IT is a well-known principle of science, that as regards the perfection of things, they are of two classes; those whose perfection is simultaneous with their existence, like the heavenly bodies;* and those whose perfection is subsequent to their existence, like the compound organizations in which we find a natural progress from incompleteness to perfection. Now this progress cannot take place without the co-operation of means: which means are either themselves perfections, like the forms attached by divine bounty to the action of the seminal juices* and destined themselves for the perfection of the human nature; or else they are preparations giving to such material forms their ability to act, like the supply of food to the body, whereby the latter attains to the perfection of developement.

This co-operation acts altogether in three ways: 1. With the matter, when it co-operates with the particles of the thing supposed, as food with the animal frame; 2. to the organs, when it co-operates with the thing in its instruments of action, as water with the power of nutriment; 3. by minis­tration, when it assists the thing in an act con­ducive to its perfection: which last again is of two sorts: (1.) ministration by nature, when the thing’s perfection is the end of the act; (2.) ministration by contingence, when the act has something else for its end, and the perfection ensues in consequence. An example of the first sort, according to the second of philosophers, Abú Nasar Fāryāby,* we have in the serpent tribe, who minister by nature to the elements;* since, from that action upon other ani­mals which occasions the destruction of their frames and the resolution of them into the primary ele­ments, they derive no gratification to themselves: an example of the second in wild beasts, who make the meaner animals their prey in pursuit only of such gratification; and the resolution of these into the primary elements follows as a conse­quence.

Now the minister by nature being meaner than that to which it ministers, man, who is the noblest of created things, ought not to minister to any unless by contingence; while they, on the contrary, should all co-operate with him, as well materially as organically, as well constitutionally as contin­gently. Thus the elements are the particles of which his body is compounded, and vegetables and animals the material of his food; which is co-opera­tion by matter. Again, of each of the elements he makes a tool for his actions, both of nature and of choice; as of fire and water in cooking his food, with the condiments thereof, and in cooling or warming his person; of air in respiration, which is the reviver of life; of earth in raising the material of his food, in building his habitation, and the like. So likewise of plants and animals — some he makes his food, some his medicament, and some his labourers. Nay, the very stars of heaven doth he make his ministers; for the divisions which their motions afford, he, by correct observation, makes instruments in his own transactions, both for agriculture and the disposition of life.* Thus we are told in Scripture, But for you, I had not made the heavens; and in the Touriat it is written, “O son of Adam, I have created thee for myself, and all besides I have created for thee.”* On this passage if an intelligent mind would ponder, the mystery of the angels falling down before mankind would be penetrated; and the secret of the inver­sion observable in the shape of plants and animals, — plants being made in the structure to bend, and animals in the shape to kneel to him, — would be speedily revealed to the eyes of discernment.*

Individuals of the human species may co-operate each with each by ministration, but not implemen­tally; still less in the form of matter. Materially indeed they never can co-operate by the very terms of their nature, which is an indivisible essence. But in like manner as man is dependent on the co-operation of the elements and their products, he depends likewise on that of his fellow creatures for preservation both of person and of species; and ought undoubtedly, in the way of ministration, to co-operate with them.

Other animals are no less dependent on the ele­ments and their products; but as to dependence on their own kind, they differ according as they may or may not be spontaneously engendered. Most of the aquatic tribe have no need of their kind, either for the existence of the individual or the perpetuity of the species; while those that are engendered by procreation, as the graminivorous and other tribes, appearing to co-operate as well in preserving their species as in producing the individual, and bringing it to maturity, are so far dependent on their species. With the attainment of maturity, however, the dependence ceases; so that at the period of coition, and for the time of their offspring’s growth, they are obliged to associate; after that, each may subsist in solitude. In others, again, as bees, ants, and certain species of birds, a continued co-operation is required to preserve both individual and species.*

Now man’s dependence on his kind for individual preservation lies in this, — that if every one had food, clothing, and lodging,* arms, implements, and methods, to prepare for himself, and had conse­quently to furnish himself with the instruments of the carpenter and the smith, and so on of the other requisite crafts, and had further to employ himself for himself upon each as a preliminary to obtaining food, clothing, and lodging, — then obviously for all the period in which he was occupied in preparing these implements, with their precursory craftships, he must remain without food, clothing, and lodging, and must perish in consequence: nay, if he devoted his time entirely to one of these crafts, the whole would be insufficient for its attainment. But when men congregate together, and co-operate with each other, and each for other perseveres in one employment, and threads the way of justice in reciprocal co-operation and interchange, the necessaries of life are amassed, the situation of individuals secured, and the perpetuity of the species provided for.* An allusion to this hypothesis we have in that tradition which tells us, that when Adam (blessed be he!) came down into this world, he had to pursue a thousand occupations before his bread was baked; and cooling it afterwards was the thousand and first. Philosophers have a saying, that there are a thousand things to be done before any one can put a morsel of bread into his mouth.

Since then the regulation of human affairs depends on co-operation, supreme wisdom has ordained that individuals should differ in aim and character, so that each may affect a different pro­fession, and study to perfect himself therein.* If all men were unanimous in their aims, they would all incline to one profession, others remaining unexer­cised; and ruin would be the consequence. So too if all were equal in want and wealth, no one could anticipate advantage from serving others; or if all were rich, being thereby independent, they would no longer minister each to each.* Now, however, that our aims are differently ordered, each selects his own profession, and masters it by practice. And since by the constitution of things each is in some degree dependent upon other, each should apply himself to some pursuit in behalf of other, and by their reciprocal co-operation the condition of all (as actually befalls) may thus be made secure.

It is clear then that men are under the necessity of congregating with their fellow creatures in the manner designated by the term civilization, which is derived from civitas, a city,* and signifies con­gregating in a city. By the word city, however, in this instance, is not meant buildings of stone or brick, but only, in analogy with the explanation before given* of home, such a public aggregation as occasions the proper regulation of affairs. And this is the meaning of philosophers in calling men citizens by nature;* they are naturally impelled to that peculiar congregating which we call civiliza­tion.

Now since different natures have different wants, and all agree in following their own advantage, men must not be left to their own natures, or their mutual co-operation could not be effected; for each, in pursuing his own advantage, would be injuring the rest: this must lead to dissension, till they fell to hurting and destroying one another. Some pro­vision, therefore, must evidently be made for render­ing each content with his rightful portion, and restraining the hands of violence from reciprocal injury. Now this provision is termed supreme government.* To this end, as has been explained in the Section on Equity, there must be a law, an executive, and a currency.

The law-giver is a person honored with divine inspiration and direction for the establishment of ritual ordinances and practical rules, according to that course which may best conduce to utility in this world and the next.* This person the philoso­phers call law-giver, and his directions the law; while the moderns term him delegate and institutor, and his directions the Institute. Of these Plato has said, “They are possessed of vast and transcendent powers;”* that is, they are distinguished from the rest by their capacities for knowledge and practice, through divine instinct being acquainted with the minutiæ of things hidden, and empowered to occupy this whole world of existence and decay. Aristotle says of them, “these are they to whom God hath given most.”

Next, as to the executive, he is a person* honored with the divine support, in order to his carrying on the amelioration and providing for the interests of individual men. The philosophers designate him the absolute sovereign, and his direc­tions the sovereign function; and the moderns call him Pontiff [Imām] and his proceedings Pontificate [Imāmat*]. Plato calls him, “the controller of the world;” and Aristotle, “the man of the city;”* that is, the man who keeps the affairs of the city in their due course. And when the interests of the age are guided by a prince of distinguished worth, pros­perity and blessings of every kind never fail to result to all parts of his dominions, and to every subject in them.

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The first object of this controller of the world should be to maintain the injunctions of the Insti­tute. Yet in the details of matters he has a discre­tion to consult the exigencies of the juncture, in such manner as may be most consonant with uni­versal principles. Such a person is indeed the shadow of God — the divine vice-regent — the vicar of the Prophet. And like as the experienced phy­sician preserves the equilibrium of the human temperament, should the prince watch over the health of the world’s temperament (which some have called the equipoise), re-adjusting it from every deviation it may experience. In truth, then, he is the world’s physician,* and his science that of therapeutics to the universe. Even as the members of the human body depend in their maintenance on the heart for animal spirit and vital power, and the heart depends on the liver for constitutional spirit and the nourishment of the rest, and both depend on the brain for intellectual spirit and the power of sense, and the brain depends in turn on both of them for life and nourishment, so too do the members of mankind depend for maintenance upon each other; the perfection and completeness of every one being obtained from many.* For this reason intercourse with our fel­low creatures in the way of co-operation is incum­bent on us all; or else we deviate from the first principle of justice, and fall into the path of iniquity: like that class of persons who betake themselves to a savage retirement from mankind, and remain altogether aloof from co-operation with their fellow men, loading them, however, with the burden of their support; and this they call seclu­sion and consider meritorious, whereas in fact it is altogether a state of iniquity. For their food and clothing they derive from their fellow creatures, giving them no benefit in return, and leaving the price of it unpaid. The materials of vice being wanting, nothing vicious is of course to be observed in their conduct; whereupon the vulgar hold them to be men of virtue: but most erroneously. For temperance is not the abandonment of desire, but the exercise of it in the course of equity; and equity it is, not to refrain from oppression where no one can be found to be oppressed, but to keep in view the path of integrity and moderation in the midst of our transactions with mankind.* Abul Hasán Āmiry is of opinion that professional fabulists are even worse than the class we have mentioned; because, although resting on the support of other men, and levying contributions on them, they yield them no advantage in return; deceiving them with lying tales that ruin their capacities.

Lastly, co-operation in the way of equity is only to be realized when we are informed in what equity consists — a knowledge only obtainable by an acquaintance with the principles of this science. In order then to the conduct of their intercourse and their transactions in the course of equity, the study of this science is necessary to all, and especially to princes, who, according to our previous statement, are physicians to the temperament of the world, and controllers in the concerns of all the human race. And again, this science may be said to be a term for all the principles affecting the general wel­fare of mankind; because it is only by mutual co-operation that any progress can be made in advancing towards absolute perfection.*