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That the deity oversees all things.

WHEN a person asked him how a man could be convinced that all his actions are under the inspection of God, he answered, Do you not think that all things are united in one?1 do, the person replied. Well, do you not think that earthly things have a natural agreement and union2 with heavenly things? I do. And how else so regularly as if by God's command, when He bids the plants to flower, do they flower? when He bids them to send forth shoots, do they shoot? when He bids them to produce fruit, how else do they produce fruit? when He bids the fruit to ripen, does it ripen? when again He bids them to cast down the fruits, how else do they cast them down? and when to shed the leaves, do they shed the leaves? and when He bids them to fold themselves up and to remain quiet and rest, how else do they remain quiet and rest? And how else at the growth and the wane of the moon, and at the approach and recession of the sun, are so great an alteration and change to the contrary seen in earthly things?3 But are plants and our bodies so bound up and united with the whole, and are not our souls much more? and our souls so bound up and in contact with God as parts of Him and portions of Him; and does not God perceive every motion of these parts as being his own motion connate with himself? Now are you able to think of the divine administration, and about all things divine, and at the same time also about human affairs, and to be moved by ten thousand things at the same time in your senses and in your understanding, and to assent to some, and to dissent from others, and again as to some things to suspend your judgment; and do you retain in your soul so many impressions from so many and various things, and being moved by them, do you fall upon notions similar to those first impressed, and do you retain numerous arts and the memories of ten thousand things; and is not God able to oversee all things, and to be present with all, and to receive from all a certain communication? And is the sun able to illuminate so large a part of the All, and to leave so little not illuminated, that part only which is occupied by the earth's shadow; and He who made the sun itself and makes it go round, being a small part of himself compared with the whole, cannot He perceive all things?

But I cannot, the man may reply, comprehend all these things at once. But who tells you that you have equal power with Zeus? Nevertheless he has placed by every man a guardian, every man's Daemon,4 to whom he has committed the care of the man, a guardian who never sleeps, is never deceived. For to what better and more careful guardian could He have intrusted each of us?5 When then you have shut the doors and made darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not; but God is within, and your Daemon is within, and what need have they of light to see what you are doing? To this God you ought to swear an oath just as the soldiers do to Caesar. But they who are hired for pay swear to regard the safety of Caesar before all things; and you who have received so many and such great favors, will you not swear, or when you have sworn, will you not abide by your oath? And what shall you swear? Never to be disobedient, never to make any charges, never to find fault with any thing that he has given, and never unwillingly to do or to suffer any thing that is necessary. Is this oath like the soldier's oath? The soldiers swear not to prefer any man to Cæsar: in this oath men swear to honour themselves before all.6


1 Things appear to be separate, but there is a bond by which they are united. “All this that you see, wherein things divine and human are contained, is One: we are members of one large body” (Seneca, Ep. 95). “The universe is either a confusion, a mutual involution of things and a dispersion; or it is unity and order and providence” (Antoninus, vi. 10): also vii. 9, “all things are implicated with one another, and the bond is holy; and there is hardly any thing unconnected with any other thing.” See also Cicero, De Nat. Deorum, ii. 7; and De Oratore, iii. 5.

2 The word is συμπαθεῖν. Cicero (De Divin. ii. 69) translates συμ πάθειαν by “continuatio conjunctioque naturae.”

3 Compare Swedenborg, Angelic Wisdom, 349–356.

4 Antoninus, v. 27: “Live with the gods. And he does live with the gods who constantly shows to them that his own soul is satisfied with that which is assigned to him, and that it does all that the Daemon wishes, which Zeus hath given to every man for his guardian and guide, a portion of himself. And this is every man's understanding and reason.” Antoninus (iii. 5) names this Daemon “the god who is in thee.” St. Paul (1 Cor. i. 3, 16) says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Even the poets use this form of expression—

Est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo [ipso]:
Impetus hic sacrae semina mentis habet.

.

5 See Schweig.'s note on παραδέδωκεν.

6 See Schweig.'s note.

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