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That all things are under the divine supervision.

When a person asked him, how any one might be convinced that his every act is under the supervision of God? Do not you think, said Epictetus, that all things are mutually connected and united?

"I do."

Well; and do not you think that things on earth feel the influence of the heavenly powers?

"Yes." [p. 1053]

Else how is it that in their season, as if by express command, God bids the plants to blossom and they blossom, to bud and they bud, to bear fruit and they bear it, to ripen it and they ripen; and when again he bids them drop their leaves, and withdrawing into themselves to rest and wait, they rest and wait? Whence again are there seen, on the increase and decrease of the moon, and the approach and departure of the sun, so great changes and transformations in earthly things? Have, then, the very leaves, and our own bodies, this connection and sympathy with the whole, and have not our souls much more? But our souls are thus connected and intimately joined to God, as being indeed members and distinct portions of his essence; and must he not be sensible of every movement of them, as belonging and connatural to himself? Can even you think of the divine administration, and every other divine subject, and together with these of human affairs also; can you at once receive impressions on your senses and your understanding from a thousand objects; at once assent to some things, deny or suspend your judgment concerning others, and preserve in your mind impressions from so many and various objects, by whose aid you can revert to ideas similar to those which first impressed you? Can you retain a variety of arts and the memorials of ten thousand things? And is not God capable of surveying all things, and being present with all, and in communication with all? Is the sun capable [p. 1054] of illuminating so great a portion of the universe, and of leaving only that small part of it unilluminated, which is covered by the shadow of the earth, and cannot He who made and moves the sun, a small part of himself, if compared with the whole, - cannot he perceive all things?

"But I cannot," say you, "attend to all things at once." Who asserts that you have equal power with Zeus? Nevertheless, he has assigned to each man a director, his own good genius, and committed him to that guardianship, - a director sleepless and not to be deceived. To what better and more careful guardian could he have committed each one of us? So that when you have shut your doors, and darkened your room, remember never to say that you are alone; for you are not alone, but God is within, and your genius is within; and what need have they of light to see what you are doing? To this God you likewise ought to swear such an oath as the soldiers do to Caesar. For they, in order to receive their pay, swear to prefer before all things the safety of Caesar; and will you not swear, who have received so many and so great favors; or, if you have sworn, will you not fulfil the oath? And what must you swear? Never to distrust, nor accuse, nor murmur at any of the things appointed by him; nor to shrink from doing or enduring that which is inevitable. Is this oath like the former In the first oath persons swear never to dishonor Caesar: by the last. never to dishonor themselves. [p. 1055]


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