VII. (41) And every one may learn to appreciate the true freedom of which the virtuous man is in the enjoyment from other circumstances.

“No slave can e’er true happiness Enjoy.”{7}{some editions print this as a quotation, but Mangey does not. It is not known where it comes from if it is one.}

For what can be more miserable than to have no power over anything, not even over one’s self? But then a man is happy, inasmuch as he bears within himself the foundation and complement of virtue and excellence, in which consists the supreme power over all things, […]{8}{there is a considerable hiatus in the text here.} so that beyond all controversy and of necessity the virtuous man is free. (42) Besides all this, would not any one affirm that the friends of God are free? unless indeed one can think it consistent to attribute to the companions of kings, not only freedom but even at times a great degree of authority, when they commit magistracies to them, and when they, in consequence, fulfil the offices of subordinate rulers; and yet, at the same time, to speak of slavery in connection with the gods of heaven, when those men, on account of the love which they have shown to God, have also at once become beloved by God, being requited by him with good will equal to their own, truth being the judge, so that they as the poets say, are universal princes and kings of kings. (43) But the lawgiver of the Jews ventures upon a more bold assertion even than this, inasmuch as he was, as it is reported, a student and practiser of plain philosophy; and so he teaches that the man who is wholly possessed with the love of God and who serves the living God alone, is no longer man, but actually God, being indeed the God of men, but not of the parts of nature, in order to leave to the Father of the universe the attributes of being both and God. (44) Is it right, then, to think a man who is invested with such privileges as these a slave, or rather as the only one who is free? Who, even though he may not be thought worthy by himself of being classed as God, one nevertheless ought by all means to pronounce happy, by reason of his having God for his friend; for God is not a weak champion, nor regardless of the rights and claims of friendship, inasmuch as he is the God of companionship, and as he presides over everything that belongs to companions. (45) Moreover, as among cities, some being governed by an oligarchy or by tyrants, endure slavery, having those who have subdued them and made themselves masters of them for severe and cruel tyrants; while others, existing under the superintending care of the laws and under those good protectors, are free and happy. So also in the case of men; those who are under the dominion of anger, or appetite, or any other passion, or of treacherous wickedness, are in every respect slaves; and those who live in accordance with the law are free. (46) But the unerring law is right reason; not an ordinance made by this or that mortal, a corruptible and perishable law, a lifeless law written on lifeless parchment or engraved on lifeless columns; but one imperishable, and stamped by immortal nature on the immortal mind. (47) On which account any one may reasonably marvel at the dim-sightedness of those who do not see the particular characters of things which are so clear, and who say that for those mighty nations of the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, the laws of Solon and Lycurgus are quite sufficient to ensure the liberty of the people if they only have the mastery and dominion, and if the people who live in those cities do dutifully obey them, and who yet affirm that right reason, which is the fountain from which all other laws do spring, is not sufficient for wise men to enable them to arrive at a participation in freedom, even though they obey it in all the particulars as to what it commands and what it prohibits. (48) Moreover, in addition to what has been already said, there is one most undeniable proof of freedom, equality of speech, which all virtuous men use to one another; on which account they say that the following iambics are inspired with the true spirit of genuine philosophy:–