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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 Divination was a great part of antient religion, and, as Epictetus says, it led men 'to omit many duties.' In a certain sense there was some meaning in it. If it is true that those who believe in God can see certain signs in the administration of the world by which they can judge what their behaviour ought to be, they can learn what their duties are. If these signs are misunderstood, or if they are not seen right, men may be governed by an abject superstition. So the external forms of any religion may become the means of corruption and of human debasement, and the true indications of God's will may be neglected. Upton compares Lucan (ix. 572), who sometimes said a few good things.
2 A man who gives his opinion on grammar gives an opinion on a thing of which many know something. A man who gives his opinion on divination or on future events, gives an opinion on things of which we all know nothing. When then a man affects to instruct on things unknown, we may ask him to give his opinion on things which are known, and so we may learn what kind of man he is.
4 As knavish priests have often played on the fears and hopes of the superstitious.
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