cannot. Reason is a high gift of God, and to be greatly prized: yet it is like the magnetic needle, which properly and normally points to the Pole, but which may be deflected from it if a piece of iron be brought very near it. Conscience, on the other hand, is like the Polestar (ألْجُدَىّ ـ سِتاؤةُ قُطبي), which ever points towards the Pole, and guides the mariner unerringly on his course, if he keeps it steadily in sight. Many a ship has struck on the rocks and gone to pieces through following the guidance of a deflected compass-needle (ألْقُطبنامة ـ قُطب نُما), but the Polestar is never deflected. The Polestar, however, is often hidden from the mariner by mists and clouds arising from the earth: but the fogs of doubt and the clouds of despair never hide from the pilgrim's eyes the lodestar of Conscience. Reason judges our conduct and actions, but, as has been already said, Conscience judges intention, choice and motives. Those who teach that Conscience may be misled and may lead men astray, really mean that the Judgement may be led into error. They confound fallible Judgement with unerring Conscience; they do not distinguish between the compass and the Polestar. God Most Merciful has placed the Polestar of Conscience in the sky of each man's heart, so that he may always know the right way and may walk therein. But the right course of conduct can be known only when the intention with which it is entered upon is approved by Conscience. A man may be deceived by a false Prophet, such as Mani or Musailamah, and then, with the best of intentions, may do wrong; but that is because his Judgment is at fault. His Conscience tells him that it is his duty to obey God's commandments and to submit to the teaching of His Prophets. But his ill-balanced Judgement may lead him wrongly to fancy that Mani or Musailamah or Al Muqanna' (ألْمُقَنّعُ) or Hakim, whom the Druses worship (ألْحاكِم بأمر الله), is commissioned by God. In all probability, however, men


who follow such false Prophets are led to do so by the hope of worldly gain. If a man wanders from the right way, therefore, the fault does not lie with Conscience. The correctness of the teachings and warnings of Conscience is proved by the fact that among almost all races and tribes of men there exists a fairly general agreement about the Moral Law. Thus all men's consciences condemn lying, deceit, adultery, theft, robbery, murder and such evil deeds, even though in some cases a false religion so warps their judgement that they think that when one of these crimes is committed by the orders of a priest, or of a person who claims to be a prophet, it is no longer a crime. Cases have occurred in which men have imagined that God had shown His favour to some Prophet by permitting him to break the Moral Law with impunity. Their judgement has become so perverted by religious prejudice that they fail to perceive that no man can possibly have a right to do wrong. They do not understand that the Moral Law of Conscience is a reflexion in the mirror of the heart produced by the Holy Nature (ذات) of the Most Holy God. As God's Nature is unchangeable, so the Moral Law, which is its reflexion, is far from all possibility of change and alteration. The lapse of ages produces no effect upon it, because Time cannot affect the Eternal One. The fancy that God approves of adultery to-day and forbids it tomorrow, or that He permits a man who is His favourite to break the Moral Law, as a proof of His favour to him, is as contrary to the truth as is the belief of some Idolaters that it is a righteous act to shed innocent human blood upon the altars of their gods, or the doctrine of certain heretics that God Most Holy is pleased when they devote their daughters to that form of fornication which is called "temporary marriage" (ألْمُتعة ـ صيغة), or the belief of some of the benighted heathen in India that their gods' favour is won when girls are solemnly set apart to live lives of prostitution in their temples. Conscience condemns