Abd Allah, which means servant of God.
Just for today, dear weary heart,
Give up thy struggles; lean on me.
Forget all worry, come away,
Out where the silver brooklets play.
Out in the fields where daisies fair
Nod smilingly, without a care,
Where poppies greet thee with a flame,
And all the air breathes forth His name.
Amid green pastures let us stray
To seek and find the Perfect Day.
Where is the Perfect Day you seek?
Is it in valley, stream or hill?
Is it in city, mart or field?
Is it among the lilies fair,
That we shall lose all earthly care?
No, weary heart, it is not there;
So far away you need not go.
The Perfect Day is close at hand;
’Tis in the Consciousness of man.
Then, first, we look within the mind
And sweep it clean of thoughts that bind.
No room for worry, care and strife;
No place for evil, hate or rife.
No looking backward, just to see
The dark, dark road that used to be.
But open wide your thought and find
Flood-tides of love that fill your mind.
And once this mind is full of love,
A holy watchman from above
Shall guard the portals, day and night,
And put all evil care to flight.
And peace that passeth all shall be
Thy home for all eternity.
And He shall come and sup with thee-
And surely on thy upward way
Thy lips shall sing the Perfect Day.
The Power of Silence
ONE day when Abd Allah and Jethro were seated at their work, two men came along the way madly gesticulating and arguing. There was strife and hatred manifest in their voices, and revenge gleamed through their eyes when looking in through the open gate, they paused, seeing Abd Allah, then entered the court at his beckoning. But immediately upon entering they began arguing again, each at the same time trying to place his case before Abd Allah.
“Peace, peace, my brethren; why this dissension? Know ye not the power of silence?”
“No,” said one of the two in a surly voice. “But we would,” rejoined the other. They sat down on the rugs which Jethro spread for them, and waited for Abd Allah to speak.
“You, Hajah and Casper, are Christian men and have read much in the sacred scrolls, and well call to mind how it is written that the blessed Savior was laid to rest in the tomb, and that a massive stone was placed at its mouth and a guard put over it. Now what happened in the silence of the tomb? Jesus, the Christ, worked out the solution to the material lie called death; he proved it to be nothing but a belief, and something to be overcome. But note that he did this in the silence. In the silence he went back to the real cause of man and listened for the guiding voice of truth, listened for the Word, ‘which spake and it was done.’ Could he have heard this Word in the hubbub of material wrangling? Was not this the power of silence?
“To the mortal sense silence may seem death, yet how often is the ugly grub of thought used in changing form and working out his problem in silence? And at the appointed time he breaks the material law of limitation and floats off in a freedom before unknown.
“God pervades the silence, and it is only in the silence that we can hear the voice of the great Omnipotent Guide.”
“But Abd Allah,” interrupted one of the men. “How can we feel the Power of Silence in our own work?”
“By being still, by quieting the material senses, one after another, and withdrawing into the ‘secret place of the Most High.’ And after you have shut out every material clamoring you can then hear the ‘still, small voice,’ which says, ‘Peace be still’ to all that is unlike God, good. This ‘still, small voice’ was the voice that spoke ‘and it was done.’ It is the voice which said ‘Let there be light’ (understanding), and mortal chaos and darkness faded away.”
“But when I would enter the ‘secret place of the Most High’,” said Hajah, “a million little voices clamor for admittance, first one thing and then another, and I cannot enter the Silence of which you speak.”
“It is good to remember,” said Abd Allah. ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door (of his mind), I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’ At the same time evil is knocking for admittance, the Christ is also standing waiting to be let in, to sup with you.
Which will you admit? To which will you give the most power? Does not the very thought that Christ is standing there knocking put to flight all evil and sinful thoughts, for they cannot live in his pure presence?
“Then, brethren, before you argue and disagree about a question, and become angry and hate one another, just step into the closet of your consciousness and shut the door on all material voices and listen to this wonderful voice, which will guide you right.
“Don’t squabble with yourself mentally and wear yourself out with your arguments, either audible or silent arguments, but be firm and know that God is the source of your intelligence, and that righteousness must prevail. Then when you have received your guidance you can issue forth from your closet, clad with a newness of spirit and love and righteous judgment; for, my brethren, you only want what is absolutely righteous. When you know that the law of righteousness is ever operative, how can aught else come to pass?"
“What is so impressive as silence, and what carries with it so much dignity? It is the very essence of self control and authority. And what is more pitiful than a man overcome of his anger? The noisy breakers beat against the shores in vain, they only carry with them destruction; but the mighty silent depth of the ocean carries a fleet on its bosom. “‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Be still and listen for the underlying melody that pervades all silence. It is the melody of life. It is the power that leads beside still waters and green pastures.”
The House That Stood in Darkness
NOW it happened there lived, near the east gate of the city a nobleman, his wife, and their daughter, who was called Rhetta, because her skin was like the lily leaf turned to the morning dew. Her eyes were soft as the eyes of a fawn. And she was well beloved, this maiden Rhetta, and was daily found doing good deeds and bestowing kindnesses on those who were unhappy. But, the Last Enemy called at the palace one day and claimed as toll for his visit this lovely maiden.
All the country round about grieved for the fair Rhetta, and a great flower-laden procession followed her to her last resting place. The unhappy nobleman and his wife were as people without hope in the world. The marble palace was hung with black. The doors and windows were shut. Moreover, in time, the lovely garden, wherein Rhetta was wont to spend many happy hours among the flowers and exquisite marbles that adorned it, became a weed patch. Thistles replaced the roses, and ugly wild vines clung to the marbles and strove to conceal their whiteness and beauty. It was the house desolate; it bespoke the futility of human existence; and from a thing of beauty it had become an eyesore.
Now in accordance with the custom in Jerusalem, the man and his wife spent their time on the roof of the house, which looked out over the city on one side and towards wonderful Lebanon on the other. June was at her height; wild flowers made the hills and valleys riotous with color, enhanced by the brilliant butterflies fluttering from flower to flower, and the birds darting and soaring through the clear, transparent air, a song streaming from their throats, “Come out and live! live! live !” Everything called out to the man and his wife to live and be happy. But so deep were they sunk within themselves in their sad thoughts that they heeded nothing.
It was on this very day that Abd Allah and Jethro were returning from the market where they had been to sell the vases Abd had made, and Abd Allah went on ahead, while Jethro followed with the mule. He was playing a strange little melody and setting words to it, to suit his fancy, a melody with an appealing minor strain in it:
Life is a Circle which has no end,
Death does not break the link,
Death is but sleep.
Life is eternal, naught can be lost.
The woman sitting in sadness, stirred on hearing the strange music, and said to her husband, “What means this strange youth, saying ‘Life is a circle which has no end’?”
And her husband, looking after them, said: “’Tis Abd Allah and his boy returning from the market. He is said to have a strange philosophy which has explained away many of the cares of this life, and he has put his philosophy into the mind of this boy Jethro so that he sings it and accompanies himself on his harp.”
“Would he could heal my broken heart,” said the woman.
So the man, rising, struck a brass gong and a black slave appeared. “Master, at your service,” he said, bowing low. “Go after the man and boy who have just passed, and bid them as my guests to rest a while with us.”
* * * *
When Abd ascended to the roof the man, rising, said: “Greetings to thee, Abd Allah,” and, bowing, he motioned him to a rug which the slave had spread for him. Jethro, who stood behind, was opened-eyed in wonderment. He it was who saw the exquisite white marbles hung with black, and the great flower urns standing empty at one side. Nor were the rich oriental rugs lost to his view. All the riches in the world are as naught without the proper mental attitude toward real substance.
The servant, moving noiselessly about, brought cigarettes and black coffee.
“We have heard your boy singing a strange song,” the man said. “‘Life is a circle-’. What meaneth the youth?” And then, continuing, he said: “And what meaneth ‘Death does not break the link’?”
Abd made ready to reply, but the nobleman said further “Has not our beloved Rhetta been carried away by the Last Enemy, and taken from our sight?”
Then Abd Allah answered and said:”Believest thou in God, and that He is everywhere?”
“We believe in God and that He is good,” they replied in unison.
“Knowest not that He is Life eternal, and that he is changeless? Then how can death happen in an infinity of life? Can God change, or one of His ideas pass into oblivion?”
A profound silence fell upon them as Abd Allah continued: “Life may change form; the tadpole in yon pool would not forever remain an insect, but he would enlarge his capabilities, and by changing form he becomes a frog, losing none of his former capacities, but attaining an advanced state of progress. Does the ugly grub die when it changes into a radiant butterfly, and is that which is left behind, either grub or butterfly? Would you have the beautiful butterfly, which had cut through the ugly cocoon and outgrown the narrow confines of the grub state, return to its former condition? And what other than a selfish motive could prompt your wishing its return? It is plain that it would not be good for the butterfly, neither would it make it happy, yet it might satisfy your selfish desire for possession. Then when our loved ones in their line of progress have burst into a freedom that we know not of, is it for their good and happiness that we wish them back, or is it to satisfy our selfishness?
“Is not then death, in its true meaning, progress? Is it not unfoldment? Does not the flower unfold at the expense of the falling away of the seed? Yet is the seed dead?
“Did not the Great Master prove that death was a myth, when he rolled away the stone from the tomb, which stone had seemingly set the seal on the reality of death? Did He not say: ‘Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awaken him out of sleep?’ And then his great command, ‘Loose him and let him go; free him from the winding sheets of mortal belief, which says that death is the end, that it is real and terrible, that it is the outcome of life. Again I say unto you, Life is eternal.
“Can you conceive of God who is ever present, becoming inactive? God, good, is perpetual motion, and we, His perfect ideas and expressions of His thought, are controlled and governed by this perfect law of activity; then inaction or death can never occur, though the idea or expression may change form.
“Who, then, knowing this law of progress, will try to shackle it by wishing and sorrowing for those who have gone before and have cut through the shell of materialism? Does the mother grieve when her child lays aside his primer and takes the next book in hand? Rather does she not rejoice and say:’He is progressing; knowledge and understanding are replacing ignorance. He is finding his way out of darkness, which is ignorance.’
“What is it that dies? Is it man, the ‘image and likeness’ of the Eternal God? Is it the perfect idea of God, which is sustained by Him, that dies? And whence comes a counter power to omnipotence which destroys the works of His mighty Hands?
“Are we paying the right tribute to those gone before when we hang our walls with black and sit mourning, forgetting to live and to reach out and help others, who are here with us? Is the garden yonder which is in weeds, a tribute to the loveliness of her whom you mourn? What fainting heart gazing thereon would take courage and new hope?
“So I say unto you, my good people, take from thy windows these dark hangings and throw wide open the doors and let in fresh air and sunshine, and set again the garden with roses, and watch the desert blossom.
“ ‘I am the resurrection and the Life, though a man were dead (ignorant of true life) yet shall he live again.’
“Come, Jethro, sing for us.”
I will say of the Lord
He is my refuge most High;
He is life eternal, and man cannot die.
Death is a dream, in Truth we awake
And every law of man will God surely break.
* * * *
As they again wended their way along the street, Jethro sang his song of “Life is a Circle,” and the woman, lifting her eyes, smiled through tears and said: “Life is a Circle, there is no death.”
ADGA, the beautiful, the adored, the well-beloved and idol of her father’s heart, had just stepped from the white marble Roman bath, over which presided two statues of youth, supporting in their hands a lamp which cast the palest green tinge over the water and the marble fittings of the room. Her maids were massaging and anointing her with precious oils and perfumes of the orient, while a third black slave stood gently swaying a gorgeous fan.
In the midst of this oriental luxury, as she reclined on a long marble bench over which was thrown a rich piece of crimson stuff, she looked very much like a wonderful bit of marble, the masterpiece of some artist, which had been thus carelessly placed in this elaborate bath, save for her wonderful raven locks that in their blackness almost seemed to have a deep purple hidden in them, which fell over her white shoulders and back in great, thick ringlets. Her eyes were blue and steady in their gaze, edged about with long dark lashes, and were not unlike pools that one finds in the heart of some dense forest.
She had a lithe, slimly built body, rather of the sinuous type, and wholly unlike other maidens of her race. Her haughty, thin lips and finely chiseled features contrasted strangely with the full sensuous beauty of other maidens of the orient. By an indulgent father she had been given the sobriquet of Adore´e, by which name she was generally known. Being the only daughter of a wealthy nobleman, and a Christian, she had been indulged to an extent unheard of in that country. In fact she even had the companionship of men, and her father had left the choice of a husband to her own liking—a condition long since desired, but not yet attained in Jerusalem.
Of suitors Adore´e had many, and from many lands, for her fame as a beauty had been sung abroad. They had acclaimed her the most beautiful woman of the orient, and had eulogized her in song and poetry as the “Midnight of a June Garden,” “the Twilight of the Desert,” “the Purple Mist of the Sunset.”
Her tiny, white feet were spoken of as possessing the fleetness of the deer on the snow-capped mountain.
Now Adore´e had listened to the songs of many lovers and had thrilled at their praises, but underlying it all she felt that there was an emptiness, and that their songs were called forth only by the physical; that when her beauty faded then the worship and love would cease, and possibly sooner.
“Love was so fleeting a quality as this,” so her old nurse had told her, and taught her the secrets of beauty, and admonished her to stay beautiful so that her lord and master might be pleased. But deep in the heart of Adore´e there was a longing for something more substantial, something more enduring and stable; so one by one she sent her lovers on their way, and one by one they vowed to seek a watery grave or go into the desert and become a sun sacrifice.
Alas, this maiden who had all that material wealth could bring her, was unhappy, and she sighed as her maid clasped the heavy gold bands on her pretty white ankles.
“For what sigh you, oh, lovely Lady of the Midnight?” asked one of her maids. “You of all maidens are to be envied, for within your possession is power, beauty and riches; yea, and lovers by the score. What more could a maiden wish for?”
And Adore´e, answering, said: “For love, Misma, for love,” and, pushing back the heavy black ringlets, she took the golden head-band from the maid and adjusted it herself, using the green pool for her mirror. “For love,” she continued as if talking to herself; “that is not physical; for something more noble than the worship of body, wealth and jewels. Oh, Misma, is there no such love; is there nothing but the shifting transient sense of happiness?”
“My lady, thou art not well this day, or else thou art awry with some strange dream of the night. What more could you wish for ? Have you not the love of a hundred men, ready to do your bidding?”
“Yes, but I have not the love of one who knows that love is not consuming, but up-building and unfolding.”
“You speak of the strange love that Abd Allah tells of at the East Gate, and there are many that believe in it, but for me, it is naught but talk.” “Who is Abd Allah,” said Adore´e.
“Do you not know the potter and letter writer named Abd Allah? He is said to lift a great burden from the shoulders of many by his happy philosophy.”
“ At eight bells tonight we shall go to him and hear what he has to say of love,” said Adore´e, rising.
“But, Lady Fair, we cannot go alone to this remote hut of the potter. It is by the north gate and the way is very dark and some say it is the way of beggars and thieves.
“Nevertheless,” said Adore´e, “we shall go. You shall accompany me, Misma.”
* * * *
The night dropped down like a heavy curtain, cutting off the beauty of the sunset with a thick mantle of clouds, but at the sounding of eight bells Adore´e and Misma, robed in heavy travelers’ cloaks, set out for the dwelling of Abd Allah.
A high wind had set in and the heavens became the playground of a million hideous cloud phantoms, which raced across the sky in mad terror.
“Let us turn back,” said Misma. “It bids fair to be a terrific hurricane.” But Adore´e said, “We shall continue. It cannot be much farther for we can see the dark outline of the great wall.”
Presently a reddish light flared up in the heavens, turned to blue and died down again, followed by a faint rumble of thunder, and again the maid spoke of returning: “Oh, my lady, shall we not take shelter and return home, and come again another night when it is not so terrible?”
“Misma,” said Adore´e, “this night is not more unquiet than my mind. I am weary and worried, seeking for happiness and true love.”
* * * *
As they neared the court of Abd Allah’s dwelling the storm was upon them. Great bolts of lightning utterly tore the heavens, to be followed by diabolical claps of thunder that were deafening, then by a silence that was almost tangible.
“Who goes there?” called Abd Allah as the women entered the court. “What seek you at this hour and in this storm? Are not the gates of the city long since closed and all men safely in their homes?”
“I seek thee, Abd Allah,” said Adore´e. “And I have come to thee through this storm, which is much akin to my mental state, to know of a love that is not physical, to know of a love that does not deal with passion and that will not falter. Oh! Abd Allah, I am weary of this shifting, changing love. Can you tell me of real love?”
Standing there before the doorway, the heavy cloak dropped from her shoulders, and by the flashes of lightning Abd Allah could see her wondrous beauty, and said: “Is this not the Lady Adore´e, the praise of whose beauty is sung in a thousand ballads?” “Yes,” she answered, “and I would know of love.”
So Abd Allah, in his direct manner, bade them enter and placed rugs for them.
“God is Love, and since God is unchangeable, love must be likewise; and since God is everywhere Love must be everywhere. God is Life, and God is Love; then true Life is Love and is eternal, since Life is eternal.
Love that is material is of few days and full of trouble; it builds upon a foundation of sand. It is elusive, for the moment you think you possess it, lo, it has slipped through your fingers and fluttered on to another. And, lastly, it is limited and does not belong to God; hence it cannot satisfy.
“Love then is universal and reaches out to all. It is active goodness, and is found seeking its ‘own in another’s good.’ Love is true service. It is the veiled figure which bestows its alms at night. It is the helping hand that lifts the fallen and sets him on his feet again. It is the something in the mother’s kiss that heals the wounded baby finger, and replaces tears with smiles. It is the tender word spoken at the right moment; it is the sheer joy of living, of being happy and useful.
“Love is pure. It is the dove sipping the dew from the lily chalice. It is the blue that peeps through the dark clouds of material sense, and whispers that the storm is far spent. It is the thrill of joy that the shepherd knows when he finds the lost sheep. It is the something in the hand clasp of a long lost friend. It is the ‘rod and staff’ that both help and guide.
“Love is giving, not hard gold, but good thoughts, thereby helping the beggar to help himself return to his perfect estate.
“Love is the fulfilling of the law, and God is the law."
“Love is work in the Master’s vineyard. Know ye not that the fields are white but the laborers (lovers) are few?"
“Love is liberty, and by loving man aright we can liberate him from the bondage of material thinking. We can set free all the slaves that we are holding in bondage in our thinking by loving them as the children of the Perfect One.”
Now, as Abd Allah ceased speaking, a breathless silence fell upon them and each in his heart was praying the prayer of thanksgiving, for each felt the mantle of true love gently enfolding him.
And Adore´e, rising, said: “Love was all about me, and all I had to do was to put my hand out and take it, yet I did not know it. It was calling to me and beseeching me and yet I could not answer. But now I know what real love is, it is service; it is righteous thinking and consequent righteous living and doing; it is praising God, not with long prayers and speeches, but with silent voicings of gratitude and willingness.”
And as they went their way the storm had spent itself and the deep blue of the night was beginning to peer through the clouds. And so they returned through the dark by-ways clad in the white and shimmering robes of Love.
The Man Who Lost A Friend
OFTEN were they seen together, these two friends, Haaj and Absalom. Wrapped closely in the mantle of friendship they even excited envy and jealousy because of their nearness, because of the protection they afforded each other. They had been called Damon and Pythias, for they held each other above all else. But one day, into this haven of perfect friendship and love crept a serpent. At first they refused to listen for a moment to its insidious suggestions and arguments, but the serpent was not to be put aside thus easily; he was not destroyed, only cast aside, and he returned more subtle than before, and at length one of them yielded to the alluring voice of wrong, of jealousy and of envy, and turning against his friend, stabbed him to the heart. Not that he stabbed him with a knife of steel, but with a sword of hate, which cut deep and spilled the life blood of their friendship.
One day he came to Abd Allah, this man who had been betrayed. He was dejected and downcast, for he had loved his friend well. And Abd Allah, looking up from his work, said:
“Greetings, Haaj; where is Absalom, for to see one of you is to see both.”
Haaj, with sorrowful words, told the story of his lost friend, and said to Adb Allah: “Abd Allah, thou knowest well that I laid upon him purple and fine linens, and threw upon his neck a golden chain, and did show him preference in all things, and then, when one came and whispered in his ear suggestions of distrust, did he not run me through with the sword of hate and leave me by the wayside bleeding almost unto death from the wounds his
cruel words and actions had inflicted, and leave my faith in man a shattered thing?”
Abd Allah, rising, put his arm about Haaj and said: “Peace be unto you, Brother Haaj. Recall you not the First Law, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me?’ Were you not, in a measure, making your friend a god? Were you not setting him up as a something to be looked up to above all else, even defying his personality? Was it not for him that all the pearls of your thinking were saved? Then count it not a loss but a gain that the law of progress has forced you to ‘lean not on your own understanding,’ and further to put not your trust in the shifting, changeable material something called man, but to turn, first to God, Who is Good, and Who is thy true friend.
Count him then not thy enemy, but thy friend. For he has once again brought you into contact with God and restored you to rightful sonship.
“And if he has trampled your pearls under foot, does it not teach you to guard with greater care your pearls (thoughts) in the future and cast them not down again? They are precious and if any man seek them, be not slow in giving, but do not force them, else the swinish desire in man will rend you. In return for your pearls of love and good thinking, he would cast over your head jets of hate and deceit. These, I bid you, cast aside, for they are not worthy of aught else.
“Look yonder at the dome of the Mosque of Omar. See how it stands out against the blood-red sunset. Is it not like a splendid white pearl in a glass of wine? Yea, like a stupendous reproduction of Cleopatra’s glass of wine in which she tried to dissolve the last emblem of purity that she possessed, that she might consume it. That she might consume purity and scorch its white robes with the heat of the flesh pots of Egypt. But, as with Cleopatra, though purity and goodness were submerged in the wine, they were only hidden, and not destroyed.
So with your love for your friend: it is only hidden in the maddening intoxication of the wine of mortal hate. When he shall have drained the glass of its bitter contents and wallowed in the slime of his own mistake, he will find this pearl, still unsoiled and untouched, and will prize it as the ‘pearl of great price.’
“Not hate, but pity, is what should fill your heart, the pity the Master felt when he looked out across the sea of angry faces and lifted up his eyes and said: ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do.’
“Love more; that is your keynote, not the selfish human love that desires to possess, but the love that liberates and makes free; and remember, ‘If I be lifted up (purified in thought), I shall draw all men unto me.’"
“Was it not said by the Master, ‘When thy father and mother forsake thee I will take thee up?’ Then can you want for a closer friend than He who marketh the sparrow’s fall?"
“Go feed among the lilies, Haaj; ’tis not your part to suffer because another has offended you. He is the one to suffer and will in proportion as you rise above the wrong he has done you; as you are superior to it, it will then find no abiding place in your thought and return to its source to destroy itself."
“Selfish human friendship is like a grain of mustard seed which is tightly grasped in the hand,—it cannot grow nor develop, and is worthless. The right kind of friendship is like a mustard seed which is planted in fertile soil,—it is constantly developing, and while it may be the joy of one, it is not shut out from others. As there is enough sunshine for all, so is there enough friendship and love for all.”
* * * *
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