Fiction > Montesquieu > Persian Letters
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Montesquieu (1689–1755).  Persian Letters.  1901.
 
Letter LXXVII
Ibben to Usbek, at Paris
 
MY 1 dear Usbek, it seems to me that, in the eyes of a true Mussulman, misfortunes are not so much punishments as warnings. Those are priceless days upon which we are led to atone for our offenses. It is the time of prosperity that ought to be curtailed. To what end is all our impatience, but to show us that we are seeking happiness, independently of Him who gives it, because He is happiness itself?  1
  If a human creature is composed of two beings, and if the acknowledgment of the necessity of preserving their union is the chief mark of submission to the decrees of our Creator, that necessity should be made a religious law; and if the enforced preservation of this union will make men more responsible for their actions, it should be made a civil law.

  SMYRNA, the last day of the moon of Saphar, 1715.
  2
 
Note 1. This letter was inserted in the edition of 1754 as a foil to that which precedes it. [back]
 
 
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