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Epictetus. (c.A.D. 50–c.A.D. 138). The Golden Sayings of Epictetus.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


Kings and tyrants have armed guards wherewith to chastise certain persons, though they be themselves evil. But to the Cynic conscience gives this power—not arms and guards. When he knows that he has watched and laboured on behalf of mankind: that sleep hath found him pure, and left him purer still: that his thoughts have been the thought of a Friend of the Gods—of a servant, yet of one that hath a part in the government of the Supreme God: that the words are ever on his lips:—

  • Lead me, O God, and thou, O Destiny!
  • as well as these:—
  • If this be God’s will, so let it be!
  • Why should he not speak boldly unto his own brethren, unto his children—in a word, unto all that are akin to him!