XXIV. (77) For, says he, the enemy has said, “I will pursue and take captive.” Who, then, could be a more determined enemy to the soul than he who out of arrogance appropriate the especial attributes of the Deity to himself? Now it is an especial attribute of God to create, and this faculty it is impious to ascribe to any created being. (78) But the special property of the created being is to suffer; and he who has previously considered how akin to and inevitable for man this is, will easily endure everything that befalls him, however grievous it may be. But if he thinks that it is inconsistent with his destiny, then, if he be oppressed with any very terrible calamity, he will suffer the punishment of Sisyphus, not being able to raise his head, not even ever so little, but being exposed to all sorts of evils coming upon him and overwhelming him, and meeting them all with submission and non-resistance, the passions of a degenerate and unmanly soul; for he ought rather to have endured with patience; still, however, resisting and striving against calamity, strengthening his mind, and raising a bulwark against sorrow by his own patience and fortitude, which are the most powerful of virtues. (79) For as to be shaved is an operation of a twofold nature, as in the one case the creature shaved is either the active agent and the passive subject; and in the other case, he does nothing but yield and submit to the barber: for a sheep is shorn either of his whole hide, or of that which is called the pillow; doing nothing of itself, but only suffering at the hands of another. But man cooperates with the barber, and puts himself in the proper attitude, and makes himself convenient, mingling the characters of the subject and the agent. (80) So also in the case of beating, that may happen either to a servant who has committed offences worthy of stripes, or to a freeman who is stretched on the wheel as a punishment for wickedness, or to some inanimate thing; for stones and trees are beaten, and gold and silver, and whatever material is wrought in a forge, or is cut in two. (81) And to be beaten, also happens to athletes who contend in boxing, or in the pancratium for victory and crowns. The boxer parries blows which are aimed at him with one of his hands, and stooping his neck on this side and on that side, guards against being struck; and very often he stands on tiptoe, and raises himself as high as he can, or else he stoops and contracts himself on the other hand, and compels his antagonist to waste his blows on the empty air, very nearly as if he were fighting with a shadow. But the servant or the brass, doing nothing in return, is subjected to the will of the other party, suffering at his hands whatever he pleases: (82) let us therefore never admit the influence of this passion, neither in our body, nor, what is of much greater importance, in our soul; but let us rather admit that feeling which suffers in return, since it is inevitable that that which is mortal must suffer; so that we may not, like effeminate persons, broken in spirit, dissolute, and falling to pieces before our time, be weak through the utter prostration and relaxation of the powers of the soul, but rather that, being invigorated in the nerves and tone of our minds, we may be able to bear cheerfully and easily the rush of such calamities as may be impending over us. (83) Since therefore it has been proved, that no mortal is positively and assuredly the master of anything whatever (and they who are called masters are so in appearance only, and are not called so in truth), it follows of necessity, that as there is a subject and a slave, so there must also be a ruler and lord in the universe, and he must be the true real ruler and lord, the one God, to whom it was becoming to say, that “All things belong to him.”