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EPICTETUS: About 60-120 A. D..


RALPH WALDO EMERSON: 1803-1882. 24

GEORGE ELIOT (Mary Ann Evans
Lewes Cross): 1819–1880.


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The noblest of the Stoics."-St. Augustine.

If thou wouldst have aught of good, have it from thyself.

Hath He not given thee that which is thine own unhindered and unhampered, and hindered and hampered that which is not thine own?

And faithfulness is thine, and reverence is thine who, then, can rob thee of these things? Who can hinder thee to use them, if not thyself?

But thyself can do it, and how? When thou art zealous about things not thine own, and hast cast away the things that are so.

What is it, then, to be educated? It is to learn to apply the natural conceptions to each thing severally according to nature:

From "The Teachings of Epictetus." T. W. Rolleston's translation.

and further, to discern that, of things that exist, some are in our own power and the rest are not in our own power. And things that are in our own power are the will, and all the works of the will.

Of things that are in our power are our opinions, impulses, pursuits, avoidances, and, in brief, all that is of our own doing.

Remember, then, if you hold things by their nature subject, to be free, and things alien to be your proper concern, you will be hampered, you will lament, you will be troubled, you will blame God and men. But if you hold that only to be your own which is so, and the alien for what it is, alien, then none shall ever compel you, none shall hinder you, you will blame no one, accuse no one, you will not do the least thing unwillingly, none shall harm you, you shall have no foe, for you shall suffer no injury.

It is needful to learn that God is, and taketh thought for all things; and that

nothing can be hid from him, neither deeds, nor even thoughts nor wishes.

Consider more closely, know thyself, question thy genius, attempt nothing without God; who, if he counsel thee, be sure that he wills thee either to be great or to be greatly plagued.

Hercules, when he was exercised by Eurystheus, never deemed himself wretched; but fulfilled courageously all that was laid upon him. But he who shall cry out and bear it hard when he is being trained and exercised by Zeus, is he worthy to bear the sceptre of Diogenes?

For where there are confusions, and griefs, and fears, and unattained pursuits, and avoidance in vain, and envy and rivalry,— can the way to happiness lie there?

And I have this aim,-to perfect you, that ye be unhindered, uncompelled, unembarrassed, free, prosperous, happy, looking unto God alone in all things great and small.

And ye are here to learn these things and to do them.

Is the thing such as cannot be taught? It Is it then, not in our power?


Yea, this alone of all things is. Wealth is not in our power, nor health, nor repute, nor any other thing, save only the right use of appearances.

This alone is by nature unhindered; this alone is unembarrassed.

How, then, shall we preserve at once both a steadfast and tranquil mind, and also carefulness of things? Take example of diceplayers the numbers are indifferent, the dice are indifferent. How can I tell what may be thrown up? But carefully and skillfully to make use of what is thrown, that is where my proper business begins.

Outward things are not in my power; to will is in my power. Where shall I seek the Good, and where the Evil? Within me, —in all that is my own.

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