Paris Talks - 'Abdu'l-Bahá
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Page 142 of  183

Religion has two main parts:
(1) The Spiritual.
(2) The Practical. (142:1)

The spiritual part never changes. All the Manifestations of God and His Prophets have taught the same truths and given the same spiritual law. They all teach the one code of morality. There is no division in the truth. The Sun has sent forth many rays to illumine human intelligence, the light is always the same. (142:2)

The practical part of religion deals with exterior forms and ceremonies, and with modes of punishment for certain offences. This is the material side of the law, and guides the customs and manners of the people. (142:3)

In the time of Moses, there were ten crimes punishable by death. When Christ came this was changed; the old axiom `an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' was converted into `Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you', the stern old law being changed into one of love, mercy and forbearance! (142:4)

In the former days the punishment for theft was the cutting off of the right hand; in our time this law could not be so applied. In this age, a man who curses his father is allowed to live, when formerly he would have been put to death. It is therefore evident that whilst the spiritual law never alters, the practical rules must change their application with the necessities of the time. The spiritual aspect of religion is the greater, the more important of the two, and this is the same for all time, it never changes! It is the same, yesterday, today, and for ever! `As it was the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.' (142:5)

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