unusual summary of Babism
.omlBi of th Mohammedan Messiah. From The Contemporary Review. According to tradition, th true - Mahdi will be preceded by sixty forerunners- John Baptists or E liases called Babs, (Bab means the door, through which enters Mes siah.) As a rul those holy personages Ulemas, or descendants of the Prophet, who end by setting up themselves as the Messiah-begin by calling themselves only Babs, or doors, ana If they meet with success and are accepted, they then pose as tbe actual Mahdi. As to the Bablsm of recent times, this la Its simple origin: About fifty years ago a young native of Shlras named Mirsa All Mohammed was the favorite pupil of a celebrated sheikh, who was looked upon ss a sort of Bab, or forerunner of the Mahdi. After he died his young pupil. Mlrza All Mohammed, announced himself as also a Bab. He was soon surrounded with discpies. His popularity alarmed the reigning Shah. He was arrested and kept In prison for some time, but as his followers increased In numbers, the Ulemas thought It prudent to condemn him to death by torture. The subsequent massacre of the Babs Is a matter of recent history. The Babs that were left. Inspired by a thirst for vengeance, now plotted the assassination of the Shah, ana each attempt has been followed by more Bab massacres. Now you have the key of tbe situation. The late Shah succumbed at last to one of these assassins, who had unsuccessfully attempted his destruction several times before. The Bab, young Mlrza, was not a highly educated person, but very proud, and of Irreproachable life. He was not otherwise remarkable, but possessed of a strange faculty of writing with extreme speed, (you would call It medlumlatla writing, an accomplishment considered miraculous by our adepts.) Still he wrote little about his doctrine or his person but after his death his apostles made a Mahdi of him. and from that to a divine Incarnation was a step easily accomplished, as we have seen illustrated In your own Christian religion. To Mahdlsm were soon Joined mysticism and pantheism, which have always dominated the philosophic Instincts of the Iranian peoples. If you want to understand present Persian politics, you must bear In mind that Irani (Persia) has always been, and Is now, full of sects like Bablsm which are called Soufl hakem, Sheikhl babls, &c.