Godf is Nature

God is nature.

The universe, as a whole, is the best possible.

If God had made colors, but had not made the faculty of seeing them, what would have been their use?

None at all.

On the other hand, if God had made the faculty of vision, but had not made objects such as to fall under the faculty, what in that case also would have been the use of it?

None at all.

Well, suppose that God had made both, but had not made light?

In that case, also, they would have been of no use.

When a person asked him how a man could be convinced that all his actions are under the inspection of God, he answered, "Do you not think that all things are united in one?"

"I do," the person replied.

"Well, do you not think that earthly things have a natural agreement and union with heavenly things."

"I do."

And how else so regularly as if by God's admonishment,

when God urges the plants to flower, do they flower?

when God urges them to send forth shoots, do they send forth shoots?

when God urges them to produce fruit, do they produce fruit?

when God urges the fruit to ripen, does it ripen?

when again God urges them to cast down the fruits, how else do they cast them down?

and when to shed the leaves, do they shed the leaves?

and when God urges them to fold themselves up and to remain quiet and rest, how else do they remain quiet and rest?

And how else at the growth and the wane of the moon, and at the approach and recession of the sun, are so great an alteration and change to the contrary seen in earthly things?

But are plants and our bodies so bound up and united with the whole, and are not our souls much more?

and our souls so bound up and in contact with God as parts of God and portions of God; and does not God perceive every motion of these parts as being God's own motion connate with Himself?

Now are you able to think of the divine administration, and about all things divine, and at the same time also about human affairs, and to be moved by ten thousand things at the same time in your senses and in your understanding, and to assent to some, and to dissent from others, and again as to some things to suspend your judgment; and do you retain in your soul so many impressions from so many and various things, and being moved by them, do you fall upon notions similar to those first impressed, and do you retain numerous arts and the memories of ten thousand things; and is not God able to oversee all things, and to be present within all, and to receive from all a certain communication?

And is the sun able to illuminate so large a part of everything, and to leave so little not illuminated, that part only which is in the Earth's shadow; and God, who made the sun itself and makes it go round, being a small part of Himself compared with the whole, cannot God perceive all things?

God has descended the seeds not only to my father and grandfather, but to all beings which are generated on the Earth and are produced, and particularly to rational beings - for these only are by their nature formed to have communion with God, being by means of reason conjoined with God - why should not such an individual call himself a citizen of the Earth, why not a son or daughter of God, and why should he be afraid of anything which happens among men? Are we not in a manner kinsmen of God, did we not come from God?

"But I cannot," the individual may reply, "comprehend all these things at once." But who tells you that you have equal power with God? Nevertheless God has placed by every individual a guardian, a guardian who never sleeps, is never deceived. For to what better and more careful guardian could God have entrusted each of us? When, then, you have shut the doors and made darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not; but God is within, and your conscience is within, and what need have they of light to see what you are doing?

The philosophers say that we ought first to learn that there is a God and that God provides for all things; also that it is not possible to conceal from God our acts, or even our intentions and thoughts. The next thing, is to learn what is the nature of God; for such as it is discovered to be, the individual, who would please and obey God, must try with all his power to be like God. If God is faithful, man also must be faithful; if God is free, man also must be free; if beneficent, man also must be beneficent; if magnanimous, man also must be magnanimous; as being, then an imitator of God, the individual must do and say everything consistently with this fact.

Reason distinguishes between things that are
and things that are not under one's control.

The virtuous individual finds freedom in limiting
his or her desires to things under his or her control.

Only the educated are free.

To each man God hath granted this inward freedom.

These are the principles that in a house create love,
in a city concord, among nations peace,
teaching a man gratitude towards God and cheerful confidence,
wherever he may be, in dealing with outward things that he knows
are neither his nor worth striving after.

When a man has this peace proclaimed by God through reason, is he not content when he is alone? when he sees and reflects, "Now no evil can happen to me; for me there is no robber, no earthquake, everything is full of peace, full of tranquillity: every way, every city, every meeting, neighbor, companion is harmless. One person whose business it is, supplies me with food; another with raiment; another with perceptions, and preconceptions. And if he does not supply what is necessary, He gives the signal for retreat, opens the door, and says to you, 'Go.' Go whither? To nothing terrible, but to the place from which you came, to your friends and kinsmen, to the elements: what there was in you of fire goes to fire; of earth, to earth; of air, to air; of water to water when a man has such things to think on, and sees the sun, the moon and stars, and enjoys earth and sea, he is not solitary nor even helpless.

Corruption is of two sorts.

There is corruption of the understanding;
and also of the sense of shame.
This happens when a man obstinately
refuses to acknowledge plain truths,
and persists in maintaining what is self contradictory.

Most of us dread corruption of the body,
and would spare no pains to escape anything of that category.
But of corruption of the soul we are utterly heedless.
With regard, indeed, to the soul,
if a man is in such a state as to be
incapable of following or understanding anything,
I grant you we do think him in a bad way.
But corruption of the sense of shame
and modesty we go so far as to dub strength of mind!

We see that a carpenter becomes a carpenter by learning certain things: that a pilot, by learning certain things, becomes a pilot. Possibly also in the present case the mere desire to be wise and good is not enough. It is necessary to learn certain things. This is then the object of our search.

The philosophers would have us first learn that there is a God,
and that His providence directs the universe;
that to hide from God not only one's acts
but even one's thoughts and intentions is impossible;
the nature of God is whatever God's nature is discovered to be,
and the man who would please and obey God
must strive with all his might to imitate God.
If God is faithful, he also must be faithful;
if free, he also must be free;
if beneficent, he also must be beneficent;
if magnanimous, he also must be magnanimous.
Thus as an imitator of God must
he follow God in every deed and word.

Epicitus, Roman slave, Stoic philosopher

See Marcus Aurelius

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Cornelius Tacitus, Gaius Plinius Cecilius Secundus
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