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p. 96


Thou knowest not the difference between the hidden world and this,--canst not distinguish between welfare and affliction. In truth,

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thou art not a man travelling on this Path; thou art a child of the Path, knowest not the Path; thou art but a boy,--go about thy play, go back to thy pride and independence. The airs and graces of thy mistress are enough for thee,--what, O son, hast thou to do with God? What concern hast thou with Paradise and eternal delight, who hast rejected the life to come for this present world? He knows thy baseness; how shall He invite thy thee-ness to Himself? He offers thee the virgins and palaces of Paradise, but thou art beguiled by this present world and its beauties. O unfruitful one! be not feebler than a boy to follow the path of God.

If a boy is unequal to learning his task, hear at once what it is that he wants; be kind to him and treat him tenderly; make him not to grieve in helpless expectation; at such a time give him sweetmeats in his lap to comfort him, and do not treat him harshly. But if he will not read, at once send for the strap; take hold of his ears and rub them hard; threaten him with the schoolmaster, say that he will have strict orders to punish him, that he will shut him up in a rat-house, and the head rat will strangle him.

In the path that leads to the life to come be not thou less apt than a boy to receive admonition; eternity is thy sweetmeat,--haste thou then, and at the price of two rak`ahs obtain Paradise. Otherwise the rat-house will for thee be Hell,--will be thy tomb which meets thee on thy way to that other mansion. Go to the writing-school of the prophets for a time; choose not for thyself this folly, this affliction. Read but one tablet of the religion of the prophets; since thou knowest nothing thereof, go, read and learn, that haply thou mayest become their friend, mayest haply escape from this stupidity;--in this corrupt

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and baleful world deem not thou that there is aught worse than stupidity.