Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Epictetus Discourses Book 1 Chapter 14 - God and our guardian angel?

The first part of the chapter discusses how God supervises everything.

Then comes this interesting part:
Is anyone saying that your capacities are the equal of God's?  Nevertheless, he has provided each of us with an individual guardian deity, which stays by our side and is in charge of looking after us - a guardian who never sleeps and is impossible to distract.  Is there any guardian to whose care he could have committed us that is better or more vigilant?  Whenever you close your doors and turn out your lights, remember, never say to yourself that you are alone; you're not.  God is inside, and so is your private deity; and neither of them requires light to watch you by.
This is the deity who deserves your pledge of allegiance, as soldiers swear before Caesar.  If they want to be paid, they must swear to put the emperor's safety first.  You, however, who have been chose to receive an abundance of blessings - and for free - why won't you swear a similar oath, and, if you have done so already, why not reaffirm the commitment?
What is this oath?  You swear that under no circumstances will you disobey, press charges, or find fault with God and his gifts.  You won't shrink from life's essential tasks or trials.
What I find interesting about this passage is 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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