Monday, December 31, 2018

Epictetus Discourses 1.14 - That the divine watches over all of us

The first part of the chapter discusses how God supervises everything, from flowers to fruit.

Then comes this interesting part:
Why, did anyone ever tell you that you have powers to rival those of Zeus?  But all the same, he has assigned to each of us, as an overseer, his own personal guardian spirit, and has entrusted each of us to its protection, as a guardian that never sleeps and is never open to deception.  To what other guardian could he have entrusted us that would have been better and more vigilant that this?  And so, when you close your doors and create darkness within, remember never to say that you're on your own, for in fact, you're not alone, because God is within you, and your guardian spirit too.  And what need do they have of light to see what you're doing?
To this god you should swear allegiance, as soldiers do to Caesar.  For they, on receiving their wages, swear to put the safety of Caesar above all else; so will you, who have been judged worthy of so many gifts of such a valuable nature, be unwilling to swear your oath, and having sworn it, hold true to it?  And what is it that you must swear?  Never to disobey, never to find fault with, never to complain about, anything that has been granted to you by God and never be unwilling to do what you have to do, or to undergo what you're bound to undergo. 
 What I find interesting about this passage are the similarities between the Christian promise to 'obey God' ... such as a baptism ... and a reminder to keep that promise ... such as the sacrament.  And then there is the inner deity ... which sounds a lot like the Holy Ghost in some Christian theology.

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