October 5, 1911: a talk given at the home of Edith and Margaret Sanderson in Paris
The Persian notes for this talk are published in Majmú`iy-i Khiṭábát-i Ḥazrat-i `Abdu’l-Bahá, vol. 1 p. 43 (KHTB1). It is also printed in Khiṭábát-i-Mubárakih (a selection from the ‘talks’), page 41, and there is an Arabic translation in Khuṭab-i `Abdu’l-Bahá fí Úrúbá wa-Amríká, which I have consulted in preparing this provisional translation. The PIN number (Phelps inventory number) is ABU0690.
The date appears to be October 4 or 5, 1911, just after Abdu’l-Baha’s return from London.  On those two days, he was either staying briefly with Hippolyte Dreyfus and Laura Barney, at 15 rue Greuze, or he may have just moved into the apartment he rented at 4, avenue de Camoëns. However this talk was given at the nearby home of Edith and Margaret Sanderson, at 46 avenue de Malakoff – today called the avenue Raymond Poincaré. I am grateful to Jan Jasion’s highly recommended history Abdu’l-Baha in France: 1911 & 1913, for this information and also for his personal guidance on a recent tour of that part of Paris.
He is God.
The world of existence can be compared to the human body, and the forces of nature are like the limbs and organs of that body. The human body needs a spirit, that it may be quickened, have movement and come to life. Then the powers of sight and hearing and the capacities for movement and understanding appear. Then the dazzling light of reason shines within, a light that uncovers the realities of things so that humanity may make progress.
In the absence of the spirit, these results will not be forthcoming. However graceful and well-formed the body may be, it is a mere figure, without life, without consciousness or wisdom. It is devoid of perfection.
In the same way, the body of the contingent world is without spirit, even if in the material realm it is endowed with every possible delight and refinement.
The spirit of the world is the Faith of God, and the Faith of God is spirit to the contingent world and shines its light on it. It adorns and completes all things.
Therefore, while your thoughts are inclined to dwell on the means of material progress, you should also exert yourselves to make spiritual progress. As you are striving for physical civilization, you should devote even more effort to achieving spiritual progress. You attach great importance to the body: the spirit is also worthy of attention.
If the human temple contained no spirit, what would be the point of a body? The body is then dead. In the same way, if the body of the contingent world was deprived of mystic progress, it would be a lifeless body.
Human beings are outwardly animals: what distinguishes a person from an animal is that the person has a spiritual faculty, denied to the animal. A human knows about God while an animal knows nothing of God. The human apprehends the realities of things while the animal is unaware and heedless.
A person consciously uncovers and reveals the hidden realities of everything in existence, while an animal has not been granted a share in the reality of human perfections. The perfections become manifest like the brilliant rays of a lantern. Just as the light is the appearance of the perfections of this lamp, so religion prompts human perfections to manifest themselves.
This is the capacity that makes the human person superior to an animal. It is a fragrance breathed by the Holy Spirit that gives eternal life. Therefore if the human kingdom is deprived of the spirit of religion, it is like a lifeless body and remains deprived of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Such a person, who has received no portion from the divine teachings, is as one dead.
Thus when Christ said “let the dead bury the dead” and “for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit,”  he was referring to the true spirit of religion.
So it is evident that one who is deprived of the flowing grace of the Holy Spirit is dead, even if he is endowed with bodily perfections and has mastered the practical and abstract sciences.
Therefore I am praying, supplicating God that the people of this country may be revived by the breaths of the Holy Spirit and turn to God. That they may become a centre of divine blessings, that they may implement the divine teachings, that each may become like a lantern that has been ignited and may illumine the world.