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It is very good advice, Measure the stone by your rule, and not your rule by the stone. But the Stoics have not observed it; for they, not applying principles to things, but forcing things which have no foundation of agreement in nature to agree to their principles, have filled philosophy with a number of difficulties. One of the hardest to be solved is this, that all men whatsoever (except him who is absolutely perfect) are equally vicious. Hence is that enigma, called progress or proficiency, which, though it has puzzled the learned to solve, is in my opinion very foolish; for it represents those that have advanced a little, and are partly free from inordinate passions and distempers of mind, to be as unhappy as those that are guilty of the most heinous enormities. And indeed the assertion is so absurd, that their own actions are enough to confute it; for while they maintain in their schools that Aristides and Phalaris are equally unjust, that Brasidas and Dolon are equal cowards, and that Plato and Meletus are equally senseless, still in all affairs of life they seem to reject and avoid the latter of these, as too harsh and severe to be softened into compliance, but credit and quote the former in all their writings, as persons of extraordinary worth and esteem. This is what the Stoics assert.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1927)
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