If you have some possible pleasure in mind, don’t get carried away with it. Let it wait for you, while you think about how you’ll feel when you’re enjoying it, and how you’ll feel afterward, when you reproach yourself for it. Compare those moments to the joy of having abstained and the congratulations you can then properly give yourself. And if the prospective pleasure seems appropriate to you, beware of the allure, the sweet promises it may be using on you, and think again how much better an awareness of victory can be.
When you get an external impression of some pleasure, guard yourself, as with impressions in general, against being carried away by it; nay, let the matter wait upon your leisure, and give yourself a little delay. Next think of the two periods of time, first, that in which you will enjoy your pleasure, and second, that in which, after the enjoyment is over, you will later repent and revile your own self; and set over against these two periods of time how much joy and self-satisfaction you will get if you refrain. However, if you feel that a suitable occasion has arisen to do the deed, be careful not to allow its enticement, and sweetness, and attractiveness to overcome you; but set over against all this the thought, how much better is the consciousness of having won a victory over it.
When you imagine some pleasure, beware that it does not carry you away, like other imaginations. Wait a while, and give yourself pause. Next remember two things: how long you will enjoy the pleasure, and also how long you will afterwards repent and revile yourself. And set on the other side the joy and self-satisfaction you will feel if you refrain. And if the moment seems come to realize it, take heed that you be not overcome by the winning sweetness and attraction of it; set in the other scale the thought how much better is the consciousness of having vanquished it.
If you have received the impression of any pleasure, guard yourself against being carried away by it; but let the thing wait for you, and allow yourself a certain delay on your own part. Then think of both times, of the time when you will enjoy the pleasure, and of the time after the enjoyment of the pleasure when you will repent and will reproach yourself. And set against these things how you will rejoice if you have abstained from the pleasure, and how you will commend yourself. But if it seem to you seasonable to undertake (do) the thing, take care that the charm of it, and the pleasure, and the attraction of it shall not conquer you: but set on the other side the consideration how much better it is to be conscious that you have gained this victory.
When you have conceived the phantasm of some pleasure, guard yourself that you be not rapt-away by it, but delay with yourself a little and let the thIng await you for a while. And then bethink yourself of the two periods of time, the one in which you will enjoy the pleasure, the other, in which, after having enjoyed it, you will repent of it, and reproach yourself; and set over against this how you will rejoice and commend yourself if you have abstained. But if it shall seem fitting to you to do the thing, beware lest you have been conquered by the flattery and the sweetness and the allurement of it. But set on the other side how much better would be the consciousness of having won that victory.
If you are dazzled by the semblance of any promised pleasure, guard yourself against being bewildered by it; but let the affair wait your leisure, and procure yourself some delay. Then bring to your mind both points of time, -that in which you shall enjoy the pleasure, and that in which you will repent and reproach yourself, after you have enjoyed it, - and set before you, in opposition to these, how you will rejoice and applaud yourself, if you abstain. And even though it should appear to you a seasonable gratification, take heed that its enticements and allurements and seductions may not subdue you; but set in opposition to this, how much better it is to be conscious of having gained so great a victory.
If you are struck by the appearance of any promised pleasure, guard yourself against being hurried away by it; but let the affair wait your leisure, and procure yourself some delay. Then bring to your mind both points of time: that in which you will enjoy the pleasure, and that in which you will repent and reproach yourself after you have enjoyed it; and set before you, in opposition to these, how you will be glad and applaud yourself if you abstain. And even though it should appear to you a seasonable gratification, take heed that its enticing, and agreeable and attractive force may not subdue you; but set in opposition to this how much better it is to be conscious of having gained so great a victory.
Ὅταν ἡδονῆς τινος φαντασίαν λάβῃς, καθάπερ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων, φύλασσε σαυτόν, μὴ συναρπασθῇς ὑπ’ αὐτῆς: ἀλλ’ ἐκδεξάσθω σε τὸ πρᾶγμα, καὶ ἀναβολήν τινα παρὰ σεαυτοῦ λάβε. ἔπειτα μνήσθητι ἀμφοτέρων τῶν χρόνων, καθ’ ὅν τε ἀπολαύσεις τῆς ἡδονῆς, καὶ καθ’ ὃν ἀπολαύσας ὕστερον μετανοήσεις καὶ αὐτὸς σεαυτῷ λοιδορήσῃ: καὶ τούτοις ἀντίθες ὅπως ἀποσχόμενος χαιρήσεις καὶ ἐπαινέσεις αὐτὸς σεαυτόν. ἐὰν δέ σοι καιρὸς φανῇ ἅψασθαι τοῦ ἔργου, πρόσεχε, μὴ ἡττήσῃ σε τὸ προσηνὲς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡδὺ καὶ ἐπαγωγόν: ἀλλ’ ἀντιτίθει, πόσῳ ἄμεινον τὸ συνειδέναι σεαυτῷ ταύτην τὴν νίκην νενικηκότι.