Liber Aleph



De Stultis Malignis[1]

My Son, there are Afflictions many and Woes many, that come of the Errors of Men in respect of the Will; but there is none greater than this, the Interference of the Busy-Body. For they make pretence to know a Man's Thought better than he doth himself, and to direct his Will with more Wisdom than he, and to make Plans for his Happiness. And of all these the worst is he that sacrificeth himself for the Weal of his Fellows. He that is so foolish as not to follow his own Will, how shall be be so wise as to pursue that of another? If mine Horse balk at a Fence, should some Varlet come behind him, and strike at his Hoofs? Nay, Son, pursue thy Path in Peace, that thy Brother beholding thee may take courage from thy Bearing, and Comfort from his Confidence that thou wilt not hinder him by thy Superfluity of Compassion. Let me not begin to tell thee of the Mischiefs that I have seen, whose Root was in Kindness, whose Flower was in Self-Sacrifice, and whose Fruit in Catastrophe. Verily I think there should be no End thereof. Strike, rob, slay thy Neighbour, but comfort him not unless he ask it of thee; and if he ask it, be wary.

[1] On Malign Fools

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