Monday

August 21

SUCH is the present case. Because by speech and verbal precepts we are to arrive at perfection, and purify our own choice, and rectify that faculty, of which the office is, the use of the appearances of things; and because for the delivery of theorems a certain manner of expression, and some variety and subtlety of discourse, becomes necessary; many, captivated by these very things one by expression, another by syllogisms, a third by convertible propositions, just as our traveller was by the good inn—go no further, but sit down and waste their lives shamefully there, as if amongst the sirens. Your business, man, was to prepare yourself for such an use of the appearances of things as nature demands : not to be frustrated of your desires, or incur your aversions; never to be disappointed or unfortunate, but free, unrestrained, uncompelled; conformed to the administration of Jupiter, obedient to that, finding fault with nothing, but able to say from your whole soul the verses which begin,

Conduct me, Jove; and thou, O Destiny.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iii. §23. ¶4.

Sunday

August 20

IF you would give a just sentence, mind neither parties nor pleaders, but the cause itself.

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 56.

THESE two rules, thou must have always in a readiness. First do nothing at all, but what Reason proceeding from the regal and supreme part, shall for the good and benefit of men, suggest unto thee. And secondly, if any man that is present, shall be able to rectify thee or to turn thee from some erroneous persuasion, that thou be always ready to change thy mind, and this change to proceed, not from any respect of any pleasure or credit thereon depending, but always from some probable apparent ground of justice, or of some public good thereby to be furthered; or from some other such inducement.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book iv. 10.

Saturday

August 18

IF anyone opposes very evident truths, it is not easy to find a reason which may persuade him to alter his opinion. This arises neither from his own strength, nor from the weakness of his teacher: but when, after being driven upon an absurdity, he becomes petrified, how shall we deal with him any longer by reason?

Now there are two sorts of petrifaction: the one, a petrifaction of the understanding; the other, of the sense of shame, when a person hath obstinately set himself not to assent to evident truths, nor to quit the defence of contradictions. We all dread a bodily mortification; and would make use of every contrivance to avoid it: but none of us is troubled about a mortification of the soul. And yet, indeed, even with regard to the soul, when a person is so affected as not to apprehend or understand anything, we think him in a sad condition: but where the sense of shame and modesty is under an absolute mortification, we go so far as even to call this, strength of mind.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §5. ¶¶1, 2.

August 19

DELIBERATE much before you say and do anything; for, it will not be in your power to recall what is said or done.

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 96.

REMEMBER, that to change thy mind upon occasion, and to follow him that is able to rectify thee, is equally ingenuous, as to find out at the first, what is right and just, without help. For of thee nothing is required, that is beyond the extent of thine own deliberation and judgment, and of thine own understanding.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book viii. 14.

SOLON, when he was silent at an entertainment, being asked by Periander whether he was silent for want of words, or from folly: "No fool," answered he, "can be silent at a feast."

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 71.

Friday

August 18

IF anyone opposes very evident truths, it is not easy to find a reason which may persuade him to alter his opinion. This arises neither from his own strength, nor from the weakness of his teacher: but when, after being driven upon an absurdity, he becomes petrified, how shall we deal with him any longer by reason?

Now there are two sorts of petrifaction: the one, a petrifaction of the understanding ; the other, of the sense of shame, when a person hath obstinately set himself not to assent to evident truths, nor to quit the defence of contradictions. We all dread a bodily mortification; and would make use of every contrivance to avoid it: but none of us is troubled about a mortification of the soul. And yet, indeed, even with regard to the soul, when a person is so affected as not to apprehend or understand anything, we think him in a sad condition: but where the sense of shame and modesty is under an absolute mortification, we go so far as even to call this, strength of mind.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. I. 5, 1-2.

Thursday

August 17

SUCH there be, who when they have done a good turn to any, are ready to set them on the score for it, and to require retaliation. Others there be, who though they stand not upon retaliation, to require any, yet they think with themselves nevertheless, that such a one is their debtor, and they know (as their word is) what they have done. Others again there be, who when they have done any such thing, do not so much as know what they have done; but are like unto the vine, which beareth her grapes, and when once she hath borne her own proper fruit, is contented and seeks for no further recompense. As a horse after a race, and a hunting dog when he hath hunted, and a bee when she hath made her honey, look not for applause and commendation; so neither doth that man that rightly doth understand his own nature when he hath done a good turn: but from one doth proceed to do another, even as the vine after she hath once borne fruit in her own proper season, is ready for another time. Thou therefore must be one of them, who what they do, barely do it without any further thought, and are in a manner insensible of what they do.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book v. 6.

Wednesday

August 16

IF anybody shall reprove me, and shall make it apparent unto me, that in any either opinion or action of mine I do err, I will most gladly retract. For it is the truth that I seek after, by which I am sure that never any man was hurt; and as sure, that he is hurt that continues in any error, or ignorance whatsoever.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book vi. 60.

TEACH them that sin better, and make it appear unto them: but be not angry with them.

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book vi. 25.

WHEN you have done well, and another is benefited by your action, must you like a very fool look for a third thing besides, as that it may appear unto others also that you have done well, or that you may in time, receive one good turn for another?

MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book vii. 43.