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Then you go to inquire of an oracle, remember that though you do not know beforehand what the event will be (for this very thing is what you have come to learn from the seer), yet of what nature it must be (if you are a philosopher), you knew already when you came. For if it be of those things which do not depend upon ourselves, it follows of necessity that it can be neither good nor evil.

When you go then to the seer, bring with you neither desire nor aversion, and approach him, not with trembling, but with the full assurance that all events are indifferent, and nothing to you, and that whatever may befall you it will be your part to use it nobly; and this no one can prevent. Go then with a good courage to the Gods as to counselors, and, for the rest, when something has been counseled to you, remember who they are whom you have chosen for counselors, and whom you will be slighting if you are not obedient.

Therefore, as Socrates insisted, you should consult the oracle in those cases only where your judgment depends entirely upon the event, and where you have no resources, either from reason or any other method, for knowing beforehand what is independently certain in the case. Thus, when it may behove you to share some danger with your friend or your country, do not inquire whether you may [safely] do so. For if the seer should announce to you that the sacrifices are inauspicious, that clearly signifies death, or the loss of some limb, or banishment; yet Reason convinces that even with these things you should stand by your friend and share your country’s danger. Mark therefore that greater seer, the Pythian, who cast out of the temple one who, when his friend was being murdered, did not help him.

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