a hindrance in the journey to the truth. Take care and do not deny that they are correct in what they say. For, external knowledge is derived from the sensuous world, and all objects of sense are a hindrance to him who is occupied with spiritual truth; for whoever is attending to sensual objects, indicates that his mind is preoccupied with external properties. And it is impossible that he who would walk in the way of truth, should be for a moment unemployed in meditation, upon obtaining spiritual union and the vision of beauty.
Know, student of the divine mysteries, that the heart is like a reservoir into which five streams flow: these streams at one time run clear, and at another, turbid, and hence the bottom of the reservoir contains much mud. If a person wish to cleanse the reservoir and to get rid of the mud in the bottom,-he must first dam up the course of the running streams, and then stir up and put in motion the mud, and until the muddy water has been carried off by the pure water that gushes up at the bottom of the reservoir, he will not allow any other water to run in. N"ow the external senses resemble those running streams, from which various kinds of knowledge, notions and prejudices proceed to the heart, of which some are pure and purifying, and some are corrupt and corrupting, and until these have been dammed up, the windows of the heart cannot be uncovered so that the illuminating knowledge from God can be revealed to it.
If a person possessing great knowledge of the outward world, should use his knowledge as a means of progress in the way of truth, instead of being satisfied with such disputes as of buying and selling, marrying and divorcing, and should be assiduous in gaining divine knowledge, which is the end of all other knowledge, it is all well and good. His knowledge of the outward world will give him strength in his course, and will serve as a guide to him in