is constantly encouraging and enjoining the believers to learn to function according to Bahá'í laws and principles; members of Spiritual Assemblies must learn to face their responsibilities; individuals must learn to turn to them and abide by their decisions. When we realize that all marriages, divorces, disposal of inheritance, etc., are now handled in Egypt and Persia solely through the Assemblies and that the believers abide by their decisions, we see that in Western countries the friends still have a long way to go -- the sooner they start the better for themselves and for the Faith.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 1944, LOG, p. 43

The Guardian is constantly encouraging the friends and the Assemblies to fulfil their respective duties; the friends should learn to refer to and lean on their Assemblies, and the Assemblies should assume the responsibility of making decisions and carrying them out.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, L of P #76, p. 4

If the Bahá'ís would follow the Bahá'í laws in voting, in electing, in serving, and in abiding by assembly decisions, all this waste of strength through criticising others could be diverted into cooperation and achieving the Plan. Keep on trying to point this out to them!

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Arohanui (Letters to New Zealand), p. 53; LOG, p. 92

The Bahá'ís must, in view of the conditions of the world today, stand forth firmly and courageously as followers of Bahá'u'llah, obeying His Laws and seeking to build His World Order. Through compromise we will never be able to establish our Faith or win others' hearts to it.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Living the Life, p. 26

The Guardian feels very strongly that everywhere, throughout the entire Bahá'í world, the believers have got to master and follow the principles of their divinely laid down Administrative Order.... The Bahá'ís have got to learn to live up to the laws of Bahá'u'llah which are infinitely higher, more exacting and more perfect than those the world is at present familiar with.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DND, p. 129

... the Bahá'ís will be called upon to demonstrate to their fellowmen the perfection of Bahá'u'llah's laws and World Order in such a manner that bewildered humanity will turn to them as their only refuge.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, DND, p. 181

He urges you all to exert your utmost in helping the believers to mature spiritually, and to unitedly work to consolidate the community in the laws of the Faith and the administration of its institutions.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #222, p. 1

Such a rectitude of conduct ... must reveal itself in the uncompromising adherence of all, whether young or old, to the clearly enunciated and fundamental principles laid down by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His addresses, and to the laws and ordinances revealed by Bahá'u'llah in His Holy Book.

Shoghi Effendi, ADJ, p. 26-27

... In this case*, as also in that of suffering believers, the Assemblies, whether local or national, should act tactfully, patiently and in a friendly and kindly spirit. Knowing how painful and dangerous it is for such believers to repudiate their former allegiances and friendships, they should try to gradually persuade them of the wisdom and necessity of such an action, and instead of thrusting upon them a new principle, to make them accept it inwardly and out of pure conviction and desire. Too severe and immediate action in such cases is not only fruitless but actually harmful. It alienates people instead of winning them to the Cause.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LOG, p. 162
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*A special case involving an aged believer, afflicted with illness, for whom severance of church relations might have been too great a shock.

The degree to which you serve and assist the Cause there will lighten his load and help him, you may be sure, for much of his correspondence and time is taken up in attending to details which, if the friends studied the Teachings and administration, and followed their precepts and laws, would never arise or need to be referred to him!

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #224, p. 3

'Abdu'l-Bahá, as you will remember, often referred to the American believers as children, but they have certainly grown up at last, and are assuming their full share of Bahá'í responsibility, which lightens the Guardian's heavy load and makes his work easier.

Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, BN #236. p. 4

It is the challenging task of the Bahá'ís to obey the law of God in their own lives, and gradually to win the rest of mankind to its acceptance.

Universal House of Justice, Messages, p.106


ALL MANKIND SUBJECT TO LAW OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH

The summons and the message which We gave were never intended to reach or to benefit one land or one people only. Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it. Then and only then will it attain unto true liberty.

Bahá'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 96

And oft as Our verses are rehearsed unto them, they persist in proud disdain, and in their gross violation of His law, and know it not.

Bahá'u'llah, GWB, p. 43

... None shall be secure this Day from the decree of God.

Bahá'u'llah, GWB, p. 41

Say: It behooveth you, O Ministers of State, to keep the precepts of God, and to forsake your own laws and regulations, and to be of them who are guided aright ... if ye transgress the commandment of God, not one jot or one tittle of your works shall be acceptable in His sight.

Bahá'u'llah, GWB, p. 123


LAW IN PROPHECY

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all the nations shall flow unto it.
    And many people shall go and say, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
    And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah, 2:2-4

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder ... Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah, 9:6-7

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse ... with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked....
    The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.... And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's* den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain....

Isaiah, 11:1-8.
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*Cockatrice : - (in Scriptures) a venomous serpent which cannot now be identified.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus, Matthew 5: 17-19

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Jesus, Matthew 6:10


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