Thursday

April 24

I COME therefore to the diviner and interpreter of these things, and say, "Inspect the entrails for me: what is signified to me?" Having taken and laid them open, he thus interprets them: — You have a choice, man, incapable of being restrained or compelled. This is written here in the entrails. I will show you this first in the faculty of assent. Can any one restrain you from assenting to truth? — "No one." — Can anyone compel you to admit a falsehood? — "No one." — You see, then, that you have in this topic a choice incapable of being restrained or compelled or hindered. AV'ell, is it any otherwise with regard to pursuit and desire? What can conquer one pursuit? — "Another pursuit." — What desire and aversion? — "Another desire and another aversion." If you set death before me (say you) you compel me. No; not what is set before you doth it, but your principle, that it is better to do such or such a thing than to die. Here, again, you see it is your own principle which compels you — that is, choice compels choice. For, if God had constituted that portion which He hath separated from His own offence and given to us, capable of being restrained or compelled, either by Himself or by any other. He would not have been God, nor have taken care of us in a due manner.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §17. ¶2.

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