Page:The Emperor Marcus Antoninus - His Conversation with Himself.djvu/448

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268
The Mythological Picture

a Misfortune to others. Under favour do you affirm that Life is Advantage, and Disadvantage too? I do. Pray, said I, have a care of an Absurdity; For 'tis impossible the same Thing should be both Good and Bad; At this rate it would be Profitable, and Prejudicial, and the Object of Choice and Aversion, at the same time. That is Absurdity enough, says he, in all Conscience: But pray, if living Ill is a mischief to him that's guilty on’t, does it follow from hence, that Life precisely taken has any harm in’t? Indeed, I can’t say both these Cases are the same. Why then Life is no bad Business, if it were, those who live well, would lie under the Misfortune, for they live no less than other People. Truly, you seem to argue reasonably enough. Therefore, says he, since Life is common both to Good and Bad People, it must be Indifferent of it self, and the Use must determine the Quality. ’Tis much like Lancing and Burning, the Season and the Application, makes the Distinction; If a Man be well, it does him a Mischief, but an Ulcer, or an Imposture, is much the better for a skilful Hand. To put an other Question to you, had you rather live scandalously, or Die bravely? I had rather Die upon those terms. You an-

swer