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The Discourses of Epictetus, tr. by P.E Matheson, [1916], at



When a man consulted Epictetus how to persuade his brother to be angry with him no longer, he replied, 'Philosophy does not promise to secure to man anything outside him. If it did it would be admitting something beyond its subject-matter. For as wood is the material dealt with by the carpenter, bronze by the statuary, so the subject-matter of each man's art of living is his own life. What are we to say then of your brother's life? That again is the concern of his art of living: to yours it is a thing external, like land, health, good repute. Philosophy makes no promises about such things.'

p. 252

'In all circumstances' (says philosophy), 'I will keep the Governing Principle 1-12 in accord with nature.'

Whose Governing Principle?

'His, in whom I am.'

How then am I to prevent my brother from being angry with me? Bring him to me and I will tell him, but I have nothing to say to you about his anger.

When the man who consulted him said, 'What I am looking for is this—how I may be in accord with nature, even though he be not reconciled with me', he replied, No great thing comes suddenly into being, any more than a cluster of grapes or a fig. If you say to me now, 'I want a fig', I shall answer that it needs time. Let it flower first, then put forth its fruit and then ripen. I say then, if the fig tree's fruit is not brought to perfection suddenly in a single hour, would you gather fruit of men's minds so soon and so easily? I tell you, you must not expect it.

Next: Chapter XVI. On Providence