WE must state, as has been established from the researches of wisdom into the psychological branch of physics, that the reasonable* mind has two powers,* the power of perceiving and the power of impelling,* and each of these powers has two divi­sions: in the percipient power, 1st, An observative intellect, which is the source of impression from the celestial sources,* by the reception of those ideas which are the materials of knowledge; 2nd, An active intellect, which, through thought and reflec­tion, is the remote source of motion to the body in its separate actions.* Combined with the appetent and vindictive powers,* this division originates the occurrence of many states productive of action or impact, as shame, laughing, crying: in its operation on imagination and supposition, it leads to the accession of ideas and arts in the partial state; and in its relation with the observative sense and the con­nexion maintained between them, it is the means of originating general ideas relating to actions, as the beauty of truth, the odiousness of falsehood, and the like. The impelling power has likewise two divi­sions; 1. The vindictive power, which is the source of forcibly repelling what is disagreeable; 2. The appetent power, which is the source of acquiring what is agreeable.

Now the first of these two leading powers ought to have dominion over all the powers of the body, so as to be itself entirely unaffected by them: or rather they ought to remain vanquished and sub­dued under its influence, betaking themselves each to the employment it may assign. In fact, in their prostration and subjection before the authority of this faculty, consists the proper government of man’s internal kingdom: no one bodily power having license to enter upon any undertaking without its orders, or general disturbance must ensue. When each several power thus betakes itself to its own peculiar function in the manner which the judg­ment prescribes, then from the culture of the obser­vative intellect (the first branch of the percipient power) is obtained wisdom; from the culture of the active intellect (the second branch of the same) equity;* from the culture of the vindictive power, courage; and from the culture of the appetent power, temperance.

Under this distribution equity would be the per­fection of the active faculty. Some however have derived it differently; holding that the reasonable spirit has three distinct powers,* by the operation of which its various influences emanate agreeably to volition; and when one of these powers prevails over other, such other is subdued or restricted. 1. The reasonable power, which they call the para­mount or imperturbed spirit; being the source of thought and judgment, and the desire to spy into the minutiæ of things. 2. The vindictive power, which they call the brutal and passionate spirit; being the source of anger and bravery, the entrance into dangers and the craving for predominance and elevation of rank. 3. The appetent power, which they call the bestial or urgent spirit; being the source of lust, hunger, and the desires of sensual delight in eating, drinking, and sexual connexion. The number of the virtues then will correspond with the number of these powers; for when the action of the reasonable spirit is maintained in equi­poise, and the desire of acquiring knowledge becomes established, from such its action knowledge is obtained, and, by consequence, wisdom; and when the action of the brutal spirit is at equilibrium, and, in subjection to the ruling spirit, it contents itself with what the judgment apportions to it, from such its action the virtue of coolness is obtained,* and, by consequence, courage; and when the action of the bestial spirit is at equilibrium, and, in obedience to the intellect, it limits itself to what is assigned to it by the decree of judgment, from such its action the virtue of temperance is obtained, and, by consequence, liberality. Then when these three sorts of virtue have been realized, they become connected and blended together, and from the mixture of the three a condition results analogous to each, but presenting them in their highest per­fection and completeness; and this they call the virtue of equity.

This exposition is from the Akhlāk-i-Nāsiry,* where the previous one is likewise given in brief.* The wary and intelligent reader, however, will quickly perceive that in the first exposition equity is a simple quality; while under the second there is ground for predicating of it either way, as simple or compound. The simple, however, is nearer to the word; the obvious sense of equity being an equipoise of the nature analogous to that equipoise of the temperament which results from the har­monious combination of the diverse-natured ele­ments composing it. Now it is agreed among the radices of science that the temperament is a simple quality: and from the language of philosophers on the present subject, it would seem on the whole that they understood equity as simple; although in other passages they appear to explain it as a com­pound one. Again, in the first exposition equity is the perfection of the active power;* while in the second it is not confined to that, but is what they call the exercise of every one of the powers: such exercise belonging more to the observative power, yet having a connexion with the active one. So too under the second exposition the attributes are parts of equity, or equivalent to parts, like as the qualities of the elements are parts of the tempera­ment, wherein likewise there is ground for predicat­ing either way; philosophers, however, inclining to the simple. But in the first exposition the three-fold attributes are substrata to equity; because the perfection of the active power lies in the subser­vience to it of every other power, so that each may be employed in course of equipoise. Now equity itself is only a term for this: for the attribute of so employing the entire powers, on their appropriate occasions, in course of equipoise, according to reflection and expedience, can only subsist by that attribute which makes one power actuate another.*

According then to the prevailing acceptation, namely, that when the three-fold attributes have been secured the active intellect will necessarily possess a power of prevalence over the bodily powers, so that the entire powers are under its rule and guidance, itself remaining unaffected by them, (or, as the defender of the faith* has laid it down, and explained it in his Ihyā Ikhtiyār, “equity is a state and power of the spirit by which this baffles resent­ment and desire; guiding them by the dictates of wisdom, and confining them in exertion and restraint to a conformity with expedience,”) — equity would be a thing simply implying the possession of the three-fold attributes; and constituting the perfection of the active intellect. Nevertheless, in its other aspect this same attribute is the head of the observative power, and the collective powers are its servitors: for in this power it is that the highest point of eleva­tion is placed in that intuition into the essences of things which constitutes the supremest of felicities. And if we are to apply equity to the essence of the three qualities, it is composite, and there is no need to count it among the number of the virtues; for the whole of parts is not a separate part; a well-known corollary to the inherence of part in unity. Then too the separate vices (distinguishable only by their contrariety to it and its parts) are not easy to be assigned; because by these premises its species are merely the collective species of its parts, and its opposites are only the opposites of these; for any assignable peculiarity empowering it to make up a distinct genus out of the three coexistent qualities, we cannot discover in it. Hence it is that the first of Shaikhs, in his treatise on Morals, after taking up equity as pervading the collective powers, has paid no attention to its species and opposites, but has limited himself to treating of the species of the three qualities and their opposites: and all that others have brought forward as species of equity he has mostly included under the head of wisdom. — The realities of things are known only to God; but the Ihyā above quoted teaches us to question the posi­tion assumed by most books of this science, that namely of equity being the essence of the three attri­butes, and its species being nevertheless possessed of integral qualities.*

Some again have pointed it out as an involution of the argument,* that they first divide wisdom into observative and active, one of which is identical with the science of morals, which comprises four virtues, of which the aforesaid wisdom is one; so that wisdom would here be a division of itself. Now this involution may be easily got rid of. For the wisdom so divided is acquaintance with the condi­tions of all things. In such a science it may itself be well the subject of disquisition, and yet no con­tradiction be incurred. Nay, the same holds good of the first philosophy which treats of all things,* and the science, being one of them, may itself be the subject of one among its own propositions. Neither does it at all follow upon this that a thing may be part of itself: for science may mean either the proofs or the propositions. Now it is itself the subject of a proposition as regards the hypotheses, and not as regards the proofs. Assuredly it would be contradictory to say that either the propositions or the proofs (regarding them alone) constituted the science of wisdom: neither does the discrepance at all follow from the statement. This is giving the true and perspicuous answer which admits of no rebuttal. But they have likewise given a second, which is this: The meaning of wisdom in this place is the proper exercise of the active intellect, which is likewise styled active wisdom: and so the discrepance in distribution is obviated by the discrepance in meaning. It follows from this answer, that equity is not the collective of all the virtues; and yet they enunciate it the other way. The truth is, that in fair play, they have grounded their statement on an assumption; not choosing to embarrass the incipient moralist by defining his pursuit in an abstruse man­ner, but contenting themselves with what should engraft certainty on the channels of action, and be the means of delivering the inquirer after rectitude from the destructive wilds of vice. For it is at the outset of his studies that they direct him to this science, when, to embarrass him by certifying its intents secundum artem, would only serve to perplex and baffle his endeavours: certainty of this sort being only attainable in other branches of science which are beyond a tyro’s depth.*

In this summary way the generality of writers have explained the difficulty. The first of Shaikhs,* in his treatise on Morals, has likewise noticed it, saying, in many parts of Shafā, that the perfection of intellect (active) consists in the elaboration of com­plete ideas upon the virtues and vices, as built upon the popular notions, which, after all, are agreeable to proof: but the adjustment of the proofs has to do with the perfection of the observative intellect. Agreement is the Lord’s, and in his hands are the reins of certainty.