Show no mercy to a subdued foe, for if he recover himself he will show you no mercy:—When thou seest thy antagonist in a reduced state, curl not thy whiskers at him in contempt, for in every bone there is marrow, and within every jacket there is a man.
Whoever puts a wicked man to death delivers mankind from his mischief, and the wretch himself from God’s vengeance:—Beneficence is praiseworthy; yet thou shouldst not administer a balsam to the wound of the wicked. Knew he not who took compassion on a snake, that it is the pest of the sons of Adam.
It is wrong to follow the advice of an adversary; nevertheless it is right to hear it, that you may do the contrary; and this is the essence of good policy:—Sedulously shun whatever thy foe may recommend, otherwise thou may’st wring the hands of repentance on thy knees. Should he show thee to the right a path straight as an arrow, turn aside from that, and take the path to the left.
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Two orders of mankind are the enemies of church and state: the king without clemency, and the holy man without learning:—Let not that prince have rule over the state who is not himself obedient to the will of God.
It behooves a king so to regulate his anger towards his enemies as not to alarm the confidence of his friends; for the fire of passion falls first on the angry man; afterwards its sparks will dart forth towards the foe, and him they may reach, or they may not. It ill becomes the children of Adam, formed of dust, to harbor in their head such pride, arrogance, and passion. I cannot fancy all this thy warmth and obstinacy to be created from earth, but from fire. I went to a holy man in the land of Bailcan, and said: “Cleanse me of ignorance by thy instruction?” He replied: “O fakir, or theologician! go and bear things patiently like the earth; or whatever thou hast read let it all be buried under the earth.”
An evil-disposed man is a captive in the hands of an enemy (namely, himself); for wherever he may go he cannot escape from the grasp of that enemy’s vengeance:—Let a wicked man ascend up to heaven, that he may escape from the grasp of calamity; even thither would the hand of his own evil heart follow him with misfortune.
When you see discord raging among the troops of your enemy, be on your side quiet; but if you see them united, think of your own dispersed state:—When thou beholdest war among thy foes, go and enjoy peace with thy friends; but if thou findest them of one soul and mind, string thy bow, and range stones around thy battlements.