Now that the virtues have been ascertained, it should be stated that there are certain qualities cor­responding to each, which are not however of the same genus, but only imitations of it:* whereby many not versed in the science of morals are liable to be deceived; on which account it is proper to show the distinction between virtues and the vices resembling them; between the jewels and the tinsel of the soul; that they who seek after the gems of human perfection be not imposed upon in the most precious attributes of the mind, nor be induced by the fraudulent array of the pretending and false glitter of the fabricating, to purchase gewgaws at the rate of pearls and rubies.

As to the virtue of wisdom,* there is a class who retain some positions of some sciences, and advance conceits and arguments which they have caught up in a hurry, in such sort that the multitude, who are devoid of true penetration or enlightened sagacity, admire them for their surpassing excellence, and bear testimony to the plenitude of their acquire­ments; when the fact is, that they have no certainty or security in any one position, nor a single dia­gram properly fixed in their minds. And their con­dition in resemblance to persons of real wisdom, is like that of certain animals, such as apes and par­rots, in mimicking the behaviour and language of mankind, or of infants in their likeness to adults.

“There is a toy that counterfeits a snake:
Nothing so similar nor so distinct;
Death in the snake and laughter in the toy.”

Some of them there are that submit not in any matter to actual truth, but pretend in every ques­tion, clear though it be, to display an application and a capacity which they do not possess, by spe­cious blunders casting young beginners into doubt: and albeit in ascertained propositions into which supposition enters not, they have no footing, on the highest matters of all they make lofty pretensions; clothing error in the garb of truth, and painting opinion and conjecture in the shape of knowledge and certainty: and this forsooth they call examina­tion and insight. Now wisdom being the highest degree of perfection, and the recognition of it unat­tainable but to the wise, the distinction between ordinary men and wise men is lost with the generality.

As to the opposites of temperance, there is a class who in the same way manifest a repugnance to secu­lar pleasures, only for the sake of something of the same sort which they prefer to these: like most recluses* of the present age, who make their apparent austerity a snare for deceiving and preying upon the public; by these means seeking to arrive at corrupt ends in religion and stale devices in the world; or else, that they have no acquaintance with such pleasures, like mountaineers and villagers who live at a distance from any city; or perhaps, that from superabundance of admission and enjoyment, weariness and satiety of such gratifications has crept upon them; or else, that from original organization, or by reason of some complaint, they are wanting in inclination towards it; or perhaps on account of hypocrisy, or from coveting ampler wealth and sta­tion, or for a protection against external violence.

Many again spend their substance on improper occasions, and make wasteful outlays merely because they know not the value of property, and are careless of the restrictions imposed by the want of it; as is mostly the case with that class of per­sons who come by their money without exertion, from inheritance or other such source; being thus unacquainted with the trouble of acquiring it. Now in property the gathering is difficult and the expen­diture easy: for philosophers say, that making money is like carrying a mass of stone to the moun­tain’s head; and spending it, is like rolling the same stone down again.* Now it is clear that the conduct of life depends on money, which has like­wise a great deal to do with the putting forth of virtue, as is written in the book of Solomon, (peace be on our Prophet and on us!) “Wisdom with wealth is waking, and with poverty is asleep.”* For the wisest, if destitute of money, can be no benefactor of the people; and even in himself, by reason of his attention to requisite expedients, is withheld from acquiring perfection.

“Experience teaches me this wholesome truth:
Men work by knowledge, knowledge works by wealth.”

But the acquisition of it by praiseworthy means is rare; for estimable professions are few, and to walk in their ways is hard, except to the well-con-nected. Such persons then are not entitled to be called liberal. The really liberal man is he who gives away his money, not from any design, but because liberality is a noble quality, the delight of which he seeks after; and if he has any other intent besides this, it is secondarily and by contingence, of which we have an example in the works of God.*

Next as to courage, actions resembling it may proceed from one who is yet not courageous; like that class of persons who enter upon dangerous encounters and perilous undertakings in pursuit of wealth or rank, and such like, the love of which pursuit, and not of the quality of courage, is what actuates them; or like the impostors who endure violent suffering and protracted confinement, nay, even maim or execution, that their name may be lasting among others of their class resembling them in depravity; or if any should enter on such actions to avoid the reproach of his neighbours or kindred, or for fear of his prince and such like; or if in the course of accident, having been repeatedly victorious, he has become overweening in consequence; — of these classes none are courageous. The courageous man is properly one who aims only at mastering so eminent a quality, and so on in analogy with what has been explained of the other qualities. The conduct of wild beasts, as the tiger and others,* though it resemble courage, is in many respects dis­tinct from it. First, in that they possess a perfect reliance on their strength and superiority, which they have a physical inclination to exert, so that their behaviour is in obedience to this strength and power, and not in obedience to courage. Next their disposition towards contention is mostly as if a powerful champion, fully armed, should attack a weak and helpless man; the like of which enters not into the doings of a courageous one. And again, (what is fatal to the virtue,) that understanding to which the collective powers ought to be submissively subservient in them is altogether wanting. The truly courageous is he from whom the acts of courage emanate under the dictates of the understand­ing, whose original intent is upon the essence of the virtue, who invariably dreads the commission of any thing disgraceful more than he dreads the extinction of life, and who prefers honorable death to shameful existence; or, as the proverb has it, “Flame, rather than shame, in the language of our souls is the trifling consideration: and he that courts a beauty bargains not about her dower.”

Albeit the delight of courage doth not appear in the beginning, since the outset of it leads to the fear of extermination, yet in the end, the pleasure and advantage of it is sure to display itself either in this world or in the next; particularly when life is sacri­ficed for the defence of religion or the establishment of our glorious institute. On this point the sense of the words which are symbols of truth is explicit. Not dead,* but living, are ye to account those who are slain in the way of God — with the Lord is their pro­vision. A sensible man well knows that backward­ness in battle does not occasion continuance of life. The faint heart seeks in flight to perpetuate that which admits not of perpetuity; to justify such a seeker is impossible. Moreover, if for the sake of argument we admit that he gains a few days’ respite, he sullies all the springs of life with shame and infamy during the supposed period; with the disre­spect, contumely, and reproach of friends and acquaintance. It must be acknowledged then that death with the virtue of courage, with honorable memory, and blessed recompense, outweighs a life of infamy and vice.*

“Fool’d thou must be, though wisest of the wise;
Then be the fool of virtue, not of vice.”

And hence it was that the head of the faithful thus exhorted his adherents: Men,* though ye fight not, ye must die. By that God who holds in his hand the life of Abú Tálib’s son,* I swear that a thousand beheadings were easier than one death-bed. For

“The saint’s best blush in heaven is from his heart-blood’s red.”
“Ah, happy day, when they shall bear me lifeless from the plain;
For the martyr’s glory bursts to light with the life-blood of the slain.”

Oral dicta on the eminence of courage and the courageous are many; and among them that the Prophet said, “Verily God loveth courage, even to the extinction of life.” Incumbent as it is on all men to extol and reverence the courageous, it is especially so on those who guide the reins of govern­ment, those who hold the trammels of dominion, and walk in the ways of sovereignty. For this glo­rious class it is who traffic in the emporia of battle with the dearest of valuables, (for life is no other,) and who, as often as they encounter the enemies of the state, make existence a shield to intercept the shafts of calamity. It were unbecoming therefore in a king to be sparing towards them of his property and effects, or to pass censure on them for every trifling indiscretion.

As to the conduct of those who kill themselves from fear of poverty, or the unforeseen decay of rank or fortune, or from wearisome sufferings, it should be referred to faint-heartedness rather than to courage.* For the courageous man is patient in every situation — strong to support adversity, and equal to self-preservation under every form of trouble. Rather may this act be said to imply pusillanimity and want of self-possession: and according to the institutes it deserves execration, even as it is delivered to us in the most genuine dicta.

Now we find from all these disquisitions, that temperance, liberality, and courage are only to be realized by one already possessed of wisdom.*

In respect to equity likewise, actions similar to the actions of the equitable may proceed from those who are not graced with this pearl of great price. And this from hypocrisy, or for renown, or when by such means men seek to attract the hearts of the vulgar, or when they act for the augmenta­tion of property or rank. The truly equitable is he who equalizes his powers, so that all his actions may take place under the direction of his judgment, in the course of equilibrium; no one power seeking more than that share which the judgment assigns to it, nor any usurping on the province of another: and further, that in his com­petition with his fellow-creatures, he observe the same adjustment; at all times limiting his regard to the realization of the virtues, and having no object beyond it, unless consequently upon this.* All which is then only attainable when the soul has acquired a spiritual character productive of general discipline; all its impressions and actions being graced with the jewel of equipoise, and purged from the corruptions of disorder.

In the other virtues, no less, we must maintain the like estimate, if we would distinguish between base and current coin;* between the spurious and the full standard; an explanation which indisputably points out equity as a simple quality.*