Page:The Emperor Marcus Antoninus - His Conversation with Himself.djvu/447

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267
of Cebes the Theban.

have been all this while amus’d with; And that unless they mend their Manners, and their Company, ’tis impossible for them not to Miscarry. And therefore Gentlemen, says he, I hope you’l remember this Discourse, comply with the Directions, and Practise them up to a Habit; Indeed all other Business is but trifling to this; But you must frequently recollect your Memory, and take Pains with your selves, otherwise what you have heard will do you no Service. We shall endeavour to take your Advice. But I desire you would explain your self a little upon the Notion of Advantage, and how the Common Liberalities of Fortune can be said not to be Good?, such as Life, Health, Riches, Fame, Posterity, Victory, &c. And how the contrary to these can be maintained not to be Evil? To assert this I must needs say, is all Riddle and Paradox to me. To satisfy, you, says he, I shall ask you a few Questions, and pray speak your Mind freely in your Answer. I shall do it. What do you think then in case a Man lives ill, is Life any Advantage to him? No truly, said I, ’tis rather a Disadvantage. Very well, says he, then bare living, without other Considerations, is no Privilege: ’Tis a Good Thing to those that live well, but

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