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Epictetus. (c.A.D. 50–c.A.D. 138).  The Golden Sayings of Epictetus.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
XXXVII
 
 
“But” you say, “I cannot comprehend all this at once.”  1
  Why, who told you that your powers were equal to God’s?”  2
  Yet God hath placed by the side of each a man’s own Guardian Spirit, 1 who is charged to watch over him—a Guardian who sleeps not nor is deceived. For to what better or more watchful Guardian could He have committed each of us? So when you have shut the doors and made a darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone; for you are not alone, but God is within, and your Guardian Spirit, and what light do they need to behold what you do? To this God you also should have sworn allegiance, even as soldiers unto Cæsar. They, when their service is hired, swear to hold the life of Cæsar dearer than all else: and will you not swear your oath, that are deemed worthy of so many and great gifts? And will you not keep your oath when you have sworn it? And what oath will you swear? Never to disobey, never to arraign or murmur at aught that comes to you from His hand: never unwillingly to do or suffer aught that necessity lays upon you.  3
  “Is this oath like theirs?”  4
  They swear to hold no other dearer than Cæsar: you, to hold our true selves dearer than all else beside.  5
 
Note 1. To the Stoics the Guardian Spirit was each man’s Reason. [back]
 

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