IT must first be premised,* that according both to reason and revelation, the holy nature of the just and glorious God is elevated above the comprehen­sion of our thoughts and fancies. High as percep­tion soars, it finds no way to the elevated pinnacle of his glorious being. By the remote extremities of cause and reason, to grasp at the skirts of connexion with the mysteries of his holy essence, is the utmost limit in the progress of human understandings — the highest point to which the contemplative power can advance.

“Well may he say, Arraign not thou the whole.
For what thou see’st is on a scale with thee.”

The first reflector in which the eternal aspect of his hidden nature is disclosed to the enraptured gaze of those who look beneath the veil, is the attribute of unity. Not that unity which is the contrary of many; for that is but one of the shadows he casts: nor yet the unity which pervades and constitutes number; for that is but a ray from the sunshine of his everlasting beauty: but a unity, whose perfec­tion, if displayed, would absorb and annihilate pluralities, even as the blazing lamp attracts the insignificant moth to perish in its beams.* If fully manifested, its glories would consume; and for our sakes it is that his eye is withdrawn from his creatures. The lights of life, with all their splendour, would not serve for motes in the radiance of his lustre; lost in that illimitable space, plurality could find no entrance to the arena of manifestation; nor any thing possess assignable properties in the unbounded expanse of so perfect a nature.* With inimitable force this is expressed in the text: To whom belong the Princes of the age? To God, the one and only potentate.*

“The realms of being to no other bow:
Not only all are thine, but all are Thou.*

Thus it is laid down by the high priests of wisdom and noblest elders of the faith, that the essential unity of God is a distinct species of unity, different from that of numbers. As we find in Ibn Khafeef’s Sadr Mutakid (Fount of the Faithful), “God is single: not in number, and not as things singular.” To persons excluded from the sanctuary the conception of such unity passes beyond the limit of intellectual comprehension, and it is only by the light of ocular admission* that any can arrive thereto. On account of this difficulty of conceiving the unity it is that he says, “As often as God refers to his unity, the hearts of those who believe not in the world to come are ready to break asunder.”* It has likewise been declared by Imām Rāghib and other philosophers, “One of his rays which admits of being contem­plated by intellectual vision is numerical unity; without whose lustre no atom of all the myriads that exist could be brought within the jurisdiction of evidence or the realms of certainty, and on the dissolution of which tie it would be impossible to effect the continuance of any among all individual entities.”* But again, it is a maxim with the inspired sages, who are the high priests of ocular admission, that the perfection of every attribute lies in its meeting and embracing its opposite,* as we find in the connexion of the following qualities: He is the first, and the last; the manifest, and the hidden; and there is nothing to which he is not privy. Hence it is* that whatever thing, at the same time that it comprises plurality, embodies with more than ordinary precision the powerful law of unity, is more excellent in consequence. The effect of cadences, concordant tones, metrical verses, and fine forms, is on account of the eminence of their unity in relation; and those (magical) influences which are prepared by correspondence of numbers* are also of the same class. It is likewise a position in science, that inasmuch as a temperament may be better poised, more close and more inclined to real unity, so much the more excellent and complete is the figure or the life it constitutes. Wherefore, as in the chain of being the temperament of minerals is farthest from unity of equipoise in their specific form, it here produces the retention of combination merely.* Passing upwards from this rank, it comes to that of equipoise in vegetables; and then, together with retention of combination, it produces nourishment by solids and fluids, and the propaga­tion of kind. Advancing from this class to the equipoise of animal life, in addition to the previous effects, it produces beauty and the procession of ideas. Lastly, on its exaltation from this rank to the human equipoise, in addition to all the previous effects, it produces reason; that is, the perception of universals with their consequences: and in what­ever degree the temperaments of individuals are nearer to the true equipoise, the fuller its perfections are; until it reaches the order of prophecy. Among these too it has its varieties, till it arrives at that cumulative point which embodies every perfection, and constitutes the uttermost limit of creature developement. There is nothing above the servants whom we have brought near unto ourselves.*

In the science of music it is ascertained that there is no more exquisite ratio than that of equal inter­vals, and every ratio not some way resolvable into one of this nature, passes beyond the limit of con­cord, and falls into the class of discord.* The element of harmony then is similarity; which is an image of unity. Some of the deepest studies of the ancients were directed to exalting the importance of proportion; to investigating its properties, and by their means deducing the principles of the pure sciences. Among the most noted of proportions are the arithmetical, the geometrical, and the har­monical. The arithmetical is when the mean is equidistant from both extremes, as four between two and six: the geometrical is when the ratio of the first to the second, is as the second to a third; and this we call close proportion: the harmonical is when the ratio of the difference between the middle and the least, is to the difference between the middle and the greatest, as is the ratio of the least to the greatest. The method of evolving all of which is to be found in books of arithmetic.

Many are the minutiæ of science and the secrets of wisdom which rest on the laws of proportion; and that which is told us of Pythagoras deducing the principles of music from the tones of the spheres, and asserting that no music was more delightful than the voice of the heavens,* (although many of the first philosophers have taken the declaration literally, and held that the cause of that voice was involved in the fluctuations their movements pro­duce in the air, and that it is only by reason of their vacuity and instability that it is not overpowering,) may perhaps be only an enigmatical intimation of that pure proportion which prevails between the spherical movements, in regard to speed or tardi­ness, and the periodical measures they obey: for an exceedingly pure proportion it must undoubtedly be, seeing that it is the bond of regularity to all this world of existence and decay. It would not be surprising, therefore, were we to transfer that pro­portion, or any near it, to the form of tones and notes, if it were to prove the acmè of harmony. Here, too, the intelligent reader may be aware, that the connexion of soul with body is by means of a pure proportion (that is, equipoise) maintained between the elementary particles:* hence on the sub­version of this proportion the connexion is dissolved. Thus it is that the soul feels an essential affection for any similar proportion; and, in short, that a pure proportion, wherever observed, is the means of attracting and agitating the spirit: such as beauty, which is a term for correspondence in parts; or rhetoric and eloquence, which are terms for that peculiar correspondence that ought to be maintained between the portions of our language, and between our language and the decorum of our situation. The effect of tones too, depends, as we have seen, on their mutual proportion. In short, there is one and the same principle, which, if prevailing in the attempered particles of the elements, is equipoise of temperament: if produced in tones, is pure and delightful interval; if apparent in the gestures, is grace; if observable in the language, is rhetoric and eloquence; if created in the limbs, beauty; if in the mental faculties, equity.* Of this principle the soul, wherever it harbours, is enamoured and in search — whatever form it may take, and whatever dress it may assume.*

“Where’er it harbours, beauty is delight;
But beauty’s highest form is in the face.”
“From cloak, or vest, or what you will, come forth!
Welcome the friend! no matter how conceal’d.”

From the tenour of these disquisitions, it appears that the course of equity lies in the preservation of relativeness, which is resolvable into unity. Now when we apply equity to the concerns which regu­late the conduct of life, we discover three directions in which the application proceeds;* inasmuch as the concerns in question are of three sorts: 1. That which has to do with the distribution of property and distinction; 2. That which has to do with transactions and dealings; 3. That which has to do with discipline and correction: in all of which three species the principle of proportion is employed. In the first division we say, since the ratio of a given person to a given possession or distinction, is as the ratio of a person so circumstanced to the like distinction or possession, such distinction or posses­sion is his right.* If any excess or deficiency exists, recourse must be had to appropriation and adjustment. Now this is like open proportion. In the second division we sometimes apply the open and sometimes the close proportion: we say for instance, since the ratio of this clothier to this cloth, is as the ratio of this carpenter to this bench, there is nothing unfair in their exchange; or secondly, we may say, the ratio of this cloth to this gold, is as the ratio of this gold to this bench; therefore there is nothing unfair in their exchange: which examples are so adduced in the Akhlāk-i-Nāsiry;* though this last of the two is clearly erroneous. No doubt if the ratio of the cloth to the gold, be as the ratio of the bench to the gold, there is nothing unfair in their exchange; but this is not a close proportion, as may be known from the definition of one. As to the third division, a proportion is observable resembling the geometrical, when we say the ratio of this person to his own situation, is as the ratio of the other person to his: if therefore the latter do harm or injustice to the first, retribution is to be enforced in the same ratio, if we would abide by rigid equity.*

In every instance, then, the maintenance of equity and reference to it, can only be effected by the ascertainment of a mean: and since to determine the mean (as before* intimated) is an exceedingly difficult and intricate proceeding, recourse must be had to the standard of the divine law: for the source of all unity is no other than the Supreme and Holy Divinity. Farther, since men are citizens by nature, and their subsistence unattainable except through co-operation and fellowship, of which interchange is an indispensable ingredient, (as that the baker should bake bread for the seedsman, while the seedsman sows for the baker; or that the clothier should sell cloth for the weaver, while the weaver weaves for the clothier, and so forth;) and since the relation of things differing in their properties, is not to be ascertained without the inter­mediacy of some such indicative substance as may serve to test the genuineness of worth on both sides, therefore, with regard to this desideratum, the end is answered by the intervention of money;* which is termed the equator by intermediacy. This how­ever is a surd; whereas the desideratum extends to a reasonable equator; which is no other than an equitable Prince. A Prince, therefore, the holy God selected and invested with the sword, in order that whosoever should be incompliant with the equation of money, seeking more than his right, and over­stepping the path of rectitude, with this trenchant sword he may be enabled to bring him to order.

The maintenance of equity, then, is realized by three things: 1. The holy institute of God; 2. The equitable Prince; 3. Money — or, as the old philosophers laid it down, the foremost <Greek>* is the institute; the second <Greek> is the Prince who conforms to the institute (for religion and government are twins); and the third <Greek> is money (<Greek> in their language meaning discipline and correction). Thus the institute or greatest arbitrator is obeyed of all: to this even the Prince or secondary arbitrator is bound to conform. While the third arbitrator, which is money, should be invariably under the authority of the second, which is the Prince. An intimation of this principle we have in the following text: We have sent down the book, and the balance* along with it, that man might stand by the right; and we have sent down steel, wherein is mighty power and advantages to man. The book in this passage alludes to the institute; the balance to that which tests the quantities of things; in fact, any instru­ment for ascertaining the value of heterogeneous objects, (money being such an one;) and steel, to the sword, which is grasped by the might of the wrath-exerting, doom-pronouncing Prince.*

According to these considerations, transgressors will be three. First and greatest, he who obeys not the law of God; and him we call infidel and sinner: second and intermediate, he who pays not obedience and submission to the reigning Prince; and him we call rebel and criminal: third and least, he who, seeking more than his right, walks not the course of equity according to the restraints of money; and him we call cheat and thief. Whereof the evil of the two first is greater than of the last. For whoso swerves from his obedience to the institutes of God, whether injunctive or prohibitory, undoubtedly we cannot expect him to submit to either of the other laws; but of him will every evil be engendered. And whoso departs from the authority of the reign­ing Prince, and breaks that bond of legitimate obedience which is sanctioned by Scripture, (obey our emissaries, and those among ye who are possessed of authority,)* from him likewise we may look for all iniquity; and all persons, as far as in them lies, are bound to exterminate such an one.