Sunday

April 27

FOR how much are lettuces sold? A halfpenny, for instance. If another, then, paying a halfpenny, takes the lettuces, and you, not paying it, go without them, do not imagine that he hath gained any advantage over you. For as he hath the lettuces, so you have the halfpenny which you did not give. So, in the present case, you have not been invited to such a person's entertainment, because you have not paid him the price for which a supper is sold. It is sold for praise; it is sold for attendance. Give him then the value, if it be for your advantage. But if you would, at the same time, not pay the one and yet receive the other, you are insatiable, and a blockhead. Have you nothing, then, instead of the supper ? Yes, indeed, you have: the not praising him, whom you do not like to praise; the not bearing with his behaviour at coming in.

EPICTETUS. MANUAL. 25.

Saturday

April 26

IS anyone preferred before you at an entertainment, or in a compliment, or in being admitted to a consultation? If these things are good, you ought to rejoice that he hath got them; and if they are evil, do not be grieved that you have not got them. And remember that you cannot, without using the same means to acquire things not in our own power, expect to be thought worthy of an equal share of them. For how can he who doth not frequent the door of any man, doth not attend him, doth not praise him, have an equal share with him who doth? You are unjust, then, and insatiable, if you are unwilling to pay the price for which these things are sold, and would have them for nothing.

EPICTETUS. MANUAL. 25.

Friday

April 25

YOUR life is a warfare, and a mere pilgrimage.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book ii. 15.

THOU hast taken ship, thou hast sailed, thou art come to land: go out, if to another life, there also shalt thou find gods, who are everywhere. If all life and sense shall cease, then shalt thou cease also to be subject to either pains, or pleasures.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book iii. 4.

THE art of true living in this world, is more like a wrestler's than a dancer's practice. For in this they both agree, to teach a man, whatsoever falls upon him, that he may be ready for it, and that nothing may cast him down.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book vii. 33.

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.

Wednesday

April 23

"Most people seek in the tavern for that pleasure which is to be found in labor."

Zeno, quoted in Stobaeus' Florilegium, vol. i, p. 150.

"To those who, to excuse their prodigality, urged that they spent only money that they did not know how to use otherwise, Zeno said, 'Would you forgive the cook who made his sauce too salty for you, and said it was because he had more salt than he knew what to do with?'"

Stobaeus' Florilegium, vol. i, p. 271.

"That pleasure which is worthy of a man consists in not overloading the body, nor exciting those passions whose rest is our safety."

Seneca's De Beneficiis, book vii, chap.ii, sec. 3

Monday

April 21

"CAN you show us, then, in what manner you have taken care of this soul? For it is not probable that a person of your wisdom, and approved character in the State, should carelessly suffer the most excellent thing that belongs to you to be neglected and lost." — "No, certainly." "But do you take care of it yourself? And is it by the instructions of another, or by your own discovery how it ought to be done?" Here now comes the danger, that he may first say. "Pray, good sir, what business is that of yours? What are you to me?" Then, if you persist to trouble him, he may lift up his hand and give you a box on the ear. I myself was once a great admirer of this method of instruction, till I fell into such kind of adventures.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §12. ¶1.

Sunday

April 20

"PRAY, sir, can you tell me to whom you entrust your horses?" — "Yes, certainly." "Is it, then, to anyone indifferently, though he be ignorant of horsemanship?" — "By no means." "To whom do you entrust your gold, or your silver, or your clothes?" — "Not to anyone indifferently." "And did you ever consider to whom you committed the care of your body?" — "Yes, surely." "To one skilled in exercise, or medicine, I suppose?" — " Without doubt." " Are these things your chief good; or are you possessed of something better than all of them?" — "What do you mean?" "Something which makes use of these, and proves and deliberates about each of them ?" — "What then, do you mean the soul?" "You have guessed right; for indeed I do mean that." — "I do really think it a much better possession than all the rest."

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §12. ¶1.

Saturday

April 19

"They are mad, who make no account of riches, health, freedom from pain, and integrity of the body, nor take any care to attain them."

Seneca's Epistles, cxxiii, sec. 3.

"The wise man will not love wealth, but yet he will prefer to have it. He will receive it into his house, though not into his heart, not rejecting it, but controlling it, and willing to have larger opportunities for virtue."

Pliny's Epistles, vi, book i, sec. 2.

"In poverty there can be no virtues but perseverance and self-respect, but wealth gives a free field for temperance, generosity, economy, industry, and magnanimity."

Chrysippus, quoted in Plutarch's Morals, Goodwin's Ed., vol. iv, p. 437.

Friday

April 18

THERE will come a day when the passage of time and the efforts of a longer stretch of human history will bring to light things that are now obscure... There will come a day when our descendants are astonished that we did not know such obvious facts.

SENECA. NATRUAL QUESTIONS. Book vii. §25. ¶4-5.

Thursday

April 17

THE people of a future age will know much that is unknown to us; much is being kept for the generations to come after memory of us has faded away. The world is a paltry thing unless it contains something for every age to discover.

SENECA. NATRUAL QUESTIONS. Book vii. §30. ¶5.

Wednesday

April 16

AS a traveller inquires the road of the person he meets, without any desire for that which turns to the right hand, more than to the left; for he wishes for neither of these, but that only which leads him properly. Thus we should come to God as to a guide. Just as we make use of our eyes, not persuading them to show us one object rather than another, but receiving such as they present to us. But now we hold the bird with fear and trembling, and, in our invocations to God, entreat Him, "Lord, have mercy upon me: suffer me to come off safe." You wretch! would you have anything, then, but what is best? And what is best, but what pleases God? Why do you, as far as in you lies, corrupt your judge and seduce your adviser?

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §7. ¶3.

Tuesday

April 15

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 inquire 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 dost 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 dost 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.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book x. 13.

Monday

April 14

FROM an unseasonable regard to divination, we omit many duties. For what can the diviner see, besides death, or danger, or sickness, or, in short, things of this kind? When it is necessary, then, to expose oneself to danger for a friend, or even a duty to die for him, what occasion have I for divination? Have not I a diviner within, who hath told me the essence of good and evil, and who explains to me the indications of both? What further need, then, have I of the entrails of victims, or the flight of birds!

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book ii. §7. ¶1.

Sunday

April 13

IF anyone comes and tells you, that in a dispute which was the best of the philosophers, one of the company said that such a one was the only philosopher, that little soul of yours grows to the size of two cubits, instead of an inch; but if another should come and say, "You are mistaken, he is not worth hearing, for what doth he know? He hath the first rudiments, but nothing more," you are thunderstruck; you presently turn pale and cry out, "I will show him what a man, and how great a philosopher, I am." It is evident what you are by these very things; why do you aim to show it by others? Do not you know that Diogenes showed some sophist in this manner by extending his middle finger; and, when he was mad with rage, This, says Diogenes, is he; I have showed him to you. For a man is not shown in the same sense as a stone, or a piece of wood, by the finger; but whoever shows his principles, shows him as a man.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §2. ¶4.

Saturday

April 12

HENCE he who is thus qualified is neither impertinent nor a busybody, for he is not busied about the affairs of others, but his own, when he oversees the transactions of men. Otherwise say that a general is a busybody when he oversees, examines, and watches his soldiers, and punishes the disorderly. But if you reprove others at the very time that you have a cake under your own arm, I will ask you: Had you not better, sir, go into a corner and eat up what you have stolen? But what have you to do with the concerns of others? For what are you? Are you the bull in the herd, or the queen of the bees? Show me such ensigns of empire as she hath from nature. But, if you are a drone, and arrogate to yourself the kingdom of the bees, do not you think that your fellow-citizens will drive you out, just as the bees do the drones?

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §22. ¶15.

Friday

April 11

BUT above all, the ruling faculty of a Cynic must be purer than the sun, otherwise he must necessarily be a common cheat, and a rascal, if, while he is guilty of some vice himself, he reproves others. For, consider how the case stands. Arms and guards give a power to common kings and tyrants of reproving and of punishing delinquents, though they are wicked themselves; but to a Cynic, instead of arms and guards, conscience gives this power, when he knows that he hath watched and laboured for mankind; that he hath slept pure, and waked still purer; and that he hath regulated all his thoughts as the friend, as the minister of the gods, as a partner of the empire of Jupiter; that he is ready to say upon all occasions.

Conduct me, Jove; and thou, O Destiny.

And, "If it thus pleases the gods, thus let it be." Why should he not dare to speak boldly to his own brethren, to his children; in a word, to his kindred?

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §22. ¶13.