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Arrian's Discourses of Epictetus
That when we cannot fulfil that which the character of a man promises, we assume the character of a philosopher.
What is the matter on which a good man should be employed, and in what we ought chiefly to practise ourselves.
1 Goethe has a short poem, entitled Gleich und Gleich (Like and
Vom Boden hervor
War früh gesprosset
In lieblichem Flor;
Da kam ein Bienchen
Und naschte fein:—
Die miissen wohl beyde
Für einander seyn.
2 See Schweig.'s note. I have given the sense of the passage, I think.
3 Cicero, De Off. i. c. 4, on the difference between man and beast.
4 See Schweig,'s note, tom. ii. p. 84.
5 The original is αὐτοῦ, which I refer to God; but it may be am- biguous. Schweighaeuser refers it to man, and explains it to mean that man should be a spectator of himself, according to the maxim, Γνῶθι σεαυτόν. It is true that man can in a manner contemplate himself and his faculties as well as external objects; and as every man can be an object to every other man, so a man may be an object to himself when he examines his faculties and reflects on his own acts. Schweighaeuser asks how can a man be a spectator of God, except so far as he is a spectator of God's works? It is not enough; he says, to reply that God and the universe, whom and which man contemplates, are the same thing to the Stoics; for Epictetus always distinguishes God the maker and governor of the universe from the universe itself. But here lies the difficulty. The universe is an all-comprehensive term: it is all that we can in any way perceive and conceive as existing; and it may therefore comprehend God, not as something distinct from the universe, but as being the universe himself. This form of expression is an acknowledgment of the weakness of the human faculties, and contains the implicit assertion of Locke that the notion of God is beyond man's understanding (Essay, etc. ii. c. 17).
7 Compare Persius, Sat. iii, 66—
"Discite, io, miseri et causas cognoscite rerum,
Quid sumus aut quidnam victuri gign mur.
8 Compare Antoninus, viii. 50, and Epictetus, ii. 16, 13.
9 ἀφορμὰς. This word in this passage has a different meaning from that which it has when it is opposed to ὁρμή. See Gataker, Antoninus, ix. 1 (Upton). Epictetus says that the powers which man has were given by God: Antoninus says, from nature. They mean the same thing. See Schweighaeuser's note.
10 Compare Antoninus, ix. 1.
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