by Florence M. Firth
1. Request not of Divinity such things as, when obtained,
you cannot preserve; for no gift of Divinity can ever be taken
away; and on this account he does not confer that which you
are unable to retain.
2. Be vigilant in your intellectual part; for sleep about
this has an affinity with real death.
3. Divinity sends evil to men, not as being influenced by
anger, but for the sake of purification; for anger is foreign
from Divinity, since it arises from circumstances taking place
contrary to the will; but nothing contrary to the will can happen
to a god.
4. When you deliberate whether or not you shall injure another,
you will previously suffer the evil yourself which you intend
to commit. But neither must you expect any good from the evil;
for the manners of everyone are correspondent to his life and
actions. Every soul too is a repository, that which is good,
of things good, that which is evil, of things depraved.
5. After long consultation, engage either in speaking or
acting; for you have not the ability to recall either your words
6. Divinity does not principally esteem the tongue, but the
deeds of the wise; for a wise man, even when he is silent, honours
7. A loquacious and ignorant man both in prayer and sacrifice
contaminates a divine nature. The wise man therefore is
alone a priest, is alone a friend of Divinity and only knows
how to pray.
8. The wise man being sent hither naked, should naked invoke
him by whom he was sent; for he alone is heard by Divinity,
who is not burdened with foreign concerns.
9. It is impossible to receive from Divinity any gift greater
than virtue. 1
10. Gifts and victims confer no honour on Divinity, nor is
he adorned with offerings suspended in temples; but a soul divinely
inspired solidly conjoins us with Divinity; for it is necessary
that like should approach to like.
11. It is more painful to be subservient to passions than
12. It is better to converse more with yourself than others.
13. If you are always careful to remember that in whatever
place either your soul or body accomplishes any deed, Divinity
is present as an inspector of your conduct; in all your words
and actions you will venerate the presence of an inspector from
whom nothing can be concealed, and will, at the same time, possess
Divinity as an intimate associate.
14. Believe that you are furious and insane in proportion
as you are ignorant of yourself.
15. It is necessary to search for those wives and children
which will remain after a liberation from the present life.
16. The self-sufficient and needy philosopher lives a life
truly similar to Divinity, and considers the non-possession
of external and unnecessary goods as the greatest wealth. For
the acquisition of riches sometimes inflames desire; but not
to act in any respect unjustly is sufficient to the enjoyment
of a blessed life.
17. True goods are never produced by indolent habits.
18. Esteem that to be eminently good, which, communicated
to another, will be increased to yourself.
19. Esteem those to be eminently your friends, who assist
your soul rather than your body.
20. Consider both the praise and reproach of every foolish
person as ridiculous, and the whole life of an ignorant man
as a disgrace.
21. Endeavour that your familiars may reverence rather than
fear you; for love attends upon reverence, but hatred upon fear.
22. The sacrifices of fools are the aliment of the fire;
but the offerings which they suspend in temples are the supplies
of the sacrilegious.
23. Understand that no dissimulation can be long concealed.
24. The unjust man suffers greater evil while his soul is
tormented with a consciousness of guilt, than when his body
is scourged with whips.
25. It is by no means safe to discourse concerning Divinity
with men of false opinions; for the danger is equally great
in speaking to such as these, things either fallacious or true.
26. By everywhere using reason as your guide, you will avoid
the commission of crimes.
27. By being troublesome to others, you will not easily escape
28. Consider that as great erudition, through which you are
able to bear the want of erudition, in the ignorant.
29. He who is depraved does not listen to the divine law,
and on this account lives without law.
30. A just man who is a stranger, is not only superior to
a citizen, but is even more excellent than a relation.
31. As many passions of the soul, so many fierce and savage
32. No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself.
33. Labour, together with continence, precedes the acquisition
of every good.
34. Be persuaded that those things are not your riches which
you do not possess in the penetralia of the reasoning powers.
35. Do that which you judge to be beautiful and honest, though
you should acquire no glory from the performance; for the vulgar
is a depraved judge of beautiful deeds.
36. Make trial of a man rather from his deeds than his discourses;
for many live badly and speak well.
37. Perform great things, at the same time promising nothing
38. Since the roots of our nature are established in Divinity,
from which also we are produced, we should tenaciously adhere
to our root; for streams also of water, and other offspring
of the earth, when their roots are cut off, become rotten and
39. The strength of the soul is temperance; for this is the
light of a soul destitute of passions; but it is much better
to die than to darken the soul through the intemperance of the
40. You cannot easily denominate that man happy who depends
either on his friends or children, or on any fleeting and fallen
nature; for all these are unstable and uncertain; but to depend
on oneself and on Divinity is alone stable and firm.
41. He is a wise man, and beloved of Divinity, who studies
how to labour for the good of his soul, as much as others labour
for the sake of the body.
42. Yield all things to their kindred and ruling nature except
43. Learn how to produce eternal children, not such as may
supply the wants of the body in old age, but such as may nourish
the soul with perpetual food.
44, It is impossible that the same person can be a lover
of pleasure, a lover of body, a lover of riches, and a lover
of Divinity. For a lover of pleasure is also a lover of
body; but a lover of body is entirely a lover of riches; a lover
of riches is necessarily unjust; and the unjust is necessarily
profane towards Divinity, and lawless with respect to men. Hence,
though he should sacrifice hecatombs, he is only by this means
the more impious, unholy, atheistical, and sacrilegious, with
respect to his intentions: and on this account it is necessary
to avoid every lover of pleasure as an atheist and polluted
45. The Divinity has not a place in the earth more allied
to his nature than a pure and holy soul.