Whatever was not designed, the hand cannot reach; and whatever was ordained, it can attain in any situation:—Thou hast heard that Alexander got as far as chaos; but after all this toil he drank not the water of immortality.
The fisherman, unless it be his lot, catches no fish in the Tigris; and the fish, unless it be its fate, does not die on the dry land:—The wretched miser is prowling all over the world, he in quest of pelf, and death in quest of him.
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The envious man is niggard of the gifts of Providence, and an enemy of the innocent:—I met a dry-brained fellow of this sort, tricked forth in the robe of a dignified person. I said: “O sir! if thou art unfortunate in having this disposition, in what have the fortunate been to blame?—Take heed, and wish not misfortune to the misanthrope, for his own ill-conditioned lot is calamity sufficient. What need is there of showing ill-will to him, who has such an enemy close at his heels.”
A scholar without diligence is a lover without money; a traveller without knowledge is a bird without wings; a theorist without practice is a tree without fruit; and a devotee without learning is a house without an entrance.
The object of sending the Koran down from heaven was that mankind might make it a manual of morals, and not that they should recite it by sections.
The sincere publican has proceeded on foot; the slothful Pharisee is mounted and gone asleep.
The sinner who humbles himself in prayer is more acceptable than the devotee who is puffed up with pride:—The courteous and kind-hearted soldier of fortune is better than the misanthropic and learned divine.
A learned man without works is a bee without honey:—Tell that harsh and ungenerous hornet: As thou yieldest no honey, wound not with thy sting.
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Though a dress presented by the sovereign be honorable, yet is our own tattered garment preferable; and though the viands at a great man’s table be delicate, yet is our own homely fare more sweet:—A salad and vinegar, the produce of our own industry, are sweeter than the lamb and bread sauce at the table of our village chief.
It is contrary to sound judgment, and repugnant to the maxims of the prudent, to take a medicine on conjecture, or to follow a road but in the track of the caravan.