I have always wondered about the meaning of this selection from “The Hidden Words”:
O My Friends! Have ye forgotten that true and radiant morn, when in those hallowed and blessed surroundings ye were all gathered in My presence beneath the shade of the tree of life, which is planted in the all-glorious paradise? Awe-struck ye listened as I gave utterance to these three most holy words: O friends! Prefer not your will to Mine, never desire that which I have not desired for you, and approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings. Would ye but sanctify your souls, ye would at this present hour recall that place and those surroundings, and the truth of My utterance should be made evident unto all of you.
Recently I was reading the book “Gate of the Heart”, by Nader Saidi, where he quotes the following from the Báb, regarding His first believers, the Letters of the Living:
Further, there can he no doubt that they [the Letters of the Living] were the first Lights who bowed down before God, accepted the verses He hath revealed unto His Báb, and proclaimed them to the world.... They are the lights which in the past have eternally prostrated themselves and will prostrate themselves eternally in the future, before the celestial throne.... In each Dispensation, they are called by different names amongst the people, and in each Revelation, their individual names are also changed. Yet, the names of their inmost realities, which refer unto God, are manifest in their hearts.
This led me to wonder whether humans are possessed of two stations: our outward, individual station; and an inward, potential, pre-existent station, that we are born to through faith. That is, outwardly we are unique and transitory: but inwardly we may attain to a station that has always existed and will always exist, by acquiring the characteristics and qualities of that station.
This led me to a verse from the Kitáb-i-Íqán, by Bahá’u’lláh:
Therefore, those who in every subsequent Dispensation preceded the rest of mankind in embracing the Faith of God, who quaffed the clear waters of knowledge at the hand of the divine Beauty, and attained the loftiest summits of faith and certitude, these can be regarded, in name, in reality, in deeds, in words, and in rank, as the 'return' of those who in a former Dispensation had achieved similar distinctions. For whatsoever the people of a former Dispensation have manifested, the same hath been shown by the people of this latter generation. Consider the rose: whether it blossometh in the East or in the West, it is none the less a rose. For what mattereth in this respect is not the outward shape and form of the rose, but rather the smell and fragrance which it doth impart.
And similarly, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes:
For example, there was a flower last year, and this year there is also a flower; I say the flower of last year has returned. Now, I do not mean that same flower in its exact individuality has come back; but as this flower has the same qualities as that of last year -- as it has the same perfume, delicacy, color and form -- I say the flower of last year has returned, and this flower is the former flower. When spring comes, we say last year's spring has come back because all that was found in last year's spring exists in this spring. That is why Christ said, "You will see all that happened in the days of the former Prophets."
Is this, perhaps, the “sovereignty” that is “ancient, imperishable and everlasting”, mentioned in the first Hidden Word? Or when the Seven Valleys says, “the bird of thy soul shall recall the holy sanctuaries of preexistence”?
Can we, by purifying our hearts and attaining to true faith, “remember” and attain a pre-existent reality which, throughout time, has been a servant of the Prophets? Not in the sense of reincarnation, but of fulfilling a role that has always existed, even if the individual souls playing its part continually change.
Bring then into being, by Our leave, resplendent mirrors and exalted letters that shall testify to Thy sovereignty and dominion, bear witness to Thy might and glory, and be the manifestations of Thy Names amidst mankind. We have caused Thee again to be the Origin and the Creator of all mirrors, even as We brought them forth from Thee aforetime.
The rose in my garden may whither and die; but the qualities of the rose have adorned poetry and artwork for as long as history, and likely always will. What life is more eternal than this, transcending both time and place?
Footnotes:  Nader Saidi, The Gate of the Heart, pp.271-272
 Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp.158-159
 `Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p.133
 Bahá’u’lláh, Summons of the Lord of Hosts, para.82