PHILOSOPHERS hold that there are two classes of civilization: one proceeding from objects of the genus good; and that is the righteous state: the other, from objects of the genus bad; and that we call the unrighteous state.*

The righteous state is a single species and no more; for right is beyond the taint of multiplicity, and into the order of things good variety enters not. The unrighteous state has three species: 1. Where the coalition is occasioned by something other than the reasoning faculty, as the faculty of resentment or desire; and that we call the ignorant state. 2. Such as is not without all use of the reasoning power, but where this is subservient to the other powers, and this is the circumstance which produced coalition; and that we call the wicked state. 3. That in which coalition proceeds from unanimity in false combinations; and that we call the heretical state.

The conditions and relations of the unrighteous being discoverable from those of the righteous state, as implying their opposites,* our attention may be better devoted to the particulars of the latter only, and that is the state whose coalition is entirely founded on the principle of attaining felicity and resisting evil. Such persons must necessarily par­ticipate in right opinions and good acts; and whatever diversity may exist among individual members, or whatever distinctions in the circum­stances of their respective methods, all must correspond in the path they take, and the one end to which they are directed. Yet since, on the principle previously explained,* human minds differ in degrees of the reasoning and discerning faculty, the highest order (which we call the celestial mind*) bordering upon the intellectual world, and the lowest order (or opposite of elevation) being tethered on the confines of the brutes, it follows, that the per­ception of the whole mass on the subject of origin and return, which is the pinnacle of mystery in science and religion, cannot be of the same order. So that the agreement which is above asserted to prevail in their principles of combination will take place in this wise, that all participate in the matter by universals, although none but the adepts in investigation can be acquainted with its particulars. The explanation of which is as follows.

That paramount class who are strengthened by divine support, and freed from the defilements of their physical incumbrances, apprehend real essence in all its glorious attributes and traits of beauty, perceive the chain of entities to proceed from their first source in the exact arrangement that actually prevails, and conceive the soul’s return to be effected in the manner agreeable to the precise fact. The soul, in its present instititious state, being endued with diverse powers, (such as common sense, conjecture, and fancy,) by means of which it carries on the perception of ideas* and bodily intellectuals [retroverted] — (powers existing in different tempera­ments to different degrees of purity or dilution, yet never for a moment, whether sleeping or waking, altogether in abeyance*) — on the instant of their souls being inspired with the ideas of these realities, an ideal image corresponding to those mental ones is retroverted on the sensorium of those powers, (for in the soul’s institutious state, the perception of latent intellectuals without a stamp of sensitive or imagi­native idea is exceeding rare,) the ratio of which ideas to which realities is the same as that of images and recollections to their archetypes; and these are the best and noblest images conceivable in corporeal organs. Now the persons of whom we are speaking, in the splendour of their own intellect continue to perceive this reality that lies beyond ideas as imagined and convictions as conceived; and these are the leading saints and the masters of philosophy.*

Near to this class comes that of those who are unequal to pure comprehension, and whose progress is limited to convictions by conjecture; knowing, however, that realities in their own nature are exempt from any such restrictions, and acknowledging as well their own inadequacy as the mental supe­riority of class the first. These are the professors of Islām.

Next to this class comes that of those who are unequal to idealizing by conjecture even, and whose progress towards an acquaintance with the soul’s origin and return goes no farther than idea by fancy; and these too are free to acknowledge the superiority of the former class, and their own deficiencies. These are the embracers of Islām.

Next comes the class of those short-sighted mor­tals who cannot idealize at all beyond the order of things sensibly manifest, and who stop short at remote ideas and images; and these we term imbeciles.*

Of these none is to be stigmatized with falling short or turning his gaze from the goal* of reality, as long as he exhausts his efforts in the degree of his capacity, and attains to the limit of his own abilities. And since the blessed Institutor was sent to all parties, it was indispensably necessary, (according to the text, We order thee to address men in the mea­sure of their understandings,) that his expressions throughout should be of such sort that each, in the calibre of his capacity, might receive from them a satisfactory portion — a portion that is sufficient for perfecting their feeble spirits, according to their respective orders. Thus, at the open resort of our universal Institute, that all who thirst after the well-spring of perfection may have their cravings satisfied in the exact measure of their respective draughts and appetites.

“Bring’st thou a goblet, or bring’st thou a bowl,
The brim shall run o’er with this wine of the soul.”*

For this reason it is that the miraculous verses of the Kurān and didactic expressions of the last of Prophets are sometimes literal, and sometimes figurative: the realities intended being sometimes unveiled to the celestial intellect (that arbitrator in the dealings of abstraction) in the precision of precept and interdiction, and at other times being brought within the scope of direct sensation in the dress of imaginative ideas and typical representa­tion.

“Creation’s spring, that freshens mind and body;
The eye with colours, and the mind with warmth.”

So too with the Sages. Sometimes, for the enter­tainment of their comrades in the feast of inves­tigation, they brim the bowl of induction with con­centrated reality and limpid intelligence; sometimes, for the palate of aspiring neophytes, they fill the glass of scientific reverie with sweet information; and sometimes limit themselves merely to retailing or expounding the substitutes for both: thus sup­plying every one with instruction in the measure of his ability.

Among these several classes, whatever difference may subsist as to the nature of the ideas embodying their respective persuasions, still, by reason of their participating in the general result, and submitting in common to the same distinguished director, no animosity or repugnance prevails; but all, under their director’s guidance, do inter-co-operate in advancing towards that perfection of which they are respectively susceptible.

Constituents* in the righteous state are of five orders: 1. Masters; the body on which the conduct of the state depends; that is to say, the proficients in the active science, and the adepts in entire wis­dom, — persons invariably distinguished above their fellow creatures by power of intellect: and their science is a knowledge of real essence in all existing things. 2. Men of the tongue; those who invite the public to the perfection of human nature, dis­suade them from vice by exhortation and counsel, and provide by dissertations, controversial, admonitory, and poetical, against deviations from the summary principles of union. The study of these is rhetoric, oratory, divinity, poetry, and such like. 3. Dispensers; those who watch over the balance of equity between members of the state, and to whose judgment it is committed to determine the measures of things. Their science is computation, debenture, mathematics, medicine, astronomy. 4. Watchers; those who preserve the state from the molestation of enemies and marauders, and by whose sufficiency the defence of passes, forts, and routes is effected. Their science is soldiery and horsemanship. 5. Monied men; a body by whom the food and clothing of the other classes is provided for; whether by means of commerce and craftship, or in the shape of fiscal payments. Their science comprises sundry occupations and callings manifold.*

Now what equity demands is this — that each class, nay, each member in each class, be kept in his appropriate position. One person is never to be employed in different occupations,* for that perplexes the bent; nor is it possible that any one should be brought to multifarious perfection, because to every art there is a certain time and attention essential for its attainment; and when this time and attention is distributed among all, all remain in a state of incom­pleteness. Hence the proverb, “Who seeks all loses all.” When a person is acquainted with several pursuits, the best course is to employ him upon the most important and eminent one; or rather, upon that into which he has deepest insight; to the aban­donment of all the rest. For if he exercises one in concert with another, some prejudice will infallibly accrue to his interests.

Classes other than these there are in the righteous state, but not among the constituents. Of these some serve for instruments and tools to the higher classes, and, if capable of virtue, perhaps, under the conduct of the good, a certain sort of perfection may be attained by them; else, they are to be disciplined to such occupations as may redound to the interest of the state.

Others again resemble the weeds that spring up in fields and gardens, and hence it is they are called Pests; these are of five sorts: 1. Hypocrites; men who conform to the conduct and professions of the good, and trick themselves out in the apparel of the great, seeking by such false colours to arrive at corrupt ends in religion and stale purposes in the world. 2. Mar-texts; men who are possessed by zeal and liking for the vices, and are therefore desirous, by artifices of explication, to fashion the church after the longings of their own nature. 3. Rebels; men who bow not the neck to the orders of the equitable Prince, submission and obedience to whose yoke is incumbent upon all mankind, but incline to some other sovereign. Against these it is by law and reason incumbent on all men to take up arms. 4. Schismatics; men who, from defect of understanding, not arriving at the intent of church institutions or the purposes of science, take them in other senses, and secede from the path of rectitude. Should the aberration be not deeply rooted, and be free from contumacy and vain-glory, there may be hopes of setting them right. 5. Impostors; men who, not attaining to realities, betake themselves to false pretences in pursuit of wealth and station, and by specious blunders expose themselves to sale in the market of delusion; displaying themselves to the people in the semblance of wise men, when in fact they are themselves in the deepest perplexity. Such are the most noted species of the Pests.