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SECT. XXIV. But many things favour it.

NAY, there are many not inconsiderable arguments for the contrary; such as, the absolute power every man has over his own actions;182182   And over all other living creatures, to which may be added, the knowledge of God, and of immortal beings. “An immortal creature is not understood by any mortal one,” says Sallust the philosopher. One remarkable token of this knowledge is, that there is nothing so grievous, which the mind will not despise, for the sake of God. Beside, the power of understanding and acting is not limited, as it is in other creatures, but unwearied, and extends itself infinitely, and is by this means like unto God; which difference of man from other creatures was taken notice or by Galen. a natural desire of immortality; the power of conscience, which comforts him when he has performed any good actions, though never so difficult; and, on the contrary, torments him when he has done any bad thing;183183   See Plato’s first book of his commonwealth: “When death seems to approach any me, fear and solicitude come upon him about those things which before he did not think of.” especially at the approach of death, as it were, with a sense of impending judgment; the force of which many times could not be extinguished by the worst of tyrants,184184   Witness that epistle of Tiberius to the senate: “What should write to you, O senators, or how I should write, or what I should not write, at this time, let the gods and goddesses destroy me, worse than I now feel myself to perish, if I know.” Which words, after Tacitus had recited in the sixth of his annals, he adds, “So far did his crimes and wickedness turn to big punishment. So true is that assertion of the wisest of men, that, if the breasts of tyrants were laid open, we might behold the gnawings and stingings of them; for as the body is bruised with stripes, so the mind is torn with rage, and lust, and evil designs.” The person which Tacitus here means is Plato, who says of a tyrant, in book ix. of his commonwealth; “He would appear to be in reality a beggar, if any one could but see into his whole soul; full of fears all his life long, full of uneasiness and torment.” The same philosopher has something like this in his Gorgias. Suetonius, ch. 67. being about to recite the fore-mentioned epistle of Tiberias, introduces It thus “At last, when he was quite wearied out, in the beginning of such an epistle as this, he confesses almost all his evils.” Claudian had an eye to this place of Plato, when he describes Rufinus in his second poem:—    ———Stains within
   Deform his breast, which bears the stamp of vice.
though they have endeavoured it never so much; as appears by many examples.

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