Revelation, twenty years later--incorporating that same term in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas--identified the System envisaged in that Book, affirming that "this most great Order" had deranged the world's equilibrium, and revolutionized mankind's ordered life. It is the features of that self-same Order which, at a later stage in the evolution of the Faith, the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and the appointed Interpreter of His teachings, delineated through the provisions of His Will and Testament. It is the structural basis of that self-same Order which, in the Formative Age of that same Faith, the stewards of that same Covenant, the elected representatives of the world-wide Bahá'í community, are now laboriously and unitedly establishing. It is the superstructure of that self-same Order, attaining its full stature through the emergence of the Bahá'í World Commonwealth--the Kingdom of God on earth--which the Golden Age of that same Dispensation must, in the fullness of time, ultimately witness.
The Báb was still in Máh-Ku when He wrote the most detailed and illuminating of His Tablets to Muhammad Sháh. Prefaced by a laudatory reference to the unity of God, to His Apostles and to the twelve Imáms; unequivocal in its assertion of the divinity of its Author and of the supernatural powers with which His Revelation had been invested; precise in the verses and traditions it cites in confirmation of so audacious a claim; severe in its condemnation of some of the officials and representatives of the Sháh's administration, particularly of the "wicked and accursed" Husayn Khán; moving in its description of the humiliation and hardships to which its writer had been subjected, this historic document resembles, in many of its features, the Lawh-i-Sultán, the Tablet addressed, under similar circumstances, from the prison-fortress of Akká by Bahá'u'lláh to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, and constituting His lengthiest epistle to any single sovereign.
The Dalá'il-i-Sab`ih (Seven Proofs), the most important of the polemical works of the Báb, was revealed during that same period. Remarkably lucid, admirable in its precision, original in conception, unanswerable in its argument, this work, apart from the many and divers proofs of His mission which it adduces, is noteworthy for the blame it assigns to the "seven powerful sovereigns ruling the world" in His day, as well as for the manner in which it stresses the responsibilities, and censures the conduct, of the Christian divines of a former age who, had they recognized the truth of Muhammad's mission, He contends, would have been followed by the mass of their co-religionists.
During the Báb's confinement in the fortress of Chihríq, where He spent almost the whole of the two remaining years of His life, the Lawh-i-Hur˙fat (Tablet of the Letters) was revealed, in honor of Dayyán--a Tablet which, however misconstrued at first as an exposition of the science of divination, was later recognized to have unravelled, on the one hand, the mystery of the Mustagháth, and to have abstrusely alluded, on the other, to the nineteen years which must needs elapse between the Declaration of the Báb and that of Bahá'u'lláh. It was during these years--years darkened throughout by the rigors of the Báb's captivity, by the severe indignities inflicted upon Him, and by the news of the disasters that overtook the heroes of Mazindarán and Nayríz--that He revealed, soon after His return from Tabríz, His denunciatory Tablet to Hájí Mírzá Aqásí. Couched in bold and moving language, unsparing in its condemnation, this epistle was forwarded to the intrepid Hujjat who, as corroborated by Bahá'u'lláh, delivered it to that wicked minister.
To this period of incarceration in the fortresses of Máh-Ku and Chihríq--a period of unsurpassed fecundity, yet bitter in its humiliations and ever-deepening sorrows--belong almost all the written references, whether in the form of warnings, appeals or exhortations, which the Báb, in anticipation of the approaching hour of His supreme affliction, felt it necessary to make to the Author of a Revelation that was soon to supersede His own. Conscious from the very beginning of His twofold mission, as the Bearer of a wholly independent Revelation and the Herald of One still greater than His own, He could not content Himself with the vast number of commentaries, of prayers, of laws and ordinances, of dissertations and epistles, of homilies and orations that had incessantly streamed from His pen. The Greater Covenant into which, as affirmed in His writings, God had, from time immemorial, entered, through the Prophets of all ages, with the whole of mankind, regarding the newborn Revelation, had already been fulfilled. It had now to be supplemented by a Lesser Covenant which He felt bound to make with the entire body of His followers concerning the One Whose advent He characterized as the fruit and ultimate purpose of His Dispensation. Such a Covenant had invariably been the feature of every previous religion. It had existed, under various forms, with varying degrees of emphasis, had always been couched in veiled language, and had been alluded to in cryptic prophecies, in abstruse allegories, in unauthenticated traditions, and in the fragmentary and obscure passages of the sacred Scriptures. In the Bábí Dispensation, however,
it was destined to be established in clear and unequivocal language, though not embodied in a separate document. Unlike the Prophets gone before Him, Whose Covenants were shrouded in mystery, unlike Bahá'u'lláh, Whose clearly defined Covenant was incorporated in a specially written Testament, and designated by Him as "the Book of My Covenant," the Báb chose to intersperse His Book of Laws, the Persian Bayán, with unnumbered passages, some designedly obscure, mostly indubitably clear and conclusive, in which He fixes the date of the promised Revelation, extols its virtues, asserts its pre-eminent character, assigns to it unlimited powers and prerogatives, and tears down every barrier that might be an obstacle to its recognition. "He, verily," Bahá'u'lláh, referring to the Báb in His Kitáb-i-Badí', has stated, "hath not fallen short of His duty to exhort the people of the Bayán and to deliver unto them His Message. In no age or dispensation hath any Manifestation made mention, in such detail and in such explicit language, of the Manifestation destined to succeed Him."
Some of His disciples the Báb assiduously prepared to expect the imminent Revelation. Others He orally assured would live to see its day. To Mullá Báqir, one of the Letters of the Living, He actually prophesied, in a Tablet addressed to him, that he would meet the Promised One face to face. To Sáyyah, another disciple, He gave verbally a similar assurance. Mullá Husayn He directed to Tihrán, assuring him that in that city was enshrined a Mystery Whose light neither Hijáz nor Shíráz could rival. Qudd˙s, on the eve of his final separation from Him, was promised that he would attain the presence of the One Who was the sole Object of their adoration and love. To Shaykh Hasan-i-Zun˙zí He declared while in Máh-Ku that he would behold in Kárbilá the countenance of the promised Husayn. On Dayyán He conferred the title of "the third Letter to believe in Him Whom God shall make manifest," while to AzÍM He divulged, in the Kitáb-i-Panj-Sha'n, the name, and announced the approaching advent, of Him Who was to consummate His own Revelation.
A successor or vicegerent the Báb never named, an interpreter of His teachings He refrained from appointing. So transparently clear were His references to the Promised One, so brief was to be the duration of His own Dispensation, that neither the one nor the other was deemed necessary. All He did was, according to the testimony of `Abdu'l-Bahá in "A Traveller's Narrative," to nominate, on the advice of Bahá'u'lláh and of another disciple, Mírzá Yahyá, who would act solely as a figure-head pending the manifestation of the
Promised One, thus enabling Bahá'u'lláh to promote, in relative security, the Cause so dear to His heart.
"The Bayán," the Báb in that Book, referring to the Promised One, affirms, "is, from beginning to end, the repository of all of His attributes, and the treasury of both His fire and His light." "If thou attainest unto His Revelation," He, in another connection declares, "and obeyest Him, thou wilt have revealed the fruit of the Bayán; if not, thou art unworthy of mention before God." "O people of the Bayán!" He, in that same Book, thus warns the entire company of His followers, "act not as the people of the Qur'án have acted, for if ye do so, the fruits of your night will come to naught." "Suffer not the Bayán," is His emphatic injunction, "and all that hath been revealed therein to withhold you from that Essence of Being and Lord of the visible and invisible." "Beware, beware," is His significant warning addressed to Vahíd, "lest in the days of His Revelation the Vahíd of the Bayán (eighteen Letters of the Living and the Báb) shut thee out as by a veil from Him, inasmuch as this Vahíd is but a creature in His sight." And again: "O congregation of the Bayán, and all who are therein! Recognize ye the limits imposed upon you, for such a One as the Point of the Bayán Himself hath believed in Him Whom God shall make manifest before all things were created. Therein, verily, do I glory before all who are in the kingdom of heaven and earth."
"In the year nine," He, referring to the date of the advent of the promised Revelation, has explicitly written, "ye shall attain unto all good." "In the year nine, ye will attain unto the presence of God." And again: "After Hin (68) a Cause shall be given unto you which ye shall come to know." "Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause," He more particularly has stated, "the realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We clothed it with flesh. Be patient, until thou beholdest a new creation. Say: `Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!'" "Wait thou," is His statement to AzÍM, "until nine will have elapsed from the time of the Bayán. Then exclaim: `Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!'" "Be attentive," He, referring in a remarkable passage to the year nineteen, has admonished, "from the inception of the Revelation till the number of Vahíd (19)." "The Lord of the Day of Reckoning," He, even more explicitly, has stated, "will be manifested at the end of Vahíd (19) and the beginning of eighty (1280 A.H.)." "Were He to appear this very moment," He,
in His eagerness to insure that the proximity of the promised Revelation should not withhold men from the Promised One, has revealed, "I would be the first to adore Him, and the first to bow down before Him."
"I have written down in My mention of Him," He thus extols the Author of the anticipated Revelation, "these gem-like words: `No allusion of Mine can allude unto Him, neither anything mentioned in the Bayán.'" "I, Myself, am but the first servant to believe in Him and in His signs...." "The year-old germ," He significantly affirms, "that holdeth within itself the potentialities of the Revelation that is to come is endowed with a potency superior to the combined forces of the whole of the Bayán." And again: "The whole of the Bayán is only a leaf amongst the leaves of His Paradise." "Better is it for thee," He similarly asserts, "to recite but one of the verses of Him Whom God shall make manifest than to set down the whole of the Bayán, for on that Day that one verse can save thee, whereas the entire Bayán cannot save thee." "Today the Bayán is in the stage of seed; at the beginning of the manifestation of Him Whom God shall make manifest its ultimate perfection will become apparent." "The Bayán deriveth all its glory from Him Whom God shall make manifest." "All that hath been revealed in the Bayán is but a ring upon My hand, and I Myself am, verily, but a ring upon the hand of Him Whom God shall make manifest... He turneth it as He pleaseth, for whatsoever He pleaseth, and through whatsoever He pleaseth. He, verily, is the Help in Peril, the Most High." "Certitude itself," He, in reply to Vahíd and to one of the Letters of the Living who had inquired regarding the promised One, had declared, "is ashamed to be called upon to certify His truth ... and Testimony itself is ashamed to testify unto Him." Addressing this same Vahíd, He moreover had stated: "Were I to be assured that in the day of His manifestation thou wilt deny Him, I would unhesitatingly disown thee... If, on the other hand, I be told that a Christian, who beareth no allegiance to My Faith, will believe in Him, the same will I regard as the apple of My eye."
And finally is this, His moving invocation to God: "Bear Thou witness that, through this Book, I have covenanted with all created things concerning the mission of Him Whom Thou shalt make manifest, ere the covenant concerning My own mission had been established. Sufficient witness art Thou and they that have believed in Thy signs." "I, verily, have not fallen short of My duty to admonish that people," is yet another testimony from His pen, "...If on the day of
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