Margaret B. Peeke
Impressions on ‘Abdu’l-Baha
Margaret B. Peeke
Source: My Visit to Abbas-Effendi in 1899. Margaret B. Peeke
… On my return to New York, many of the Baha’is called to know of the impression made by my visit, but I could only say that it was impossible to formulate into words the effect upon me, for I had gone there unprepared for anything, except to make a report to my dear friend that I had found Abbas-Effendi at Acca, a most humble and great man, great in his universality and perfect in humility. One day, a most exquisite letter written in Persian, with a translation into English, came to me and I felt as never before when reading those words which vibrated through me as would music from the chords of a grand organ, nor could I understand the power that could cross the seas and oceans, and give me a sense of such nearness and spiritual longing. From that time to the present moment, Abbas-Effendi, or “Abdu’l-Baha” has been to me an ever growing mystery, his letters have been filled with a spirit so great and holy that its equal cannot be found unless it be in the epistles of the New Testament. Only now can I analyze that feeling which has taken so deep a root in my heart and soul.
In Acca, on the shores of the Mediterranean, dwells a man who is the center of thought of all the lands, whom the noblemen, the great, the wealthy, rejoice to meet even for one day. He is a comforter to the poor and unfortunate and a healer to the sick.
His home is a prison, where He has been placed on account of His dreaded influence upon the people of that land. He has the freedom of the city and through the goodness of God, the Sultan of Turkey has now given Him permission to visit the holy resting-place of His Father, just outside the city of Acca. He spends much time in writing tablets to His followers and in preparing, for future circulation, the wonderful utterances of His Father. He never allows Himself the barest comforts that the ordinary working man of America would think a necessity. He will not own two garments, for He gives daily to the poor, often sharing His meal and that of His family with some hungry man, woman or family. He sleeps but little and is up at all hours writing, praying or instructing a devoted one who may be leaving for some foreign country. He never speaks or thinks of Himself, the one thought and aim of His life is to do the work that He has come to perform. The best exponents of this Revelation are met in the land where they have been called to suffer martyrdom for their faith.
…I went there to please a friend; I knew nothing about this Truth which has now permeated my being to an extent that is astonishing. Having seen the failure of creeds to make lives beautiful and practical, I admit that the creed of this, the new, blossoming from the old-time Christianity, was unimportant to me.
The pleasure of telling this story, to those who asked of my visit to Acca, rejoices me when they feel a glow of warmth in their hearts towards this man of whom I am writing. He teaches a doctrine which takes His followers among the poor and the sick, even when in danger of their lives, making them forget self. Their faith and the new “Name” is but another lisping of the soul to its Father. They take nothing on mere belief. When the Baha’is have tried the teachings for themselves and have found sudden and sure deliverance come to them, it needs no words of mine to urge them to be “Steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the works of the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 15:58] It does not take from the glory of the New Moon to know that the Full Moon has come.