Through his honour Mírzá Ahmad and Mírzá Munír, to the maid-servant of God, Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper.
Upon her be Bahá'u'l-Abhá!
He is God!
O thou who art attracted to the Kingdom of God!
Thy detailed letter was received. Its perusal produced the utmost happiness, for it evidenced the fact that thou hast attained to the knowledge of the reality of tests; that tests endured in the path of God are conducive to confirmation; nay, rather, they are heavenly powers and the bounties of the Realm of Might. But to weak believers tests are trials and examination, for, on account of the weakness of their faith and assurance they fall into difficulties and vicissitudes.
However, to those souls who are firm and steadfast, tests are the greatest favours. Consider thou that at the time of an examination in sciences and arts, the dull and lazy pupil finds himself in calamity. But to the intelligent and sagacious student examination in learning produces honor and infinite happiness. Alloyed gold, subjected to the fire, portrays its baseness, while the intensity of the flame enhances the beauty of pure gold. Therefore, tests to the weak souls are calamity and to the veiled ones the cause of their disgrace and humiliation. The point is this, that in the path of Truth every difficulty is made plain and every trial is the matchless bounty. Therefore, the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must not relax during trial and no disaster must deter their service in the Cause of God. ...
You have written that upon your return you have compiled whatever you saw and heard (at 'Akká) and you have received the invisible assistance, that the teachings, which were like invisible seeds, have sprung to life and verdancy, spreading branches and leaves and producing blossoms and fruit. Indeed what you have written is true.
His honor Mr. Chase is a blessed soul, good and pure. He is engaged in the service of the Cause and is a herald of the True One. Ere long he will be assisted with great confirmation.
You have asked regarding the influence of evil spirits. Evil spirits are deprived of Eternal Life. How, then, can they exercise any influence? But as Eternal Life is ordained for holy spirits, therefore their influence exists in all the divine worlds.
At the time you were here, this question was accordingly answered, that after the ascension of the godly souls, great influence and wide-spreading bounties are destined for them, and all encircling signs in the seen and unseen are decreed for them.
When the souls leave the bodies they do not assume elemental bodies. Whatever man thinks regarding this is but his own imagination.
When man desires help and communication from holy souls, he puts himself in a condition of self-unconsciousness and becomes submerged in a sea of meditation; then a spiritual state, which is sanctified from matter and all material things, becomes visible and apparent to him. Then he thinks he beholds a form. Its appearance is like unto a vision.
Man beholds in the world of vision various images, communicates with them and receives benefits, and in that world of vision he thinks they are physical temples and material bodies, while they are purely immaterial.
Briefly, the reality of the soul is sanctified and purified above matter and material things, but, like unto the world of vision, it manifests itself in these material forms and visages. Likewise in the psychic condition, one beholds the spirits like unto the physical forms and visages.
To be brief, the holy souls have great influence and intense effect, and their influence and continuity do not depend upon physical existence and elemental composition.
Ponder ye, that during sleep the human body and the five physical senses, viz., sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch are passive, i.e., all physical forces are inactive. Notwithstanding this, human reality has spiritual life and the spiritual powers are penetrative, and wonderful disclosures are made in both the East and the West, and perchance one may discover some matters, which, after a long time, may become apparent in the physical world. Therefore it has become evident that the continuity and influence of the human reality does not depend upon the physical instrumentality; nay, rather, the physical body is an instrument over which the human spirit spreads a luminosity. It is like unto the sun, which shining upon the mirror, causes its brilliancy, and when the reflection is withdrawn from the mirror, it becomes dark. Likewise, when the luminosity of the human spirit is withdrawn from the body, that instrument becomes useless.
To be brief: Humanity consists of the spiritual reality, and that reality is penetrative in all things and it is that reality which discovers the invisible mysteries, and through that reality all sciences, arts and inventions become known and manifest. Whatever thou beholdest of the works of man is but a faint ray of that reality. It encircles all things and comprehends all things.
Reflect thou, that all these existent sciences, crafts, industries and arts were at one time in the world of invisibility, unknown and unconcealed mysteries. As the spirit of man environs all things, therefore he has discovered them and brought them from the unknown world into the arena of manifestation. Therefore it is evident and established that the human spirit is the discoverer of things, the seer of things and the comprehender of things.
But regarding the progress of the spirit in the world of the Kingdom after its ascension, it is wholly beyond space and time, and developments, after leaving this body, are spiritual and not terrestrial. It is like unto the progress of the child from the world of the foetus to the world of maturity and intelligence, from the world of ignorance to the world of knowledge, from the station of imperfection to the pinnacle of perfection.
As Divine Perfections are infinite, therefore the progress of the spirit is limitless.
Whatever the European and American historians have written regarding His Highness Muhammad, the Messenger of God, most of it is falsehood.
Consider ye, is it possible for a person afflicted with epilepsy to establish such a great nation? Therefore, this statement of the European historians, regarding that Holy Personage, is unqualified falsehood.
Reflect ye, that that illustrious Personage was born in the Sahara of Arabia among the ignorant tent dwellers, affiliating and associating with them until he grew to manhood and maturity; never studying the sciences and arts; nay, even he was apparently illiterate and uninstructed. Notwithstanding all this, he brought forth such a nation, established such a religion and uttered such explanations regarding scientific questions with great perspicuity, and raised such a community from the nadir of ignorance and barbarism to the zenith of civilization and prosperity! Through his influence, science, literature, philosophy, crafts and trades made wonderful progress during the medieval ages in Andalusia and Baghdád.
Now is it possible that such an illustrious Personage be afflicted with epilepsy?
Relative to the Paradise explained by Muhammad in the Qur'án, such utterances are spiritual and are cast into the mould of words and figures of speech, for at that time people did not possess the capacity of comprehending spiritual significances. It is similar to that reference to His Highness Christ who, addressing His disciples said, "I shall not partake of the fruit of the vine any more until I reach the Kingdom of My Father." Now it is evident His Highness Christ did not mean material grapes, but it was a spiritual condition and a heavenly state which He interpreted as this fruit.
Now whatever is revealed in the Qur'án has the same import.
Regarding the Most Great Name, its influence, both in physical and spiritual affairs, is indisputable and certain.
In the last Tablet (to the Board of Council of New York), in which I have stated, "I am not Christ and am not eternal," the meaning is this, that I am not Christ and not the Eternal Lord! But I am 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This is its real purport. Undoubtedly those souls who are under the shadow of the Blessed Cause, believing and assured, firm and steadfast, and living in accord with the Divine exhortations and advices, all of them are confirmed in the Everlasting Life.
Regarding the materializing of spirits through mediums: A person finding himself in a state of trance, or unconsciousness, is like one who sleeps; whatever he feels and sees he imagines to be matter and of material things, but in reality they are wholly immaterial.
O thou maid-servant of God! Arouse ye the people and make them cheerful through the glad-tidings of God, and quicken them through the spirit of gladness and heavenly rejoicing. The essence and foundation of all is to advance toward the Kingdom of Abhá and to be attracted by the Beauty of God. Whatever produces any influence in the world of existence is on account of the Love of God, which is the Spirit of Life and the cause of salvation.
Convey on behalf of 'Abdu'l-Bahá wonderful Abhá greetings to the believers and the maid-servants of the Merciful.
Upon thee be Bahá'u'l-Abhá!
(Signed) 'Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas
(Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 15, December 12, 1911)