October 1, 2010

The Most Perfect Gentleman

Howard Colby Ives, a very distinguished early believer, was a former Unitarian Clergyman, who met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in April, 1912 when the Master came to New York. He wrote a fascinating autobiography entitled 'Portals to Freedom', from which the excerpt below has been taken:

'I have before spoken of His [‘Abdu’l-Baha’s] unfailing courtesy. It was really more than what that term usually connotes to the Western mind. The same Persian word is used for both reverence and courtesy. He "saw the Face of His Heavenly Father in every face" and reverenced the soul behind it. How could one be discourteous if such an attitude was held towards everyone!

'The husband of 'Abdu'l-Baha's hostess in Dublin, who, while never becoming an avowed believer, had many opportunities of meeting and talking with the Master, when asked to sum up his impressions of Him, responded, after a little consideration: "I think He is the most perfect gentleman I have ever known."’ (Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 116)