In this day every one must be tested, as the time of the ‘chosen ones’ to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The ‘first fruits’ must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests, are relegated to the ‘many who are called.’
The more one is severed from the world, from desires, from human affairs, and conditions, the more impervious does one become to the tests of God. Tests are a means by which a soul is measured as to its fitness, and proven out by its own acts. God knows its fitness beforehand, and also its unpreparedness, but man, with an ego, would not believe himself unfit unless proof were given him. Consequently his susceptibility to evil is proven to him when he falls into the tests, and the tests are continued until the soul realizes its own unfitness, then remorse and regret tend to root out the weakness.
The same test comes again in greater degree, until it is shown that a former weakness has become a strength, and the power to overcome evil has been established.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted from Star of the West, 24 June 1915, p. 45