Part 3 out of 4
XXXVIII. If thou canst but withdraw conceit and opinion concerning
that which may seem hurtful and offensive, thou thyself art
as safe, as safe may be. Thou thyself? and who is that?
Thy reason. 'Yea, but I am not reason.' Well, be it so.
However, let not thy reason or understanding admit of grief,
and if there be anything in thee that is grieved, let that,
(whatsoever it be,) conceive its own grief, if it can.
XXXIX. That which is a hindrance of the senses, is an evil to
the sensitive nature. That which is a hindrance of the appetitive
and prosecutive faculty, is an evil to the sensitive nature.
As of the sensitive, so of the vegetative constitution,
whatsoever is a hindrance unto it, is also in that respect an evil
unto the same. And so likewise, whatsoever is a hindrance unto
the mind and understanding, must needs be the proper evil of
the reasonable nature. Now apply all those things unto thyself.
Do either pain or pleasure seize on thee? Let the senses look to that.
Hast thou met with Some obstacle or other in thy purpose and intention?
If thou didst propose without due reservation and exception
now hath thy reasonable part received a blow indeed But if in
general thou didst propose unto thyself what soever might be,
thou art not thereby either hurt, nor properly hindered.
For in those things that properly belong unto the mind,
she cannot be hindered by any man. It is not fire, nor iron;
nor the power of a tyrant nor the power of a slandering tongue;
nor anything else that can penetrate into her.
XL. If once round and solid, there is no fear that ever it will change.
XLI. Why should I grieve myself; who never did willingly grieve
any other! One thing rejoices one and another thing another.
As for me, this is my joy , if my understanding be right
and sound, as neither averse from any man, nor refusing
any of those things which as a man I am) subject unto;
if I can look upon all things in the world meekly and kindly;
accept all things and carry myself towards everything according
to to true worth of the thing itself.
XLII. This time that is now present, bestow thou upon thyself.
They that rather hunt for fame after death, do not consider,
that those men that shall be hereafter, will be even such,
as these whom now they can so hardly bear with. And besides they
also will be mortal men. But to consider the thing in itself,
if so many with so many voices, shall make such and such a sound,
or shall have such and such an opinion concerning thee,
what is it to thee?
XLIII. Take me and throw me where thou wilt: I am indifferent.
For there also I shall have that spirit which is within
me propitious; that is well pleased and fully contented both
in that constant disposition, and with those particular actions,
which to its own proper constitution are suitable and agreeable.
XLIV. Is this then a thing of that worth, that for it my soul
should suffer, and become worse than it was? as either basely dejected,
or disordinately affected, or confounded within itself, or terrified?
What can there be, that thou shouldest so much esteem?
XLV. Nothing can happen unto thee, which is not incidental unto thee,
as thou art a man. As nothing can happen either to an ox,
a vine, or to a stone, which is not incidental unto them;
unto every one in his own kind. If therefore nothing can
happen unto anything, which is not both usual and natural;
why art thou displeased? Sure the common nature of all
would not bring anything upon any, that were intolerable.
If therefore it be a thing external that causes thy grief,
know, that it is not that properly that doth cause it,
but thine own conceit and opinion concerning the thing:
which thou mayest rid thyself of, when thou wilt.
But if it be somewhat that is amiss in thine own disposition,
that doth grieve thee, mayest thou not rectify thy moral
tenets and opinions. But if it grieve thee, that thou doest
not perform that which seemeth unto thee right and just,
why doest not thou choose rather to perform it than to grieve?
But somewhat that is stronger than thyself doth hinder thee.
Let it not grieve thee then, if it be not thy fault that the thing
is not performed. 'Yea but it is a thing of that nature, as that
thy life is not worth the while, except it may be performed.'
If it be so, upon condition that thou be kindly and lovingly
disposed towards all men, thou mayest be gone. For even then,
as much as at any time, art thou in a very good estate of performance,
when thou doest die in charity with those, that are an obstacle
unto thy performance. XLVI. Remember that thy mind is
of that nature as that it becometh altogether unconquerable,
when once recollected in herself, she seeks no other content
than this, that she cannot be forced: yea though it so fall out,
that it be even against reason itself, that it cloth bandy.
How much less when by the help of reason she is able to judge
of things with discretion? And therefore let thy chief fort and
place of defence be, a mind free from passions. A stronger place,
(whereunto to make his refuge, and so to bccome impregnable)
and better fortified than this, bath no man. He that seeth not
this is unlearned. He that seeth it, and betaketh not himself
to this place of refuge, is unhappy. XLVII. Keep thyself
to the first bare and naked apprehensions of things,
as they present themselves unto thee, and add not unto them.
It is reported unto thee, that such a one speaketh ill of thee.
Well; that he speaketh ill of thee, so much is reported.
But that thou art hurt thereby, is not reported:
that is the addition of opinion, which thou must exclude.
I see that my child is sick. That he is sick, I see,
but that he is in danger of his life also, I see it not.
Thus thou must use to keep thyself to the first motions and
apprehensions of things, as they present themselves outwardly;
and add not unto them from within thyself through
mere conceit and opinion. Or rather add unto them:
hut as one that understandeth the true nature of all things
that happen in the world.
XLVIII. Is the cucumber bitter? set it away.
Brambles are in the way? avoid them. Let this suffice.
Add not presently speaking unto thyself, What serve these
things for in the world? For, this, one that is acquainted
with the mysteries of nature, will laugh at thee for it;
as a carpenter would or a shoemaker, if meeting in either
of their shops with some shavings, or small remnants
of their work, thou shouldest blame them for it.
And yet those men, it is not for want of a place where to
throw them that they keep them in their shops for a while:
but the nature of the universe hath no such out-place;
but herein doth consist the wonder of her art and skill,
that she having once circumscribed herself within some certain
bounds and limits, whatsoever is within her that seems
either corrupted, or old, or unprofitable, she can change it
into herself, and of these very things can make new things;
so that she needeth not to seek elsewhere out of herself either
for a new supply of matter and substance, or for a place where
to throw out whatsoever is irrecoverably putrid and corrupt.
Thus she, as for place, so for matter and art, is herself
sufficient unto herself. XLIX. Not to be slack and negligent;
or loose, and wanton in thy actions; nor contentious,
and troublesome in thy conversation; nor to rove and wander in thy
fancies and imaginations. Not basely to contract thy soul;
nor boisterously to sally out with it, or furiously to launch
out as it were, nor ever to want employment.
L. 'They kill me, they cut- my flesh; they persecute my person
with curses.' What then? May not thy mind for all this
continue pure, prudent, temperate, just? As a fountain of sweet
and clear water, though she be cursed by some stander by,
yet do her springs nevertheless still run as sweet and clear
as before; yea though either dirt or dung be thrown in,
yet is it no sooner thrown, than dispersed, and she cleared.
She cannot be dyed or infected by it. What then must I do, that I
may have within myself an overflowing fountain, and not a well?
Beget thyself by continual pains and endeavours to true liberty
with charity, and true simplicity and modesty.
LI. He that knoweth not what the world is, knoweth not where
he himself is. And he that knoweth not what the world was
made for, cannot possibly know either what are the qualities,
or what is the nature of the world. Now he that in either of
these is to seek, for what he himself was made is ignorant also.
What then dost thou think of that man, who proposeth unto himself,
as a matter of great moment, the noise and applause of men,
who both where they are, and what they are themselves,
are altogether ignorant? Dost thou desire to be commended of that man,
who thrice in one hour perchance, doth himself curse himself?
Dost thou desire to please him, who pleaseth not himself? or dost
thou think that he pleaseth himself, who doth use to repent
himself almost of everything that he doth?
LII. Not only now henceforth to have a common.
breath, or to hold correspondency of breath, with that air,
that compasseth us about; but to have a common mind, or to hold
correspondency of mind also with that rational substance,
which compasseth all things. For, that also is of itself,
and of its own nature (if a man can but draw it in as he should)
everywhere diffused; and passeth through all things, no less
than the air doth, if a man can but suck it in.
LIII. Wickedness in general doth not hurt the world.
Particular wickedness doth not hurt any other: only unto him
it is hurtful, whosoever he be that offends, unto whom in great
favour and mercy it is granted, that whensoever he himself shall
but first desire it, he may be presently delivered of it.
Unto my free-will my neighbour's free-will, whoever he be,
(as his life, or his bode), is altogether indifferent.
For though we are all made one for another, yet have our
minds and understandings each of them their own proper
and limited jurisdiction. For else another man's wickedness
might be my evil which God would not have, that it
might not be in another man's power to make me unhappy:
which nothing now can do but mine own wickedness.
LIV. The sun seemeth to be shed abroad. And indeed it is diffused but
not effused. For that diffusion of it is a [-r~Jo-tc] or an extension.
For therefore are the beams of it called [~i-~m'~] from the word
[~KTEIVEO-Oa,,] to be stretched out and extended. Now what a
sunbeam is, thou mayest know if thou observe the light of the sun,
when through some narrow hole it pierceth into some room that is dark.
For it is always in a direct line. And as by any solid body,
that it meets with in the way that is not penetrable by air,
it is divided and abrupted, and yet neither slides off, or falls down,
but stayeth there nevertheless: such must the diffusion in the mind be;
not an effusion, but an extension. What obstacles and impediments
soever she meeteth within her way, she must not violently, and by way
of an impetuous onset light upon them; neither must she fall down;
but she must stand, and give light unto that which doth admit of it.
For as for that which doth not, it is its own fault and loss,
if it bereave itself of her light.
LV. He that feareth death, either feareth that he shall have
no sense at all, or that his senses will not be the same.
Whereas, he should rather comfort himself, that either no sense
at all, and so no sense of evil; or if any sense, then another life,
and so no death properly. LVI. All men are made one for another:
either then teach them better, or bear with them.
LVII. The motion of the mind is not as the motion of a dart.
For the mind when it is wary and cautelous, and by way of diligent
circumspection turneth herself many ways, may then as well
be said to go straight on to the object, as when it useth
no such circumspection. LVIII. To pierce and penetrate into
the estate of every one's understanding that thou hast to do with:
as also to make the estate of thine own open, and penetrable
to any other.
THE NINTH BOOK
I. He that is unjust, is also impious. For the nature
of the universe, having made all reasonable creatures one
for another, to the end that they should do one another good;
more or less according to the several persons and occasions
but in nowise hurt one another: it is manifest that he that
doth transgress against this her will, is guilty of impiety
towards the most ancient and venerable of all the deities.
For the nature of the universe, is the nature the common parent
of all, and therefore piously to be observed of all things
that are, and that which now is, to whatsoever first was,
and gave it its being, hath relation of blood and kindred.
She is also called truth and is the first cause of all truths.
He therefore that willingly and wittingly doth lie,
is impious in that he doth receive, and so commit injustice:
but he that against his will, in that he disagreeth from the nature
of the universe, and in that striving with the nature of the world
he doth in his particular, violate the general order of the world.
For he doth no better than strive and war against it,
who contrary to his own nature applieth himself to that which
is contrary to truth. For nature had before furnished him
with instincts and opportunities sufficient for the attainment
of it ; which he having hitherto neglected, is not now able
to discern that which is false from that which is true.
He also that pursues after pleasures, as that which is truly
good and flies from pains, as that which is truly evil:
is impious. For such a one must of necessity oftentimes accuse
that common nature, as distributing many things both unto the evil,
and unto the good, not according to the deserts of either:
as unto the bad oftentimes pleasures, and the causes of pleasures;
so unto the good, pains, and the occasions of pains. Again, he that
feareth pains and crosses in this world, feareth some of those
things which some time or other must needs happen in the world.
And that we have already showed to be impious. And he that
pursueth after pleasures, will not spare, to compass his desires,
to do that which is unjust, and that is manifestly impious.
Now those things which unto nature are equally indifferent
(for she had not created both, both pain and pleasure,
if both had not been unto her equally indifferent):
they that will live according to nature, must in those things
(as being of the same mind and disposition that she is)
be as equally indifferent. Whosoever therefore in either matter
of pleasure and pain; death and life; honour and dishonour,
(which things nature in the administration of the world,
indifferently doth make use of), is not as indifferent,
it is apparent that he is impious. When I say that common
nature doth indifferently make use of them, my meaning is,
that they happen indifferently in the ordinary course of things,
which by a necessary consequence, whether as principal
or accessory, come to pass in the world, according to that first
and ancient deliberation of Providence, by which she from
some certain beginning, did resolve upon the creation of such
a world, conceiving then in her womb as it were some certain
rational generative seeds and faculties of things future,
whether subjects, changes, successions; both such and such,
and just so many.
II. It were indeed more happy and comfortable, for a man to
depart out of this world, having lived all his life long clear
from all falsehood, dissimulation, voluptuousness, and pride.
But if this cannot be, yet it is some comfort for a man joyfully
to depart as weary, and out of love with those; rather than to
desire to live, and to continue long in those wicked courses.
Hath not yet experience taught thee to fly from the plague?
For a far greater plague is the corruption of the mind,
than any certain change and distemper of the common air can be.
This is a plague of creatures, as they are living creatures;
but that of men as they are men or reasonable. III. Thou must
not in matter of death carry thyself scornfully, but as one
that is well pleased with it, as being one of those things
that nature hath appointed. For what thou dost conceive
of these, of a boy to become a young man, to wax old, to grow,
to ripen, to get teeth, or a beard, or grey hairs to beget,
to bear, or to be delivered; or what other action soever it be,
that is natural unto man according to the several seasons
of his life; such a thing is it also to he dissolved.
It is therefore the part of a wise man, in matter of death,
not in any wise to carry himself either violently, or proudly
but patiently to wait for it, as one of nature's operations:
that with the same mind as now thou dost expect when that which yet is
but an embryo in thy wife's belly shall come forth, thou mayst expect
also when thy soul shall fall off from that outward coat or skin:
wherein as a child in the belly it lieth involved and shut up.
But thou desirest a more popular, and though not so direct
and philosophical, yet a very powerful and penetrative
recipe against the fear of death, nothing can make they more
willing to part with thy life, than if thou shalt consider,
both what the subjects themselves are that thou shalt part with,
and what manner of disposition thou shalt no more have to do with.
True it is, that. offended with them thou must not be by no means,
but take care of them, and meekly bear with them However,
this thou mayst remember, that whensoever it happens that
thou depart, it shall not be from men that held the same
opinions that thou dost. For that indeed, (if it were so)
is the only thing that might make thee averse from death,
and willing to continue here, if it were thy hap to live
with men that had obtained the same belief that thou hast.
But now, what a toil it is for thee to live with men of
different opinions, thou seest: so that thou hast rather occasion
to say, Hasten, I thee pray, O Death; lest I also in time
forget myself. IV. He that sinneth, sinneth unto himself.
He that is unjust, hurts himself, in that he makes himself
worse than he was before. Not he only that committeth,
but he also that omitteth something, is oftentimes unjust.
V. If my present apprehension of the object be right,
and my present action charitable, and this, towards whatsoever
doth proceed from God, be my present disposition, to be well
pleased with it, it sufficeth. VI. To wipe away fancy,
to use deliberation, to quench concupiscence, to keep the mind
free to herself. VII. Of all unreasonable creatures, there is
but one unreasonable soul; and of all that are reasonable,
but one reasonable soul, divided betwixt them all.
As of all earthly things there is but one earth, and but one
light that we see by; and but one air that we breathe in,
as many as either breathe or see. Now whatsoever partakes
of some common thing, naturally affects and inclines unto
that whereof it is part, being of one kind and nature with it.
Whatsoever is earthly, presseth downwards to the common earth.
Whatsoever is liquid, would flow together. And whatsoever is airy,
would be together likewise. So that without some obstacle,
and some kind of violence, they cannot well be kept asunder.
Whatsoever is fiery, doth not only by reason of the elementary
fire tend upwards; but here also is so ready to join,
and to burn together, that whatsoever doth want sufficient
moisture to make resistance, is easily set on fire.
Whatsoever therefore is partaker of that reasonable common nature,
naturally doth as much and more long after his own kind.
For by how much in its own nature it excels all other things,
by so much more is it desirous to be joined and united unto that,
which is of its own nature. As for unreasonable creatures then,
they had not long been, but presently begun among them swarms,
and flocks, and broods of young ones, and a kind of mutual
love and affection. For though but unreasonable, yet a kind
of soul these had, and therefore was that natural desire
of union more strong and intense in them, as in creatures
of a more excellent nature, than either in plants,
or stones, or trees. But among reasonable creatures,
begun commonwealths, friendships, families, public meetings,
and even in their wars, conventions, and truces.
Now among them that were yet of a more excellent nature,
as the stars and planets, though by their nature far distant
one from another, yet even among them began some mutual
correspondency and unity. So proper is it to excellency
in a high degree to affect unity, as that even in things
so far distant, it could operate unto a mutual sympathy.
But now behold, what is now come to pass. Those creatures that
are reasonable, are now the only creatures that have forgotten
their natural affection and inclination of one towards another.
Among them alone of all other things that are of one kind,
there is not to be found a general disposition to flow together.
But though they fly from nature, yet are they stopt in their course,
and apprehended. Do they what they can, nature doth prevail.
And so shalt thou confess, if thou dost observe it. For sooner
mayst thou find a thing earthly, where no earthly thing is,
than find a man that naturally can live by himself alone.
VIII. Man, God, the world, every one in their kind, bear some fruits.
All things have their proper time to bear. Though by custom,
the word itself is in a manner become proper unto the vine,
and the like, yet is it so nevertheless, as we have said.
As for reason, that beareth both common fruit for the use
of others; and peculiar, which itself doth enjoy.
Reason is of a dif-fusive nature, what itself is in itself,
it begets in others, and so doth multiply.
IX. Either teach them better if it be in thy power;
or if it be not, remember that for this use, to bear with
them patiently, was mildness and goodness granted unto thee.
The Gods themselves are good unto such; yea and in some things,
(as in matter of health, of wealth, of honour,) are content often
to further their endeavours: so good and gracious are they.
And mightest thou not be so too? or, tell me, what doth hinder thee?
X. Labour not as one to whom it is appointed to be wretched,
nor as one that either would be pitied, or admired;
but let this be thine only care and desire; so always and in
all things to prosecute or to forbear, as the law of charity,
or mutual society doth require. XI. This day I did come
out of all my trouble. Nay I have cast out all my trouble;
it should rather be for that which troubled thee, whatsoever it was,
was not without anywhere that thou shouldest come out of it,
but within in thine own opinions, from whence it must be cast out,
before thou canst truly and constantly be at ease.
XII. All those things, for matter of experience are usual and ordinary;
for their continuance but for a day; and for their matter, most base
and filthy. As they were in the days of those whom we have buried,
so are they now also, and no otherwise.
XIII. The things themselves that affect us, they stand without doors,
neither knowing anything themselves nor able to utter anything unto others
concerning themselves. What then is it, that passeth verdict on them?
The understanding XIV. As virtue and wickedness consist not in passion,
but in action; so neither doth the true good or evil of a reasonable
charitable man consist in passion, but in operation and action.
XV. To the stone that is cast up, when it comes down it is no hurt
unto it; as neither benefit, when it doth ascend.
XVI. Sift their minds and understandings, and behold what men they be,
whom thou dost stand in fear of what they shall judge of thee,
what they themselves judge of themselves.
XVII. All things that are in the world, are always in the estate
of alteration. Thou also art in a perpetual change, yea and under
corruption too, in some part: and so is the whole world.
XVIII. it is not thine, but another man's sin. Why should it
trouble thee? Let him look to it, whose sin it is.
XIX. Of an operation and of a purpose there is an ending, or of an
action and of a purpose we say commonly, that it is at an end:
from opinion also there is an absolute cessation, which is
as it were the death of it. In all this there is no hurt.
Apply this now to a man's age, as first, a child; then a youth,
then a young man, then an old man; every change from one age to another
is a kind of death And all this while here no matter of grief yet.
Pass now unto that life first, that which thou livedst under
thy grandfather, then under thy mother, then under thy father.
And thus when through the whole course of thy life hitherto
thou hast found and observed many alterations, many changes,
many kinds of endings and cessations, put this question to thyself
What matter of grief or sorrow dost thou find in any of these?
Or what doest thou suffer through any of these? If in none of these,
then neither in the ending and consummation of thy whole life,
which is also but a cessation and change.
XX. As occasion shall require, either to thine own understanding,
or to that of the universe, or to his, whom thou hast
now to do with, let thy refuge be with all speed.
To thine own, that it resolve upon nothing against justice.
To that of the universe, that thou mayest remember,
part of whom thou art. Of his, that thou mayest consider.
whether in the estate of ignorance, or of knowledge.
And then also must thou call to mind, that he is thy kinsman.
XXI. As thou thyself, whoever thou art, were made for the perfection
and consummation, being a member of it, of a common society; so must
every action of thine tend to the perfection and consummation of a life
that is truly sociable. What action soever of thine therefore that
either immediately or afar off, hath not reference to the common good,
that is an exorbitant and disorderly action; yea it is seditious;
as one among the people who from such and such a consent and unity,
should factiously divide and separate himself.
XXII. Children's anger, mere babels; wretched souls bearing
up dead bodies, that they may not have their fall so soon:
even as it is in that common dirge song. XXIII. Go to the quality
of the cause from which the effect doth proceed. Behold it
by itself bare and naked, separated from all that is material.
Then consider the utmost bounds of time that that cause,
thus and thus qualified, can subsist and abide.
XXIV. Infinite are the troubles and miseries, that thou hast already been
put to, by reason of this only, because that for all happiness it did
not suffice thee, or, that thou didst not account it sufficient happiness,
that thy understanding did operate according to its natural constitution.
XXV. When any shall either impeach thee with false accusations,
or hatefully reproach thee, or shall use any such carriage
towards thee, get thee presently to their minds and understandings,
and look in them, and behold what manner of men they be.
Thou shalt see, that there is no such occasion why it
should trouble thee, what such as they are think of thee.
Yet must thou love them still, for by nature they are thy friends.
And the Gods themselves, in those things that they seek from them
as matters of great moment, are well content, all manner of ways,
as by dreams and oracles, to help them as well as others.
XXVI. Up and down, from one age to another, go the ordinary things
of the world; being still the same. And either of everything
in particular before it come to pass, the mind of the universe
doth consider with itself and deliberate: and if so, then submit
for shame unto the determination of such an excellent understanding:
or once for all it did resolve upon all things in general;
and since that whatsoever happens, happens by a necessary consequence,
and all things indivisibly in a manner and inseparably hold one
of another. In sum, either there is a God, and then all is well;
or if all things go by chance and fortune, yet mayest thou use
thine own providence in those things that concern thee properly;
and then art thou well.
XXVII. Within a while the earth shall cover us all, and then she
herself shall have her change. And then the course will be,
from one period of eternity unto another, and so a perpetual eternity.
Now can any man that shall consider with himself in his mind
the several rollings or successions of so many changes and alterations,
and the swiftness of all these rulings; can he otherwise
but contemn in his heart and despise all worldly things?
The cause of the universe is as it were a strong torrent,
it carrieth all away.
XXVIII. And these your professed politicians, the only true
practical philosophers of the world, (as they think of themselves)
so full of affected gravity, or such professed lovers of virtue
and honesty, what wretches be they in very deed; how vile and
contemptible in themselves? O man! what ado doest thou keep?
Do what thy nature doth now require. Resolve upon it, if thou mayest:
and take no thought, whether anybody shall know it or no.
Yea, but sayest thou, I must not expect a Plato's commonwealth.
If they profit though never so little, I must be content;
and think much even of that little progress. Doth then any of them
forsake their former false opinions that I should think they profit?
For without a change of opinions, alas! what is all that ostentation,
but mere wretchedness of slavish. minds, that groan privately,
and yet would make a show of obedience to reason, and truth? Go too
now and tell me of Alexander and Philippus, and Demetrius Phalereus.
Whether they understood what the common nature requireth, and could rule
themselves or no, they know best themselves. But if they kept a life,
and swaggered; I (God be thanked) am not bound to imitate them.
The effect of true philosophy is, unaffected simplicity and modesty.
Persuade me not to ostentation and vainglory.
XXIX. From some high place as it were to look down, and to behold
here flocks, and there sacrifices, without number; and all kind
of navigation; some in a rough and stormy sea, and some in a calm:
the general differences, or different estates of things, some, that are
now first upon being; the several and mutual relations of those things
that are together; and some other things that are at their last.
Their lives also, who were long ago, and theirs who shall be hereafter,
and the present estate and life of those many nations of barbarians
that are now in the world, thou must likewise consider in thy mind.
And how many there be, who never so much as heard of thy name, how many
that will soon forget it; how many who but even now did commend thee,
within a very little while perchance will speak ill of tbee.
So that neither fame, nor honour, nor anything else that this world
doth afford, is worth the while. The sum then of all; whatsoever doth
happen unto thee, whereof God is the cause, to accept it contentedly:
whatsoever thou doest, whereof thou thyself art the cause, to do
it justly: which will be, if both in thy resolution and in thy action
thou have no further end, than to do good unto others, as being that,
which by thy natural constitution, as a man, thou art bound unto.
XXX. Many of those things that trouble and straiten thee, it is in thy
power to cut off, as wholly depending from mere conceit and opinion;
and then thou shalt have room enough.
XXXI. To comprehend the whole world together in thy mind,
and the whole course of this present age to represent it
unto thyself, and to fix thy thoughts upon the sudden change
of every particular object. How short the time is from
the generation of anything, unto the dissolution of the same;
but how immense and infinite both that which was before
the generation, and that which after the generation of it shall be.
All things that thou seest, will soon be perished, and they
that see their corruptions, will soon vanish away themselves.
He that dieth a hundred years old, and he that dieth young,
shall come all to one.
XXXII. What are their minds and understandings; and what the things
that they apply themselves unto: what do they love, and what do they
hate for? Fancy to thyself the estate of their souls openly to be seen.
When they think they hurt them shrewdly, whom they speak ill of; and when
they think they do them a very good turn, whom they commend and extol:
O how full are they then of conceit, and opinion!
XXXIII. Loss and corruption, is in very deed nothing else but change
and alteration; and that is it, which the nature of the universe
doth most delight in, by which, and according to which,
whatsoever is done, is well done. For that was the estate
of worldly things from the beginning, and so shall it ever be.
Or wouldest. thou rather say, that all things in the world have gone
ill from the beginning for so many ages, and shall ever go ill?
And then among so many deities, could no divine power be found
all this while, that could rectify the things of the world?
Or is the world, to incessant woes and miseries, for ever condemned?
XXXIV. How base and putrid, every common matter is! Water, dust, and from
the mixture of these bones, and all that loathsome stuff that our
bodies do consist of: so subject to be infected, and corrupted.
And again those other things that are so much prized and admired,
as marble stones, what are they, but as it were the kernels
of the earth ? gold and silver, what are they, but as the more
gross faeces of the earth? Thy most royal apparel, for matter,
it is but as it were the hair of a silly sheep, and for colour,
the very blood of a shell-fish; of this nature are all other things.
Thy life itself, is some such thing too; a mere exhalation
of blood: and it also, apt to be changed into some other
common thing. XXXV. Will this querulousness, this murmuring,
this complaining and dissembling never be at an end? What then
is it, that troubleth thee? Doth any new thing happen unto thee?
What doest thou so wonder at? At the cause, or the matter?
Behold either by itself, is either of that weight and moment indeed?
And besides these, there is not anything. But thy duty towards
the Gods also, it is time thou shouldst acquit thyself of it
with more goodness and simplicity.
XXXVI. It is all one to see these things for a hundred of years
together or but for three years.
XXXVII. If he have sinned, his is the harm, not mine.
But perchance he hath not.
XXXVIII. Either all things by the providence of reason happen
unto every particular, as a part of one general body ;
and then it is against reason that a part should complain
of anything that happens for the good of the whole; or if,
according to Epicurus, atoms be the cause of all things and that life
be nothing else but an accidentary confusion of things, and death
nothing else, but a mere dispersion and so of all other things:
what doest thou trouble thyself for?
XXXIX. Sayest thou unto that rational part, Thou art dead;
corruption hath taken hold on thee? Doth it then also void excrements?
Doth it like either oxen, or sheep, graze or feed; that it also should
be mortal, as well as the body?
XL. Either the Gods can do nothing for us at all, or they can
still and allay all the distractions and distempers of thy mind.
If they can do nothing, why doest thou pray? If they can,
why wouldst not thou rather pray, that they will grant unto thee,
that thou mayst neither fear, nor lust after any of those worldly
things which cause these distractions and distempers of it?
Why not rather, that thou mayst not at either their absence or presence,
be grieved and discontented: than either that thou mayst obtain them,
or that thou mayst avoid them? For certainly it must needs be,
that if the Gods can help us in anything, they may in this kind also.
But thou wilt say perchance, 'In those things the Gods have given
me my liberty: and it is in mine own power to do what I will.'
But if thou mayst use this liberty, rather to set thy mind at
true liberty, than wilfully with baseness and servility of mind
to affect those things, which either to compass or to avoid
is not in thy power, wert not thou better? And as for the Gods,
who hath told thee, that they may not help us up even in those things
that they have put in our own power? whether it be so or no,
thou shalt soon perceive, if thou wilt but try thyself and pray.
One prayeth that he may compass his desire, to lie with such or
such a one, pray thou that thou mayst not lust to lie with her.
Another how he may be rid of such a one; pray thou that thou
mayst so patiently bear with him, as that thou have no such need
to be rid of him. Another, that he may not lose his child.
Pray thou that thou mayst not fear to lose him. To this end
and purpose, let all thy prayer be, and see what will be the event.
XLI. 'In my sickness' (saith Epicurus of himself:)
'my discourses were not concerning the nature of my disease,
neither was that, to them that came to visit me, the subject
of my talk; but in the consideration and contemplation of that,
which was of especial weight and moment, was all my time bestowed
and spent, and among others in this very thing, how my mind,
by a natural and unavoidable sympathy partaking in some sort
with the present indisposition of my body, might nevertheless
keep herself free from trouble, and in present possession
of her own proper happiness. Neither did I leave the ordering
of my body to the physicians altogether to do with me what
they would, as though I expected any great matter from them,
or as though I thought it a matter of such great consequence,
by their means to recover my health: for my present estate,
methought, liked me very well, and gave me good content.'
Whether therefore in sickness (if thou chance to sicken)
or in what other kind of extremity soever, endeavour thou also
to be in thy mind so affected, as he doth report of himself:
not to depart from thy philosophy for anything that can
befall thee, nor to give ear to the discourses of silly people,
and mere naturalists. XLII. It is common to all trades
and professions to mind and intend that only, which now they
are about, and the instrument whereby they work.
XLIII. When at any time thou art offended with any one's impudency,
put presently this question to thyself: 'What? Is it then possible,
that there should not be any impudent men in the world!
Certainly it is not possible.' Desire not then that which
is impossible. For this one, (thou must think) whosoever he be,
is one of those impudent ones, that the world cannot be without.
So of the subtile and crafty, so of the perfidious, so of every
one that offendeth, must thou ever be ready to reason with thyself.
For whilst in general thou dost thus reason with thyself,
that the kind of them must needs be in the world, thou wilt
be the better able to use meekness towards every particular.
This also thou shalt find of very good use, upon every
such occasion, presently to consider with thyself, what proper
virtue nature hath furnished man with, against such a vice,
or to encounter with a disposition vicious in this kind.
As for example, against the unthankful, it hath given goodness
and meekness, as an antidote, and so against another vicious
in another kind some other peculiar faculty. And generally,
is it not in thy power to instruct him better, that is in an error?
For whosoever sinneth, doth in that decline from his purposed end,
and is certainly deceived, And again, what art thou the worse
for his sin? For thou shalt not find that any one of these,
against whom thou art incensed, hath in very deed done
anything whereby thy mind (the only true subject of thy hurt
and evil) can be made worse than it was. And what a matter
of either grief or wonder is this, if he that is unlearned,
do the deeds of one that is unlearned? Should not thou rather
blame thyself, who, when upon very good grounds of reason,
thou mightst have thought it very probable, that such a thing
would by such a one be committed, didst not only not foresee it,
but moreover dost wonder at it, that such a thing should be.
But then especially, when thou dost find fault with either
an unthankful, or a false man, must thou reflect upon thyself.
For without all question, thou thyself art much in fault,
if either of one that were of such a disposition,
thou didst expect that he should be true unto thee:
or when unto any thou didst a good turn, thou didst not
there bound thy thoughts, as one that had obtained his end;
nor didst not think that from the action itself thou hadst
received a full reward of the good that thou hadst done.
For what wouldst thou have more? Unto him that is a man,
thou hast done a good turn: doth not that suffice thee?
What thy nature required, that hast thou done. Must thou
be rewarded for it? As if either the eye for that it seeth,
or the feet that they go, should require satisfaction.
For as these being by nature appointed for such an use,
can challenge no more, than that they may work according
to their natural constitution: so man being born to do
good unto others whensoever he doth a real good unto any
by helping them out of error; or though but in middle things,
as in matter of wealth, life, preferment, and the like, doth help
to further their desires he doth that for which he was made,
and therefore can require no more.
THE TENTH BOOK
I. O my soul, the time I trust will be, when thou shalt be good,
simple, single, more open and visible, than that body by which it
is enclosed. Thou wilt one day be sensible of their happincss,
whose end is love, and their affections dead to all worldly things.
Thou shalt one day be full, and in want of no external thing:
not seeking pleasure from anything, either living or insensible,
that this world can afford; neither wanting time for the continuation
of thy pleasure, nor place and opportunity, nor the favour either
of the weather or of men. When thou shalt have content in thy
present estate, and all things present shall add to thy content:
when thou shalt persuade thyself, that thou hast all things;
all for thy good, and all by the providence of the Gods:
and of things future also shalt be as confident, that all will do well,
as tending to the maintenance and preservation in some sort, of his
perfect welfare and happiness, who is perfection of life, of goodness,
and beauty; who begets all things, and containeth all things in himself,
and in himself doth recollect all things from all places that
are dissolved, that of them he may beget others again like unto them.
Such one day shall be thy disposition, that thou shalt be able,
both in regard of the Gods, and in regard of men, so to fit and order
thy conversation, as neither to complain of them at any time,
for anything that they do; nor to do anything thyself, for which thou
mayest justly be condemned.
II. As one who is altogether governed by nature, let it be thy care
to observe what it is that thy nature in general doth require.
That done, if thou find not that thy nature, as thou art a living
sensible creature, will be the worse for it, thou mayest proceed.
Next then thou must examine, what thy nature as thou art a living
sensible creature, doth require. And that, whatsoever it be,
thou mayest admit of and do it, if thy nature as thou art
a reasonable living creature, will not be the worse for it.
Now whatsoever is reasonable, is also sociable, Keep thyself
to these rules, and trouble not thyself about idle things.
III. Whatsoever doth happen unto thee, thou art naturally
by thy natural constitution either able, or not able to bear.
If thou beest able, be not offended, but bear it according
to thy natural constitution, or as nature hath enabled thee.
If thou beest not able, be not offended. For it will
soon make an end of thee, and itself, (whatsoever it be)
at the same time end with thee. But remember, that whatsoever
by the strength of opinion, grounded upon a certain apprehension
of both true profit and duty, thou canst conceive tolerable;
that thou art able to bear that by thy natural constitution.
IV. Him that offends, to teach with love and meek ness, and to show
him his error. But if thou canst not, then to blame thyself;
or rather not thyself neither, if thy will and endeavours have
not been wanting.
V. Whatsoever it be that happens unto thee, it is that which from all
time was appointed unto thee. For by the same coherence of causes,
by which thy substance from all eternity was appointed to be,
was also whatsoever should happen unto it, destinated and appointed.
VI. Either with Epicurus, we must fondly imagine the atoms
to be the cause of all things, or we must needs grant a nature.
Let this then be thy first ground, that thou art
part of that universe, which is governed by nature.
Then secondly, that to those parts that are of the same kind
and nature as thou art, thou hast relation of kindred.
For of these, if I shall always be mindful, first as I am
a part, I shall never be displeased with anything, that falls
to my particular share of the common chances of the world.
For nothing that is behoveful unto the whole, can be truly
hurtful to that which is part of it. For this being the common
privilege of all natures, that they contain nothing in themselves
that is hurtful unto them; it cannot be that the nature of
the universe (whose privilege beyond other particular natures,
is, that she cannot against her will by any higher external
cause be constrained,) should beget anything and cherish it
in her bosom that should tend to her own hurt and prejudice.
As then I bear in mind that I am a part of such an universe,
I shall not be displeased with anything that happens.
And as I have relation of kindred to those parts that are
of the same kind and nature that I am, so I shall be careful
to do nothing that is prejudicial to the community, but in
all my deliberations shall they that are of my kind ever be;
and the common good, that, which all my intentions and
resolutions shall drive unto, as that which is contrary unto it,
I shall by all means endeavour to prevent and avoid.
These things once so fixed and concluded, as thou wouldst
think him a happy citizen, whose constant study and practice
were for the good and benefit of his fellow citizens,
and the carriage of the city such towards him, that he were
well pleased with it ; so must it needs be with thee,
that thou shalt live a happy life.
VII. All parts of the world, (all things I mean that are contained
within the whole world, must of necessity at some time or other come
to corruption. Alteration I should say, to speak truly and properly;
but that I may be the better understood, I am content at this time
to use that more common word. Now say I, if so be that this be both
hurtful unto them, and yet unavoidable, would not, thinkest thou,
the whole itself be in a sweet case, all the parts of it being
subject to alteration, yea and by their making itself fitted
for corruption, as consisting of things different and contrary?
And did nature then either of herself thus project and purpose
the affliction and misery of her parts, and therefore of purpose
so made them, not only that haply they might, but of necessity
that they should fall into evil; or did not she know what she did,
when she made them? For either of these two to say, is equally absurd.
But to let pass nature in general, and to reason of things
particular according to their own particular natures; how absurd
and ridiculous is it, first to say that all parts of the whole are,
by their proper natural constitution, subject to alteration; and then
when any such thing doth happen, as when one doth fall sick and dieth,
to take on and wonder as though some strange thing had happened?
Though this besides might move not so grievously to take on
when any such thing doth happen, that whatsoever is dissolved,
it is dissolved into those things, whereof it was compounded.
For every dissolution is either a mere dispersion, of the elements
into those elements again whereof everything did consist,
or a change, of that which is more solid into earth;
and of that which is pure and subtile or spiritual, into air.
So that by this means nothing is lost, but all resumed again into
those rational generative seeds of the universe; and this universe,
either after a certain period of time to lie consumed by fire,
or by continual changes to be renewed, and so for ever to endure.
Now that solid and spiritual that we speak of, thou must not conceive
it to be that very same, which at first was, when thou wert born.
For alas! all this that now thou art in either kind, either for matter
of substance, or of life, hath but two or three days ago partly from
meats eaten, and partly from air breathed in, received all its influx,
being the same then in no other respect, than a running river,
maintained by the perpetual influx and new supply of waters, is the same.
That therefore which thou hast since received, not that which came
from thy mother, is that which comes to change and corruption.
But suppose that that for the general substance, and more solid part
of it, should still cleave unto thee never so close, yet what is
that to the proper qualities and affections of it, by which persons
are distinguished, which certainly are quite different?
VIII. Now that thou hast taken these names upon thee of good,
modest, true; of emfrwn, sumfrwn, uperfrwn; take heed lest
at any times by doing anything that is contrary, thou be but
improperly so called, and lose thy right to these appellations.
Or if thou do, return unto them again with all possible speed.
And remember, that the word emfrwn notes unto thee an intent
and intelligent consideration of every object that presents
itself unto thee, without distraction. And the word emfrwn
a ready and contented acceptation of whatsoever by the appointment
of the common nature, happens unto thee. And the word sumfrwn,
a super-extension, or a transcendent, and outreaching disposition
of thy mind, whereby it passeth by all bodily pains and pleasures,
honour and credit, death and whatsoever is of the same nature,
as matters of absolute indifferency, and in no wise to be stood
upon by a wise man. These then if inviolably thou shalt observe,
and shalt not be ambitious to be so called by others, both thou
thyself shalt become a new man, and thou shalt begin a new life.
For to continue such as hitherto thou hast been, to undergo those
distractions and distempers as thou must needs for such a life
as hitherto thou hast lived, is the part of one that is very foolish,
and is overfond of his life. Whom a man might compare to one of those
half-eaten wretches, matched in the amphitheatre with wild beasts;
who as full as they are all the body over with wounds and blood,
desire for a great favour, that they may be reserved till the next day,
then also, and in the same estate to be exposed to the same nails
and teeth as before. Away therefore, ship thyself; and from
the troubles and distractions of thy former life convey thyself
as it were unto these few names; and if thou canst abide in them,
or be constant in the practice and possession of them, continue there
as glad and joyful as one that were translated unto some such place
of bliss and happiness as that which by Hesiod and Plato is called
the Islands of the Blessed, by others called the Elysian Fields.
And whensoever thou findest thyself; that thou art in danger of a relapse,
and that thou art not able to master and overcome those difficulties
and temptations that present themselves in thy present station:
get thee into any private corner, where thou mayst be better able.
Or if that will not serve forsake even thy life rather.
But so that it be not in passion but in a plain voluntary modest way:
this being the only commendable action of thy whole life that thus
thou art departed, or this having been the main work and business
of thy whole life, that thou mightest thus depart. Now for the better
remembrance of those names that we have spoken of, thou shalt find
it a very good help, to remember the Gods as often as may be:
and that, the thing which they require at our hands of as many of us,
as are by nature reasonable creation is not that with fair words,
and outward show of piety and devotion we should flatter them,
but that we should become like unto them: and that as all other
natural creatures, the fig tree for example; the dog the bee:
both do, all of them, and apply themselves unto that.
which by their natural constitution, is proper unto them;
so man likewise should do that, which by his nature, as he is a man,
belongs unto him.
IX. Toys and fooleries at home, wars abroad: sometimes terror,
sometimes torpor, or stupid sloth : this is thy daily slavery.
By little and little, if thou doest not better look to it,
those sacred dogmata will be blotted out of thy mind.
How many things be there, which when as a mere naturalist,
thou hast barely considered of according to their nature,
thou doest let pass without any further use? Whereas thou
shouldst in all things so join action and contemplation, that thou
mightest both at the same time attend all present occasions,
to perform everything duly and carefully and yet so intend
the contemplative part too, that no part of that delight
and pleasure, which the contemplative knowledge of everything
according to its true nature doth of itself afford,
might be lost. Or, that the true and contemn plative knowledge
of everything according to its own nature, might of itself,
(action being subject to many lets and impediments)
afford unto thee sufficient pleasure and happiness.
Not apparent indeed, but not concealed. And when shalt thou attain
to the happiness of true simplicity, and unaffected gravity?
When shalt thou rejoice in the certain knowledge of every
particular object according to its true nature: as what the matter
and substance of it is; what use it is for in the world:
how long it can subsist: what things it doth consist of:
who they be that are capable of it, and who they that can give it,
and take it away?
X. As the spider, when it hath caught the fly that it hunted after,
is not little proud, nor meanly conceited of herself: as he likewise
that hath caught an hare, or hath taken a fish with his net:
as another for the taking of a boar, and another of a bear:
so may they be proud, and applaud themselves for their valiant
acts against the Sarmatai, or northern nations lately defeated.
For these also, these famous soldiers and warlike men, if thou dost
look into their minds and opinions, what do they for the most part
but hunt after prey?
XI. To find out, and set to thyself some certain way and method
of contemplation, whereby thou mayest clearly discern and represent
unto thyself, the mutual change of all things, the one into the other.
Bear it in thy mind evermore, and see that thou be throughly well
exercised in this particular. For there is not anything more effectual
to beget true magnanimity. XII. He hath got loose from the bonds
of his body, and perceiving that within a very little while he must of
necessity bid the world farewell, and leave all these things behind him,
he wholly applied himself, as to righteousness in all his actions,
so to the common nature in all things that should happen unto him.
And contenting himself with these two things, to do all things justly,
and whatsoever God doth send to like well of it: what others shall
either say or think of him, or shall do against him, he doth not so much
as trouble his thoughts with it. To go on straight, whither right
and reason directed him, and by so doing to follow God, was the only
thing that he did mind, that, his only business and occupation.
XIII. What use is there of suspicion at all? or, why should thoughts
of mistrust, and suspicion concerning that which is future,
trouble thy mind at all? What now is to be done, if thou mayest
search and inquiry into that, what needs thou care for more?
And if thou art well able to perceive it alone, let no man divert
thee from it. But if alone thou doest not so well perceive it,
suspend thine action, and take advice from the best. And if there be
anything else that doth hinder thee, go on with prudence and discretion,
according to the present occasion and opportunity, still proposing
that unto thyself, which thou doest conceive most right and just.
For to hit that aright, and to speed in the prosecution of it,
must needs be happiness, since it is that only which we can truly
and properly be said to miss of, or miscarry in.
XIV. What is that that is slow, and yet quick? merry, and yet grave?
He that in all things doth follow reason for his guide.
XV. In the morning as soon as thou art awaked, when thy judgment,
before either thy affections, or external objects
have wrought upon it, is yet most free and impartial:
put this question to thyself, whether if that which is right
and just be done, the doing of it by thyself, or by others
when thou art not able thyself; be a thing material or no.
For sure it is not. And as for these that keep such a life,
and stand so much upon the praises, or dispraises of other men,
hast thou forgotten what manner of men they be? that such
and such upon their beds, and such at their board:
what their ordinary actions are: what they pursue after,
and what they fly from: what thefts and rapines they commit,
if not with their hands and feet, yet with that more precious
part of theirs, their minds: which (would it but admit of them)
might enjoy faith, modesty, truth, justice, a good spirit.
XVL Give what thou wilt, and take away what thou wilt, saith he that
is well taught and truly modest, to Him that gives, and takes away.
And it is not out of a stout and peremptory resolution, that he saith it,
but in mere love, and humble submission.
XVII. So live as indifferent to the world and all worldly objects,
as one who liveth by himself alone upon some desert hill.
For whether here, or there, if the whole world be but as one town,
it matters not much for the place. Let them behold and see a man,
that is a man indeed, living according to the true nature of man.
If they cannot bear with me, let them kill me. For better were it
to die, than so to live as they would have thee.
XVIII. Make it not any longer a matter of dispute or discourse,
what are the signs and proprieties of a good man, but really
and actually to be such.
XIX. Ever to represent unto thyself; and to set before thee, both the
general age and time of the world, and the whole substance of it.
And how all things particular in respect of these are for their substance,
as one of the least seeds that is: and for their duration,
as the turning of the pestle in the mortar once about. Then to fix thy
mind upon every particular object of the world, and to conceive it,
(as it is indeed,) as already being in the state of dissolution,
and of change; tending to some kind of either putrefaction or dispersion;
or whatsoever else it is, that is the death as it were of everything
in his own kind.
XX. Consider them through all actions and occupations, of their lives:
as when they eat, and when they sleep: when they are in the act of
necessary exoneration, and when in the act of lust. Again, when they
either are in their greatest exultation; and in the middle of all
their pomp and glory; or being angry and displeased, in great state
and majesty, as from an higher place, they chide and rebuke.
How base and slavish, but a little while ago, they were fain to be,
that they might come to this; and within a very little while what will
be their estate, when death hath once seized upon them.
XXI. That is best for every one, that the common nature of all doth
send unto every one, and then is it best, when she doth send it.
XXII. The earth, saith the poet, doth often long after the rain.
So is the glorious sky often as desirous to fall upon the earth,
which argues a mutual kind of love between them. And so (say I)
doth the world bear a certain affection of love to whatsoever shall come
to pass With thine affections shall mine concur, O world. The same
(and no other) shall the object of my longing be which is of thine.
Now that the world doth love it is true indeed so is it as commonly said,
and acknowledged ledged, when, according to the Greek phrase,
imitated by the Latins, of things that used to be, we say commonly,
that they love to be.
XXIII. Either thou dost Continue in this kind of life and that is it,
which so long thou hast been used unto and therefore tolerable:
or thou doest retire, or leave the world, and that of thine
own accord, and then thou hast thy mind: or thy life is cut off;
and then mayst. thou rejoice that thou hast ended thy charge.
One of these must needs be. Be therefore of good comfort.
XXIV Let it always appear and be manifest unto thee that solitariness,
and desert places, by many philosophers so much esteemed of
and affected, are of themselves but thus and thus; and that all
things are them to them that live in towns, and converse with others
as they are the same nature everywhere to be seen and observed:
to them that have retired themselves to the top of mountains,
and to desert havens, or what other desert and inhabited places soever.
For anywhere it thou wilt mayest thou quickly find and apply
that to thyself; which Plato saith of his philosopher, in a place:
as private and retired, saith he, as if he were shut up and enclosed
about in some shepherd's lodge, on the top of a hill. There by thyself
to put these questions to thyself. or to enter in these considerations:
What is my chief and principal part, which hath power over the rest?
What is now the present estate of it, as I use it; and what is it,
that I employ it about? Is it now void of reason ir no ?
Is it free, and separated; or so affixed, so congealed and grown
together as it were with the flesh, that it is swayed by the motions
and inclinations of it?
XXV. He that runs away from his master is a fugitive. But the law is
every man's master. He therefore that forsakes the law, is a fugitive.
So is he, whosoever he be, that is either sorry, angry, or afraid,
or for anything that either hath been, is, or shall be by
his appointment, who is the Lord and Governor of the universe.
For he truly and properly is Nomoz, or the law, as the only nemwn,
or distributor and dispenser of all things that happen unto any one
in his lifetime- Whatsoever then is either sorry, angry, or afraid,
is a fugitive.
XXVI. From man is the seed, that once cast into the womb man hath
no more to do with it. Another cause succeedeth, and undertakes
the work, and in time brings a child (that wonderful effect from
such a beginning!) to perfection. Again, man lets food down through
his throat; and that once down, he hath no more to do with it.
Another cause succeedeth and distributeth this food into the senses,
and the affections: into life, and into strength; and doth with it
those other many and marvellous things, that belong unto man.
These things therefore that are so secretly and invisibly wrought
and brought to pass, thou must use to behold and contemplate; and not
the things themselves only, but the power also by which they are effected;
that thou mayst behold it, though not with the eyes of the body,
yet as plainly and visibly as thou canst see and discern the outward
efficient cause of the depression and elevation of anything.
XXVII. Ever to mind and consider with thyself; how all things that
now are, have been heretofore much after the same sort, and after the same
fashion that now they are: and so to think of those things which shall
be hereafter also. Moreover, whole dramata, and uniform scenes,
or scenes that comprehend the lives and actions of men of one calling
and profession, as many as either in thine own experience thou hast known,
or by reading of ancient histories; (as the whole court of Adrianus,
the whole court of Antoninus Pius, the whole court of Philippus,
that of Alexander, that of Croesus): to set them all before thine eyes.
For thou shalt find that they are all but after one sort and fashion:
only that the actors were others.
XXVIII. As a pig that cries and flings when his throat is cut,
fancy to thyself every one to be, that grieves for any worldly
thing and takes on. Such a one is he also, who upon his
bed alone, doth bewail the miseries of this our mortal life.
And remember this, that Unto reasonable creatures only it is
granted that they may willingly and freely submit unto Providence:
but absolutely to submit, is a necessity imposed upon
all creatures equally.
XXIX. Whatsoever it is that thou goest about, consider of it by thyself,
and ask thyself, What? because I shall do this no more when I am dead,
should therefore death seem grievous unto me?
XXX. When thou art offended with any man's transgression,
presently reflect upon thyself; and consider what thou thyself
art guilty of in the same kind. As that thou also perchance dost
think it a happiness either to be rich, or to live in pleasure,
or to be praised and commended, and so of the rest in particular.
For this if thou shalt call to mind, thou shalt soon forget thine anger;
especially when at the same time this also shall concur in thy thoughts,
that he was constrained by his error and ignorance so to do:
for how can he choose as long as he is of that opinion?
Do thou therefore if thou canst, take away that from him,
that forceth him to do as he doth.
XXXI. When thou seest Satyro, think of Socraticus and Eutyches,
or Hymen, and when Euphrates, think of Eutychio, and Sylvanus,
when Alciphron, of Tropaeo-phorus, when Xenophon, of Crito, or Severus.
And when thou doest look upon thyself, fancy unto thyself some one
or other of the Caasars; and so for every one, some one or other
that hath been for estate and profession answerable unto him.
Then let this come to thy mind at the same time; and where now are
they all? Nowhere or anywhere? For so shalt thou at all time.
be able to perceive how all worldly things are but as the smoke,
that vanisheth away: or, indeed, mere nothing. Espccially when thou
shalt call to mind this also, that whatsoever is once changed,
shall never be again as long as the world endureth. And thou then,
how long shalt thou endure? And why doth it not suffice thee,
if virtuously, and as becometh thee, thou mayest pass that portion
of time, how little soever it be, that is allotted unto thee?
XXXII. What a subject, and what a course of life is it,
that thou doest so much desire to be rid of. For all these things,
what are they, but fit objects for an understanding, that beholdeth
everything according to its true nature, to exercise itself upon?
Be patient, therefore, until that (as a strong stomach that turns
all things into his own nature; and as a great fire that turneth
in flame and light, whatsoever thou doest cast into it) thou have
made these things also familiar, and as it were natural unto thee.
XXXIII. Let it not be in any man's power, to say truly of thee,
that thou art not truly simple, or sincere and open, or not good.
Let him be deceived whosoever he be that shall have any
such opinion of thee. For all this doth depend of thee.
For who is it that should hinder thee from being either truly
simple or good? Do thou only resolve rather not to live,
than not to be such. For indeed neither doth it stand
with reason that he should live that is not such.
What then is it that may upon this present occasion according
to best reason and discretion, either be said or done?
For whatsoever it be, it is in thy power either to do it,
or to say it, and therefore seek not any pretences, as though thou
wert hindered. Thou wilt never cease groaning and complaining,
until such time as that, what pleasure is unto the voluptuous,
be unto thee, to do in everything that presents itself,
whatsoever may be done conformably and agreeably to the
proper constitution of man, or, to man as he is a man.
For thou must account that pleasure, whatsoever it be,
that thou mayest do according to thine own nature.
And to do this, every place will fit thee. Unto the cylindrus,
or roller, it is not granted to move everywhere according
to its own proper motion, as neither unto the water,
nor unto the fire, nor unto any other thing, that either is
merely natural, or natural and sensitive; but not rational.
for many things there be that can hinder their operations.
But of the mind and understanding this is the proper privilege,
that according to its own nature, and as it will itself,
it can pass through every obstacle that it finds, and keep
straight on forwards. Setting therefore before thine eyes
this happiness and felicity of thy mind, whereby it is able
to pass through all things, and is capable of all motions,
whether as the fire, upwards; or as the stone downwards,
or as the cylindrus through that which is sloping:
content thyself with it, and seek not after any other thing.
For all other kind of hindrances that are not hindrances of thy
mind either they are proper to the body, or merely proceed from
the opinion, reason not making that resistance that it should,
but basely, and cowardly suffering itself to be foiled;
and of themselves can neither wound, nor do any hurt at all.
Else must he of necessity, whosoever he be that meets
with any of them, become worse than he was before.
For so is it in all other subjects, that that is thought
hurtful unto them, whereby they are made worse.
But here contrariwise, man (if he make that good use of them
that he should) is rather the better and the more praiseworthy
for any of those kind of hindrances, than otherwise.
But generally remember that nothing can hurt a natural citizen,
that is not hurtful unto the city itself, nor anything
hurt the city, that is not hurtful unto the law itself.
But none of these casualties, or external hindrances, do hurt
the law itself; or, are contrary to that course of justice
and equity, by which public societies are maintained:
neither therefore do they hurt either city or citizen.
XXXIV. As he that is bitten by a mad dog, is afraid of everything
almost that he seeth: so unto him, whom the dogmata have
once bitten, or in whom true knowledge hath made an impression,
everything almost that he sees or reads be it never so short
or ordinary, doth afford a good memento; to put him out
of all grief and fear, as that of the poet, 'The winds blow
upon the trees, and their leaves fall upon the ground.
Then do the trees begin to bud again, and by the spring-time
they put forth new branches. So is the generation of men;
some come into the world, and others go out of it.'
Of these leaves then thy children are. And they also that
applaud thee so gravely, or, that applaud thy speeches,
with that their usual acclamation, axiopistwz, O wisely
spoken I and speak well of thee, as on the other side,
they that stick not to curse thee, they that privately and
secretly dispraise and deride thee, they also are but leaves.
And they also that shall follow, in whose memories the names of men
famous after death, is preserved, they are but leaves neither.
For even so is it of all these worldly things.
Their spring comes, and they are put forth. Then blows the wind,
and they go down. And then in lieu of them grow others out
of the wood or common matter of all things, like unto them.
But, to endure but for a while, is common unto all.
Why then shouldest thou so earnestly either seek after these things,
or fly from them, as though they should endure for ever?
Yet a little while, and thine eyes will be closed up,
and for him that carries thee to thy grave shall another mourn
within a while after.
XXXV. A good eye must be good to see whatsoever is to be seen,
and not green things only. For that is proper to sore eyes.
So must a good ear, and a good smell be ready for whatsoever
is either to be heard, or smelt: and a good stomach
as indifferent to all kinds of food, as a millstone is,
to whatsoever she was made for to grind. As ready therefore
must a sound understanding be for whatsoever shall happen.
But he that saith, O that my children might live! and,
O that all men might commend me for whatsoever I do! is an eye
that seeks after green things; or as teeth, after that which
is tender. XXXVI. There is not any man that is so happy
in his death, but that some of those that are by him when
he dies, will be ready to rejoice at his supposed calamity.
Is it one that was virtuous and wise indeed? will there not
some one or other be found, who thus will say to himself;
'Well now at last shall I be at rest from this pedagogue.
He did not indeed otherwise trouble us much: but I know well enough
that in his heart, he did much condemn us.' Thus will they speak
of the virtuous. But as for us, alas I how many things be there,
for which there be many that glad would be to be rid of us.
This therefore if thou shalt think of whensoever thou diest,
thou shalt die the more willingly, when thou shalt think with thyself;
I am now to depart from that world, wherein those that have been
my nearest friends and acquaintances, they whom I have so much
suffered for, so often prayed for, and for whom I have taken
such care, even they would have me die, hoping that after
my death they shall live happier, than they did before.
What then should any man desire to continue here any longer?
Nevertheless, whensoever thou diest, thou must not be less
kind and loving unto them for it; but as before, see them,
continue to be their friend, to wish them well, and meekly,
and gently to carry thyself towards them, but yet so that on
the other side, it make thee not the more unwilling to die.
But as it fareth with them that die an easy quick death,
whose soul is soon separated from their bodies, so must thy
separation from them be. To these had nature joined and annexed me:
now she parts us; I am ready to depart, as from friends
and kinsmen, but yet without either reluctancy or compulsion.
For this also is according to Nature. XXXVII. Use thyself; as often,
as thou seest any man do anything, presently (if it be possible)
to say unto thyself, What is this man's end in this his action?
But begin this course with thyself first of all, and diligently
examine thyself concerning whatsoever thou doest.
XXXVIII. Remember, that that which sets a man at work,
and hath power over the affections to draw them either one way,
or the other way, is not any external thing properly, but that
which is hidden within every man's dogmata, and opinions:
That, that is rhetoric; that is life; that (to speak true)
is man himself. As for thy body, which as a vessel, or a case,
compasseth thee about, and the many and curious instruments
that it hath annexed unto it, let them not trouble thy thoughts.
For of themselves they are but as a carpenter's axe,
but that they are born with us, and naturally sticking unto us.
But otherwise, without the inward cause that hath power to move them,
and to restrain them, those parts are of themselves of no more
use unto us, than the shuttle is of itself to the weaver,
or the pen to the writer, or the whip to the coachman.
THE ELEVENTH BOOK
I. The natural properties, and privileges of a reasonable soul are:
That she seeth herself; that she can order, and compose herself:
that she makes herself as she will herself: that she reaps her own
fruits whatsoever, whereas plants, trees, unreasonable creatures,
what fruit soever (be it either fruit properly, or analogically only)
they bear, they bear them unto others, and not to themselves.
Again; whensoever, and wheresoever, sooner or later, her life doth end,
she hath her own end nevertheless. For it is not with her,
as with dancers and players, who if they be interrupted in any
part of their action, the whole action must needs be imperfect:
but she in what part of time or action soever she be surprised,
can make that which she bath in her hand whatsoever it be,
complete and full, so that she may depart with that comfort,
'I have lived; neither want I anything of that which properly did belong
unto me.' Again, she compasseth the whole world, and penetrateth
into the vanity, and mere outside (wanting substance and solidity)
of it, and stretcheth herself unto the infiniteness of eternity;
and the revolution or restoration of all things after a certain period
of time, to the same state and place as before, she fetcheth about,
and doth comprehend in herself; and considers withal, and sees
clearly this, that neither they that shall follow us, shall see
any new thing, that we have not seen, nor they that went before,
anything more than we: but that he that is once come to forty
(if he have any wit at all) can in a manner (for that they
are all of one kind) see all things, both past and future.
As proper is it, and natural to the soul of man to love her neighbour,
to be true and modest; and to regard nothing so much as herself:
which is also the property of the law: whereby by the way it appears,
that sound reason and justice comes all to one, and therefore
that justice is the chief thing, that reasonable creatures ought
to propose unto themselves as their end.
II. A pleasant song or dance; the Pancratiast's exercise,
sports that thou art wont to be much taken with, thou shalt
easily contemn; if the harmonious voice thou shalt divide
into so many particular sounds whereof it doth consist,
and of every one in particular shall ask thyself; whether this
or that sound is it, that doth so conquer thee. For thou wilt
be ashamed of it. And so for shame, if accordingly thou shalt
consider it, every particular motion and posture by itself:
and so for the wrestler's exercise too. Generally then,
whatsoever it be, besides virtue, and those things that proceed
from virtue that thou art subject to be much affected with,
remember presently thus to divide it, and by this kind of division,
in each particular to attain unto the contempt of the whole.
This thou must transfer and apply to thy whole life also.
III. That soul which is ever ready, even now presently (if need be)
from the body, whether by way of extinction, or dispersion,
or continuation in another place and estate to be separated,
how blessed and happy is it! But this readiness of it, it must proceed,
not from an obstinate and peremptory resolution of the mind,
violently and passionately set upon Opposition, as Christians are wont;
but from a peculiar judgment; with discretion and gravity,
so that others may be persuaded also and drawn to the like example,
but without any noise and passionate exclamations.
IV. Have I done anything charitably? then am I benefited by it.
See that this upon all occasions may present itself unto thy mind,
and never cease to think of it. What is thy profession? to be good.
And how should this be well brought to pass, but by certain
theorems and doctrines; some Concerning the nature of the universe,
and some Concerning the proper and particular constitution of man?
V. Tragedies were at first brought in and instituted,
to put men in mind of worldly chances and casualties:
that these things in the ordinary course of nature did so happen:
that men that were much pleased and delighted by such accidents
upon this stage, would not by the same things in a greater stage
be grieved and afflicted: for here you see what is the end
of all such things; and that even they that cry out so mournfully
to Cithaeron, must bear them for all their cries and exclamations,
as well as others. And in very truth many good things are spoken
by these poets; as that (for example) is an excellent passage:
'But if so be that I and my two children be neglected by the Gods,
they have some reason even for that,' &c. And again, 'It will but
little avail thee to storm and rage against the things themselves,'
&c. Again, 'To reap one's life, as a ripe ear of corn;'
and whatsoever else is to be found in them, that is of the same kind.
After the tragedy, the ancient tomedy was brought in, which had
the liberty to inveigh against personal vices; being therefore
through this her freedom and liberty of speech of very good
use and effect, to restrain men from pride and arrogancy.
To which end it was, that Diogenes took also the same liberty.
After these, what were either the Middle, or New Comedy
admitted for, but merely, (Or for the most part at least)
for the delight and pleasure of curious and excellent imitation?
'It will steal away; look to it,' &c. Why, no man denies,
but that these also have some good things whereof that may be one:
but the whole drift and foundation of that kind of dramatical poetry,
what is it else, but as we have said?
VI. How clearly doth it appear unto thee, that no other course
of thy life could fit a true philosopher's practice better,
than this very course, that thou art now already in?
VII. A branch cut off from the continuity of that which was next
unto it, must needs be cut off from the whole tree: so a man that
is divided from another man, is divided from the whole society.
A branch is cut off by another, but he that hates and is averse,
cuts himself off from his neighbour, and knows not that at the same time
he divides himself from the whole body, or corporation. But herein
is the gift and mercy of God, the Author of this society, in that,
once cut off we may grow together and become part of the whole again.
But if this happen often the misery is that the further a man is run
in this division, the harder he is to be reunited and restored again:
and however the branch which, once cut of afterwards was graffed in,
gardeners can tell you is not like that which sprouted together at first,
and still continued in the unity of the body.
VIII. To grow together like fellow branches in matter of good
correspondence and affection; but not in matter of opinions.
They that shall oppose thee in thy right courses, as it is not
in their power to divert thee from thy good action, so neither
let it be to divert thee from thy good affection towards them.
But be it thy care to keep thyself constant in both; both in a
right judgment and action, and in true meekness towards them,
that either shall do their endeavour to hinder thee, or at
least will be displeased with thee for what thou hast done.
For to fail in either (either in the one to give over for fear,
or in the other to forsake thy natural affection towards him,
who by nature is both thy friend and thy kinsman) is equally base,
and much savouring of the disposition of a cowardly fugitive soldier.
IX. It is not possible that any nature should be inferior
unto art, since that all arts imitate nature. If this be so;
that the most perfect and general nature of all natures should in
her operation come short of the skill of arts, is most improbable.
Now common is it to all arts, to make that which is worse
for the better's sake. Much more then doth the common
nature do the same. Hence is the first ground of justice.
From justice all other virtues have their existence.
For justice cannot be preserved, if either we settle our minds
and affections upon worldly things; or be apt to be deceived,
or rash, and inconstant.
X. The things themselves (which either to get or to avoid thou
art put to so much trouble) come not unto thee themselves;
but thou in a manner goest unto them. Let then thine own
judgment and opinion concerning those things be at rest;
and as for the things themselves, they stand still and quiet,
without any noise or stir at all; and so shall all pursuing and
flying cease. XI. Then is the soul as Empedocles doth liken it,
like unto a sphere or globe, when she is all of one form and figure:
when she neither greedily stretcheth out herself unto anything,
nor basely contracts herself, or lies flat and dejected; but shineth
all with light, whereby she does see and behold the true nature,
both that of the universe, and her own in particular.
XII. Will any contemn me? let him look to that, upon what grounds
he does it: my care shall be that I may never be found either
doing or speaking anything that doth truly deserve contempt.
Will any hate me? let him look to that. I for my part will be kind
and loving unto all, and even unto him that hates me, whom-soever he be,
will I be ready to show his error, not by way of exprobation
or ostentation of my patience, but ingenuously and meekly:
such as was that famous Phocion, if so be that he did not dissemble.
For it is inwardly that these things must be: that the Gods
who look inwardly, and not upon the outward appearance,
may behold a man truly free from all indignation and grief.
For what hurt can it be unto thee whatsoever any man else doth,
as long as thou mayest do that which is proper and suitable to thine
own nature? Wilt not thou (a man wholly appointed to be both what,
and as the common good shall require) accept of that which is now
seasonable to the nature of the universe? XIII. They contemn
one another, and yet they seek to please one another: and whilest
they seek to surpass one another in worldly pomp and greatness,
they most debase and prostitute themselves in their better part
one to another.
XIV. How rotten and insincere is he, that saith, I am resolved to carry
myself hereafter towards you with all ingenuity and simplicity.
O man, what doest thou mean! what needs this profession of thine?
the thing itself will show it. It ought to be written upon thy forehead.
No sooner thy voice is heard, than thy countenance must be able
to show what is in thy mind: even as he that is loved knows
presently by the looks of his sweetheart what is in her mind.
Such must he be for all the world, that is truly simple and good,
as he whose arm-holes are offensive, that whosoever stands by,
as soon as ever he comes near him, may as it were smell him whether
he will or no. But the affectation of simplicity is nowise laudable.
There is nothing more shameful than perfidious friendship.
Above all things, that must be avoided. However true goodness,
simplicity, and kindness cannot so be hidden, but that as we have already
said in the very eyes and countenance they will show themselves.
XV. To live happily is an inward power of the soul, when she is
affected with indifferency, towards those things that are by their
nature indifferent. To be thus affected she must consider all worldly
objects both divided and whole: remembering withal that no object
can of itself beget any opinion in us, neither can come to us,
but stands without still and quiet; but that we ourselves beget,
and as it were print in ourselves opinions concerning them.
Now it is in our power, not to print them; and if they creep
in and lurk in some corner, it is in our power to wipe them off.
Remembering moreover, that this care and circumspection of thine,
is to continue but for a while, and then thy life will be at an end.
And what should hinder, but that thou mayest do well with all
these things? For if they be according to nature, rejoice in them,
and let them be pleasing and acceptable unto thee. But if they
be against nature, seek thou that which is according to thine
own nature, and whether it be for thy credit or no, use all possible
speed for the attainment of it: for no man ought to be blamed,
for seeking his own good and happiness.
XVI. Of everything thou must consider from whence it came,
of what things it doth consist, and into what it will be changed:
what will be the nature of it, or what it will be like unto when it
is changed; and that it can suffer no hurt by this change.
And as for other men's either foolishness or wickedness,
that it may not trouble and grieve thee; first generally thus;
What reference have I unto these? and that we are all born for one
another's good: then more particularly after another consideration;
as a ram is first in a flock of sheep, and a bull in a herd
of cattle, so am I born to rule over them. Begin yet higher,
even from this: if atoms be not the beginning of all things,
than which to believe nothing can be more absurd, then must we
needs grant that there is a nature, that doth govern the universe.
If such a nature, then are all worse things made for the better's sake;
and all better for one another's sake. Secondly, what manner
of men they be, at board, and upon their beds, and so forth.
But above all things, how they are forced by their opinions
that they hold, to do what they do; and even those things
that they do, with what pride and self-conceit they do them.
Thirdly, that if they do these things rightly, thou hast no reason
to be grieved. But if not rightly, it must needs be that they
do them against their wills, and through mere ignorance.
For as, according to Plato's opinion, no soul doth willingly err,
so by consequent neither doth it anything otherwise than it ought,
but against her will. Therefore are they grieved, whensoever they
hear themselves charged, either of injustice, or unconscionableness,
or covetousness, or in general, of any injurious kind of dealing
towards their neighbours. Fourthly, that thou thyself doest
transgress in many things, and art even such another as they are.
And though perchance thou doest forbear the very act of some sins,
yet hast thou in thyself an habitual disposition to them, but that
either through fear, or vainglory, or some such other ambitious
foolish respect, thou art restrained. Fifthly, that whether
they have sinned or no, thou doest not understand perfectly.
For many things are done by way of discreet policy;
and generally a man must know many things first, before he be
able truly and judiciously to judge of another man's action.
Sixthly, that whensoever thou doest take on grievously,
or makest great woe, little doest thou remember then that a man's
life is but for a moment of time, and that within a while we
shall all be in our graves. Seventhly, that it is not the sins
and transgressions themselves that trouble us properly; for they
have their existence in their minds and understandings only,
that commit them; but our own opinions concerning those sins.
Remove then, and be content to part with that conceit of thine,
that it is a grievous thing, and thou hast removed thine anger.
But how should I remove it? How? reasoning with thyself that it
is not shameful. For if that which is shameful, be not the only
true evil that is, thou also wilt be driven whilest thou doest
follow the common instinct of nature, to avoid that which is evil,
to commit many unjust things, and to become a thief, and anything,
that will make to the attainment of thy intended worldly ends.
Eighthly, how many things may and do oftentimes follow upon
such fits of anger and grief; far more grievous in themselves,
than those very things which we are so grieved or angry for.
Ninthly, that meekness is a thing unconquerable, if it be true
and natural, and not affected or hypocritical. For how shall
even the most fierce and malicious that thou shalt conceive,
be able to hold on against thee, if thou shalt still continue meek
and loving unto him; and that even at that time, when he is about
to do thee wrong, thou shalt be well disposed, and in good temper,
with all meekness to teach him, and to instruct him better?
As for example; My son, we were not born for this, to hurt
and annoy one another; it will be thy hurt not mine, my son:
and so to show him forcibly and fully, that it is so in very deed:
and that neither bees do it one to another, nor any other creatures
that are naturally sociable. But this thou must do, not scoffingly,
not by way of exprobation, but tenderly without any harshness of words.
Neither must thou do it by way of exercise, or ostentation,
that they that are by and hear thee, may admire thee:
but so always that nobody be privy to it, but himself alone:
yea, though there be more present at the same time.
These nine particular heads, as so many gifts from the Muses,
see that thou remember well: and begin one day, whilest thou art
yet alive, to be a man indeed. But on the other side thou must
take heed, as much to flatter them, as to be angry with them:
for both are equally uncharitable, and equally hurtful.
And in thy passions, take it presently to thy consideration,
that to be angry is not the part of a man, but that to be meek
and gentle, as it savours of more humanity, so of more manhood.
That in this, there is strength and nerves, or vigour and fortitude:
whereof anger and indignation is altogether void. For the nearer
everything is unto unpassionateness, the nearer it is unto power.
And as grief doth proceed from weakness, so doth anger.
For both, both he that is angry and that grieveth, have received
a wound, and cowardly have as it were yielded themselves unto
their affections. If thou wilt have a tenth also, receive this
tenth gift from Hercules the guide and leader of the Muses:
that is a mad man's part, to look that there should be no wicked
men in the world, because it is impossible. Now for a man to
brook well enough, that there should be wicked men in the world,
but not to endure that any should transgress against himself,
is against all equity, and indeed tyrannical.
XVII. Four several dispositions or inclinations there be of the mind
and understanding, which to be aware of, thou must carefully observe:
and whensoever thou doest discover them, thou must rectify them, saying to
thyself concerning every one of them, This imagination is not necessary;
this is uncharitable: this thou shalt speak as another man's slave,
or instrument; than which nothing can be more senseless and absurd:
for the fourth, thou shalt sharply check and upbraid thyself;
for that thou doest suffer that more divine part in thee, to become
subject and obnoxious to that more ignoble part of thy body, and the gross
lusts and concupiscences thereof. XVIII. What portion soever,
either of air or fire there be in thee, although by nature it
tend upwards, submitting nevertheless to the ordinance of the universe,
it abides here below in this mixed body. So whatsoever is in thee,
either earthy, or humid, although by nature it tend downwards, yet is it
against its nature both raised upwards, and standing, or consistent.
So obedient are even the elements themselves to the universe, abiding
patiently wheresoever (though against their nature) they are placed,
until the sound as it were of their retreat, and separation.
Is it not a grievous thing then, that thy reasonable part only
should be disobedient, and should not endure to keep its place:
yea though it be nothing enjoined that is contrary unto it, but that
only which is according to its nature? For we cannot say of it when it
is disobedient, as we say of the fire, or air, that it tends upwards
towards its proper element, for then goes it the quite contrary way.
For the motion of the mind to any injustice, or incontinency,
or to sorrow, or to fear, is nothing else but a separation from nature.
Also when the mind is grieved for anything that is happened by
the divine providence, then doth it likewise forsake its own place.
For it was ordained unto holiness and godliness, which specially consist
in an humble submission to God and His providence in all things;
as well as unto justice: these also being part of those duties,
which as naturally sociable, we are bound unto; and without which we
cannot happily converse one with another: yea and the very ground
and fountain indeed of all just actions.
XIX. He that hath not one and the self-same general end always as long as
he liveth, cannot possibly be one and the self-same man always. But this
will not suffice except thou add also what ought to be this general end.
For as the general conceit and apprehension of all those things which
upon no certain ground are by the greater part of men deemed good,
cannot be uniform and agreeable, but that only which is limited and
restrained by some certain proprieties and conditions, as of community:
that nothing be conceived good, which is not commonly and publicly good:
so must the end also that we propose unto ourselves, be common
and sociable. For he that doth direct all his own private motions
and purposes to that end, all his actions will be agreeable and uniform;
and by that means will be still the same man.
XX. Remember the fable of the country mouse and the city mouse,
and the great fright and terror that this was put into.
XXI. Socrates was wont to call the common conceits and opinions of men,
the common bugbears of the world : the proper terror of silly children.
XXII. The Lacedaemonians at their public spectacles were wont
to appoint seats and forms for their strangers in the shadow,
they themselves were content to sit anywhere.
XXIII. What Socrates answered unto Perdiccas, why he did not come
unto him, Lest of all deaths I should die the worst kind of death,
said he: that is, not able to requite the good that hath been done
unto me. XXIV. In the ancient mystical letters of the Ephesians,
there was an item, that a man should always have in his mind
some one or other of the ancient worthies. XXV. The Pythagoreans
were wont betimes in the morning the first thing they did,
to look up unto the heavens, to put themselves in mind of them
who constantly and invariably did perform their task:
as also to put themselves in mind of orderliness, or good order,
and of purity, and of naked simplicity. For no star or planet
hath any cover before it.
XXVI. How Socrates looked, when he was fain to gird himself
with a skin, Xanthippe his wife having taken away his clothes,
and carried them abroad with her, and what he said to his fellows
and friends, who were ashamed; and out of respect to him,
did retire themselves when they saw him thus decked.
XXVII. In matter of writing or reading thou must needs be taught
before thou can do either: much more in matter of life.
'For thou art born a mere slave, to thy senses and brutish affections;'
destitute without teaching of all true knowledge and sound reason.
XXVIII. 'My heart smiled within me.' 'They will accuse even
virtue herself; with heinous and opprobrious words.'
XXIX. As they that long after figs in winter when they cannot be had;
so are they that long after children, before they be granted them.
XXX. 'As often as a father kisseth his child, he should say secretly
with himself' (said Epictetus,) 'tomorrow perchance shall he die.'
But these words be ominous. No words ominous (said he)
that signify anything that is natural: in very truth and deed not
more ominous than this, 'to cut down grapes when they are ripe.'
Green grapes, ripe grapes, dried grapes, or raisins:
so many changes and mutations of one thing, not into that which was
not absolutely, but rather so many several changes and mutations,
not into that which hath no being at all, but into that which is
not yet in being.
XXXI. 'Of the free will there is no thief or robber:'
out of Epictetus; Whose is this also: that we should find a certain
art and method of assenting; and that we should always observe
with great care and heed the inclinations of our minds, that they may
always be with their due restraint and reservation, always charitable,
and according to the true worth of every present object.
And as for earnest longing, that we should altogether avoid it:
and to use averseness in those things only, that wholly depend of
our own wills. It is not about ordinary petty matters, believe it,
that all our strife and contention is, but whether, with the vulgar,
we should be mad, or by the help of philosophy wise and sober,
said he. XXXII. Socrates said, 'What will you have? the souls
of reasonable, or unreasonable creatures? Of reasonable. But what?
Of those whose reason is sound and perfect? or of those whose reason
is vitiated and corrupted? Of those whose reason is sound and perfect.
Why then labour ye not for such? Because we have them already.
What then do ye so strive and contend between you?'
THE TWELFTH BOOK
I. Whatsoever thou doest hereafter aspire unto, thou mayest even now
enjoy and possess, if thou doest not envy thyself thine own happiness.
And that will be, if thou shalt forget all that is past, and for
the future, refer thyself wholly to the Divine Providence, and shalt
bend and apply all thy present thoughts and intentions to holiness
and righteousness. To holiness, in accepting willingly whatsoever is sent
by the Divine Providence, as being that which the nature of the universe
hath appointed unto thee, which also hath appointed thee for that,
whatsoever it be. To righteousness, in speaking the truth freely,
and without ambiguity; and in doing all things justly and discreetly.
Now in this good course, let not other men's either wickedness,
or opinion, or voice hinder thee: no, nor the sense of this thy
pampered mass of flesh: for let that which suffers, look to itself.
If therefore whensoever the time of thy departing shall come,
thou shalt readily leave all things, and shalt respect thy mind only,
and that divine part of thine, and this shall be thine only fear,
not that some time or other thou shalt cease to live, but thou shalt
never begin to live according to nature : then shalt thou be a
man indeed, worthy of that world, from which thou hadst thy beginning;
then shalt thou cease to be a stranger in thy country, and to wonder
at those things that happen daily, as things strange and unexpected,
and anxiously to depend of divers things that are not in thy power.
II. God beholds our minds and understandings, bare and naked
from these material vessels, and outsides, and all earthly dross.
For with His simple and pure understanding, He pierceth
into our inmost and purest parts, which from His, as it
were by a water pipe and channel, first flowed and issued.
This if thou also shalt use to do, thou shalt rid thyself of that
manifold luggage, wherewith thou art round about encumbered.
For he that does regard neither his body, nor his clothing,
nor his dwelling, nor any such external furniture, must needs gain
unto himself great rest and ease. Three things there be in all,
which thou doest consist of; thy body, thy life, and thy mind.
Of these the two former, are so far forth thine, as that thou art
bound to take care for them. But the third alone is that which
is properly thine. If then thou shalt separate from thyself,
that is from thy mind, whatsoever other men either do or say,
or whatsoever thou thyself hast heretofore either done or said;
and all troublesome thoughts concerning the future, and whatsoever,
(as either belonging to thy body or life:) is without the
jurisdiction of thine own will, and whatsoever in the ordinary
course of human chances and accidents doth happen unto thee;
so that thy mind (keeping herself loose and free from all outward
coincidental entanglements; always in a readiness to depart:)
shall live by herself, and to herself, doing that which is just,
accepting whatsoever doth happen, and speaking the truth always;
if, I say, thou shalt separate from thy mind, whatsoever by sympathy
might adhere unto it, and all time both past and future, and shalt
make thyself in all points and respects, like unto Empedocles
his allegorical sphere, 'all round and circular,' &c., and shalt
think of no longer life than that which is now present:
then shalt thou be truly able to pass the remainder of thy days
without troubles and distractions; nobly and generously disposed,
and in good favour and correspondency, with that spirit which
is within thee.
III. I have often wondered how it should come to pass,
that every man loving himself best, should more regard
other men's opinions concerning himself than his own.
For if any God or grave master standing by, should command any
of us to think nothing by himself but what he should presently
speak out; no man were able to endure it, though but for one day.
Thus do we fear more what our neighbours will think of us,
than what we ourselves.
IV. how come it to pass that the Gods having ordered all other
things so well and so lovingly, should be overseen in this
one only thing, that whereas then. hath been some very good
men that have made many covenants as it were with God and
by many holy actions and outward services contracted a kind
of familiarity with Him; that these men when once they are dead,
should never be restored to life, but be extinct for ever.
But this thou mayest be sure of, that this (if it be
so indeed) would never have been so ordered by the Gods,
had it been fit otherwise. For certainly it was possible,
had it been more just so and had it been according to nature,
the nature of the universe would easily have borne it.
But now because it is not so, (if so be that it be not so indeed)
be therefore confident that it was not fit it should be so.
for thou seest thyself, that now seeking after this matter,
how freely thou doest argue and contest with God.
But were not the Gods both just and good in the highest degree,
thou durst not thus reason with them. Now if just and good,
it could not be that in the creation of the world, they should
either unjustly or unreasonably oversee anything. V. Use thyself
even unto those things that thou doest at first despair of.
For the left hand we see, which for the most part hieth idle
because not used; yet doth it hold the bridle with more strength
than the right, because it hath been used unto it.
VI. Let these be the objects of thy ordinary meditation:
to consider, what manner of men both for soul and body
we ought to be, whensoever death shall surprise us:
the shortness of this our mortal life: the immense vastness
of the time that hath been before, and will he after us:
the frailty of every worldly material object:
all these things to consider, and behold clearly in themselves,
all disguisement of external outside being removed and taken away.
Again, to consider the efficient causes of all things:
the proper ends and references of all actions: what pain
is in itself; what pleasure, what death: what fame or honour,
how every man is the true and proper ground of his own rest
and tranquillity, and that no man can truly be hindered by any other:
that all is but conceit and opinion. As for the use of
thy dogmata, thou must carry thyself in the practice of them,
rather like unto a pancratiastes, or one that at the same time
both fights and wrestles with hands and feet, than a gladiator.
For this, if he lose his sword that he fights with, he is gone:
whereas the other hath still his hand free, which he may easily
turn and manage at his will.
VII. All worldly things thou must behold and consider, dividing them
into matter, form, and reference, or their proper end.
VIII. How happy is man in this his power that hath been granted
unto him: that he needs not do anything but what God shall approve,
and that he may embrace contentedly, whatsoever God doth
send unto him? IX. Whatsoever doth happen in the ordinary
course and consequence of natural events, neither the Gods,
(for it is not possible, that they either wittingly or unwittingly
should do anything amiss) nor men, (for it is through ignorance,
and therefore against their wills that they do anything amiss)
must he accused. None then must be accused.
X. How ridiculous and strange is he, that wonders at anything
that happens in this life in the ordinary course of nature!
XI. Either fate, (and that either an absolute necessity,
and unavoidable decree; or a placable and flexible Providence)
or all is a mere casual confusion, void of all order and government.
If an absolute and unavoidable necessity, why doest thou resist?
If a placable and exorable Providence, make thyself worthy
of the divine help and assistance. If all be a mere confusion
without any moderator, or governor, then hast thou reason
to congratulate thyself; that in such a general flood of
confusion thou thyself hast obtained a reasonable faculty,
whereby thou mayest govern thine own life and actions.
But if thou beest carried away with the flood, it must be thy
body perchance, or thy life, or some other thing that belongs unto
them that is carried away: thy mind and understanding cannot.
Or should it be so, that the light of a candle indeed is still
bright and lightsome until it be put out : and should truth,
and righteousness, and temperance cease to shine in thee whiTest
thou thyself bast any being?
XII. At the conceit and apprehension that such and such a one
hath sinned, thus reason with thyself; What do I know whether
this be a sin indeed, as it seems to be? But if it be, what do I
know but that he himself hath already condemned himself for it?
And that is all one as if a man should scratch and tear his own face,
an object of compassion rather than of anger. Again, that he that
would not have a vicious man to sin, is like unto him that would not
have moisture in the fig, nor children to welp nor a horse to neigh,
nor anything else that in the course of nature is necessary.
For what shall he do that hath such an habit? If thou therefore
beest powerful and eloquent, remedy it if thou canst. XIII. If it
be not fitting, do it not. If it be not true, speak it not.
Ever maintain thine own purpose and resolution free from all compulsion
and necessity. XIV. Of everything that presents itself unto thee,
to consider what the true nature of it is, and to unfold it, as it were,
by dividing it into that which is formal : that which is material:
the true use or end of it, and the just time that it is appointed to last.
XV. It is high time for thee, to understand that there is somewhat
in thee, better and more divine than either thy passions,
or thy sensual appetites and affections. What is now the object
of my mind, is it fear, or suspicion, or lust, or any such thing?
To do nothing rashly without some certain end; let that be thy
first care. The next, to have no other end than the common good.
For, alas! yet a little while, and thou art no more:
no more will any, either of those things that now thou seest,
or of those men that now are living, be any more. For all things
are by nature appointed soon to be changed, turned, and corrupted,
that other things might succced in their room.
XVI. Remember that all is but opinion, and all opinion depends of
the mind. Take thine opinion away, and then as a ship that hath stricken
in within the arms and mouth of the harbour, a present calm; all things
safe and steady: a bay, not capable of any storms and tempests:
as the poet hath it.
XVII. No operation whatsoever it he, ceasing for a while,
can be truly said to suffer any evil, because it is at an end.
Neither can he that is the author of that operation;
for this very respect, because his operation is at an end,
be said to suffer any evil. Likewise then, neither can the whole
body of all our actions (which is our life) if in time it cease,
be said to suffer any evil for this very reason, because it
is at an end; nor he truly be said to have been ill affected,
that did put a period to this series of actions. Now this time
or certain period, depends of the determination of nature:
sometimes of particular nature, as when a man dieth old;
but of nature in general, however; the parts whereof thus changing
one after another, the whole world still continues fresh and new.
Now that is ever best and most seasonable, which is for the good
of the whole. Thus it appears that death of itself can neither
be hurtful to any in particular, because it is not a shameful thing
(for neither is it a thing that depends of our own will,
nor of itself contrary to the common good) and generally,
as it is both expedient and seasonable to the whole, that in that
respect it must needs be good. It is that also, which is brought
unto us by the order and appointment of the Divine Providence;
so that he whose will and mind in these things runs along
with the Divine ordinance, and by this concurrence of his will
and mind with the Divine Providence, is led and driven along,
as it were by God Himself; may truly be termed and esteemed
the *OEo~p7poc*, or divinely led and inspired.
XVIII. These three things thou must have always in a readiness:
first concerning thine own actions, whether thou doest nothing
either idly, or otherwise, than justice and equity do require:
and concerning those things that happen unto thee externally,
that either they happen unto thee by chance, or by providence;
of which two to accuse either, is equally against reason.
Secondly, what like unto our bodies are whilest yet rude
and imperfect, until they be animated: and from their animation,
until their expiration: of what things they are compounded,
and into what things they shall be dissolved. Thirdly, how vain
all things will appear unto thee when, from on high as it were,
looking down thou shalt contemplate all things upon earth,
and the wonderful mutability, that they are subject unto:
considering withal, the infinite both greatness and variety
of things aerial and things celestial that are round about it.
And that as often as thou shalt behold them, thou shalt still see
the same: as the same things, so the same shortness of continuance
of all those things. And, behold, these be the things that we
are so proud and puffed up for.
XIX. Cast away from thee opinion, and thou art safe.
And what is it that hinders thee from casting of it away?
When thou art grieved at anything, hast thou forgotten that
all things happen according to the nature of the universe;
and that him only it concerns, who is in fault; and moreover,
that what is now done, is that which from ever hath been done
in the world, and will ever be done, and is now done everywhere:
how nearly all men are allied one to another by a kindred
not of blood, nor of seed, but of the same mind. Thou hast
also forgotten that every man's mind partakes of the Deity,
and issueth from thence; and that no man can properly call anything
his own, no not his son, nor his body, nor his life; for that they
all proceod from that One who is the giver of all things:
that all things are but opinion; that no man lives properly,
but that very instant of time which is now present.
And therefore that no man whensoever he dieth can properly
be said to lose any more, than an instant of time.
XX. Let thy thoughts ever run upon them, who once for some one thing
or other, were moved with extraordinary indignation; who were once in the
highest pitch of either honour, or calamity; or mutual hatred and enmity;
or of any other fortune or condition whatsoever. Then consider
what's now become of all those things. All is turned to smoke;
all to ashes, and a mere fable; and perchance not so much as a fable.
As also whatsoever is of this nature, as Fabius Catulinus in the field;
Lucius Lupus, and Stertinius, at Baiae Tiberius at Caprem:
and Velius Rufus, and all such examples of vehement prosecution
in worldly matters; let these also run in thy mind at the same time;
and how vile every object of such earnest and vehement prosecution is;
and how much more agreeable to true philosophy it is, for a man to carry
himself in every matter that offers itself; justly, and moderately,
as one that followeth the Gods with all simplicity. For, for a man
to be proud and high conceited, that he is not proud and high conceited,