Differendum

Itaque cum simul proposita sint homini bona et mala, considerare unumquemque secum decet, quanto satius sit, perpetuis bonis mala brevia pensare, quam pro brevibus et caducis bonis mala perpetua sustinere. nam sicut in hoc saeculo, cum est propositum cum hoste certamen, prius laborandum est, ut sis postmodum in otio; esuriendum, sitiendum, aestus, frigora perferenda, humi quiescendum, vigilandum, periclitandum est ut, salvis pignoribus et domo et re familiari, et omnibus pacis ad victoriae bonis perfrui possis: sin autem praesens otium malueris quam laborem, malum tibi maximum facias necesse est; praeoccupabit enim adversarius non resistentem; vastabuntur agri, diripietur domus, in praedam uxor ac liberi venient, et tu ipse interficiere aut capiere: quae omnia ne accidant, praesens commodum differendum est, ut maius longiusque pariatur.
(Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 6.4)

Since, therefore, good and evil things are set before man at the same time, it is befitting that every one should consider with himself how much better it is to compensate evils of short duration by perpetual goods, than to endure perpetual evils for short and perishable goods. For as, in this life, when a contest with an enemy is set before you, you must first labour that you may afterwards enjoy repose, you must suffer hunger and thirst, you must endure heat and cold, you must rest on the ground, must watch and undergo dangers, that your children, and house, and property being preserved, you may be able to enjoy all the blessings of peace and victory; but if you should choose present ease in preference to labour, you must do yourself the greatest injury: for the enemy will surprise you offering no resistance, your lands will be laid waste, your house plundered, your wife and children become a prey, you yourself will be slain or taken prisoner; to prevent the occurrence of these things, present advantage must be put aside, that a greater and more lasting advantage may be gained. (tr. William Fletcher)

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