Why, then , O mortals, do ye ſeek without
you the happineſs which lieth within you?Error
and Ignorance perplexes you.I will briefly
ſhew you the hinge of ſupreme felicity. Is there
any thing more precious to you than yourſelf?
Nothing, you will ſay.Then, if you are maſter
of yourſelf, you will poſſeſs that, which you
would not incline at any time to loſe, and
which Fortune cannot take from you.And,
that you may know that happineſs cannot conſiſt
in theſe fortuitous things, reaſon thus: If
happineſs is the chief good of a rational nature,
and if that is not the chief good which can by
any means be taken away, ſince that excels it
which cannot be taken away, it is evident that
the inſtability of Fortune cannot aſpire to the enjoyment
of happineſs.Beſides, he who depends
upon that fading felicity, either knows, or knows
not, that it is changeable.If he knows it not,
what happy lot can there be in the blindneſs of
ignorance?If he knows it, he muſt of neceſſity
fear, leſt he loſe that which he has no doubt
may be loſt; wherefore continual fear ſuffers
him not to be happy.Does he think, if he loſe
it, that he ought to be indifferent? In that caſe,
alſo, it is a very ſmall good, the loſs of which
can be borne with indifference.